Sunday, January 31, 2010

Birthday Day

Super-quick weekend post to say:

Hope the Birthday Girl - and indeed, everyone else for that matter - is having a treaty day :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Below the horizon

I think I mentioned Jason de Caires Taylor before - he's the guy who does the phenomenal underwater sculptures (below is probably his best known).

Anyhoo, his next project is underway: in the waters around Cancun, three new works are sited and currently growing new things at the bottom of the sea - The Archive of Lost Dreams (where an archivist is categorising messages-in-bottles from around the world), Man on Fire (growing coral flames) and The Gardener of Hope, who is busy nurturing coral cuttings rescued from parts of the reef system damaged by extreme weather and human activity.

He did a project in Canterbury called 'Alluvia', which I suspect must transform the urban environment. They reminded me of Antony Gormley's statues around the South Bank - powerful presences.

His site is well worth some dreamy browsing time.

Have a lovely weekend, all :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


When I was a child, the knitting needles of our house were kept in a cardboard cylinder-boxey thing, originally a presentation case for whisky: Glenlivet, 8 years old.

The tube held every size of needle, from long grey metal super-skinny ones to the little plastic chubby needles that kids learn on. There were crochet needles too - my sister's, which she used for magicking up fine sparkling cotton creations throughout our childhood.

Anyhoo, before you went to knit something, you'd take the tube and turn it upside-down and dump all the needles out. The needles made this sound as they tipped over, a metallic tinkle-clanging; it was momentary, quickly absorbed by carpet. To me, it was the sound of Something Starting. You'd rifle through all the needles to pick out a pair, and then embark on making something treaty and pretty and fun.

Years later, I got a needle organiser - it looked like a giant version of one of those jewellery travel pouches. Inside it had a zillion little pockets; each pair of needles stored separately and neatly. And silently.

I had forgotten about all things needle-ey until recently, when my mom passed on the Glenlivet tube to me. And I tipped the contents out, and there was the clannnnng, and I was just transported, this childlike excitement flooded through me as the needles announced: Something Starting.

I know, I know... easily pleased :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Home, safe and wet

Test-driving the new kitty-proof fish tank:

The thrill soon wore off for Max; he thinks fishies are like, sooooo five minutes ago. Dubh however, is as fond of them as TV, which is to say, very fond indeed.

Even though they're not made of ham.

Rosie & Guildenstern coped well with all the attention. They live still, and are I suspect creating a whole series of mythic tales about The Great Black Paw.

And in other news:

Friday, January 22, 2010


Life is all pixel by pixel at the moment; doing a batch of work in Photoshop. And outside in the sunny world, talk is of rugby, of tonight's impending Munster match. Come on da boys!!

It's been a gorgeously low-key week, where time seems to have blossomed to make space for everything, and the mix of the soulful and the silly has been just right.

Anyhoo, I was reading ahead in my Year with Rilke book, and was mulling over this quote:

'...bear with patience all that is unresolved in your heart, and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were rooms yet to enter or books written in a foreign language. Don't dig for answers that can't be given you yet: you cannot live them now. For everything must be lived. Live the questions now, perhaps then, someday, you will gradually, without noticing, live into the answer.'

Mulling is probably too strong a word - more... letting it saturate slowly, like soft rain.

Have a sunny weekend, all :-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bedtime reading

Quick pre-bedtime post: I just wanted to draw attention, for those who enjoy reading and listening, to a couple of podcasts-

- the New Yorker fiction podcast features writers (the likes of Roddy Doyle, Richard Ford, Junot Diaz, Orhan Pamuk) who read aloud a short story from the archives of the New Yorker (the likes of John McGahern, Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, William Trevor) - something that's resonated with them. Fab mix of reading, discussion, interesting perspectives.

- and of course, there is the BBC's World Book Club, featuring...well, just about everyone, fielding questions from around the world: Umberto Eco, John Irving, Toni Morrison, James Ellroy, Annie Proulx, Edna O'Brien, Armistead Maupin - you name it!

As for me, I'm off to bed, to read in paper form - I have fewer than 200 pages left in Wolf Hall!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ready, set, cast

Okay I am all set: have my wacky circular knitting needles, have scrummy wool, have delightful bag in which to store wool - I will be embarking upon a hat this very evening.

But first to more immediate matters: candles, firelight and an afternoon of writing.

And of course:

Hope your week is going well thus far :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sense of Place

In Bushes last night, we were talking about a trip that friends of mine are making today to the Dominican Republic. Conversation turned of course to Haiti, to emergency routes and fly zones, and the behind-the-bar Atlas was requested.

Who knew?

And lo and behold, a weighty atlas was produced. There's a neat inscription written on its fly leaf, explaining that it was donated to Bushes for the purpose of settling arguments. Arguments featuring one local in particular.

One suspects the mediating atlas has been called forth often over the years.

I imagined if such a book was in Plum Village, the Zen Buddhisty inscription would be something overtly affectionate and warm. It might read something like 'to help quieten seeds of discontent and frustration among our treasured community'.

And though the Baltimore version might phrase it differently, its purpose - with its teasing humour - is probably much the same.

And in other news:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Miserly Images

I finally got through photos from The Miser - they're not great quality, between phone-camera, stage lights, effervescent ever-moving cast and me shivering with cold in the wings. But you get a flavour at least :-)

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It's been a burstingly creative week - writing knitting dyeing make-and-doing website designing - all good fun.

And after all that, a pint is in order, despite the manky weather this evening.

Have a lovely weekend, all :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christmas Catch-Up

I'm getting through some photos from the last few weeks. This was Christmas morning in Baltimore, where the village gathers around for the Christmas Swim, before all heading to the home of the lovely Bushe family for a seasonal tipple and treats.

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You meet the known world, laugh and cheer together, then get warm and share a drink, and talk presents and recipes, before going home to embark upon Christmas dinner.

As Christmas Day traditions go, it's pretty fabulous.

And picking up the Rilke strand of this blog, I am treasuring 'A Year with Rilke' which offers readings for each day. This was the reading for 1 January:

I Choose to Begin

I love all beginnings, despite their anxiousness and their uncertainty, which belong to every commencement. If I have earned a pleasure or a reward, or if I wish that something had not happened; if I doubt the worth of an experience and remain in my past--then I choose to begin at this very second.
Begin what? I begin. I have already thus begun a thousand lives.

RM Rilke

Friday, January 8, 2010

Here be dragons...

So, there's no news yet from the Dragons' Den - Sharon's in there pitching as I type.

Just passing time... waiting to hear... and it occurs to me that in tweeting or blogging about this, I've created inevitable frustration for readers, as there'll have to be a giant Clamming Up as soon as I know, either way.

So let's say: I hope that whatever happens, it works out for the best, for Sharon and myself and for Nosey Rosie.

Have a lovely weekend :-)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sunny New Year

At last, pause for breath!

Today is still and sunny - the Big Freeze is due in tomorrow, so I shall take advantage of this halcyon day to re-stock the cupboards.

I love the story of 'halcyon days' - that halcyon birds (kingfishers) built their nests in little crevices on stormy cliffs (or built them floating on the sea itself). For two short weeks while their eggs were hatching, the seas calmed their constant buffetting. And then the violent storms kicked in again... I used to think it meant 'golden days', but it's more the calm between storms.

Anyhoo, after that, life will be about Nosey Rosie rewrites :-)

Our next performance isn't until Saturday night (note to self: take camera), so I figure I can risk a sauna - if it makes my cold flare up, there's recuperation time a'plenty. But I am on the mend, praise!

[There's a family standing outside the sitting room window, chatting away to the kittens who are outrageously on display, stretched out on the chaise longue. I am trying my best not to giggle...]

And in other news: