Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

Thank you so much if you've dropped in 
and had a read or left a comment - or both even.
You're lovely. 
I'd like to wish you all the very, very best in 2011.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Monday, 20 December 2010

Afternoon Into Evening

I took the photos above on Saturday afternoon just after the snow fell. We went out for a late-ish walk for a bit of fresh air. 

That's the Shard second from bottom. 

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Incandescent Filaments

The house is energy inefficient. There are gaps and gapes and draughts where the cold air sneaks in passing the warm currents on their way out.

A man - expert in these things - came round and kindly offered us his advice.

He fitted balloons up the disused chimneys, told us how we could use less energy and save some money, removed the pretty but energy hungry globes with the delicate filaments that emit spectrums of brightness and atmosphere and warmth.  Then handed us a free power usage monitor.

from here

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

100 Words: Night Lights

Living on a main road means it doesn't ever get very dark. There're the street lamps - high and bright - the pink glow of the shop sign opposite and the yellowy green hues of the strip lights from the takeaway nearby.

Upstairs, the curtains are not quite drawn: small theatres where nothing happens when I look across.

Behind the house though it's different. You have to strain to see the lacy dark shapes that are trees against the empty sky. The only light comes from the illuminated stairwells of the faraway tower blocks which from here look like stars.

100 Words is an idea from Bag Lady 

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Film Soc.

It's a little chilly outdoors and if I wasn't on duty this afternoon, I'd fancy getting myself comfy in an armchair - feet up. There'd be some tasty provisions within reach and I might have some sort of reading matter to hand too whilst I settle down to a weekend matinee. Or three.

These were a few that came to mind.

via here

via here

via here

If you're passing through, let me know what you'd be watching - I'd love to know. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Nice Thing

Since this blog is presently held together by - well - (mostly) cake batter, and because I had a micro moment yesterday when I felt 'seasonal' - here is a pretty picture of nice things appropriate to what I've just said.

Monday, 29 November 2010

100 Words: Suitcase

In another time the red suitcase was used for short trips to Nefyn or maybe Chester. Packed full for Christmas family fortnights too, it held folded blouses, skirts and slacks, woollens, a silk scarf and some sturdy shoes for walks plus patents for best.

Never far from home, the case wasn't bought for a turn around an airport carousel or to display international tags and stickered ticket stubs. Nothing foreign in its frilly inner pockets either. Then.

Passed on when its owner had also, the suitcase became a stuffed and stationary holdall for musty family matter. 

And postcards from abroad. 

100 Words is an idea from Bag Lady 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Statutory Tea Breaks

Very important to keep morale up in the work place.

Currently requiring regular mugs of the above.
Accompanied by something fortifying such as those below.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


The acrid smell on my fingers and in my clothes is due to having burnt the popcorn in the microwave. It clearly takes some skill to really overcook food like this.

I misread the instructions and totally radiated the food into another dimension and the puffing packet was practically in flames before I doused it in water. What a depressing sight that was - a sad, soggy bag of charred snack slumped in the sink.

I'd hoped some of the contents might have been salvageable but the angry updraught of smoke blowing out from the middle of the packet stung the back of my nose and throat and coated my mouth with the taste of something like earwax. It was a goner.

A text book on the principles of non-ionising microwave radiation has been added to my Christmas wish list.

Thursday, 18 November 2010


Seems a bit cheeky this - but Spring has snuck into November. 

Narcissi are the more petite and prettily scented relatives of the noisy daffs who trumpet the end of Winter sometime after February. Although I'm always pleased to see daffodils, I like them a little less than their dainty cousins.

Some know the Narcissi as 'Jonquil' - a beautiful word that describes a particular shade of yellow.  

And for those who like the idea but perhaps not the colour, there is a type called 'Paper Whites' which are as delicate and pale as their name suggests.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


I've a half memory of asking my grandma about these. She may have answered. I've forgotten. 

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Despite the fact that I enjoy baking and seem to do quite a lot of it, I don't actually have much of a sweet tooth. I'm much more inclined to munch on Twiglets than cake, even for a special occasion.

However, yesterday would have been my mother's birthday and, rather than brush past the anniversary, I felt it would be right to prepare something celebratory and a little indulgent.

So I made chocolate brownies. It's probably the sort of thing she might have done - accompanied, perhaps, with a glass of something sparkling and good company.

Monday, 8 November 2010

in time of daffodils

in time of daffodils (who know
the goal of living is to grow)
forgetting why, remember how

in time of lilacs who proclaim
the aim of waking is to dream,
remember so (forgetting seem)

in time of roses (who amaze
our now and here with paradise)
forgetting if, remember yes

in time of all sweet things beyond
whatever mind may comprehend,
remember seek (forgetting find)

and in a mystery to be
(when time from time shall set us free)
forgetting me, remember me

e e cummings

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Foodler & The Doodler

Whilst looking for some images in the iPhoto album, I came across these. So from the boy who brought you 'Bowling Smash', here are:

'Fruit Cloud'


'Felt Pen on Kitchen Paper'

Now I'm a doodler and a scribbler - circles mostly. Sometimes boxes or swirls. The kitchen paper thing? Not that easy. 

Friday, 29 October 2010

Foreign Bodies

I don't usually take photographs of strangers.

Here's the truth: I'm trying to read my book but am distracted and start staring. It's something I try to not do because it's, well, rude. But I get drawn in by what's happening in front of me. Especially on holiday. And other people are fascinating aren't they? Even more interesting if you can't understand what they're saying so it's just the actions you've got to go on. Endless entertainment for an onlooker like me. And I get fixated on tan depth, worry about the pale skinned in the midday heat, imagine the lives of those I'm absorbed by and wonder about national body type. Is there such a thing? 

Everyone is crammed onto this narrow strip of riverside 'beach'. I am sitting in the only patch of shade in a grassy picnic area. It's busy. Out of shot to the left is an ancient bridge.  Those without fear, and happy to perform to an expectant audience, will jump from it. They will position themselves carefully: toes over the edge, arms out to the side. Wait. Ready. Deep breath. Some are trying this trick for the first time, others are old hands. One or two apply extra drama to this feat and try a somersault. 

There's a thwack when a body hits the water. 

Fifteen or so friends dominate the action and I'm trying to work out the relationships. But who belongs to whom I'm not sure. They communicate in 'shout' led by a tubby, moustachioed majordomo who directs his crowd from a spot in the river. Today the river is his. 

Can you see two heads just above the girl with the ginger hair? They are being carried along on the fast flowing current which pulls the willing towards a large rock. The game is to try to climb on to the rock either by grabbing it or being helped up by someone already there. It's not easy to do for the tug of the current is so strong it will pull you right past. It's a good place to stop to catch your breath.

The water is cold. So cold. 

In a few minutes the scene will change and so will the atmosphere. The woman right in the very middle of the photograph - she's just about to lose her wedding ring.

I should get back to my book.

Monday, 25 October 2010


I feel as if I've missed Autumn - I don't think I've been paying attention. Others have though, so I'd like to direct you towards here and here for some beautiful Autumn inspired words.

Seasonal show time in our garden is dominated by a daring performance from an attention seeking (and dominant) Virginia Creeper with leaves that change from green to red as early as August.

It looks like a limp garland now - just a few straggly leaves stuck to the bare twigs. It peaked early.

No matter - there's still one final party turn to come from our little tree which seems to hang on as long as it can before providing a final display of Autumnal magic before hunkering down until the Spring. I'll try to look out for that.

* sorry - unimaginative title for what's supposed to be one of the most inspiring times of year

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Gallery Guide: Ceramics At The V&A

I find teapots so cheering.

The cabinets in the Ceramics galleries at the Vand A contain armies of them along with shelves, high and long, of every kind of tile, bowl and vessel you could imagine. Some truly ancient, some highly contemporary and everything - and I mean everything - else in between.

(Good to know those Bauhaus folk took time out for a brew.)

And at the far end of the galleries are Richard Slee's beautiful but useless ceramic household objects. Made specifically for the gallery's fixed display cases, his exhibit is called 'From Utility to Futility'. 

It was probably the bright colours and cartoonish forms, but this display buoyed me - I've been in need of some humour. Ceramic hammer? Brilliant.

Friday, 15 October 2010

The Wonder Of Wool

Wool has had a week dedicated to itself.

It's fitting then that the weather's been appropriately chilly for all the drovingknitting and weaving that's been taking place in London and the rest of the country to promote this humble fibre.

And so - as it probably isn't going to get very much warmer any time soon - I feel duty bound to encourage you to fend off the shivers and wrap up.

A scarf is a good place to start.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Goods And Chattels

I always felt my mother's home was full of interest: packed bookshelves (alphabetised by author no less) pictures, photographs and the inherited bits and bobs - or 'doodads' as she would have called them - that will continue to be passed on and then on again. Her little flat was inviting and warm and distinctively 'her'.

And so - I have become the custodian of a few new (to me) things which are special reminders of aspects of my mum's character.

....including a home-made cook book c.1964. It must have been one of a dozen or so copies typed out by my mum and has - amazingly - survived umpteen house moves over the last forty six or so years.

Amongst mum's offerings in it are Shrimp Chowder which she describes as 'a soup which is a meal in itself', and Pork Cassoulet: 'almost impossible to overcook'.

Here's a recipe from one of the other contributors. I love its prescriptive tone.


The hips must not be used until touched with frost. Further, they must be used as soon as they are picked and not left overnight, as they contain a valuable quantity of Vitamin C., which is lost with keeping.

To every pound of hips allow half a pint of water. Boil until tender and pass through a fine sieve to remove pips. Add 1lb. sugar to 1lb. of pulp and boil until it thickens.

Miss D.V. Rowe
The Plough House

The advice (tutorial was it?) I was given about the importance of hand washing delicates and woollens in - specifically - Woolite may be considered a bit outmoded today. But I know that from my mum's point of view she was simply passing on a handy tip - a useful skill perhaps - and also the notion that if you take good care of the things you value they will last longer. 

And the stripy scarf above is a great example of this. It's actually about twenty years old and - like her other knitwear - was carefully stowed away in a protective bag whilst not in use. Lucky for me it still has a faint scent of lovely perfume on it.

Finally - the autumnal orange and green of a necklace that was my mother's mother's. This treasure is made from moss agate and other stones which were foraged for by my mum and her sister as little girls when they were living in Cornwall - the sweetest memento and the loveliest story.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Secret Gardens

I'm currently in a wistful frame of mind and have been thinking of - amongst other things - places and spaces.

These charming gardens (below) struck me as inspiring and beautiful and would be somewhere I'd happily transport myself for calm or escape.

I will now guide you over to Spitalfields Life where you can see more lovely photographs and read about the man who created these magical oases.

“Nature doesn’t make gardens, people make gardens. 
And the story of a garden is always the story of a person.” 
Monty Don

Photographs from Spitalfields Life

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Next Of Kin

My darling Mum died just over a week ago.

Here she is with my Dad in a photograph taken
around 1970. I came across it after sorting through
my father's papers after he died last year.

If you've a mo, and fancy
listening to something a little sentimental,
here's Al Bowlly.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Cheerio For A Bit

I will be off-line for a short while - but I will be returning as soon as I can - so I'll leave you with this image of Lago di Tenno in Trento, Italy. 

Monday, 6 September 2010

Little Boots

This illustration is from a children's activity book (c.1961) I found in Ludlow (again). It was issued by a footwear company called Kiltie. 

Image via here

I hadn't any intention of doing a back-to-school related post, it just turned out that way after I came across the image of the three jolly jumping girls in their Kiltie shoes.

My own feet were shod in Clarks as a child - many of them heavy, clumpy numbers that I tried to keep crease-free in the toe area by walking in a flat-footed kind of way that irritated my Mum.

And perhaps this is revealing too much, but I remember wanting to wear the mint condition shoes in bed as well. Really.

Monday, 30 August 2010


Am on holiday at the moment. Hoping to post some photos soon but wi-fi not so great.
I also seem unable to string together a sentence. Will try again tomorrow.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Snacks On Sticks

I picked up this from-another-era leaflet which was on a stall in the flea market in Ludlow last week end.  

I feel that my life could benefit from some of the regimentation of the neat little cheese-based cocktail snack arrangement. And I love that shade of blue - so cheery.

Not so sure about the glace cherries and cheese combo though.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

I'm Very Sorry But I Can't Help Myself

The Ernest Race Antelope chair designed for the Festival of Britain in 1951 is one of my top, top favourites. 

Is it not a beauty?

Images from here and here.