Wednesday, May 28, 2008

S caught a M

Suscipe caught an enormous mouse yesterday, in the garden, and was very disappointed when it stopped 'playing'. Declawed, ancient - she can still cut it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Is The Answer in There, Somewhere?

Sometimes I find myself sitting at my computer in puzzlement, wondering even what I am looking for. It obviously is the interface for communication with anything in the ether, if only I had the key. Or the address.

Friday, May 23, 2008


The wildfires are no surprise given the heat and wind of the day, but last night the air was cool and fragrant with woodsmoke.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Life Worth Living

I know I have posted the above link before, but I'm doing it again because THIS BLOG SAVES LIVES. Click on it! You won't be sorry!


Stale, flat and unprofitable. Ever smaller circles. No rain, too much wind, sightless glare. Beloved plants shrivel and dry.

Meaningless entertainment. Busywork. No feedback. Blind alleys. Flavourless wodges. No electricity, no juice, no power, no flow.

and it dares to say: 'your blog published successfully'

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wildlife in My Garden

Nothing motivated me more to get the last section of fence up than a doe who ate my tomatoes and my rosa mutabilis. I encountered her trying to cross the road, so my efforts are as much in her interests as mine.

I scavenged two topiary trees in tubs from prodigal neighbours down the way, who didn't water them then tossed them in spite of valiant signs of green among the die-back. I pruned them hard, composted and watered them generously and they are already looking better. They have a round purple flower a little like a dogwood - I will do some research so I can name them - apart from Gog and Magog of course.

We have eight ducklings from the only pair in the inlet, encouraging though I know there will be casualties. Where are all the other birds? Very few visiting avocets or stilts, egrets of course; the most puzzling absence is ducks.

Satisfying as house renovation is, I would be quite happy to start all over again. Not to move from here, do a second house. I know it is the wrong market etc etc, and maybe my trip to the East Coast with Paddy, visiting Maryna and Margaret will restore my contentment but for now I am twitchy and ungrateful. My heart is really in Istanbul with Norma, can't wait to hear all about it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Last night by the sheiling

Was Mhairi my beloved.

Out on the hillside by the sheiling

My Mhairi my beloved.

Mo Mhairi, mo lhenan,

Mo Mhairi, my beloved,

On the hillside by the sheiling

My Mhairi my beloved.

Like the white lily floating

In the peat hag’s dark waters.

Pure and white as the lily

In the peat hag’s dark waters.

Mo Mhairi, mo lhenan,

Mo Mhairi, my beloved,

Like the lily white floating

In the peat hag’s dark waters.

Like the blue gentian blooming

Wet with dew in the sunshine

Are the eyes of my Mhairi,

Purple blue in the sunshine.

Mo Mhairi, mo lhenan,

Mo Mhairi, my beloved,

Lily white, pure, gentian-eyed

Is my Mhairi, my beloved.


The eight-year-olds I help with reading had Star Tests (?) last week, so it has been a fortnight since I saw them. I find it all so fascinating, the ones who are making giant progress, the girl who is having a tough time, the bully whose influence is on the wane, the one who is seriously disassociated, and all the individuals in between. I have such empathy with the ones who simply can't sit still - I must have been a horrible child. One thing I notice, every last one of them loves to be acknowledged and to get it right. This does not happen often. They can read through a short passage without the faintest grasp of the subject.

English is the second language for all these children. I think this must be what is reflected in the following spelling exercise in which they had to incorporate each word into a sentence. This was on the top of the pile:

1. I refuse the tree
2. My bab wiro suit
3. I love fruit a lot
4. I spill some juice
5. I am in bruise
6. I like nuisance
7. I runi my short
8. I love like a fluid
9. I have a tuition
10. I am so cruise

Hasn't your inner world just expanded?

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Why did it take me so long to redo my office? I now have my monitor on a smaller shelf six inches above the main keyboard shelf, all the wires and gubbins are on another small shelf underneath that. No junk! No storage! I had begun to feel as if I were living in a stationery cupboard.

I still need to wire up the speakers and get electricity to the back wall for the printer and shredder. The best way will be to build a duct around the doorway, disguised as a simple architrave.

Walls and narrow top shelves above the two little windows are Fox Red, same as the main room, and the window and desktops are sludge green, the monitor shelf is aged redwood, with a walnut grid screen left over from the kitchen hiding the wires in between. I need to concoct some unobtrusive mouse mat and do some refinements, then photos.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

City Day

Screening in the morning which went well (they cried), and shooting in the evening for the wine film.

NO praise means more to me than on my camerawork. Looking at rushes this morning while watering the garden and general pottering.

We just saw I'm not There, about Bob Dylan, with six actors to portray the contradictory facets of his character, and it made sense. That's what I want! Just as people have their own photos Andy-Warhol'd. It was a thought-provoking and brave film, I loved it and want to see it again.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Stir Crazy

Because I feel I can't DO anything. In fact I have sorted my papers and cleared my hind desk, both endlessly put off since the new year. It is the feeling of constraint which is so irksome.

On the Bay this morning, to see the cranes and infrastructure of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Raccoon Ate It

Pure and white as a lily on the peat hag's dark water - until the philistine raccoon felt like a snack.


In Berkeley yesterday at The Gardener I saw a round concrete table with nasturtium leaves impressions cast in the surface, and I have been scheming and planning and wishing ever since to do something the same, never mind where I would put it.

I think the leaves were put underside up and the concrete poured on top. Very smooth, very detailed. Lust.

We Went to a Marvellous Party

A most sociable weekend, starting on Saturday with calling in on Mary next door for breakfast, then down to Mary-who-bought-Carolyn's-house to admire and talk about what colour for the new concrete countertops. On to Merryll and Maureen's houses for their garage sale and coffee where I met Mary-Mary who invited us to her garden party yesterday afternoon.

While with Mary E. discussing colour Charlie from the house on her right popped in for a gander, and when I told him how fascinated I have always been with his house (which he is borrowing from Midge) he invited me in for a visit. Far better than I could have imagined - all rough, heavy solid redwood, massive stone and brick fireplace, beams like flying buttresses, lovingly built-in original 20's wardrobes and cupboards, and of course the view, as he like us is oriented the right way towards open bay.

I bought various lovely things at the garage sale and we talked for a long time about gardens, and soil (Mary-Mary is a professional gardener, surprise), and the warden of St Quentin who built here, and the meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the disastrous gate to the lagoon, which restricts the water flow it was meant to enhance.

It is just as well Crazy-Mary sold up and left or we might get confused. The neighbourhood is also united in huff at the McMansion which went up in place of her comfortable redwood cottage.

The garden party was just so sociable and neighbourly, visiting the chickens, admiring the roses and the wonderful new patio. I don't think I ever fully realised how welcoming and grounding is it to know and like your neighbours.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Painful Choices

SO often the pain comes later, doesn't it.

My current lumbar distress is from weeding vinca, but I think it is going to impact my painting as well. No matter, Ashraf brought a full flat of strawberries yesterday so I plan to make strawberry jam, after the new dishwasher is in so it can sterilise the jars for me.

It reminds me of the time I made white peach and raspberry jam in Ste Tropez, because we had bought so much fruit in the market the children couldn't eat it. Now THAT was delicious. Less so the crabapple jelly from my tree at Park Village, which looked beautiful and set magnificently but was too tart for real pleasure.

Felix and Jenna are coming over tonight so I shall address myself to cooking. Maybe Stefan will get his longed-for ribs at last.

Let's see if I can find a make-your-own-pectin site.