Thursday, January 31, 2008

Lambs' tails, puppy and too young.

1. On the far side of the garden over the road, a hazel tree is shaking its catkins.

2. A man across the street carries a tiny puppy. He puts it in his bag as he is goes through a door with a 'no dogs' sticker on it.

3. While I am pushing her on the swing, Madeline leans backwards to ask if I have any children. I tell her no. So she asks if I am pregnant.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Announcement for people who use a feed reader.

To everyone who reads through feed reader: I've been messing around with the feed for this site. This is the best version from now on, please.

Ceci mon chapeau, misery and clear-out.

1. I go to rescue my hat, which I left in the classroom last night. I like lost property conversations like: 'Has a hat been handed in?' 'Is it from FatFace?' 'Yes'.

2. I listen to the Litopia podcast and they are rude about misery memoirs. They invent their own titles, including Mummy Took My Fingers and Daddy is Mummy's Mummy and I Was an Accident. Mine would be: A Child Called Clare-Robert-Rose-Little-Whatsyername.

3. In search of my art things, I clear three crates of junk into one crate of stuff I want and need.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Change in the weather, sleeping and quality.

1. Waking up to a frosty, foggy morning after several mild days. As the morning goes on, the mist burns off and a line of drops appears on the wire outside my window. I like sharp days because it feels like a proper winter with harsh suffering, instead of all this 'Isn't it mild' nonsense.

2. Taking a nap on the sofa after lunch.

3. The soft crunk that a good quality car door makes when I close it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

While you were sleeping, handful and Scottish film.

1. I doze off in the sunshine and when I wake up, Nick has mended my computer and dug out some quotes riddiculing early flight.

2. Watching TV while filling my hands with a mindless task (organising my sewing basket by winding left-over embroidery cottons on to bobbins and sorting them by colour so I can see exactly what I've got).

3. Looking forward all day to going to the cinema. We went up to Trinity to see Seachd: The Inaccessible Pinnacle. It's a film in Gaelic about a boy whose grandfather hijacks his life with stories.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Amusements, babies and roasties.

1. Ellie and Nick peeking at each other between the rungs of a chair. And reading my favourite book ever to Ellie -- Each Peach Pear Plum.

2. Daniel is a lovely, portable size. He loves being picked up and sits cheerfully on my lap taking in the world.

3. Shaking a pan of parboiled potatoes so they make fluffy roasties.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A tenner, maids of February and datebook.

1. Discovering £10 I didn't know I had.

2. Snowdrops peering sleepily out of the ground.

3. Katie and I have a rare evening in together. We spend the time choosing pictures for our calendar -- I know it's almost February, but we're busy people.

Friday, January 25, 2008

For me, new territory and a welcome.

1. Checking my spam basket and finding a couple of kind messages that actually are meant for me.

2. Taking a walk down an unfamiliar but nearby street.

3. Coming to Nick's house because he is always so pleased to see me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A lesson, colour change and writer.

1. My financial advisor apologises for being late -- he had a swimming lesson, which makes me like him immediately. Having spoken with him, I feel as if I can understand my finances a bit better, which makes the future seem more secure.

2. The garlic clove in my salad dressing has turned a bluey-green colour.

3. Churning out a certain number of pages in a day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Song, smile and do you understand.

1. It's been cold and windy recently, so birds have been silent. But today the sun is out and a few birds are testing their voices.

2. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named comes to dinner. It's good to see his Cheshire Cat smile again.

3. Playing Articulate.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

At home, it's not like that and ouch.

1. I go down to Cafe Divine for some scribbling time and discover that it's rather like sitting in a warm, homey kitchen. People pop in and out returning mugs and swapping news.

2. Twelve years after leaving school, I am still amazed at how, in the real world, no-one shouts at you for being late. They just want you to get to your seat with as little disruption as possible.

3. Katie presses down on my spine to unclick it. It makes me squeak, but I feel much better afterwards.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Winter flowers, memories and opinions.

Rebecca at Gratitude Practices gave me a You Make My Day Award -- thank you very much. I guess I'd pass it on to Animation Backgrounds and The Daily Mammal, both of which draw attention to beautiful things that might otherwise go un-noticed.

1. The winter flowering whatever it is that makes the backdoor area smell so sweet.

2. Rosey, the Mother and I go to tea with Granny. We get her old photo albums out and hear all about her childhood in Malaysia.

3. Eating at a restaurant where the waiter was interested -- but not obtrusive about it -- in what we thought of certain dishes.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Better late, notions and small pictures.

1. Late Christmas presents -- my aunt, uncle and cousins were away for Christmas, so we've only managed to meet up now.

2. A compartment box of beads for adding to embroidery. It's plastic, so when I rub it with my sleeve, the tiny beads stick to the lid.

3. My aunt is a born 3BTer in her photographs. She gets pictures of mushrooms and uncurling ferns and butterflies.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shine up, small shop and siblings.

1. Our water is very hard, so it tends to leave scum on the draining board. It's not a difficult to clean off; but it tends not to get done -- things that come out of the dishwasher wet (anything made of plastic, I'm looking at you) get stacked there; we don't really have the space to put all our crockery away; and we have a no drying up policy. But today there are only a few things there, so I put them away and clean up. It's satisfying to wipe over a squirt of lime scale remover so the stainless steel shines.

2. Coming out of the dark and into a village shop crammed floor to ceiling with every conceivable item. The aisles twist and turn and it is easy to get lost. Gradually, the ready meals and tins and cakes and bottles turn to paper and note pads and sticky tape and toys and gift packaging and then I step through a doorway into the Post Office.

3. At half past midnight, my siblings come home. Rosey comes into my room to kiss me goodnight.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sink, ticks and good neighbours.

1. When making muffins, the paper cases sit on top of the bun tin. But when I drop the mixture into them, they sink down into their wells.

2. A ticking kitchen timer hanging round my neck.

3. I go downstairs to let Nick in and find that our neighbours happened to be coming home. Not content with welcoming my guests, they ask if I want a TV. I decline, regretfully. Then they offer me some bottles of wine -- a delivery mistake, apparently, which I am delighted to accept.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hand-in-hand, instant pictures and good deed.

1. Two tiny people holding hands as they cross the park with their mother.

2. I order some prints of photos from Snapfish. An hour later, they are ready at the top of town. I pull out my purse to pay, and the man says: 'They're already paid for if you ordered them on-line.' Pause. 'You did order them on-line, didn't you?'

3. While Nick is shaving, I am able to do my good deed for the day by rolling over and warming his side of the bed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

All ears, shelter from the storm and catching a line.

1. A guilt-free listening to radio plays day.

2. The sound of the wind and rain throwing themselves at the windows and knowing that they can't get in.

3. Hearing from someone who is in the same boat as me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jeweller, little lights and an extra layer.

1. The rain has barely stopped when the sun comes out. The lime tree over the road sparkles as if hung with thousands of jewels and the wet branches gleam as if they have been polished.

2. Seeing the reflections of the stones in my green dragon fly brooch dancing on the walls.

3. I have a fleece underblanket now, so instead when I get into bed on a cold night, the matress doesn't swallow all my warmth.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Retrograde, what's for sale and sandy whiskers.

1. Getting back into bed after I've had a shower.

2. Peeping through the windows of closed antique shops.

3. Hearing an inhuman shriek and then seeing a fox shooting across the garden opposite.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bark bark bark bark, dropping in and arrrgh.

1. In the middle of no-where we meet an old lady with a sheltie coming out of the woods. He comes towards us barking, and she assures us above the racket: 'He's all shout and no bite.' I say: 'Hallo, noisy dog,' which the lady seems to find funny. She continues out of the woods addressing him as 'noisy dog.'

2. As we come back to civilisation, Nick says: 'Shall we drop in on my parents?' I am not sure, as we are covered muddy to our eyebrows; but he thinks it'll be all right. They're watching a Norman Wisdom film about a disgruntled milkman, and are pleased to see us and our boots. A comfortable chair, a cup of tea and a biscuit in a warm room are very welcome.

3. One of the few TV stations that we are able to get is the National Geographic channel. It's showing a documentary about pirates and the marine archaeologists who have spent the last 23 years poking around a wrecked pirate ship.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Job well done, small feet and strange time.

1. Looking back over good work done the previous day.


2. Tickling Dee-Dee's fat little baby feet and making her smile.


3. Walking just after sunset, when things seem indistinct and changeable and almost anything might happen.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Market day, red scarf and pool.

1. I visit the Tunbridge Wells Country Market -- I've been wanting to do this for a while, mainly because of Joe's recommendation. He says it's best to get there early, as the ladies with sharp elbows gather at the door. There is a cheery selection of small cakes and tiny packs of vegetables -- it caters for people living alone.

2. Joe's cherry red scarf. Quite apart from his scarf, it's good to catch up over a cup of tea. He passes on a job-hunting tip, which I have squirrelled away for future reference.

3. We discover that the swimming session has changed, and that we must wait half an hour. So we go up to the gallery and watch the swimming school. I really felt for the children in the far lane -- they were really struggling, and a length must have seemed a mile to them, but they kept at it, struggling on to the very end. The children in the middle lane were more confident; while the kids in the near lane were downright cocky -- waving to their parents and spinning round while they trod water.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jiggery pokery, oatcakes and finished.


1. I like calling a tech support line and being taught a cunning trick -- ordinary buttons and switches can be made to do something magic if pressed in the right way.

2. An oatcake and honey.

3. Tying off the loose threads in my first typing glove. Can't wait to start work on the second one. It will be a lot better because I'll know what mistakes to avoid. It's made from Aragon Yarns, by the way.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Napping, repairs and safe inside.

1. Taking a nap in the afternoon to help my ideas settle -- I like that time between waking and sleeping for new ideas. I think it might be the cocooned feeling and the 'Do not Disturb' aspect. It's nap a day month, too.

2. Darning a worn place on my jeans because it'll make them last another few months.

3. Sitting under a duvet and hearing the rain and wind lash against the house.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Grinding, lost time and woolies.

1. Grinding allspice berries in a mortar and pestle.

2. I put the supper in at 4pm and go back to my writing. The next time I look up, it's 6.20pm; Katie will be back any minute and I really should have put the rice on fifteen minutes ago.

3. A large box full of balls of bright wool -- it's hard to explain what I like about this. I think it's the combination of colours, warmth and squdginess.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Warm hands, winter sun and it's easy.

1. Wrapping my hands round a cup of hot tea.

2. Opening the curtains to let in the winter sun.

3. When someone marvels at something I can do very easily. Nick says: 'I always wonder at your ability to fall asleep anywhere at any time.'

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Dust, VIP and disposing of the corpse.

1. Katie empties the vacuum cleaner (a job I really, really hate) and then we do the sitting room and hall and see just how much grub has been hiding in our carpets, which is satisfying.

2. Bringing home a new desktop computer. When browsing on a larger screen and at higher speeds than I am used to, I feel like I did when Nick and I arrived at a posh hotel and everyone treated us as if we were very important and special.

3. It's 12th night, so people are taking down their decorations. We chop our tree up and put it in the bin -- which now smells pine-fresh; and later at night, we see a couple sneaking their tree down to the bottom of the park.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Order of service, to my lappie and a good book.

Regular readers will be familiar with my old colleague Oli. He has put some of his songs up on the music site Amie Street under the name Sir Topaz -- go and have a listen. Sorry to drop two requests on you in two days; but in this case, the price of the songs go up the more people that buy, so I guess it's better to get in there early!

1. Making Nick get dressed first so I quarter of an hour to spread myself over the whole bed and roll myself up in the covers.

2. My poor laptop is struggling now, and no amound of defragging and virtual memory adjusting seem to help. It is going to be replaced with a cheaper, faster, more reliable desktop computer very soon. It is still beautiful, however, and I'm going to miss it, particularly being able to shut it when I've finished work, showing its neat midnight blue lid; being able to pick it up and take it anywhere. It would appear I got in February 2005, so it hasn't done too badly.

3. Spreading myself over the sofa to read The Ladies of Grace Adieu. It's a cross between Jane Austen and a book of English folk tales, and is a sequel of sorts to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

Moving air, smash and acquatic ape.

The Bloggies are running again -- I'd be very glad to have your votes, as raising the profile of 3BT could help my book sales for next Christmas. And where readers are concerned, I've always thought 'the more the merrier.' You can put a blog in more than one category -- if you wanted to be strategic about it, Best European and Best Writing would be good places to put 3BT.

1. It snows and I can stop work to look at it. I like it because the movements of the air are revealed.

2. Jules says he 'could stand here doing this all day' -- he means dropping bottles into a bottle bank and hearing them break.

3. I haven't swum in ages -- I always forget how much I like being in the water and how warm and relaxed I feel afterwards.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Done it, crystal and duck.

The Roll of Honour has been updated -- if anyone isn't on who should be, get in touch.

1. Meeting a self-set deadline.

2. Producing some exquisite piece of tableware and Katie saying: 'I didn't know we had port glasses. Where did these come from?' and saying 'Those old things? They were at the back of the cupboard.'

3. That moment between saying something really cheeky and having a ball of wool thrown at my head.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In the mud, rats and Jane Austen.

1. A large puddle in a huge field. A very small person stands in the mud at the edge guarded by a large German shepherd dog. The father returns from the dog bin and carefully lifts the small person out of the mud, twisting them slightly so their boots don't get left behind.

2. We stand on a bridge over the stream connecting the duckpond with the lake and watch rats appearing and disappearing along runways in the grass and tunnels in the bank.

3. Katie gets in at 9pm while I am deep in a book and says that there is a new adaptation of Sense and Sensibility about to start; and that it has an exciting woodchopping scene that rivals Mr Darcy-climbing-out-of-the-lake-in-his-wet-shirt. My book falls forgotten down the side of my bed.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Jammy, mulberries and fireworks.

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2008 bring you all sorts of beautiful things.

1. Linzer biscuits -- posh, large jammie dodgers -- on display in a coffee shop; and getting the last piece of free sample that still had some jam on it.

2. Discovering that Tesco sells a dried fruit mix containing white mulberries. I had these back in 2001 when I was in the dried fruit capital of the universe, the Hunza Valley, Pakistan, and I fell in love, despite their maggotty appearance.

3. Opening the windows and watching other people's fireworks across the valley.