Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bull's eye, settling and under the desk.

1. What Ellie calls 'the ugly dog' coming upstairs to our office. I think it's a bull terrier. Whatever it is, it's short, dense coat is very pleasing to stroke, and I like the solidness of it under my hand.

2. Giving some technical support and feeling the caller calming down and regaining their sense of proportion.

3. Warming my feet on the radiator under my desk on a freezing cold night.

To mark my 1,000 post, I'm going to re-post nine favourite beautiful things from the last few years. Some are my own favourites, and others have been suggested by readers. In no particular order...

15 December 2004
1. My new fruit bowl. It's lathed from a slice of maple by Ross Lockhart, who is going to be famous one day. The base is squared off inside and out, but the top has been left. At the moment it is full of satsumas, amber beads and purple Christmas balls.

29 November 2004
2. An ancient man in the pub. We went to see a band at the top of town, and the crowd was all ages. The oldest man - whose name is Jack - is everyone's favourite. People come up to him and shake his hand. He is very short and bent, wears thick glasses and a big hearing aid. He wears a trim grey jacket and a knitted tank top, with old man trousers right up to his chest. He has more gaps than teeth and he mumbles terribly. He pretends to shove some of the bigger men around, safe in the knowledge that everybody loves him. Every time he passed us, he caught my hand and made me dance with him.

23 November 2004
3. Biting into a little cake covered in sesame seeds and being zoomed back to a trip I took to China back in 2001. I recalled a dark cake shop in Xian where I was told off for not helping myself quickly enough. But the cakes - little balls of pastry covered in sesame seeds - were delicious.

28 September 2004 -- Sardinia
4. Crickets. Their sober grey coats are perfectly camouflaged against the limestoney soil. When you step near them, they fly up in a surprising direction, showing off their electric blue waistcoats. We also found a mole cricket dressed in baggy brown velvet. He is rather large – as long as my thumb – and he doesn’t jump, preferring to burrow.

28 September 2004 -- Sardinia
5. I like fig trees – apart from the amusingly-shaped leaves and the figs, there is also the smell. But this particular tree offered something else. Its splitting fruit was a feast for ginormous butterflies. Their plain-chocolate-brown wings were the width of my two palms and were decorated with a flashing purple and white pattern. They were so numerous that the tree rustled with their wingbeats.

8 December 2006
6. The rough pleasure in Oli's voice as he described the pork chop he was going to have for dinner because his vegetarian wife is out.

5 June 2005
7. A bent old man in too short trousers making baby talk to a puppy tied up outside Morrisons. The puppy ignores him.

3 June 2005
8. I am embroidering quietly, and suddenly the thread shortens dramatically. On the back of my fabric a knot has appeared strangling a long loop of thread that will get in the way of any other stitches I try to do. Curses. I give it an experimental tug to see if it will come apart on its own. No luck. The only thing to do is to patiently tease it apart and work out where it came from. I like the moment when it all falls apart and thread comes free.

19 February 2006 -- Blantyre, Malawi
9. 6am conversation in the Grant Tent:
Clare: What are you writing?
Rosey: Nothing.
Clare: Is it a note to that cyclist from last night?
Rosey: It's just my e-mail address. I told him I'd leave it for him.
Scribble scribble scribble pause
Rosey: How do you spell ganglion?