Friday, 28 February 2014

The Ray Winstone of Reiki

Every girl needs to have a healer or indeed an 'ealer in my own case.  Working in Totnes, one of the UK hotspots of hippydom, must be having an effect. Being somewhat unconventional the usual softly spoken lady with flowing locks dressed in rainbow coloured chiffon would not cut the mustard for me.  I've been persuaded by the Ray Winstone of Reiki that he, a South London social worker/ex-copper/ex-nurse who has a belly achingly funny repertoire of dirty humour and a brilliant way with metaphor, is the man for the job.   I'd have used the cover of 'Scum' to illustrate today's post if I hadn't been worried about the threat of the copyright police coming to get me. This rather magnificent illustration from a 1899 Yoga manuscript will have to suffice.

'Blimey doll!' Ray said after nicking one of my rings and swinging it around on a chain.  'Your energy levels are at about thirty percent. Let me come round to your gaff and sort you out darling! What I'll do is bring my  table, candles and other sh*t and realign your chakras. There'll be a bit of touching but nothing that would get me a kick up the arse from the missus.'  With those words of reassurance who could refuse?  Let me add here that I've known Ray for a long time  and in spite of his innuendo laden banter he is as sound as a pound.  Make sure you do your proper checks before employing your own well dodgy geezers as therapists and inviting them into your own home.  They may not do what they say on the tin!

As promised Ray arrived last night and set up his pop up therapy room in my lounge.  I cooked him supper and plied him with tea in return for loads of funny chat with major references to astrology for he's into that as well.  'You Aries always seem so bloody scary, charging at things with your 'orns!'  Oh, and then there was the treatment which took about an hour.

It was bliss and yes, I do feel energised to the point that it's nearly 1am in the morning and I haven't felt the need for sleep yet!  At various times during the session I felt extremes of temperature, involuntary movement and pulsing energy.  But I got none of the imagery that came through to Ray.  Darkness in a wood giving way to extraordinary sunlight to add the finishing touch to a rather sweet  picnic on a red gingham tablecloth, yellow flowers emerging from my solar plexus and no less than six people working together with him on one of my chakras, those energy points spaced through the body that my inner rational scientist balks at.  What's that all about then? Ray has a vivid imagination if nothing else.  I'll report back soon on whether my renewed vigour has been sustained. 

Thursday, 27 February 2014

In Celebration of the First Ever Blooming Good Parent's Evening: A Post About My Kid

In spite of his dyslexia and a pretty relaxed parenting style, my happy, funny Louis, who brings me more joy than I ever could have imagined, is now above average in all key subject areas. Yay!  He retains more than a hint of naughtiness though so there's no doubt at all that he has his mother's genes!

This picture, taken in our Barcelona hotel room last month makes me laugh, not so much for the subject matter but rather for the funny memories it brings back.  I thought that cleaning staff had forgotten to put out toiletries and was rather miffed  about the solitary tiny soap tablet.  It was not until we got home that I discovered Louis' stash of bubble bath, shoe cleaning kits and shampoo, hidden away in his bag. There was also a sweetshop full of the complementary candy from the big glass jar on the front desk of where we'd stayed in Andorra too.  I kind of guessed that he'd had a thing going with the lovely Mexican receptionist but hadn't realised that she'd been doling out quite so many tokens of  affection to her young sugar crazed suitor!

Treasure isn't always hidden quite so thoroughly. Little collections of random items often inhabit the pockets of his school trousers and then rattle around the washing machine as I forget to remove them. His grandparents came up trumps recently. My parents, Mama and Papa Lovelygrey have been feeding his current love of Greek Mythology and there's prompt cards for learning the Greek Alphabet that are no doubt rubbing up against fluffy boiled sweets and a toy car or two.  These emerged at breakfast the other day and I now remember how to order my thetas and omegas.  His other grandmother presented him with this Beano box of tricks, oldie but goodies from an eighty five year old who should know better. I've been caught out with the bendy pencil and then there's that Gnasher Poo!  Just an object for honing a keen sense of toilet humour that should be amongst the core subjects taught in all the schools up and down the land.  It was placed behind my bottom when I was sitting on the bed the other day so no doubt has been put to similar service in the classroom.  I'm just waiting for it to be confiscated and returned to me by his exasperated teacher.  Thanks a lot Nana Lovelygrey! 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Believe it or not this is a point where I'm going to harp on about those Four Agreements again as I see that my book review will fall off the end of my blog today. You've got to admit it. There's not many places on the Internet that mix allusions to Anglo-Saxon expletives  and abject silliness with deep inner truth.  You've come to the right place though, if that is what you seek.

A way of being impeccable with the word, the first of those four agreements is the subject for this post.  Sadly for the grammar Nazis  out there, it isn't really about sentence structure but is a small demonstration of the way that our use of language can have a powerful and lasting effect on ourselves and the others around us. This isn't a comprehensive discussion. Blimey, I knock up these posts in a few minutes, normally with the first morning cuppa so you're not going to get a seminal work.

Firstly let's consider the title.  It's a term that I've used myself about others.  It may shock you that I'm not as pure as the driven snow but get over it!  My inner fish wife has been particularly prone to such utterances when say, driving.  Take for example, a situation when someone has cut me up. Boom! the event happens and the person is instantly labelled for evermore!  Or are they?

There's a bloke who I encountered in Minehead one day who probably still thinks that I am a merchant banker.  I pulled out on him in the shitehawk Fiesta about a year ago.  Even mouthing sorry and then shouting it out of the window several times didn't appease him.  He went a funny shade of purple, just like a Ribena Berry, then chased me off the industrial estate in his lorry mouthing expletives.  I never got the opportunity to offer him some free sessions in anger management to make up for my erring human-ness.

People, and include yourself in the equation, cannot and should not be comprehensively categorised as a personality type.  They exhibit different characteristics, some good and others less so in the wide and varied scenarios that make up their lives.  I've found adapting the way that I inwardly think or speak to accommodate this is really powerful.   This modus operandus is especially applicable to our dealings with kids because they can be particularly susceptible to how we speak to them and damaged by the labels that we give them.

We all exhibit a range of personnas across our life span. Sometimes I don't do what I'd planned on a given day.  I might be 'being lazy' but I am not 'lazy' per se.   My son might do something monumentally idiotic, like using my fountain pen nib to try and crack a nut, but that does not mean that I have any right to call him 'stupid'. He will get a piece of mind though  and be told that what he has done is completely nonsensical.  Do you see the difference? And if someone wrongs you intentionally or otherwise, that does not mean that they can be pronounced 100% completely evil or bad. Even those who strive to be as good as they can be most of the time cock it up nicely on occasions.   Be clear that you haven't like what has happened.  Couch what you say though with references to actions rather than globally bad mouthing another person...or yourself, if you are indeed, the 'evil perpetrator' on this occasion!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Snappy Friend

I think that I've spoken before about the time when taking a picture demanded way more forethought than it does today.  It was an expensive old business in the days before digital photography what with reels of film and developing on top.  So the ability to snap away without a care to the world is something that I'm grateful for.  Don't get me wrong; I'm no David Bailey but just like to archive bits and pieces of the world around me and its lovely to be able to do that without fretting about the cost.

Friends and family often find that I take pictures of their own art work to add to the resources that spur my own creativity.  And I am so loving this picture owned by Salty Dog who likes a good boat, in real life or pictorial form.  Would you believe it's a photo by a chap called Cory Silken. I thought it was a water colour until I looked closely.  There's a nice story behind it too. It was bought with the inheritance from her Nana and represents three generations of women in her family.  Such a great thing to do with a special pot of money!

Monday, 24 February 2014

'Ugly Julie'

Good morning!   I'm feeling a little audacious today so have finally taken the plunge and done this post which I hope is going to be thought provoking.  Just before Christmas  I took a load of selfies one evening including a relatively pleasing one that I've included on a post before.  Please go and have a look because it shows me in a better light and I do have my vanity to preserve!

Being a wacky chick I got to experimenting and wondered if I could take a picture that made me look really, really ugly.  I think you'll agree that I've well and truly succeeded in my plan, unless you're an amorous male bulldog or gurnard that is!

When I popped this on my Facebook page and suggested that it was an art installation I had one of the most vocal responses from my online friends who expressed shock that I'd shared this.  I was even complimented on my bravery. Some of the comments were along the line of 'that cannot be you. doll!'.  But it clearly is. I was there when the picture was taken holding the camera in my left hand.  So what does this say?  Here's some ideas.

1.  The camera never lies - or does it.  Clearly people are shocked and happily this is not how they perceive me to look. For goodness sake I sometimes am told that I am pretty and those commentators aren't all short sighted.
2.  I think that it throws up questions about selfhood.  Do I reject 'Ugly Julie' because she is not the person that I want to display to the world?  In reality we all have an ugly side but often we try to brush it under the carpet and pretend it doesn't exist.  Is there merit in acknowledging it and seeing it for what it is?  And why am I begging you all to go and look at my more flattering picture?
3.  Who is the real person anyway?  Working in dementia care I often hear people's relatives say that the person is not their true self anymore.  Does this negate their very being in the end stages of their life?  Is this saying that we are only really a person when we are at our best?
4.  It is the absolute antithesis of the airbrushed and the fake!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Special Thank Yous

This post is dedicated to my extra special friends who've been super kind and supportive this week when I've needed them most.  They know who they are and why they rallied to my side. Although I divulge the contents of, my knicker drawer and my illustrious preparations for a weigh-in  I'll have you know that there's lots that doesn't make it to Blogland.  It's private and that's the way it's gonna stay.  Anyway, thanks team! Your kindness has been much appreciated and you know that I'll reciprocate one day if you're  ever in need of some succour.  Now isn't that a jolly good word?

So, the latest of my Good Samaritans, Red Mel, fed me today, a wonderful asparagus and vegetable curry from Rick Stein's India.  And I spotted this little fellow,  the most recent Amigurumi that she's made for her granddaughter Delilah. I'm showing you the book because these toys are dead cute. They're easy peasy little creatures for the crocheters amongst you to make as gifts for the little ones in your lives!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Spontaneity Rules

Oops I nearly forgot to blog today! I've been focusing on making that New Year's resolution about seeing more live music come to fruition down at the Vaults Festival in Cornwall. Now I'm back in Plymouth instead of curled up on the sofa at Lovelygrey Cottage  and off to another band tonight. All totally unplanned but somehow that's how it should be. Anyway, have a listen to this bloke, Christian Sleep, that I heard this afternoon. He's the dogs!

PS:  Oh, and I forgot to mention that I will be taking delivery of a brand new bright green Skoda Citigo in a few weeks time
PPS A Day Later:  He also does a cracking version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.  Follow the link!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Where's Me Cosmo?

When the NHS is running at its best it is second to none.  I cannot imagine that healthcare could be any better anywhere in the world.  Believe me, I've have some personal experience over the last two years or so.  And so it is with the physiotherapy service in Devon.  You self refer without having to go through your GP and get an appointment pronto.  It's the absolute dog's danglies.

I thought that it would be a good idea to do some groundwork in advance of my knee operation at the end of March so decided to seek advice on exercise that would make the going a little easier after surgery.  After all I only have to pop downstairs from the office, sit in the waiting room at the hospital where I work for a little while.  It couldn't be any simpler.  There was only one criticism.  As I've highlighted here, and to the girls at reception, the choice of reading material provided was absolutely woeful!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Pleasure From A Feather

Although this might not appear so if you're viewing this post on your smartphone (duh!), this teeny tiny thing has been enlarged with the macro function on my camera.   In real life this tiny brownish tinged feather is only about a centimetre long.  I found it on my clothing at breakfast yesterday and took a closer look.

In all likelihood it's probably from one of the pillows but alternatively, could it more recently have been part of the cosy coat of one of the little creatures who live around this part of rural Devon? I like to think that it might have been but of course, I will never know. What I will reveal is this little tickle from  nature brought me a few moments of joy yesterday. Thank you to the birdie who made that possible!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Just Finished Reading: The Four Agreements

Holy Moses this is good! You may remember on New Years Eve that I said that I would be borrowing this book from Dartmoor Prison via the Devon Library's Service.  Well obviously I probably couldn't have collected it myself even if I do go quite near the gates of the prison quite frequently on my work related jaunts over the moor to Tavistock.

I've read and re-read The Four Agreements: Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, delved into it for a bit of wisdom when I needed it and will be breaking my 2014 spending rules to acquire my own copy.  It's that worth it!

And here are the four agreeements lifted from the inside cover of the book.  Like mindfulness practice, it's simple stuff on paper.  If you're anything like me, you'll look it over and think 'Hey, this is really simple'.  But like mindfulness, and yes I think I can see parallels with the two approaches, this stuff will take a lifetime to master.

1. Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Back of An Envelope Revelations

My three year long NHS lease car contract expires soon so the best way forward is to just take out a new one isn't it?  I fancy this little job here, Skoda's top of  the range Citigo in the rather fresh sounding Spring Green. All I need to do is pop in a request and the fleet manager will come up with the goods, a shiny new fresh smelling car.

Hang on a cotton picking minute though. There's two things stopping me.  Firstly, I'm not at all sure that I want to tie myself into a three year agreement with the NHS. Future plans could well involve beating a retreat to self  employment in the near future.  If you leave the scheme early there are hefty penalties, up to six months of the total rental costs paid by the Trust in first year.  Now, that's not to be ignored.  So, I wondered that with the higher mileage costs paid to people using their own cars, could it possibly be cheaper to go to Skoda and lease the exact same car with an inclusive service package myself?  After all their 0% finance deals seems second to none at the current time.  I got out my trusty spreadsheet and did the figurework based on an estimate for the same car that a friend had been given.

The short answer to the last question is yes it seems to be!  If anyone spots a glaring error please let me know.  And it doesn't seem a trifling amount either By my estimate, there's a cool annual £700 saving.  Plus I'd be buying the car as I was going along.  There's an option to pay a final balance at the end of the lease scheme.  And if I were to forego the idea of having a new car, and I'm thinking of a Seat Leon Sport with around 60,000 miles on the clock, the savings over a three year period on running that particular secondhand motor would pay for running the car outright.

The moral of this story isn't just for those in the same scheme as my own.  Of course, it applies to any regular expense that you might incur.  Is there a way of thinking creatively and reducing your overall costs so that there's more pennies to save or spend on lovelier things?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Ellymental My Dear Watson!

I might have said this before, indeed I'm sure I have but today I'm too lazy to look back through old blog posts. So at the risk of repeating myself I'll say that one of the main ways to curb those impulsive shopping habits and save yourselves a wads of cash is easy-peasy. Simply don't go anywhere near shops if you don't have to, in either the real or virtual world of the Internet.

On Saturday though, I'm afraid that I didn't heed my own advice. There I was with Crafty Kerry, in the Contemporary Craft Fair shop and this little fellow jumped out at me.  I just had to have him!  And do you know I'm not feeling guilty at all.  A rare off-the-cuff treat is a rather lovely thing to have.  Crafty Kerry had her eye on a few pieces too.  It's close to her birthday and she was going to head back to the shop with her husband in tow and drop a few heavy hints.

My little 'literary owl' necklace is made, allegedly from paper, metal and paper mache by Ellymental Jewellery. Such a complex process, such affordable prices.  Go looksie at the website.  I promise you that its worth it. Both the vintage inspired jewellery and the design of the sign are an absolute treat.   I may well be back myself to buy some more pieces when the urge to treat myself again takes hold!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

That's Devore!

One of the wonders of being alive is that you never know what each day will bring.  Mama and Papa Lovelygrey are here for the first part of half term.  I did know that I'd  be taking them to Brixham to show off my future home that's conveniently without tenants for a few days.  What I didn't expect was that the former occupants have left behind a jolly useful capacious shed that will be ideal for our bikes!

In the afternoon, I expected to drop Louis off at the Scout Hut for his weekly Gang Show rehearsal.  However, I didn't fully anticipate what hanging around for coffee with Crafty Kerry would bring.

After a lovely catch up natter at the Flying Pig Cafe cum sweetshop,  it was pretty inevitable that we'd head off over the the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.  When you're in Bovey Tracey it's rude not to!  I wanted to show Kerry the Boggle themed exhibit by Alex Valentine that I posted about a couple of weeks ago. We tittered a bit at the latest offering 'MAKE YOUR FART LAST'. Then joy of joys we were invited to join in a craft demonstration that was in full swing in the main gallery.

Caroline Hall makes wonderful garments using a technique called devore (pronounced de -vore-ray and yes there should be an accent on the end).  A design is drawn onto  a piece of white velvet made from silk with a rayon pile using a chemical gloop.Then by some process that is nigh-on alchemy with an iron and lots of buckets, the pile is burnt away leaving a sheer pattern. A couple of dunks in blue and orange dye later and the result is stunning.  A shimmering piece of  fabric loveliness that my photo can't quite capture!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

More Steps in the Right Direction

Today's picture is a bit obscure I know but it does have footprints in the foreground.  It was taken on my 2011 trip to Yellowstone National Park and yep, that little fella making his way across the bridge may sure look familiar.  Perhaps it would be nice to have some snow at the moment instead of this relentless wind and rain but then again don't they say be careful for what you wish for?

Anyway the purpose of this post is not to comment on the woefully dire weather situation but to impart the news that I've reached another half stone milestone on my 5:2 dieting journey.  Not one but two of those lovely great big Cornishware mugs are on their way.  I thought that if I have a friend round for a cuppa they might appreciate a vat of tea too!

On reviewing my dieting posts I see that I've been making a concerted effort to lose weight since September 2012 but only really started to see progress from October last year.  Since then I've lost 17lb in spite of having Christmas and a holiday in the way. That's not to be sniffed at in my reckoning.  The big incentive has been getting as fit as possible before my knee op that's scheduled in just under six weeks now. Might it be possible to lose another stone before I go under the knife.  Let's see.

So, now to choose another milestone reward to aim for.  What shall it be?  Now after thinking long and hard I've decided that I would really like a new pair of glasses to pep up the image of the new slimmer me!

Friday, 14 February 2014

The True Meaning of Love

Photo:  Ohmega1982
Happy Valentine's Day to one and all!  I hope many of you out there will be showered with cards, gifts and presents or at the very least, a bunch of those dozen red roses for three quid from Lidl.  Me?  I've had a super big kiss from my lovely ten year old who puckers up well!

On  this, the traditional day for romancing, I thought I'd delve into the world of my work with people with dementia and their carers.  So often I come across individuals and couples whose resilience in spite of this dreadful disease is remarkable.  They demonstrate, through their daily actions, the meaning of true and enduring love.  I'm not being at all cheesy when I say that I am privileged to know them.  Here's one story.  For the sake of confidentiality let's use aliases for this couple and call them Fred and Ginger for their dance through life together is inspirational.

On first glance you wouldn't know that Fred has dementia.  He is smartly dressed and is very smiley.  But that's because Ginger spends one and a half hours carefully dressing him each morning and is careful to provide a calm and loving environment where his care is provided. Toileting Fred is a big deal and is a task that is fraught with danger and often involves cleaning up accidents. And that's just the starter for ten. There's feeding, teeth cleaning, shaving, giving medication, putting on support stockings, watching Fred as he has a hot drink...the list is a long one.   Fred is a wonderful man who is lively and enjoys life to the full.  But he's very disoriented to time and doesn't have an off switch. For him to get up six times a night isn't that uncommon.  He has no idea of the layout of his home and if he is not watched constantly can end up wandering off down the street playing a bizarre game of dodge with passing traffic.  Ginger does all this for a man who doesn't even recognise that she is his wife anymore.  She acknowledges that he barely differentiates between her and the team of paid carers that assist her.  Yet, she accepts this with stoicism and is generous in her appraisal of the help that the other women around her give.

You'd think that I'm painting a dire picture here but I'm not. Fred and Ginger's lives contains a fair modicum of joy. Fred is a sociable man who thoroughly enjoys his time at the day care centre he attends. He is near universally loved by everyone that comes across him.  The couple still socialise together at a club that they have attended for many years and have many friends.  Ginger looks for creative ways of occupying Fred so that his life is meaningful.  She uses an i-Pad to great effect to share memories and actively looks for way that her husband can indulge his passion for music, one of the few things that relax him.  Though Fred's speech is no longer comprehensible and he does not entirely   understand what others say to him he was still able to hum along to Beethoven's ninth symphony with me the other day.

I hope that this has given some of you food for thought and demonstrated that dementia does not have to be living hell.  Given the choice of a giant heart-laden teddy or someone who'd stick by me through the thickest of the thick and thin, I'd know what I'd choose.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Bear Mk.1

I show you some things just to prove the point that things don't always go swimmingly first time around. In life a lot of trial and error is involved.  Anyway, this is a test print for my latest linocut creation, not the first piece of work that I've produced that incorporates words from one of my favourite poems that's by Robert Frost. They put me in mind of the long distance hikes that I've done and long to resume once the old knee is sorted out.  The Native American-esque bear is a motif that I've used several times before too but I'm not sure about this one.  He's not quite right and has aardvark-like qualities that were unintended.  Legs or snout too long?  That curve under his tail too extreme.  I'm not sure.  All I know is the more I look the worse it gets.

The only thing for it is to wipe our the bear/aardvaark with a big blade and then produce another plate with version 2. I'll pop back sometime soon when I have the hopefully more pleasing replacement.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Posh Frocks, Pauper Prices

I am a wee bit of a sod when it comes to clothes and that £300 budget for the year has already taken a caning.  But heck, there could be worse vices to be had.  George at Asda is a current fave as I've shown you before.  Recently they've come up trumps with a number of pieces where the quality of the garment far surpasses the price.

And this is my latest lovely purchase, an online exclusive from the Graduate Fashion Week range that was delivered free of charge to the local store within less than 48 hours.  I can pretty much guarantee that my friends with tastes for posher labels would never guess where this striking fine knit maxi dress came from unless I told  them.  But I will for I have a big mouth when it comes to these things.  What I can guarantee is that label snobs will never be wearing the same thing themselves.  After all they're not going to be grubbing around buying clothes from one of the more discounted supermarket sites!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Monday, 10 February 2014

A Monday Namaste

Photo: Sattva
The purpose of this blog is manifold.  It exists as a space for me to practise my writing and share it with others.  Sometimes it's there so that I can have a rant, try to make you laugh, persuade others to change their perspective or outlook.  It's all sorts of things.  But today it serves as a handy place for me to share something that I was tipped off about by Dr Betty, my lovely clinical psychologist friend that's  absolutely free of charge.

DoYogaWithMe.Com is blooming brilliant.  And why so? you may ask.  Well, it's a comprehensive resource with a incredible collection of yoga class videos and streamed audio meditation practice guidance.  I practised the Yoga Nidra for Sleep last night as my preliminary taster of the site after waking at just past midnight.  Whilst it didn't entirely do the trick of getting back through the gates of the land of Nod immediately it did slow down that racy head that was stopping me sleeping in the first place!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Gym Workout For Free!

Here's a picture that I took in Barcelona that I meant to publish much sooner and then promptly forgot! Serves me right for trying to fill it too full of ideas and schemes.  Sometimes as a consequence things get lost in the pile.

Anyway this shows just how well used that outdoor gym machine is over on the continent.  I've witnessed similar  in France with the more senior members of the town using the area as a place to socialise and exercise.  You'll notice no fancy footwear or clothing here.

In this country the equipment seems to stay largely unused.  Perhaps some kids will have a play on it or the occasional adult does a few turns for a laugh but that's as far as I've seen it go.  Correct me if I'm mistaken.  But if you've got something similar in your local area and have been wanting to do more  exercise couldn't you incorporate this into your regime.  If a few people out there start using it then it's likely that others will follow suit.  Watch this video link to see how this works!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Afternoon Nap After The Very Hungry Caterpillar Has Eaten!

Photo: The Whimiscal Studio
With a bout of really severe insomnia in full force my thoughts are turning to sleep in a big way.  Maybe putting that blackout blind up in the bedroom might help?  I'll tackle that later today.

This cosy cocoon on Etsy looks like it might do the trick too.  If I had any babies to buy for at the moment I'd be so tempted.  I wonder though if the maker will go up a size or two and produce one for a 5ft 5in forty eight year old?

Friday, 7 February 2014

Well Said Google!

Photo: Have a Gay Day
Today's Google homepage, which celebrates the opening of the Winter Olympics at Sochi, made my heart sing.  There, under the doodle for the games is the  Olympic Charter.  In the context of anti-gay discrimination that's been taking place in Russia quoting these words almost seems like an act of defiance.

"The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."

Well put! In the spirit of solidarity I thought that I'd do my own anti discrimination post.  Beware, Mr Putin, Lovelygrey is watching you and she has very, very sharp eyes.  No-one in your country should be discriminated against for their sexual preference - or for anything else for that matter!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Oops My Mistake!

There's me been thinking over the years that the Devon Guild of Craftsmen run the rather fine Contemporary Craft Fair that's held at Bovey Tracey each June.  Not so, they are separate and now the Contemporary Craft Fair has its own shop in the town.  I'm told that the organisation are very friendly with each other. They're not having fistie cuffs in Marsh Mills Park which is probably, as we speak underwater because of the stormy weather around here. Anyway, by way of an apology, like when newspapers have to eat their words and take up valuable print space admitting that they'd been wrong I thought I'd feature one thing from each place that I've recently snapped.

Yep, the observant amongst you will notice that there's a bit of a theme going on here.  The three makes shown here have been constructed from found objects.  I've been lusting after Kirsty Elson's cute little driftwood creations for some time now.  Alas, my 2014 spending rules prohibit a purchase.  I'll have to see what I can rustle up as a homage after a trip to the beach.  And I'm rather taken too by Caroline Sharp's creations too that just go to show what can be achieved after a walk in the woods. It's worth the time to follow the links to each artist's delightful and inspiring website.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Hoping Competition Wins Are Like Buses

Photo:  Arriva436
I was looking for a shot with one bus passing another at a stop but instead couldn't resist this cute one.   There is a huge danger that it could lure me into the dark depths of transport spotting if I don't take care so let's get back to topic.

Finally after an eight month long wait, when everyone must have thought that I'd given up the comping habit, I've won, I've won, I've won! Yes it's that long ago that my Dualit toaster came into my life and revolutionised it just a little bit. Someone phoned me yesterday though and told me that I'd won an annual membership to the Devonshire Health Complex and Racket Club  in Plymouth.

Funnily enough I used to be a member years ago and entered the competition as I had fond memories of the steamy outdoor pool. Now I'll be able to trawl lazily up and down again taking in the fresh air and perhaps even squeeze in amongst those toned types and wobble my flab on all those impressive machines in the fitness area.  Gym membership isn't something that I'd never contemplate paying for myself anymore.  I prefer exercising in the great outdoors and taking in the scenery as a bonus.  But someone up there must know that, to return to fitness after my impending operation, I might need a little extra boost!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

World Exclusive! Exorcist Remake

I've never seen the quintessential horror film from the 1970s and nor am I likely to.  That genre is way too scary for me. My natural anxiety levels have a tendency to be on the high side without having onscreen encounters with mad axemen and the demon possessed. Once when I was a student my flatmates hired 'Nightmare on Elm Street' which I managed to watch for about five minutes through the holes in my jumper AND with my figures in my ears.  Even that was too much and had me fleeing from the room, along with another similarly wimpy companion!

It seems though that Windy Miller, our breakfast companion, at Lovelygrey Cottage  is a fan of a good scary movie.  So much so that here he prematurely trying out for that Exorcist remake that I mentioned earlier.  Even the  moguls don't know its being made yet.  The big question is - can young Windy make the transition from humble albeit much loved star of British Children's TV to out and out Hollywood megarstar?

Monday, 3 February 2014


Hmm a selfie!  They nearly always turn out to be pretty unflattering.  In fact I've got a real humdinger that I'm plucking up the courage to put out there on the World Wide Web to prove a point but I haven't quite got the balls to do it at the moment.

Anyway this one isn't too bad and I needed it to illustrate an important message.   Do you see that dark spot under my left eye.  No it wasn't a bit of dirt on the lens but a lumpy bumpy, albeit rather small growth that appeared on my face a few months back and didn't go away.  And it bothered me but I thought it was trivial and I didn't want to waste the GP's time.

But that's the point.  It so is important to get anything like that checked out.  So I entered the doctor's office with the rather sheepish cry of 'I'm hoping that you're going to tell me off for wasting your life'.  But he didn't.  Instead he reassured me that it probably wasn't anything serious but as a precaution he'd remove it and send it for a biopsy.  Plus he said that he was rather happy to do it because he liked performing minor surgery!

So today, I've been up to the local hospital and I've had 'the thing' shaved off with a scalpel and then cauterized, ie singed, to get rid of the last little bit.  The smell of burning flesh would have pleased Hannibal the Cannibal no end!  And now the anaesthesia has worn off I'm left with a stinging face and a mark that looks way worse.  But I'm told that it'll fade in a day or two and its was oh so worth being checked out.  After all malignancies start small and are much easier to deal with at an early stage.  It's best to be safe than sorry.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Noodly, Doodly Doo

As a occasional thrifty foodie blogger, a kind of half hearted Jack Monroe, I felt that I ought, nay it was my duty to point you in the direction of this article in the Guardian.  It gives instructions for eight recipes for those of us on a budget.  And who isn't these days. Maybe not those people who are allowing houses in Millionaire's Row, Bishop's Avenue, to rot but let them keep the caviar that's in the fridge. It's probably passed its sell by date anyway.

Without the word of a lie, every one of the dishes described sounds absolutely scrummy.  I can vouch for frittatas already as they've been a staple for a long time now. And the other night I knocked up Fuschia Dunlop's Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles.  It was easy peasy, delicious and cost pence!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Fungal Stools Anyone?

Photo: Phil Ross
I reckon that I must go to the most high-brow, and minimalist, dental surgery in the universe.  A visit was necessary yesterday as a filling had unhelpfully fallen out. Are they supposed to do that? Anyway, instead of the usual stack of Hello! magazines or the like in the waiting room, all that I could find was a solitary copy of the New Scientist. With my science days long behind me, I'd forgotten what an interesting read this is and I'm pleased to say it's available online free so you can all go and have a look if you fancy.

This was the thing that most caught my attention. To most people a fungal stool conjures up ideas of a rather nasty gastro-intestinal disease that they keep their fingers crossed will never afflict them or a member of their family.  But there's a bloke in American who thought otherwise.  Phil Ross must have had a lightbulb moment along the lines of 'Toad...stool....stool....toad....Hmm!  I wonder if I can make a  stool for toads out of mushrooms! After all it's a sustainable source of building material'.  Off he popped and here's the result, made from mycellium, the bit that grows underground.  It's been cooked, varnished and is as hard as nails like those weird and wonderful polypores that grow on the side of trees in woods.  They're so tough that people sharpen knives with them. Fact!  Back to the stool though. I'm not sure that I would give it house room myself but it's interesting and innovative and deserves a mention for thoroughly whetting my curiosity.