Friday, October 31, 2008

Cabbage, jasmine and Louise.

1. I find myself staring fascinated by the green-purple cabbages sent in our box this week. I dreamed about drawing them last night.

2. A front door wreathed in jasmine leaves.

3. In the afternoon sunlight at the end of autumn I sit on a bench and wait to meet Louise. I spot her from a long way off -- she is at the far end of the lake, but I know her by her stride and by the colours she wears.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cookie, tangerines and steampunk.

I love this post on Life ain't that bad: Deepawali, welcome and lit up.

1. Nibbling pieces of chocolate chip cookie.

2. There are tangerines like small suns in our vegetable box.

3. We listen to The Steppes of Thoth and spend the evening on the edge of the sofa as our heroes suffer a tidal storm in a Martian canal and are attacked by a German ironclad airship.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Morning town, white birds and staying in.

1. The top of town in the morning. A man stops to stare at the valley full houses that seem overlaid with tracing paper.

2. White birds crowd on a metal roof that gleams in the morning sun.

3. Nick moves to take his sandwich into the sitting room where he can catch up with the news, but thinks again and stays in the kitchen while I make my supper.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Morning sun, savages and light reading.

1. Looking down through an area railing and seeing sunlight coming in from the other side of the house.

2. Lego Starwars has turned us into savages -- mainly because we haven't quite got the hang of the controls yet. Every time I turn round there seems to be an explosion of Lego bodyparts, and then everyone else starts shooting.

3. Hunting for something gentle and cheerful to read, I find a Bill Bryson book.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Time to eat, stretch and a hand.

Some new additions to the Roll of Honour: The Three R's Blog, Rabbiting and Reader's Guide.

1. Bacon pops and cracks on the stove and creeps through the flat to tell Nick it's time for breakfast.

2. A tree fern bud tightly rolled reaches for the sky, stretching and uncoiling as if it is practising garden yoga.

3. An umbrella in pure rainbow colours is taken helpfully from a note-taking wife with no spare hands and rolled and rolled by an attentive husband.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Apples, still and sweets.

1. All the different apples laid out at the market. I love the shapes -- from long, almost pear shaped ones, to tiny round ones. And I love the colours -- yellow gold, deep red, shallow faded red, sour green, brownish russets.

2. It's mostly still, but a single blade-shaped of monbretia leaf turns over and back.

3. A trinket box reinvented as a bonbonniere because I've filled it with chocolates.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Advert, potato and a sound.

1. In a street I have passed many times, I spot a worn painted advert on the side of a Victorian house.

2. A baked potato with butter melting into it.

3. The sound of water dripping from the just-used shower on to the curtain makes me think of being covered with kisses.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Invisible diner, aubergine and an error of judgement.

Grant McCracken has something to say about counting your blessings -- it's what people do when the economy slows up.

And I've been ditting around over at my other blog.

1. A bird feeder rocks although there is no wind.

2. I thought these new socks were black, but they are the colour of an aubergine.

3. We get a note from the editor on one of our pages: 'People have died for less.'
Katie says: 'You spelt his name wrong.'
'That's because I asked you how to spell it.'

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smoke, coal and bed.

1. A plume of smoke rises straight up from a house in the bowl of Tunbridge Wells.

2. The smell of the coal fire has nipped outside for a breath of fresh air.

3. The combination of rust orange bedding and a bear-brown fleece.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Collecting, mace and unstructured time.

1. Gathering chestnuts on a lunchtime walk. At 2pm I come back to my desk and find Jane has added a few extra.

2. Along with the usual spices I boil up with my rice, I add some mace (we saw this growing on Zanzibar -- it is like bright red seaweed wrapped round each nutmeg. When it's dried, the colour changes to shy orange). When the rice is done, the mace has softened into a gentle nutmeggy mouthful.

3. Nick's baseball night means time to myself -- I make chestnut soup, wash my hair and snuggle into bed with a book.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Following wind, neighbour and falling water.

I mentioned earlier the Wonderful Book sent to my by Lauren of All the Good Blog Names were Taken. She's posted pictures to share the joy.

1. The wind is at my back all the way to work, and dry leaves skitter past me.

2. A fallen leave crossing the corner of my vision turns out to be a palm-sized yellow frog who lives near our front door.

3. The glob-glob-splash sound of water filling a basin.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shine, two biscuits and hunters.

1. The shine on my boots after Nick has had a go at them with his shoe polishing kit.

2. At what would be elevensies time if we hadn't got up so late, two digestive biscuits on a plate.

3. We've been following The Fossil Detectives on BBC2. The team are so enthused that it makes us want to go out and hunt for football-sized lumps of amber, ammonites and devil's toenails.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Warm feet, the best view and invasion.

1. My feet are cold after an hour of working. Nick is still in bed, so I bring him a cup of tea and snuggle back in next to him.

2. Children climbing on railings and walls and people's shoulders, and scriggling around people's legs (remembering to say 'excuse me') to see the parade.

3. The squadron leader explained that it was a huge honour to be allowed to march through the town 'with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying’: Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is essentially saying that it trusts 579 Field Squadron not to invade.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Beads, gift and footprints.

1. Katie-at-work hands me a carefully protected parcel of kitchen roll. 'I've got something for you. It doesn't suit me, but I thought you'd like it.' It's a black and silver beaded choker, and I love it immediately, and start thinking about an outfit to wear with it.

2. At the appointed time, a man comes home from work and wakes me up from an afternoon sleep. 'I've got a present for you.' It's a box of banoffee truffles.

3. Katie-previously-at-home describes Fenella's new bedroom as having a carpet so lush you leave footprints.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Advantages of bad housekeeping, music and dialect.

1. We get up late and the kitchen is bohemian (as in, the washing up hasn't been done and there are books and papers all over the table). This gives me an excuse to get my breakfast (a round and friendly Belgian bun stuffed with raisins and covered with crackly, sticky white icing) from a bakery on my way to work.

2. The plinky-plunky sound of an un-tuned piano comes from an open front door at which a child waits to be taken to school.

3. Reading a book that has a chapter is dialect. I'm reading the middle chapter of The Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (not the one by Liam Callanan about balloon bombs in the Arctic, which I read thinking it was the Mitchell. It was very good, too).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Leaves, a gift and laughing.

1. A drift of autumn leaves has changed the grey pavement to yellow-gold.

2. A box has come by post. Lauren over at All the Good Blog Names Were Taken has sent me a wonderful 3BT journal. I can't stop looking at it. She has used all different papers for the pages, so every page is a surprise. These are some posts about her own 3BTing. Also in the box is this card, which I quietly admired on her blog the other day.

3. I spend the evening with old friends. Again and again I put my head back and laugh.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Something to wake up to, open air and knights.

1. 'You're always so pleased to see me in the morning,' comments Nick.

2. Out of the woods and into a field of grass and mushrooms.

3. What did you do last night? Rescued a princess, insulted a female pirate, ran away, killed a giant ape. We've been round at Tim's again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pavement stars, clouds and up the hill.

John Naish recommends keeping a journal similar to this as a good way to survive mass anxiety: How to survive the global panic. He calls me 'an expert gratitude spotter'.

1. Stars are pressed into the pavement in all the flamey reds and golds of autumn.

2. Rolls of fat grey cloud cover the sky. The low late sun tints the eastern bellies with grubby orange.

3. I am passing the bus stop just as the bus pulls in, and get a lift up the hill.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The maze, fishers and a stop.

1. We climb up to Dover Drop Redoubt. We walk round the top of the outer wall, and then as we are about to go back down to the town, we discover an entrance, a long canyon that looks like a scene from Labyrinth. Cool brick walls rise above us and there are ferns at our feet. We half expect to turn and to find the entrance vanished.

2. In the marina, cormorants bend their wings into s-shapes and hunch their shoulders to get some sun on their wing feathers.

3. The rail replacement bus services runs rigidly to the station at the bottom of town, and to the station we must go, even though the route passes near our home at the top of town. But another passenger cheekily asks for a stop at the top of town. The driver (who as we were boarding said 'I don't want to see your tickets. I don't care.') complies. We spill out gladly into the twilight. 'Cheers,' says the other passenger. 'That's made my day. Finally.'

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First light, breakfast, adding to a tradition, stay off the carpet and dinner.

1. We open the curtains on our top floor room to a warship coming into the harbour. This makes Nick's day before it has even begun. Coming downstairs and seeing out the view out of the hotel's back windows for the first time, we spot furtive-looking tunnels cut into the chalk high above us.

2. Our breakfast comes on loaded plates, attention-to-detail evident in the perfect egg yolks and the gently browned mushrooms.

3. The stairs to the castle have a rail plastered with discarded visitor stickers. Later we plan to add our own.

4. In the keep's main hall, a sign warns that no-one should tread on the carpet before the king's throne. A girl tugs her grandmother's hand and says very quietly 'Shall we go on the rug?' When they do, a stern recorded voice admonishes them 'What are you doing on that carpet?'. The little girl is thrilled and tries again: 'Stay off the King's carpet.'

5. Crackling -- faintly fennel-flavoured -- on slow-roast pork. And a neat line of roasted winter vegetables. We really struck lucky for dinner at the Hubert House Bistro, which we choose almost at random because we liked the look of it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Getting out of here, into Dover and harbour lights.

Nick and I spent this weekend in Dover. We very much recommend Loddington House Hotel.

1. On a sunny afternoon, leaving work with a light heart and a suitcase.

2. The train brings us into Dover just as night is muddying up the day's blue sky.

3. After supper, we go to the guests' lounge and watch dots and smudges of light moving about the harbour.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Dinner, 3D and Billy

1. Putting a small pie and a skewer of potatoes in the oven.

2. The subject of the drawing class is jugs and tone. I find myself smudging in the curves with my fingers and I feel as if I'm forming the image out of clay, rather than paper and charcoal and chalk.

3. I'm reading Billy Liar and thinking that it's an incredible piece of work.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The rules, sky nut and a fix.

1. Without thinking I take up my mug from the end of the bath. I wonder if there is a health and safety rule that forbids drinking coffee while standing in the shower.

2. An oval moon makes me think of a blanched almond.

3. A blanket, a cuddle on the sofa, a few chocolates and Wind in the Willows fixes what nothing else can.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Loud, hot off the press and a laugh.

1. Instead of a shy tile like all the other houses in the street, number 61 announces itself on the side gate in foot high white painted Roman font.

2. Sneaking looks at an exciting feature while it is still being put on the page.

3. I only discover in the car that we are not going to watch comedy tonight -- we are going to be the comedy at an improv workshop.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Dawn, her face and pasta.

1. Somewhere in the muddle of getting dressed, waking up, eating breakfast, washing and writing this blog, it goes from dark to light.

2. A child with a shock of black curly hair runs down the street. She stops suddenly and almost pitches over into the the puddle containing her own startling reflection.

3. As they cook spaghetti strands coil down into the water.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Family, robed and plates.

1. A substantial part of my extended family is waiting for me under a tree as I cross the street, my umbrella straining against the wind and the rain.

2. In the cathedral a clergywoman hurries past in full robes. Our eyes meet and we smile.

3. The washing up is done and shining plates are stacked on the table waiting to be put away.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cure, a dungeon cleared and settling in.

1. I lie on the sofa wrapped in a fleece blanket nursing a headache. Nick comes and sits with me and I rest my head on him. The sound of his breathing and the sound of the dryer balls merge and then disappear as I fall asleep.

2. We tidy the cupboard under the sink - a dark and dreadful place that makes us feel like bad housekeepers. We keep catching each other opening the doors to admire our work.

3. I tip new coffee into my tin. The last quarter of the bag won't go, until I bang the tin on the work surface to make the contents settle.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Slow start, clean coat and how it's going to be.

Tom has written a 3BT poem over at Summit Manor. And Sarah Salway has been using the 3BT format in a writing class. Anyone else been inspired by 3BT recently? I love hearing about things like that because it makes me feel very useful!

1. A late finish last night at work means a late start in the morning. I have a lie in, linger over breakfast and wash my hair.

2. I feel smug and self-satisfied because I had my winter coat cleaned before I put it away for the summer.

3. Dana has a vision board in her flat displaying pictures of the simple, gentle things she is hoping for in life -- a cottage in the country and a little car.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lilies, alarm call and found.

A little something whipped up by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, inspired by my piece for qarrtsiluni.

1. A thick high hedge through which the scent of lilies reaches out to tickle passers-by.

2. We lie in the dark whispering until we hear the potato water hissing on to the stove.

3. Coming home in the dark, I feel my phone go off in my pocket, and spot a familiar sibling loitering at the top of our road. I run up behind him and pull his hat over his eyes. Later he says that during that day, three people asked him for directions to three separate hospitals; and shows me pictures on his camera of the work he has been doing 30 floors above the streets of London.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Coming down, a saving and rosehip.

1. I have hurried through the rain to work. By the time I've settled at my desk and changed my shoes, it really starts to come down.

2. Requests for money-saving ideas have trickled down from the top of the company in briefings, notices and memos. The chief photographer suggested the company might make a saving by turning off the light at the end of the tunnel. We have been laughing at this all week.

3. I bite a hard wild rosehip in half to reveal a dome of tight-packed seeds.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Oh rose, I know that and Scottish hamster.

1. On the autumn's first raw morning, a shell pink rose nestles low down in its bush, having pulled a nest of thorns around itself.

2. A colleague's TV theme tune ring tone makes me squeak with recognition, and a conversation starts across the desks.

3. I rediscover this wonderful thing -- it's a Dr Who theme tune generator, The Radiophonatron. It's brilliant, just clunky enough to make you feel that the perfect composition is out there, just out of reach.

Art book, gossip and watermelon.

1. Among my birthday presents is a new book of Tove Jansson's art, featuring lots of bits I've never seen before. 2. Stopping for a ...