Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A mission, the light and lanterns.

1. The road to work was blocked by an accident, and my bus took me via random villages to a place about two miles from my stop... but He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named came to the rescue, and the autumn leaves we passed were very yellow and orange against the sky. Later, Neil points out how joyous it is to be late for work When It's Not Your Fault.

2. A wonderful lamp in a sphere of glass crystals.

3. I come home to find an industrious Jules hollowing out pumpkins. Katie points out that he has 'found the pick 'n' mix' that we bought for any trick or treaters.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

To do, monster in the woods and the game's afoot.

1. Small tasks that have a beginning, a middle and an end.

2. I see a long creature chasing a cyclist and at first I think it's a squirrel. It's a dachsund puppy out for a walk with a mother and two sons. It plays in the fallen leaves, savaging any that look as if they might step out of line.

3. Creating a character for a Hollow Earth Expedition, discovering what she's good at and what her talents are and trying to play the game as if I were her.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Red room, ready to eat and satin and leather.

1. The red covers have gone back on the sofas, and the room looks so warm and inviting. No grey weather can get in now.


2. A table laid for supper with shining glasses and cutlery.


3. In the night, I feel with my feet my ballet shoes which are hanging from the end of the bed, tied with their ribbons.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New shoes, a kiss and it's growing.

1. I did a term of ballet when I was very tiny, but I don't remember having the shoes bought for me. However, I need a pair of ballet shoes for my Halloween costume, so Katie and I went to the ballet shop to pick out a pair of suitable size eights. I feel as if an important memory has been restored.

2. Running into Nick in M&S and getting a small kiss by way of greeting.

3. Watching my Halloween costume take shape under Katie's sewing machine.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

That smells good, a meeting of minds and something to laugh about.

1. There's something in the air today that makes everyone snuff and say: 'Something's changed' and 'You can almost taste the moisture' and 'I love this time a year'.

2. I meet a real live writer for a drink. I was a bit in awe of her the first time we met, but she is so kind and encouraging that this time, I anticipate our drink with hardly any nervousness. And again, she is interesting and charming and passes on tips and shares a little gossip. See Sarah's other project here.

3. My bed is so warm and welcoming that as I get in, I giggle to myself in a way that reminds me of my goddaughter Ellie (nearly two) giggling when we played some game or other.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fruit, come back and sitting together.

1. The smell that rises from two platters of fruit salad. On this grey almost November day, the colours seem wonderful and exotic.

2. I am reading while I wait. Through the story I hear the voice I am waiting for, and it pulls me back to the London street.

3. As we take our seats on the train, Nick lifts the armrest between us.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Window, this is me and very amusing.

1. A window through which only sky is visible. Three birds fly past.

2. In the last few months I have been reminded of something important. After the not-a-badger incident I wailed to Chrissie 'I feel like such a girl' and she told me firmly 'But Clare, you are a girl'. And later, telling my woes to Oli, I am advised: 'To be honest, you wouldn't be a woman if you didn't feel like that.' I remember both these incidents, and wonder when in my life I lost my pride in this part of my identity.

3. I hear the front door go and then a shriek that indicates Katie has been 'got' by the same trick she played on me first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rime, a good scratch and hot feet.

1. Sheep with frost on their backs because it means no warmth is escaping through their fleeces.

2. A horse rolling on the ground.

3. Resting my feet on a hot radiator as I work.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Warming up, recordings and supper.

1. Feeling warm from a walk on a cold day.


2. The sound archives of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. He has collected such gems as me saying 'Sheep and potatoes'; Oli apologising for phoning me late at night from Bratislava; Tricky Dicky selling printing services; Pip barking; Ellen wondering where a ladder is when you need one.


3. A shepherd's pie covered in expertly forked mash browning in the oven.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The castle, a sleep and co-ordination.

1. We visit a National Trust property that I have known since I was tiny. This year, the house has been opened up. Before, it could be glimpsed here and there, but now the evergreens have been cut down so that the mellow sandstone building is visible from surprising places, and the forbidden lawns are now accessible.

2. Dozing on the sofa leaning on Nick.

3. Finishing both packets of pills on the same day.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Decorations, look what I can do and a good match.

1. Katie comes back from Sainsbury's with a bag full of orange and black secrets for Halloween.

2. After expert teaching from Glamour Puss, I can now twirl nipple tassels. Another achievement ticked off the list.

3. We lost the rugby, but the South African team looked so happy to have won. I was impressed that Thabo Mbeki was there to celebrate with them.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mist, last of the sunny days and kitten.

1. A frosty morning with mist lying in hollows.

2. We celebrate Neil's birthday by sitting in the sun with a beer.

3. Bobby explains the awesome power of his new kitten. 'Girls come to see the kitten, not me.'

Friday, October 19, 2007

1. Getting my haircut and watching the strands fall to the floor.

2. Wrapping myself up in a new soft fleece dressing gown.

3. Nick and I are teaching ourselves to play go. We spend a little time doing some problems, working through them. Although the game is competitive, we are doing something as a team.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Away you go, winding and a spooky tale.

1. Sending 300 Beautiful Things off to the publisher.


2. My skein of hemp has tangled. But with some help from Katie, I follow the thread and wind it into a pleasing ball.


3. Sitting up in bed, a skein of yarn around my knees, listening to the shivery Book at Bedtime. It's Susan Hill's The Man in the Picture. I'm rather a fan of her ghost stories.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Clothes parcel, traditional food and that's out of the way.

1. A new dress comes in the post. Its from a shop specifically stocked for women with curves, so it actually fits. When I look down and see the underbust band is actually under my bust and not across it, I'm so happy I almost cry.

2. Ice cream that comes in a cardboard box.

3. Completing a piece of work that has been hanging over me for the last few days.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Jumping through hoops, all done and sound of pleasure.

1. Clicking my sewing into an embroidery hoop.
2. I have moved all my stuff out of my room so the decorator can work. I am not looking forward to moving it all back in again. When I get home from work, I find that Katie has done it already.

3. The pop when I bite into a chocolate.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Autumn leaves, come and see and this is how it's going to be.

In answer to some comments:
Sprite: yes, I was at the thread and yarn show at Ally Pally -- my housemate had a stand there.
Chrissie: I think of punctuation as breaths or pauses -- a comma is a short pause; a semicolon is longer; a colon is longer still; and a full stop is longest of all to mark the end of a thought. I use semicolons in lists, too, if the items are more than one word. I try to write as I would (like to) speak -- my lips probably move as I type! I think a lot about the rhythm of prose, which is probably why I scatter semi colons so generously.
Sandy Kessler -- I think Blueridge Muse must have found the ideal place to live!

1. Walking through the park I pass the Turkish Oak. Its large leaves have nearly all come down and they cover the ground so thickly that the grass is not visible. A mother and two tinies are flinging handfuls of coppery leaves at each other and giggling hysterically.

2. On our way to breakfast I make Fenella walk up the steep street to the park so she can see the leaves. 'I can see them from the window,' she says. But when we get there, she gasps.

3. Over dinner we bat ideas back and forth for a steampunk-hollow earth game. Tim and I are all up for a trip to the Antarctic -- 'And there'll be dinosaurs, and they're going there to rescue a previous expedition that got lost and to bring the word of god to the natives...'
'It's set in Hertfordshire,' says Nick, who is running the game.
There's a pause while we digest this improbable fact. 'What, there's an entrance to the hollow earth in Hertfordshire?'

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A voice, people's palace and pudding.

1. Walking down a street I hear a wonderful voice singing inside one of the houses. I wonder if she's practising, or if she's singing as she dusts. A lady coming the other way catches my eye and smiles back at me.

2. Coming to Alexandra Palace and seeing on one side the shell of the palace's outer wall and on the other London spread out like a toy city. Once inside, I walk round the exhibition hall, dazed by all the stands. Something makes me look up and I take in the rose window at one end and the huge organ at the other.

3. A mouthful of someone else's pudding.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Arms of Morpheus, love across the ocean and competition.

1. Going back to sleep because I don't feel well.


2. A radio play in which two people who have met only briefly in real life exchange love letters across the world and decide to get married.


3. Nick has learnt to play go so that he can teach me.

Friday, October 12, 2007

All's well, satisfaction and tight circles.

1. Finding this website. It's good to see that someone else is happy, and I particularly like this post about watching television sideways.

2. I help a user find a presentation on our site. She tells me how much she likes what we offer -- customer delight is very satisfying.

3. Making kittens chase something round and round and round until you're sure they're going to trip over their tail or fall over from dizziness -- but they never do. Nicky says this is because they have a leg at each corner.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The light, autumn leaves and sweep.

1. A strange morning with yellow light shining through raindrops and mist against a dark grey sky.


2. A variety of autumn leaves -- a drift of orange beech leaves, stiff as if they had been beaten out of copper; scrolls of red and green sumac leaflets; and berry red leaves from a cherry tree.


3. Water drops on the bonnet of a car seem to have been carefully organised to make a diagonal pattern.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Apple, waking dream and Chinese acrobats.

1. Slicing morsels from a peeled russett apple and eating them off the knife.

2. Playing a slick and atmospheric computer game. Nightmares: The Adventure comes in four parts. I liked the sinister voice-over and the concept of neutralising the fears of a small boy by doing good deeds.

3. We liked the bamboo forest fight in House of Flying Daggers so much that we watch it all over again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

All in a cup, two's company and a phone call.

1. The cup of tea that Katie brings me each morning in bed; and the cup of French press coffee brought to my desk each morning. I enjoy these drinks in themselves, for the taste and the warmth of the mug; but more important is the thought that someone has taken the trouble to make it for me.

2. On most mornings I pass tiny blonde twins hurrying to school with their mother. The girl is often lagging behind to pick something up from a hedge or to look at something important. She looks as if she might be a natural 3BTer, and we exchange understanding smiles.


3. Rosey rings -- she's waiting for a bus and I'm waiting for the printer to finish with my script. We chat about dreams and siblings and how people she hasn't seen for ages know what she's doing because it's mentioned in 3BT.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Kitchen miracle, and now for something completely different and a little order.

1. Watching pancakes cook -- I like the way the top changes colour and becomes slightly translucent; and I like to see a brown frill appearing at the edge.

2. Channel surfing and finding a Monty Python double bill.

3. Tidying up a little.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Art for real, streets of London and getting what I want.

1. Seeing Millais' paintings in the flesh -- There some that were familiar from a Pre-Raphaelite craze that whirled through the sixth-form common room at school (The Bridesmaid, Christ in the House of his Parents, Ophelia). Others were old friends from my school history books (The Princes in the Tower, The Boyhood of Raleigh). Others seem to have squirmed into our culture and are as familiar as the BBC and Guardian (Bubbles)

2. We take a walk called 'Passport to Pimlico' which weaves through wedding cake streets of white stucco houses and tantalises us with hints of views -- 'look down this street and see an Italianate water tower.' 'Look up here and see the Apollo theatre.' 'From here you can see three of Battersea Powerstations chimneys.'

3. Last week, when we planned this day out, I said I wanted to watch the film Passport to Pimlico and wondered idly where we could get hold a DVD. Then Nick discovers that it's on TV at a time that fits in perfectly with our plans for the day.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Two of us, deep purple and on the turn.

1. I wake up and discover that we are holding hands.

2. Fuchsias -- in particular, the magical purple inner petals. It is a deep indigo that glows in such a way that I imagine it reflecting colours outside that my eyes pick up, but my brain can't register.

3. The ridge of the hill that runs parallel to the lane is still green, but with smudges and highlights of orange and russett.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Yes dear, splat and bookworm.

1. Katie comes in to tell me something to which I am not really listening because I am writing. I catch that she is very happy with her life in general, particularly her boyfriend and her homelife. Later in the day, I realise that I had been thinking just the same thing as she brought my mug of tea into the early morning gloom of my bedroom.

2. Treading on a laurel berry for the wet crunch.

3. On my way home I see a man I once met at a party walking down the street with his nose in a book.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

By phone, wild chickens and red white green.

Gusarsayu -- I've written a response to your comment (I published it on your blog and on yesterday's post, too). Today's beautiful things are for you.

1. A telephone consultation with my GP -- instead of taking the morning off work, I take a three minute phone call.

2. The sound of a cock pheasant calling chock! chock! chock! at the far end of the field at the end of the day.

3. Scattering a few green salad leaves over a plate of tomatoes with sheep's cheese, olive oil and basil vinegar.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Small treats, some grip and familiar face.

1. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named brings me an interesting tea bag that he thinks I might like to try and a slip of newspaper about a computer game.

2. A normally slippery brick pavement is covered in a fine layer of sand.

3. I take a different route home. A lady who I normally pass on the footpath meets me at the corner, stops and says: 'You've come a different way, too!' We discuss the whys of this -- she because it's getting too dark for footpaths, me because roadworks were blocking my way.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Baby talk, homecoming and where we will live.

1. Oli describes how his baby is 'a pootle and wokling with two little footles in two little bootles.'

2. I like hurrying through the park to my script writing class and seeing commuters coming the other way, hurrying towards their homes and families.

3. In the dark, a couple wrapped around each other peer into the window of an estate agent telling each other about their dream house.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Well sprung, marvellous and how am I doing?

1. Katie's bed has arrived after months of waiting. She is building it when I get home, carefully padding the joints with pieces of suede so that it doesn't squeak. When complete it is so high that our legs dangle when we sit on it and we feel like six-year-olds. I'm suffering slightly from bed envy because mine is not as lofty. 'But yours is prettier,' Katie says kindly.

2. Stand-up Josie Long explained that she hated her middle because she tended to collect fat there. Then she lifted up her top to reveal her midriff, on which she had written 'marvellous' and drawn a picture of the sea. 'Ocean in motion. I love this bit of the show.'

3. After each joke, Simon Amstell squints into the dark audience as if he is tasting our response.