Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Hot Water and Air

We're away on our travels next week so I'm a bit bursty with excitement.  What I love about our holidays is their capacity to enrich time across all dimensions.  There's  the planning beforehand,  creating magical memories whilst away and then withdrawing them at a future date for a bit of quality reminiscing.

I've been thinking about  last year's Trans-Atlantic trip a lot lately.  In particular musing on those geyser eruptions  has an extra-special capacity to warm the coolest cockles of my heart.  One day in retirement I may well be flipping burgers for a few months in Yellowstone just to get a proper thermal fix.  So, in thirty years time,  if you see a old granny  at the Old Faithful Geyser Basin excitedly wielding a spatula  as Beehive is about to erupt it'll probably be me!

This video that I've just discovered takes me back to another time during our trip where we visited Chihuly Gardens and Glass in Seattle.  Man-made rather than natural wonders but nonetheless amazing.  I am completely bowled over by these super skillful craftsmen.  Though tempted to create my own glassy forms I think I'll pass.  Clumsy lady, hot molten glass; What could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Beyond The Ikea Flatpack

'How easy is it to build a shed?'  I pondered aloud on Facebook back in November.  Some of my more intrepid gung-ho girlies urged me to give it a go and so I went ahead and bought the most scary flatpack of my life. 'Gulp!' I thought after  I'd finally seen off the delivery lorry  that circled the narrow lanes of Brixham for about an hour and a half.   An inspection of my newly acquired booty had revealed that there were no pre-drilled holes as  in the style of Billy Bootcase.   I reckoned that  I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

About a month ago I plucked up the courage to start building. With the help of a faithful thirteen year old the shed slowly took shape under the cloud of air turned blue because of all that swearing that went on. Surely potty mouthed expletives should be included in the instructions. 'Sh*t!' as a roof panel comes sliding back to earth and of course the obligatory F**k!, f**k, f**k! when  a finger gets hit.  I am bringing the fish wife back to Brixham!   In spite, or maybe because of all that cussing, the basics got done and I was quite pleased with my handiwork. There was a bit of a gap on the roof apex that couldn't quite be closed up but isn't that what roofing felt is for?
There were just the fiddly bits left: a window, yes, the roofing felt and a big bolt to put on the door.  I bought that as an extra.  A robber would have clapped his hands with glee if he'd seen the flimsy one supplied by the shed company.  I was thinking that I might have to aim for a higgledy piggledy look for the overall structure.  You know what I mean.  It's like when someone builds something badly in a cartoon and it comes out all lop sized and covered in plasters.

Thank goodness for my dear friend Corn Pipe.  He took one look at my attempt at glazing, shook his head and assertively took over the end stage of the project. He  even managed the rather clever bodge that was needed for the bolt.    For the price of a couple of beers I thankfully have a half decent shed and whoopee!  My understairs cupboard is neat and tidy now there's a new home for skate and body boarding paraphernalia.  There's no longer a bag of soil to trip over near the washing machine and my bike has been relegated from being a 'feature' in my kitchen.   What a difference that extra 7'x5' of space has made!

Monday, 23 May 2016


When I was about twenty I learned to touch type.  It was my second attempt.   There'd been lessons at school where we tapped away to music with a keyboard covered by a plank of wood.  I didn't get on with that at all. I borrowed a clunky old portable typewriter in a case with a zip.  I think that it was a bit like this one in the picture. I also had a blue book called 'Teach Yourself Touch Typing'.  For night after night I'd tap away at the keys ASDF   ASFD oops!  After about a fortnight  I was sorted.  I was like a demon on that keyboard.  My initial typing speed must have reached something like fifteen words a minute but I was there!

It took a modicum of effort but it's one of the most useful things I've ever done, transferable between careers in finance and healthcare and a bit handy for life outside work as well - like blogging!  I'm amazed  that so many others haven't gone down the same route and equally astounded that this isn't a skill that is universally taught in schools.   So here's a plea.  Free yourself from that onerous two fingered tapping!  Of course today a paperback isn't needed.  There are plenty of online resources.  Here's one that looks like a perfectly acceptable online teaching resource.  

Sunday, 22 May 2016


I remember someone once telling me about their dad  who had recently died.  He visited prisoners and felt that these were people who had ended up in jail because they had lacked love in their lives.  Is this true in every case?  Debatable maybe but this explanation probably applies to many inmates. Certainly it seems to fit with people that I've known personally who have been incarcerated, like the wild neglected little boys in my primary school classes who smelt of wee.

Here's a video that disturbed me greatly.   Sometimes it is good to be propelled out of my comfortable little world and have my eyes open to the horrific reality of the lives of others.   Denying  damaged souls liberty might sometimes be  necessary and appropriate.  But to inflict punishment that causes further psychological harm can't be right.   Surely the validation of being unloved is never helpful. Our collective human psyche must be very damaged indeed if we believe otherwise.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

All Change

Wow! What a difference a few months makes.  For I've woken up this morning exquisitely happy.  I've been back at work for three weeks and have been enjoying my job for the intrinsic pleasure that I get from making a real difference to people's lives.  My friends and family are super lush.  I live in a beautiful house in a vibrant wonderful town.   I feel more well than I've done for some years. And there's a holiday in the offing in a week's time in my van.......I could go on.

I'm  sharing this, not to be a smug smarty pants, but to demonstrate the contrast to my life back in at the beginning of February.  Then  I collapsed in a miserable heap.  It was hard to envisage that life could  ever be good again.  So for anybody out there who's in a bit of a a rut have hope.   Things can change for the better!

Friday, 20 May 2016

The Benefit of Bubbles

Bubble mix is a paltry but very fine investment indeed.   Poundland does a pack of nine for a quid.  Bargain!  I keep a pot  by my bed - as you do. Whenever the mood takes me  I let loose with the wand and a cascade of multi-coloured etheric spheres fall pleasingly.  Some even settle on the duvet and wait around for a while before surface tension finally gives up on them.

This is a beautiful way of relieving stress.  It's so joyous! There's something about the act of blowing and watching  bubbles that provides meditative focus, giving moments of respite from all the detritus that the world sometimes throws us.  And of course it makes that inner little boy or girlie very happy indeed.  

Thursday, 19 May 2016

For Scarlet

My gorgeous friend Scarlet at Beyond the Nook shared the fact the other day that one of her favourite all time songs was 'Edelweiss' from 'The Sound of Music'.  Funnily enough, I'd just listened to this beautifully stark version by 'The Innocence Mission'.  I thought that my old mucker might like this rendition too.