I've moved, I have finally done it!
Come along and visit with me at www.soeasylife.com.
This site will be closing down and fading away very soon.
come and join me at my new fabulous home.
I've moved, I have finally done it!
Come along and visit with me at www.soeasylife.com.
This site will be closing down and fading away very soon.
come and join me at my new fabulous home.
Woohoo, defected to the BBC! Actually yesterday was my radio debut and I appeared (well I didn't so much appear it being radio, but you can't really say I 'sounded', hmmm a descriptive dilemma here) on the BBC Scotland ' MacAulay & Co' show.
Click the link above to the BBC i player. It will only last for 7 days from now, so get in fast if you want to hear my dulcet tones. Actually I shall try to get someone to help to get my snippet of the show (last ten minutes just before 12 noon) on to you tube or some such technical wizardry and put it on the new site.
I'd been in the BBC building before. Jane (Snapdragon) and I had done a craft fair in there years ago in the dim and distant past. It is a huge brick like building that bears an uncanny resemblance to a prison block inside, with about four levels and each having that walk around balcony and drop to ground floor that you see in old prison movies. Okay have I been watching the wrong sort of movies here, I can't be the only one..... Ah 'Porridge', yes this sort of building featured there too but on a smaller scale.
Anyway building aside the BBC is a nice place. A sort of mini city full of workers beavering away on all different levels, very modern and very fast paced and purposeful.
The radio studio itself was a joy, straight out of 'Frasier' (one of my all time favourite shows) with the big window into the production booth where all the techno stuff is done and hands waved, clocks watched, dials twiddled and switches switched or whatever one can do with them.
In the main room is a big round table with microphones, headphones and monitors at each placing, almost as if they are replacing the traditional cutlery and crockery at a dinner party. My host Fred MacAulay and his co-host Karen (yes we Ks were there on mass) were in mid show when I was shown in. It is all very quick (yes, and painless too) this radio stuff, no rehearsals like the telly, just in and on and do your bit.
They asked about the book, how to freshen the air with herbs and oils and generally chat about my favourite subject - the natural home. I could of course have waffled for hours as is my want, instead I was really consious of keeping it short and sweet and not getting side tracked. Concentrate Karon, keep the thread, don't lose the plot. Having a brain like a butterfly is not good in these situations. Unlike tv where you can get away with a big grin and hope people like you, with radio you have to keep talking and hope for the best.
I hope my best was good enough.
On the windiest day of the year so far, when the sky was a gun metal grey, trees were in peril and the lots of folks deprive of electricity, Colette and I decided to cheer things up with an hour in the local garden centre.
It is amazing how a change of scene, a blast of colour (especially when supplied so beautifully by Mother Nature herself) and just getting out there, can change your mood and make you feel great.
Just looking at the plants, the colours, the little things like drips of water sparkling on petals. Okay so it's not the Chelsea Flower Show and there is no Mr Tichmarsh to talk us through the intricacies of a spectacular scene, but you don't need that, just breath in those scents, open your eyes and fully ENJOY.
Garden sculptures always make me smile. While I'm not one to have cherubs in the bushes and beady eyed animals lurking in the rockery (have too many of the real thing lurking with intent to poo on the veg!), I do like looking at those strangely frozen stone faces.
I love looking at flowers that look like hats, colourful and frilly and dramatic. They make me think of Royal Ascot on TV, of Royal Weddings and hats that have made a fortune for charity.
Strange flowers that remind me of Avatar and weird landscapes, 1970s album cover art and doodling on jotters at school. I was seriously into wacky flowers and doodles that started small and sort of stretched and morphed into whole pages and book covers. Flowers, horses, shoes and handbags were favourites I recall. I didn't even have a handbag but I liked to draw them, the stranger the better. Oh and windows, I doodled a lot of those too.
Shelves and racks of seeds. We browse with interest. We imagine ourselves planting, tending and picking. Enjoying the true fruits of our labours. Will we ever plant them? We look at each other and laugh, no, come on, be real. I lash out on a packet of multi coloured radish seeds to add to the other radishes I already have planted. "Why more?" asks Colette, I haven't really got an answer, they just look nice and I do like radishes, tho' at this rate I could be eating the damn things forever.
Oh yes, garden centres do a good line in coffee and cake too. Who me, near the goodies again? 'fraid so, temptation gets the better of us (after all what is temptation for if not to drag you into something naughty and nice with way too many calories) and we sit, chat and wallow in sconey heaven.
Yes, I can definately reccomend a visit to the garden centre to beat the blustery blues. What do you do to get a quick pick-me-up on a dull day?
* * *
STOP PRESS! (Always wanted to say that!) I'll be on BBC Radio Scotland this morning at 11.50am on the MacAulay & Co show with Fred MacAulay. Very excited, tune in if you can or catch it on the BBC web site afterwords. Will tell all tomorrow.
Ah the village Ceilidh, a little like childbirth, one of those things that when the girls come round selling tickets you actually think it will be a good idea to attend. Then when you get there you remember why you moaned about it the last time and vowed never to return. Yes, rather like childbirth there is a certain amount of selective amnesia involved in ceilidhs as far as I'm concerned.
You see I am a natural reel wrecker and feel it is only fair that I stay off the dance floor in order that there should be no actual "murder on the dance floor", yes I am that bad.
It all goes back to school days, when, being taller than other class members, I had to dance man. This has left me with a definite disadvantage when it comes to the partnery bits of country dancing as I bumble about not knowing what sex I'm meant to be and generally creating a mayhem best suited to bulls and china shops.
The prerequisites for a ceilidh are simple - village hall, fluorescent lighting with enough power to floor the national grid in 20 minutes, lots of enthusiastic people of all ages, booze, 1970s buffet food including fish paste sandwiches (oh yes, really, honestly) and a band, the older and badder the better.
This latter essential was proved a classic on Saturday. The band (two old men with a shiny drum kit and an accordion) were something to behold. they actually looked as if they might expire before the end of each dance. We found we were taking bets as to whether or not they'd last out the set.
But there is something special about village cailidhs. There is a timelessness about the whole thing. This kind of event has been going on here for centuries (not always with 1970s foodstuffs) and many of those children running about the dance floor will one day be dancing with their partners, then sitting out the dances and watching their own children running around the floor waving balloons and trying to lift up kilts. It is ongoing, the past, the present and the future. It is country life in Scotland.
Oh yes I can see all the tradition and the sentiment and the good of it all. I can also see the scattered bodies, fallen chairs and the look of a war zone if I get up on that dance floor.
I must remember my lack of ability next time they come round with the tickets, this could be a perfect time to give a donation and sit back and watch the telly.
Go on, guess where I'm off to tomorrow. Long standing readers will know the significance of the French cup. Yes ladies, I'm off to France tomorrow morning for 10 days. Can't wait, very excited. In fact just a tad Tiggerish!
I'm not taking the laptop this time but I will of course be armed with the camera and will snap away wildly and inflict days and days of French photos and stories on you when I get home on the 10th May.
I'm looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting the new.
Looking forward to enjoying the food and wine.
And the good coffee at sidewalk cafes.
And maybe even a cake or two.
And a vide grenier to search for some gorgeous goodies.
Yes, I am looking forward to a wee trip to France. Just me heading off, break time, time to recharge the batteries and get my France fix.
Today is the usual last minute panic, can I cram 10 days stuff into a carry-on bag (you betcha!), have I done everything and sent out all relevant emails etc before I go, and have I got everything organised for work when I get back.
Will of course have time to watch the Royal Wedding and be gripped by the Great British feaver of excitement that is today. Will raise a glass in the afternoon to the happy couple and wish them well.
But this morning I have to do something sad and heartbreaking, I have to help a friend say goodbye to her beloved old pony. Hold him for those last precious moments of life. I've had to do this with my own horses over the years and its hell to hold your old friend at the end. This way she will be spared that moment but know he is with a pal.
This is a strange day. It will be remembered for different reasons. Anticipation, love and sadness.
Have a great day wherever you are. see you when I get home.
Easter, Christmas, what day is it?
This is a weird one, proof reading your own Christmas book on the Easter weekend. It definitely felt a little odd sitting on the deck in the sunshine, mug of tea in hand, Radio 2 playing sunny type music in the background, the birds singing, and me knee deep in festive food, tinsel and gift wrap.
The slow reading through with pen in hand and pack of post-its to mark pages and spot the errors and boo-boos that look so glaringly obvious now, but went un-noticed a few months ago when I was scribbling and typing and reliving Christmas again and again.
I hadn't expected it so soon, so when the package arrived at the weekend I thought maybe I'd ordered some magazines or something. What a surprise, what excitement when I tore open the envelope and there was So Easy Christmas bursting to escape.
Seeing something printed and paged and all organised looks so different from the in-work on the screen system you are used to. It is all real, there and actually happening, bit of a wow moment really.
So it has been read and reread, marked up and signed off. Now back to the publishers for its next step on the road to the book shops and book shelves. I'm just so thrilled to be part of it all.
Have a great day.
I know I've 'done' daffodils already this year, but they are just so beautiful and colourful and triumphant outside the cottage, they just scream "Spring, spring, spring - summer is on the way!".
So many different types and looks, bit like people really. Some are very simple and almost formal in look, others a mix of colour and textures, a fashion statement in their own right.
I love the broken flowers, I have always had a thing about old flowers, their character is wonderful, there is amazing beauty in imperfection. Far more interesting than a perfect bloom.
I always remember a friend who, whenever we saw the first daffodils of spring and I would go all soppy and say "aren't they gorgeous, don't they make you feel good", right away she'd reply "they'll be dead soon". I must admit I was a wee bit shocked the first time she said this. So shocked that I remembered the comment a year later when the daffodils were again lining the road en route to the shops.
"Aren't they gorgeous" I said. Oh yes, you guessed it, she replied with exactly the same line about them being dead soon. I couldn't let it pass. I asked her why she said that. Her reason, "Of course they'll be dead soon, flowers always die". It was her outlook on everything in life. It was strange because she could be fun and have a laugh. But her real deep down feelings were very dark, she saw an almost empty glass, not even a glass half empty or better still half full.
Funny how a throw-away comment can stick in your mind. Eventually our friendship fizzled out,we were too different in outlook even to really enjoy coffee and a chat.
Daffodils and Easter, they go together like peas in a pod, gin and tonic, salt and pepper.
What are you doing for Easter weekend? I'm off to stay at Rosemary's tomorrow, we're hoping for sunshine and run out in Tigger.
I'll come home on Easter Sunday, but this is the first time in twelve years that I won't be getting up at 5am on Easter Sunday and hiding eggs in the garden and placing a hand drawn map at the door. "I'm too old for the egg hunt now" It broke my heart, my baby is growing up.
So rather than wake up here on Easter morning and feel the inevitable sadness at the passage of time and a twinge of hurt that she doesn't want me to hide those eggs and make my maps any more, I'll stay away and come home after the magical Easter morning hours are over. I shall hand over an Easter egg to my growning up daughter and smile at what a delightful young lady is is becoming.
Sod it, maybe I'll just hide one or two eggs anyway.....
Ah the sunshine, good weather and sandals. Yes girls, time for the sandals, also time for the fake tan, but that's another story! Anyway back to the sandals.
If you are going to make a prat of yourself always do it with a certain amount of style and really go the whole way. Make sure that you give the moment full coverage and that at least one person will get the benefit of adding a titter to their day.
I managed to do this yesterday while en route to the studios. I was early so thought I would stop at the big shopping centre and have a coffee in the sunshine and maybe a quick scoot round the shops. All sounds very normal of course, I drive into the massive car park, am so very lucky in finding pole position in the parking stakes and pull up right outside the trendy Spanish inspired cafe where everyone is sitting outside enjoying lunch.
Now had I pulled up in my old blue Buggles car, the nondescript hatchback with a heart of gold, nobody would have even noticed what happened next. However I drove up in Tigger, all red, top down flashy attitude, and yes I did have the music on. Anyway I leaped (gazel like as always) from the car and strode towards the cafe. Quelle horror! A sudden lurch sideways, foot goes over and whammo, there I am heading for the deck. Instant panic, flailing of arms, loss of shades and I manage to right myself. The ship has not gone down, but she has made enough of a splash to cause the entire cafe to look round and laugh. One kindly lady rushes forwards to help me, but of course I am so embarrassed that I splutter 'of course I'm ok' as I pull myself together and step forward.
It is at this moment that I realise I have not got away with this adventure scot free. Oh no, there has been a fashion faux pas in the footwear department. My sandal has split right down the side. Yep brand new first time out and of course it flashes through my mind right away that i threw out the bloody receipt just the other day.
Anyway there I am with one working sandal and one flipper. Walking is difficult, somewhat ungainly and really not an ongoing prospect. There is only one thing for it, replacement shoes. So it is into the shops in search of fast replacements. Normally I would say grab the nearest pair of cheapo flipflops and run. After all I'm meant to be on live tv within the next 50 minutes. But of course I'm wearing my favourite long Levis and if I grab flipflops I'll end up having to roll the jeans up. Search is now on for a pair of sandals with enough heel to fit with the jeans.
I'm flying in and out of shops, well okay hobbling in the flipper footed style I've newly adopted. One pair is fabulous, soft and comfy and so damn pretty, but alas the five inch wedges would make me at 5' 8" over 6' tall and I need those extra height inches like Basil Brush needs a skateboard. Reluctantly I replace them and head into next shop well aware of the clock ticking.
There at last I spot a pair of simple sandals, just slip-on 2" heeled wedgies, nothing special, they are unobtrusive and comfy. Buy, wear and head back to Tigger. Did I get that cup of coffee at the Spanish inspired cafe? Alas no, but many of the crowd were still sitting there and watched my somewhat less dramatic exit.
Made it to TV land in time, stood same height as always and had a secret smile when one of the girls asked where i got my lovely sandals.
It's a TV day today. Heading off to STV studios armed with my herb basket and a batch of kitchen cures to cover everything from corns to boils, hair loss to sniffles.
These guys are stars of the show. Pretty violas to get rid of boils and sunny dandelions to kill warts. who'd have thought such cheerful flowers (and weeds) could deal with the nasties.
I'll be putting the full list of kitchen Cures up here as soon as I get this new blog layout and domain all sorted out. I'm so excited about the new look blog but now having hassles re changing all the links etc and names on all the photos in here. Nothing ever simple in this horribly computerised world of ours.
Idgy has of course got her priorities right, "Remember to ask if they've got me any more autographs in my book". There is none of the "good luck Mum, have a great day, you'll be fab", oh no, just that I should check on her autograph book down at the studios.
So today is sunny, bright and beautiful here in Scotland. Tigger will be filled with herbs, the top will be down, Michael Buble on the stereo and grin firmly in place.
Have a great day, and if you're in Scotland switch on the telly at 5pm STV1 for The Hour .
Saturday saw Idgy and I at a Teddy Bears Picnic, well almost, we went to see my lovely friend Sue Quinn at her studio in Paisley for her spring open day.
Just look at these furry characters. Sue is the expert on the cute character, woodland animals just come to life with her. I love this bunny with his worn out old toy bunny lying on his lap. Look at that sleepy face, those old pj's and he even has poseable paws!
Sue has been a bear maker for as long as she can remember, but nowadays bears are just a small part of her fabulous animal empire.
There are rabbits, mice, meerkats, badgers, squirrels and of course hedgehogs. Lots of hedgehogs.
Guess who Sue's biggest fan is? Of course, Idgy is just a huge devotee of those woodland creatures and we have a good selection of furry friends in this house. They are much loved, played with all the time, and lined up on bedside table every night to keep watch on their proud owner and best friend.
I met Sue many years ago, before Idgy was born (hmm, yes there was life way back then, can hardly remember) when I used to make miniature teddy bears. We used to find ourselves at bear fairs together. In the past five years we have found ourselves at fairs together again, but this time round I've had my herby things at Country Living etc.
The nerve centre, Sue's studio work room. Blind bears lined up awaiting the gift of sight. Furry friends waiting for new and loving homes.
Baby hedgehogs in a basket. How delightful is that.
Sue's world is truly magical. She collects all sorts of vintage goodies to display with her bears. Always has me on the look out for little baskets and bits and pieces to add to her collection.
Sue doesn't just make these fabulous little characters, she mades animated films with them too, it is all just so inspirational. please go visit her blog, you will be transported into Sue's wonderful world where life is gentle and fun and full of old fashioned charm.
Idgy has chosen her birthday present for next month. I'm so happy that for her thirteenth birthday she still wants a hedgehog. I know it will be more grown up things very soon, but I treasure her love of all these fabulous furry creatures, and the imaginary lives that they have in her mind.
So here's to Sue and her wonderful friends, here they are wishing you a Happy Easter!
Horses - the word conjures up all sorts of images.
Cowboys - (yee ha!) blood, sweat, tears, ranches and romance. Western movies, stetsons, good guys, bad guys, saloons, fences, heroes, and of course horses.
Show jumping - red coats and glamour, Jilly Cooper, sex and seduction, high fences, big prizes and horses.
Racing - money, speed, small men with courage, betting, Royal Ascot, big hats, and sometimes even horses.
Polo - glamour and danger, colour and fun, champagne, high heels and polo ponies.
Pony Club - childhood and dreams, long days and mucking out, imagination and lots of fun, horses, horses, horses.
What you don't think about when you think of the word "horses" is pain and plastic.
Last night I visited a friend who is encased in plastic from neck to crotch. She is a cross between a Storm Trooper and an advertising sandwich board. Pain is written in lines on her face. Sadness at loss of dreams.
All this from a fall off her pony in a field. No speed, no glamour.
Hang in there and get well soon.
It makes you think.
There but for the grace of God.
Keeping calm with a cuppa.
All you can do when you are frustrated at lack of help from those who say they will help - read Typepad here. I know I asked for input re new blog last week and I am all gung-ho to get started on my new look site, but alas due to my own lack of technical ability I am completely reliant on typepads help and they are at present ignoring me.
I find myself in the land of techno trouble this week. What with Typepad and the blog giving me nail biting hassle, my mobile phone has decided that it shouldn't be left out and joined the party too. For the past week I am finding myself either not being able to reply at all when friends text me, or I text back okay but phone gets thoroughly overexcited and sends three or four texts all at once. The recipient is left thinking I'm a complete nutter - okay so that's not too unusual a circumstance for me, but it is driving me bats - look there I'm batty as well now, it's just getting worse!
Ten things that drive me batty;
Phone not working and the feeling that such a small inanimate object is getting the better of me and chuckling to itself as it messes with my texts.
Those automated phone calls that come through while you are cooking and covered in flour etc, all the hassle of rushing to phone and getting stuff all over it only to find there isn't even a human on the end of it, uuurgh!
Cats wanting in the moment you've let them out.
Realising you forgot to post a letter when you went into town for the express purpose of doing this.
Losing car keys, house keys, purse, mail - anything really that seems to sneak off and hide from you whenever you are in a hurry to leave the house.
Socks - why do they insist on partying in the washing machine and losing their partners before coming out after a wash - where do they go? Is there some mystery Sockland out there where all the single socks go, they just party there amongst themselves waiting for the other half to swing on through the vortex and join them in the footsome conga.
Keyboard skitters - yep you read it right, keyboard skitters when you type one thing and your fingers and keys just don't seem to connect and it all comes out w8jh o88 thinys a99 over the place, hmmm see what I mean?
Calories - why are all the nice things in life just chock full of evil calories. Why should chocolate be cursed with calorific content and bran flakes be sweetness and light.
Housework - mostly cat hair appearing like tumbling weed blowing accross the plains of my flooring, all the background of a western and not a cowboy in sight. Socks, yes the damn things appear on the floor too, constantly seeking out their elusive other half.
Cats now meowing at my feet wanting out again.
Yep then things to rant about this morning. Come on let's hear your top ten bug bears for today.
I was going to whitter on about how I cleared HQ and weeded the garden this weekend and how lovely the weather was. But last night I watched a dvd that was so totally amazing I just want to share it with you today.
ONE TRUE THING was made in 1998 and stars Meryl Streep, Renee Zellweger and William Hurt. It is one of those films that really hits home because it is on a totally human scale. It is not a big movie in any sense, it is about a family and all the mechanics involved within that one word.
Meryl Streep is Katherine, a woman in her late forties whose life revolves around her family, her crafts, her homemaking and her local Minnies club where lunches are had and good deeds done. Her husband George (John Hurt) is a writer and college lecturer, a man who is so embroiled in his own life and self importance that he hardly notices his wife any more. Renee Zellweger is their grown up daughter Ellen, a high flyer who has worshipped her father her whole life. She has followed in his ink filled foot steps and now works in New York for a newspaper.
The film starts with a surprise birthday party for George. you get the feeling that Katherine has done this year in and year out. All the family have gathered and everyone has to dress as a character from literature. Ellen is seeking approval from her father for her writing career and at the same time very subtly being condescending to her mother for her stay at home lifestyle and downhome attitudes.
Everything changes within 24 hours when Katherine is diagnosed with cancer and George insists that Ellen should give up her work and move back home to look after he mother. There is resentment, tension, love and kindness.
Ellen has to become part of her mothers life and do the things she does. She cooks, she crafts and she becomes part of the minnies, a womans group who organise charity events in the town and basically do good deeds in the local community. This is so not what she wants to be doing with her life, but as the film progresses she sees her mothers life in a different light and appreciates all she does.
Meanwhile her father continues with his own life, his affairs and his rather self congratulatory and high minded opinions. You feel so frustrated by this guy, you just want to shake him or kick him, at least I did. Actually let's be honest, I wanted to strangle the guy.
It is a film that moves you to tears but not in a predictable sentimental way. It really brings you to your knees with emotion. There is so much gritty realism, the small things of everyday life. You feel Katherine's frustration when she breaks the dishes in the kitchen, when she can't do the things she would normally never even think about. But I defy anyone not to be moved to tears when she is stuck in the bath and her daughter lovingly lifts her out.
It is a film about love, relationships and everyday drama. It is about life and is true to life. It is funny and witty and uplifting and sad. It will take you through a field of emotions and leave you at the other side thinking about the people and events in your own life.
I'd never heard of this film before. Last week I was touring Amazon (a hobby of mine) and looking up Meryl Streep movies to buy on dvd. I bought Heartburn (nowhere near as good as the book), Postcards From The Edge (brilliant) and this one, all for the grand sum of £3.99 each including postage.
So what can I say girls, if you haven't seen this movie then trot right over to Amazon and whip out the pocket money. This is one for the keep shelf, one that will be played again and again over the years to come. Get some treats in ready for a serious movie night, then put your feet up and enjoy.
I'm hatching a plan, a cunning plan, new look blog site with lots of fun new areas. It's all go at this end as I fiddle with photos, resize, border and tweek. It is very much a work-in-progress so please bear with me as I change layouts, make moves and dance with different banners.
You might even notice a different title on the banner, SO EASY LIFE. Well yes, I'm making a move, making a change and the name will change too. Not quite yet though as I need the powers that be at Typepad to help me do all this.
So for the time being things may look a tad messy and a wee bit unsettled as I get to grips with this techno stuff and my thoughts and wants and possibilities and try to merge them altogether into something that will work well on screen.
I've loved reading your comments and emails on what you'd like me to add to the site. Yes there will be more recipes, yes there will be crafting and yes there will be more photos. All this is going to have to be worked in somehow and I've done the Typepad Tango and asked the wizards at webdom to help. I've worked it out on paper, now all I have to do is get it to leap on to the screen by magic. You know if all this techno stuff could be done on scraps of paper with a trusty ballpoint, I'd be right up there will Bill Gates, alas thoughts and scribbles don't seem to adhere to the screen quite the way they should. My ideas of a button that does this and links to that and pops up here and looks fabulous - hmmm why does that not translate well in the world of html and mysterious codes?
It is always with a sense of foreboding that I head into the bowels (yuck!) of the blog and tinker with layouts and things. The sudden shifts, the click and vanishing moves that other people take for granted leave me a quivering wreck that I have lost a section for good. I am not a confident creator in this.
So please bear with me as I make changes and bring us all to that So Easy Life of the title. Send me your feedback on my changes and any hints that might help.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Well, it's an oil lamp in the kitchen actually. I love this old lamp, it looks rather regal as if it is wearing a crown. Bit old and shabby, but what the hell got the right hat on!
The light at end of tunnel - can finally see where I'm going, well at least with the blog/site. Thanks SO much for your ideas and comments, keep them coming in please, I need your help on this.I've decided to add a page that will be all recipes, one for crafting and another for home hints and tips. All the things that I do will now be on the site in one place. Nan is tempting me to have a Strictly Scottish section but not sure what I'd put in there, what do you think?
My dread of course is wrestling with the technicalities of Typepad. Think I may have to go as far as I can and then buy into their help system. How I hate technology, how I love technology, how I feel such a bloody failure for not being able to work with it and being frightened of it.
Oh yes, I am from the old school that thinks the internet is a fearsome thing, in fact the computer that gets you there is even more frightening. One wrong move and it could catapult you into cyberspace without a safety net. With the mere slip of a digit you could wipe out entire galaxies (well at least your own web site) and be left without a leg to stand on or a blog to write on.
The 'oh s*&t, it's disappeared off the screen!' is always my biggest fear. That moment of total panic when you confidently press a key and either nothing happens, or things move in an unmanageable manner.
I am a natural panicker, I come from a long line of panic stricken beings. My Dad was constantly telling Mum not to panic, and of course she'd go right on ahead and go into a full scale one. Like the time when she set the kitchen alight with a chip pan (oh yes, that was a cooking method thereafter banned after the entire downstairs repaint) and did the only honourable thing of shrieking for help, phoning me in America and herding out the cat. Did she calmly put the fire out in the appropriate manner as demonstrated on so many tv programmes at the time? Er no, she rushed out screaming to the garden and let the ground floor burn down. My father was less than amused, but of course thrilled to know the cat was safe.
So I am going to have to arm myself with a panic protector (aka nice bottle of Chardonnay) before I launch myself bodily into the actual changing of the site. To start with I shall work it out on paper and cause no damage to cyberspace as I hurl the scrunched up efforts across the living room when I can't come up with a good enough idea. At least I will be making fire fodder and it will save rolling up newspapers for kindling in the morning.
So keep the ideas coming, and if anyone out there just happens to be a techno wizard Id SO love to hear from you.
I'm in a state of flux (I know, sounds somewhat messy and a tad uncomfortable, but what the hell, we women are used to that) and I want to make some changes round here.
I want to improve and reorganise the blog a bit and I'd like your help.
I've had ideas for putting in recipes and home stuff etc that I put in my books, articles and tv. Would you like to see these things, have some lifestyle stuff, plus the usual chat section too of course?
I did have a stab at doing this last year but things sort of got on top of me and one thing and another meant it just didn't work out the way I'd hoped. Now I think I'm ready to move things up a gear and I'd like to hear your views and ideas.
So come on girls, tell me what you think, inspire me, what would you like to see and read, be part of bringing it about.
Don't you love my little robin friend. Right outside the kitchen window every day, a friendly little feathered friend. sign of Christmas in Uk and Spring in America. He is a man for all seasons.
Meet Tigger the Tigra. And yes that's me in there, in the sun and in the driving seat.
Yesterday was T~Day, Tigger Day. I collected my new toy and the weather couldn't have been better.
There have of course already been comments - "What are you doing with that", "Aren't you a bit old for a sports car", "Where you live, what are you thinking". And you know, I don't give a damn. There have been great comments too from my A team, "Go for it", "Congratulations" and "Brilliant", these are the ones to remember.
While Buggles was a great little car and I enjoyed driving her for the past year, she wasn't my dream car. Well just recently I thought about things, thought about wishes, dreams and the like. Looked at my vision board and figured I could take something off there and bring it to life. No point in having a dream if it doesn't come true. Well I got the chance to make the car a reality and took it.
Ever since I was a teenager I wanted a sports car. Top down, wind in hair, shades on and music playing. Last year I had the Bat Mobile in France for the summer. That testy old VW convertible gave me the taste for those sporties and I couldn't let go.
Last week I just thought 'What the hell, go for it gal" afterall, when would now be a good time for a dream to come true.
Se there you have it, Tigger and me!
Idgy is thrilled to be back in position as Thelma to my Louise, and has already stuffed a cap in the glove compartment having been caught out yesterday when I collected her from school and we went for a spin. Poor Idgy ended up like Worzel Gummage with hair everywhere, but what the hell, a grin from ear to ear!
Karon x (and Tigger)
Photos of France. I love photos. The stairway in my house is floor to ceiling photos. All in simple white mounts in thin black frames.
Photos of places I've been over many a year. From the Greek islands to Portugal, Spain to Mallorca. They are what I call my postcard shots. Quirky images of odd bits of buildings, cats in the sun, wine bottles and fishing boats. Anything that catches my eye.
There are no pictures of France up there. Strange that.
I see these pictures every day as I go up and down the stairs. They are the backdrop to my life, they are memories, they are the past. A quick glance can fire me off to a land of sunshine, or simply jog a distant thought. Oftentimes I don't even notice them, but they are there.
I have never even printed out any of my photos from France. I have two years worth loaded in this magic black box of a computer. I think part of me found it all too sad to put on the wall. It was almost as if it was boxed up in a special part of my mind and my heart and I didn't want to see it 'out there' every day. Would putting it on the wall religate it to the past and a mere 'postcard' image?
I think having got through last year I can now open that photo box, maybe rifle through those images a bit, make some notes, search the attic and see if there are any more frames there. Start picking up the odd frame when I'm out and about and planning what picture would look just perfect inside it.
Yes it is time to 'put the pictures on the wall', I'm not afraid now that they will become just pictures in time. I want them around me.
I shall start my search, print out some mini pix to get ideas of what goes together and have a bit of creative fun.
Where are your photos?
I couldn't get the whole Mum thing out of my mind this weekend. So much so that I raided my fabric stash and made Mum a heart. Then I got carried away and thought I should do some things for Mothers Day to put in my shop. So here we are, I have three gorgeous goodies to offer.
This lovely Best Mum heart filled with my country garden blend of herbs with cloves for a spicy tang. Perfect for keeping moths away, scenting a room or car, or acting as a paperweight, comes withsilver plated kilt pin attaching the Best Mum embroidered tag. £12.50
My own luxury bathing salts with lavender and lovage, dead sea salts, epsom salts and rock salts. They really are a fabulous way to end the day, relaxing, cleansing, deoderising, healing and fragrant. 200g (enough for ten baths) packed in a lovely little sack made of this pretty vintage fabric. £12.
And I've been making flowers again. I used to make these for Liberty's of London a few years ago. I have been madly snipping and wiring and having some fun with fabric this weekend! Flowers are on bendy wire stems and are scented with my country garden essential oil blend so they smell gorgeous. You get a little posy of 6 flowers tied together with vintage fabric. £8.50.
Everything is on the shop page and all prices include postage and packing.
Thanks so much for all your comments and emails re my Mum. I replied in the comments section just as a general Thank You. Buy girls, you really made my day with all the lovely things you said. Talk about being moved to tears, my keyboard has been awash!
So it has been a busy weekend, fired up with enthusiasm and crafting away in HQ braving the cold. Wasn't quite enthusiastic enough to clear the place out, but figured just being there was a good enough start.
What did you get upo to at the weekend?
Yesterday, before the long awaited attack on the dining room, I went for my run.
A run in another world. A world all white and misty, not really quite there.
Sleepy trees looming from distance that isn't really there. The normal seems bizarre. The strange, just part of the day.
Imagination takes control, thoughts spiral. Head fills with scenes and stories as feet scrunch on soft, crisp, powdery snow.
The elves have been hanging their woollies out to dry. Should I stop and search for elves? Hmmm too cold.
The landscape looks as if it is holding its breath. Caught in time, frozen if you will.
Modern intrusion on nature's joy.
My audience watches as I jog past. Do they think I am mad being out in this snow? We all seem part of this landscape, all separate beings but held suspended in this sea of silvery silent mist.
Home and snowing. Indoors and the dream of the white lands vanishes into warm (well warmer, remember this is my house we're in now) air and hot coffee. Reality in the form of the dreaded dining room looms large.
Put away the great outdoors and the flotsam of dreams. Pick up, clean up and get back to normal.
Dining room now looks like a room again. Quelle surprise, there was a table under all that rubbish, chairs and even a floor. Christmas has left the building.
I feel a little sad.
Yesterday was a Bit Of A Day, actually it was in fact One For The Diary.
You see yesterday a wee dream came true. I picked up the first proof copy of So Easy Herbal. A real published by publisher copy, a real in-your-face-honest-to-God-published-book type copy.
I sat there in their offices, I held my little booky wooky in my hands, well okay I fairly hugged that booky wooky and I said a silent 'Thank You'. It looks almost the same as before, a subtitle added to the cover, now reads "So Easy Herbal, Ten herbs, how to grow them, use them and save money", the addition of the publishers name etc. Small changes but huge changes. All so different.
I held my Herbal baby in one hand and I handed over Christmas with the other.
Yes gals, I finished Christmas and I did it in the time I had set myself. You see back in January I told my coach and wrote it down and said that So Easy Christmas would be finished by 17th March. Then I went into a total tail spin and thought there was no way on God's earth that I would get it finished by then. In fact I almost did everything in my power to make it not happen. I faffed about doing everything but the book because I couldn't see me being able to get it done.
Well, then I eventually pulled myself together, got a proverbial grip and knuckled under to do it. I stopped trying to be everything else, stopped trying to do this and that and put my head down. All the piles of notes, all the scraps of paper, all the images and ideas, all the mess that was to become the book that I just didn't know what to do with, it all sort of came together.
Yes all those fun little creatures from your average Walt Disney film (squirrels, rabbits, mice, blue birds et all) came to my aid and fluttered, scampered and tweeted around the house making it all come together in a perfect fairytale fashion. Ah yes, see the blue bird as it flits accross the living room clutching the perfect photograph to place just so next to a recipe held by Sammy the Squirrel. See the gang of mice as they test recipes in the kitchen, the cuddly bunnies busily crafting lanterns and ornaments and making garlands. Oh it is so nice to have such wonderful little helpers. Oh did I mention that they all sing as they work. In fact there is a full philharmoonic orchestra playing in the background someplace too.
Yes of course this is reality, oh well lets just say that it eventually came together with or without intervention of cutsey animals and sound effects.
So here I am this morning. I now have no excuse for the total chaos that is the dining room (also where I am right now) covered in Christmas paraphernalia, crackers, ribbons, pine cones, ornaments, glue, fabric, glitter (lots of glitter), papers and crap.
There is nothing for it - I shall now have to clear the mess and find the room beneith.
Scary thought; wish me well dear reader as I dive in there with bin bag, cloth, hoover and a gritty determination hitherto unheard of in the realms of housework a la Walton's Mountain.
I may be some time..........
"One of the USB devices attached to your computer has failed", oh God, the groan that message engenders, instant panic, the pulling of wires, the stabbing at keys that won't function.
Sometimes the most basic approach works. Pull out all the horrible wires, shake the nasty little laptop and plug everything back in again.
Go and get a cup of tea while the little beast thinks about its bad behaviour. Give it a few moments to reflect on how its actions have affected others (me), and then it will behave nicely, apologise profusely and let me write my blog!
I realise of course that I have crossed the line and actually think my laptop is human. This of course would explain my fear of it, it is smarter than me, it is snazzy, slim and mysterious, it can spell, it can add. It holds the whole world inside it and moves between continents with the ease only an expert in metaphysics could imagine.
We have a love hate relationship my laptop and I. I know I should take a computer course so that I can converse with it in its own language instead of just swearing at it in mine. I love it when it takes me to far flung places, lets me talk to friends, helps me to create pages and pictures, improves my life in ways I could never have imagined just a few short years ago. I hate it when it spits out gobbledygook I don't understand, flashes messages at me, refuses to let me do things and generally downs tools, quits working and blows a proverbial raspberry in my face.
A laptop of colour and style. A laptop of flowers and butterflies.
A designer laptop.
A Vivienne Tam HP laptop. Ah the joys, no more the plain little black number, a splash of style and colour.
Of course the mere hint of this amusing, stylish and fun laptop will suddenly improve my writing, make me a star and make my life wonderful in ways that I can hardly imagine. Images of me and my laptop dance before my eyes.
There we are together outside this fabulous house in the sunshine. We are at a marble table my laptop and I. While I sit at the table the laptop is in fact on it. We have enjoyed a fruitful day my laptop and I. We have created masterpieces of literary fantasy together, hand in hand (well okay, hand on keyboard) we glide through a land of joy and abundance (mine), we are as one.
There is also two glasses of perfectly chilled wine on the table just waiting to be sipped in the sunshine. No they are not for the laptop and me, they are for me and my perfect partner (ah yes, he is in this scenario too) who is just about to step out of my gorgeous house and join me. I shall close my perfect stylish butterfly clad laptop and raise my glass to sip wine with him.
You really can't have a fantasy like that with a boring old black laptop on the table in front of you, come on be serious!
I think my laptop knows my yearnings. You'd think it would therefore play nice, behave well and try to keep in with me and be my pal. But oh no, there it is acting like a testy teenager with a serious 'whatever' attitude.
We continue in out partnership of unequal parts my laptop and I. We continue our love hate relationship. I keep threatening to learn its language. It continues to mock me.
At least it let me write this, thanks Mr Laptop, you are just so darn cute.....
Which one would you go for, I was set on the butterflies but I'm veering towards the red one now.
Sometimes. Sometimes you can feel something inside that says something, says something that makes you tingle in anticipation. Makes you think something is happening, something good.
Last week was like that, almost like a build up, a stepping, a skipping, a running into a place - someplace. Friday felt like it was just there, what was it, what would happen?
I didn't win the contest, didn't gasp for joy at amazing news of wondrous bounty coming my way.
Needless to say I was a tad disapointed to say the least.
Was I crest fallen when I climbed the stairs to bed? Well, you could say my crest was positively round my ankles, tripping me up, causing me to stumble, falter and not find my step.
I woke up in Narnia. Not the tropical beach of my fantasy, the snow filled landscape of silence.
A world apart, time out of mind.
Brave little friends of a week gone by, huddled together in their igloo of snow.
The signs of Spring to come bravely standing fast, closed tight against the cold. Standing tall and straight, like soldiers on the front line awaiting their fate, trusting it will all work out in the end.
I did the only thing possible under the circumstances. I took photos.
The last photo for the book was still 'out there' un-taken. I still wanted the pet shot, pic of my friend Ali's dog Ben in a Santa hat. I'd told Ali I'd be up on Saturday and snap the pic against a white background. We never thought there would be snow, so much snow.
They say you should never work with children or animals. I can see why. But the lovely Ben just makes us laugh as he scampers about in the snow throwing the hat and trying to bury it.
I get the shot I want, the one I had seen in my mind.
The snow turns to rain, the snow disappears. Narnia is gone almost as if it never existed. Was it brought for a few hours just to get a photograph and finish a book?
Sometimes you just don't know what is happening in life. It can change in a moment. Thank God we live in a land where snow is the weather's excitement. Your heart goes out to those in Japan who have lost everything in the hell that is the tsunami. Little dreams and fantasies are so small by comparison.
Sometimes you just have to hang in there, bless what you have and hope for the best.
Idgy and I had a night at the movies on Friday. We went to see the new "Rango" film starring none other than the delectable Mr Depp. Now seeing Mr Depp as a chameleon was something of a novelty to say the least. Especially since the film had so many references and links to his Pirates Of The Caribbean films. Honestly you expected this cutesy chameleon to suddenly grab a hat, a wig, a cutlass and a manic grin and take to the waves.
He didn't, instead we found ourselves led into the most amazing world of old time westerns, a town called Dirt, good guys (obviously hard done to, cute character type guys) getting their revenge on the nasty evil bad guys.
Our hero was a dreamer who suddenly finds himself in the big bad world where he can no longer be the star of his own little one act plays. He's faced with evil hawks who'd eat him in a flash, they've got to catch him first tho'. He meets a host of down home characters who have all those human characteristics blended and welded into the body and face of an almost, but not quite mythical creature. Nothing is as it seems, but everything is very normal. I know that sounds daft but it sort of says what I mean.
Like many an old western, this one is graced by a Mariachi band, popping up every now and then and giving us the low down on the plot. Of course they all sound exactly like Antonio Banderas which helps enormously and is enough to set many a heart aflutter.
The Spirit of the West character being Clint Eastwood in a golf buggy is inspired, as is the armadillo whose sole quest in life is to cross to the other side and get run over in the process.
There are no fabulous horses as in a normal western. Instead their place is taken by road runner birds. Weird and wonderful, you find yourself believing in all this, drawn in, cheering on the misfit characters, wanting them to succeed.
There is enough adult humour and twists to make it really watchable for the slightly older than twelve viewer. Alas not in 3D so from my point of view nothing worth leaping about and reaching for. Great bonus to Idgy tho', less of an embarrassment factor, score one to her team.
Did I enjoy my night out with Rango. Well yes I did, there is nothing like a well spoken chameleon with squint neck and quirky humour to lighten up your Friday evening. Throw in a pizza and good laughter with the best gal in the world and I guess you have a good night out there all in one.
So if you haven't seen this one, go for it. Kick back and let the complete lunacy of Hollywood's finest wash right over you. Believe in those little guys way out west, root for their quest for water and fight their battles with them. Then close your eyes, breath deep and imagine Johnny Depp in a pirate outfit.
Someone following me on my run. Someone who, wait for it, doesn't look half bad. I mean even given the advantages of the lengthening effect that shadows have, this one looks kinda slim, no major bulges where they shouldn't be.
I actually stopped running to look at it, to look at my shadow, to look at me.
I stood there in the middle of the lane and I burst out laughing. I whipped out my camera and took some snaps of this magical moment. This moment when me, the most hyper critical creature in Christendom, actually looked at herself and said "yes, you're okay girl, you look great!".
You know my shadow has been with me for a lot of years now, maybe too many to really remember. It's always been around, been there to remind me in bursts of sunlight that I'm big, hulking, lumpy, bumpy and chunky. Not the me I really wanted to be.
Okay over the past couple of years it has enjoyed running with me, being my partner and companion on the miles of lanes and countryside. We never say much, my shadow and I, in fact the other day I think might possibly be the first time I've ever really stopped, stared and spoken to it.
It puts up with my taste in music, my leaping about to the lively stuff, and the sniffling as the sad songs come on and instead of clicking through them, I continue to run with tears in eyes and snot on nose.
It puts up with my tuneless singing along and my shrieks and swear words as I fall in the occasional hedge usually aided and abetted by the passing milk lorry.
But I don't look at it really. It was always a reminder of what I didn't want to see. Even knowing I lost weight, even with the running, I still didn't want to see it.
Then on Monday, in the sunshine, really springy bright sunshine it seemed to catch up with me on the lane. We were running together my shadow and I, we were running like old friends. I saw it and I liked it, I liked what I saw.
I saw in that shadow the me I had always wanted to be. The me I had strived for. It suddenly occurred to me that she was here, she was actually here already and not an ethereal shadow of a wish un-granted. I looked from my shadow on the ground to my feet attached to it, I looked all the way up and there were no lumps, bumps or scarily big bits. The body I was looking at was the one I had dreamed of.
A moment of sublime clarity on a quiet country lane in Ayrshire . I laughed and I leaped in the air and punched the sky and said "Thank You!".
Hi guys, I have survived my weekend without my girl. She came home last night tired and happy and convinced that her snow boarding is far better than skiing. I think the bruises have something to do with this. "You can stop easily on a snow board", hmmmmm me thinks she didn't stop at the bottom of the hill!
I spent my weekend cooking, photographing food, writing about food and then eating the stuff. Well would be hellish to let it go to waste wouldn't it. I don't want to see another brussels sprout as long as I live.
Have also been doing a bit of a clear out on people. Hmm yes, people. Isn't it amazing how you carry them around in your life/phone/address books far longer than you should sometimes. I was made aware of this over the weekend. Someone patted my back in a singularly patronising (should that be pat-ronising) manner and pointed out my failings. Hitting right at the old achilles heel with an arrow dipped in self richous poison. Didn't I realise my own limitations, wasn't I maybe making a fool of myself, shouldn't I get real.
Those words hit hard and hurt. I struggled with them alone at home. I beat myself up. Then I got angry, angry at myself for taking what she said on face value. Why should she be right, what gives here the knowledge that I am doing wrong, why did I give her the power to hurt and wound. Okay so all this power thinking wasn't entirely me coming up with the goods. I had of course panicked in true me style and asked someone else what they thought.
So I made a decision, I decided to make a clear out of things I don't want and need in my life, some of them are human. I cleared my phone of people that shouldn't be there. I took a long hard look in my heart and toughened it up on some others. Why have draggers in your life, people who pull you down and sap your joy.
Is it sometimes that when you are floundering and in a bad place certain people can comfort you and make you feel better for a while, but those self same people don't really want to see you happy. When you have pulled yourself out of the mire, when you are feeling for your smile, they will be right in there reminding you that you can't be sure, have failed before, be realistic. Is it that they want to keep you in that manageable box where you were looking up to them for advice and comfort, do they like this upper hand, this feeling of dominion over your lesser self. Then they don't want to lose such an exalted position so they ever so gently push you back down again so they can maintain their status. I realised that this person had been doing this all the time, only I hadn't seen it before.
You have to beleive that for the people you lose from your life there will be others who emerge, who come in and bring joy. Sometimes the ballance can seem off, but I do know, I know in my heart that there are lots of guests at this cocktail party we call life, the door will open and others will flow through, there will be more hellos and hi's. Sometimes you just have to say goodbye.
So there you have it, cheery for a Monday morning isn't it! Actually it is cheerful, because I am in a better place in finding out where friendship lies and untying the bonds of those that are unhelpful.
So Monday morning finds me searching for my metaphorical cocktail frock, a fancy hat, maybe a fascinator, impossibly high heels (reality, what reality!) and a great big smile. I'm ready to step into the room.
PS PRIZE DRAW WINNERS
Have done the prize draw from my birthday for the PR 4U pdf and the Sew Easy Scenters pdf. There are two winners Masa and Simone. Have zapped the pdfs through to Masa, Simone can you email me and send your email address so I can zap this through to you.
I love your comments on the Ten Things of yesterday. From old books to movies, cupcakes to cockerels, and best of all, kangaroos in the paddock - how cool is that!
You inspire me.
You make me laugh.
You make me think.
You make me smile.
The one that hit home the most. Blogland, visiting Blogland. Now that really is one to head any list. Our blogging community is such a great place, it's like going on a visit and knowing there will be good chat and catching up, tea and cake, laughs and smiles, shoulders to cry on and friends to care. This blogging thing that started quite a few years ago as a business booster and quickly drifted off course and turned into a virtual coffee house, a place to sit a while and catch up with friends all over the world. You know I'm so glad this never made it as a business blog, this is much more me.
Thanks to my blogging friends, may you love and relish every one of your Ten Things from yesterday and think of loads more to make the list never ending.
Snow again yesterday, not much, just flurries throughout the day. however it was enough to stoke the fires of imagination and keep me on track with the Christmas book I'm writing just now.
A roaring fire, snow falling, the odd Christmas decoration lurking with intent in the living room (you see I am not a lazy toad who forgot to take some things down, this is creativity, this is a working environment of props and suggestions - are you beleiving this or just going witht the lazy toad bit). Ah yes it all helps to keep the festive spirit alive and maintain my enthusiasm for prezzies, sprouts, trees and cards.
In some ways I've just carried on with Christmas since December, I've been doing photos and writing notes, planning layouts and mapping chapters. Now though Christmas really is back with a vengeance, I must get this book completed and stop messing about.
I must be strict with myself, curtail trips to the coffee shop in the village, tie myself to that monitor and work, work, work!
This will be another week of sprouts I feel. Recipes have to be done again and again to get them right. Luckily I love Christmassy food, as does Idgy. We seem to have been eating the various components of the classic festive lunch on and off for weeks now. Bits of Christmas sneak into meals that wouldn't normally be graced by roasted parsnips, bread sauce and the like. Who'd have thought that honey glazed carrots with star anise would be such a hit with fish fingers and chips.
I will escape today though. I shall move from Christmas to Spring in one giant step. I'm doing Spring cleaning hints on The Hour today, so it's off to TV land armed with herbs, borax, baking soda, beeswax, essential oils and lemons, to create cleaners with a conscience.
So I'm all of a mixture here today, with snow on the ground, Christmas in my head, the scents of summery herbs and hopefully a spring in my step!
Have a great day.
Tea and talk what could be better really.
Yesterday was a talking day. Some days you seem to talk more than others. Mine started with Lis in the coffee shop. With Idgy and her kids chattering amongst themselves we put the world to rights and caught up with our own week of adventures.
Excited talk of good news and moves forward, steps taken and light ahead. Funny talk of "'did he really, how, when and what the heck". Past times talk, a nod to yesterdays and the route that brought us here. Planning talk of "'Yes we can" and "now's the time". Happy talk of just smiling and saying what's there in our hearts.
Last night I had a herb talk to do at Dalry WRI. While planning and packing it was just a job, something I do. The journey there was a nightmare of darkness, wispy fog and horrible potholes, tempers (mine) frayed. Copilot (Idgy) stayed safely plugged in to her DS game and thus avoided her mother's less than charming driving talk.
But when we got there, when the horrible journey was over and we stepped into the crowded hall full of happy and expectant faces, all the hassle and stress just disappeared. I smiled with real pleasure, real joy. I looked at the people and thought yes, this is what I love to do - talk.
I did my usual chat about herbs and how easy they are to grow and use. How they add flavour, fragrance and fun to our lives. I ran headlong into my herbal world and came back with armfuls of enthusiasm and fistfuls of info. Nobody nodded off, that in itself has to classify the event as a success in my book.
There's laughter at my jokes and there are questions and answers at the end of the talk.
There's tea and cake and sharing of views. Hearing of plantings, hopes, seeds, competitions, rivalry and clubs. Talk of books and television, people and places.
Talk, talk, a day of talk. Calm talk in the car going home. Talking and laughing in front of the fire at the close of the day.
It's good to talk.
PS a good tea for talk - Earl Grey Blue Flower, simply divine darling, simply divine!
I've been clearing the shelves and cleaning things in the kitchen of late. Maybe it was the bright sunlight on the snow the other day, whatever it was the light suddenly showed up all these cobwebs and dust.
Eeek time to do something about it. Alas, cleaning is never my strong point and I am easily side tracked.
I got side tracked by containers. Oh I know we are surrounded by containers, but I like them. I like bottles and jars, tins and boxes. Correction, I like old bottles and jars, tins and boxes. I am a decanter at heart. I buy things in one container and change them to another because I prefer the look.
Jars of salts, sugars and spices are a case in point. I love to have them on display, out where I can see them and then have at least some sort of hope of using them. You see for me something out of sight is most definately out of mind. A real case of "Hmmm I'll need mace for this recipe, look about, can't see any therefore can't possibly have it - abandon the mace project, meanwhile back at the ranch there are 2 jars of the damn stuff in the drawer" . So I like to find nice jars and things and have my foody goodies on display where i can get at 'em.
I love those old jars that you pick up in charity shops and at boot sales. The sort that would have graced a dressing table many moons ago. Now I used to buy these and keep them on my dressing table. There got to be quite a few, they sort of crept downstairs to the kitchen of their own accord. Honestly it is amazing how inanimate objects can get around in this place.
Anyway these jars in the kitchen are filled withdried chillies, lavender sugar, mint sugar and lavender salt.
A quick how to here;
Start with some caster sugar (you can make your own caster sugar from the normal granulated variety by just whizzing it in the processor and making it finer) andthe buds from about 4 lavender stalks. Whizz everything in the processor till the lavender is tiny pieces in the sugar. Store in a pretty jar. Leave this for a few weeks and the flavour will be fabulous. Great on fruit salads and in baking, excellent for making a flavoured syrop for drinks etc.
Same process but with fresh mint or dried. Remember when using dried herbs half your quantity as they are much stringer than the fresh variety. It is up to you how strongly flavoured you make your sugars, taste and see.
Chunky rock salt is bels for this, something like Malden salt is perfect. Crush up your lavender till it's really small and mix well with salt. Store in airtight container. Fabulous on salads in summer.
There you go, some ideas for things to make to fill some jars. Spread the jars, make other people fill shelves with more dust catchers, but pretty and useful ones!
We are back to snow again. Well we're back to snow and ice together. Soft powdery snow topped by crunchy crisp ice. Quite a combination that makes for some strange noises as a tractor rolls past the house first thing in the morning. It sounded like a roll of thunder, marching feet and crackling paper all rolled into one. Made a change from the buzz of the alarm clock.
I don't need the alarm clock this week as it is half term up here in snowy Scotland. No school and Idgy basking in bed playing games on her DS in the mornings. We did escape the house yesterday though. We went to see the joys of Yoggi Bear at the cinema. Well no, we didn't see Yoggi Bear himself, no that would be silly, he is far too busy promoting his film somewhere in America, he is not here in the hinterlands of Ayrshire. Of course we saw the 3d version, you can't keep me away from those flying images and just-want-to-catch-things pictures. This time instead of butterflies there were nacho chips flying through the air. Aaah what joy, food in 3d, I was right in there grabbing at crisps and almost tasting them. Couldn't reach the dip though, they kept that on the screen.
A review of Yoggi Bear? What can I say - when you have been brought up with the pet name of Boo Boo you have to feel a certain affinity for the dynamic duo, they are part of the past, welded in there along with jam sandwiches and cremola foam.
As a kids film goes it was fine, the animation was great, plot dreadful and jokes enough to have the hundreds of kids in the audience keeling over with laughter. What more could you want really.
Call me boring if you will, but being trapped in a large dark building with hundreds of screaming midgets isn't really my thing. Was never good at it when Idgy was an under four foot tall, and I think I'm getting worse with every inch she grows. All those patient mums getting up and down throughout the film leading their little charges to the loo and back, the resigned sighs as coke is tipped all over them and a half eaten hot dog squished into one hand as they are trying to sip their cold cappuccino with the other.
No, been there done that. Getting old has one thing to be said for it. It's your own offspring sitting next to you sighing at your behavour. Soon she'll be tutting as I shuffle past to the loo every five minutes, and groan inwardly as I slop my coffee over her and dribble food all over her favourite jersey. Something to look forward to eh!
So today is officially a 'Snow Day' , I'll light the fire and Idgy will curl up with her DS laughing at some mad dragon game from America. I'll hole up in the kitchen with laptop and notebooks, might even take some snow photos and brave the chilly weather.
Have a great day whatever your weather.
Lights, music, dancers, laughter, glamour and glitter, oh lots and lots of glitter. Saturday found us at the Strictly Come Dancing show at the SECC in Glasgow.
The SECC was transformed into something magical, just like being inside your own telly when the Strictly Come Dancing show is on. Even better, there was no Bruce Forsyth and his lousy jokes. The host was Zoe Ball and she was amazing, wearing a floor length black sparkling gown she danced with the professionals to open the show, then kept the whole thing going for the next three hours of total fun.
The infamous judges were present and all resplendant in tartan and kilts. Matt Baker (I'm afraid Idgy is now in love!) even promised a back flip in a kilt if he won, this had many a text finger clicking throughout the show.
Pamela Stephenson won the day with the most elegant of waltzes and then a tango that was on fire. That lady can dance!
Ann Widdecombe did a comedy dance routine with Mr Nasty himself, Craig Revel Horwood. He in kilt and Scottish flag boxers, she in sky blue glitz, their charlstone just brought the house down.
It was just amazing, a bit of unexpected glitz and glamour on a Saturday afternoon in Glasgow. Our gang of five (Lis, Ali, Rosemary, Idgy and me of course) had a ball, ate too many chocolates, oohed and aahed over the dancing and dresses, and imagined just for a little while that we too could dance like that.
So this photo says it all in one word.
Great big enormous thanks to the lovely Zoe for the tickets and for being such a star.
Old gates have always fascinated me. The aged, well worn, rusted and broken. The mended, patched and tied up with twine.
The gate, a barrier to keep things in and keep others out.
The gates of the mind. That hard metal gate clanging shut and stopping you in your tracks. For years it stands, shiny, clinical and unyielding. An inanimate object that will never move.
But slowly, slowly that gate has been rotting. Rust eating at its very soul. It has been falling apart on itself. It is not the insurmountable barrier that was in your head and heart.
It is patched and worn and held up with string. Where is the solidity, the strength against which you had no effect? The gate is disappearing and merging into time itself. Soon it will have fallen to the ground, no string or wire will be able to hold it in place anymore, and grass grow through the mangled spars. Nature herself will calmly distroy that which never should have been.
Strange feeling when an old gate crumbles and falls before your eyes. You realise that freedom is yours at last, for it cannot keep you prisoner any more.
Step carefully over the broken pieces, look up, not down at the tangle in the grass.
Freedom awaits, big, scary and a whole lot of fun.
It's been raining for a while up here on Walton's Mountain. It's been raining so long that the fields have flooded and a lake has developed. A lake of such proportions that canoes, fishing boats, and yes even maybe a yacht wouldn't be out of place.
While it looked like there was An Awful Lot Of Water out there, it didn't really hit home till I tried to pop out the back door to the bin in the morning. I stepped lightly (as always) into a splashy 6 inch deep paddling situation that was somewhat unexpected and not at all good for my indoor Uggs.
The water was rising and the door itself was only 2 inches above the present water line.
Did I panic?
I scuttled about in the yard gathering up anything I could in the way of compost sacks, grass seed (sealed in plastic sacks of course, not quite daft enough to be sewing grass seed willy nilly in moment of flooding crisis), feed bags etc. Anything I could wheel over in the wheelbarrow and dump at the back door to try to build some sort of barrier between me and the incoming tide.
I phone the council as the road outside has completely flooded due to the drainage ditches and pipes underneith from fields all just bursting and causing mayhem.
'We'll send a man right away' they assured me.
Back to the dam building.
I do the only obvious thing really. I text a friend.
"Where can I get sandbags?" this seems like a sensible question in the circumstances.
"Are you under attack?" Well, you have to agree, it is a sensible answer. It was such a good answer that I laughed, stress fled and I just laughed. I looked out at the water, I'd done all I could, the rain started to ease just a wee, wee bit, so I just sat there and laughed.
Ten minutes later the cavelry arrived in the form of a big truck and two lads with a spade.
Alas one lad had a hole in his welly so wasn't prepared to plunge in to the wetlands in quite the enthusiastic and wholehearted manner one would have hoped, the other chap got down to some serious ditch digging. I got my own spade and minced about a bit in a purely decorative and possibly comedy manner.
Fence panels removed, channels dug, gravel piled and a horrible ammount of mud later, the waters receded from the back door.
"You'll be needing sandbags for this lot" said the head digger. Obviously a man with a grasp of the situation. He pointed out my pathetic attempts at dam building based on compost et al. "That'd do no good at all dear, you're needing sandbags". Yes actually even I knew I needed sandbags as evidenced by text to pal earlier in morning. Great, sandbags "Do you have any with you?" I ask, afterall this could be an obvious question as men coming to flood area just might come prepared with more than one spade between them in their great big yellow truck. "Naw, dear have to go back to Kilmarnock and get some".
Two hours later they are back with the ellusive sandbags. The rain stops and a very watery sunshine filters through. My garden is still under water and the fields a lake far and wide. HQ survived with inches to spare, I survived, the house survived. Okay some of the herb garden has been washed away and the cats are in high dudgeon at this hidious swimming pool feature that I seem to have put in over night.
Steaming mug of chamomile tea in hand, I survey the damage. Ho hum, quite a day. There was me thinking it would be a boring old Monday and it turns into action packed adventure on a somewhat homely scale.
10pm and Berti screaches at the door wanting in. I open the back door and step out into the night to see where he's got to, alas I hadn't removed all those bloody compost bags and I fall flat on my face in an undignified (who me?) heap in my pjs. I climb back over the makeshift barrier and stagger into the house.
Make note to remember to remove the barricade in the morning before I do myself any more damage. Might also buy a canoe.
"On line dating is the way to go", "You ought to join an on line dating agency", "think of the fun of meeting new people and getting out much more". Oh I've heard all the arguments for the on line marketplace and they just seem to be getting more and more popular. Friends telling me that so-and-so met on line and aren't they great together, that it's the 'in thing' etc.
They say it has all moved on from the stigma of lonely hearts and is the modern way to meet the love of your life. I'm not convinced really. In fact I'm not convinced at all.
However having said that, last Thursday someone mentioned it again and I just thought, oh what the hell give it a go.
Friday morning found me squaring up to the laptop, all thoughts of work etc gone, I was going to tackle this dating agency thing and put myself up there into cyberspace.
I spend almost an hour ticking boxes that covered everything from my likes and dislikes in health and fitness, to how many cigarettes can he smoke (none). Any minute I expected it to cheerfully inquire as to "How do you like your eggs in the morning?" and was slightly miffed that I didn't get to sing back that standard reply, "with a hug".
There was a percentage thingy at the side of the screen which tells you just how far you are getting in this form filling process. It's a nail biting thing this, you are clicking away at boxes for what seems like decades, and all the movement you see is that you've filled in 15% of the form. A less determined character could easily give up, go to work, or really just pass out and expire over their keyboard.
I am that determined character and trudge onwards. Oh goody I get to the paragraphs where you get to tell a bit about yourself , your hobbies and interests, that kind of thing. I start to enjoy myself and by the end of the fill-in box I honestly sound like so much fun I think that I should ask myself out.
The counter in the corner of the screen has suddenly zoomed up to 99% and then I'm there, finished - whoopee!
But what's this, a bright yellow pop up box has appeared and filled my screen with doom. You are not eligible to join this community, you are not fully divorced.
Oh my God, I've been knocked back by a bloody computer.
Friday evening finds me recounting my story to a friend over supper. While falling over laughing they point out that I have to be the only person known to man that would be turned down by an on line dating agency. It is also pointed out that maybe it wasn't such a good idea after all. "Come on Karon I bet you spent ages coming up with a really cute alias to go under (well yes I did actually), bet you slightly exaggerated the hobbies and sports just a teeny bit (well come on, I have always wanted to scuba dive, and Idgy snowboards so that's not aaaaallllll that far from the truth, and the hang-gliding.....) . Didn't it occur to you that even with the cutsey alias to hide behind, someone might just see you on telly, aha they'd shriek, there's .........(your choice of cutesy name here I'm not telling you mine!). A quick google strike later, they find the blog and hey ho, where is all this snowboarding, why does she never mention the scuba diving, and well as for the hang-gliding.......
Even my brother got in on the act yesterday. "Great thinking K, advertising for your own stalker now are you?".
Ho hum, I knew it was a dumb idea, why do I let myself get talked into these things. Oh well nothing lost, another knock back in the great romantic adventure of life. But even though the computer turned me down, hell I sounded good, what a woman, far too good for the average man.
Maybe I should be sending me roses and taking me out to dinner. I might even throw myself the odd compliment now and then. At least I'd be spared the broken leg that would result from those hang-gliding lessons that I'd have to endure to live up to my own sporty reputation.
Tapping away at the computer, "Hello, is anybody out there?" can be a bit like sitting on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise and searching out new life forms and places to go.
Of course I'm actually meant to be writing something (well anything really) but those tempting buttons do tend to lead one away on to an adventure in cyberspace where one learns new things and meets up with a different lifestyle on another continent.
Cooking for example, I can click into Nan's Pots and pins blog and I'm away baking something fabulous and immediately stepping into her world. I can be sitting at Nan's kitchen table for hours, sipping hot coffee and putting the world to rights. In reality we make do with rambling emails at the end of the day, catching up, having a moan or laughing over the quirks of life.
Suddenly the diningroom and its darkness and the wind and rain howling outside don't seem so dreary and so bad. Here at mission control, on the bridge of the Star Ship Enterprise I am boldly going where I've often gone before, into other worlds and other lives, sharing a little bit of sunshine, a piece of cake and a bit of chat from far away.
You know for all it's faults (and there are many, especially all those found by me personally when I don't know how to work the damn thing) there is a lot to be said for a bit of modern technology now and then.
So let's raise a coffee cup to that little screen in front of us, say 'Cheers' and look forward to being beamed up to somewhere marvelous on every journey.
Have a great day
We're back to snow again this morning. Not a return to Narnia, but cold and white and not enticing and Christmassy in the least.
I've taken to doing a bit of exercise indoors (no don't be silly, nothing like that, after all I would need Mr Depp for that sort of thing, and I believe he's busy right now...) to break up the monotony of running in the rain and cold.
I have invested in (yet another) exercise dvd. Ain't I the sucker, come January whenever the celebrities don the lycra for their latest fitness module, there I am drooling over the racks in Tescos wondering which person I could possibly look like if only the dvd would sort of morph all over me without me actually doing anything physical.
I swithered with Nadia Sawalha then decided to go for the "Ten Minute Fat Buster" instead. Much though I love Nadia and am impressed with her weightloss and new figure. The words fat buster and ten minutes grabbed me as did the price being half of hers.
The lithesome lady on film is very good at her stuff. She maintains that big smile and confident chatter throughout. The fact that I cannot breath in some of the positions is surely testament to the woman's fitness and her rightness for the job.
"For this one you'll need your weights, so have them ready" - my weights, aha, I have weights, I have trendy little hand weights bought about three years ago in another burst of exercise enthusiasm - hmmmmm now where are they? Retrieve weights from dining room where they have held the kitchen door open for those aforementioned three years.
She who must be obayed says I should hold weights in hands and force them down on thighs as I try to raise thighs off the floor. I am having enough trouble raising feet far less thighs, this is just adding insult to injury.
I did the dvd first time on Friday. I think the fact that I couldn't make it upstairs for a bath that night is testament to the fact that I must have been doing something in the stretchy, worky muscly way. The fact that I couldn't move all weekend only serves to show me that my thinking a run in the country has me fit is something of a joke.
The weather has been bad this week so I've tackled this dvd another three times. So far my language seems to be the only thing that is getting a workout. I shriek and swear and mutter and groan as I do yet another lunge while forcing my leg down with the bloody weight that was far better suited to being a doorstop than an instrument of torture.
But the good news is that I can now do the workout now and make it upstairs for a bath and bed at the end of the day. Great that I haven't had to relocate to the ground floor totally in my search for a better bod.
So I'm off now to roll out my yoga mat (oh yes I've got a yoga tape too you know) and reach for the doorstops (hand weights) and glue that smile on my face. Will I do all five of the ten minute sections (you know you should) or will I knock off after two, shower and head for the coffee shop and a good moan with Lis.
Lis wins hands down!
Doesn't this guy make you think of summer.
He makes me think of Greek islands and postcards, ice cold wine and sun tan lotion.
A photo speaks a thousand words.
Hmmmmm, this metal heron was standing on a blue tarpaulen outside a friends house up the lane ready to be put by the pond in the garden.
He really does make me think of sunshine and summer tho'.
What makes you think of summer?
Sometimes we get so tangled up in the here and now and the stuff from the past
Sometimes a boulder seems like a mountain and you just don't know how to climb it
Sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees
Sometimes you are under the ice and can't push through
But then sometimes you can see the sunrise
You can see the tough little plants that have made it through the hardest winter on record
You can see new life all around you
And you can see the first signs of Spring.
Hang in there and look for the signs........
Now I am not a huge Disney fan these days. Oh yes, back in the day I adored cartoons and the old softer animations of Bambi and the like. But these past few years I've not been that thrilled by their offerings.
So it was with something akin to reluctance that I agreed to take Idgy to see Tangled on Saturday. This latest Disney delight is the story of Rapunzel and her fabulously magical hair.
When we got to the cinema it was busy, ok it was packed. It was Saturday afternoon and really so not my time for approaching the cinema. I'm a early screening, nobody else there kinda gal myself. This hundreds of screaming kids business is so not me. Anyway first thing we discover is that the showing we want is sold out. What joy, my unsporting self immediately thinks of a quick trip to the shops instead, a cup of coffee and a cake maybe. But no, Idgy has noticed that there is a 3D showing in just ten minutes. I baulk at the cost of the tickets (almost double) but breath deep and smile calmly at the cashier whilst waving goodbye to that cappuccino and calorie frenzy in my mind.
We mosey on in. Idgy excited about the film, me moaning about the money. As we handed over our tickets I was a wee bit surprised to be handed a pair of shades. That's your 3D glasses, my daughter reminded me. Now come on guys. When did they change from the cut out cardboard with one green side and one red? Talk about being behind the times. There really is something seriously decadent about wearing shades indoors in the dark. We all looked like a room full of Hollywood D listers on an outing of non-discovery.
As you'll have guessed dear reader I am a 3D virgin. Yes I admit it, I never went to see Avatar or any of the other biggies in 3D, I never even saw Jaws in its 3D infancy all those years ago. As far as I was concerned it was all overpriced hype.
How wrong I was. What an embarrassment I was. Thank God we were in the back row so that my butterfly catching and lantern reaching was not witnessed by the entire cinema and just by the top three rows. My shrieks of 'look' and 'wow' and 'fab' could have been the roll call for teenage magazines back in the 70s. I was amazed to say the least.
It took me right back to being seventeen and trying out some highly illegal substance and being so sure that the trees really had moved that way and I had had no problem whatsoever sliding between the railings of a park fence. The sky sparkled and the grass grew before my very eyes. Ah what a time that was. Only spoiled and never repeated due to the misadventures of a few friends who went a tad off the rails to say the least. I kept my memory of that out-of-mindedness just as a dim recollection of the past.
But the magic of the 3D movie world took me right in there. The feeling of the butterflies coming right out of the screen and flying around was amazing, and the scene with the flying lanterns had me reaching out to touch one and make my own wish for happiness.
The embarrassment emanating from the twelve year old next to me was palpable. 'Mum, puleeeeese, just behave', ' Sit on your hands'. This was right up there with my open mourning at the death of darling Doby just a few weeks ago. No, I think this was worse, there was movement, there were the 'wow' words. Oh how I covered myself in glory.
What was the film like? No idea, I was on my own planet, in a world of my own, chasing rainbows and catching butterflies........
Now I just can't wait to see Avitar in 3D if they ever bring it back this way!
Cold feet - indecisiveness, backing off, 1980s UK romantic comedy drama series.
In this case it is real cold feet, feet which are cold. Mine.
Something to do with the old terracotta floors in here. Ah the joys of Aly's underfloor heating when we were painting her house the other week. What a treat to have warm feet and not be encumbered by the biggest furriest yetty like slippers known to man just to keep your tootsies above freezing point.
My house is always cold, but cold floors and cold feet are the worst of all. I have now graduated from Ugg books for outside in snow, to a pair almost the same that are for indoors. Sheepskin lined they keep my feet fabulously cosy, but hey, I do look as if I'm about to set off on a wilderness mission and am only lacking the rucksack, cagoule and maybe even a bear trap.
Even the bed conspires against me in the cold wars. When I climb in there I am dressed for the occasion (pjs) and well armed with my bed sox. I have built up an entire wardrobe of these must have items - from fluffy pink to stripy blue, Christmas red to mini mouse spots. As long as they are cosy and warm they are the ones for me! I am determined that my tootsies will be warm throughout the night. In fact they say if you are wearing sox in bed you'll fall asleep quicker, bring it on!
Anyway my problem is that it does get warmer and I wake up with hot feet so kick them off into the deapths of the duvet. Come 5am I am awake again, this time with frozen feet and the shivers. This necessitates a dive under the feathers to find the elusive socks. One of which has always escaped the bed and flown across the room. Get up and track down sock. Feet (or one foot) now colder than ever.
Leaping out of bed and hopping around is always a tactical error on the feline front. The inmates downstairs have heard my movements and have only one word on their furry minds - breakfast. They have no care that it is merely 5am and Mummy half frozen and determined to return to the land of nod. Oh no, now they want their brekky and will come up and serenade me to get it.
Ignore cats chorus for at least 5 minutes until Berti bounces on top of me (one stone pussy cat not good landing with certain amount of determined force on chest) and really starts rasping sweet nothings in my ear.
Stagger from bed and don the hiking boots/indoor slippers boot things and head for the kitchen to deliver food to the masses (well all 2 of them). It is now almost 6am. What is the point of going back to bet. Oh yes there is the principal of the thing, I don't need to be up this early so I won't be up this early. Totter back upstairs and snuggle back down into my cooling pit.
Just as I'm dosing off the alarm cheerfully rings.
I have decided the best course of action is two pairs of sox. One to wear and the other to clutch like a teddy bear, ready to replace the lost sox in the night. With this cunning plan I will outwit the cats and get to stay in bed till 7am. What joy, warm feet and sleep. Easily pleased eh!
Have you noticed the new Munchies packaging, each packet has a different phrase on the back. The girls in our local supermarket were having fun with the display the other day.
Each time you went past someone had altered it and made it say something different. Okay so there aren't that many permutations, but it was livening up the day and making customers smile.
Yesterday I popped in en route to the much dreaded parents meeting. All the packets were facing forwards with their Munchies name on view. "What happened to the word games?" I asked the cashier. "Oh the boss put a stop to all that" she said, "We were wasting too much time".
I quickly rearranged a couple so that 'Take me' and 'Fancy me' were facing forwards. Then I gathered up all the maturity I could muster and headed for the parents meeting.....
Last night I did a talk at the Carrick Quilters Club in Prestwick. It was a great evening and the ladies were all really welcoming and seemed to enjoy the talk and all the herb info and hints and tips etc.
I had worried that they might not be interested in a full hour of herb chat and be desperate to get on with their quilting. How wrong was I, they were a dream to talk to. There were some great questions at the end, and a lot of fun and chit chat while I scribbled away signing books.
The really exciting thing for me though was that I sold my very last copy of 'Herbal'. I had a pile of books with me and they all sold. I am left with just my own copy. The first copy I picked out of the box when the first order arrived from the printers back in August.
Mine is a dog eared copy, much read, much shown, much loved. It is also the mark up copy for the new issue that is with the publisher. There are yellow and pink post it notes stuck all over it. Thoughts, ideas, corrections.
I looked at it last night when I got home. I picked it up, held it and really, really appreciated that it was the only copy in the house. Who'd have thunk it, what a moment, a mile stone reached. I had a great big grin on my face.
So thank you quilters for being so nice and for helping me to reach this goal. Oh, and by the way, thanks for the tips on the quilting strips. I shall be looking out my fabric scraps and having a go very soon.
A message on the fence last week. Simple, visable, gets the point accross. It's a message to me from Idgy. I love these little messages in ice, snow, sand and the like. Spontanious and fun, from the heart and frozen fingers.
Messages; I've never seen the point of those Round Robin letters that people send at Christmas, the 'Dear friends' letter giving you the lowdown on their life for the entire your. You could be one of three friends to receive it, or one of 500 in her address book. Either way I always feel slightly cheated. I'd far rather have a scrawled note in the card saying 'All well here, will catch up soon here's my number'.
But far worse than the Round Robin letter are the joke loops. Why in heavens name do people think that just because they thought something hilariously witty at 1am after a night on the tiles and a bit too much sherry that the rest of the population (well those in their phone or email list) should be just as thrilled to receive it.
I've had an ongoing battle for years with a friend who keeps putting me on her email joke list. I hate the long winded, often smutty stories, very often accompanied by some sort of lurid photos. I don't care how fuddy duddy and boring she (or anyone else for that matter) thinks I am, I just don't like them. Every time I talk to her and ask her to take me off her list she gets really offended as if I am personally insulting her by not liking her sense of humour. I love her dearly as a friend, I just don't like this part and don't want to share it. We go for a few months of her taking the hint and all is peaceful. Then I think she gets hold of a particularly juicy one and thinks, 'yeah, gotta be done, this'll make her like these jokes' and off we go again.
Worse tho' is the friend that persists in sending the Group Texts. She has obviously discovered the group message button of late and is making full use of it. We've had messages about cat sick in her shoes and some seriously sick jokes too. One joke was so full of f&^$ing this and that and a lot worse, I honestly couldn't ever imagine her saying it. So why did she think I'd want to read such drivel on my personal phone?
Oh yes, and the best. Pass this on to another ten people in your address book and you'll get good luck, won't have something bad happen to you, or whatever. I thought this sort of infantile torture went out with the playground.
So there you have it, my personal rant for the day. Maybe I am just an old fuddy duddy stuck in the dark ages with no sense of humour. If so, let me be......
Well this is it folks, this is officially Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. How so? Well it is apparently all down to crunching dates and numbers, pay cheques, Christmas and of course the weather. Add em all up and you get a date that falls neatly in where the maxed out credit cards have hit, the pay cheque hasn't, the resolutions are forgotten, diet a disaster and self esteem at all time low due to all these contributing factors.
So guess who is going on tv (The Hour STV 5pm) to give handy hints and tips to get you out of your blue funk the natural way. Keen readers may see a slight (ever so slight) irony in this situation, but can I say something here - I feel fab!
Blue is actually my happy colour. It is the colour I see when I do relaxation, when I close my eyes and imagine peace. It is that bright blue summer time sky without a cloud. It's that amazingly inviting foreign sea that you just want to dive right into. It's dolphins jumping and dancing in the waves. I imagine myself all blue, rather like an Avatar in the movie, only a tad smaller, without the dodgy tail and pointy ears. Oh okay, maybe not like an Avatar person at all, but hey, I'm blue anyway. Blight happy blue, good blue.
So back to today. I'm going on with herby pick-me-ups.
Using essential oils for aromatherapy, basil to perk you up and aid concentration (great in the office, a few drops on a hanky is perfect), rosemary helps aid memory and is so uplifting. Chamomile of course to calm the nerves, sage to soothe, oh and lavender, a hug in a bottle. You can mix any of these together to create your own special blends. Or try the amazing clary sage, a real mood lifter all on it's own.
But my favourite thing is teas, tisanes, herbal drinks. This is my GIN-SENG-TONIC recipe that I'll be doing today.
1 pkt of siberian ginseng powder
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried peppermint
1 tsp dried chamomile
4 crushed cloves
4 cups boiling water.
Make this as a standard tea and let sit for 5-8 minutes to infuse . Now you can sweeten this with honey if you wish and drink it as a hot tea in the morning to pep you up for the day ahead.
Pour what is left in the teapot into a bottle and pop it in the fridge. When you get home from work fill a tumbler with ice, cut yourself a slice of lemon and maybe a sprig of mint to decorate and pour over your gin-seng-tonic. The perfect non alcoholic pick me up after a tough day.
So that's what I'm doing this Blue Monday. What are you up to?
Panic not dear reader, this is not Groundhog Day, this is not a case of deja vu. Yes it is the same photo of 'swampland in Florida/Camargue/field outside house' but not a repeat post. I show it merely to lead you into my exciting story of last night.....
It's been a chilly old week up here on Waltons Mountain. The first photo was taken on Monday and the next two days later. The swampland froze solid (again, by way of a change and all that sort of thing), the ice was thick.
Last night (yes, we are getting to that, but don't get your hopes up, Mr Depp didn't pop round with a bottle of bubbly and a winning smile, alas not) as I was sprawled on the sofa watching a rerun of 'Sex in the city' and trying to imagine myself leading the high life in New York with Mr Big falling at my feet etc, I was rudely disturbed.
There was a loud crash, a real thumping noise. "What the hell" (words to that effect anyway) I cried as I leapt from the sofa. Well I say leapt, but really it was a pretty pathetic leap, more of a lurch and the best I could do when impaled there by two overweight cats and half a bottle of chardonnay.
I rushed upstairs thinking a wardrobe had crashed to the ground. This would be something of a miracle as we have fitted cupboards, but what the hell, it sounded like heavy furniture crashing to the floor. Nothing had moved, all was in order - usual mess.
This was what had happened. The entire ice sheet that covered all the stream right outside the window had just shattered, gone off with such a loud crack and crash as the skating rink of ice broke and fell into the stream that had drained away below it.
This morning it looked like broken glass, like shattered windows on the high street after a football crowd have rampaged past on a mission of no mercy. The drama of the noise broken down into fragments of frozen water.
At least it got me off the sofa. By the time I'd searched the house, found the elusive torch (never ever, ever where you think you last left it) and gone outside and seen the ice breakage. The cats had comandeered the sofa, the movie was over and it was time for bed.
Ah the joys of the countryside. Who needs the excitement of NY city.
Three things that should be avoided in a professional person, especially someone with the letters Dr before their name;
Haddock Hand - this is that pathetic excuse for a handshake (something that is meant to show you are open, friendly and unarmed, not damp, insipid and doubtful) and does not inspire confidence. In fact all it generates is the desire to scrub your hand madly on your jeans and hope to God you haven't caught anything. It also leaves you wondering how in heavens name this person has got to where they are in life with such a lacklustre greeting. A slimy semi-grip is toad like and gross, it makes the recipient feel like they have been presented with a slippery dishcloth that has been used to clean God knows what. This is definately not the best start for any meeting, interview or conversation.
Chair swinging - Oh yes we all did it as kids. Don't you remember your Mum telling you not to do it, because A - you'll break the damn chair, B - it looks slovenly and rude, and of course C - you'll fall off. Now while I'm not really bothered about said professional and whether he breaks the chair or falls off it, I do have to say that good old Mum was right all those years ago, it looks slovenly and rude.
Nose Picking - Yes you read it right. Nose picking. Always a definate no-no in my house, don't know about yours. It is one you had drummed into you, don't do it, it's rude, your brains might fall out, stuff like that. Now regardless of what might fall out (brains or otherwise), it really isn't a pleasant occupation for someone else to witness. If you really must do it, keep it for special private moments when nobody else is looking.
Okay, so why the list. Well yesterday I popped into the Doctors and saw someone new. A man I had never met. He covered himself in glory from the first minute we met, no waist level outstretched firm handshake from him, oh no, it was a limp damp paw held at about crotch level that left me wiping off my hands and wishing I had one of those sterile wipes on me. He then sat down and proceeded to swing on his chair, my my, doesn't this man look like he is paying attention here, doesn't he look interested. But then it just got better and better, he started to pick at his nose. Oh how very, very attractive. He started small, just a scratch or two round the edges, but hey, this was good, he felt he had to delve on in there for a proper scratch about. I sit there stunned that I'm seeing this, can't quite beleive that this man is supposed to be a professional. I've seen (and expect) better manners and presentation from a ten year old boy. Maybe this man feels that he is above all the common niceties of life and that he is being free to be himself. Maybe he is a 'Take me as I am' kinda guy. Maybe he is just gross.
Needless to say I shall never darken his door again. I left that room, no sorry, I fled that room, feeling better just by leaving his presence. Suddenly my throat felt better, I felt healthy just by getting out of there.
Back to the honey, lemon and thyme.
So when someone approaches you with a limp wet paw, then sits back on his chair ready to lean back and look disinterested. Beware, you are only a mere whisker away from his next pleasing performance - yeeeeuuuuugh, lets not even go there again.....