Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Category Archives: Health

Dream a little dream…

A couple of years ago, I had a really strange experience. I was lying in bed trying to get to sleep. I thought I was still awake and I opened my eyes and was sure that there was someone in the room with me. I closed my eyes tight, absolutely terrified and felt someone sit on the bed and then I felt as if someone was sitting on me as I couldn’t breathe and I was completely unable to move or struggle. After what seemed like a couple of minutes, I eventually woke up and found that it had all been a rather hideous nightmare, and it took me a long while to recover.

This same dream has happened to me maybe half a dozen times since. Always the same feeling that someone is in the room, a feeling of terror and the same suffocating sensation and the worst is not being able to struggle. It happened again last night with one refinement, this time, I knew what was happening was a nightmare and I although I still tried to fight the person off, it was more a case of trying to wake myself up as this time, I knew subconsciously, what was happening to me.

I was listening to the radio a while ago, and they were talking about why people think they have been abducted by aliens. One of the doctor/scientists on the programme said that one explanation was ‘Sleep Paralysis’ and went on to describe exactly what I have described to you above. I have since read a lot about about it and it is a very well documented phenomenon – try googling it, there are lots of references to it. Not everyone experiences the hallucinations which accompany the paralysis but it is felt that it may be a possible explanation for people thinking they have been visited by witches, ghosts and aliens and such like.

One of the many web sites that explains this experience is run by the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada and it has links to lots of other ones. The painting at the top of the page is by the Swiss artist, Henry Fuseli and is called ‘The NIghtmare’. It has been suggested that he may be depicting a sleep paralysis episode. In mythology, the Hag is a well known figure of a wizened old crone who is supposed to visit during sleep, sit on your chest and send you nightmares. So if I look a little ‘hagridden’ today, you will excuse me I’m sure! And it is Friday the 13th today…

Anyway, back to business. A couple of weeks ago, I got chatting to an old lady at the market stall when I was buying those plasticized fabrics. She asked me if I would have a go at restoring her favourite poetry book which she loved and used a lot, but which had fallen to bits after her dog had a go at chewing it (obviously not a poetry fan then).

As you can see it was in a bit of a state, I was going to make a new case for it but she said she liked the original cover (teeth marks and all) so as I’m not really a book restorer I did the best I could with what I had, I hope she likes it. She won’t know of course that the first time I did it, I opened the book up and realized I had stuck the text block in UPSIDE DOWN. One of the advantages of making blank books is that this doesn’t normally matter. In this case, it mattered a lot, so I had to rip it apart and start again…

This has all been a bit serious hasn’t it? I’d better leave you with a bit of silliness to lighten the mood or you might not come back :-)

And to keep you up to date on the progress of my diet….

Please look away if you are of a nervous disposition….

I am not one of life’s natural green fingered, gardening types. Don’t get me wrong, I like having a nice garden, I just don’t particularly enjoy the process of getting it nice. I have a chap who is supposed to be my gardener but he is so busy at this time of year, the most he manages is keeping the lawn under control. Last year, I planted some Irises and some Arum Lilies on my river bank and the gardener strimmed them to death before I had time to mention I had planted them. Recently, I ventured out and planted some lily of the valley plants under my lime tree. Unfortunately, they went the same way as the lilies and irises….

The gardener also doesn’t plant out the pots and planters in the garden so once a year, I deck myself in old clothes and gardening gloves and spend a day planting marguerites, geraniums and lavender and getting very grubby. Have I mentioned I hate having dirty finger nails…

When I had finally finished, I had a shower and noticed that my knee was a bit itchy. This morning, I awoke and my knee was VERY itchy. Look away at this point if you are of a nervous disposition….

I have a huge blistery bite thingy on my knee which has been driving me insane with itchiness all day. I knew I wasn’t cut out for gardening…. A friend said it was probably a spider which had laid eggs under the skin and as we speak, hundreds of little spiderettes are hatching and growing….I think he knows I am a hypochondriac and was just teasing – wasn’t he?

I watched the Stella Artois tennis championships on TV this afternoon. ( to try and take my mind off the itching). Rafael Nadal was playing and he beat Jonas Bjorkman 6-2, 6-2 . He seems to have recovered after beating Roger Federer in the final of the French Open, and to have adapted to playing on grass (after the clay at Roland Garros), with no difficulty at all.

During a break in play they showed this little clip of Rafael Nadal exercising on court before the match. Watch it and weep…

This guy has muscles in places I don’t even have places!

You will have noticed that yet again, I have done no bookbinding. Well, the sun was shining, the tennis was on, I had a poorly knee….oh dear, and it can only get worse as the summer progresses…

This word is turning into a bit of a buzz word over here, isn’t it? Still, two posts in two days can’t be bad….

Keep off the grass

This is another of those plastic coated cotton fabrics. It’s really fun and waterproof and wipeable. Which I found to be quite useful when I spilled a glass of juice over my work area. Oops.

It’s all very odd. I was checking my stats and for the last couple of days I have had a huge spike in page views. Everyone seems to be reading a post I wrote in September last year called ‘Back to the Drawing Board‘ – 1107 page views yesterday. It was all about an album I made for my (then) boyfriend’s son and was also the post where I first tried out the woven binding – which I repeated using foam a few days ago. Very odd indeed! Today, there is another spike, this time for another post in September called ‘Double the Fun‘. I don’t quite know why these old posts are suddenly so popular but I’m not complaining!

I’m going to a dinner thing tonight. As usual, I have been trying every item of clothing on in my wardrobe looking for something suitable to wear. It’s black tie so I need something dressy. My only problem is that I have put some weight on since Christmas, which I have been trying half heartedly to lose. When you have no will power, it’s hard, believe me. I think I have found the solution though….

Now that’s my kind of diet. Maybe I should exercise more but then there’s always the danger of this…..

….instead of this.

Now that’s what I call exercising to music. Very cool tune isn’t it? Well, these guys think so…..

A headache or two….

This book is an experiment and gave me a bit of a headache. The covers are patterned polypropylene (try saying that that after a glass or two of wine) I bought it from Paperchase. It’s tricky to cut and get a neat edge as it is difficult to handle and quite slippery. I ended up cutting it roughly to size with scissors and then neatened the edges with a guillotine. I decided to do a coptic binding – and then decided to complicate things further by trying this – a ‘dos à dos’ binding – two books back to back. Each book has one front cover and shares the back cover.


I went up to London today to go to the ‘Affordable Art Fair’ which is held twice a year (Spring and Autumn) in Battersea, London. 120 galleries exhibit a wide range of paintings, sculpture and photography which has to cost less than £3000, so it’s often a good place to pick up some very good art at relatively reasonable prices or just have a good old mooch about to see what is going on. Some friends of mine have a lovely art gallery in Totnes, Devon called White Space and they exhibit at the Spring fair so I was going up to see them.

White Space is owned by Sarah Bowman, a talented painter, and her husband Joe White. I have known Sarah since she was a teenager and used to babysit my sons and I have been buying her paintings since then. She comes from a very talented family – her father, my great mate Mike is also an amazing painter as is her sister Vanessa. All their work was on sale at the Art Fair and it was selling like hot cakes!

This is one of Mike’s paintings – I am particularly fond of this as it is a view of Portofino in Italy, painted from a photograph I gave Mike which I took a few years ago. Mike specializes in Dorset and European landscapes.

This next one is by Sarah. She specializes in beautiful paintings like this one which combine landscape and still life. This one is a view of the Scilly Islands which are off the coast of Cornwall, in South West England.

And finally, this one is painted by Vanessa Bowman. This still life is typical of her work, beautiful interiors painted in jewel like colours with lots of lovely details like the little bird in the window….

I have a head cold and feel rough as rats today so be gentle with me. Here’s some advice…click to enlarge.
Apart from the Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer impersonation, my head feels like it is stuffed with cotton wool (no change there then, I hear you cry) but I managed to drive up to London and back in a day – on a Friday – in the rush hour. I am now officially exhausted. I hate driving in London. I get as far as Twickenham and I feel the stress levels ratchet up to 10. The traffic is appalling and everyone is impatient and I wasn’t sure how to get where I was going and where I was going to park when I got there – and you know how much I like parking – almost as much as this lady :)
Anyway, I managed to get to the Fair, without getting lost AND without entering the congestion charge zone AND I managed to park AND I bought a painting.
(We won’t mention that I couldn’t bring it home as I forgot it would be too big to fit in my car…..)

The eyes have it


This book uses a photograph I took when I was in Switzerland last year. I loved the patterns that the snow made lying on the fir tree branches. As usual I have printed it onto the inkjet bookcloth and this time, I have used a grey and silver Indian paper from Paper Source for the end paper. The book is a different size than I usually make. I buy this cartridge paper in pads of 100 sheets. They are unusually, square 250mm x 250mm and I normally make small square journals out of them. I decided to make this long rectangular book for a change. This is the original photograph, taken in Crans Montana.


Well, we survived the storms. It is still pretty windy but not as bad as Monday – the worst of the weather has moved north, (I hope Number 2 son is OK.) We have had some very rough weather and I thought you might like to see some shots of the sea at West Bay.


I spent yesterday morning at the eye hospital. I had a routine eye examination a couple of years ago and the ophthamologist spotted a ‘grey patch’ on my retina which I had to have checked out at the hospital. I was told (and I quote) it was ‘either a freckle or a melanoma’. Marvellous. No prizes for guessing which I hoped it was…. I now have to have it checked every year to see if it is growing. Luckily, it seems to be fairly static, so it is looking like it’s a freckle!

It’s a straightforward procedure, I have eye drops put in which make my eyes feel numb, as apparently the next lot of drops which dilate my pupils, would otherwise sting. I then have a really bright light shone into my eyes so the consultant can look at my retina and measure the spot. The problem arises afterwards as the drops make my eyes blurry and extremely sensitive to light, so a friend had to give me a lift home as I couldn’t drive and I had to risk looking like a sad, aspiring celeb wanabe by wearing my sunglasses on a very rainy day when I went shopping. I wasn’t asked for my autograph though as I looked like a dog’s breakfast. I was wearing no make up (because of the eye exam) and because it was so windy, I couldn’t keep an umbrella up, my hair was soaking wet and looked like I had been dragged through a bush backwards. The squinty eyed/sunglasses look was not my best look either. Just as well I was with an understanding girlie friend and wasn’t out to impress anyone.

By the way, on the dating front, (tenuous link anyone?) from my vast experience of trying to find Mr. Right and my store of helpful dating tips, here is some advice for you ladies still searching for ‘The One’.

and as for you potential Mr Rights out there…
Perhaps it’s best to just be natural…. and just in case, you can’t tell the difference, here’s a warning for you.