The Importance of Reading Fiction as Championed by Neil Gaiman

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I’m going to be quoting today from a lecture given by Neil Gaiman for The Reading Agency delivered on 14th October 2013 at the Barbican in London. If you would like to read the abridged version of this lecture as … Continue reading

Traversing the Pyrenees in a Chausson 55

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Last week we travelled from Spain into France taking the route from Aragon through the Central Pyrenees to Toulouse. This route has some of the highest peaks in the mountain range and it was spectacular. I drove through tunnels hollowed … Continue reading

Change of Plan

My week began with the plan -New Boiler To Be Fitted

My Bedroom Window - The Three Beasts

The Three Beasts

The heating engineer and his mate arrived on Wednesday and started to dismantle my old gas boiler or ‘The Beast’ as he calls it. Between staying with Mum and going to Spain for the birth of my grandaughter, it has been difficult to arrange a date for the installation, especially as due to changes in gas regulations it had to be electric boiler. I’ve been waiting for an engineer who knows how to fit these since November.

So I settled down at my sewing machine. Two of the quilts are almost finished and I will post photos once I have given them to the new babies.

Slight delay on the first morning as the parking warden on the High Street was threatening a ticket on their vans which necessitated a visit to the council office to get a temporary permit.

So no hot water for Wednesday or Thursday. This morning, the engineer phoned to say he’d hurt his back whilst removing ‘The Beast’ and the osteopath has advised him to rest today, though he will hopefully return tomorrow.

I decided to leave the last of the quilting for when they are working on the boiler; therefore mid-morning I sorted out my Hammerite paint in order to paint the metal windows in my bedroom. Now, these windows are huge and when I’m perched on the ladder I look directly down onto the High Street. I think they should be called ‘The Three Beasts.’

I cleaned off many years of grime from the top ledges, chipped off the loose paint and gave them a final wash with flash. I was about to start painting when I realised I’d run out of masking tape.

As my decorating clothes consist of a green skirt and a lime green tea shirt, splattered with drops of Tuscan Terracotta, Warm Cream and Primrose Yellow, complemented by black volleyball knee pads to stop the rungs of the tall ladder bruising my shins, I felt the need to change before gracing the High Street with my presence.

Of course, on my way back I got waylaid by the bread shop, which meant I had to call into the delicatessen to get Applewood cheese to go with the bread.

If there are no more set backs, I hope to have the window surrounds glossed, the quilts finished and hot water from the boiler by Tuesday when I go back to stay with my Mum. Here’s wishing a speedy recovery to the heating engineer.

Births, Quilting and Other Excuses for Not Writing

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This past month I have had lots of time to read, but the writing has disappeared out the window. These are my excuses: Too excited, awaiting for the birth of my first grandchild – and the owners of the Spanish … Continue reading

The Last Watch of the Night

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Excuse this blog if it’s not strictly about writing. I have been in Spain for three weeks awaiting the arrival of my first grandchild. She arrived nine days ago, later than expected. I expect all grannies, nannies, grandmothers, grand-meres and … Continue reading

White Teeth by Grandad Smith, not Zadie Smith

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My father’s dad was called Grandad Smith whilst my mum’s dad was called Papa or Pa. When I was almost five years old, my older brother fell ill with rheumatic fever followed by rheumatic heart disease; after some time in … Continue reading

Poetry, Pigs and People’s Perceptions

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This week the baby mug I was given when I was a few weeks old got broken. It is nearly sixty years old. The plate has been sitting on the shelf for ten months with the two mugs in front … Continue reading

Elephants in South London

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I started at Dog Kennel Hill Primary School in South London in January 1960 when I was four and three quarter years old. The playground was split into two sections, one for the infants and the other for the junior … Continue reading

From Rocking Horses to Don Quixote

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One of my favourite children’s books was ‘Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse.’ Today, whilst researching for this blog I discovered that Ursula Moray Williams, the author of this children’s story, briefly attended the Winchester College of Art, as did … Continue reading

From the Forest to the Sea – Emily Carr in British Columbia

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If you’re in London, try to visit, ‘From the Forest to the Sea,’ an exhibition of paintings, sketchbooks, writings and drawings by Emily Carr (1871-1945) It is the first UK exhibition dedicated to her work and is organised by the … Continue reading