Sunday, November 30, 2008


Part 1
When I was 6 I was given a copy of Eloise which was by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight, for Christmas. I learnt new words like adore, absolutely, unique. I ‘adore’ that book and I’ve even used it to teach English. I was really pleased to see Eloise take a cameo role in ‘You’ve got mail’. I also discovered that there is a website when I was checking up this afternoon

Part 2
Fast forward a few years and I’m a great fan of Barry Ryan’s Eloise. Recently the children introduced me to Deezer so I’ve been busy making play lists and of course I’ve got a Ryan brother’s list. I also rediscovered ‘the Hunt’ which my best friend gave to me for my 14th birthday. I remember my party so well. I even invited a boy but he didn’t turn up. Spending the afternoon with 10 overexcited 13/14 year old girls was just to much for him. Hard boiled eggs cut in half seemed to be my idea of sophistication I remember…

He recently appeared on French TV (which I missed). He’s 60 now and his voice has not changed at all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


I cried this morning when I watched the video which was part of this post. Perhaps if there had been beating and noise I would have been shocked and turned it off ,but they shaved off all of her lovely hair….

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Porte de Menin

I was 14 years old and on a school trip when I was taken to Ypres to see the Menin gate. All I remember was how big it was and so many names….

I’ve since discovered that the names are of missing soldiers and there wasn’t enough room for them all. Bodies are still being found today (from 1914-18) and if they are identified the names are removed. Every evening at 8 o’clock the last post is sounded. This done by the perpetual endowment of Rudyard Kipling whose son John was killed in 1915. The only years missed were during the occupation in the second world war.

Soldier’s Dream

I dreamed kind Jesus fouled the big-gun gears;
And caused a permanent stoppage in all bolts;
And buckled with a smile Mausers and Colts;
And rusted every bayonet with His tears.

And there were no more bombs, of ours or theirs,
Not even an old flint-lock, nor even a pikel.
But God was vexed and gave all power to Michael;
And when I woke he’d seen to our repairs.

Wilfred Owen

Another post on Time and Oft.

Friday, November 7, 2008


As I did on my previous blog, I’m killing two birds with one stone by including Nick Drake’s ‘Cello Song’. When I was at secondary school (as it was called in those days) I was fortunate enough to have ‘cello lessons. I really loved playing the ‘cello and took part in several evenings at school, performing to the parents in the school orchestra. One year we performed in the area school orchestra: All of the school orchestras got together for a morning. It is a most incredible sensation to be playing as part of a big orchestra. As ‘o’ levels approached I gave up playing, something I really, really regret. When we win the lotto I’m going to buy a cello and look for a teacher…

I rediscovered Nick Drake in recent years, thanks to having access to more music on the internet. When I Googled his name to find out what he had become I was really upset to discover that he died from an overdose of amitriptyline back in 1974. Like many brilliant people, he paid the price with depression. Like many other brilliant people from the past he wasn’t really appreciated during his lifetime as he should have been.

the documentary of his life is on YouTube

Discover Nick Drake!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Catch a Falling Star...

First off for my Desert Island Discs choice is a song that I especially loved as a child “Catch a falling Star” recorded by Perry Como in 1957, it was his first gold record. The idea of catching a star and keeping it for a special occasion caught my imagination – it still does!

Lyrics to Catch A Falling Star :

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
never let it fade away

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
save it for a rainy day

for love may come
and tap you on the shoulder
some starless night

just in case you feel
you wanna hold her
you'll have a pocket full of starlight

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
never let it fade away

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
save it for a rainy day

for love may come
and tap you on the shoulder
some starless night

just in case you feel
you wanna hold her
you'll have a pocket full of starlight
(mmmmm hmmm)

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
never let it fade away

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
save it for a rainy day

for when your troubles
start multipling
and they just might

its easy to forget them
without trying
with just a pocket full of starlight

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
never let it fade away

catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket
save it for a rainy day
save it for a rainy day
[ Catch A Falling Star Lyrics on ]

Now you can listen to it too, I’ve discovered how to do that kind of thing…

Discover Perry Como!

Or have I?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sœur Emmanuelle

Sœur Emmanuelle died on Monday. She was almost 100 years old. There has been almost nothing else on TV these last two days. She was such a popular figure. She was always urging people to smile and be happy, setting a good example herself.

The first time I saw her on French TV years ago she was being interviewed by our most famous TV journalist, a pretty pompous man at the best of times. She would have non of his questions. On the way to the studios she came across some prostitutes and she wanted to tell us about them. She just had so much energy, a bossy little lady who will be missed by a lot of people from all faiths.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So that's why!

You thought that inventers just sat around all day at home (or in the laboratory or workshop) inventing, didn’t you? Well you’re wrong, they have to go to special academies of invention and work for their diploma first. These academies are all over the world and there are more and more being opened as countries like Japan and India catch up and overtake ‘the West’.

Every year there is a special competition in every academy for the first year student inventors. They have to design a device for pouring liquid from a cardboard carton. The winner gets to see their work applied to cartons in their part of the world. Have you ever noticed that these things never work? Juice or milk gets spilled everywhere either in the opening process or in the pouring. Like I said, they are only first year students.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Desert Island Discs revisited

Just before the BlogCharm plug was pulled out, I wrote a series of posts on my ‘Learn Something New Everyday’ blog about a radio programme called Desert Island Discs. A guest is asked to imagine that they have been shipwrecked on a desert island. They must take 8 pieces of music with them. They also have the Bible (or other religious work), the Complete Works of Shakespeare, a book of their choice and a luxury item. This is a novel way to encourage famous and distinguished people to talk about their lives. Nearly everyone associates music with special moments in their life.

I’d finished my Desert Island Discs and deleted all of the notes I’d made, so my posts were lost for ever. I thought that it would be fun to do them again. Some I know will be the same and others – we shall see. The BBC have kept records on who has been on over the last few years and their choices too. Jeremy Irons, back in 2006 is the celebrity whose musical choices I identified with the most.

Which 8 pieces of music would you choose?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Missing the Last Boat Home

Neutron has recently been writing about the joys of touring what used to be East Germany. Thanks to him I realised I hadn’t looked to see what my cousin Paul was up to recently (he plays in Germany sometimes too and I’m sure they will meet up). Well, there was quite a lot to catch up on and you can listen to some of his tracks here as well as Missing the Last Boat Home and others and not forgetting my all time favourite Give Me Your Wings. He was scheduled to perform on Loose Ends a couple of years ago. I’m still waiting…

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

1066 And All That

Every Tuesday afternoon I have an hour of conversation with my longest running student. She’s a retired history and geography teacher (history and geography are taught together in France). We always have plenty to talk about; the news, history, geography, Google, families, women, literature, religion… we discuss everything.

For several months now we have been reading '1066 And All That' when we’ve finished the round up of our weeks.. I’ve read it a couple of times in the past and now I have the insight of a history teacher and Latin scholar, who came first in her year at La Sorbonne (but there wasn’t another university in those days she modestly claims). She sees a lot of humour that I missed and sometimes I have to explain things to her. We’re on the War of the Roses* at the moment. Unfortunately I can never remmber which colour was which so I have homework to do before our next lesson….

If you’ve never read '1066 And All That' I strongly recommend it.

*The Wars of the Roses 1455 - 1487 : Lancaster; red. York; white

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Changeover

I found magnetic coloured letters the other day in the bottom of a vase,
Hurriedly tidied away one lunch time long ago.
A few weeks before; a box of paints -
“Don’t open those today, use up the old ones”
Never used.

Today my son reaches things down from a high shelf or lifts a heavy bag,
My daughter passes orange juice to me in one of her glasses

When did it change over?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Shadow People

If you have never heard of the Shadow People I suggest you read about them here (Though ours seemed to be quite friendly). I started to see our Shadow People as soon as I moved here 22 years ago. They passed in front of the house usually, but it wasn’t until Dom and Olivier were around 10 and 8 that I discovered more about them. I spoke to Dom and Olivier because Christian happens to be the least spiritual (though he’s had more experience – I’ll have to talk to him one day to see where he is on that ). I explained that I’d just been reading about some people called the Shadow People and they both knew exactly, together at the same time, that I was talking about the ones who passed in front of the house. We’d never discussed them before. Well, a few years later when Christian was very ill the Shadow People started to come into the house. I was aware of them passing in the corridor leading to the bedrooms. I think that they could sense that there was a problem.

They haven’t been around for a while and I have two explanations for that. First the gardens around here have started to be pulled up and new houses built. It is quiet, but not the same as before. The other reason was that one night I’d gone to bed and Rob stayed up late working on the computer. He woke me up in a panic as he was sure that someone had walked down the corridor, he thought it was me. I just told him not to worry about it as it was probably a Shadow Person (then I had to explain who they were). Perhaps they went away because his reaction frightened them, or perhaps they were worried that they had frightened him. I do miss them.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thinking about age

Remembering how my grandmother used to sleep in the afternoons when I went to stay with her as a child. When I was 6 years old she was 50. I’m three years older now and I don’t have a nap in the afternoon, if I do go to bed during the day it’s because Rob and I are having a little sieste – as we call it…

All this has come about because AOL France recently started a debate on dressing your age. I was pleased to read that most of the ladies commenting were around my age and we all still treasure our jeans. There was a general agreement that micro skirts and cropped tops at our age were out, but with a bit of adaptation women our age could give the youngsters a run for their money.

My grandmother went to the hairdressers every week on Friday mornings. She wouldn’t have dreamt of colouring her hair (perhaps a lavender rinse). Isn’t it wonderful that we aren’t expected to follow rigid rules and regulations any more?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Poem of the day

This poem is also mentioned on my other blog. I think that it is important enough today to be mentioned here too. Just over a year ago the writer, Isaac Stolzfut, went out for a walk and never returned. Today would have been/is his 89th birthday…

Saturday, September 6, 2008

George Sand and the history of photography

I was preparing a semi-modern postcard the other day of La Vallée Noire, photographs of George Sand surrounded by some of the places she had written about. This got me wondering about the dates of the first photographs in existence. So with the help of Google and Wikipedia I did a little research and found this site, which shows several firsts in the history of photography. Images have been captured since as long ago as 965. The first photograph as we think of it required an 8 hour exposure back in 1826 (that would limit the admissions to flickr albums). Anyway back to George, her photograph was taken in 1864. Now I must start reading her books

Rob wondered about photographs of Charles Dickens a few days before. I found one taken in 1867/8

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Time for some music

I’m listening to Nancy Sinatra ‘Lightning’s Girl’ at the moment. Would you believe that Dom passed it to me? All the oldies and goodies are there besides ‘These boots are made for Walking’ ‘You only Live Twice and my two favourites ‘Some Velvet Morning’ and ‘Summer Wine’ with Lee Hazelwood. His voice goes right down deep into the pit of my stomach.

The other day I was checking my archives for something and came across a game I played a year or so back:

1. Go to your CD rack/shelf/room.
2. Select the 13th CD from the end of your collection
3. What's the 5th track?
4. List it on your blog, with a story of why you purchased this CD.
5. Link back to me - if you wish.

Nick Drake, a collection of songs I made myself, so it’s Northern Sky. Northern sky goes back to 1970. I thought he was so romantic then and I still do today. I rediscovered his music thanks to the internet. Nick died in November 1974, imagine what music he’d be creating today with a full lifetime’s experience behind him?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

With Great Pleasure

One of the very best programmes on BBC Radio Four is With Great Pleasure, each week a celebrity treats the audience to writing and extracts that they are fond of. Today was the turn of Jude Kelly, who I don’t know anything about at all. She presents a treasure chest of varied writing which I really enjoyed and would like to share – especially the poem towards the end, written by her own daughter, Caroline Bird (poem starts 23.08 minutes in) With Great Pleasure

Friday, August 15, 2008

Down the Tube VII End

Before I came here I remember seeing a film on the internet of a man who was trapped in a lift for over 40 hours. I remember watching and round about hour 38 thinking ‘don’t worry you’ve only got a few more hours to go’.

If only someone was observing me now and thinking the same thing...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dinard – Un coin de la Plage

Lady on the beach,
All on your own,
Stealing sleep.

Where are the children?
Where is your husband?

For a little while;
Dream in the sun...

All too soon they will be back,
And you will be back,
To your duties of mother and wife.

The afternoon’s dream memories-
Put away.

Friday, August 8, 2008

At peace

A few months ago we sold a postcard on eBay from the first World War. We sell lots of cards from that epoch so selling it wasn’t too special. What was special though was the image. It was a row of dead soldiers lined up on the ground after a battle. Their wounds had been covered up and non had facial injuries. I’d rather not see cards like that. Even the ruins of towns, villages and farms can be shocking.

Yesterday I had to put the same card up for sale, another had arrived with a lot of postcards we bought recently. I have to scan the postcards and scale them down to fit eBay’s requirements; I managed to do all of this without looking too much at the image. Then I have to write about the card and examine the corners, look for creases and bends etc. I don’t know why I felt peace from the card – silence and peace. It reminded me of the extract from a poem by Wilfred Owen I'd used to accompany a postcard for armistice:

“Of them who running on that last high place
Breasted the surf of bullets, or went up
On the hot blast and fury of hell’s upsurge,
Or plunged and fell away past this world’s verge,
Some say God caught them even before they fell.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Out in the open

For a couple of days this week I was on what you could call an emotional roller coaster; I had two conversations, one with Olivier, my youngest son and one with Rob, my husband. We talked about a friend of Rob’s who used to come to stay with his family when all of the children were small. I really got on well with his wife, we married within days of each other and our birthdays are one after the other. Olivier suddenly remembered being in the kitchen with Rob’s friend when he was quite small and the friend saying to Olivier ‘remember that’s our secret’ he spoke in English which made the words even more secret(e)y as far as Olivier was concerned. Olivier doesn’t think that anything happened that shouldn’t have. Two days later Rob and I were talking about the same person and Rob suddenly said that he wondered if this person had ever done anything to the boys. I felt physically sick when he said that because he didn’t know what Olivier had told me. We discussed the probability calmly and decided probably not (I used to be driven round the bend by these visits – nine of us in a small bungalow, so there wasn’t much chance of anyone getting to be on their own ).

Dom came into the kitchen yesterday evening as I was telling Olivier what his father had said.; Silence (psychologists and psychiatrists always do that silence bit). Then she said that she thought probably nothing had happened as Olivier seemed fine to her, then Rob came and joined in, so we talked it through together as a family. We’ve decided to forget about it

Twice recently we’ve had good family moments which I really treasure. Olivier and Dom seem to be getting along fine at the moment. It would be lovely to have Christian with us too, of course. Dom will be moving into her tiny apartment in September and it will be years before we’re all together again.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Down the Tube VI

Years ago I worked in a bank and the manager retired. We had to have two cocktail parties, one for the staff and colleagues and the other was for customers and the staff came too. When the new manager arrived we did the same again. I was younger then and had more than my fair share of dry martini and champagne. They had caterers who bought in the most delicious looking canapés. They weren’t delicious at all, they were filled with a kind of sludgy mixture of various shades and quite tasteless. I think that the only reason they got eaten was because we were all drinking far too much and didn’t care.

The food I receive in this place is the same stuff I am sure. I eat when I’m hungry because I am hungry and that’s all. Oh if I could have just one juicy, crisp apple…

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Keep your heart clean

This isn’t about health. This is about one of the young men who spent 6 years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp; I only picked up the end of the radio program about him. He now lives in Saudi Arabia and has recently married. The journalist asked him why he still wore American style clothes after all that had happened to him. The young man explained that he did not hold a grudge against his captors. He explained that it is important to keep your heart clean. I understood exactly what he meant. It’s important not to wallow in the negative aspects of the past. Look forward to the future with hope.

A lesson for us all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Down the Tube V

How do you measure time when there is no day or night? Sleep is not reliable. Everyone has had nights which last forever and nights where it’s morning almost as soon as your head hits the pillow. I remember reading somewhere that if you are deprived of day and night your body adapts to a 21 hour cycle. How many of those have I had by now?

I did wonder about using hunger to measure time. I’m not even sure that I’m fed at regular intervals. I started to exercise doing what gymnastics I could think of. I try to sing to give me some rhythm to work to. If I’m being observed I must make a comical site

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bob Dylan paints as well.

Some paintings and what RollingStone says.

I was interested to see the comments about whether anyone would take notice of his paintings if he wasn’t so famous. I was listening to a radio programme today about originality and by coincidence the same idea came up. If you have a painting by Anon it might be quite interesting but worth nothing. If you then discover that Anon was no other than say – Leonardo da Vinci – the value of the painting will zoom up by millions of euros. Yet the painting is still the same.

Chances are that Mr. Dylan is like a lot of us and just enjoys getting lost in painting.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Allan Ahlberg is 70

I was so pleased to hear the Allan Ahlberg interview on BBC radio 4 earlier today. I loved reading his and Janet’s books to my children when they were small. I even read Funnybones in English to my French pupils and they loved it. You don’t need to translate some things!

The interview will be up for a week so don’t miss it. He sounds like a lovely man and is really funny

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Anyone who reads any of my four blogs on Blogspot for the next day or so will see this identical post. After humming and ha-ing for several months Rob and I have decided to open an eBay Shop for our postcards. A lot of people have asked why we haven’t done it before. The simple reason is that we sell small price items and a shop isn’t always viable in that case. As there have been recent changes to charging on ebay accounts for professionals in France we thought we’d give it a go.

If you have a moment could you please have a look and tell me what you think of the colour scheme etc. I know it’s in French, that’s our main market, although we do sell all over the world. Please leave a comment if you have anything to say or a question on any of the cards.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Down the Tube IV

You may well ask how am I communicating this information to whoever might read it. On the table is a computer which I can use to write. I’ve created calendars and graphs but my writing disappears when I’m asleep so I’m sorry if you’ve read this before. I’m not really sure how much I remember now. Not long after I entered the room I examined the computer for wires etc but found nothing. My access to the computer is restricted, I can’t explore the memory. If I try the lighting becomes uncomfortably bright. I do know that I can write what I like because I’ve experimented with insults gibberish and anything else I could think of to test the system.

Monday, May 12, 2008

More about me

I know I’ve done this elsewhere recently but I got tagged again by Dawtch and she’s a witch so I thought I’d better do something about it. These are 6 more things about me

1. I’ve always had a soft spot for Albrecht Dürer.(sorry it’s the French page but the paintings are what you should be looking at) I discovered that the retired lady who comes for conversation is an admirer of his too. We giggle like school girls at the thought of him. Did you know that people thought that he had a magic paint brush just for painting hair?

2. My granddad is my spirit guide. A few years ago I had an incredible dream about him being pleased to see me. Then about a year ago I followed an exercise to meet my spirit guide – and he was there! I should have known all along. All I have to do now is remember to ask him for help!

3. This is turning into a very spiritual ‘about me’. I can’t pray. I was very concerned about this until I heard Karen Armstrong speaking on the radio. Not being able to pray had caused her problems as a nun – if I remember rightly. Then I understood what was going on with me. However when my dad was dying I prayed - I felt that I was wrapped in a cocoon of blue light and warmth. A long way from gabbling The Lord’s Prayer before going to sleep in case something dreadful happened in the night!

4. I live in La Rochelle and grew up in Worcestershire not far from Worcester. La Rochelle is a town which belonged to Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was Queen of France and then Queen of England. One of her sons, John (Lackland – who lost the crown jewels in the Wash), is buried in Worcester cathedral. I always feel that I’m ‘meant’ to be here because of that coincidence

5. I never expected in a hundred years that I would have a daughter. I cried my eyes out when Dom was born (between her two brothers)

6. I talk to bees and any other insects who will listen and they usually do. This is an excellent method for getting them out of the house; just ask them firmly to go outside (don’t shout at them) and point in the direction of the open window or door. Most creepy crawlies would rather be outside anyway so are happy to oblige. In his book ‘Bring Out The Magic In Your Mind’, Al Koran wrote about Lady Muriel Dowding (founder of Beauty without Cruelty) asking the mice to leave when they infested her home – they did

Here are the rules:
1) Link back to the person who tagged you .
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Write six things about yourself.
4) Tag six people at the end of your post by posting links to their blog sites.
5) Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their site.
6) And let your tagger know when your entry is up.

I won’t tag 6 people but if you’re passing and would like to join in, you’re welcome. I’d love to see what you write, so please let me know.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Not as easy as it looks

Doris invented or revived , I’m not sure which, a little writing game. The idea is to take a book and turn to page 123. Write down the first and last sentences on that page and join them up with some prose of your own. It is not as easy as it looks and I tried two books before I was satisfied; I am a lazy writer! Okay, page 123 of ‘The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru as doctored by me. I’m very sorry Mr. Kunzru to have massacred a page of your book...

He first noticed her taking a tricky ditch as a guest or the Peshawar Vale Hounds. He was immediately smitten by her ability to handle her mount under such difficult conditions. She was obviously a no nonsense woman, one who would make an ideal wife. She’d be the type of woman able to run the ship at home while he was off on duty in the far flung reaches of the Indian Empire. One needed a reliable wife to keep the servants from helping themselves to the precious stocks of gin. The problem was how to hook her and reel her in. He fancied his chances but didn’t like the idea of risking a refusal. He had to plan carefully and as luck would have it a dinner organised by the Viceroy during the following month opened up the ideal opportunity and moment… He had chosen for his ground the swing chair in the rear veranda of the Abbottabad club, which gave a commanding view over a suitably romantic mountain vista and afforded at least two lines of retreat in the shape of the garden and the billiard room.

If you'd like to take up the challenge let me know I'd love to see the results.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Down the Tube III

Eventually the slide did come to an end. I was disappointed that there weren’t various shelves with objects on to look at along the way, like Alice had seen. My landing was reasonably soft, fortunately and a cover slid quietly over the chute entrance. I think that at first I was probably relieved that there was no one there. The relief didn’t last long as I was soon preoccupied with how I was going to get out.

Explore isn’t really the word I can use as there wasn’t really much to explore. There was the mattress on the floor where I had landed and a table with a chair. The walls floor and ceiling were all the same faded yellow colour. It was difficult to distinguish where walls became floor and ceiling it was so uniform. I have never been able to work out how the light system works at all. I do know that the light changes as I ‘behave’ myself. If I please whoever is controlling the room the light becomes more comfortable to my eyes. At one end of the room was a partition behind which I found a toilet and shower. Any necessities appear to arrive through a hole in the wall system but on first view I could not see any form of hatch. I spent a long time studying before I caught objects arriving and departing.

I have plenty of time just for observation.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Reading all kinds of books

Peter from Worldman left an interesting comment about reading all kinds of books. A few years ago some people I know were clearing out their book shelves. They had both worked in New York for the United Nations before they retired and had a pile of English books which they passed on to me. There were books of many different styles of writing and I decided that I would make an effort to read them all, even the ones that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy. I loved them all and they opened up even more avenues of reading for me. The only book I didn’t finish was a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. I will read it one day.

The second point that Worldman’s comment brought to mind was about re-reading books. As I’ve grown older I’ve revisited many of the books I enjoyed in the past, some of them several times Its been interesting to see how my ideas about the characters has changed as my own experiences have made me hopefully wiser. I recommend this exercise to everyone – I think that you would be surprised!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Down the Tube: II

Perhaps I should start with how I found myself here in the first place. I went to bed as usual one evening, though thinking about it, slightly earlier that my habitual hour. You know the sensation of falling you sometimes get when you are dropping off? Well that’s how I felt, I jerked awake and discovered that I was inside some sort of large tube, it was sloping enough for me to slide gently downwards propelled by my own weight. I wasn’t alarmed at the sensation, but more by finding myself in a totally unfamiliar situation. Alice in Wonderland occurred to me; Was I falling inside a technically designed rabbit hole?

The slide seemed uncomfortably long to me. My thoughts moved from amusement, fear, anger and back to fear again. Who or what would I find at the end? Why?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Down the Tube: I

When I was a child I lived in a village that was far away from any library. Fortunately my mother had a good friend who possessed bookshelves full of all types of books. I remember going home every Friday afternoon with armfuls of new books to read. At the age of 8 I already had a reading age of 13, according to tests which had been done at school, so it wasn’t long before I left childish books behind and was devouring science fiction and fantasy. I remember one day a school friend of mine looked up from the childish, illustrated book of Cinderella she was reading to tell me that science fiction was rubbish: ‘It will never happen’.
‘Why’ I wondered ‘did some people think that stories had to come true?’
Fortunately, as I was growing up I gravitated towards adults who understood my need to absorb new ideas and words.

Some of the books I read were collections of short fantasy stories. I think they might have appeared monthly and my mother’s friend had had a story published in one issue. A story I especially remember was written by an author supposedly shut in a room with nothing except a typewriter. He was expected to turn out reams of pages of writing in exchange for being deprived of day and night and fed tasteless purée. An interesting exercise if you think about it.

How was I to know that some stories do come true eventually and I was destined to take the place of that long ago writer? I wonder how many others have passed through here and how long they stayed, were they let out, sane or insane or did they die completely disorientated?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Betty Macdonald

Years ago I read a book; Anybody Can Do Anything. I think I found it in a charity shop and was drawn to it because of its title, I wasn’t disappointed. I discovered that the book’s author, Betty Macdonald had also written a book called The Egg And I. I’ve never read The Egg And I but I vaguely recollect having seen the film.

Yesterday I was listening to BBC Radio Four and had the pleasure of listening to a programme all about Betty and how she came to write the book. Some of her life was familiar to me because of Anybody Can Do Anything. All of the people interviewed for the program felt like I did about her writing. She had left a special mark on them. Now I’ve found my copy of Anybody Can Do Anything and I’m going to give it a long overdue reread.

I see that Wikipedia already mentions yesterday’s broadcast!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sleep in the afternoon

Emily arrived a few minutes earlier that she should have for their walk. She let herself in and burst into Luke’s study like the sunshine from behind the clouds. He told her that he was nearly at the end of the chapter and asked if she would she mind waiting. She smiled and said “good”, went straight to the bookcase, took a book from the shelf , kicked off her sandals and settled herself on the chaise lounge to read.

Luke continued working until he heard a soft thud, her book had fallen onto the floor, she was asleep. He took this as a chance to really study Emily. He started the journey with her toes; they’d been painted bright pink, the pink of English seaside rock with writing though the middle – peppermint flavoured toes – he smiled. The varnish was slightly chipped. His ex wife would never have tolerated chipped varnish. With Emily it gave the message that she had better things to do than worry about her toe nails.

Next he studied her ankles, slightly bony and tanned. He couldn’t see her legs properly because of her jeans, but he could imagine them. Long and strong and slim, they seemed to got on forever. He wondered why she never wore a short skirt. Perhaps there was a scar?

Luke followed the line of her thigh and hips with his eyes. Her shirt was white and showed off well the start of a tan. He could see the outline of her breast moving gently as she breathed deeply in her sleep. Her long hair surrounded her shoulders almost as if she’d studiously arranged it, a cascade of reflections from the afternoon sun coming through the windows.

He reminded himself that this fascination in her was nonsense, they were supposed to be ‘just friends’. When he’d finished his chapter he started a new document and sketched what he saw in the only way - the best way - he knew, with words. His long slim fingers caressing the keys as if to coax them into producing the best words that they could. Emily stirred in her sleep, her hip gyrated ever so slightly and her toes curled. Her lips parted and as she sighed he could just see the tip of her pink tongue. She opened her eyes and adjusted to her surroundings.

“Sweet dream?” he asked her. She looked sleepy and flushed and smiled, avoiding his eyes.

He wondered if he’d ever know her well enough to ask her who she’d dreamt about that afternoon….

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I know it’s been a while since I posted . If you’d like to read some more I recommend you go to visit Angie Brynner and Company, there is nearly a years worth of fiction there . My Christmas story is here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman is the same age as my little brother, so that makes her nearly 44. At the moment I’m listening to the "Collection" most days. "The Promise" is one of the pieces of music that I want played at my life celebration when I die. I just had to check to see if Tracy ever performed with Bob Dylan. As far as I can see she hasn’t so far but she is on the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Celebration singing "The Times They Are A-Changin’”

The Promise
If you wait for me then I'll come for you
Although I've traveled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart
If you think of me If you miss me once in awhile
Then I'll return to you
I'll return and fill that space in your heart
Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting
If you dream of me like I dream of you
In a place that's warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting
I've longed for you and I have desired
To see your face your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
If you'll be waiting
I've longed for you and I have desired
To see your face, your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Your touch
Your kiss
Your warm embrace
I'll find my way back to you
Please say you'll be waiting

Together again
It would feel so good to be
In your arms
Where all my journeys end
If you can make a promise If it's one that you can keep, I vow to come for you
If you wait for me and say you'll hold
A place for me in your heart.

Tracy Chapman 1994

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bob Dylan

A couple of years ago a friend lent us No Direction Home so I spent a New Year’s Eve watching it.

I think I must have been just that little bit too young to have appreciated Dylan in my youth though I remember Lay Lady Lay (1969, Iwas 14 years old) and I still go weak at the knees when I hear him sing “Stay with your man for a while”. Since watching the DVD I’ve started to listen and look and learn about him and his songs, making up for lost time. I enjoy a lot of his songs but my favourites are ‘Forever Young’, which is a kind of blessing. ‘Hurricane’, the story of Rubin Carter a boxer, who was wrongly accused of murder (and he was released – eventually) and ‘Sarah’ which makes me feel like crying. I remember spending days on the beach with my children too – where did they go?

I came across a site once where you could leave a message for Bob Dylan. I wonder if he really does read all of the millions of messages that people all over the world send in. I’m still working on how I’m going to say all that I want to say.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Having a Lovely Time

I’m reading a great book by Jenny Eclair at the moment ‘Having a Lovely Time’ if you are a mother with a demanding family, it will appeal to you. It reminds me of the days when I could have gladly sent them all back to where they came from. I’m reading a translation and finding it very funny – I imagine it would be even funnier in English.

I was listening to ‘Just a Minute’ on BBC Radio 4 this week and Jenny was one of the guest players. I thought that it was a pleasant coincidence.


Another year another blog

This one has been created to make up for the loss of Learn Something New Everyday when Blogcharm closed down. I'm hoping to continue sharing books, music, films, radio and anything else interesting I come across. I might even post short stories that I’ve written from time to time….