Monday, April 30, 2018


I did intend to do some work while I was over here, but I've been indulging sybaritically (sp?) in unadulterated pleasure - reading Things a Bright Girl Can Do, The Enchanted April, and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine; watching Project Runway with Wendy and Annie, Moana and Wallace and Gromit with the whole family; and last night I discovered the delights of American Ninja Warrior. It's gripping and intense, and made even more entertaining by Cece's running commentary to the competitor of the  minute - "Come on! You can do it! Don't give up! You're doing really well - don't give up!"

But I've been active too. I've been for bike rides, and on Saturday I went trampolining with the girls. It's surprising how much difference it makes to be engaging in physical exercise one mile high. Your breath doesn't go so far. I found that today too when Wendy took me for a lovely hike on the nursery slopes of the Flatirons:

I don't do a lot of lazing about when I'm at home. I'm always busy with something. So it's good to have a real holiday. It's also good to be able to order a margarita whenever I'm out. I wish my local cafe, Hassop Station, served margaritas, but as far as I'm aware, it's impossible to get one even in Sheffield, my nearest city.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Catch up

The Flatiron Flyer from Denver to Boulder takes 45 minutes. I left a cool cloudy Denver and arrived to sun shining on the Flatirons. It felt like coming home. I'd been away for three days and had a great time with Karen. Lux said "It feels like you've been away for three years." You try resisting these girls. Here we are after school on Thursday, just before cycling home:

Karen and I went to the Denver Botanic [sic] Gardens on Wednesday. It was wonderful. My favourite section was the Japanese garden because it was so peaceful, visually and aurally. The tree with blossom is common in Denver and is called a redbud.

But I had to take a shot of this huge and exuberant blossom in the hothouse:

I read the daily news on the Guardian that arrives on my iPad everyday, but I realised this morning, lying thinking in bed while Lux played Bad Piggies on said iPad, that I have no idea if the new royal baby is a girl or a boy. That's how much I care. I know that Americans generally are enthralled by Downton Abbey, The Crown, and our royal family, but it baffles me why Karen, a committed leftie, feminist, and ageing hippie, should also be interested in the new baby. She says it's because it's a continuing story. I know her political credentials, so I believe her.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

On not blogging

I’ve not wanted to blog since I got here and I realise now it’s because my brain was tired, and I needed to relax completely - I just needed to read, play, talk, and blob.

Also when I arrived, the weather was cold and cloudy, while at home a heatwave had started after the longest winter I can remember. I was discombobulated to be here, when my tulips at home were opening - the tulips I’ve been eagerly awaiting for months and months. It felt somehow disloyal to have left my garden just when it was coming alive - no, not disloyal exactly. But I felt as if I wanted to be there to welcome all the spring flowers and the new leaves on our hawthorn and silver birch, and the lime trees in the field across the road.

I’m over that now. It’s warm and sunny. The girls blow everything else out of my head, in any case.

But currently I’m in Denver for a few days staying in an Airbnb place with Karen, the ageing hippie from California, who flew into Colorado so we could catch up.

There are photographs I want to post on here, but I have a new iPad and it doesn’t support Blogger, which means I am doing it in a roundabout way and shan’t be able to post photographs until I get back to Boulder and Isaac’s laptop.

That’s about it for now. Except to say that we went to the Colorado history museum yesterday and I learned for the very first time that after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, thousands of Japanese Americans were interned in camps, losing their homes and their livelihoods, because they were thought to be a threat to American security. I had no idea this happened. Why not? Did you know?

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Yesterday we went to town and the girls wanted ice lollies from Le Pops, a gourmet ice lolly shop. Yep. This is Boulder. 

Cece was trying to persuade me to have one too: 'Go on, Sue. It tastes as if fairies are dancing in your mouth and having a party.'

So I did, and as I ate my salted caramel lolly dipped in melted chocolate and covered in sprinkles, I wished I had Cece's powers of description.

I need to add that the photo of the sign above is one from my archives. The trees are not yet out in Boulder. I wouldn't want you to be getting the wrong impression.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Letter from Colorado

Last night in bed after an evening out with Wendy, I wrote a really entertaining margarita-infused blog post in my head. Sadly it's evaporated this morning, so you'll have to make do with the following.  

The first thing to say is that the girls like the red patch in my hair, even though it's already fading to pink. "That's OK," said Cece. "I love pink."

The second thing to say is that the weather is rubbish. It was fine enough to sit outside and read on my first day here as long as I was wearing a cosy jumper, but today we woke up to snow, which is pretty outrageous, especially when there's a heatwave at home. Hard cheese: what we're getting is apparently typical Colorado spring weather.

I'm still having lots of fun. 

It was a great bar we went to last night, with the best tacos I've ever had, and excellent margaritas. And you know how I feel about margaritas. The bar was humming, full of people relaxing after work on a Friday evening. It felt very friendly, and we had a charming barman called Griffin, who gave me their margarita recipe: 

1.5 ozs Tequila
1.5 ozs Lime Juice (fresh, of course) 
1 oz of orange liqueur
1 squeeze of pure agave.

So now I know, and so do you.

And here's Griffin:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


I'm here! Cece brought her Welcome sign. She couldn't find a stick so made one herself by taping a dozen lolly sticks together. 

Lux sat on my knee this morning and kissed me tenderly and examined my face as she always does, and said: "Sue, have you seen that movie called A Wrinkle in Time?"

Thursday, April 12, 2018


My suitcase is open on the blanket chest to receive newly washed clothes for my trip to Boulder next week,

and unfortunately Lux reminded me on the phone on Sunday to pack my cossie, which means I'll have no excuse not to go to North Boulder Rec swimming pool with her and Cece. Oh, the things we do for our beloved grandchildren, that we would do for nobody else.

How do you feel about packing? I find it hugely difficult because of indecision. How many shoes? How many woollies, and which? How many pairs of jeans? Which of my two posh options for going out on the town? An essential item is my joggers for snuggling up on the sofa with the girls when we watch the telly. 

And on the subject of clothes....I have a question for my female readers. 

Last week a male writer of commercial fiction said he could write from a woman's point of view, and gave an example which I should really show you but it would take an awful lot of tedious searching. Suffice it to say it was crass, and focused on the woman's thoughts about her breasts and a man who was watching her. This caused a lot of well-deserved mockery on Twitter, and then Laura E Weymouth tweeted a series of tweets on the subject of how women feel about their clothes. this was the first (yes, I know it's labelled 2):  

I don't agree AT ALL. I'd say that 80% of my decisions about clothes revolve around whether I love the look of them, whether they suit me, whether they are flattering, and whether or not they're modern. The other 20% might be about comfort, and while pockets are useful if they don't spoil the line, they don't come into any decision about whether or not to buy an item. I mean, really! What's your view?

A social researcher friend of mine who has done research on older women's attitudes to fashion has a similar attitude to mine, but she says we are probably a specific 'sub cultural group.'

It reminds me of that question some of us used to think about when we were young: Would you rather be clever, beautiful or good?

I have a new question: Would you rather be comfortable, beautiful or stylish?

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

It's barely dawn and the blackbird is singing! it's the first time I've heard him this year. And yesterday when we came home from Bakewell with fish and chips for tea, it was the first evening I haven't rushed from the car to the front door to get in from the cold. Hallelujah! Is it really the Spring (whisper it) after so many months of winter?

And there's more good news for readers with young girls in their lives. Have you heard of this?

In ten days I'll be flying to Boulder to visit Lux 

and Cece

so naturally I've been deciding which books to take as presents.

The one above - GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS - is terrific. It contains 100 brief and inspiring biographies of outstanding women written in the form of stories.  (e.g. "Once there was a girl who could ride a bike so fast you could barely see her" begins the one about Alfonsina Strada, an Italian cyclist I had never heard of.) The book is illustrated by many female artists from all over the world. 

You will have heard of some of the women - Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Nina Simone, Maya Angelou - but there are many more who will be unknown to you and that is why it's so special. Some of the women are still young and active. There are scientists, astronomers, spies, computer scientists and activists. There's a tattoo artist, a rapper, an inventor, a Muslim weightlifter, a High Court judge, a drummer, a Syrian refugee swimmer, a surfer and a motocross racer. Some of the stories are very moving and brought tears to my eyes, and 97% of them are inspiring. The other thing to say is that it was crowdfunded.

It's not perfect. I am not sure pirates are role models - though there's no doubt they're exciting and gender-defying. And I would definitely not have included Jingu, a Japanese empress, whose ambition (in the book at least) is to conquer Korea, because it was "a country full of marvellous things dazzling to the eye." I don't approve of conquerors.

But the one that offended me most was Margaret Thatcher. (I suppose you can forgive the authors - they are American.) I have taken action. I glued those pages together. So bite me. Dave does not approve of the censorship, but I shall do as I think fit. Although when you compare Thatcher to the sorry lot we have in power right now...

Anyway, next time you're in a bookshop, have a look at the book and let me know what you think. I can't wait to read it to the girls.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Yes, I care

Long-time readers of the blog may have been wondering if I no longer care about the besieged people in Gaza, and the oppressed Palestinians in the West Bank.

No. Nothing has changed either in the situation out there, or in my heart. The Israelis continue to destroy Bedouin villages to build Israeli settlements that are illegal under international law. And they destroy structures such as mobile classrooms and solar panels donated to Palestinians by EU countries. The people of Gaza continue to suffer hugely under the siege, short of power, short of clean water, and with their hospitals scandalously under resourced.

And then there was what happened last week.

I urge you to read the whole article that was in the Washington Post this week. Click here

18 Palestinian protesters were shot dead, and hundreds more were injured. The crime: protesting within their own border. Israel has refused to allow an independent UN investigation. They say everything was in order.

If you have the stomach for it, please write to our ludicrous Foreign Secretary and ask that the UK express criticism of Israel over their actions, and if you are in London on Saturday, there is a national demonstration to protest Israel's actions. 

Saturday 7th April, 1 PM - 3 PM
Downing Street, London, SW1A 2, United Kingdom

Monday, April 02, 2018

Guess what?

Guess what? It's snowy here today. I could give you a photo, but it's April and I don't want to reward the weather. It's getting ridiculous. 

I went to see a film on Friday and enjoyed it so much I could have sat through it again straight away. The film was I Got Life (originally called Fifty Springtimes). This is the logline: 'A woman, separated from her husband, loses her job and discovers she's going to be a grandmother. Refusing to be pushed to the outskirts of society, she puts her foot down and decides to start over.'  It was charming and funny and touching and uplifting and I loved it. 

When I got home I looked up the reviews online and guess what? That snooty man in the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw, had given it a measly 2 stars. This was the same reviewer who gave 4 stars to the most execrable film I ever sat through - Greenberg. I could see I Got Life had flaws from a male, hardass reviewer's point of view, but 2 stars? Sally Howe of Plotting for Beginners and Plotting for Grown-ups would have given it 5. I would give it 4.

The film that Bradshaw liked that I hated was about a man of probably the same age as Bradshaw. I Got Life was aimed at older women. Do you see what I'm getting at in all my chuntering about star ratings?