Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dream interpretation

You know that classic dream where you are in your house and you find a room you never knew was there?

Well, I dreamed that Dave and I were watching an old Friends video, that we have watched several times before, and we came across a new episode that we never knew was there.

What does that mean?

p.s. the episode wasn't any good.

Monday, April 20, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me if it took a lot of self-discipline to make myself sit down and write everyday, and I glibly replied, "Oh, no! I love to write! I hate it when other things get in the way."

The weather was cold and grey when I had that conversation. Now, the weather is FAB.

This is the view from the window of the new, improved bathroom at the back of our house: This is the view from the front of the house: And this is the view when you walk to our gate and look left: Today, it is taking a lot of self-discipline to stay inside and write.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Always carry a notebook

Writers should always carry a notebook with them. You never know when you're going to hear something you want to use later.

I went looking for tiles for our new bathroom yesterday. The tiny man with the grey hair and the Liberty tana lawn-esque flowery tie in the subterranean tile shop was very helpful. He found me lots of samples to bring home to show Dave, and as he went to look for a jiffy bag to put them in, I fingered the gorgeous glass tiles on the counter.

"Aren't these fabulous?" I said.

"Oh yes," came the answer. "When you get into tiles, you find all sorts of ways to make your life more complicated.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Tulips are almost as beautiful when they're dying as when they're alive. Is that true of any other flowers?

Monday, April 13, 2009


Look at the bag I made yesterday! I'm so pleased with it! That is real embroidery at the top, cut from a worn out and holey piece of linen that came from my mother's house. The bag is promised to someone else - what a shame! (good job Sally Howe and Bodmyn Corner don't read my blog - that's three exclamation marks in four sentences.)

p.s. click on the pic to see the detail, as well as Dave's bike pump, and scuffs on the wall.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


The Peak District - where I live - is overrun with tourists at holiday times, and the Monsal Trail where I like to cycle or walk is thick with people. But after tea last night I went for a quick spin on my bike and the trail was empty. It was beautiful. I could hear the birds singing, and see the lambs playing in a ruined barn, and on the way home the sky was blue and yellow - towering blue clouds and yellow sun.

I took the picture above on another April evening. I love the colours of clouds. When I saw a review for The Cloud-Spotter's Guide a couple of years ago, I was very excited. The cover is wildly attractive, and it drew me to it in the bookshop. I picked it up eagerly to have a flick through, but nearly all the photographs were in black and white - what a disappointment. I put the book back on the Waterstones table. Don't judge a book by its cover, and that includes mine.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Show don't tell

Beginning writers are always being urged by writing teachers to show, not tell. I am finding it so difficult to write interesting posts at the moment, that I've decided to rely on pictures for a while instead.

This one shows our dining room table this morning. If you look carefully you can see: a toy left over from our grandsons' visit yesterday, a bottle of New Skin for the wound on Dave's finger, daffodils from the garden, Dave's favourite mug du jour, today's Guardian and Telegraph, a Screwfix catalogue, Ezra Pound, a Bob Dylan songbook, a couple of veggie cookbooks that a friend has lent me for inspiration, and a remnant of fabric I am using to make patchwork bags.

And here is the bag I made which started off my current craze.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Clarifying my feelings

When my father died six years ago, I kept a journal about his illness, his death and my bereavement. It helped me sort through my feelings and also to assimilate what had happened.

When my mother died last October, I posted on this blog (see November and December archives) but apart from that, I only wrote a couple of diary entries which I had to abort in the middle, because I was so upset. It's been a puzzle to me why I haven't been able to write about losing my mother. This week I managed it. I wrote a piece that only took two drafts - it whooshed out onto the page - and I'm delighted with it. It helped me to clarify my feelings, and it's a tribute to my mother. Now I need to get it published. I'll tell you where to look for it when I succeed.

The picture above is of the road into my mother's village in Wensleydale. (Photograph by Peter Sharman.)

The one below was taken by my brother.

And this one was taken by my sister.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Looking in the other direction

I've just spent the weekend with one of my brothers and one of my sisters in my mother's house in Wensleydale. The weather and the light were achingly beautiful and the dale was looking its early spring best. Over the months since my mother died, we have done a lot of clearing and sorting, and now the house is on the market. Even though all the personal stuff has gone, and the house no longer feels like my mother's home, it was painful to leave. I don't like the new dispensation, and I arrived back home very sad.

My sweet and lovely daughter-in-law (she of the dark glasses in the lamb video - see last but one post) sent me an email which hit the spot - It's difficult when you start to feel successful at living again and then things knock you back.

I kept a pair of old slippers at my mother's house. This time I brought them home. I shall take them and leave them at my daughter's house. It's time to face in the other direction.

p.s. if you click on my photographs, you can see how lovely the light was in the dale.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Two more reasons to be cheerful

I'm going to see my grandsons today - hooray! I collect the older one from school and then have to run along the pavement to keep up with him, because he's on his scooter.

He adores his teacher - Mrs Smith. The other day, my daughter was taking him to school and pointed out a a man walking a dog and said "That's Mrs Smith's husband."

"Is he called Mr Smith?" said scooter-boy.

"Yes, he is."

"Hmm. Mrs Smith, Mr's very confusing isn't it?"