Saturday, October 29, 2005

What a carve up!

Has she or hasn't she? The current topic of idle gossip in my dining room recently. Ears are looking a little far back to me. Go on... join in.... whadyathink? Would you do it? Do you care? For what it's worth, I did a few uttanasanas to Ray of Light this morning. Still my favourite album of all time! But then I saw Madge in my formative years - when she was still an American with very pointy bosoms - and I wore leggings.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Another favourite poem - a little less well known perhaps

Catacombs, Paris by David Constantine

Collecting the photos at the counter next to where
She bought the testing kit he sees what he has done,
She has, they have, down there
In the deepest circle by the font that one
Script called the Samaritan Woman's Well
And the other Lethe. She is displayed
Much like a nude against the knobby wall
Of end-on femurs and humeri, arms wide
Along a dado curve of skulls. Boudoir
Or chapel apse in a kraal of bone of some
Few hundred of several millions of dead,
His lens, the flash, her look of centre spread.
The place? Down there. And when? The morning after
One of his several million sperm went home.

Saturday March 2, 2002 The Guardian

I read this poem in the Guardian in 2002 and it haunted me to the extent that I cut it out and kept it. The contrast of a tiny promise of new life and death on such a massive scale - and the innocence of the moment described. Bizarre. Anyway, I have never visited the Catacombs in Paris - but found this amazing picture here. So, this is me being playful in a macabre and slightly arty way. Don't mock it - as Jack once said to Vera: "Vera love... this is as good as it gets".

AND NOW.... Lemon syrup loaf cake (page 13 of Nigella's how to be a domestic Goddess)

125g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g sr flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk
23x13x7cm loaf tin buttered and lined

for syrup
juice of 1.5 lemons (about 4 tblespoons)
100g icing sugar

Oven 180 C/ gas mark 4

butter and line loaf tin well. Cream together butter and sugar (I did this in food proc). Add eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well. Add flour and salt gently, then milk. Put in tin and cook (45 mins - 1 hr until cake tester comes out clean). Should look golden and risen with a split - although may sink a bit later).

Make syrup while baking cake: melt juice and sugar together over gentle heat.

As soon as cake is out of oven, puncture with skewer all over and pour over syrup - tring to get some in middle. Leave cake to soak up the rest and cool. Don't try to take it out of tin until completely cold.


Monday, October 24, 2005

For Kate

Here is a poem for Dr Kate and the rest of us losers out here in the blogosphere. I had to critique this in my finals and loved it so much that I remember it to this day! The final stanza is just perfect.

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

---Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

-- Elizabeth Bishop

You didn't know I had a literary side did you.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Progress report

Bowled over am I at the concern of the blogging community. Thanks indeed for the kind wishes expressed by one and all. Unfortunately, I didn't read the advice until TOO LATE, so this morning, at 8.30, I left with my heartless husband (more about him to follow), and our wonderful friend and neighbour, Mr Holland, to take to the moor, donned in a Helly Hansen, Off-road running shoes, attractive runner's shorts and my trusty minimal bounce bra, with two pieces of kitchen roll tucked in (for nose blowing, not breast enhancement - where else to keep?) and having consumed the obligatory ibuprofen (my only addiction - and I can't say I am proud of it).

Here is a summary of our endeavours:
1. Ran along a flatish riverbank in the Teign Valley for three miles (from Clifford Bridge to Fingle Bridge - tis quaint down ere) a bit of mud and undulation, but no real problems.
2. Ascended to Castle Drogo using the Hunter's path. This was hell.
3. Ran along a ridge for about two miles.
4. Descended back to the River Teign.
5. Crossed the River Teign
6. Ran back along the river in an undulating manner for about two miles to Fingle Bridge
7. Did not cross bridge and return to car. Instead ascended Maximum heart rate hill for about a mile. If the first hill was hell, this was double hell-hill with bells on.
8. Ran back down to the river on a tiny muddy wet track.
9. Ascended back up to the ridge again on a flint embedded path.
10. Descended very steeply until most of toe nails had fallen off and femurs were embedded in patellas.
11. Ran (limped) the final flat mile back to the car - about ten miles in all - and the course of the famous Castle Drogo race that I am going to do in a couple of weeks time.

Anyway, back to Martin my heartless husband. He is quite mean to me, and prides himself on being better than me at everything related to physical exercise except perhaps rollerskating. He is particularly proud of his skiing technique, and yesterday nearly died laughing when I suggested that I might be getting as good as him on the slopes (which of course is rubbish - but worth the pot shot for the response alone).

So today, when we went running, I decided to name him Hare - as in the Tortoise and the Hare, me being the trusty steadfast tortoise, who in the end would triumph over cocky and arrogant speedier creature.

This tickled me as we were running, particularly as I recalled Hartley Hare - the unpleasant Pipkins character from the 70s:

Hartley managed to incorporate into his personality the worst human frailties which all of us possess in varying degrees, which meant that viewers could easily identify with him. He had to be the centre of attention, and if he wasn't, he would not be beyond creating some diversion to swing the attention back to him. He also cheated and sulked when found out. Often he would not be the least bit interested in some object until someone else wanted it. Then he would go to enormous and devious lengths to get it for himself. Yet at the same time there was always something charmingly naive and open about him. He would be genuinely horrified if it was pointed out to him that his actions had been selfish and hurt someone else. He would even go out of his way to make it up to them. He was also extremely highly strung so that even the simplest decision or action would become a dramatic highlight!

ANYWAY towards the end of the final hideous hill, I noticed that my super-fit and stylish husband was slowing down somewhat, so in true tortoise style, I decided to steal the fabulous moment. Drawing on all my reserves, I charged up the hill past him and Mr Holland, tootling a triumphant tootle on an imaginary trumpet. This must have been quite an amazing spectacle for the elderly gentleman with his dogs, who were sitting quietly observing the wildlife and scenery in a contemplative, Sunday morning kind-of-way.

After my husband had apologised to the slightly startled old chap, he threw me the most heartless insult of all and it went something along the following lines: "I might be a heartless hare, but you will never be a taut arse".
I think he had really excelled himself with this, so forgave him instantly, and we went home and I made a lovely cake.

Now, I have earache.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Yawn yourself Dr Rob

Don't be cheeky Dr Rob. I have a very busy life right now. Today I have been skiing (Plymouth, naturally) and tomorrow I am going for a ten mile run (Dartmoor naturally) and I have been deaf for three weeks and am on antibiotics (Flucloxacillin naturally) so am not functioning normally.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Getting ready for the festivities

First this evening, Nintendogs: the game sensation set to hit the streets in time for the festive season. Apparently it is about keeping a virtual cat or dog. Nothing new there then. But perhaps you can pierce them? Anyway, I am hoping that the USP of the Nintendo DS with Nintendogs is that it doubles as a Rolf Harris stylophone - the pencil thing looks familiar to me.
The Stylophone or as it was more commonly known "The Electronic Organ in
your Pocket !". Surely this must have been Rolf Harris’ finest moment, well,
apart from his "Swim with Rolf " television series and Public Information Films
and of course his monster No1 hit "Two Little Boys" and not forgetting "Animal
Hospital", but apart from those the association of the Stylophone and the world
famous Antipidean Balladeer and Painter could only ensure both a place in the
‘70’s Hall of Fame.

Did you have a stylophone? My sister and I got one for Christmas and I could play poor Lena Zavaroni's "Ma he's making eyes at me". As this is the only musical instrument I have ever mastered I wanted to SHARE this achievement.

Secondly - here's a nice red coat Dr Joolz. Big sleeves could be handy for concealing digi camera - or stylophones. And just think, you could be the new face of Christian Dior with your magic neck and facial line elimination techniques!
So... a few ideas for your Christmas list. I am sure there will be more to follow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Read any good blooks recently?

Blooks. The new thing apparently. So new in fact, that if you google search for blooks, you are asked "Did you mean: books?". Here is a definition of a blook:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A blook is a
book serialized on a blog site. Chapters are published one by one as blog posts, and readers can then subscribe to a blook with an RSS feed, tag it, comment on it, etc. Blooks were popularized by Tom Evslin in September 2005, with the launch of, a murder mystery set in the dot-com bubble. Blooks can include online material. For example, includes both a wiki and a faux company website for the fictional company described in the book. Other blooks available as of 9/29/05 include The Boy Who Heard Music by British rock star Peter Townshend, Madie's Bear Tribe Journals by Marsha Loftis, and Fiddle and Burn by Jason Pomerantz. Although these works fit the definition of blook, they don't currently describe themselves that way.
Retrieved from ""
According to the BBC, the first blooker shortlist will be published next March in order to celebrate this new literary form. One to watch out for perhaps? I don't know what Charles Dickens would have said... "What goes around comes around" perhaps?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

By special request..... The coat

This is my coat. It is very warm indeed - being made of wool cashmere angora. I have had it since I worked at the Reader's Digest, seventeen years ago, which leads me to believe that wool cashmere angora is very reliable. I have also just realised that I have never had it dry cleaned - which is absolutely disgusting. This coat has lived in Surrey and Devon: two fine counties. You see the bag in the picture: I have still got that too - and take it to work with me every day. Mulberry. Which will mean nothing to Dr Rob - but believe me, still gives me a little thrill, because it is about as extravagant as I have ever been with a bag.
One fine feature of my coat is its pockets and the versatility that they bring. You can keep so much in them. Including small cats and hamsters (although not together of course - that would be cruel, and then you would need to visit the dry cleaner). When your hands are in the pockets, you can wrap the coat really tightly around you to make you feel quite thin. Alternatively, you can just swish along with the fullness of the cut creating a sort of big blob shape.

My friend Linda just looks at my coat and says "Lost Encounters" in a dreamy kind of voice. I don't know what she is talking about because I am simple.

In this shot, I am standing outside the University of Rovaniemi in Finland. On this particular jaunt, I wore my coat in minus 43 degrees (not sure what sort of degrees because I failed Physics O'level as well as French). Needless to say, my trusty coat was a real boon in these extreme temperatures and my nose felt very sticky inside.

Here I am, having removed my coat in minus 43 degrees and adorned instead a rubber floating suit. You can see me floating in the gap in the sea ice, made by the arctic icebreaker that we were journeying on!

Of course, travelling on the only passenger-carrying icebreaker in the Arctic, and floating in the Baltic was remarkable... but not as cool as this:

I describe it as skidooing in a fairy tale. Martin and I were allowed off-track into the meadows where the powder was three feet deep. I had to be dug out three times - but it didn't stop me enjoying myself. Here I am being dug out:

See how the instructor is up to his bottom in white stuff.

Anyway... I have rambled away from the detail of my magnificent coat - but have realised in the process just how worth every penny it has been. So Dr Joolz, thank you for the prompt, and what is more, thank you for the whole wondrous coat conversations altogether.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Yoga Kitty

If Doga is too much for you, you may prefer (or not) the Yoga Kitty videos.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I want to live in Tenesseee

Tonight I have been to Bloga. It started at 7.00 and went on to 8.30pm. It involved: paying £5.00; sitting on my special non-slip mat in a school hall; deep breathing through one nostril; pranayamamama, trikonasanananananaaaa; a candle and incense stick and emptying my mind of everything EXCEPT WHAT TO WRITE ON MY BLOG TONIGHT.

Anyway, Bloga, as a new activity was quite fun. For the first time today, I focused on just the one thing - and instead of the normal frenetic activity that goes on in the upstairs room when the lights are on chez moi, a kind of peace was achieved. Partly this was because I couldn't hear the yoga teacher's instructions. You see, I am deaf at the moment following an almost- cold that morphed into left ear deafness instead. Apparently, if I just wait a month, it is likely to subside and I will hear again. If not, I will be referred for an Audiogram. In precisely 17 weeks, 6 days and 23 hours time. Sorry - did I mention my cynicism about NHS waiting list targets (Don't get the Ultimate Consumer going on those!)

Anyway, while at Bloga, I decided not to tell you about meeting the Mummy and Mummy of the Dark Destroyer, but instead to tell you about my Bloga experience. So I came home and looked at my blog - and panicked because the 'Well Hello Diva Kitty' post makes NO sense whatsoever (except to me and perhaps Diva Kitty), so I have decided to clarify WHAT is going on.

Things to do with pets - that's WHAT. You can blame Guy.
You may be wondering why I am rambling on in this uncharacteristic fashion? Well, everything comes to those who wait... In Tennesseeeeeee, the folks they are so cool that they have Doga classes for dogs and owners together.

Check it out HERE. It sounds kinda groovy don't it (that's my Tennesseeeee drawl). So that is why I want to live in Tennesseeeee. It sounds simply wonerful.

Anyway, as we said at the end of Bloga tonight

"Have a nice day"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Well HELLO Diva Kitty

How're YOU doin?