Monday, July 31, 2006
2. Making a cooling cross draught through the flat by strategically wedging some doors open.
3. A small child shouting: 'Can I not like... can I not like...' as if someone was refusing to let it dislike something.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
2. Filling holes in the wall. There is something very satisfying about poking Polyfilla into a hole and smoothing it out.
3. Really juicy steak and grilled mushrooms.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
2. Reading about writers. There was a quote I read yesterday (in Dudonet again) about the 'second me' who watches and commentates on everything they do. Dudonet wrote about his father's howl of grief at the death of his young son: 'My first Me was in tears, but my second Me was thinking "What a terrific cry! It would be really good in theatre."'
3. Listening to bats. The bat warden had a machine that picked up bat calls and translated them into frequences that we could hear. The noises were slightly alien -- little squeaks and clicks that seemed to come from far away. We sat on a bank in the park and whenever a bat flew across the sky, the little boxes went wild.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
2. The smell of rain on dry earth -- it's very hot and we've been having a couple of short sharp showers each day, so this is a frequent treat at present. I discovered a few days ago that this smell is partly aromatic oils from ancient vegetation that has turned to dust.
3. I finally summoned enough courage to clean the dust out from under my bed -- this is a bit of a mission because I store an awful lot of stuff there, and it all has to be moved so the bed can be folded into the wall. But it's all done now -- and I discovered that since the bootfair there is less junk down there, and it's all more neatly packed now, too.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
2. We watched Trinity Theatre Club's Summer Lightning, an adaptation by Giles Havergal of a PG Wodehouse novel. The script (and the scenery) acknowledge the story's roots -- characters often break off to describe themselves in Wodehouseian terms and the scenery has a curiously painted paper look to it.
3. Looking at a huge project and feeling that it can be done, and knowing you have a friend to help you out.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
1. Walking into work, Oli remarked that he could feel the pollen in the air. There was a certain sweet smell in the car park, and the lime tree just outside was buzzing with flies and bees. In the evening walking across town, I passed a garden that wafted the scent of buddleja, and the park was full of lavender.
2. I've been joining in at Postcrossing and today I got a card from a lady in Japan. I asked for Three Beautiful Things and she has shared:
- The letter reached...
- The flower of the veranda bloomed.
- One problem of the work decreased.
Each one is illustrated with a little picture, and the rest of the card contains the same poetic English. Plus there are two gorgeous stamps -- one of a Geisha and one of cartoon rabbit postman.
3. Through the magic of Freecyle, I now have a sliderule. There are some good people out there.
Monday, July 24, 2006
1. A tiny little girl with very thin and straight blonde hair sitting right close to her dad in the National Trust cafe on the Ashridge Estate. We had seen them earlier cycling in the woods -- at least the father was cycling, she was in a seat on the back of his bike. I thought she looked like a fairy child.
2. Looking 2km down straight ride from the Ashridge Monument to Ashridge College.
3. There were salsa classes on Trafalger square. I liked seeing all different sorts of people moving at the same time.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
2. The queue steadily building up at the fishman's while he carefully explains how to cook the fish you are buying. While I waited, I learnt how to clean a lobster, and how to make a dressing for lobster salad.
3. Meeting interesting people -- a man whose car runs on liquid propane gas; a man who is going to cycle round the world and a sculpture restorer.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
2. The lady behind the bar in our pub asking the landlord to put the drops of angostura bitters in my sodawater 'because I'm afraid of poisoning you.'
3. The comedian Rich Hall was held up by trains. The audience was sitting outside Trinity enjoying a warm evening and drinks, and by the time he arrived, we were all mellow and happy. When he arrived, he walked in alone through the crowd to the front of the theatre and a cheer went up.
Friday, July 21, 2006
2. There is a drift of fallen rhododendron leaves all down the edge of the pavement. I walk close into the wall so I can feel them crackle under my sandals.
3. Being shown round Caroline and Ian's new house. Her excitement at the view and the greenness of the setting and all the plans for the kitchen and the garden are catching.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
2. Bosses who bring ice lollies.
3. Being told that good things are happening in this life because I've been generous in a past life. This is a lovely thought that underlines the idea that when you do good for other people you are doing good for yourself too.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
2. Finding a spot in the shade that catches the breeze on a really hot day.
3. Being invited in to drink muscadet at Caroline and Oli's.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
2. He-who-shall-not-be-named and I argue a lot -- mainly these days about the heat. I really feel the cold and he really feels the heat, which leads to some interesting... conversations in the office. Yesterday, for the first time, I felt properly hot.
3. Getting my laptop back.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
2. A bowl of salted nuts.
3. The different greens on a watermelon rind.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
2. Not being a driver, I sometimes have to be a bit creative in my travel plans -- there are often ways of getting about that don't follow roads. I realised that a colleague's journey home takes her near the back of the forest where my parents live, so I cadged a lift and got myself dropped off. I met Rosey for a fine stroll through the pine woods full of low sun and wildflowers and bracken smells. The Mother met us on the road too, and Daddy walked the last part with us.
3. Fresh flowers in my bedroom. There is a pale pink rose and some deep purple clematis. Rosey has some flowers to -- sweetpeas; and there is a white jug of orange marigolds on the kitchen table.
Friday, July 14, 2006
2. Chai tea with lots of milk -- it's one of the fragrant teas and is redolent with different spices. It has a slightly gingery warmth to it, and milk softens it perfectly.
3. The brawl in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. I also went slack-jawed with wonderment at Davey Jones and his crew -- their sea creature faces are works of art that surprise over and over again.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
2. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to one of my favourite childhood authors -- Diana Wynne Jones. A reply arrived yesterday. I wasn't expecting one; I wasn't even expecting an acknowledgement -- she must get piles and piles of letters from adoring fans. But here was a personal letter, responding to my comments and promising a sequel to one of my favourite books ever in the autumn. (Go to 43 Things to find out why I wrote the letter in the first place.)
3. I read Richard Feynman's book What do you care what other people think? while I was travelling. The title sounds like self-help, but it's not. It's memoirs and essays by a genius. The title piece is the story of his first wife who often asked him that question. It made me think about how I squirm and feel small and hot at the noise made by my friends having fun, wondering 'What must people be thinking?' I wondered why I cared so much about what total strangers thought -- so much so that I felt bad about people I like and respect having fun. Anyway, last night, I sat in a restaurant among friends drinking cocktails and laughing loudly, and towards the end of the evening, I realised that I hadn't once felt squirmy, small or hot. Which sounds like progress to me.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
2. Walking down a path almost lost in chest-high bracken. I imagined what it would be like to be too small to see over the top, to only have a view of stalks and underbrush.
3. Finding a mysterious cairn at the side of the path.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
2. Walking with someone who has a sense of direction. I navigate by landmarks and always want to know exactly where I am on the map. I went for a stroll with Douglas at lunchtime and because he always knows where he is in relation to things like roads and witch's towers, we ended up wandering off the path and into the woods.
3. Walking up the high street on my way home when the air is heavy with water and full of good smells.
Monday, July 10, 2006
2. Dropping things off at the dump. I think it's the busyness of the place; and I like seeing all the rubbish separated for recycling; and watching the attendants carefully putting to one side things that they like.
3. A masseur who appreciates that because I'm at the more tightly coiled end of the scale, a deep massage is pretty painful, and that a softer touch is much more useful.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
2. Dr Who. I enjoyed the last episode of this seaon because:
- I guessed how it would end.
- The story arcs were all tied up.
- I liked the exploration of the emotional carnage the Doctor leaves in his wake.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
2. John P buys me a warm paper parcel of fish and chips.
3. Making a bootfair pile and seeing how much space there is in the flat.
Friday, July 07, 2006
2. A catering accident that left us with two huges dishes of sandwiches to share round the office.
3. Two songs on the White Stripes album White Blood Cells -- I am specially enjoying Hotel Yorba, which I think must be about a musician deciding he's had enough of being shoved around by his public; and We're going to be friends -- a cheery little picture of school life. I like them because they stand out among the discordant punk-rock tracks.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
2. Struggling with a yoga pose and then finding that it's really easy when I try with the other leg.
3. Walking down a quiet road and seeing people's front doors standing open.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
2. Cherries from Aragon Farm in my lunchbox. Thanks, Skinner family. If you are driving between Sissinghurst and Biddenden, stop and buy some -- they are yum.
3. I don't do organising until something is lost or my filing cabinet threatens to burst. This sounds lazy, but it means that I spend less time tweaking elaborate filing systems and more time feeling satisfied after a huge clear-out. I went through the file marked 'Bills' and ditched final demands going back to 2003 (I never pay before a final demand because red is such a pretty colour).
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
2. I walk through a farm -- the front doors of the houses are open, but there is no sign of life (apart from a dog that cannons into my legs) until I come to the cow yard, where there is a great mooing and commotion. It must be milking time. Cats are everywhere -- a biggish kitten races over and then feints back, and a tabby with a stumpy tail.
3. Catching sight of some fine Tudor brick chimneys. The Tudors really knew a thing or two about chimneys, making them very tall and lavishly decorated.
Monday, July 03, 2006
2. Drinking elderflower cordial with borage flowers floating in it.
3. Lying in the shade with a book because it is too hot to do anything else.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
2. The Woodland Trust. Being a walker, I have boundless love for any group that buys land and asks people in. I walked through Hargate Forest -- it's an intriguing patch of woodland not far from the centre of Tunbridge Wells, and it includes: a carriage drive from the Eridge Estate; ancient woodland; heathland; piney areas that smell gorgeous on a hot day.
2b. My new walking map. Tunbridge Wells falls over four different Explorer maps, so you can imagine how this turns me into a strolling map library. Not any more. A late birthday present from my father is a custom Ordnance Survey map -- give them a postcode and they make you a map that centres on it. Now my territory is all one one inkjet printed map with my name on the front.
3. Drinking games. We played 'A ship sailed in with a shitload of...' You have to say what the ship sailed in with -- magazines, say, or trees, and then the turn passes round the circle, and everyone has to say a magazine (or a tree) without pausing or repeating. Players who mess up must drink, and then load up another ship. It was funny that the part that caused the most trouble was 'A ship sailed in...' We had 'A ship sailed into the bay loaded with' and 'A ship came to harbour with...' I don't know if it was unwillingness to say a rude word with ladies present, or just the drink speaking.
3b. Sophy describing how on an accidentally long walk through Ashdown Forest ('We had to ring my aunt and ask her to pick us up from Tunbridge Wells') she and her uncles and cousins discovered an abandoned Tudor farm.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
2. Variety performances -- short sketches are great because I don't have to concentrate for too long; and if I don't enjoy something, I know I'm not stuck there for a whole two hours. We went to Trinity Theatre Club's Gala, and it was tremendous fun. I liked the father and son watching Hamlet as if it were a football match; and I liked Romeo making his 'Soft what light from yonder window' speech to Lady Macbeth. After the interval, a band came on and the audience scrambled out of their seats and joined them on the stage.
3. Sitting chatting about nothing in particular in the bar at Trinity while the clearing up goes on around us.