Sunday, October 31, 2004
2. Went for a walk with PaulV through town. We looked in through people's windows and alternately giggled about and envied their living rooms.
3. Watching fireworks from my window.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
2. My hair felt so strawish and yuck that I avoided my reflection almost all day. But I happened to glance in a mirror late afternoon and it looked perfectly all right.
3. Warming my hands on a mug of camomile tea last thing at night.
Friday, October 29, 2004
Thursday, October 28, 2004
2. Victorian-style gothic novels - I'm listening to The Mist in the Mirror by Susan Hill. So far a man has got lost in London and been frightened by a parrot.
3. Starting a new piece of cross stitch. I've designed this one myself, so I'm a bit apprehensive. But it's all part of life's great adventure - one woman, a needle and a vast tract of 12-count aida. Actually, it's about 10cm by 4cm.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
2. Discovering mail art on A1 Mail Art Archive. Altered envelopes. Cool.
3. When the ironing pile is not nearly as big as you thought it was.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
2. I crammed a couple of garlic cloves under the chicken at the bottom of my casserole. I cooked it under a sauce of leeks, potato, onion and celery. The meat subtly absorbed the flavour of the garlic, but the sauce was not overpowered.
3. My shower was grim and now it's not because I've cleaned it.
Monday, October 25, 2004
2. Sheep in a puddley field. Their reflections came and went as they wandered around.
3. Ten swans sitting in a cabbage field on Romney Marsh. There is a choice of collective nouns for swans - you can have bevy, lamentation or herd. If they are flying, they are a wedge.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
2. Gossipping with Fenella for so long that her boyfriend got worried and texted to find out where she was.
3. My nearest supermarket has changed to a Morrisons. During the transition, stock has been very low and I've been stamping round furious at not being able to find my usual groceries. However, I discovered that they do amazingly cheap candles. Also, there were two treaty things in the reduced-to-clear shelves - a bottle of fresh orange and raspberry and two smoked salmon terrines.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
2. Aniseed balls.
3. My pink silk trainers. They are gloriously impractical, being un-waterproof and too tight.
Friday, October 22, 2004
2. A lone surfer on a very brisk day.
3. Discovering that Boris Johnson - who is rather a hero of mine - has a weblog. I don't care what he said about Liverpool. I still think he should be prime minister and lead us all into a new age of glory.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
2. Wet days in autumn.
3. In Bournemouth, among all the pale cream and white and pale pink stucco and pebbledashing is a surfers' hostel with flowers painted on it.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
2. Physallis growing at Sissinghurst. These are the 'Chinese lanterns' that every other restaurant is dressing pudding plates with these days. The brown papery shell hides a yellowish berry that just tastes sour. However, in the garden, the lanterns are bright, beautiful orange.
3. Learning to see my aura.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
2. I inherited my jewelry box from my grandmother. Its red velvet lining is marked with the star imprint of a cut-glass scent bottle that was broken long ago.
3. While tidying my dressing table a plait of intensely bright rainbow strings reminded me of a boy called Hamish Lemmens, who complimented me on it when I was 12 or so. I was at school with him from three to 13 and he was always doing or saying something that made people laugh.
Monday, October 18, 2004
2. Discovering that Hastings is going up in the world. I've always been fond of the town even if they do call it the suicide capital of the south east. In the past, it has reminded me of a relative who has lost the will to live and just sits about in a dressing gown all day eating all her meals off the same plate. But yesterday Bruv and I wandered through the Old Town and thought we'd slipped into another dimension. There seemed to be a whole load of new shops - a teeth-achingly cool retro furniture shop; vintage clothing stores; art galleries; an independent cinema; a micro brewery. Everything looked freshly painted and loved and cared for.
3. Walking down a street towards the sea and noticing a long sliver of nearly new moon.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
2. The block opposite me has a balustrade round the roof. A filthy
balustrade. I woke up to see that a painter had started work on it
and it looked as if snow had fallen.
3. Was watching the street instead of writing and saw a chap I used
to adore achingly and wordlessly from a distance. He has pudged up
and the cheekbones I used to so admire are no longer on show. And he
was walking hand-in-hand with a sour-looking... yeah, I'm almost sure
it was a woman.
Saturday, October 16, 2004
2. The Malaysian lady who cut my hair didn't speak English so well, and I ended up getting more taken off than I normally would. I just said 'yes' to everything - she seemed to know what I ought to have. I like it. I keep smirking every time I pass a shop window. I think that when her English improves, she won't stay long with a cheap-chirpy walk-in hairdresser.
3. Plus, despite the difficulties communicating over the hair, we had a good hair-cut conversation about travelling and mosquitoes. I always feel shy about chatting to people with whom I don't have a common language (i.e. anyone who doesn't have much English) so it felt like a good achievement.
Friday, October 15, 2004
'I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.'
2. Conkers in my pocket.
3. Toad in the hole. It's made of things that look unappetising raw (batter and sausages) but once it's baked, it is a thing of beauty.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
2. A full house at meeting that I was responsible for publicising.
3. Expenses cheques.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
2. An amusing and eccentric pharma rep made John take us out to lunch. He told us good stories, many of them opening with: 'I shouldn't be telling you this but...'
3. When you are working on a story that almost writes itself.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
2. At the end of work, I walked home a very long way to warm up. At first I was stiff and every step jarred, but gradually my muscles loosened up and the blood came back into my extremities.
3. A comforting supper of bacon and lentils.
Monday, October 11, 2004
2. I set out to get a newspaper. But the newsagents at the end of the street was closed. So was the one on the Pantiles. In a monumental sulk, I turned round to go home. But lo and behold, there, propped against a wall, was a copy of the paper I wanted.
3. Eighths of an orange with chocolate sauce.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
2. Except this one thing... which doesn't count because Katie bought half of it. Bean on Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells, does special chocolates like chilli and marzipan; Earl Grey tea; mango truffle. We bought 12 between us to eat with our tea.
3. I was trying to have a quiet day with Katie. But... Lunch was interrupted by a phone call from Cat. Tea was crashed by Rob. And PaulV arrived in the middle of supper.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
2. Pollarded trees. The older plane trees on the street where I work have had their branches taken off. They look like they've been packed up for winter.
3. Fly agarics - those red toadstools with white spots so loved by fairytale illustrators. I found a good patch of them in a clearing on my way home from work. The older ones have perfectly flat tops, while the new ones push out of the matted grass like little fists.
Friday, October 08, 2004
2. I have a new phone. It takes pictures so now I might just stand a chance against Ed and his shooting from the hip photography.
3. Paul V revealed that he is a secret charity shop record fan. 'You go through the boxes and you find something and you think: "how could anyone have not wanted this?"'
Thursday, October 07, 2004
2. Ed leaves work half an hour before me. I noticed that it was chucking it down with rain and laughed. He replied:
As Clare walks home down the lane
Let there be a hurricane.
Obviously I couldn't let that go and cursed him with:
Cold winds batter Edwin Birch
To make his footsteps veer and lurch.
3. A call from my neighbour Fenella. 'When you get home, can you do me a HUGE favour? Can you pop down and let Andy out of my study?' Apparently, the doorknob had 'come off in his hand.'
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
2. Selling four of my unwanted books in two days.
3. A colleague asked about 'themymble' - my username. I told him about the character, The Mymble, from Tove Jansson's Moomin books. Here she is, pert as ever. Her boots are red.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
2. Conkers. I can't pass a horse chestnut tree this time of year without wanting to fill my pockets with them. I love the way they bounce when they fall and they are so pleasing to hold - polished smooth and slightly yielding.
3. I can't get to sleep and I don't feel tired. So I get up and potter around. It feels as if I've been given some extra hours.
Monday, October 04, 2004
2. I spent most of the day reading - mainly Mrs Dalloway (Virginia Woolf) and A Clash of Kings (George R R Martin).
3. Absinthe. It requires equipment (sugar lump, special spoon, jug of iced water); it louches (this fantastic word is used only of spirits that turn cloudy when water is added) and it tastes of aniseed. Plus it seems so dangerous and with every sip I feel as if I am on a downward spiral to destitution and disrepute.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
2. James has been having a torrid time in Australia. I have missed him terribly, and now he is home. He comes to lunch and we eat bread and cheese and catch up. Then Paul V appears because he doesn't want to be left out.
3. The front door appears to be broken. Badly. It won't shut except when you slam it, and then it won't open. The neighbours are not quite sure which is worse and are considering locksmiths. I hear my voice saying: 'I'll just fetch my screwdriver.' I take the lock off the door and hand the screws to James. I jiggle a joggly bit and put it all back together. And then it works. From the hall side and the street side, both opening and shutting.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
2. We drink tiny cups of coffee in the airport at Alghero.
3. England’s greenness.
Friday, October 01, 2004
2. We drove out into the country to visit a nuraghic ruin. The tower is built of huge basalt blocks – no mortar – and stood two storeys tall, watching the coast. We realised that we were directly above the beach where we had left Robert and Rose climbing – when the sea level was higher, this bay would have been an important strategic landing place. Apart from the tower, no other structure stands more than four courses tall. Much of the site is overgrown with tough bushes and olive trees block the tower’s view. It is strange to think that 3,500 years ago the surrounding hectares were covered in a village of little round houses full of people who didn’t know about writing. Then 2,000 years ago the Romans chased them out and took down some of the beehive houses to put up a few square buildings of their own.
3. ‘Where’s the moon?’ Each evening so far, we had been treated to a fat full moon rolling out a silvery path over the sea. But it was a little cloudy and we were eating early, and it hadn’t risen. Just as the waitress took our order, the moon appeared bright red through the clouds above the harbour bar. ‘The hunters’ moon,’ I commented darkly. ‘You’re just making that up. It’s an omen of doom.’ But by the time our pasta arrived, the moon was well away across the vault of the heavens and a friendly silver once again.
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