Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crowned heads, vegetables and cozy.

Erin has an inspirational blog over at Treasures Found. She blogs about her creative journey in jewellery making. I'm always fascinated by other people's creative experiences. I sometimes forget that writers aren't the only ones who suffer from doubts and fears. Anyway, Erin mentioned 3BT yesterday in her 'check it out' feature, which was very kind of her; and her jewellery is gorgeous.

And Tru commented recently -- she has a new 3BT blog, which I'm putting on the Roll of Honour. It's Please Remind Me to Remind Myself.


1. Blackened rosehips wear twisted sepal crowns. Dying heads full of dreams for the future.

2. A pan of roasted vegetables, caramel brown crisps on orange carrots, red onions, potatoes and parsnips.

3. Wrapping up in a fleece blanket after a bath.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Privilege, wings and leftover.

1. He excuses turning his clients to face the room rather than the view because, being a close-up worker, he needs to stretch his eyes occasionally. And, he adds 'I'm here all day and you're not.'

2. I'm almost afraid of the way my inky crow has come to life.

3. 'I ate that plate of leftover cottage pie you left on the table. I'm sorry, and it was delicious. We're having that again.'

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cookie, spice and lost country.

Lauren over at All the Good Blog Names were Taken has been working on a paper adventure, creating collages inspired by a set of phrases. The latest topic was 'gratitude', and she talked about her 3BT work.

Tim at Heropress has nominated me for a Premio Dardo -- which apparently recognises unique voices on the net. I'm passing it on to Inspiral Daze for her haiku and photographs.

1. A large chocolate chip cookie.

2. A dusting of red paprika on my scrambled eggs.

3. An archaeologist working on a mesolithic site under the North Sea describes how lobsters kick up finds from the peat of our own Atlantis buried under the sea bed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beware, jenny and another red.

1. The sunrise is the crimson of a caution.

2. A wren holds up its stubby tail.

3. The sun shines russet brown through the wing tips of a bird flying out of our path.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Burning, birch and pursuit.

1. The chilli in his sweat burns my fingertips.

2. Weeping birch with a silver water drop on every twig tip and fork.

3. A blue sprite of exhaust chases the car up the road.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spice, inclement and work time.

1. The flavour of the cinnamon that infused our hot chocolate milk wriggles its way to the top.

2. We have no need to go out, so it's no concern of ours if the wind roars around the walls and the rain soaks the world drop by drop.

3. It is late and silent, except for me tapping at the keyboard.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Then, a conversion and the curve.

To Den -- I've posted some sewing pictures here and here.

Larkspur
nominated me for a Superior Scribbler Award. For great writing, you should check out Fiona Robyn's A Small Stone and get some reading recommendations from Tania Hershman's The Short Review, or from The Fix.

1. I love to hear James' mother describing us all as teenagers -- she tells Nick that I was 'one of the ones that looked me in the eye and responded to my greeting' instead of scurrying through the kitchen with my head down.

2. A s-shaped scar on the top of his head has changed his life.

3. The head waiter's tail coat is buttoned over the curve of his belly.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Duck, the choice and sewn.

1. Ducking out of the rain and under an overhanging building.

2. A boy of 13 stands in front of the bakery display, the tongs hovering over an almond croissant.

3. Putting the final stitches in my scissors case.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Take it away, not walking in this weather and praise.

1. It's grey, dark and rainy and the dustmen still have a 'good morning' for a passing commuter. I can't see them without thinking how glad I am that we don't have to deal with our own rubbish.

2. Being driven on a bus through streets running with water.

3. The art teacher tells us: 'I have said "excellent" more times tonight than I've said in a whole week.'

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Massing, celeriac and drinking wine in the bathroom.

Wow -- I'm over 100 followers. Cheers everyone.

1. Clouds -- gold edged -- are massing in front of the sunrise.

2. A few pieces of raw celeriac.

3. Condensation diamonds on a crystal wineglass.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First light, the fixer and always someone worse off.

The lovely people over at Things To Do Today have said kind things about 3BT. They also share a pizza recipe, a paper flower and a circus skill.

I am expecting to hit 100 followers (see left bar) any day now, which is very exciting. I won't celebrate until it's 101, as I put myself on the list at the start. Thank you very much for your support -- it's amazing to have a visible list of readers.

1. When working in the mornings, when everything but my pool of light is dark and cold, I like to hear Nick getting up.

2. A fixer comes tumbling into the building to give us a bit of encouragement. He says we should put the readers first; that he talks to at least six strangers a day; and that we should be having fun with our headlines and page layouts. We talk it over, and wonder if it's all snake oil and hoopla, or if there really are good times just around the corner. I am starting to feel as if I've been given permission to do the job I love.

3. I miss my train by seconds and feel very sorry for myself. But while I'm waiting I overhear a lady telling an even sorrier story into her phone -- she had got on the train in London thinking she was going to Blackheath. But no -- "Fast to High Brooms... High Brooms? It's somewhere near Sussex."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

At a stretch, dish and little mountains.

1. Chimney pots trying to reach above the grey rainy morning.

2. Putting a small dish of mince topped with sliced potatoes into the oven. There is nutmeg and cheese among the layers.

3. To run my fingers over the latest section of my sewing and feel the smooth satin stitch and the nubbly mountains raised by Rhodes stitch.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hanging around, windy day and comic.

1. Teenagers, wearing no coats, lined up on sunny benches in the park.

2. Coming out of the house when the sun is shining and a fresh wind is buffetting the street corners.

3. Hearing Nick laugh at QI.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Curtains, Swag bag and networking.

Yesterday in the comments Den recommended some beautiful schernschnitte animation, which is well worth a look. Here are some films of Lotte Reiniger on YouTube. Thanks very much, Den.

1. We go into Noakes Department Store in search of clean lightpull cord and leave with a set of bathroom curtains. After climbing up and down the ladder, knotting and unknotting header tape and rearranging hooks, we step back to look. 'It feels like my bathroom now,' says Nick, and we notice that the echo has gone from the room.

2. Katie-who-I-used-to-live-with has been to Sweden. She brings me back the most wonderful bag of Moomin swag -- metal Christmas tree baubles, a romantic mug showing Moomin and the Snork Maiden, a tea towel, a tin tray and a bright orange birthday book (in Swedish) decorated with illustrations from the books.

3. Today has been a busy day for catching up with friends. We saw He-Who-Shall-Not-Be named for lunch; then Backgammon Andy and his girlfriend in the evening. Coming home, I feel tired, but content. I always forget how exhausting a busy day is, but I'm glad to have the chance to firm up my connections with my people.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pillow book, breathing space and rewards of virtue.

1. All day I have to hand The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon. It is a collection of lists and notes about life as lady-in-waiting in 10th century Japan. She still seems so alive a thousand years later.

2. It is a day with plenty of space between each happening.

3. I am annoyed at having to unpick so many stitches -- again -- but I feel better for doing it, knowing that later on I needn't fudge the pattern to make it fit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Leaving, alert and finding.

1. End of work. We scatter into the afternoon like startled birds.

2. I wouldn't have run outside to look if the green sky and gilded clouds hadn't been reflected in the windows opposite.

3. Art class: There is a raven hiding in this piece of cartridge paper.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fan light, shaken and looking for me.

1. I lean out into the dark and cold to pick up the milk bottle from the doorstep. The only warmth in the world is next door's fan light.

2. Standing on the bridge when a goods train goes by. The path shakes.

3. Eerie fields, mist settled in hollows. I look straight up and blue sky sky peers back, trying to see where I am.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On its way, the vicar and memory loss.

1. At the end of lunch, she says: 'It's lovely outside. Warm as spring.'

2. The parish vicar visits us at our desks once a month to see how we're doing. He has a fistful of earrings and an infectious laugh. Wherever he goes round the office there is laughter and exchange of news.

3. I wake in the dark and can't remember anything about myself or my life. Then the knowledge returns and I have to smile at how happy I am.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The change, froth and the future.

1. I like having the right change for the bus driver.

2. Given the coffee snobbery that taints my character, I am surprised by my weakness for packet cappucino that foams up by a mysterious chemical mechanism.

3. We sit with in a deep hotel sofa with large glasses of wine close by. Plans for the future float around our heads like bubbles.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not having your cake, more hot and unbound.

1. A thick layer of solid chocolate filling in someone else's cake.

2. Adding more hot water to a cooling bath.

3. It has taken a week of unwillingly snatched moments to unpick three rows of tightly stitched mistake, but now it's done.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

White fur, not them and cast of four.

1. A second frosty day and every twig has a white fur coating.

2. At the market, the goats cheese man blows his fingers. The fishmongers hands are blue and red raw. I'm glad to be going home.

3. A Christmas present of a trip to the theatre, John Buchan's The 39 Steps. A cast of four chase a villainous German spy from London to Scotland via music hall and a shadow puppet show. On the playwriting course I did, we were often told that a script has more chance of being accepted if it will turn into a low-budget play. That might sound sad, but actually the challenge of working with a limited cast and simple (or non-existant) scenery inspires.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Strings, shedding light and lilies.

1. On the railings and in the hedges are cobwebs left behind by autumn but remembered by January's frost.

2. The street disappears into the fog, the horizon invisible but for a tree top in front of the misted over sun.

3. He brings flowers, stargazer lilies. They are fast asleep and shut up against the cold.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Leaving, getting perspective and coming home.

Megan dropped me a line to say that she's started her own 3BT page: Megan's Three Beautiful Things, so I've added her to the Roll of Honour.

1. I lock the door in a strange half-light.


2. I missed school the day we did perspective. Tonight, we learn how its done. My sketch book is full of boxes floating in mid air and shooting off into the distance.


3. Cold hands and face, warm flat and a hot cup of tea.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Big boots, touched and earth.

John Naish, author of Enough, has a new project: The Landfill Prize 2009. Go over there and nominate a pointless, wasteful consumer object.

1. Crunching on old snow ice in my big black boots.

2. Katie-at-work was touched by the story on one of her pages. It was about a charity, Facing Africa (disturbing images straight away), which helps prevent the flesh-eating disease noma and helps reconstruct the faces of children affected. She has been fretting about these children and how they could have been saved so much pain by £1 worth of mouthwash. In the afternoon, she comes up with a sponsor form: she's going to lose her stone of winter weight and we're going to pay her. We remind her that every slip-up could cost a child its mouthwash.

3. After washing the root vegetables, the bottom of the sink has a layer of muddy ferns. I chase the dirt down the drain with water, and the pattern changes to waves and fans, lines crossing where the flow has hit the side of the sink and bounced off.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Flat, underwater and references.

1. On a crisp still morning the smoke lies flat -- having hit an invisible layer in the air, it can go up no further.

2. Lying in the bath with my ears underwater.

3. Spotting The Jungle Book references in Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A fall, leftovers and elopement.

Writers, editors and editrixes of the newspaper world might be interested in Subbed.

1. On my way to work, the smoky static air fills with falling dots and fluffs and feathers.

2. In the dark part of the afternoon, a leftover box of Christmas chocolates is pulled from a desk draw and passed around.

3. The story of two small German children who were caught waiting for a train to the airport. They explained to amused police that they were running away to Africa to get married. They'd even thought to take the bride's sister along as a witness. Why Africa? The would-be groom, six-year old Mika explained "We wanted to unpack the summer things and then we wanted to go for a bit of a stroll in the sun." I know the feeling, mate.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Not wanting to get up, white socks and leading lights.

1. I have slept longer than I need to, but I don't want to get up while there is a warm and gently snoring Nick to lie against.

2. She sits on the corner of the coffee table and stares at me, lifting first one white paw and then the other. She is trying to decide if it's safe to dab at my knee.

3. Through the woods, a line of street lights tells us how to get home.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Breakfast, the gift and a sense of humour.

1. A large cup of hot chocolate.

2. Fenella brings me a parcel, a something that she's seen and decided that I MUST HAVE. It's The Dodo Pad Book of the Big Day. It's wonderfully approachable, so I won't be scared to scribble all over it and paste scruffy bits of paper into it.

3. In his latest TV series, Amazon, Bruce Parry returns to the Matis who visited a few years ago as part Tribe. He projects the film on to the lumpy log walls of the longhouse and is relieved to hear them laugh at all the bits showing him in pain, throwing up or running for the loo.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Time off, book hunt and bacon does well in the end.

Louisa over at How Can I Recycle This? has a new project: Things To Do Today.

1. 'Christmas has gone so quickly,' says the man in the greengrocers, who must be one of the happiest people ever. 'But I'd have been bored if I'd had more than a week off.'

2. I am in the library and I'm looking for books about getting married.

3. The bacon is unprepossessing, steaming itself in the water that pours out, but in the end it crisps up well.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The silence, lost and greens.

Happy New Year, everyone. Wonderful winter posts worth checking out from Box Elder and Elspeth Thompson

1. Silence in the woods. Even our breathing seems intrusive. Then, a woodpecker hammers and a flock of geese across the valley calls.

2. Wandering mapless and watchless, we lose ourselves in the woods. We taste paths, hit roads and retrace our steps.

3. Sitting stout fishcakes on a bed of wilted leeks with ginger.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Not as bad as it looks, the good thing about curly kale

Happy new year everyone. Here's to a shiny, clean blank page of a year to fill with fun and adventure.

1. I discover that the sachets of instant cappucino I bought yesterday are decaf. Woe is me. Then I remember that Katie-who-sits-next-to-me doesn't do caffeine, but is very fond of these coffee sachets, so I can share them with her.

2. Picking over the crisply curled leaves of kale and stripping out the stalks and shaking off the diamond drops of water.

3. Spotting a bottle of fizzy wine cooling on the window ledge and hearing fireworks all around us.