Wednesday, November 30, 2005
2. Paths that go straight across the middle of a field.
3. Starting a new area of my embroidery.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
2. The visas in my old passport. I like the textured paper and the different coloured stamps and the foreign lettering. At the time, it was cross-making to pay so much for them, but I still enjoy them years later.
3. Dumplings puffing up in a pot of stew.
Monday, November 28, 2005
2. Putting aside the first half of a difficult task.
3. Bundling up with a hot water bottle and my quilt on the sofa before I go to bed.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
2. I know tumble dryers aren't green, but on days like this when it's too cold and damp to get washing dry, they are wonderful.
3. Eating sticky ginger cake and drinking tea while catching up with Fenella and Andy.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
2. Just before I was about to go home, a user rang in with a problem that I didn't understand. I told him I would look into it and call him back. In the morning I looked again at his question and realised there was no problem at all. So I got the benefit of pleasing a user without doing much work.
3. Watched a few episodes of Futurama. I like the episode where Fry -- in a few hours of uncharacteristic romantic eptness -- moves stars to write a love note across the sky.
Friday, November 25, 2005
2. Just as night fell, the wind got up, blustered around for quarter of an hour, and then all was still again.
3. The jewellers shops round here all employ large men to stand around outside in heavy coats. Today, two of them were gossipping as I walked past.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
2. Fallen hornbeam leaves the colour of polished copper.
3. The leaves are mostly fallen and now there seem to be shiney red berries everywhere for the birds to gobble up.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
1. The larches have turned gold after the frost. I like the pattering of their needles falling.
2. I haven't been swimming for nearly two years. I had forgotten the how much I enjoy feeling of lightness, and the warmth that infuses my muscles after a couple of lengths.
3. Hearing the voice of a friend who hasn't been in touch for a while. She is full of baby news, and invites me round for Christmas drinks.
Picture by Michael Grant
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Monday, November 21, 2005
2. The thought that the males of our species do not have wobbly wrinkled things on their heads like turkeys. However, turkeys do have strange square feathers that change colour in the sunlight. We saw the turkey cock at Hackney City Farm, which is free and well worth a visit. There were also enormous pigs hoping we would scratch their backs.
3. Postman's Park -- it's next to the old national Post Office, so it would once have been full of off-duty posties enjoying the greenery. It's also home to a set of ceramic plaques commemorating acts of selfless and hopeless bravery.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
2. The way my friend Cat is glowing in the last third of her pregnancy.
3. After a day chewing over life and love with one friend, watching television with another.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
2. The sleepy feeling you get from a real log fire in a pub.
3. We rent our office from a gentleman farmer type. We ran into his rather grand mother as we were tumbling back from the pub at 2.15pm. We all piled into each other to make shy, polite conversation. If we'd had caps, we'd have been twisting them in our hands, feeling as if we were speaking two different languages. It's all a bit like meeting the queen.
Friday, November 18, 2005
1. The first frost on the edges of fallen leaves.
2. Walking up to the witch's tower with Madie. It's good to have some company on a walk sometimes.
3. The miracle of hairdressers. 'When did you last wash your hair?' 'Um... cough cough mumble ago.' I went in expecting to have my hair washed and then cut. But Filip wanted to cut it dry. How did he manage to make it look shiny newly washed with only a bottle of water and comb?
Thursday, November 17, 2005
2. Coming to the end of a rather wambly cup of hot chocolate and finding most of the chocolate waiting for you there.
3. Hearing the voices of your friends as you walk into the pub.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
2. Coming across ten deer grazing in a field.
3. An enormous full moon rolling up over the roof.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
2. An autumn sunset that had us all hanging out of the windows.
3. Two bright planets appearing as the sky turns dark.
Monday, November 14, 2005
2. 'I've never had this picture on the wall since I painted it,' says our grandmother. So we hang her leaping salmon at the bottom of the stairs where she can see it often.
3. Granny told us about her puppy, Jason. 'I used to cycle to work with him in a basket on my bike. But as he got bigger, first his front legs and then his back legs hung out. And then he got so heavy I couldn't steer. So I told him he had to run along behind.' Jason was an Alsation.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
2. I have a friend who has given up smoking, and now when he laughs, he doesn't cough any more.
3. Adding extra toppings to a supermarket pizza.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
2. Rosey's new haircut.
3. Going to see Nanny McPhee. I liked the bold Edwardian colours in the set and costumes; and Celia Imrie as the marriage-hungry super-vulgar Mrs Quickly was very funny indeed.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
2. A sunset that turned the sky the colour of the heart of a log fire.
3. Caroline sharing the smell of a newly opened jar of coffee with me.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
2. Gutting a fish, because it's never as difficult or as yucky as I think it's going to be.
3. I like this story from my grandfather's memoirs:
...a worried group of men looking in the direction of my carrier where I could just see the figure of Bernard Todd, my driver. Sgt. Lawes told me that Todd had received a cable telling him that a missile, it would have been one of the massive V 2 rockets which were doing terrible destruction round London at that time, had destroyed his family home and killed his wife and other members of the family. He was understandably distraught and Sgt. Lawes feared he might do something stupid. He had a loaded rifle with him.
I walked over to talk with Bernard racking my brains for a way of helping him get on top of his grief. He said he didn't care if he lived or died, he wanted to kill Germans, he would transfer to a rifle company.
I replied that this could be arranged but that I would miss him if he went and that meanwhile he ought to think about his remaining family and he could apply for compassionate leave to go back home and see them.
He became a little more coherent and then I had my inspiration. "Get in the carrier" I said. "Let's go for a spin." Driving a carrier at any speed over 25 mph on a hard road required a lot of concentration and it has all the exhilaration of driving an open car at high speed. Too much adjustment of the steering applies the break to one track and in a split second you are spinning off the road. We moved slowly back on to the main road which was free of traffic. "Get a move on!" I said.
He did. We must have got up to 40 mph before he eased off and look up at me. I wouldn't say he was smiling but he seemed much calmer. We went back to the convoy and in a day or so he was back to the UK.
I probably would not have heard any more but just after Pat and I were married in 1948 we came face to face with him shopping in London. He had a girl with him whom he introduced as his new wife. He showed me the gold ring on her
finger. He announced proudly:
"I had that made from the gold sovereign you gave me for my 21st. birthday just before we got to Termoli."
Monday, November 07, 2005
2. Finding my nail file - it was under some papers on my desk - so that I can do something more than just getting cross about my index fingernail, which has got so long I can hardly type.
3. My little white single cup teapot because it looks like I stole it from a cafe. Which I didn't. But if I was going to steal a teapot, this is the teapot I would steal to brew up my orange pekoe in the morning and my Whittard red fruit last thing at night.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
2. Watching an admin secretary's annual salary-worth of fireworks exploding over Crowborough. The best ones burst into dancing fireflies. And the two enormous golden weeping willows at the end.
3. Sitting down at a restaurant table when I am pathetic with hunger. It's particularly good if soon after an enormous plate of poppadums appears.
Saturday, November 05, 2005
2. A colleague has a coffee morning each year for a charity that raises money for babies who live with their mothers in prison. We've bought raffle tickets and jam and cyclamens and pansies and guessed the number of sweets in a jar and suffered the emotional rollercoaster of the tombola more because we hope she'll bring us leftover cake on Monday than because we want to help what we secretly call 'Babies behind bars' and 'Babies on death row'.
3. Jon's friend Steve for having really unusual shiney bluey-greyish-greeny eyes and uber-super-good cheekbones.
Friday, November 04, 2005
2. Ed's new pair of wellington boots. Boots are never quite the same after you've worn them once, so I think it's important to savour the bloom of newness while you can.
3. A bowl of hot chicken and sweetcorn soup when the weather is foul.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
2. The chocolate brownie that I didn't eat at lunchtime. It tastes so much better in my imagination than it would have if I bought and eaten it. No really.
3. At the back of my mind is always the fear that should I be called upon to do first aid, I don't actually know how to do CPR -- not any more though. I've been on a course. They've even given me a special sheet to keep in my handbag in case the patient is not very hygienic. And they told that the chorus of Nellie the Elephant keeps you in rhythm and gives you the 15 compressions before you need to do two rescue breaths. But they said not to do it out loud because it offends by-standers.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
2. Going for a walk with Madie -- who very gamely picked her way across some extreme mud -- to discover a sinister abandoned caravan. There were brambles growing through the windows, which were still hung with rotting curtains. Beside it was a mobile office with 'please pay he...' written above the door.
3. Went to see Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit. There is this scene where Gromit takes to the air in a plane from a roundabout -- he removes the child-lock first, naturally -- with the villain's toothy bullterrier sidekick Philip in pursuit. During this... er dog fight... at roof level, Gromit's craft runs out of coins. They stop the fight, only for Wallace to discover that he doesn't have the right change. So Philip, looking exasperated, goes for his money, which is in a beaded evening bag.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
2. The swooshy noise that wet leaves make when you walk through them. And the glowy colours of very newly-fallen autumn leaves.
3. There is a deer fence across the path, and I'm not entirely sure if I can get past it. Then I spot a gate -- which turns out not to be padlocked. Hurrah.