Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cat and mouse, corrections and crimson pig.

1. Our new satellite card provides hour-long Tom and Jerry specials. I particularly enjoyed a surreal episode about a cartoon kit including 'one mean pussycat and a loveable little mouse'. And the episode in which Tom tries to design a better mousetrap. He is foiled when the blue print mouse warns Jerry about the plan and together they sabotage it.

2. Having Nick take dictated corrections to my manuscript while I lie in the bath.

3. Porco Rosso's lair -- it is a beach surrounded by high cliffs and apparently only accessable through a sea arch. On the beach is a chair and table shaded by an umbrella; a radio; a telephone; and a tent. His red seaplane is moored to a pontoon made from planks and floating barrels.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Don't say that, the king and party animal.

1. We spend much of the day making a list of words forbidden in usernames on our website. We need to break every tabboo, which causes hysterical laughter; and every so often, someone will come up with a new phrase which needs to be discussed before it can be added to the list.

2. Katie has had a bad day. But a martini, a shower and the prospect of a night out with Paul Elvis Chan cheer her up.

3. Mark B has asked that his lovely soft jumper be mentioned.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Open face, another thing to love and rope trick.

1. I come into the sitting room first thing and see that the lily which last night was a palid capsule shut tight has opened out into a pink and orange spotted star.

2. On hearing that Nick has decided to take me to see a one-woman production of Bacchae, Oli says: 'He's a cerebral guy, isn't he.'

3. Watching a single actress perform a conversation between two very different characters while eight feet off the stage on a rope.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Keep moving, purple haze and fat pillows.

1. Watching high clouds moving quickly south in a blue sky.

2. The scent of lavender wafting out of Katie's bedroom. Jules has been trying to warm himself up with a bubble bath.

3. Shaking up my pillows to keep them plump.

PS: 3BT is going to sponsor The Adventurists on their trip to Mongolia in a one litre car.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

In a box, the rain has come and farce.

1. Our printer is delivered in a very large box. Like a bunch of toddlers, we are more excited by the box than by the printer. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named films and photographs each of us hiding in it.


2. When a rainstorm finishes at around sunset, the light takes on a hard, yellow quality.


3. A film at which people laugh out loud. We saw Molière at Trinity. It's a costume drama with farcical elements -- a lover disguised as a priest; a foolish father with social aspirations; a predatory noble with money problems; a stubbornly stupid young couple.


PS: There's a film about us in the trees at Where I am Working.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blue shoes, invincible and desert.

1. Oli brings Elodie to the door. She is wearing the blue bamboo wool boots that Katie knitted for her and is looking very contented as she snuggles against the dribble rag draped over Oli's shoulder.


2. Being splashed by a car when I am wearing waterproofs.


3. The words 'Do you want a chocolate pudding or a jelly?'

Monday, September 24, 2007

The space, hanging and twice told tales.

1. Waking up in the vast expanse of Nick's new sofa bed. I have to roll over to find him.

2. We breakfast outside at a coffee shop. We watch a girl little enough to still have baby hair swinging on the bike rails -- they are just the right height for her.

3. We meet James and Kim for lunch and a catch-up. Old news for us is new news for them, so I enjoy telling and hearing all the stories again.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Quietly, squirmer and gaggle of girls.

1. Holding the very placid baby Daniel while his mother cuddled her other baby, my giggly goddaughter Ellie.

2. Holding the feisty and wriggly Rory and watching him suck on his bottle.

3. At the top of the hill is a bench. There are three teenage girls sitting on it, and two sitting in front of it. They are surrounded by bottles and bags. 'So we're gonna meet them there. They're not going to the meal.'
'Can we skip the meal too?'
'Yeah, let's.'
'Can we eat something cheap?'

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Adrenalin, the tribe and zip.

Work took us to a treetop adventure at Go Ape.

1. Feeling excited about something, but not feeling sick. I took courage from the fact that Fenella, who is scared of heights, had done it and enjoyed it. The first real course was terrifying and left me wondering if I could bear to do the rest. But the second course saw me sauntering across a single log 30 feet up in the canopy, and suddenly I felt a lot better about it all.

2. I liked seeing flashes of the others ahead of us on the course and hearing them whoop and shriek and cheer and encourage. I loved seeing Oli and Doug romping across obstacles; and hearing Hilary checking that Emma and Charlotte were properly attached.

3. Going down the last zip wire and seeing all my colleagues waiting at the far end, Doug standing on the fence, Charlotte brushing the wood chips off herself, He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named with his camera in hand.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bread or cake, just in time and pink flowers.

1. Katie says banana bread is not cake, which means she can have it for breakfast.

2. Ellie drops me off just as the bus comes round the corner. I jump up and down and wave and the driver waves back, slows and pulls out of the traffic and into the bus stop so I can race across the road and thank him as I board.

3. Fenella brings five bubblegum pink gerberas.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Myrmacology, pink and loaf.

1. Watching ants at work in the ant farm of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.

2. A pan of pink bubble and squeak -- we made it with red cabbage.

3. Watching my banana bread rising in the oven.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Man about the house, fixing a hole and leisure time.

1. Coming home from work to find Nick waiting for me.

2. There is no longer a hole in my ceiling because the plasterer has filled it in.

3. Throwing a pill into a full dishwasher and setting it off.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Little black pot, sofa and you're late.

1. Buttery toast and marmite.

2. The sofa bed has arrived and is filling Nick's living room with its cloudlike sofa-ness. We pull out the bed and lie on top of the plastic wrapper to try it out. There is so much space.

3. One of the things I love about being an adult is that I can arrive late for classes and no-one shouts at me like they would have at school. I know it's a bad and disruptive thing to do, but it was a genuine mistake this time and I won't do it again.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hats off, baby talk and castle of cards.

Lauren Bergold writes more about her 3BT experience -- check out the pictures of the journal she made to keep her beautiful things in.

1. A large square box containing a bowler hat and a top hat. My father says as we bring them down from the attic: 'I don't know what your grandfather would think of you using his hats for a burlesque course.'

2. A phone call from Cat in which I can hear Ellie in the background saying 'Clare'. I also hear Daniel noises.

3. Curling up with Italo Calvino's Castle of Crossed Destinies and comparing the stories to the tarot spread.

Conversation, lamb and cloths of heaven.

1. On the bus a little girl in a pushchair talks to her grandfather about their fingers and thumbs, his watch and whether or not he has a fat tummy.

2. A dish containing shank of lamb, sticky dark gravy and creamed potatoes.

3. Walking in the dark and seeing a skyful of stars.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Flowers, hush-a-bye and red wine.

1. The bunches of gladioli that I bought on Thursday as tightly furled buds have opened into velvety purple flowers.


2. Oli leaning into Elodie's car seat to quiet her with some white noise shhhhing.


3. Filling someone's glass with red wine.

Friday, September 14, 2007

To the future, stripes and cake.

1. This story about a US town that buried a car to celebrate its 50th anniversary. It was dug up for the 100th anniversary. The intention is to present it to heirs of the 'lucky' person who correctly guessed the population of the town in 2007. Thanks to Paleo-Future for writing it up.

2. Neopolitan icecream -- the sort that comes in tubs with a stripe of pink, white and brown.

3. A tray of brownies in the oven.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fruit picking, future food and a writer's housemate.

1. Picking blackberries and feeling the sun warm on my back.

2. Checking the menu of a restaurant about to open and imagining meals yet to be eaten.

3. It must be frustrating for Katie watching me work on the book. I spend a lot of time playing computer games, lying on the sofa, not doing any housework, laying out slips of paper with beautiful things written on them and dozing. She neither comments that slightly more time editing would be helpful; nor wonders why I don't spend some of the not-writing time doing housework. But the second guidance is asked for, she -- and Rosey -- come out with exactly what I need to hear.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Berries, sun and hunters.

1. Dried cranberries because of their glowing shade of red.

2. A shaft of sunlight falls down behind my desk and warms my legs as I work.

3. The film Ten Canoes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Writer, green paint and mended.

1. Sitting in a pub with a pint of beer and my notebook.


2. Walking down our street and seeing the afternoon sun shining into our living room and on to the newly-decorated green walls.

3. Getting my lap top back from the menders.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Congregation, coloured glass and dress circle.

Nick and I spent yesterday visiting buildings in the Heritage Open Day.

1. Reading that St Augustine's church was once described as a 'tent' and that it helps worshippers recall the nomadic roots of their religion. It's a low modern building laid out in a square -- the congregation must feel very involved with the services. Nick thought its high rafters made it like a Medieval hall. The guide who greeted us said that when the church was first opened in 1974, she didn't get on very well with the modern architecture, but it has grown on her.

2. The stained glass window at the back of the stage in Trinity Arts Centre. Trinity is a converted church and the window is normally hidden by a curtain.

3. Going upstairs in the Opera House. It's been a pub since I moved to Tunbridge Wells. Before that, it was a bingo hall, and before that a cinema, and before it was a theatre. The dress circle has recently restored red tip-up seats. But I didn't know there was an upper circle, too, which hasn't been used since the last film in 1968. The seats look rather hard and uncomfortable, and it is strange to think that no-one has sat in them since before I was born. It was very grimy, very eerie, with toilets full of dust and stacks of unwanted doors and old furniture lying around. I was so glad of the chance to go behind the scenes in this familiar place.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sweet nothings, blue goo and demob happy.

1. I turn down breakfast in favour of an extra fifteen minutes of having sweet nothings whispered in my ear.

2. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named has ants to put in his ant farm. We gave him the tank full of blue goo for his birthday, but the ants had to be ordered separately. He puts them in, and we spend the day checking to see if they've started burrowing yet.

3. I am what my boss calls 'demob happy' because it's the end of Friday and I have a whole week off.

Guru, coffee and food.

1. Here's a presentation given by Erin McKean. Watching it made me remember what a beautiful thing she is.
1a. Erin's dress. Reading Erin's Dress A Day made clothes a pleasure for me. Her philosophy made me brave enough to buy, accessorise and wear dresses.
1b. The idea of letting the writers, rather than dictionary editors, decide what words can be used.

2. Meeting my mother for coffee.

3. I think I'm not hungry, but when the food comes, I am.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Chocolate, sibling and worship.

1. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named brings me a mug of hot chocolate with a spiral of creamy froth revolving on the top.

2. Hearing that Goddaughter Ellie has a new brother -- who weighed 8lb 12oz. Well done Cat and Alan.

3. Nick and I watch a documentary that shows a statue of Buddha surrounded by adoring worshippers covered in coloured powder and milk.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mixed up, treed and shutting out.

1. Generating anagrams of names -- He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named is Brad Hygienic Drew. It sounds like a cowboy with OCD.

2. Teenagers chasing a squirrel. 'We'll never have to crack nuts for ourselves again.'

3. Settling into bed and leaving all the day's problem's behind.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

White collars, chips and sweet gums.

1. Very large wood pigeons going about their business in the park. They look like Victorians with their dignified, contented stoutness and high white collars.


2. Clasping a warm, paper-wrapped bag of chips to my chest.


3. Burning some incense -- I'd forgotten how much I enjoy the sparks going across the charcoal and sniffing my resins to see which I'm going to use.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Warm my hands, where's my key and fibres.

1. A cup of tea makes the chilly morning wait for my lift more bearable.

2. Housemates who notice when I forget my key and make sensible arrangements.

3.A thread card loaded with DMC stranded cotton, ready for me to start a new cross stitch.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Self-respect, clack and runner.

1. I work back over Three Beautiful Things to find suitable entries for the book. Looking at 2004 I feel as if I am reading someone else's words and I find myself able to think of my own work: 'This is all right.'

2. A mysterious clacking noise in the sitting room turns out to be a contented Nick playing shut-the-box.

3. Spotting a photo of Andy finishing the London Marathon.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Taskmistress, drinking club and madhouse.

1. Katie comes in to borrow my gardening kit and catches me playing computer games. She says: 'I'm working, so you have to.' A few hours later, the garden is much neater and 300 Beautiful Things is taking shape.

2. Crowds of morris men waving handkerchiefs on the Pantiles.

3. We walk into a restaurant and the waiter says: 'Welcome to the madhouse.' We are confronted by what looks like a scene from Nurse Matilda:
Coriander was lifting Amelie up so she could climb a pillar, much to the horror of the dating couple trying to have a date behind it.
Gregory was banging a spoon on the table.
Holly and Daisy were having a screaming match.
Marcus was tipping salt into the packets of sugar and putting them back in the bowl.
Noah was seeing how many breadsticks he could get up his nose.
Victoria, Joshua and Jacob were trying to get round the entire table without touching the ground.
All the other children were doing simply dreadful things too.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Crunchy, cupboard love and in the hands of a master.

1. Sprinkling sugar on half a grapefruit,

2. Ellie brings us donuts.

3. When reading a book makes me feel as if I am in the hands of a master -- in this case Kurt Busiek's Astro City and The Virgin in the Ice by Ellie Peters.