Monday, November 29, 2010


Photograph by Ell Brown

I need space. In my house, in my life, in my head.

Many years ago I read Karen Kingston's book, Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui. The one thing that has stayed with me is the idea that you are connected to every one of your possessions by an invisible thread. The more you have, the more connections, and the untidier everything is...well, you can imagine. I dread to think what my invisible threads look like. I feel exactly as if my thoughts, my house and my life are this enormous, tangled mass.

I've written about the noise in my head before. I feel like there is not room in my head for One More Thing. Lately I am more or less incapable of remembering anything at all. I try to write things down, but very often the thought is gone by the time I have picked up the pen. I am forgetting birthdays, doctor appointments, words. I can't always formulate a sentence. I have thought maybe I need to relax, to sit quietly for a while each day to try and clear my mind but I find it impossible. Getting out the house helps, but only for as long as I am elsewhere. With Christmas looming and a wedding to plan, the mental clutter is only increasing.

So today I am making a plan. I am not sure of the details yet. They will involve less time online, more time reading, writing and getting outside and some way of harnessing my thoughts and dealing with my huge mental to-do list. Also dealing with the physical clutter in the house and loft, though I have been making a start on that for a while.

Watch this space.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whilst I am not American and therefore not qualified to celebrate Thanksgiving, I am sure no one will mind if I share a few things I am feeling thankful for today.

1. I am thankful for the Young Philosopher, currently living it up, sorry I mean studying at university. This was taken on his first day at University in September, with the cupboard I neatly arranged for him. I haven't been back there to check but I am sure it still looks exactly the same. Hmm.

2. I am thankful for the Dusty Professor, who told me a long time ago that he would make every day a good day, and he does.

3. I am, slightly reluctantly, thankful for Twitter . After avoiding it all this time, I finally succumbed and have been rewarded with lots of lovely links and ideas. I am NOT reactivating my facebook account, though.

4. I am thankful for the internet, which has enabled me to spend so many happy hours in housework avoidance over the years.

5. I am thankful for living in London. I spend a lot of time wishing I lived somewhere more rural, then I have a day out there and am reminded why I love it.

What are YOU thankful for today?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reflect and Manifest

My adventures in Mondo Beyondo and Dream Lab these past few months have thrown up a few things for me. I think I joined up hoping for answers, and I was surprised to end up with a lot of questions. I think that's a good thing. I can now see all sorts of possibilities opening up and I have learned I need to show up and be open to new things and woohoo the world is my lobster. Or something.

Following on from that I have been looking for another project to get involved with online, and this week my friend Holly told me about #reverb10, Sign up just recently opened and already there are over two hundred people taking part. Every day there will be a creative prompt to respond to individually with blog posts, tweets or photographs and there is the opportunity to share with the other participants via Twitter.

Lots of people I know or whose blogs I read are taking part. It will be like the best kind of online party! What a great opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for the year ahead. A chance to inspire and be inspired.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Three Have Lunch in the Crypt

I met up today with two internet friends Mary and Sara in the Cafe in the Crypt of St Martin in the Fields church. I wish I knew how to do the e with the little accent over it, but there you are.

That's me on the left, Sara in the middle, Mary on the right. We had a very nice lunch and spent a couple of hours chatting. The food was very nice, and reasonably priced for central London. I had a vegetarian casserole with jacket potato and salad, creme brulee, (need those accents again) some apple and elderflower juice and then a cup of coffee and I spent about £16.

It was great to finally meet up in person, having known each other online for a while now. Our homes are a bit far flung from each other but I hope we can do it again before too long.

One last note.....I just went upstairs to take off my boots, only to find I have been wearing one brown boot and one black one all day (I have the same pair in both colours). Either Mary and Sara didn't notice, or they think I am slightly lunatic and were kind enough not to mention it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Celebrating in Style

Mum and I went to the Ritz for afternoon tea today to celebrate her birthday. The Dusty Professor drove us there and back, but he wouldn't wear a chauffeur's hat.

The food and the service were very good. We couldn't eat all the cakes and scones, and now that I am the sort of person who dines out at the Ritz I didn't like to put them in my handbag and take them home. Shame, because they were lovely!

I suspect that Afternoon Tea at The Ritz isn't for posh people. The other diners all looked pretty much like us - ordinary people out for a bit of a treat. I certainly wouldn't have brought my camera out if there hadn't already been several people snapping away and asking waiters to take their photographs. I expect the Upper Classes would find it all quite beneath them.

We had a lovely time. I think this could be an annual Mum's birthday event.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Real mail

Three cards that I received recently.

The crazy chicken card came all the way from Australia, and the other two arrived today from Mary.

I just love getting real mail!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Where Did the Years Go?

Dear tooth fairys. I have lost my tooth. I swallowed it. Can you get it bak pleys. From Joseph.

(by the way, the tooth fairies did take pity on him and leave £1 under his pillow)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Five

A few things I am loving this week:

  1. The Best Days of Our Lives Food for thought and this lovely painting from Heather Foust
  2. A lovely idea for an heirloom recipe book from Deb at Carrots and Kids
  3. These colourful paintings from Leon Morrocco. Thanks to Creative Voyage for the link
  4. Why Sarah doesn't have a Life List A reminder that not every blog trend is for everyone
  5. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent a reminder from Karen

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Being Kind to Myself

CFS strikes again. Recently things have improved. The good days are getting better and I just had several of them in a row, which was fantastic. Until recent weeks, even on a good day I was a very tired version of me, on a bad day considerably worse. Today is a bad day. This morning I woke up feeling awful. I am exhausted, I have a sore throat, sore eyes, aches and pains. It hurts to type. Ah well.

So today I am Being Kind to Myself. For this I need the following supplies:

Hot chocolate (sadly, I have run out of marshmallows)
A book
Maybe some music
Chocolate and crisps (have to wait for the Prof to get home for those)

Maybe tomorrow will be a Good Day.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Friends, Reunited

The road to a friend's house is never long - Danish proverb

Gail and I first met around 12 years ago when we were both broke single parents. We found each other when her toddler son pulled my ponytail at a school assembly. Gail was embarrassed, I thought it was funny. Gail and her two children had just moved to the area and her daughter was in my son's class.

Over the years we have shared meals, listened to each other's woes (Gail has heard a lot of mine: she calls me Eeyore) and watched our children grow up. My son and Gail's daughter are now 19, and her son will be 16 in December. We were young mothers at the school gates: now we are (gasp) approaching middle age, if we are not in it already.

This summer Gail took the courageous decision to move back 'up North'. She found a house there, gave her notice at work, without a new job lined up (brave girl!), and went for it. I am pleased to say things have worked out fantastically well. The house is great, with beautiful views. She has found a job, bought a great little car, reconnected with old friends. She is living the country life I dream of, and I am so pleased for her.

Last weekend was the first time we had seen each other in over three months. She came over on Sunday for breakfast. Over smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels (Neither of us could have afforded that when we first knew each other!), we caught up on all the news. It was like she'd never been away.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Something I'm really good at?

At the Women's Institute meeting last week, there was an icebreaker activity. Two long rows of chairs were arranged facing each other and everyone sat down. The idea was you got to know the person opposite you a little, then people moved along one and you started again with someone new. Kind of like speed dating. There were a list of prompts on a flip chart that we were supposed to use as conversation starters. The first one was

What is one thing you are really good at?

I cook a little. I knit a little. I write. Sometimes I make cards, or gifts. I'm not expert at any of those things, I just enjoy them. I am not sure that I am really good at anything.

These things I hope I am really good at:

Taking care of my family
Being a friend

What are YOU really good at?

Friday, November 05, 2010


The thought of having to sit quietly for even five minutes is very alien to me. I am more than capable of sitting around and doing very little, but I always read, or watch TV, or write lists, or chat on the phone, something. I can't remember the last time I just sat, quietly.

Recently I have been wondering if this is something I need. I have a grasshopper mind, leaping all over the place, planning, worrying, stressing, leaving thoughts and everything I try to do half finished. I am forgetful, distracted, usually doing one thing and thinking another. Too many thoughts going in too many different directions at once, so that I can't keep track of any.

Just for once it would be nice to have no thoughts. Or just gentle ones. I feel permanently frazzled. Classes I took years ago in tai chi and in yoga made me feel very centred and still, a feeling I would like to experience again.

So I was interested to see this from Kate Swoboda. There is a great ebook to download, and a post three times a week from Kate. I am looking forward to following along and trying the practices. For now, I am committing to five minutes of stillness every day.

I'll let you know how I get on.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Not so much Jam and Jerusalem

I went to my first Women's Institute meeting last night. Having long bemoaned the fact that there has never been a WI in my area I felt obliged to go along when I read in the local paper that a local branch had been started.
Unfortunately, the resident womble in our house managed to recycle the paper before I had a chance to make a note of the date of the first meeting. I emailed the WI area secretary and by the time I had a reply, the first monthly meeting had passed. So, last night off I duly went to the second meeting.
I was quite impressed. There were about forty women there. I was actually very surprised to see so much interest in the WI here, which probably goes to prove that I shouldn't make assumptions.
There has already been a cinema trip, and for this month a trip is planned to the Country Living Fair. I would love to go, but am banning myself from even thinking about it. I have a wedding to save up for!
I am hoping there will be spin off groups and workshops, opportunities to learn new things. There is already talk of a book group, and I would like to find a friendly soul to teach me crochet, after my last disastrous attempt during which it became obvious that I lack the part of the brain that is responsible for fibre arts.
I am looking forward to the next meeting which apparently will involve Christmas crafts and Swishing.

Neither Jam nor 'Jerusalem' were even mentioned.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Parade of Adventures for November

Borrowing heavily from both Flylady's PODA (Parade of Daily Adventures) and from Kristina at Tina's Tree, here is my November POA.

  1. Blog every weekday.
  2. Take at least one photograph every day.
  3. Make a Treasure Map.
  4. Knit two dishcloths for my Dad.
  5. Create a budget plan.
  6. Reclaim the bedroom from the boxes and piles of stuff that need decluttering!
  7. Sell some books on ebay/Amazon.
  8. Do one writing exercise every weekday.
  9. Post something I have written (other than blog posts) online.
  10. Work out how to resize photographs for posting here.

I think 10 will do. I will check my progress at the beginning of December!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Reasons to be Cheerful, Part One

  • A line of washing blowing in the breeze.
  • The Dusty Old Professor texting to say he will be home early.
  • The smell of tonight's chicken chasseur wafting through the house.
  • No TV, or music. Peace and quiet in the house.
  • A cup of coffee in my favourite Starbuck's mug with (sshh, DOUBLE) cream.
  • A new BLOG (hi!)