Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

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Mud and stuff

These are the last few photographs from my sister’s visit to Dorset, the weather ranges from wet and windy through misty and cold and on the last day – the sun came out. I thought I would try out the new WordPress slideshow option – quite nice.

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My #2 son arrived home on Friday for the weekend. I wanted to show him the fossils at Monmouth Beach so on Easter Sunday, we set out to visit Lyme Regis which was a VERY BAD IDEA. I drove us there at around 11.30am. We drove around and around but couldn’t find anywhere to park, Lyme Regis was full to bursting. We hadn’t reckoned on it being a) the first sunny day for a while and b) a holiday and c) lunchtime so we eventually gave up and headed for Charmouth instead. Same deal, only this time we ended up stuck in a traffic jam along a narrow lane leading down to the car park and the whole queue ended up having to reverse back down the lane to get out as there was no room to turn around at the bottom. Nightmare. So we came home :-(

We tried again the next day at 3.30 as it was Easter Monday and we figured most people would be setting off for home. It was still busy but much better and we had a great time walking along the beach with Milo. We found an area of rock on the beach known as the Ammonite Graveyard. (Click all images to enlarge)

It is quite astonishing and extends for a huge area of the beach.

This my son walking across it…

The cliffs along this stretch of beach are really unstable after the heavy rain we have had over the last few weeks and we could see water streaming off the clay and also watched large chunks of cliff falling onto the beach – which was a little disconcerting to say the least. I read in the local paper that 3 separate lots of children have had to rescued from the mud recently.

In the second image, if you click on it to enlarge it you can see an large ammonite lying amongst the rocks…

Of course all the muddy clay from the cliffs and the wet sandy rock pools were irresistible to Milo who had a whale of a time…

His day didn’t end quite so happily though, as soon as we arrived home he was dumped unceremoniously into the bath…

Have you ever seen a sorrier sight?

My son went back to London on Tuesday morning and Milo has been sulking ever since. He normally spends his days lying at my feet while I work but I am obviously a very poor substitute for his best friend, my son, and right now, he is lying downstairs on the sofa in the kitchen sighing and looks at me very dolefully when I walk in. Even a walk hasn’t cheered him up. Poor pooch.

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Old things, new things – snow joke, you know…

I had a quiet intro to the New Year which was nice as the week between Christmas and New Year was quite hectic. Since then, I have been busy doing things I don’t normally do. First I baked a cake for a friend’s birthday. It was his 60th so we decided to have a 60s themed dinner – prawn cocktails to start, coq au vin and then I volunteered to make a black forest gateau for dessert. I haven’t done any baking for YEARS but I was actually quite proud of the finished cake.

I have also been rather obsessed with another hobby I haven’t done for an even longer time – knitting. When I was first married and lived in Cardiff  (around 1978), my best friend, Jo, and I became passionate about knitting and after we had knitted ourselves waistcoats and sweaters, we then began knitting our (then) husbands, cardigans and sweaters too. Even more astonishingly though, THEY WORE THEM! And on a trip to Paris! It must have been love. We have all been digging out old photographs from those days recently and we found some pictures of the hideous creations we had knitted, thinking we all looked so cool and trendy. Bless. Anyway, I wanted some wrist warmers, and decided to have a go at knitting my own. I found this wool (Sirdar Crofter) which is patterned so that when you knit it up, it makes a sort of Fair Isle pattern which looks great.I finished the wrist warmers and decided to have a go at some socks and then some fingerless gloves. Here they are…

You may be wondering why the fixation with warm hands and feet? Well, you have read about or are experiencing the arctic conditions here in the UK. It is freezing cold. Most of the country is covered in a  deep blanket of snow and has been for weeks. Here in Bridport, we have had the freezing temperatures (-9℃) but NO SNOW! We were forecast to have a huge dump of snow a couple of nights ago. I woke up looked out the window and it was green as usual. There was a flurry of snow for about an hour later that morning but it was like teflon – it didn’t stick and within a short space of time, it had mostly disappeared. I know snow causes massive disruption and bother for a lot of people but it does look so magical and is such fun (for about an hour until the cold sets in) but we seem to be having all the nasty bits – the extreme cold and icy roads and none of the pretty fun bits. Here is a photo NASA took of the UK recently – strangely, you can’t see my green oasis.

A slightly ironic result of all this is that I decided I needed some new boots to wear in the snow (!) I ordered them online but they have not arrived as the shipment has been delayed by…you’ve guessed it, the snow.

I did venture out to see ‘Avatar -3D’ the other night. It was quite astonishing and I absolutely loved it. It’s a visual treat and the world of Pandora as imagined by the CGI artists is extraordinarily beautiful in every tiny detail. The 3D effects are really good and actually seem to be coming out of the screen at times. Go and see it on the biggest screen you can – and make sure you see the 3D version and not the 2D one! Here’s the trailer (which does not do it justice).

I’ll spare you the photo of me doing my best Elvis Costelloe impersonation in my 3D specs….

All quiet on the Western front….

For a change it’s all been quite quiet chez moi. Lots of web design and coding going on – I hadn’t realised that eCommerce was such a complicated thing, so that has been keeping me glued to my Mac day after day. Just as well as the weather has been dreadful – torrential rain and howling gales. It’s pouring again as I write this.

I did manage to escape to visit friends in Cardiff for the weekend last week. Needless to say it poured down and the trip back over the Severn Bridge was a nightmare but I did have a lovely time. We visited Cardiff Bay for a brisk walk (very brisk – it was freeeeeezing). I’d been there before – there are lots of shops and restaurants but I had never noticed that there is a Norwegian Church there. It’s a very pretty little building and outside there is a piece of Gaudi-esque sculpture which is a memorial to Captain Scott by Jonathan Williams. I thought this was a slightly odd place to site it, seeing as how Captain Scott was beaten to the South Pole by Roald Amundsen – a Norwegian explorer. The church has been now been deconsecrated and now has a tearoom and hosts craft fairs, weddings – and meetings of the Captain Scott Society (so they must have forgiven them!) It’s a small outpost of Norway, that is a taster for a planned trip to Oslo to attend RennyBA’s blog gathering in August next year, which should be fun and it will be great to actually meet some of the blogging friends I have made over the years.

I promised a two friends of mine that I would mention their new website, Chinti and Parker. It’s a gorgeous website selling ‘luxury basics which are produced ethically’. They sell women’s and baby clothes and I have to say it almost makes me wish I was a grandmother so I could treat my grandchild to an adorable hand knitted cashmere sweater. (I said almost, I’m not ready to be a granny just yet!)

It hasn’t escaped my ‘Bah humbug’ notice that Christmas is looming again. It’s December. Again. So soon. I am so disorganised and unenthusiastic about it. I have to confess at this point that the remains of last year’s tree are still at the bottom of my garden. I was going to burn it before the new one arrived in a week or so but it has been so wet I haven’t been able to. What a disaster. My garden fence was shredded by the wind too so I have ordered my new fence and a Christmas tree from Crocus. Let’s just hope the weather improves soon so I can do all the outdoor jobs which are piling up – install new fence, jet wash paving and decking (which is like a skating rink it is so mossy), repair leaking gutter, paint front door – you get the picture. If I can get a boy or two home maybe I can delegate….

Then there is Christmas shopping. The boys don’t seem to realise that when I say “if you don’t tell me what you want you won’t get anything’, that I mean it. It gets more difficult the older they get. I’m a great believer in Amazon Wishlists and add to mine in time for Christmas and birthdays. Trouble is no-one seems to ever read it so it just gets longer and longer until I give in and buy myself something off it. And don’t get me started on Christmas cards…

Thanks to Dave Walker for this. I love his cartoons, this is a link to his Christmas Advent calendar cartoons, every one a gem.

Procrastination rules…OK?

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My youngest son is travelling in Australia and the Far East for four months and I spoke to him the other day. (Don’t you just love Skype?) He asked me what I had been up to. I replied that I had been working relentlessly on the music anthology books and clamshell boxes. He said ‘I thought you must have been, I checked your blog a few times to see what you had been up to and saw that you hadn’t posted for ages’. I checked and was horror struck to discover my last post was on February 22nd! Eeek! Where does the time go? To remedy this sorry state of affairs here is a list of things that have been preoccupying me the last few weeks. (Apart from making books that is)

  • Bought my Glastonbury ticket this morning. Blur, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen are confirmed so far. Woo hoo.
  • My friend,  Claire Fordham whom I have mentioned many times here, has just found out that the film based on the story of her trying to get her book made into a film (still with me?) is being premiered at the Cannes Film Festival! So exciting! So I am going over to Cannes for the weekend in May to attend the premiere and hang out with my mate. The film is called ‘The Making of Plus One‘ and Claire and her sister Julia, both appear as themselves in the film.

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  • Julia Fordham, Claire’s lovely sister is a well known singer/songwriter and she is performing in the UK for the first time in ages. She is on in Newbury on May 6th and at the Pigalle Club in Piccadilly, London on May 8th. I am hoping to go to the Pigalle gig which should be brilliant as usual.
  • I am flying from Nice to Geneva after the film premiere to meet up with my friend Edwina. We are then driving from Crans Montana to Palma in Mallorca. We have done this same drive twice already and so we have it all planned and ready to go.
  • I went to the premiere of ‘The Boat That Rocked’ last week. Well, the Weymouth premiere! As it was filmed in Weymouth and Portland, the cinema in Weymouth was allowed to have a copy of the film early to have a charity fundraising evening – there was even a small red carpet! I really enjoyed it – despite it getting bad reviews in the press – what do they know? But then I love Bill Nighy, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rhys Ifans so I would, wouldn’t I?

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  • I have just found a reason never to visit Papua New Guinea. They have just discovered 50 yes, FIFTY new species of jumping spiders – that’s NEW species of JUMPING spiders!! Holy moly! How many were there to start with? And spiders that jump? My worst nightmare. You can read all about it here if you have the stomach for it…be warned. This is a jumping spider.

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How disgusting is that?

  • The weather has been wonderful but I have hardly set foot outside the door as I have been cooped up in my prison cell workroom. To say Milo is bored would be an understatement…

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  • The other scary thing of note is that it is my father’s 80th birthday shortly and I have volunteered to host the celebrations. This means that most of my family – parents, sisters, husbands, children are descending upon me over the Easter weekend for a party and three nights of merriment. Bearing in mind I have done no housework for several weeks now, and a decorator is arriving to paint my hall, landings and stairs on Monday, I am now getting severely stressed and it occurs to me I ought to be dusting and changing beds rather than writing this. As always though, procrastination rules and as I work better under pressure and with looming deadlines, I am assuming it will all work out in the end.  Milo at least will have plenty of company to pay him attention.

procrastinationBye for now….

Bah humbug! Again.

Took the pooch to the beach yesterday and arrived just as the sky turned black and it started to rain. The upside was there was  a beautiful rainbow – well two actually and I managed to get some photographs.

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I came home looking like a drowned rat with the added bonus of a sandy wet dog to deal with, so poor Milo had to have another bath and is now back to his fluffy white self. Until he goes digging in the garden again – his new favourite thing.

You may have noticed that I have a Facebook page. (There is a Facebook widget in my sidebar) Lately, I have been getting really hacked off at the ads running down the side of my page. They are presumably targeted at me because of answers I have given in filling in my profile. Yesterday, I was attracted by a photo of Javier Bardem (who wouldn’t be?) but over the image it said “Could I be your husband?” Well, yes please, I thought but then I went on to read further and it was an ad for an internet dating service. In fact all the ads along my Facebook page are for dating services – eHarmony, Fun at 50 Dating (OK rub it in, why don’t you), Kissing gates, (for people who live in the countryside), Toyboy Warehouse (what!!!!), Dating Direct, Telegraph Dating and so on. The other ads were for organic wrinkle reducer and from someone offering me a double eye lift. Christmas is a bad enough time of year for us singletons – so DO NOT RUB IT IN! To cheer me up, here is a gratuitous Javier Bardem photo.

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I was invited to a New Years Eve dinner party the other week. My friend said ‘Could you possibly bring someone along? Otherwise we are 13 at the table’. I presume he meant it was inauspicious to see the New Year in with 13 people. Marvellous. So now I’m not just a gooseberry, I’m an unlucky gooseberry. It strikes me that I am only number 13 if you count me last. If you count me first, then I am number 1 and someone else is number 13 and they should bring another friend. And, if I knew a single man to bring, then I wouldn’t be single!! I know my friend was only joking (probably) but it isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that he could invite a few more people so we wouldn’t be 13…. some single men would be nice…

Anyhow, I am rising serenely above it all.

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