Saturday, 31 March 2007

sunny saturday

It's a lovely sunny day...

And this morning I was woken by the post man delivering these beautiful flowers!

They're from my mum & dad to say thanks for looking after the animals last week. I already told them that it was a holiday for me and they did me a favour, but they are very kind and nice so have sent these instead!

They (the flowers and my parents!) are lovely... with that and the sun, what more could a girl want!

Friday, 30 March 2007

cake as reward

Well I didn't know if I would make it to today (being as melodramatic as I am about these things). At the beginning of the week Friday seemed like such a distant prospect.

But actually this week has been ok. Very busy day today sorting out the hundred and some dissertations handed in. It takes me back to the day I handed mine in, the difficulty of letting go after all that prolonged hard work. But it was worth it! For nostalgia reasons, here are some photos of my essay...

Seen as it's Friday I decided to reward myself with a giant slab (and slab is the right word!) of cake from my favourite cake shop down the road. Mmmmm, dark chocolate icing.

Anyway, as I have no impending deadlines, I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend of reading, drawing, cleaning (yes, cleaning, the relaxing bit is sitting down in a nice tidy house afterwards...) and perhaps a small amount of playing with my boyfriend's new Transformers...

That Optimus Prime really started something!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

fun with dictionarys

I love heavy books. I love the way the pages lay...

I was looking in this big old dictionary at work, there's something so satisfying about the thin paper pages slipping over each other, and the weight of them all together...

The curve of the paper, the spine...

And there's some interesting stuff in dictionarys!

I can't decide between clip frames and black wooden frames. Which will look best in a cafe, which will make people think 'hmm, that's nice, I'll buy that please'.

I suppose it doesn't really matter but I like to think about these things. (Well, not LIKE to think about, I find it quite impossible, so many possibilities, but I think it about all the same.) Perhaps the black frames... hmmm

I had a little fiddle about with a stanley knife on these tonight, they were missing that 'something'. Again, not sure if its what I want, but hey! You've got to try!

Tuesday, 27 March 2007


Well, I feel much better today. First day back at school syndrome perhaps... It's not that work was better today, I still felt like getting in the lift and escaping out into the real world, but I think I just talked myself into acepting it. Not sure if this is a good thing or not, but it's what I'm doing. Hmmm.

So when I got home from work, instead of collapsing on the sofa and letting myself deflate, I ignored the voice in my head saying 'put on the telly, watch Hollyoakes, eat some crisps/cake/chocolate, have a little sleep' and just sat at the table to DRAW. Now the drawings were wobbly and I'm sure would be better if I'd been chilling in the park in the sun all day (like all the students I can see from my office window... grrr), but I stuck at it. I'm trying to take Amisha's advice and get into a bit of a routine, do a little bit of something every night. Well, here's what I made...

They're for an exhibition in a cafe in Hastings (if they get in!), just a little something. They don't look great in this photo, and they're not mounted or anything yet. They are only tiny, about 5 x 3 inches. I chose the pages by the words on them...

I'd done a few when I realised that although some pages had the relevant words on, they also had other words on too. Did you know forrest was next to foreskin in the dictionary?! Perhaps not ideal!

Am going to get some frames tomorrow then off they go in the post...

Monday, 26 March 2007


Back to work. Back to the city, back to noise and dirt and rush. Back to people everywhere.

Back to the bus stop, and traffic, and worring if the pigeons will one day get run over right before my eyes.

Back to not saying hello in the street.


I've started reading a new book. I'm only a bit of the way in but am really enjoying it, some of the language is really beautiful, and really striking. This morning, on the bus, I was reading to distract myself from the fact I was off to work once more, and this phrase struck me...

Aunt Lovey used to tell me that if I wanted to be a writer, I needed a writer's voice. "Read" she'd say, "and if you have a writer's voice, one day it will shout out,'I can do that too!'"

This just rings so true to me, not about writing but about drawing and making. I sometimes forget I like to do these things, maybe I don't quite have the time, and after a while loose confidence and I don't know where to start. I Forget. But as soon as I look at what others have done, see pictures in a magazine or book, my voice shouts out "I could do that!" "I must try to do that!" I think maybe this is what I mean when I talk about wanting to miss it. I want that creative urge to jump out at me. It's so funny that feeling, that feeling of compulsion to make, to actually get up of my bum and go and get out my stuff and make something. And it's so frustrating to feel that urge rise, then feel it slip away again as the working week goes by.

It felt so wrong today to be sat at that desk today. So against the grain, perhaps it's because it was sunny outside. I felt so trapped. When I think what I could've been doing instead, this time last week I was walking in fresh air, miles away from anyone. I know I'm being melodramatic. I know everone must feel like this when they come back from a holiday. I mean that's why it's a holiday, because its NOT real life. But I just get the feeling that my life could be a little more like that. I don't want to settle for this feeling only 25 days a year. There must be more to it.

At what point do you settle?

Saturday, 24 March 2007

green fingers?

I potted up some cabbage seedlings today. Planted leeks and purple sprouting broccoli and burgess buttercup squash. I built some staging for my greenhouse and also this...

Although rustic I am still proud of it (or I will be if it stands up to the wind). I know you shouldn't count your chickens before they hatch, or your vegetables before they've grown, but hopefully the squash will climb up here and be lovely and under control (unlike last year where they ran wild and took over a whole bed with giant leaves, male flowers and not much else...).

I don't think the cabbages enjoyed being transplanted. Although I moved them as carefully as I could, they still look a bit droopy and, well, sorry for themselves. I have given them a nice drink, and hopefully they will perk up by the morning.

Look at the sprouter! I'm so pleased to see this little pepper pushing up through the soil. I planted these peppers and chillies weeks ago and I was just about to give up on them. The seed packet gave all these stern instructions about depth and soil type and temperature, and I put them in scratty containers I found in the shed, left them on the cold window sill and forgot to water them. This week I've had them on the radiator a bit and wrapped them in plastic bags, and generally faffed around. I was just about to have a root around to see if anything was happening under the soil when I noticed the sprouter! When I looked closely there's about 6 coming up and I'm beaming. Ahh, simple pleasures :)

Bit of an experiment now. Some leeks growing in loo rolls, the idea being that when they are big enough to go outside the rolls will go straight into the ground, biodegrade, and the leeks will grow big and strong as the roots haven't been disturbed. Or that's the theory. Time will tell.

All in all a productive day. Why can't every day be like this... Say goodnight to the chickos!

Friday, 23 March 2007

stepping stones

It's was my boyfriend's birthday yesterday and we had a tea party. We made saag paneer (new recipe, from Monisha Bharadwaj's 'India's Vegetarian Cooking', would recommend it!) and naan bread and onion bajis and this:

(We couldn't decide what to write, 'happy birthday' seemed a bit boring, so we went for this...)

Basically we just pigged out really, which is always good! Then today we all went on a walk in the woods (in the rain, but you can't complain...). Did a bit of paddling in the river.

And now they've all gone home and I'm here, putting off doing the washing up...

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

whatever the weather

English weather eh? You can't beat it. How is it possible to have so many types of weather in one day? One minute it's snowing so much I can't see a thing, then 10 minutes later it's bright sunshine, lovely blue sky, and I'm thinking 3 jumpers was one too many. But oh no, here come the hail stones, and the wind, in fact no, it's sunny again. It's certainly confusing the chickens! Perhaps it's global warming...

I'm reading a good book at the mo called 'Watching the English', it's all about English behaviour, and the first chapter is, appropriately enough for today, called 'The Weather'. Kate Fox, the author, thinks that we love talking about the weather so much, not because it actually fascinates us, but as a kind of 'social bonding'. The English have a reputation for being uptight and embarrassed in new social situations and saying 'cold isn't it' or 'nice to see a bit of sun' is (she says) a way of entering into conversation, we know where we stand with the weather. All the other person has to do say is 'yes I know' or 'it's been forecast all week' and you're sorted, you know where you stand with that person. And I was thinking about this, and it seems to be true.

I suppose being English myself I don't really notice how I react in these situations, it just comes naturally, so it's funny to read this book and think 'actually yes I do do that!'

I have been doing some drawings of trees today, see what you think.

Monday, 19 March 2007

last week

I saw that Dawbis was having a photo party, sounded like a great idea, so here are my photos, if not a little late! But better late than never I suppose...

Saturday, the first thing I saw when I woke up...

Every day I see these curtains I think I want to change them. They were here when we moved in 9 months ago and I still haven't got round to changing them. I seem to forget all day and only remember I don't like them when I get back into bed. Also, the flowers look like aliens and they give me nightmares. hmm.

Sunday, something I want to remember for ever...
My boyfriend hates having his picture taken. So much so that from 6 years of togetherness I have approximately 5 photos of him. This is one I slyly took when he was concentrating on playing his bass. Shhh. I love it when he plays, I love a man with talent.

Monday, a random person on the street...

Tricky one this one. I didn't feel comfortable taking a picture of someone without their permission, Leeds is rough you know! But I do think this person is quite random, and she's been on the street for a long time, I don't think many people notice her though. That's one thing about Leeds, the bottom half of the buildings in town are pretty average, but if you look up it's like a different place; almost every building is different; different heights, colours of brick, tiling, carvings, different shaped windows, domes and turrets, even a few automata! Much better that looking at the floor.

Tuesday, my feet...
Kind of self explanatory this one.

Wednesday, my lunch...

The food where I work is no treat. It's expensive and unhealthy, greasy pizza and crisp anyone? So I normally take in my own. Except this week I have been extra lazy and have been treating myself to sandwiches from a lovely little shop called Grain. Yummy. Eaten in the library whilst reading one of their large selection of journals, peace & quiet.

Thursday, the sky...

Love the sky. Have also included a few tree branches, as I think they look so mesmerizing at this time of year, especially at dusk as I'm walking home. Did you spot the bird?

Friday, a self-portrait...
Here I am at my parents house in my old bedroom, I found this mirror covered in mould, in an old cottage my dad was clearing out, and thought I would give it a second chance.

Saturday, the last thing I saw as I entered the house for the night...

I enjoyed taking these photos this week, it's made me think about things that I perhaps would not normally do. And that can't be bad!

Sunday, 18 March 2007

disaster strikes!

Oh no, I can't believe what's just happened! Today the weather seems to have turned on me, it's blowing a (very small) gale and a mixture of hail stones and snow is falling out of the sky. The horsies are in a field up the hill with a small shelter whilst my parents are away, and seen as it's snowing and they look miserable I thought 'hey, I know I'll move them down to their stable where it's warm and dry and they can eat some hay.' Good idea you may think... perhaps not.

Whilst trying to get the head collars on in the wind and snow (in the field that has now turned to ankle-deep mud) Lucy decides she had better plans, pushes the gate open a fraction and trots off into the road. Fantastic! Now she's only a small pony, but she's got hidden strength! I grabbed the only thing I could reach, her tail, but that didn't stop her one bit, all that's happening now is I'm being dragged down the road, the dog's gone in the other direction, and a car's coming. Wait, it gets better...

So I manage to get the rope from the head collar round her neck, slightly more control here, but back in the field Early is panicking. She doesn't like being seperated from Lucy, so she shoves the gate a bit more and, there you go, it swings open and she's off too! Trotting down the road, rope trailing, tail flowing in the wind, freeeee!

Well I managed to get the gate of another field open down the road, and the temptation of a field full of grass was too much for Lucy (in fact I think this is where she was aiming for all along...). In she goes. So she's safely munching away, Early realises she is on her own, perhaps my luck's changing, trots into the new field. I swiftly close the gate on the pair of them. Phew. I think I just stood there for about 5 minutes in the snow, heat beating, thinking how that could have turned out. No, don't.

All that remains for me to do is get them back down to the stable before night time, I think a bucket full of food should tempt them... wish me luck!

Saturday, 17 March 2007

in charge...

Hurray! I'm free for a whole week! No work for me, my parents have gone on holiday for the week and I'm looking after their house and all the animals. What joy.Let me introduce you...

This is Poppy, she is my favourite dog in all the world.

Marble, 19 and still going strong!

Early & Lucy, looking a bit muddy but enjoying their hay.

Saracen (named after my mums favourite gladiator from Gladiators)

And also various chickos wandering about the place (But seen as there's 18 of them I won't tell you all the names today, here is Ducky, he's the Daddy.)

Im so looking forward to my week of peace and quiet, good company (see above!) long walks and lots of time for making things. I've been waiting for this week for months, a chance to catch up on all the things I pick up when I get in from work but have to put down to make tea or sleep; all the things I wish I could be doing when at work staring at a spreadsheet; all the things I want to do but haven't got space in my little house. I'm sure the time's going to fly by, but hey!

I just got back from a little walk with Poppy, it's really windy, and it's great to get some air in my lungs. Some air that hasn't come out the exhaust pipe of a bus. I remember how much I love the countryside, and specifically this little bit of the countryside, where I grew up, and my dad grew up and his dad grew up. I feel like I belong here, the trees and the river and the steep hills. I suppose I was lucky to have all this to play in as a child. I used to spend hours making treasue from sticks and grass, drawing maps and making dens, secret places. I suppose it's made me what I am today.


And there's nothing like a big hill to clear the cobwebs away!

The rock I am on top of here is called sluring rock (well, by me anyway), one side is slanted with a handy groove for climbing, but the other is a long sheer drop. When I was little my parents used to use this as an incentive to get me up the hill; if I walked all the way without complaining then I would be allowd to climb sluring rock, and what a treat, you feel like you're on top of the world.