Friday 30 January 2015

Little Miss Sunshine

The one creature that really makes my jaw sag, 
that I find absolutely fascinating so much that
 I can hardly stop looking at it is a nine month old human baby.
The rate at which it grows. The rate at which it learns. 
The rate at which it acquires words.
I mean, human babies are the most extraordinary of all creatures.
They are the most complex.
To me, nothing compares to it.

Sir David Attenborough aged 88.

Five months old is already pretty jaw-dropping.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Tall Cat pays a (brief) call

Tall Cat turns on the charm.

Tall Cat sneaks upstairs
while I am tussling with my tax return.

This is absolutely forbidden.

I said,

This is absolutely forbidden.

No really.

Tall Cat has left the premises.

Friday 23 January 2015

Lost necklace update

No I haven't found it, but maybe the next best thing.
Thanks to all the Kondo-ing
I was going through my box of boxes and found a jewellery box
with the name Kate Higham on it.
I hadn't been able to remember the name of the maker
it was such a long time ago,
but it was worth a punt.
The internet came up with her website
and as she was Devon-based it seemed quite possible
that it was one of her pieces.

We spoke today and she is still in business
and will send me some pictures of current work.
She still uses gem stones and silver
so I'm hopeful that I can have a replacement
in time for my next birthday.

This should guarantee that the old one turns up.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

New shoes

 Cherry red buckle up Start-rite sandals
 with the daisy cut out motif at the toe 
and the springiest white crepe soles. 
I felt as light as thistledown.
We bought them at the family run Regal shoe shop.
The owner knelt at my feet to measure and assess.
Then he would disappear into the dim recesses of the shop
 and re-emerge with a tower of boxes.

Summer sandals were white and cleaned with chalky Meltonian shoe cream.
School shoes were brown lace ups.
Once a box contained rainbow sparkly fabric party shoes,
 the perfect finishing touch to my voluminous party dress 
with the angora bolero top.

 They didn't really stand up to the rigours of energetic party games. 
Squeak Piggy Squeak, Blind Man's Buff, Oranges and Lemons, 
Musical Chairs and Musical Statues usually entailed
 a fair bit of shoving and dodging. 
Your big toe went through them pretty quickly.

The first pair that I had any independent say over
 were bright pink ankle boots.
I was so proud of them.
They killed my feet but I could never admit it.

Desert boots and clogs were the mainstay through my teenage years.
Clark's sandals in summer.
I never wore high heels and my platform shoes were
much more conservative than my younger sister's.

The most coveted boots when I was a student, 
were made by a firm called Olaf's Daughter's.
They were incredibly expensive and my friend had 
the long emerald green ones that laced up.
I eventually managed to buy the three quarter length version in red.

Somewhere out there, 
one last perfect red shoe with a bouncy crepe sole, awaits me.
I'll let you know when I find it. 


Well, you see, all this Kondo-ing has so depleted my belongings
that I am actually able to breathe new life into my wardrobe
and break out a little.
I found these in the sale at Helen Bateman.
My first choice would have been the purple ones with
the multi-coloured elastic, 
but they had run out of my size.
But these are pretty damn fine.

(No lizards were inconvenienced in the making of them.)

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Maison Lucille*

Freda wonders what I might wear with my new leather jacket.
This has been exercising me somewhat
as there appears to be nothing suitable in my wardrobe.

I decided to design my own collection.
In this endeavour I have been marvellously assisted by Megan
You Tube,
and a pile of discarded magazines.

VoilĂ  Spring /Summer 2015.

Monday 19 January 2015

Let it go

Please check your pockets, drawers and outhouses.
I have lost a necklace.
It is made from dozens of tiny multi-coloured semi-precious gemstone beads
with one central silvered wooden disc.
It was bought as a present from the Dartington Cider Press.
It isn't lost because I hid it in a safe  place.
It is just lost. 

I wore it every day - would take it off 
and put it in my bowl every night.
Every morning, I put it on again.

I have looked in all the reasonable places.
Pockets, drawers, bags, pockets, bags, drawers, 
under the bed, down the side of chairs, the car,
pockets of summer clothes, kitchen bin, inside wellies,
purse, pockets of other people's coats, the fridge,
linen cupboard, saucepans, compost bin, 
other people's bags, medicine cabinet,
behind the wardrobe, 
And now I want you to look.

Or should I let it go?

Friday 16 January 2015

Hell for leather

What with one thing and another
I completely forgot to have a mid-life crisis*.

I'm making a start on one now before it's too late.

There was a ridiculously beautiful supple leather 
biker jacket on sale in Sainsbury's today.
(My boutique of choice.)
I've never owned a leather jacket.
I stuffed it in my trolley with the butternut squash.

The woman at the checkout held it aloft and kept telling me
(and all the interested people in the queue), 
how much it cost, as if to give me a chance 
to come to my senses.
I gave her my stoniest stare.
Then she asked if I had tried it on.
I said no.
She asked, did I think it would fit?
I chickened out.
I told her it was for someone else.
She asked if it would fit them.
I said I hoped so, through gritted teeth.
Then she asked if it was cheap for a leather jacket.
I said I'd never bought one before.
She said, make sure you keep the receipt.

Then as if the Universe was quite determined 
to make me see the folly of my purchase
the alarm went off as I tried to exit.
The security guard took me to one side.
He took the jacket out of the bag
She hadn't taken off the tag.
I produced the receipt.
It was there between rice noodles and gingernuts.

He took it back to the till and waved it around a bit more
for everyone to see.

Then he brought it back and smiled.
It's a nice jacket he said.

Somehow, it had lost some of its allure.

*The expression was coined in 1965 and analysis showed 
it could start anytime between 40 and 60
but it is thought to start much earlier now,
which is odd when you think of our increased life expectancy.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

Knit wit

Decide to knit a simple stripy jumper for grand-daughter.
Choose pattern from pattern stash of three patterns.
(I just wanted to use the word stash.)
Send away to Laughing Hens for wool which is actually cotton.
Yarn arrives with commendable speed.
Belatedly check knitting needle situation.
Send away for circular knitting needle.
In the meantime cast on 77 stitches on ordinary needles.
Start knitting. Knit, knit, knit.
Find I have only cast on 75 stitches.
Rip it off. Start again.
Can hear Hens Laughing.
Cast on 77 stitches. Knit five rows. Knit, knit, knit.
Drop a stitch. Split the cotton while trying to retrieve it
from two rows away.
Rip it off and start again.
Knit seven rows. The word knit is beginning to look odd.
Find I have only got 74 stitches on needle.
Rip it all off.
Watch a programme about the scientific approach to dieting.
Decide I am an Emotional Eater tonight.
Knitting has upset me.
Open a bag of Lebkuchen left over from Christmas.
They are stale.
Hens bent double, tears streaming down their cheeks.
Realise I need group support
as recommended in programme.
Write a sympathy seeking post.
Wait for virtual commiserations.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

Origami wreath - by request

Take a square of origami paper
15cm x 15cm.
Yours will not have an unsightly crease in it.

Fold in half.

Open out.

Fold in half the other way.
Open out.

Fold in the top corners
like the roof of a house.

Fold up the bottom half
to meet the bottom of the roof.

Open out this fold.

Bring up this crease line so that it
meets the bottom of the roof.
Crease the new fold.

Turn it over.
Fold down the triangular flaps
over the shoulder of the roof.

Fold up the bottom over these flaps.

Fold in half from the point of the roof
to the middle of the bottom.
Make 18 of these.
It gets quicker.

Interlock the pieces each side
in the pockets formed by the folds.

Even better instructions here.
Origami does something funny to my brain.
I sometimes wonder if I should have been left-handed.
I sew hems from right to left.
Apparently that's wrong for a right-hander.

Monday 12 January 2015

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Cheering up

Freda asks what we are doing to brighten up January.

May I submit my origami wreath
in colours to co-ordinate with a jam pot?

Also a possible kitchen floor colour change.
The blue linoleum of twenty years service
was mysteriously and irrevocably damaged
around the time that the new windows went in.
Yellow is being considered.
It is even more blazingly sunny than this photo suggests.

The cyclamen are doing their best to cheer up the view from the window.

Monday 5 January 2015


The first time I saw this beach it was high tide
on a cold windy day.
I was unimpressed.
There was grey shingle and grey sea
backed by a high sea wall.
 I would have given it nul points
in a Best Beach Guide book.

How glad then I am to have been able to revisit,
year round, in all weathers,
at high and low tide this amazing stretch of coastline.
It has a wreck visible at low tide, an ancient submerged forest, 
dinosaur footprints, a cliff, a small cove with huge rock slabs to sit on,
lagoons for seabirds, ancient groynes, yellow horned poppies 
and sea cabbages, shells, sea glass and interesting pebbles.
If you glance inland across to Hog Hill
you'll see a windmill
and this is what sometimes goes on in there:

It is not a soft sand bucket and spade beach, 
but you can shift along the coast
to Camber Sands if that is your thing.

This was grand daughter's first visit.
There is so much for her to enjoy here in future,
but this time, from the comfort of a sling
strapped to her dad and well wrapped up she heard 
the sea and the wind and the bird calls
and it must have made a good impression.
I think she gave it dix points.