Saturday, 24 February 2018

A Funny Old Stick


That's me!  I got more excited than I probably should have done the other day.  I didn't want to cook in the evening so bought one of the poshest pizzas that Aldi do.  It came with an oval polystyrene base.  Whoopee!  I'm trying to think of what I can carve onto it to make it into another one of those printing plates.


And when I went out running on Wednesday I was almost ecstatic when I came across a rare purple bottle cap on the pavement.  Wow!


I'm keeping all my little round plastic treasures in one of those delightful Trader Joe bags that the  Second Martha Stewart gifts me.  When it's about halfway full I'll see what I can do.  There, a prettier image than the preceding two.

And that's not all.  I've decided to collect beer bottle caps too.  Go and have a look at the blogpost that is the inspiration for this latest piece of recycling.  And yes I have a doming block!

Friday, 23 February 2018

On The Topic of Geysers.


Just recently I was set one of those Facebook challenges.   For this one I had post a picture of a book that I loved each day for a week.  Now those that made it to my page weren't necessarily my favourites.   There's too many to mention  and I probably could have easily kept going for a year. I am a self confessed bookworm after all.  Never knowingly without a book.

This is one that got away. It was given to me by my friends John and Julie on my last American trip,  the geyser geeks' Bible.   My friends had updated to the fourth edition so it was a cast off!  Nonetheless ownership gives me membership of an extra special nerdy geological clan.    Now you'd think that thermal features are relatively static but this is not the case.  Geysers come and go out of dormancy hence the need for revisions to the book.   Fascinating stuff about my favourite place in the world even if some of it is twenty years out of date.

I'm doing  an exercise at the moment in the  hope of changing my thought patterns for the better.  Whenever I notice something that creates a negative motion I'll turn  my thinking around to something more upbeat.  I'm combing my mind for  memories of times when  I was in a state of bliss. When I need an edifying thought I'll then have them to hand to counteract sadness, anger, envy, bitching.....all those kind of things.  My presence at two eruptions of my beloved Beehive Geyser are way up the list.   Great big sticking plasters in my emotional first aid pack.  For remembering those times when I witnessed such a majestic and unpredictable natural phenomenon fills me with awe and joy.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Hump Day Revisited


I'm well into my routine now of condensing a full-time working week into four days and having Wednesday off.   So what do I do?  Well lets go over what happened yesterday shall we?  It's probably going to describe a typical pattern from now on.

 I think I've mentioned before that there's still a school run to Totnes but at least it gets me up.   Of course I'd miss my morning shouty moments with an unwieldy adolescent too!  Yesterday I got a grocery shop on the way home.  I treated myself to a few of the bunches of narcissi that were on display at the till.    And then I went for a rather weedy run.  After five months where exercise has been difficult I thought I'd start gently and go back to the very start of the NHS Couch to 5K running plan.   I'm happy to say that running for one minute bursts interspersed with ninety second walks is super easy.  But better safe than sorry.

What else?  Well I blogged, meditated, gave thanks for the previous day and did a few competitions.  All these are now part of my daily routine.   I discovered the whereabouts of a very short lived work pension plan that I'd had years ago.  It turned out that it wasn't quite the tiny pot of money that I'd imagined.  Then I worked towards getting my dementia consultancy business to a point that it is finally up and running.  For the best part of a year I've been focusing on getting my name known.  It's working.  'Ah, you're the Dementia Consultant who writes those articles!' someone I met recently said.   I hope soon that the pennies will start rolling in.  So I busied myself for the best part of the day on updating my website.  It's not there yet but I'm pleased with the process. Next step will be firming up the plans for the services I'm offering.  I'm in the process of organising therapy rooms where I'll do some of the work.

I've been very stern with keeping Wednesdays free. It would be all too easy to relent to requests to change the day to fit around someone else's plans but I've held fast.  That would probably be a slippery slope back to five day working.  As it is my work documentation is up to date, the chores at home get down, there's time to work on forward plans and even some over for rest and relaxation.  It's as if I've made time out of thin air.  Combined condensed hours with the idea of a 'Sabbath', a day, not necessarily Sunday, that I devote to rest and pleasure it's working brilliantly.  I'd really recommend it!

The Zombie Poetry Genre


I got a letter from Louis' school before half term.  A poem that he'd written had been selected to be published in a book.   Now before you start  believing that I am deluded enough to believe that my son is going to be the next Wordsworth or Keats let me explain.  This seems to be the literacy equivalent to the school photo.  Produce a book with a load of schoolchildren's poems in it and flog it to their proud parents and as many families and friends as you can entice. It's a clever business idea but I'm one canny mother.

I had to sign some sort of agreement letter but there's no mention of relinquishing copyright so I've copy and pasted my boy's work  here.  It's now recorded for posterity for me to read at whim - for free.  The bonus is that I don't have to plough through the offerings of a whole load of other teenagers who I don't know from Adam.

It seems that Lou has created a new kind of zombie poetry genre.  Call me a biased mother.  Even though I feel  that the third stanza could do with a bit of extra work I actually quite like it.

Terminal Of The Dead

I got off the plane, the terminal was devoid of life. The floor was covered in dead bodies, but there was something different about them. I didn't know what. 
I scanned the horizon for anything of use. About 20 metres away, I spotted a dead cop. I rushed over to him to see if he had a gun. I searched his belt. 
I felt the texture of a pistol. I went to grab it but the cop's eyes sprung open.He groaned mindlessly. He grabbed my wrist and tried to bite me. He was a zombie! 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Space Spirograph




I'm not going to say much today mainly because I'm writing this to schedule ahead and I'm zonked after my first day back at work after the holiday.  This is a post for those of you who love science.  For those who don't you may be converted!

Monday, 19 February 2018

No News Update: The Daffodils are Flowering


Pessimists look away!   I'm going to indulge in a hearty bit of perkiness today.  It's over a year  since I made the conscious decision to steer away from mainstream news reports on TV, radio and in written form.  I've touched on it a couple of times in blog posts now.  Having weaned myself off updates through the day about the world's woe it's not a habit that I'm about to return to anytime soon.   No girlie is an island of course and some stuff still filters through.  And that is perhaps a good thing. Some awareness spurs me to take positive action.  But it's the constant wallowing and frequent discussion that arise from it that I've stopped.   I'm sure it's contributed towards me being a happier more mentally resilient person than I was a few short months ago.

I'm not denying that using the news as active propaganda to undermine a population doesn't exist.  However I don't think that there's always particularly sinister motives behind journalists bathing us with regular updates of the bad things going on in the world.    The necessity of keeping informed about tragedy  is just something that's been ingrained in our culture.   Yet it needs to be questioned for it causes a drum to beat in the collective psyche.  'The world is a bad place, the world is a bad place'.  No wonder there is so much anxiety, anger and hopelessness if this is the constant message that we receive.

I'm saddened by the less than philanthropic goings on in charities around the world.  Yes that's one of the things that got through the filter.  But do you know what?  Minute by minute around the world thousands of people working in the same organisations  are carrying out acts of remarkable kindness.  Extending beyond the charitable sector most of us will behave in a way that fosters love of ourselves, others and our planet hundreds of times during each waking day.  Among them are countless moments of tenderness. Yes there are baddies but surely all that love counteracts their deeds?  Beautiful feats of creation are occurring.  People are capable of astonishing things and so it is with nature in the wider sense. 

The daffodils come back!   I spotted clumps of them on the roadside on my way home from the airport yesterday.  Hundreds of them.  Each one a miracle but so commonplace we barely appreciate it.  Seeing them was enough to convince me that there is more good going on in the world than bad.  Now wouldn't that be marvellous if we lived in a world where the unfurling of the flowers each spring makes headline news?

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Squashing in the Souvenirs


Off home today after a splendid week away in a country that I hope I'll come back to again and again.  Yesterday we had an impromptu ride on Tram 28, the iconic little yellow jobbies that roll up and down the hills around Lisbon.  We hadn't planned this after we'd seen the queues at the terminus in Martim Moniz square which is a short stroll from the apartment.  Sod that!  All that squishing with the threat of pick pockets didn't seem worth the bother.  But then we were downtown and a near empty tram drew up with just a tiny line of people waiting.  It seemed rude not to take it.

I posted a picture of my suitcase just over a week ago.  As we are travelling with just hand luggage space is tight, very tight.  Of course I could have foregone shopping and come away with just memories and all those pictures stored on Google Photos.  They're more precious than some would imagine.   I especially love my tram picture from the other day.  And here's one I haven't shown you before a detail from the Monument of the Discoveries that's on the waterfront at Belem.  We got a lift to the top of the structure, took in the views and then came all the way down the stairs back to dry land.


But if I do some serious squishing there's enough room for some souvenirs.  Here's some beautiful little bowls with metallic detailling.  They're tiny, just a few centimetres each across so should be easy to squeeze in between the dirty socks.  And there's a bracelet that's already on the mad wrist.  All from a beautiful lfittle shop in Sintra called Olaria S. Pedro that was really reasonably priced given the quality of what was on offer.  Had we walked down from Quinta da Riboaleira rather than taking the Tuk Tuk I think that there was much to tempt in that town.


Big Good Luck Ceramic Chickens are on sale everywhere.  We even spotted a LGBT version in one of the shops in Belem.   There's not a chance that I'd be able to fit any of them in that tiny trolley dolly suitcase.  So I've compromised with their image on tea towels.  Two of them  Some of the ones at home are on their way out so I'm looking for replacements, the more kitsch the better.  I think my new ones meet the mark.


Louis  coveted the T-shirts from the funky Portuguese company Typographia.  They have a printing press as their logo so I relented.


And he also begged to take home some Pasteis de Nata, the custard tarts that he's been stuffing into his gob all week.  The box he was given them in is beautiful.


And finally a home grown souvenir from one of those pizza bases that I brought with me.  Here's my incomplete carving of a jellyfish inspired by the ones at the Oceanarium.   I'm hoping that I'll have it done and dusted for a large scale printing weekend that I'm planning back in Blighty in a couple of weeks time

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Towers, Tunnels and Tuk Tuks


If I am ever rich beyond belief I will of course find myself a wonderful house and commission one of the funkiest motorhomes on the planet.  Those whom I love would come off okay as well.  And they'd be some sort of trust fund for eliminating a major ill from this planet.  Remember I'm talking mega bucks here.

After yesterday I've decided I'd take a leaf out of the book of Carvehlo Monteiro who commissioned Quinta da Regaleira in Sintra.   With the assistance of an architect Manini he designed a palace and the whackiest garden that I've ever visited.  It's a mixture of zany buildings and underground tunnels and grottos, allegedly with all sorts of mystical symbolism.  We didn't grasp any of that.  We were having too much fun exploring.  And so with a small portion of my billions,  I'd like to create something similarly joyful and share it with the public to raise smiles.  Here's some of what we saw.










And that's not all.  Somewhere on the way back to catching the train we both lost our Tuk Tuk cherries.  Sorry about the photo quality.  It's the only one I took.  I was holding on for dear life for the rest of the trip!