Thursday, November 12, 2009

theme thursday - telephone

Well, I have to admit that I'm a little bit stuck on this one. I could have a rant about how the phone is taking over our lives. About how you can't travel in peace and quiet on public transport anymore, because people insist on bellowing into their phones, I'm on the train. Yes. I said, I'm on the train. No, I'll be about 20 minutes. Yes please. 2 sugars. while I'm trying to read my newspaper. But that would be my husband's rant and not mine. I commute by car. Insulated from other commuters in my little metal box, I can ignore my phone, if it rings, as I don't have a hands-free-kit. Ha ha!

I could probably write a piece about the development of the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell, wasn't it? Nah. Can't be bothered to look it up.

When I phoned my brother the other day, my nephew had just bought an iPhone and was struggling with the instructions, trying to work out how to use it. Who would have thought that a telephone could take photos, play music and videos, access the internet, play games, convert currency, navigate you from one place to another? (Actually mine doesn't do all those things. I have a camera and an iPod and quite like the fact that I can't talk or text on either of them!)

So. Yes. Telephone. What to post?

A telephone rings, doesn't it? Well, mine does.

I found a song by Blondie

and a photo of a ring

Monday, November 9, 2009

happy birthday

Happy Birthday to my cats, Charlie & Coco. Wreckers of carpet, catchers of frogs, owners of very long whiskers and bringers of joy (and cat hair.)

We don't know their real birthday, as we got them from a rescue centre at New Year 2005. November 9th is a best guess!


Charlie often looks surprised. Either because I've caught him doing something bad (see above re carpets) or because he's puzzled by life. Charlie has lots of fur, but not a great deal of brain. He's quite skittish and nervous of strangers. He loves to have his fur brushed.


Coco likes to eat, sleep, sit on window sills, sleep, catch flies and sleep. She has a long pink tongue, which sticks out when she's thinking (not often) or yawning. She has a gentle nature and is very affectionate.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

theme thursday - castle

The Scots know well how to build castles. None of those battlements, crenellated towers and narrow windows for shooting arrows through here! This one is more like a country home - albeit a large one.

These photos were taken at Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland. It was a sunny(!) day in September. We were lovely and warm - probably because we were wearing several layers of clothing.

I love Scotland.

Also on Mull, this is Duart Castle. Older than Torosay, this one at least has a wall and battlements. And lots of chimneys!

As we all know, however, an Englishman's home is his castle.

So, here's mine, taken in the snow last winter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

on the beach

Autumn is here. Yes, the leaves are beautiful. Life and colour still cling to stem and branch.
But it's cold. And right now it's dark and wet, too.

So, where better to be than on the beach?

Tybee Island, Georgia

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

taking time

At home with a cold, I finally have time to sit down and read the blogs I follow and even put fingers to keyboard. Why is that, I wonder? It's not as if the computer isn't on all the time. And it's not that others are using it when I want to. There's just something about blogging that feels it shouldn't be a snatched few minutes - like an espresso, gulped down while standing at the counter - but a thing to take time over. A pot of fragrant tea. Warming my hands around the cup. Sipping slowly. Enjoying the moment.

I need to organise my time a little better.

So, here's to you if you manage to find time to blog each day, or even each week. I've just made tea and am looking forward to a morning of reading others thoughts and enjoying their take on life.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

farmers market

Had a relaxing day yesterday. Slept late, then wandered down to the new farmers' market in nearby Penge. It's very small. We chatted to a couple of the stallholders, who were feeling a bit dispirited. The project started just a few months ago and is floundering already because of competion from the 'Pound Shops' in the High Street and also the local supermarkets. Apparently word has got around that the market is expensive and therefore people don't come.
I didn't think it was expensive at all. In fact I was concerned that some of the stallholders were charging too little, just to get rid of their produce.

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me then, but I did take some photos of the farmers market in the Ferry Building in San Francisco recently ...





Monday, August 17, 2009


How could I have forgotten to post?
How could I have forgotten to visit other blogs??

I suppose busyness is a poor excuse, but it's the best one I have at the moment.
I seem to be suffering from an overdose of busyness.

Cue a nice, peaceful picture ...

Hope that's not too peaceful!

Back soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

theme thursday - stage

Whilst I love the theatre, the most common reason I'm near a stage is to listen to music.

I don't mind if the stage is large

or small.

If it's indoors

or outdoors.

If the guys up there are famous

or just having fun.

Even when you run the risk of being upstaged by the weather

the show must go on!

1. The mainstage at The Hop Farm Festival, Kent July 2009
2. Mike Maven and friend at Cedar Street Courtyard, Austin TX May 2009
3. Low Expectations at Antones, Austin TX May 2009
4. The mainstage at Greenbelt Festival, Cheltenham Aug 2008
5. Paul Weller at The Hop Farm, July 2009 (with thanks to A for the shot)
6. The Effras at The Streatham Festival, London July 2009
7. The Effras in the rain ...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A little blog break until life becomes less hectic!

hectic hair at the hop farm festival, paddock wood, kent

Thursday, June 25, 2009

theme thursday - summer

One of my favourite books is Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee (published in the US with the title The Edge of Day) and it contains a most wonderful description of summer.

The day Rosie Burdock decided to take me in hand was a motionless day of summer, creamy, hazy and amber-coloured, with the beech trees standing in heavy sunlight as though clogged with wild honey. It was the time of haymaking, so when we came out of school, Jack and I went to the farm to help.

The whirr of the mower met us across the stubble, rabbits jumped like firecrackers about the fields, and the hay smelt crisp and sweet. The farmer's men were all hard at work, raking, turning and loading. Tall, whiskered fellows forked the grass, their chests like bramble patches. The air swung with their forks and the swathes took wing and rose like eagles to the tops of the wagons. The farmer gave us a short fork each and we both pitched in with the rest.

I stumbled on Rosie behind a haycock, and she grinned up at me with the sly, glittering eyes of her mother. She wore her tartan frock and cheap brass necklace, and her bare legs were brown with hay dust.

"Get out a there," I said. "Go on."

Rosie had grown and was hefty now and I was terrified of her. In her catlike eyes and curling mouth I saw unnatural wisdoms more threatening than anything I could imagine. The last time we'd met I'd hit her with a cabbage stump. She bore me no grudge, just grinned.

"I got summat to show ya," she said.

"You push off," I said.

I felt dry and dripping, icy hot. Her eyes glinted, and I stood rooted. Her face was wrapped in a pulsating haze and her body seemed to flicker with lightning.

"You thirsty?" she said.

"I ain't, so there."

"You be," she said. "C'mon."

So I stuck the fork into the ringing ground and followed her, like doom. We went a long way, to the bottom of the field, where a wagon stood half-loaded. Festoons of untrimmed grass hung down like curtains all around it. We crawled underneath, between the wheels, into a herb-scented cave of darkness. Rosie scratched about, turned over a sack, and revealed a stone jar of cider.

"It's cider," she said. "You ain't to drink it though. Not much of it, any rate."

Huge and squat, the jar lay on the grass like an unexploded bomb. We lifted it up, unscrewed the stopper, and smelt the whiff of fermented apples. I held the jar to my mouth and rolled my eyes sideways, like a beast at a waterhole. "Go on," said Rosie. I took a deep breath.

Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples and Rosie's burning cheeks. Never to be forgotten, or ever tasted again.

I put down the jar with a gulp and a gasp. Then I turned to look at Rosie. She was yellow and dusty with buttercups and seemed to be purring in the gloom; her hair was rich as a wild bee's nest and her eyes were full of stings. I did not know what to do about her, nor did I know what not to do. She looked smooth and precious, a thing of unplumbable mysteries, and perilous as quicksand.

"Rosie . . ." I said, on my knees, and shaking.

She crawled with a rustle of grass towards me quick and superbly assured. Her hand in mine was like a small wet flame which I could neither hold nor throw away. Then Rosie, with a remorseless, reedy strength, pulled me down from my tottering perch, pulled me down, down into her wide green smile and into the deep subaqueous grass.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

... and turn left

Down to San Diego and turn left.

We watched the news over breakfast at the motel this morning (April 27th.) It was full of reports of Swine Flu, so we decided that Tecate and Mexico would keep for another day (another year!) and thus we headed left (ok, east) towards Jacumba and towards our first encounter with Roadside America.™

The Desert View Tower - an opportunity to climb a few stairs and stare across miles of stony desert and some scary rocks

scary rock

then admire a fabulous collection of kitsch on the way down.

desert essential

And all for a few bucks! Cool.

Pushing on towards Yuma, we came across Felicity, which stands at the centre of the world. (No, really, it does. The Mayor says so.)

the pyramid marks the spot

It was eerily quiet and seemed deserted. It had an unfinished feeling, as though the builders had been interrupted suddenly ( or, perhaps, abducted by aliens?) The pyramid was locked. After we'd wandered round the place a bit, a woman popped out of one of the buildings and called to us. It was the desert, it was hot and we were a little overcome by all the weirdness, so we politely declined her offer of a $10 tour. She insisted. We declined again. She called us stupid. We left.
I believe she might have been the Mayor's wife.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

theme thursday - roof

Roofs come in all sorts of different shapes

and sizes.

Some are made of glass

or tiles.

On top of a roof you can find interesting things ...

even people!

1. Covering for the remains of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London during restoration
2. Suburban rooftops in South London
3. Greenwich Market, London
4. My roof
5. Weathervane in Bay St Louis, Mississippi
6. Painting the roof in Biloxi, Mississipi

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

down to san diego ...


Our first full day of holiday. Brilliant sunshine and cool breezes coming in off the Pacific. Huge breakfast of pancakes, then off down the coast to San Diego. We spent a few hours at the Adams Avenue Roots Festival, then wandered around the Gaslamp Quarter and the Historic District

I bought a new camera. Yay!
Then we finished off a perfect day with dinner and jazz at Croce's.

trying out my new camera on the tram

Friday, June 12, 2009

home again

Home from our Road Trip. We've been back for over 3 weeks, but I'm only now getting down to the not inconsiderable task of sorting out and editing the photos I took.

After all, there are nearly a thousand.

Within a few hours of landing in Los Angeles, I had lost my camera. So, Himself™ kindly lent me his.

From LA we drove south along the Pacific and stayed the night in a little motel in San Clemente. In the evening we walked along the beach and watched the sun set, ate fabulous chowder on the pier and then walked some more. London seemed thousands of miles away.
Well, it was!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

blog break

kite at Greenbelt Festival 2007

Shortly flying up and away on our Road Trip

Normal (i.e. sporadic) posting will resume in late May.

Wish me safe and happy travelling ....

Friday, April 10, 2009

breathing underwater

A frantically busy week at work meant that I didn't get the time to make my 'egg' post for Theme Thursday. So, here I am on Good Friday, wondering what to blog about.

I went to church today. That's not unusual for me, but today was different. I took the train up to London and went to Southwark Cathedral. The altar had been stripped bare. Statues and pictures were veiled. Candles stood unlit and the lights had been extinguished. (The heating was off, too.) The normally bright, colourful space was dull and grey. Even the stained glass seemed muted. People gathered in silence.

There was no robed procession, no choir. There were hymns, a sermon, a simple prayer, Bach on the organ and silence. The Canon Pastor spoke about death.

And as he spoke, grief both old and new welled up in me.

And it was painful. And the tears came.

And then he read this poem

I built my house by the sea

Not on the sands, mind you,

Not on the shifting sand.

And I built it of rock.

A strong house by a strong sea.

And we got well acquainted,

The sea and I.

Good neighbours.

Not that we spoke much.

We met in silences,

Respectful, keeping our distance

But looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.

Always the fence of sand our barrier,

Always the sand between.

And then one day

(And I still don’t know how it happened)

the sea came.

Without warning.

Without welcome, even.

Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine.

Less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.

Slow, but flowing like an open wound.

And I thought of flight, and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.

But while I thought the sea crept higher until it reached my door.

And I knew there was neither flight, nor death nor drowning.

That when the sea comes calling you stop being good neighbours

Well acquainted, friendly from a distance neighbours.

And you give your house for a coral castle

And you learn to breathe underwater.

Carol Bialock, Chile, 1975.

And I smiled. Because I think I am learning to breathe underwater too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

theme thursday - 10

ten things that make me happy

my job

I can't actually believe I just typed that, as last week was the week from hell and I'm still feeling drained and exhausted. But happiness is so much more than just a quick buzz of elation, isn't it? I get a tremendous amount of job satisfaction and, on a good day, I'm happy to know that I make a difference. (So, here's hoping for some more good days just around the next corner.)


the effras, greenbelt festival 2008

Food of love, food for the soul: Walking with my ipod; propping up the bar in my local with a glass of wine in my hand and tapping my foot to my friend's band The Effras; one small voice in the crowd at the stadium, while Bono struts his stuff onstage; tears in my eyes as Runrig's lilting melodies take me to the mountains. I cannot imagine a world without music.


findhorn, scotland

Salt spray on my face, bladderwrack tickling my ankles, the slap of a wave against the jetty; river running deep, the pounding of a waterfall, the play of sunlight on rapids; a pebble in a pool, fish jumping; reflection in a puddle. Water of life. Living water.


taking photos in alphabet city, nyc

Where would we be without friends?


nyc from the brooklyn bridge

New places. New people. Weird food. Strange languages. Going back - when you wish you hadn't because it's never the same. Going back - when old memories are revived and new ones made. The familiar and the exotic. The security of the old and the thrill of the new.


the alps, italy

Something wonderful happens when I am in the mountains. They are so huge and I am very small. They make me feel peaceful. Sometimes they make me cry.


Past, present and future. Being part of a family is, for me, being part of a continuum. And it's where I find security.


st paul's cathedral & the millennium bridge

Home. Cosmopolitan city where the old and new live side by side. Steeped in history. It's where I go to walk along the Thames, ride the escalators in Selfridges, wander round the Tate Modern or the V & A, explore the backstreets. Home.


the alps, italy

cold soft hard fluffy white yellow blue-shadowed sparkle crisp crunch clean dirty silent muffled frozen melting wet dry powder blanket shroud dazzling


isle of mull

Mountains, water, friends, music, snow, whisky, haggis .... heaven.

That's my perfect 10.
What's yours?