Friday, 29 July 2011


I am a collector of random, unrelated, inconsequential stuff.  My badge collection has been increased five-fold by the lucky acquisition of a bag of 70s classics from the Oxfam shop recently.  I'll take another photo one day.

I have several burgeoning collections which include:

orange vases (5)

soup bowls with handles (various)

tea sets for the day I have a lovely shed or caravan in the garden

yarn (obvious)

5 perfect Nat West Wade pigs (thanks Nan)

fabric (see below)

I also have collections of items that belonged to other people but have found their way to me.  These include embroidery threads, sewing boxes, stamps, coins and photographs.

I saw Edmund de Waal talk about his fascinating book 'The Hare with Amber Eyes' last week.   I've just started the book and I can see that I have similar feelings about collections and objects although I recognise that the things I call mine spring from a different source, from ordinariness and day to dayness. He talks of how passing on collections and objects creates a story. 

Sometimes I dream of clutter-free living but I know that I would find it impossible.  I hear that we should simplify, rationalise and clear our surfaces and I see evidence of clean lines and white walls in almost every interiors magazine I come across.   I try sometimes to make a clean sweep and clear away unnecessary distractions but I like them and I like them in teetering, towering piles.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

things gone by...

suitcases without wheels
travellers' cheques
handwritten correspondence between friends
photo albums
video cassettes
fish and chips in newspaper
proper, printed tickets
50p cups of coffee
library tickets
school ties (almost)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

simply divine inspiration

I went to Port Eliot Literary Festival at the weekend.  It was my fourth time and third time with my friend K who's sister K lives in St. Germans.  It was my first time travelling on the train and first time in a B&B instead of a field.  We had a fantastic time and a fantastic time in so many ways - every moment was quite unlike the last. 

I saw Christopher Biggins (panto man), Tim Smit (Eden man), Dan Pearson (garden man), Louise Wilson (fashion MA woman), Nicky Haslam (dandy man), Emma Kennedy (hilarious woman), Patrick Barkham  (butterfly man) and Edmund de Waal (favourite ceramicist and writer man) speak about their work and their books.  There were more but I can't make any more links.

I saw Bellowhead, Louis Eliot and The Secret Sisters play.  I missed British Sea Power (again) but sat at breakfast with my favourite band's lead singer's little brother.  I didn't tell him I've been smitten by Starsailor for years.  Too embarassing over the fried eggs.

I made an attempt at raving along to Jeremy Healy's set and stood mesmerised while Annie Nightingale mixed hers.  Her set was fantastic but she did, I'm afraid, look as if she couldn't master the knobs on an electric hob.

I knitted a sock with dovegreyreader and her agreeable friends for hours on Sunday (two late nights had taken their toll).

I ate delicious food and drank (mostly) delicious wine.

I sat and stared and listened and thought and dreamt and plotted and schemed.

It's amazing how you can feel refreshed after less than 10 hours sleep in 72.

Monday, 18 July 2011

harry potter and the mother of all movie marathons

I hate to think how many hours my offspring will spend this week revisiting HP and chums.  They are not amongst the first of the first cinema-goers to see the last film and I hope that their enjoyment isn't spoiled by detailed, overheard discussions of plots and endings.  They are, however, watching every single film, in order, to prepare themselves for their visit to Shaw Ridge this weekend.

It really is the end of an era and we will look back on the years we have lived with the books and the films quite fondly.  The Worker read all of them to J and, I think, some of them to E who is a little younger and more intersested in Lemony Snicket and Jacqueline (ho, hum, life is only interesting if it's depressing) Wilson.  I read the first one and then no more - there are too many books for me to read about other characters. 

We have all seen most of the films at the cinema although I have seen fewer and less of them than the rest of my family as I tend to fall asleep after the first twenty minutes and then wake up when the celebration dinner is in full swing five minutes before the end.  No-one minds.  I hope.

I am happy that I have given my children the gift of an appreciation of film.  I think it's very important to be able to sit in a cinema or on the sofa for at least two hours and be immersed in a story to the exclusion of the outside world and I thoroughly enjoy any opportunity we have as a family to sit with a bar of Fruit & Nut, beverages hot and cold and something resembling a movie to watch.

We've discovered the joys of Lovefilm too, and recordable telly.  As they stay up later and later, I need an alternative to Top Gear and cookery shows.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

the tart, the brownie, the scone and the secret cheese nibbling

These are the things that have scuppered my weight loss attempts this week.  They didn't do it by themselves.  I helped them by deciding to consume them.  I hang my head in slimming group shame.  No loss this week.  Our group lost 53lbs between them over the last seven days and not one of those lbs belonged to me.  Hey ho.  I thought I was doing quite well but apparently not. 

I've had a lovely time though.  The tart (lemon) and the brownie (chocolate) were made by J and E, respectively.  I couldn't possibly refuse a piece of each (both on Sunday, the first with custard).  It would have been maternally cruel to say no.  How can anyone resist anything cooked by their offspring?

We'd also had a school-made sausage casserole during the week and very tasty it was too after I'd fished out the anaemic looking sausages and browned them under the grill before putting them back in the yummy sauce and underneath the cheesy scone-y topping (conveniently omitted from my food diary).  Would anyone else casserole sausages without grilling/browning them beforehand?  I'm sure they were cooked through, they just didn't look it.

Having been at this slimming group lark for a few weeks there are a few things that I understand more fully:

- writing a food diary can be a delight of fiction

- having a bath before a weigh-in can add pounds

- Tilda ping rice is one of the greatest inventions known to dieting women (although not this week for me)

- quark is not the strangulated call of a mallard duck

- you can still put on weight if you eat standing up

- peanuts are the creation of demons

- wine should only be consumed when food is far away, otherwise weight loss armageddon is unleashed

- some very small people want to lose weight

- I do feel much better having ditched my cheese on toast followed by kitkat lunch habit

No more weight loss posts for a while.  Rest assured.  Time for a cup of coffee and a Mullerlight yoghurt.