Friday, September 28, 2012

For the next two weeks…

…I am going to be focusing all my writing energy on the Work in Progress – PLOTTING FOR GROWN-UPS - so you may not hear from me. But I will be back.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Home is where the heart is

The new picture on my header is one I took in Wensleydale, which is a bit of a cheat, as I try to stick to shots of my garden or the Peak District.

A friend had a holiday in Wensleydale in August and I told her how much I miss the place. She said, “Ah, your heart is there,” and I said, “Well, yes. But it’s also here. I love my home.”

When Dave retired, we had a three week holiday in Northumberland together, and Isaac said, “That’s the longest time you’ve ever been away from home,” and without thinking, I said, “No, I wasn’t away from home. Dave was there.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


We needed to replace our car with another. At Hepworth Towers we find cars uninteresting objects which are necessary evils if you live in the country. So Dave did the donkey-work and researched what we needed, and found one the right price and the right age, and we bought it. I know that car colour is irrelevant, but this one is BEIGE!

I just can’t fathom how a car manufacturer could even consider making a car in beige. Who on this earth wants a car in beige?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Holiday snaps

I am still unable to write coherently on account of cloudy (jetlag) brain, so here are a few holiday snaps…

You know where:

GG bridge

The view of the city from the bridge:

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Having lunch with Isaac at work i.e. the Twitter office. Here is one of the many counters in the canteen (they all have different names)

twitter canteen

and the sunny roof garden, where we ate:

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The motto on the Aging Hippie’s front porch:

AH motto

The AH’s bumper sticker:

bumper stciker

Cycling with the AH on the San Andreas faultline, on the Sawyer Camp Trail – her answer to the Monsal Trail (though I have to say, the punters are much better behaved than they are on the Monsal Trail)

on San Andreas faultline

A small corner of the gardens at Filoli (the AH’s answer to Chatsworth)


The AH with the biggest hydrangea flower I have ever seen:

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My consolation on coming home to Derbyshire was to find that the sweet peas in my garden were still flourishing:

consolation on coming home

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Post-holiday reflections

I’m not going to bore you rigid with another day-by-day account of the progress of my jetlag as I did in the spring, but my mind is decidedly cloudy, so by way of today’s post, you’re getting a list.

1. Did you know that in the US, they don’t generally say Bucket and Spade, they say Shovel and Pail?

2. In the spring, when Lux noticed a plane in the sky she would point and say “Airplane” and I thought, ‘Oh, when she’s older, she’ll be able to enunciate the word better - and say  aeroplane.’ But I found out last week that in the USA, the proper name for a plane is, in fact “airplane.”

3. I love driving round San Francisco in the sunshine while listening to sunshiny music from The Mamas and the Papas, or from Fun, but I can’t decide whether the same music would elicit the same degree of happiness while driving in a  rainy Derbyshire, and without someone in a child seat in the back, singing along with the song You, baby, or saying “Want to read a book.” 

me and lux

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Home again

It look me longer than usual to get home from San Francisco, on account of delays, but it doesn’t matter. I would travel to see my family if it took me twice as long.

I took a new remedy for jetlag (a homeopathic prophylactic) so am eager to see if it worked. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, while I wake up, here is a picture of Lux and me at Fort Funston I(taken by Isaac):

Lux and me at fort funston

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Writer's brain

I have found writing blog posts over here very hard  - I can't write - and I haven't been able to read anything here either,  apart from children's books, to Lux - The Tiger who came to Tea, The Gruffalo, Stickman, etc, etc - because my brain is fluffy. Is it addled by too much telly (i.e. two whole series of Downton Abbey - previously unseen by moi and numerous episodes of the beloved Blue's Clues with Lux).

Or is it all the maragaritas that have done me in?

Or is there such a thing as Granny Brain, an older version of Mummy Brain?

Or is it that life with a toddler (or an Aging Hippie, come to that) is too full-on, jam-packed fun, to have chance to sit back and reflect? I think that might be it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today's slogan

And here, from Peekabootique in Noe Valley, where I bought a puzzle for Lux, is today's slogan, 

I also went to the park with Lux and Isaac and had my best coffee ever (from Philz Coffee.)

Tonight we're visiting Velvet Cantina where they make the best margaritas. Two days left, and I'm starting to miss San Francisco and Lux and Cece and Ise and Wendy, already. I've done hardly any writing this visit: I have been too busy playing with Lux. But these moments and days are fleeting. My writing will be at home when I get there. Lux and Cece will not. And next time I see them they will each be at a different stage, playing different games, reading different books, and shock! horror! Lux may have grown out of watching Blue's Clues,  a delightful educational pre-school programme with the cutest presenter I've ever encountered: Steve Burns. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Adventures with the aging hippie - 1

The aging hippie took me to her old stamping ground and to a great cafe called Coffee to the People, with a wall full of stickers.

There were loads I liked, but these were my favourites - 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Recipe for happiness

A hot San Francisco day,
a shady yard with a view,
a laughing toddler, 
a paddling pool, 
a sand tray, 
Paul Simon's greatest hits, 
a margarita 
and a fun-loving daughter-in-law.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Family fun

I am so sorry not to be posting much, but you know, it's full pelt here in this one baby one toddler, two parents, one Gran household here in San Francisco. I've been to brunch, the park, the beach, the library for children's books, changed nappies, supervised bath time, fed the baby and read The Gruffalo more times than I can remember - and loved every minute of it all.

Oh, and did I mention that it's HOT, and that I have so far had only one margarita in the large number on the list to be imbibed while here?  The oddest thing has to be an evening of babysitting, while watching the first five episodes of Downton Abbey back to back, a series that had up to last night passed me by. (Yes, yes, I know now what I've been missing.) Fancy having to come 5,000 miles from home to get hooked on Downton Abbey. But then you probably always suspected I was slightly weird, right?

Friday, September 07, 2012

Fashion tips

I am here in San Francisco. The flight was good: quiet, uneventful, on time. Good job, British Airways - see, I have the local lingo already - it slips off the tongue (or keypad) as if I've never been away. 

And Wendy took me for my traditional pedicure this morning, which is a big SF treat. As well as having pretty feet at the end of a peaceful hour of self-indulgence, it’s a rare chance to catch up with women’s magazines. Today I read Elle, Bazaar and Vogue, and found a host of helpful titbits. I discovered that there’s such a thing as “tight pants syndrome,” which you get from wearing too-tight jeans, and can lead to a long list of unpleasant health problems. Also, there’s a blog called Man Repeller, which tells you what not to wear if you care about attracting men. My favourite quote, though, was this: “Dresses have become too trendy. I am convinced by trousers.”

Ooh, ooh, almost forgot... the day in a life of Michael Kors, a fashion designer, who said “I’m definitely a man who loves his tote collection....I have an L.L.Bean leather tote from the 40s...that I was fortunate to find while vintage shopping here in New York. As soon as I saw it I was like, Oh my God.”

It’s that last sentence that creases me up.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Keep your eyes open

Some cyclists jump red lights. Some weave dangerously in and out of traffic lanes. And yes, some are rude and obnoxious. But most of us are law-abiding road-users who obey the Highway Code.

On Monday, Dave, who is one such law-abiding cyclist, was wearing a bright blue jersey. It was fine and bright and the traffic was light, but a car knocked him off his bike. The driver drove up behind him and turned left into a car park. Unhappily,  Dave was between her and the car park. She said “I didn’t see you.”

I was going to show you a photo of his worst injury, but it’s too horrid to have on a pretty blog. And actually, it doesn’t show you how sore it is. He has no broken bones, and he is alive and happy and doing the ironing at 6 in the morning, as per usual. But that is Dave. If I had his wounds I’d be limping around feeling as if I’d been kicked by a horse (as the nurse in A & E said). I’d be in bed having people bringing me cups of tea. He takes the T E Lawrence approach to injury - “The trick is not caring.” It works for him. (It does not work for me.)

Dave does not give in to injury. He won’t even take arnica (the noo-nah.)  His biggest stated worry is when will he get his bike back from the bike shop where it’s being assessed for damage. Oh yes, and will his wounds have healed by the time we go on a narrowboat at the end of the month?

The driver has accepted responsibility.  I still feel very cross, which is probably why the tone of this post is so odd. There is rage underlying it.

Earlier this year my friend was cycling down a main road and knocked off her bike by a driver emerging from a side road, a driver who “didn’t see” my friend. My friend’s injuries were worse than Dave’s: she had to have a new hip.

Please drive safely. Please overtake cyclists with plenty of room between you and them. Please check when turning right or left that NOTHING is coming down the road. Cyclists can go fast: you’ve seen the Olympics. Please don’t overtake cyclists and turn immediately in front of them.

Please keep your eyes open.

This is Dave last year, in happier times, when he got his new bike

Aug 2011 010

Monday, September 03, 2012

This week’s instalment…

I’m getting excited! I’ve emailed Jane my latest chapter (only two more to go) of PLOTTING FOR GROWN-UPS, so she’ll have it when she comes from from her hols; and I’ve started making lists.

Aug 2012 120 

and if you think there’s camera shake on that, you’re right: I took it this morning before my first mug of Yorkshire tea.

I am going to see the west coast Hepworths on Thursday – yay! – and Dave is staying here and working on phase one of the back garden. (I told you we were going to get it in order now we’ve sorted the front garden.) He’ll also be indulging in various undomesticated behaviour, such as playing his electric guitar at 6 in the morning.

Aug 2012 098

Meanwhile, the cat is practising sleeping in places she’s not allowed, so she can do it all the time while Dave is busy and I’m away.

Aug 2012 085