Sunday, November 30, 2008

Green stone, in flight and dinner.

1. The jeweller shows us deep green stones that I think are emeralds. She puts me right -- they are tsavorite, a sort of garnet.

2. We go to Nick's favourite shop to choose him a Christmas present. The owner laughs at us, and tells me the story of the wife who came in and said: 'I'd like a book about a type of aeroplane called a Spitfire. Have you ever heard of it?'

3. He looks down at his plate and says: 'It never fails to amaze me how you can take some leftovers that have been hanging around in the fridge for half a week and a few old vegetables and make a wonderful meal.'

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rabbits love liquorice, lamb chop and film.

1. 'Look,' says the lady behind the counter in the nut and seed shop. 'Rabbits love liquorice.' She is reading an information sheet about her products. 'They love liquorice, but they mustn't have the sweets because they contains too much sugar.' We agree that you learn something new every day. Perhaps the natural root would be OK, though.

2. The taste of a minted lamb chop.

3. Nick's (female) colleagues have told him he deprived me by not taking me to see Wall-E. One of them has lent us the DVD. We watch it, and fall in love.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sparrow, back home and that's all.

1. I like to see a sparrow bend double to hover under the eaves.

2. Two women with a baby use the free wifi to chat on a laptop with someone back home in the Philippines.

3. I ring my father to give him some news. 'Anything else?' he asks.
'Nope, that's all.'
'Well it's a pretty good all.'

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Leaving together, tea round and sleep.

1. In the grey light we leave the house together -- Nick is late and I am early.

2. Hot drinks from the machine have gone up by 5p. Teapots appear like desk mushrooms and the fridge is full of milk bottles.

3. Sleeping and waking twine in the first part of the night, and so do our fingers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Little lit, changes and thanks.

1. Short stories are exactly the right size for a lunch break.

2. The transformations in Fenella and Andy's home. Crisp white damask curtains arrived today and are presently tied into neat pleats: they are memory curtains, and if they are kept in place for 24 hours, will remember the shape and go back to it every time they are closed. When you've had no bedroom curtains for a few months, a 24-hour wait seems like a lifetime.

3. I come home to find an anonymous comment on yesterday's post that reminds me -- in the nicest possible way -- to write my thank you letters.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thick clothes, a smile and sleep.

1. The cold lashes at my face, and I'm glad of my warm outer layers. They are mostly presents: my coat was a Christmas present from my mother. My hat was a gift from a colleague. My thick knitted mittens were a present from Christine. And my scarf was a present from myself.

2. Katie comes back from lunch to find me on the phone. 'Who were you talking to that's made you smile?' It's Cat and goddaughter Ellie.

3. Going to bed early, and settling down to sleep while Nick is still reading.

Monday, November 24, 2008

To start, citrus and a new word.

1. I stare at my starter: deep purple juice runs into the creme fraiche and creates feathered Mandelbrot sets on the pancake.

2. A dish of orange slices arranged in caramel.

3. We learn a new word: limerence -- it means, really, 'fallen-in-loveness'. Joyce (who is a relationship counsellor by day) uses it to explain my complaint that at present Nick and I find it very difficult to get anything done because we're always thinking about each other. Limerence lasts just 18 months to three years, so it could end for us at any moment (this makes it seem all the more exciting). Joyce says that with luck and skill it will turn into an affectionate bond. At that stage we should be able to get the housework down with fewer breaks for kissing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A kindness, repair and victor.

1. She buys a rice ball. It falls out of its bag on to the floor. 'Oh darling,' says the man at the stall. 'Come here and have another.' She hesitates. Pride? Wanting to take responsibility for her mistake? 'Come on,' says the man at the stall. 'Give that one to me, and I'll give you another.' We silently encourage her. She turns back to the stall.

2. Darning an uncomfortable hole in the toe of a pair of tights.

3. 'Guess who won,' says Nick as he comes in through the door.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Adornment, the past and Noel Coward.

1. Taking all my everyday jewellery out of its painted wooden box and sorting it into a new turquoise silk box. I haven't worn earrings for a long time, and I'd forgotten I had so many.

2. On Facebook coming across a set of photos from a past job. It's strange to see faces and places that I had forgotten.

3. We watch Brief Encounter -- another of Nick's wonderful favourite films.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas box, not today and prints.

1. A box of Christmas shopping sweets arrives for me at work from A Quarter Of. I have a lot more candy necklaces than I want, so the rest of the day is marked by the occassional crunch-crunch-crunch.

2. I go into M&S feeling as if I ought to take advantage of its 20 per cent off day by picking up some needful things. A lady near me looks at the queues and the crowds and the scrums and says: 'Oh how ridiculous.' I quite agree, and walk out again.

3. Rolling ink with a brayer because of the sticky noise it makes.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New bag, a light supper and the beginning.

1. I go shopping at lunchtime and find a new bag for a fiver. It replaces my disreputable old day bag which has a hole in it.

2. Mushrooms on toast cooked with brandy and dots of green leek, purple onion and garlic.

3. A display of Christmas books in Waterstones makes me feel very excited about the home traditions Nick and I are making for ourselves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Baby face, sunset and eight-legged beast.

1. On my way to work: Through the window of a basement flat I see a mother in a mauve dressing gown sitting at her kitchen table, her baby in a highchair opposite.

2. Just after 4pm, I slip away from my desk to find a window that faces west. In these short days, I can watch dawn and dusk without hardship.

3. We scare off Tim's giant spider and he takes it back into his monster box with a a satisfying vrrrring noise to represent it zipping back up to the ceiling.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soup, the journey and just us.

1. A mug of soup warms every part of me.

2. A voice and a face from the past reminds me of how far I have come.

3. All the people have gone now and our flat is full of us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tea time, warmth and bean soup.

1. Down a corridor (on the other side of plushy velvet the lounge bar, past comfortable ladies knitting, and mothers with eyes only for their babies and dutiful people treating elderly relatives to afternoon tea) gold leaves fall past a window.

2. The waiter comments on the chill in the orangery. As he leaves us, he touches the floor to check the heating has come on.

3. A bowl of hot red spicy bean soup.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wake-up call, the nature of Monkey and magic.

I have a Small Stone published here.

1. Waking up next to Nick after a few days apart.

2. Monkey: Journey to the West. Ninja guards on very tall unicycles. Spider Fairy on a corde de lys with sheets of red silk.

3. We watch in amazement as our bath changes colour from turquoise to cobalt blue.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

On edge, the journey and coming home.

'No journey is too long when you are coming home' -- John O' Donohue

1. At the waterfall, someone has hammered fistfuls of coins, edge first into a rotten tree stump.

2. I burst from the train, a whirlwind of fretful limbs, tickets and luggage.

3. I tap on the window as I pass, and Nick is at the door before I can get out my key.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The man, red and enough sleep.

1. I am told: 'Go along to the Mountain Boot Shop. He knows his stuff.' A third generation boot seller fits me up with matt black assassin's boots that are light and strong and will keep me going for a good few years.

2. 'Which one are you drawn to?' asks the shop lady, seeing my hand hesitate over a basket of scarves. It's the raspberry red one that I really want, but I don't know what I'll wear it with.

3. In the afternoon, I put down my book and sleep until I can sleep no more, while the rain and fog swirl outside.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Early morning, foam and damp place.

1. We start walking in the dark and see the sunrise pinking the sky. As we come to the top of the ridge, the sun light comes down to meet us.

2. Watching foam clots on a stream pool. They whirl and stretch and split and eddy and reform.

3. Water drips down mossy quarry cliffs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mouse, underwater and tails.

Today we visited the Aquarium of the Lakes.

1. A harvest mouse, a scrap of fur the same weight as a 2p, in a tank of millet and wheat stalks.

2. Walking under a fresh water tank and seeing carp, bream and perch swimming over us. But best of all, ducks sculled with their feet and then dived in a scarf of bubbles, stretched neck to tail.

3. Yellow seahorses curl their boney tails around strands of weed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Top of the world, falling ice and fallen fort.

1. I tell Nick that there are two steeplejacks on the church -- but as I don't have my glasses on, he tells me not to be so silly. Later, he puts his glasses on and sees for himself. Much, much later, we visit the church and he chats to them. One steeplejack is feeling very pleased with himself because he's picked the sheltered side of the tower on a day of driving rain and hail. He says that the church will stay up for another 125 years. They are about to set out to the chippie for something hot, but the another shower sends them back to their van. (Picture by Nick).

2. The waiters pause to look out of the window at the sky tipping hail on to the outside tables.

3. We overheard people at dinner talking about a Roman fort. We find it on the map not far from the village and set out to look. Low walls mark the lines of the buildings. Sheep step in the sodden grass where soldiers homesick for other parts of the empire might have walked.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rainbow, pool and damson.

1. 'Look at the light!' The sun has come out in the rain. I am so busy wondering at the watery gold that Rosey has to point out the rainbow that has landed on the church.

2. Getting into a still, blue swimming pool.

3. A taste of pink damson and plum sorbet.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

1. At Preston the station master wears an aubergine-coloured great coat.

2. We catch a slip of sea view from the train. It's the wide sands at Morcombe Bay.

3. Having travelled on five trains from one end of the country to the other, we arrive just one minute late.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Debt, demob happy and shaker.

1. Katie-at-work lends me the last 10p I need to buy my lunch, but only once she has been paid back the 30p Debbie owes her.

2. Leaving work for a week's holiday.

3. Elodie has found a bottle of vitamin pills to rattle.

Friday, November 07, 2008

In colour, flask and drizzle.

1. I stop startled at the sight of a bright yellow maple tree. On a flat grey morning, it is the only thing with any colour -- apart from the chips and bubbles of bird song.

2. I buy a stainless steel flask to keep our tea hot.

3. Drizzle has beaded silver grey on my coat.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sharp point, smile and film.

1. Filling in a few Sudoku answers using a sharp pencil that has a rubber on the end.

2. I hurry home from work and I can't stop smiling at the thought.

3. We sit close together on the sofa and giggle our way through Team America.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The holes, a colleague and wonderful man.

1. Butter drips through the holes in my crumpet.

2. Debbie buys my lunch because I've forgotten my purse.

3. I come home to a hug; and 'My poor darling and her distraught early morning phone call'; and my summer shoes, the mould cleaned off, lined up under the bedroom heater.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stay indoors, soup and malt.

1. The mist and rain draw the horizons in close. The wild world recommends that we stay in our safe warm places today.

2. A mug of hot soup warms my chilled fingers and soul.

3. My brewers yeast tablet doesn't quite go down first time. It tastes of malt, as if it ought to be taken with chocolate.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Change, go away and hot apple juice.

1. Overnight and under cover of rain and fog, autumn has turned to winter.

2. He came from an electricity board which doesn't exist, wouldn't say what he wanted and dropped a folder full of torn up newspaper. Nick's father put the chain on, hefted the stick he keeps close by and threatened to slam the door if the caller didn't remove his foot.

3. Pounding spices for hot apple juice.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Vine, bathroom laundry and foggy night.

1. A bunch of blushing grapes neither purple nor green.

2. Hanging clean towels and flannels in the bathroom, and leaving a damp footprint on the just washed bathmat.

3. After supper, when the rain really has stopped, we go out to see if there are any fireworks still going on. It's very foggy, and muffled bangs and whizzes are all we get. But the street is transformed into a strange place of fog and trickling water and dark alley ways lit at the end by a circle of foggy orange streetlight.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Biscuits, apothecary and sunset.

a. My father has used the stats machine to produce a list of countries from which 3BT visitors have come.

b. I'm really enjoying Fiona Robyn's
A Handful of Stones and I was in it back in September.

Elspeth Thompson recommends 3BT-style blogging in her The Wonderful Weekend Book -- which is a splendid and lovely volume for improving your life with photography, gardening, sex, brewing and staying in bed all day.

d. The Your Messages project is running again. This time Sarah and Lynn want 30 or 300 words from you. Every day.

1. Breaking a sandwich biscuit in half and eating the filling separately.

2. The rattle of a jar of vitamin pills.

3. Orange clouds massing on the horizon and a bitey feel to the air make me feel uneasy as I walk home. I am pleased to be safe inside, lamps lit and curtains drawn tight.

Lolly, rabbits and fairy festival.

1. As we walk, the grinding, crunching sound of Bettany working on a chalky double lolly. 2. Midsummer afternoon on the common -- rabbits gr...