Thursday, May 31, 2007


So here I am at Norma's, sewing slip covers for four sofas all ready to go to the new house. It is sunny and mild and I am not working too hard, although mysteriously made the first trial cushion three inches too long, what was I thinking?

We visited the new house the other evening, it is lovely, Norma is completely besotted, Michael says he has never seen her like this before, sitting over dinner with a soppy little smile on her face.

For light relief we have been turning out things which won't make the cut in the move, even the wonderful little workroom under the house (the OLD house). The new house has a cellar, and a tower, a loggia and a jaunty solid little Apso who unfortunately won't be staying.

Insight: Norma is a much better cook than I am, and she makes far more effort.

My mum will be coming down to see us and the new house, maybe next week. This weekend Norma rows, and I will cook with Paddy, dinner for sixteen.

The big news is that Felix has found an apartment and moves tomorrow, while I am away. Empty nest? Stefan is very keen to move his workroom into Felix's old space, I hope he gets some stalwart young men to help him. Things are moving fast.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Something is tunnelling under my newly laid rocks and pebbles, making interesting spongey hummocks, very interactive. I had seen tunnels while levelling Mary's bit but never thought my installation would attract them. I tread them back in of course, the little creatures aren't under my feet (I'm not that hard-hearted) but I want to steer them elsewhere. I can't see loose soil because they are under the landscaping fabric, so I imagine them wondering what on earth that stuff is.

There are two spikes of lily-of-the-valley coming up so that is the pot where Suscipe curled herself like a tea cosy, and huffy when I moved her and put sharp twigs there as a deterrent. Cat nature.

Friday, May 25, 2007


a group gathered in response to a summons


I was about to say that today feels like a little island of sanity after the week, but now the kitchen bin has broken and the washing machine seems to be struggling. Not big things in themselves you understand, but I wonder about the zeitgeist. And Fate, Destiny and all the other biggies which haunt the trivial round the common task. What are they saying, if anything? Brownian Motion is not an answer, anyone who lives in this world can see pattern. Halfway through the jigsaw of life, so have to trust that the gaping holes and random blobby pieces have a relationship with each other.

I lost my temper yesterday after standing up under the freezer door at Mary's and clocking my head, twice. That did it, and I threw the steak across the room where it skidded into a bloody mess, then I had to clean it up. I don't often lose it really.

Anywhy: I have transplanted the suffering nepeta musseini to the new barrel at the top of the slope, in the company of variegated chive, various succulents, a hesitant form of mint and a pretty little mounding thing I don't know the name of. Fourth of July has its first brave blossom. Mary's pawlonia is whomping ever skywards so I guess it has transcended its rocky subsoil. My fig is a little more reticent, but one big tree in that strip is enough.

Cissy graduates tomorrow, we will have to post some photos. She looked so lovely last night, beaming in her cap and gown at the Dean's Honours Convocation (which word I have yet to look up).

Thursday, May 24, 2007


I feel that someone has pressed fast-forward suddenly, and really it is welcome. End of term rush I suppose, compounded with edging and washing 80lbs of fabric, beautiful creamy hemp canvas for definitive sofa slipcovers. The domestic complication is the death of the fridge, so I have been running around with ice, importuning neighbours for freezer space, eating strange combinations and hoping to avoid salmonella. Another celebration with Cissy and George tonight so the full makeup and scrub-out of perfectly filthy nails as I have been striving to get everything planted.

I really enjoyed helping Felix re-write a portfolio of two essays for re-marking (no-one re-marked when I was at university!). It might have been better if we hadn't had to do them both this morning.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Best Fun

We have a new toy, a shredder, so I have been going through all our waste paper bins for fodder. Oh ha ha ha.


We were on our best behaviour for a jolly night with the UCSF history department to see Cissy awarded the Joseph Mullin Prize and declared a Distinguished Undergraduate Scholar; didn't the girl done good.

She gets to wear a two-toned cord - rather pyjama-y - with her gown, and is in a secret society (with a handshake? I didn't know if they were joking or not) called Phi Alpha Theta, Kappa Phi Chapter. I think.

Fighting off a raving head-cold the next morning and helpless in the teeth of vicious cold winds whipping my plants to shreds, tipping a heavy geranium on the table and even turning my kayak over. When I checked this morning, all serene, the convallaria pips green already, the new barrel dug into the hillside firm as a rock, buds on Fourth of July and flowers on New Dawn, which I shall pick in happy memory of Park Village.

William came over and we watched an asinine film called The Fountain, hair-acting all the way. I am still enjoying Pan's Labyrinth and that makes me even more intolerant than usual.

This morning, Kaiser and College of Marin. I would like to be busier.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A New Poet

I think I haven't read Mary Oliver before, though she reminds me of overexposed Oriah Mountain Dreamer burnt out on the promotional circuit. It is very flowing, almost like song lyrics, see:

Not a patch on darling Les Murray.

I spent this morning eating cabbage soup and chocolate, reading the papers and Stefan's last article which he then decided to ditch.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

M Back

Well. I have not been blogging for a week, which is the longest I think.

I do have the cleanest house, and have been footling in my garden very happily. Not working much, a little sewing, hiking....The days merge.

I did find out that giving the finger is mentioned in the Greek myths. It is still giving me endless pleasure having the two volumes beside the loo, even if I do sometimes become glued to the seat if I embark on a particularly convoluted tale. I am beginning to wonder if some of Robert Graves' spectacular non sequiturs are the result of great learning and insight and impatience with lesser minds, or just plain assumptions. I read with great reverence still, but can't help but wonder.

What do I want? I hardly know.

Monday, May 07, 2007


After the heat of the day it was hard to sleep, so I watched the moon rise, large and heavy and red and so beautiful I called Felix and we sat on the deck just watching it over the water. There was a delicious little breeze, Suscipe and Stefan joined us and I was once again so grateful to have this house.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Flavour of Today

Cattle varieties. A very relaxing read.

Dibs in Search of Self

Dean Martin medley while driving home and Bonono for dinner.

Trying to find out what happened to the Fourth of July rose I ordered.

Heat: the first washing on the line was dry before I had pinned the last.

Lamb chops, salad and strawberries out on the deck in the dusk with the scent of salt and low tide as the breeze rose.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Tongue

Last night and this morning the edges of sleep were haunted by a clear, faint smell which took me back to MacDonald Street and my late teens. I kept thinking green, green, and had a vision of green and white striped packaging and a name - Calvin?! no, Carvin?

It is Vent Vert, and I don't even know if it is still sold.

Yesterday with Mimi I had une image mentale vive, through a happy misunderstanding. We were walking up a ridge which was a series of interwoven golden hills laced with lupin and iris, and I though Mimi said "lievre". Couldn't see any but I wanted to, then reflected and wondered if she had said "levres" in which case my attention had truly wandered. So I reverted to English and she patiently said "l'eleve" - she had mentioned a pupil. In the meanwhile I had peopled the hillside with leaping March hares, then Daliesque lipsticked mouths. She enjoyed it too.

I almost enjoy life more when I misunderstand. Revision: I often enjoy life more when I misunderstand and get that lovely feeling like a balloon that's slipped its mooring. It comes too with poetry and opera, both wonderful today, Tristan and Isolde while driving, and the freeway melted away.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What did we do before Google?

There you shall at mid-winter see
Cucumbers, gourds, grapes and apples,
And wreaths of fragrant violets
Covered with dust, as if in summer.
And the same man will sell you thrushes,
And pears and honey-comb and olives,
Beestings and tripe and summer olives,
And grasshoppers and bullocks’paunches.
There you may see full baskets packed
With figs and myrtle, crown’d with snow.
There you may see fine pumpkins join’d
To that discovered bond, and mighty turnips,
So that a stranger may well fear
To name the season of the year.

Leigh Hunt

Sleep breathes at last from out thee,
My little patient boy;
And balmy rest about thee—
Smooths off the day's annoy.
I sit me down and think
Of all thy winning ways;
Yet almost wish with sudden shrink
That I had less to praise.

A Purty Cat

She is also without doubt the brightest, quirkiest and most thoughtful cat we have ever had, sociable, reasonable, sweet-natured. I almost wish with sudden shrink/That I had less to praise.

Not a Purty Fence