Wednesday, 30 July 2008

tickets, passport, money

On Friday I am taking the kids to France. I am unpacked with only 48 hours to go. I think I've become too laid back (or, as my Dad might say, lazy). The trip will be wonderful. We're staying at my parents' house with my sister and her family for a week. It's going to be good, so good I haven't got the space to list every item of marvellousness of it. Here are some items of loveliness I can share:

- my parents live in a beautiful part of France
- in a beautiful house
- with a beautiful view
- from the beautiful pool
- they love us all dearly and they show us when they visit
- they love entertaining their grandchildren
- they look after us all

I am taking books and craft and sunblock. It was 40+ degrees earlier this week. My optimum temperature is around 23 degrees. I'm not a great heatseeker. If I was a plant I would be a hosta, or possibly an astrantia if I had to have flowers. I would not be a sunloving lavender. I like shade, air, I don't mind rain.

But, hey, what's to complain about. I'm enjoying the lack of packed lunches in my life this week, I'm really going to enjoy barbecues and sipping cold drinks by the pool. What's not to like about that.

Friday, 25 July 2008

the final countdown

I've just taken J to school for the last time. Despite the risk of looking like over-protective parents, the beloved and I accompanied him on this momentous occasion. The next time he goes to school it will be on a coach with his mates, not me. I'm not even sure I'll be allowed to wave from the window in a remotely maternal way.

I'm squeezing in a couple of hours of watercolour tuition and a haircut before the end of term assembly at 1.30pm. I'm expecting tears, especially from my beloved and, quite probably, from me

There are, however, compensations. No packed lunches for six whole weeks, lie-ins every day and the perfect excuse not to clean the house until September. I lurrrrve the summer holidays.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

the week that was

I forget every year that the last week before the end of the summer term is not a good time to GET THINGS DONE. It is punctuated, more than other weeks, by random but very pleasant activities related to all things schooly. My week has also been restricted by the arrival of building materials.

I am considering becoming a cardboard artist. We will have so much packaging material in our house that it seems churlish not to turn it into a work of great and mammoth proportions.

Today I went to Coffee Pots. I'm not sure whether other villages have such a thing but it's a marvellous gathering, made even more marvellous that I am one of the youngest ladies to attend and therefore feel spritely and even younger after I've been. Coffee Pots is a gathering of wonderful women - there are gardeners, embroiderers, artists, teachers, nurses, doctors - all of them quite lovely. Today was Coffee Pots 40th Anniversary celebrated by lunch in one of those gardens that looks effortlessly lush and has been lovingly cultivated. I think it was the best Wednesday lunch I've had - ever!

I am housebound tomorrow waiting for more cardboard. The bathroom awaits.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

take a good look

I had some time this morning to reflect on my progress (mostly lack thereof) with my personal projectforty. This has been inspired by my recent attempt to turn this raggedy old blog into some kind of publication. This attempt was, in turn, inspired by the fact that every other 40-something in the country with a blog is getting gazillions of pounds from publishers and other clever folk to publish their (admittedly) more widely consumed webbified musings.

My attempt to turn projectforty into some kind of self help book has made me feel bossy. Who am I to say every thirtyniner should be drinking their 2 litres of water and consuming their 5 a day? There's merit in a quick reminder but does the world really need another nag? Even Gordon's having a go at the nation about wasting food and being queasy over sell by dates.

To cut a long story short I have been emailing a very nice woman who just happens to be an agent. She has patiently been dealing with my amateur attempts at synopsis writing. I last heard from her just before I sent my sample chapter and after a brief email exchange about hits on my blog and my total ignorace of such a phenomenon. Is anyone reading this? Does anyone care?

To write the sample chapter I had to look at my list and if I was sitting a SATS paper in being forty I would be Level 2 (a). I must try harder, particularly as I shall be sitting by a pool in a couple of weeks. If I don't get a move on my feet will look like hooves, I'll have tiger stripe roots and my tummy will perhaps be able to go for a dip independently from the rest of my body.

On a more positive note though - I am working and writing, writing and working. The stuporous misery seems to have passed. I blame my slump, partly, on reading 'A spot of bother' by Mark Haddon. I don't blame the author himself but despite being very funny, beautifully observed and a great read, I think it was one of the most depressing books I've ever read. Middle aged man suspects he has cancer, starts going potty, sees his lovely wife bonking arch enemy from work, goes slightly madder, has several episodes and then kind of just gets over it.

Let that be a lesson to you, my girl, I thought, every night for a fortnight. Better get those socks pulled up.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

turn around, upside down

I'm better again. Being better for me involves being grumpy but with a sense of humour. I find that as long as I can see the funny side, no matter how drily funny that side is, all will be well. The worst thing about my woeful times are that I haven't even got the energy to gripe about all the little things that annoy me.

I do have one disappointment, however. I'd organised a bookmaking workshop for we ladies of the village and it has had to be cancelled. By bookmaking I mean the making of books, not the other sort that involves little pieces of paper and organising betting syndicates.

I now find myself with even more free time which I am trying to be grateful for. The problem is that all this free time waits like a void waiting to be filled with less than positive thoughts.

BUT, I will not be tempted to slip back to the dreariness. I will go out and look for inspiration, at least on Friday. I feel a trip to Frome is in order. I love the name Frome, does it rhyme with room or roam ? Who knows? I went a few months ago and it has the best little selection of independent vintage/mini-label/fashion shops I've seen in any small town in the Western hemisphere.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

woe is me....

Sometimes things can get a little tricky and it appears that this week is one of them. My perpetual positivity has waned a little over the last few days and I find myself at home surrounded by things I should be doing and, indeed, want to do but with no energy to get off my widening backside and do them.

I've come into college to return some books and to get some inspiration from the magazines. I'm hoping that by meeting up with one of my old tutors I'll get going again. I also need to go to the supermarket as the contents of our family fridge run to a punnet of moulding strawberries, a lettuce dated 23rd June, a packet of feta cheese I dare not disturb and three quarters of a big thingy of milk. There is no escaping it, I am going to have to brave the credit crunch and go to Tesco or Asda or, dare I say it, Lidl.

I had resolved not to listen to the news to avoid external depressors and, as mentioned, have switched to Radio 2 but I'd forgotten about Sarah Kennedy and her innate ability as a broadcaster to be generally irritating but in a really annoyingly nice way. She is now providing the first of my daily rants at the radio/tv/newspapers when she does her daily news report, randomly selecting articles written by all the journalistic doomsayers. This morning was all about wasting food and the G8 18 course dinner last night. Smacks of Versailles if you ask me but then, as Sir Bob G pointed out they are stuck up a mountain in the fog, I think we can forgive them a little troughing.

If I hear the words 'soaring oil and food prices' again I'm getting myself to the nearest Waitrose for some organic lobster and a bottle or two of dom perignon. I just don't understand why we have to be told every hour that, basically, things aren't going to get better for a long while and we just need to get on with it. I'm sure previous recessions were just suffered quietly - God, even the recessions were better in my day! Ha!!!!

PS: This week have written, re-written and written again, collaged, made bracelets and finished MM's knitted dress. I think she still needs a little work.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

art attack

This morning I have mostly been doing art.

I have gessoed and painted and collaged, oh my.

I have revisited my projectforty list of things I'm meant to be doing: the water, the alcohol, the exercise and have realised that the more I do the other things on the list: the writing, the appreciating, the enjoying, the less I worry about what I look like. I find that the happier I make myself feel doing the things I love, the less junk I eat, the less wine I consume and I become less worried about doing all the shoulds and oughts and musts.

I have, however, been knitting Marilyn Monroe this week. I was given a copy of 'Knitted Icons' by Caroline Meldrum. It's hilarious, with one simple knitted doll we can recreate Gandhi, Che Guevara and Marilyn in all their knitted glory. I'm already planning an Amy Winehouse and a Kate Moss. There's a winter craft fair planned at school for October - I'm sure they'd go down a treat.

It's heaving it down with Wiltshire rain at the moment. I chose the right time to stay in and get arty.

Tomorrow I am going to the Fashion Museum in Bath for my second outing this year. My first was with E who managed, quite spectacularly, to fleece me via a substantial shopping trip beforehand and then lure me into a false sense of enjoyment in the museum before demanding less than an hour later to leave. I am looking forward to a more prolonged excursion tomorrow.
They have a beautiful collection of gloves. I want to stare at them for more than a minute.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

hot stuff

It is, according to Radio 2, the hottest day of the year today. I've bounced back to Sarah Kennedy and Terry Wogan as they only mention the credit crunch once an hour. John Humphries feels the need to remind us of it every 30 seconds on Radio 4 and as the light relief is usually rape, insurgence or murdered soldiers I've decided to stick my head in the sand of easy listening and tog jokes. As someone who would be bipolar if I could only decide which way to go, it's better for me and all around me if I don't listen to the gloooooooooom.

Last week was full of excitement. My favourite aunties and uncle (unfortunately other favourite uncle was poorly) arrived at 9pm on Monday evening for 48 hours of catch up and jollity. We were up till 3am on Tuesday which was unplanned but great fun. We spent the next couple of days chatting and knitting and shopping and trying to spot Charles and Camilla in the surrounding vicinity. We had great success with 75% of these activities.

Their departure left me with a bit of slump but, no matter, my dear friend S took me to a spa in Bristol on Thursday so I perked up quite nicely thank you! There were 3 of us with my other dear friend H and each of us managed a wee snooze. My only complaint was the lack of eating opportunities and by 1.30pm we were all ravenous after a few hours of lying about, sleeping and reading our books. We went to Fresh & Wild in Bristol which almost tempted me to apply to Bristol Uni to do my degree just so that I could eat there every day. Yum, yum, yum, yum.