slightly bleeding squashiness..

Hey there..

I love red grapes don’t you?  Nom, nom..

Lovely to munch on after dinner if you feel like pud and have none in the house and are too damned lazy to do anything more energetic than swipe the grape bowl of the counter and squash back up on the sofa again with the dog.  Soooo..

How are you all out there then?  Hope you are all well and goodly.

Probably due to hypothyroidism I have been wrestling with the black slug again but think I am coming out victorious.  This time I had the help of a small dog in fighting the good fight.  She keeps me company, makes me walk the countryside with her and generally cheers me with her sheer cuteness and mild bonkersness i.e. the Assault of the Cherry where after throwing a cherry around and batting it back and forward with paws she then proceeded to snarl and growl at it when it had the temerity to menace her as it sat on the floor in its slightly smeared, slightly bleeding squashiness.

The Hay Book Festival and the How the Light Gets In Festival of Philosophy and Music have both been and gone in the same crowded ten days.  Both seem to have done extremely well and I have heard that tickets for the book fest well exceeded last year.  We have a population of around 1500 here in Hay and they sold about 220,000 tickets for the book festival alone – needless to say our town was just a tad rammed.  The poor buggers who were camping (and there were a lot of them) had to put up with rain and cold the first weekend and by the Tuesday when I went to do my shift at the charity shop we had sold out of all blankets and coats and people were still coming in and asking for them.  It amazes me that some do not understand that summer weather in this country may be a little uncertain.

T and I had the great good fortune to see film director John Waters speak on the first Saturday night – he was very, very, very good.  Interesting, funny and wise.  One of the bonuses of the evening was that he was interviewed by his friend Helena Kennedy who is also a pretty damn wonderful woman, you can read about her here.  I admire both of them immensely for their outspoken stance against prejudice and injustice.

My other visit to the festival grounds was to see the marvellous and incredibly prolific Alexander McCall Smith, he of the No1 Ladies Detective fame.  Once again a visit and battle with the crowds worth making. Interviewed by Ann Robinson ‘Sandy” as she called him proved fully capable of taking a simple question and turning it into a circuitous and engrossing tale – great fun with an infectious laugh.

There was a wonderful energy to the town while the festivals were on but I have to say that it is lovely now everything is back to normal.

I’m off now – don’t want to rabbit on too much now i’m back in the blogging mood again, I’ll just leave you with this..

Like her new i.d. tag?

One Thing at a Time..

Do you ever get the feeling there are not enough hours in the day?

When I get a day off, lately, I just feel completely crazed – so much to do, so little time.  The sheer fact that I have so much choice drives me mad and makes it difficult to concentrate

I got a pile of books for my birthday.  They are sitting there, on the book-case, gently mocking me – or smiling at me depending on my mood.  Yesterday afternoon they were mocking me and strengthened my resolve to FINISH the wonderful Mrs Ames by EF Benson (author of the excellent  Mapp and Lucia books, that I had from the library.  Library books first AND THEN the smirking pile..


My lovely pile



In addition to all this reading I have been endeavoring to watch my way through the utterly brilliant TV series The Wire,  compulsive it is.  Each dvd has three programmes (not enough) and I have usually managed to ingest them all in one night – has to be done..

Free time of course, has got more precious now I am working at the shop.  This is on my wish list of stuff to do today –

  • Write blog – tick 🙂
  • Go for a walk down the river (walks have shrunk the busier I have got – not good 😦  )
  • Visit Louise in her shop
  • Visit Ali at the Globe
  • Visit the laundromat – washing waits for no woman
  • Start to make another bag
  • Finish an owl
  • List my spare clothes on Ebay
  • Buy veg at the Thursday market
  • Cook tea
  • Go to the Stitch and Bitch this evening

As I  said – this is a wish list, not really a hope that I will get it all done!

My birthday by the way, passed happily, and many thanks to all of you out there who sent me messages.  It was great to be remembered.  I had the day off from work and spent it wandering around town, visiting friends and my work to pick up a huge bunch of flower. The evening I spent with new friends down at Kilverts as unfortunately my man Mr T had to work that night.

This is one of my favourite cards –


and this is what it said inside


isn't that brilliant?




Tudor knows I would like one of these (a real one though, please)




Birthday boots - heavenly! Have worn them to work twice and they are so comfy.



I guess the answer to the ‘to much to do’ problem is to appreciate and be thankful that you have so many wonderful things that you can choose to do and then pick one and totally enjoy it while you are doing it.  I know this – why do I find it so hard to remember?

Random Bits of Me..

Today in Kiwi Land is ANZAC day, and I was going to do a post about it but have temporarily mislaid the photos I was going to use so will do it when they are found.

Instead, as I am still going through papers, photos, and other  assorted detritus of my life, I thought I would show you a bit more of me.  Not organised in any way whatsoever however..

First up is a page I printed out from a website on the day I discovered that Douglas Adams, one of my most favourite authors, had died.  This was the first comment I read on the board  at and it was just so appropriate – I cried.  So Rob Hamilton, if you are out there, thank you for encapsulating my mood at the time, saying exactly what I wanted to say and saying it in such a Douglas Adams way.

Subject: I’ll just lie down in front of this bulldozer for a while… ( 1 of 1 )
Posted by Rob Hamilton

One of the great embarrassing difficulties I have in my life is a complete and absolute inability to walk past a bookstore as if it wasn’t lurking there, ready to fiercely spring upon me and force books into my backpack while sucking out the marrow of my financial stability with great slurping sounds and an occasional burp. My eagerest joy has always been to poke around in the “A” authors, hoping to find either a new Douglas Adams title or one I was too blind to find when it first came out. I suppose I can relax about that now.

For the record: I’m practically 48, I’ve lived in Santa Barbara, I’ve had a heart attack, my spell-check runs away screaming when it sees me coming, and I shall continue to stay the hell away from gyms in the future as vigorously as in the past.

The postings are as heartbreaking as the situation that drags us together, bleary-eyed and uncomprehending, waving lighters in the rain. Thanks.

Well into Autumn in this part of the world - image by my favorite pagan artist Jane Brideson
I love old post cards and this one has a message on the back from Herb to his sister Phylis - card is dated 1904

This is a birthday card that my friend Julie gave me.  It is from a series called ‘Meet the Mustards’ by Sam Toft.  It has a charming little story on the back about Ernest Hemmingway Mustard and his dear lady wife Violet and Doris (Her Majesty) their rather grumpy, portly Jack Russell.  Sam Toft has a website where you can see or buy her art work – here and here is a little video of her actually drawing one of her characters, and Doris of course.  She is very clever and I would luuuve one of her prints!!

books, books, books…

I have been lucky lately with my choice of reading material.   Lucky in the sense that I have had three books that have been well worth reading.

I have been a manic reader ever since I could, inhaled books as if they were oxygen really – hated being trapped anywhere without something to read.  And I would pretty much read anything.  But then I went and got myself an education and that changed my reading habits totally – as one of the characters in the book I am reading at the moment said “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books”

For a long time after leaving university I found it difficult to find novels I enjoyed, it still is a problem  – but not at the moment.  Three books!

March: A Love Story in a Time of War by Geraldine Brooks – (not for the faint hearted), she tells the tale of Charles March the father of the girls in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. Thoroughly researched, beautifully written, fascinating, an absolute gem that I will read again.  This also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2006

Miss Garnet’s Angel by Sally Vickers – the story of a retired school mistress who , after the death of a long term companion, goes to live in Venice for six months.  I love stories about people who have sudden crises in life and go off and do the unexpected and this is one of them.  Woven in with Miss Garnet’s story is the apocryphal tale of Tobias and his journey which is also fascinating.  A book that I found hard to put down and really looked forward to going to bed at night to have a read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer –  Half way through this I am enjoying immensely.  The title is cutesy but this belies the sometimes deeply sad nature of the book when it deals with the Nazi occupation of Guernsey. Despite that there are also some deeply funny bits as well and it feels well balanced.  Another book I am finding hard to put down and yet at the same time I want it to last forever!  The only thing I regret is that the author is dead and we will get no more of her wonderful writing.

Fave word of the day – Lucubration – mainly cos I think it sound rude 😉

A Cup of Chai Tea…

The weather is still practising for winter.  We have been out in it and got wet, as has the dog.  She is now curled up next to me on the felt blanket, chasing a rabbit in her sleep, back legs going.

I have a cup of chai tea while I write this and contemplate doing some craft work.   I read again to T this morning, from The Long Winter.  The descriptive passages seem to go on forever when you are reading out loud.  I keep waiting for T to get bored with it but he is riveted.   Laura Ingalls Wilder had spent years describing the world to her blind sister Mary, that must have come in handy, writing her books.  Also, although she never kept a diary, she did write a lot, and kept every single scrap.

Certainly puts into perspective this dreary old weather.  Can’t begin to imagine how cold it must have been during the blizzards described in the book.  Not being able to see across the street for flying snow and the fear of being caught out in it, losing your way and wandering out into the vast prairie landscape that held no shelter whatsoever.

Anyway – on a more cheerful note, T has just lit the fire and made me more chai tea.  He reports the courgettes are getting away on us ( I can just see them bounding off across the garden) and need to be eaten,  so that is part of dinner sorted.  I think I will watch the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special again and do some knitting – killing two birds with one stone.

Mid summer - lighting the fire

In My Room – I Can Watch The Wind..

I finished Unseen Academicals a couple of weeks and give it top marks.  It even made me slightly more interested in soccer, which is saying something believe me.  I have since started and finished another Terry Pratchett tome The Bromeliad trilogy which includes the three books about nomes, Truckers, Diggers and Wings.  I have had this book for several years now but never read it, so I had a real holiday treat.  It is supposed have been written for young readers in mind but don’t let that put you off, you would never notice.

My latest read is Tigana by Canadian author Guy Gavriel Kay. I first came across his writing in the mid eighties when the three wonderful books of The Fionavar Tapestry –  The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire and The Darkest Road were published.  Prior to writing the trilogy Kay had assisted Christopher Tolkien with the editorial construction of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.  He is a master fantasy/fiction writer and I still have another couple of his books to catch up on – with another coming out this year;  that will be on my Amazon wish list for sure!

Weather update

While it continues to snow like a bastard in the UK and Europe, here it continues to blow.  Hot air.  And I am just a tad pissed off about it.  Honestly, it seems like it’s been going on for months, and it’s not just gentle breezes.  Two days ago we had a minor panic because one of the larger branches on our gum tree snapped off and just missed the neighbours shed, which it would have definitely squashed.  The neighbour, being a good kiwi bloke, whipped out his chain saw and made short work of it, just a bit more wood for the fire.  Fortunately, from the look of the forecast there might just be a short break in the windiness tomorrow in time for our b.b.q., before the north west gales and rain sweep in for Sunday.

The room it all happens in

Thought you might like a look at my craft/blog writing room.   As you can see it is a hell of a mess but I like it.  The observant may also spot me taking the picture in the mirror.

“I’d rather be a rising ape than a fallen angel”

Terry Pratchett is responsible for my heading today, he has been interviewed for the Guardian Book Club, you can read a report of it here. There is also a video of part of the conference and I was so pleased to see that the illness he suffers from has not got him down yet.

I am thoroughly enjoying Unseen Academicals, I try to read it when I am not tired as it is quite complex in some ways.  I know that he has another book on the go – with one of my favourite characters, Tiffany Aching in it. Yahoo!

We have spent part of our Saturday visiting friends and chopping down their trees (they did ask us to).   Or Tude did the chopping and I just sat around looking pretty 😉  Our last trip of the day we visited Yvonne and her lovely brood of animals, which include amputee Titan, the dog who I reported on in my last post.  He greeted us happily but is not quite his old self yet of course.  I forgot the camera, so maybe next time I will get a photo of his beautiful mug.

The weather is shaping up well for the Summer Solstice and I have my eye on a bottle of Nelson Boysencider which I spotted in the supermarket today and will make an interesting change to take along to the party.

It is going to be a quiet weekend, although I have been promised home made popcorn later tonight along with the unbelievable United States of Tara.