Friday, 29 February 2008

people keep writing my book....

Starting this blog was a way to make me write more regularly and it's worked. I write more than I ever did when I did 'daily pages' or any of those exercises people who write books about writing suggest. I actually miss it when I'm away or forget to sit down and put fingers to keyboard.

It also makes me dream more of writing other stuff - articles, short stories, maybe one day a novel. I write these ideas down more and feel more comfortable about developing them. This is a breakthrough. I've always done a lot more thinking about writing than actually writing, feeling embarassed about admitting, even to myself, that I want to write, that I dare to write.

My most recent problem with writing, however, is that people keep writing my books. I saw two books today in Smiths. One about the workplace where most people spend the majority of their time with people they'd never choose as friends (idea had a couple of years ago having gone back to work when the kids went to school). The other was yet another hilarious story of domestic woes and adventures - whoops I drove the 4 x 4 into a hedge and then handsome hedge fund manager fished me out and found my kookiness strangely attractive..... mmmmm, maybe there's enough of those out there already?

So...the moral of this tale? Answers on a comment please....

Thursday, 28 February 2008

culture vulture

Trip A: to Calne library to listen to Katie Fforde ( talk about her writing and her most recent book. She was inspiring because she was lovely and gracious and looks like my one of my aunties. I went with some friends and we were lucky enough to spend some time with her and her equally lovely husband in one of Calne's finest hostelries. I don't think I've ever been in such close proximity to a 'proper' writer unless you count dancing next to one of the Fiennes brothers at Port Eliot in the summer (that's another tale).
Trip B: if that's not enough culture for me in one week, today S & I went to sunny Bath to see the Blue & White show at the Victoria Gallery (
Kaffe Fassett's quilts, paintings and needlepoints (, Candace Bahouth mosaic shoes and Carole Waller's silk paintings and installations It was small but perfectly formed. It made me want to run to the fabric shop and buy cotton squares and triangles and hexagons - oh my! As my camera isn't working though I had to find something blue & white in my old photos folder - please see above.
So, back at home, I am waiting for the toad in the hole to bake and looking forward to a peaceful evening in front of a dvd. My beloved is away for the night. I don't like it much when he's not here. I don't sleep too well.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

the earth moved....

I woke to a tale of terrifying earthquakes - my beloved never dreams - but he'd been woken up in the night and thought there'd been some kind of geological shift or the lad up the road with the big wheeled truck had hit the house - finally. Radio 4 informed us that there had, indeed, been a quake at 1am in Lincolnshire and, lying beside me, my beloved felt it. Amazing, I never knew he was so sensitive. I am also a little concerned that I assumed he'd woken because I was snoring and, secondly I didn't hear/feel/sense a thing.

I apologies for my scary big knitting picture. I like it. It is now covered in pins, being art at college and representing how we try to protect ourselves but are continually attacked by consumerism and advertising. Deep, hey?

I was inducted yesterday, did I tell you? I joined the gym. I worked out that I only have to go twice a week to make a membership worthwhile. I'm going to go when S goes swimming on Mondays and then, at least once more, on Fridays while the girls are gymnasticating. I like the way the machines tell you that you've used up a mars bar and walked 1.24 kilometres. My usual schlep round the village is, I feel, unlikely to shift the pounds I need to. I'm going to have to surround myself with sweaty gym bunnies and feel the burn to get any results. I was given the middle-aged, unfit, start-off work out plan. I only have to use 4 weight machines and do 15 minutes on that eliptical thingy. Last time I went I was given 10 minutes on the rowing machine, 15 on the bike and 15 on the treadmill. I obviously look as if I need to start at the beginning.

Monday, 25 February 2008

anyone for velvet earmuffs?

I ask because the latest issue of 'Simply Knitting' has popped through my letterbox courtesy of my dear friend Liz. I haven't even opened it yet but I can see the delights on the front cover. I love a good knitting magazine. Lots of lovely things to look at it and the creation of endless possibilities.
Dentist today. Not for me, just the kids. Our dentist has other lovely magazines too so I am looking forward to a pleasant morning. It's beautiful, sunny and frosty as well - just the way I like it in February.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

this sporting life...

In the interests of being a proper mum (which, I have recently been informed, I need to work on!), I am doing the sports run this morning. J's football match has been cancelled so we're off to rugby instead. Having agreed to the expedition, I am now quite happily ensconced in front of the pc in my dressing gown watching the clouds gather and listening to the end of Match of the Day. Two hours freezing an a rugby pitch are losing what little appeal they had in the first place.

E is going to her friend's house while G finishes the spare room. I admire his perserverance and his devotion as he is painting it all a lovely chalky white just like I asked him to. He loathes painting white so he is proving his love decoratively speaking.

I am not at college next week so am going to have a 'to-do' week, organise said spare room, sort out the woeful curtains we have in our house, buy myself a new hosepipe and get the lawnmower serviced. I have however, sorted out my office/studio and have a lovely clear desk decorated with pompoms. If my camera was working I could show you. Perhaps I should add 'fix camera' to the list.

Friday, 22 February 2008

an exciting day...possibly

I might organise getting our hedge sheared (at least down one side).
I might get to go to the cinema with my husband.
I might clean my office
I might decide to call my office my studio
I might let the kids play on the wii all day
I might work out what the men in the yellow truck are doing at my neighbour's house
I might get to see my other neighbour for a cup of coffee
I might go outside and do a little bit of gardening
I might make a pompom
I might sort out my itunes
I might make some enquiries about submitting articles to magazines (not that anyone ever replies)

See what I mean...thrilling, yes!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

speedy half term

We're not doing much but time is flying by. I have had computer issues. I still have them. I needed a battery for my bios. What does that mean? They never told me part of my complex it equipment was powered by a camera battery. I did some virtual laptop shopping which was swiftly scuppered by the beloved whilst waiting for the battery to be inserted. I returned the curtains I wasted time buying and I've made cakes and knitted half a sock. I bet Hilary Clinton hasn't done any of that this week and she calls herself a presidential candidate.

I took E to writing group today. I did my usual and wrote three pages of words I'll never go back to. I was compared to Maeve Binchy - isn't she 110? Is she alive even? I don't know. T had made some lovely chocolate shortbread though and E read out her story about a sugar house (like mother, like daughter).

J & G have gone to football. It's decision match day today. Every six weeks there's a tense couple of weeks until the letter comes saying whether he can go again or not. It's funny to think how some of the things our children do now will stay in their memories for ever. Some people define their whole lives by what happens during that time when they can't choose which memories to discard. If they're told often enough they're marvellous - I'm sure they truly believe it, if their experiences are less than positive they believe them too.

ASDA have started a juice bar in their Cribbs Causeway store - taster cups of tropical gumption, goki berry and raspberry and something and mango gave me quite an unexpected zing. It also made me buy prepared pineapple, pomegranate and mango chunks - yum. I also noticed that they were presenting bottles of chilled chardonnay next to the office sandwiches. Another potentially explosive combination.

Monday, 18 February 2008

home alone

It's the first day of our half term. I have four children in the house, bickering is minimal (so far) but I am starting to hear raised voices. I am choosing to ignore them. This is not my usual tactic but I am interested to see what will develop.

We spent the weekend in and around Porstmouth. We went to stay with an old friend to meet other old friends who we haven't seen since the babies were, well babies. I'm always amazed at how, when you meet old friends, your relationship reforms as if the years were actually months. As they say, it was good to talk.

We saw the Mary Rose and the Warrior at Porstmouth dockyards, travelling over on the ferry from sunny Gosport. Luckily it was an icy sunny day so we could feel the idea of the sunshine if not the benefit.

Sunday we took Grandma out for lunch to a pub that used to be a portakabin. We ate too much and the portions were HUGE. I was given a portion and a half of apple pie, I left a portion. That's how much food they were giving us. Obscene really in 'no waste' lent.

I've just started the boy's socks, having finished the girl's. Grandma was very impressed with my ribbing. I think she now wants to make a pair for her 'friend'. I have been sent on a mission to find suitable sock wool. Watch this space.

Am enjoying my moochy, sort-out morning. It's gone quiet though. I think I need to go upstairs. There could be trouble ahead....

Friday, 15 February 2008

how was it for you darling?

Valentine's Day this year was marred by our pet family virus which seems to have been lurking about us since Christmas. My beloved and I gallantly ate our supper and slumped on the sofa, too croaky and achey for words. I have however crocheted four hearts so I have more little objects to use somewhere somehow.

The beloved did me proud, flowers, chocolates, a favourite band on CD (the breeders) AND a wonderful knitting book. I got him a facsimile of the german's invasion plans for England just before the second world war. I worry sometimes that our interests are not compatible. I can't think why.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

hair today, gone tomorrow

I have let my hair get straggly so I can have the pleasure of having it all smoothed, coloured and layered today. I last had it cut in the first week of December so it's a good eight weeks. I have to get it coloured now, well I don't have to, I prefer to but I really enjoy the way the colours lighten and waiting for the point when I simply have to go and get it done.
I go to a salon in Swindon (lordy the fabulousness of it) but it's taken me six years to find someone who can really cut my hair. I get quite anxious each time I go in case Zoe is moving, pregnant or retraining to be a marine biologist.
Don't think for a moment I'm having my hair cut on valentine's day for a reason. My beloved went to visit one of his oldest friends last night and having been abstaining from alcohol since January 1st was planning a (mmmm) beer and a curry. I am expecting him to be a little weary y the time he gets home. Details tomorrow.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


It has taken me ages to get round to it but I thought I'd have a wee trawl through the rest of blogger to see what others get up to. I used the links on my profile and discovered the following:

There are 29,700 bloggers who are interested in knitting
18,900 bloggers are interested in laughing
8 bloggers are truthful enough to reveal that they are interested in pretending to exercise
130 like the telly
42,000 are interested in food
22 like dahlias
AND the crucial statistic is.....there's only one blogger who is interested in being nearly 40 and that is, you guessed it, me!

Does this explain why I have a very select, special and unique group of readers? And how can only 130 people be interested in the telly when nearly every home has one and we spend, on average quite a lit of time watching it? I find these figures fascinating and will be delving further.

This last statement may be of concern seeing as some of the things I am most interested in are the least interesting to others. Perhaps my blogtime is coming to its natural end?

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

things i heard today

I travel to college by car. The sun is in my eyes on the way there and on the way back. I listen to Terry Wogan because I am getting old. The older I get the funnier I think Terry Wogan is, particularly, when he tries to impersonate other random old fellers like Donald Sinden.

This morning the news started with tales from Guantanamo Bay and the Twin Towers bombers, it moved on to how a shopping centre in Peterborough is using a sonic device to 'disperse' teenagers, how a man was murdered by a 17 year-old and finally on to a woman who is massaging sheep and cattle, particularly bulls because they get bad backs. I'd had enough by the time I got to college.

Are children/young adults between the age of 11 and 20 really that bad? Or are the bad ones just getting all the attention? And how did the makers of the sonic device work out that their invention could be used for such a purpose? Apparently it makes a noise that anyone over the age of 25 can't hear. Does this work in reverse? Is Terry Wogan's breakfast show inaudible to anyone under the age of 25?

Monday, 11 February 2008

the only beautiful thing in my garden

Morning - 100th post, here. I'm pleased to report that I've had precisely 1 comment out of the 100 I was hoping for! Must try harder it seems.

Moving swiftly on - as the weather has been so spookily pleasant (t-shirts in February are just wrong), I've been gardening. Yes, gardening. It took me by surprise as well as I've been avoiding even looking at our field-like patch since last September. I worked for a couple of years before that and as I am the only individual in the house who has any interest at all in it, the garden stood neglected and accusingly for most of that time.
February is a good time to garden because if you do something, it stays like that for a little while. I can already see evidence of weeds though, particularly ENORMOUS nettle patches which need to be attacked as soon as possible. The wee clump of snowdrops in the nettliest, weediest bed were my sole inspiration.
As always, I dream of staff. There's only so much I can do with my dodgy neck and a pair of blunt secateurs.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

global warming

I'm wasting not and wanting not. I have composted and recycled. I haven't had to do a food shop yet but am going to check my packaging.

It's early but it's quite sunny already and I'm looking forward to taking the kids to Bath this morning. I want to see the Blue & White exhibition at the Victoria Gallery. Somewhere I haven't been yet, but somewhere I'm looking forward to going - especially as it's free (see, more frugality). I am not convinced the kids will find Kaffe Fassett's works particularly enthralling but I will and I am of the opinion that they need to appreciate other peoples' likes and dislikes as well as their own. (Parenting rule no. 643b).

We are hosting a sleepover tonight - the first time we've doubled up with friends for the girl and friends for the boy. It means no telly though as the girls are sleeping downstairs in the playroom as a kind of indoor camping trip. The boys will be sniggering, as usual, upstairs. They're ten. It must be great to be ten and know that you have 60 years of giggling about Uranus ahead of you. I have decided that it is time to start discussing the FoL (facts of life) with J as I can't bear the thought of them all learning ridiculousness off each other. After a cringingly hilarious session with Babette Cole's 'Mummy Laid an Egg', I have found a book on Amazon called something like 'what's the point of willies'. It looks like a horrible history book so I am hoping it's aimed at the right age group. I think I might order it and leave it under J's pillow. God, I'm lame!

The husband continues his DIY and I have to say, so far I'm impressed. E's room looks beautiful and she's very happy in it. We finally found a spot for the wardrobe we bought when we were in SE London with high ceilings. Ever since we moved t'country, it's been moved around the bedrooms, never quite fitting properly. Now, though, it's in the right spot and still huge enough to stuff full of household nonsense as well as pretty girl's clothes. Another 'less waste' project complete, we could have gone to Ikea and bought some more chipboard.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

football on, 2nd blog of day....

I've been having a wee wander and have come across (who's UK based) and (who is in Australia). They are both committing to a 'less waste' policy for Lent. I know I've missed the first day but I think it's such a fab idea I'm going to have a go too.

Admittedly a shopping trip on the first day means increaed subsequent effort but tomorrow is Thursday and a good day to start a new idea.

As well as wasting food, money etc, I think I'd like to look at wasting energy, time and effort. Blogwandering excepted, I spend an awful lot of time wasting my precious time (especially now I'm 40) and energy (especially now I seem to have an exhaustible daily amount) on doing stuff I'm not really that interested in.

I'm not daft enough to avoid doing all the necessary stuff but I want to minimise my effort doing what's needed and maximise my time/effort spent doing all the great stuff. I know it's stating the bleedin' obvious and I'm not sure it's very godlily-correct but 40 days is a good chunk of time to make some changes (and, spookily fits in with the projectforty theme - now why didn't I think of that earlier?!)

every cloud has a silver satin lining

I have had an epiphany - no, it didn't hurt. I think it might be time to return to my true love of textiles at college. Fine art is so, well, arty. I am not sure my cynical nature can allow my creative nature to find its true calling. I think draping, wrapping, knitting, crocheting, stitching and embellishing will convince my less charitable half to accept any creativity I might be able to sum up.

I artistically deliberated whilst on a trip to get knitted in Bristol and John Lewis. John Lewis was a disaster. I was sent specifically for curtains - I bought the wrong length. I just don't do soft furnishings. Which doesn't really bode well for the decision above.

It's a beautiful day today, most spring-like. This has resulted in window envy as some of mine/ours are trying to grow algae like structures at the bottom. I'm hoping Anthea Turner does not turn up with her white gloves. I don't think I would get any extra points for sock knitting.

Watched 'Mistresses' last night - spent the hour waiting for the handcuff scene with watsername from the hairdressing show and for the dead husband to pop up. Both happened but am going to have to wait next week for the carnage. I thought that the pregnant one could have told spermless hubby about the dubious parentage of bump in the starbucks across the road from the baby shop rather than actually in front of the buggies. That seemed a little heartless. And why, for goodness sake did she not go off with the hunky lawyer who wasn't so needy and controlling in the first place?

All this for a show I was set against watching in the first place....

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

the end is nigh....

The neck is better, I swam last night and my did my usual 20 lengths (only managed 10 last week!). Other things are not improving. We presented our work at college. I did not enjoy it. No-one else apart from the tutors commented on my work which I think is a bad sign. They didn't even say it was 'lovely'. It was horrifying. I was called 'reticent'. What does that mean? I know, of course, what reticent means but I see reticent as a good thing, a restrain, a measured response but I got the feeling that it wasn't 'a good thing' yesterday.

I spent today looking at my sketchbooks and trying to find some connection, a sign, a point of view. It's all very adolescent and I have to say my inner Victor Meldrew is finding it hard to cope with. I feel like I've got Sartre on one shoulder and Hyacinth Bucket on the other - I'm trying to take it seriously but every so often my natural, say it how it is gene pops up and I really don't think that me contemplating global consumerism is going to make one jot of difference and, frankly, there are other things I should be getting on with.

I was having a good time until they asked me to justify myself! Why did they have to go and do a thing like that?

Monday, 4 February 2008

socktastic news

The 2nd one is finished...see for photos....eventually....if I can be bothered.

On a more personal note, I am drinking a cup of nettle and peppermint tea - the first teeny tiny step to bodytempleconsciousness. It's very nice - not as nice as typhoo - but nice.

College today - we have to present our work. This could be interesting - or not. I think some presentations will be fascinating and others well - won't.

My neck has stopped hurting completely, it's just my shoulder, a little now. I think swimming tonight (2nd step) will help it a little more.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

I'm nearly a centenarian...

This is my 94th post. This may not be as important to you as it is to me but I'm pleased with myself. The best thing about projectforty for me is that it's made me write, at least once, maybe several times a week. For someone who thinks about writing quite a lot more than actually writing, it's been a change for the positive.

So - how to celebrate. What would be great is to get 100 comments - say by the end of February, which means that you, dear reader(s?) need to firstly, actually comment and, secondly, get some of your mates to too.

To do this (and I admit it's a bit of a faff the first time), click on where it says 'x comments' just below the post. If you don't use blogger already, I'd suggest you sign up for a google account and go from there. It's quite easy but it takes a little time and then, of course, you'll need to remember it the next time.

It's Saturday morning and we're just starting the day. I have a wee small person (aged 7) at my elbow, smelling of breakfast apple juice, asking whether we can take the school pet shopping today. The school pet happens to be a 3ft tall stuffed something or other called Rocky. Bringing Rocky home for the weekend is a treat - don't get it myself.

Enough of this rambling - here's a bit more....As my beloved has lost 11lbs since the New Year, I really have to get myself sorted again with the eternal (yet seemingly doomed) makeover. I'm going to start again with the whole 'body as a temple' thing as, clearly, my body is less a place a worship, more a wild, neglected garden shed.