Thursday, 30 April 2009

Clocking off for the night.....

I don't want to write a full post tonight. I am tired, happy and relaxed. Little dog and I went out, with her off the lead. She approached a number of dogs but was pretty good and didn't get herself growled at once, although none of them really wanted to play with her....

Now I am going to talk to F, who has just gotten home from work *grin*....

Pay it Forward


My Soulsister Mel has this lovely idea going on, on her blog....

I will make a handmade gift for the first 3 interested people who comment on this post. I have 365 days to do it in…What it will be and when it will arrive is a total surprise! The catch is that you must participate as well: you must have a blog and before you leave your comment here, write up a pay it forward post on your blog to keep the fun going. (just cut and paste this one if you like!, which I did)

I thought I would offer this on this blog because I have a similar thing going on on my other one....

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Play (Word Wednesday)

Play. It has so many images in my head....

Going to see a play by the Miracle Theatre Company outdoors at Pendennis Castle last year with a lovely picnic. It was hilarious....

Putting on a play about Christians and Romans at school...

Children playing with a ball, maybe with a wall or a racquet...

Football and other games...

Cards and board games... Poker players playing games with each other...

The games that belong in the bedroom...

Playing with colours and textures and materials...

Playing with puzzles and jigsaws....

Animals, puppies and lion cubs and bear cubs pouncing on each other...


This brings me to the true meaning of play. Play IS learning. It is how we learn best and most happily. It is how we enjoy using our bodies and keeping them healthy and active. It is how we teach as well, by playing with others and also by showing them.

So why is it children get to play and adults don't? Can't we learn any more? Why does society want us to stop playing? Why can't children play at school? Why do I have to work rather than play? What does all this focus on computer games tell us about what our children are learning? Are computer skills more important now, than physical skills?

I want to play....

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A Chance Encounter

Tonight I took the evil and menacing Little Dog out for a walk. I am always nervous taking her out. Big Dog was awful with other dogs and caused me to get bitten. Little Dog once took a chunk out of one of paren'ts dogs side, a big chunk. She likes to be the boss and I think some of my Dad's dogs didn't like her running for the role of pack leader and gave her some stick...

So tonight, I am walking along the path and I see some people with a loose pack coming towards me. I wasn't feeling courageous so I turned back and circled the car park, intending to come back up the other side. Only I met the group coming. As I turned to escape I found a man coming over the bank with another large loose pack.

He informed me his would be fine and I said I wasn't sure about mine. Moments later I found myself surrounded by dogs as the chap and the ladies obviously knew each other and decided to chat. I didn't really dare move. Little Dog was mostly good although she did intimidate the puppy.

The first pack moved off leaving me with the man and his collection of Jack Russells and a Spaniel. We got talking and it turned out he was a gamekeeper and dog trainer. He persuaded me to trust Little Dog and let her off. He was right. She had a whale of a time.

She did get growled at when she pushed it and she listened and backed off. I was surprised how good she was with such little dogs. She would run from one to the other and back again.

Now belonging to a gamekeeper these dogs were experienced hunters of rabbits. Little Dog hasn't really learnt the joys of hunting. The combined pack was rootling around in a area of gorse but not having much luck. One saw a rabbit in a patch and it and Little Dog went after it. Little Dog had an instinct for working with Terriers which impressed the man and surprised me. Not that they got anywhere near it mind.

It was lovely to see her being so well behaved. We needed to meet someone who had experience with dogs and was confident enough to allow us to experiment with Little Dog. He was very complementary of her and said we should join a Lurcher Club and show her and race her too (informal stuff for fun).

I came home with a warm glow and the believe that i can have more fun out and about with Little Dog (although we need to work on her coming when she is called a little....). Little Dog seems happy, but it is a little difficult to tell... There isn't much movement!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Balance

It is another day when I have no fixed idea of what to say. Yesterday was a sofa day and today didn't find me feeling much more lively. I was on a slightly different planet all day. When I got out of the car back home, I saw stars, they were brighter than I have ever seen them before. I am not sure what brings this on exactly but apparently it isn't uncommon....

I don't have any specific symptoms I just feel lethargic. Maybe this is what my cards have been warning me about. Todays card was balance and it isn't the first time I have drawn it. The card a friend drew for me suggested taking time to smell the dirt and connect with mother nature.

Thing is, I am not sure how anyone can work full time hours and have a balanced life. Maybe it is because I need a lot of sleep. At the moment I aim for 9 hours a night with a bit of catch up at the weekend. Maybe those who have a balanced life sleep less, maybe they work less.

In previous generations the men worked and the women stayed at home. Neither had a balanced life but I guess between them it worked. Nowadays with both people in a partnership working, often full time, how is the average person supposed to do everything?

Thing I don't understand is why we work full time. We work and pay taxes so other poor unfortunates who can't find full time work don't starve. Being on the dole is no fun, I was for a while in my very early twenties. If you have the time, you don't have the money, and of course if you have the money, you don't have the time.

Why not spread it around a little? Why not have everyone work part time? Then people would have time to clean and tidy, to exercise, to meditate, to volunteer, to make things, to cook from scratch, to grow things, to have a family, to see friends and family, to learn.... My life isn't balanced by definition and right now, I can't quite understand how anybody really gets to have a balanced life... At least not anyone like me.

Each week I spend...

63 hours asleep
40 hours at work including breaks
That leaves 65 hours a week for everything else.... except it doesn't....

I know women elsewhere in the world and in time have it so much harder, they have to keep on whether they feel like it or not. And thats not fair either because in many cultures the women work hard all the time while the men do an awful lot less....

Balance... I think in order for my life to balance, I have to not so much alter what I put in each side but adjust my setting so that one side is heavier than the other but they still balance. I need to change my attitude or my situation. Because I can't keep sleeping badly and having the sorts of dreams where my place of work has been transformed into a war setting and I can not escape...

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Intelligence

Having claimed to be rather academic yesterday i thought I would talk about intelligence a little today.

When I studied to be a teacher we learnt a little about Learning Theory. Although all this information is out there I don't think it is generally well used.... It is as if in many cases what is known is not practiced in the classroom. Some of the best teachers use these theories either instinctively or from knowing and I don't wish to do them down but....

Once upon a time Howard Gardner came up with his theory of Multiple Intelligences. His theory is that we all have differing amounts of each of a set of intelligences. Intelligence tests tend to focus on certain specific types of intelligence but there is a whole range.

Linguistic: all things to do with words including reading and poetry
Logical / mathematical: the one for all those with skills in science and maths and games
Musical: all things to do with music including listening and composing
Spatial / visual: all things to do with images and construction
Kinaesthetic: all things to do with physical movement
Interpersonal: all things to do with other people such as communication and managing
Intrapersonal: all things to do with the self such as personal understanding or self motivation
Naturalistic: all things to do with the natural world such as classification and pattern recognisation.
Existential: ability to ask and think about the difficult questions, life, death, the universe and everything....

Some people have sooo much talent in one area but very little in others, we have all met genius level people who would struggle to wire a plug or cook a meal. Others have so much talent in an area such as music.

The thing is, although we all have a balance of the intelligences, they combine in different ways and have different focuses. For instance a music critic undoubtably must have musical intelligenc ebut may be unable to play or compose themselves.

This is all good, all of our intelligences are equally valid! So says Science! Except we all know that in the big bad world this just isn't so. Some sorts of intelligence are valued more than others. In school the focus is on a very narrow range of things that society deems important. Music and Religous Education (existensial) are often neglected in schools due to time.

I was lucky, my form of intelligence was well catered for in school, I flourished and became academic. But what of all those other children in my class, the ones whose intelligence didn't take an academic form?

The girl who was great at sport but never going to be quite good enough at the right sport to make a living?

The boy who was great at taking apart cars and became an mechanic?

The girl who loved to draw horses?

The boy who was very self contained and controled?

Did they feel valued? Did school do good things for them? Did they feel like they had a valid talent that could lead them towards a good and successfulc areer valued by society? Maybe, maybe not.

Just as there are some that didn't do so well on the genetic lottery and don't have a 'high' level of any of the intelligences, there are some who did rather well. I think I would have to consider myself as being someone who did pretty well. I haven't earnt these intelligences although I have worked hard to develop some of them. I don't feel that this makes me any better than anyone else. In many ways I would love to have a clear 'talent', it must make it easier to decide what to do, mustn't it?

I do also feel there is a gender divide in schools to. Boys are allowed to be top dog and everyone is comfortable with that. Girls however... not everyone is comfortable when it is a girl who is top dog. What do you do if you have a delicate, senstitive daughter who is average and a clever daughter who does few things in an average way? (except the kinaesthetic and interpersonal areas in my case - they are waaaayyy down my list)

I never felt that I had earnt my skills. I never felt that they were something to celebrate. I never felt that I entirely had the right to exploit them. My parents attempts to make us equal they taught me, if you do to well it makes people uncomfortable and that those who don't try get exactly the same reward, so why try?

My Dad always used to talk about saving money. I got a job at 15 and I started putting a bit of money away n my bank account, just like he said. My sister and I had both had bank accounts opened for us as babies and money put it. Before I was born, all the money was put in my sisters and after it was shared between us. When she did her GCSE's my parents made her account up to £500 in celebration of her success. When I did my GCSE's my parents put exactly the same amount in my account to make it up to £500. I worked for a proportion of that money, I went out and saved. My sister didn't work until she had to but yet she just got everything given to her. I have never saved since.

So where does this leave me? It leaves me with a whole bunch of talent, a dead end job that pretty much anyone could do and no money.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Other

I went to Camborne today and wandered around Trevithick Day taking photos of this and that for the Scavenger Hunt. The weather was unpredictable, grey and gloomy mostly with occasional showers and winds. It wasn't anywhere near as busy as it should have been because of the weather.

F wanted to stay home and play computer games so I went by myself. Although i saw lots of things, being there made me feel very alone. If you have no one to comment to, or to joke with, things just aren't as much fun.

I am glad I accomplished my hunt but I nearly came back cold and damp before I had finished.

Being there made me feel like an outsider. A recent reading by a friend that came this morning didn't help. The way I have been feeling recently about things sat on top and added into the mix.

I have always played by the rules, I have strong ethics both in how I deal with the world and with others. I treat others as I want to be treated. I work hard. People who treat others much worse than I do are often far better liked by others. People who make a lot less effort at work than I do and are less able are often far more appreciated at work than I am.

My sister can be, frankly, a moody and unpleasant person and this face shows more to family than to outsiders I think. Somehow, when we were kids all the kids always used to like ehr better. The adults liked me. At school, I never had any really good close friends. At college I did but these were fun time friends, many of which have disappeared into the ether. In the city, I left after 4 years with not a backward glance and facebook has shown me that somehow, I was never the one people wanted to take a photo of. I may have been at the party but I wasn't somehow seen, even by people that professed to be very good friends.

This extends to the here and now. People don't always see me. Others walk through crowds and somehow, like a dance, everything flows right and people get where they want to. It doesn't work like this for me, I am always at the wrong speed or they don't see me or they don't care that we are in danger of walking in the same space. Children generlly seem to have a sixth sense as to what is around them and they don't walk into things very often, somehow they often walk into me and they bounce of on their way without even seeming to notice.

I make people uncomfortable. I am very academic and an academic woman, particularly one who is better than most men at things like maths and physics, is not something people know how to deal with. Just by being a fraction of the being that is me sets those who are insecure on edge.

I have always had the feeling that I have to play down my intelligence. My folks wanted my sister and I to feel equal so my achievements were never spoken of and they never felt like they held any real value, they still don't. In doing this they built her up and knocked me down because we are like chalk and cheese and making us equal could never, ever work.

I am the person who attracts knowing looks from the strange looking woman in the folk band. I am the person who gets a long look from a woman who reeked of power.

I realised today that many of my comfort books have a heroine who is dowdy or over clever or hard working or overly responsible. The woman always benefits in the end from their perseverance and gets the best man and wins the day having found their own unique and special place in the world. I have the man but I haven't won or found my special place in the world.

This is not to say i don't belong anywhere and I don't have friends - I do. Somehow F makes me fit better. He is not academic but he has the ability to set anyone and everyone at ease. His being with me makes me more visible to people and somehow less disturbing to.

I am somehow different. It isn't my imagination. I have tried to be less different all my life. I have felt envious of those who fit in, even if they are less able, less hard working and less sensible, even if they are maybe jealous of me.

I have much more to think about on this. But I am other....

Friday, 24 April 2009

Trevithick

Tomorrow is Trevithick Day, A Spring fair in the town of Camborne in Cornwall. I am going to go and take photos for a photographic scavenger hunt.

I guess none of you will have heard of Richard Trevithick. If he had been English rather than Cornish, this might have been rather different. When grand things are invented they build on the inventions and ideas of others. Some times it is a little tricky to say who is the one who should take the credit, who becomes famous.

Wallace and Darwin. The Wright Brothers weren't the only ones trying to make a flying machine. Watt wasn't the only one working on steam engines and Stephenson with his Rocket came along much later. It was in fact Trevithick that built and demonstrated the first ever transportation device powered by steam, the Puffing Devil. He introduced high pressure steam engines to the world and this allowed engines to be small enough and powerful enough to be moved. Watt, who is far more famous, actually said that Trevithick should be hung for bringing something so dangerous into the world!

Trevithick was born in 1771, the son of a mine captain near Camborne. At 19 his first job was as a consultant engineer in local mines. He first made high pressure steam engines work in 1799 and the Puffing Devil took it's first trip in 1801 and it is this famous (or at least it should be) trip that will be commemorated tomorrow.

Trevithick picked up several men in Fore street and proceeded with them up Camborne Hill to the village of Beacon. Three days later the devil broke down after going over a gully in the road. The operators stopped for a meal of goose at a local pub. Unfortunately the engine ran dry, overheated and burnt out, destroying it. This all inspired a folk song...

Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
The horses stood still;
The wheels went around;
Going up Camborne Hill, coming down

White stockings, white stockings she wore (she wore)
White stockings, white stockings she wore
White stockings she wore:
The same as before;
Going up Camborne Hill, coming down

I knowed her old father old man (old man)
I knowed her old father old man
I knowed her old man;
He played in the band;
Going up Camborne Hill, coming down

I 'ad 'er, I 'ad 'er, I did
I 'ad 'er, I 'ad 'er, I did
I 'ad 'er I did:
It cost me a quid
Going up Camborne Hill, coming down

He heaved in the coal, in the steam (the steam)
He heaved in the coal, in the steam
He heaved in the coal:
The steam hit the beam
Going up Camborne Hill, coming down

Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
Goin' up Camborne Hill, coming down
The horses stood still;
The wheels went around;
Going up Camborne Hill, coming down

Did I ever mention that this was not a classy town in those days? It grew to house the workforce for the local mines. Lawlessness occasionally prevailed.....

Back to Trevithick.... He built the first steam locomotive which took it's first trip in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales pulling 10 tons of iron, 5 wagons and 70 men 9.75 miles in 4 hours and 5 minutes. He was a consultant on an early project to drive a tunnel under the Thames which was beset by difficulties and didn't reach completion. His proposal for solving the issues was eventually successfully implemented in tunneling under the Michigan River in Detroit. It was however Sir Marc Kingdom Brunel, assisted by his son Isambard, who drove the first successful tunnel under the Thames in 1843.

The Peruvian silver mines provided a challenge that low pressure engines couldn't solve because of the altitude. He left for South America to consult and was granted rights to several mines but was unable to develop them due to lack of funds and the political situation of the country. He was also accused of neglecting his wife and family, left back in Cornwall.... He explored Costa Rica on foot looking for a route for a railway.

Penniless, he met Stephenson who leant him £50 to get home. He died alone and penniless in 1833. He should have been rich and famous. Stephenson's Rocket was the first locomotive to run on tracks and was developed 25 years after the Puffing Devil.

It didn't surprise me that I nearly got stuck behind a steam engine on my way home tonight....

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Twilight

Tonight i made a Hello Kitty postcard. This is so not my normal sort of thing. I don't generally do cute but I have loads of cute things. I have picked up bits here and there but once I found a draw unit filled with end of line things at a shop called Trago Mills which specialises in cheap, cheap, cheap. I couldn't see what was in it before I bought it but it had some great things, lots of transfers, blank cards, paper, embossing powder.... all sorts. And much of it was cutesy.

I really enjoyed doing this card and I found having a focal image as a start made putting together papers and other elements much, much easier. It creates a very different effect to multi-media work.

I so hope it's new owner likes it. The only thing they listed as liking was Hello Kitty. I have to say I have enjoyed the more tricky postcrosses the most fun so far. This one and the one who wanted an altered card were the best.

And after I finished we went out.

We took Little Dog and went and bought chips. We sat and ate them in the car on the headland, overlooking a lovely big bay. Little Dog watched the sea intently and din't pester us, although she did enjoy a few chips at the end... We then went for a walk.

Although there were plenty of people around, they were mosly surfers in the bay. The walkers had stayed at home, put off by the weather or they had been and gone. So we had it mostly to ourselves on the headland and there were no dogs in sight so the lead came off and Little Dog played her favourite game. This consists of me and F being some distance apart and taking it in turns to run (or saunter in my case, at a slightly faster speed than normal). She chases us, loops round and then sets off after the other person.

It was not a warm evening and a mist had settled over the bay so the town on the far side was indistict. It was grey. There were different shades though. The sea was grey and light jade. The sky was grey and light blue with a soft hint of peach in places. The waves were crested in white. All was soft and beautiful and peaceful.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Ball (Word Wednesday)

The word ball makes me want to put an s on the end..... Balls up, grab someone by the balls, to have balls, to have big balls..... They all refer to one little piece of male anatomy. Obviously having big balls is perceived as a good thing. It means you are more manly *beats chest like a gorilla*, but those little phrases also suggest that balls are a weakness, that balls can make a mess of things or allow you to be hurt or manipulated.

I am not sure I have balls, I am not sure I want balls. I want a quiet life. I don't ever want to be a a manager. Mine did something right, I think. Things were very different today, I can only assume some things were said, that needed to be said, to certain people. Instead of them slothing around and us not getting any further towards catching up, they worked. They worked without excessive whining too which was even better. And they even acted like they were responsible for their own actions!

I didn't go out last night, it got to complicated with F's news - he had to go hand his notice in last night because his new job wants him to start asap. He is currently using leave to do their induction and they hadn't told him they had a place for him before.... All good news and very handily provided me with an excuse to kick back rather than being nicey nicey....

I spent last night struggling to sleep and my drive to work thinking what to say to the colleagues in question. I nearly had the balls all gathered up and in my court. As soon as I walked in, I knew everything was different, all the energies had changed. It is odd how much these energies affect us but how little attention we pay to them. Last week there was one day when one colleague was off. I really enjoyed the day and there was no obvious reason as to why until it occured to me who was missing. Now this person has in no way shape or form done anything bad (except for being a Princess) but they do affect the group dynamic....

Lets have some more ball phrases... Keeping all your balls in the air, the balls in your court.... I read somewhere today that as we heal aspects of our personality and past come to the fore to be healed. Am I struggling to cope with too many things or has the ball been put in my court? Hmmmm. I do know that I want to go to sleep and continue having no balls, right now, this second....

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Grace and Little Princesses

i have discovered that I lack grace. The ability to just be at one with yourself and others under duress. Some people are assertive and when faced with stress they assert themselves and magically it seems to go away (at least most of the time it seems to, sometimes it escalates). Other people have grace and stuff just rides over them and doesn't stop and cause any problems...

I have neither, I have grump and stress and the empathic abilities of a hoover.

I also have the Little Princess. She is supposed to do the same job as me, she doesn't, she has fag breaks and chats. She works in a warehouse but yet she complains if she has to go near anything dirty. There are rooms we have to go to where the people are not as friendly and she avoids going and leaves it to me, all the time.

Why is it that those lovely little princesses manage to pull the wool over most peoples eyes? Why do people let them get away with it?

The worst thing is I have to go out now and be social with them all! So I can't blog or be creative or anything nice....

Monday, 20 April 2009

Negativity

Today Sam wrote a fantastic post, about boundaries and the sharing of energy. It so rings true with me.

I went to work, very happy today, all was right with my world and to be fair it still is. My colleagues have various situations in their lives that they can not quite leave at home. My boss struggles with the pressure of being the one responsible for us, her background is one of fighting her corner I think and her reaction to this pressure is to dish it out.

The more others at work bury themselves in their personal things, the less able they are to fully function at work in many ways. It is as if their personal issues act as a barrier that prevents the unwilling acquisition of anothers negativity. It sometimes seems as if the happier I am, the more pressure I am put under to perform.

I have recently come to realise that I have been too competent and helpful, in covering others and picking up the slack. I have made a rod for my own back. In helping others and trying to help cover others absence, I have gotten very behind on my own, core, work. However after signing my new contract I was given my job description, only to discover that all these I assisted with are now in my job description! Catching up woth my main duty, now feels somewhat impossible but somehow I have to be caught up by the end of next Tuesday.

It is also becoming obvious that my fellow team members don't entirely appreciate my extra effort, they just kind of accept it... Now I have a huge backlog and they don't (mostly) and they are all back from their time off, it doesn't feel as if they are going to in any way, shape or form going to bust a gut for me.

My colleague who supposedly does the same job as me, works at about half the speed I do but somehow I am supposed to spped up? The word overtime is already being voiced. I don't want to do extra hours, not unless lots of us are. I might do the odd hour but I know this is going to need a wee bit more than that. I feel like my boss is punishing me for being helpful and capable and clever.

I want to go to work and do my job, happily and peacfully. I know I achieve more if I don't feel like I have to second guess myself like I do right now. Why do I have to get landed with others negativity? It was like that to start off with but then things changed and now I feel like the negativity vent....

The problem is, that because they aren't dealing with the sources of their negativity, they have an endless supply of it! I suck it up, then I go home and have to work hard to dump it all off. Then I go back the next day and they start offloading again...

I know what my charm bag will focus on: protecting myself from negativity and encouraging feelings of contentment and peace. Maybe it will help me learn to defend myself better?

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Things Happen (even in the middle of nowhere)

I am soooo tired today. Yesterday was pretty full on and active and I really needed to slump today and become like a vegetable. F however, had other ideas. Nothing to ambitious, but ideas all the same.

Today we had S over which isn't a requirement as S is more than happy to sit behind a computer.... F however decided a bbq was in order and that we should have said bbq in our favourite bbq spot. Bassett Cove is situated on the North Cliffs and is reached by a very potholed track. From the parking area you can zig zag down the cliff a little way to a broad ledge. This spot is perfect for bbq's as it is sheltered while still having a fantastic view.

I have never been down further than this ledge. From here there is a bit of a scramble that has never appealed. I have never seen anyone else try it either, or ever before seen footprints in the sand, except for those belonging to seals. Today I thought I saw footprints as we walked down, but even more surprised to see a head followed by a body pop up over the ledge as we arrived. What was even more surprising was that the man was holding a toddler. Following him came a lady and a dog. It had obviously been a harrowing climb as the very fit couple were looking like they had exerted themselves. The toddler needed a wee and had obviously been a little nervous. The lady immediately cuddled the dog on gaining the ledge. The overall feeling seemed to be that they were pretty glad to have gained the top safely again....

I would love to go there by boat sometime, maybe kayak or dinghy. It is a beautiful cove. Fine powdery sand with rock pools to the sides. It is very wide and open and would be very popular if it was accessible. It got it's name because it was the favourite bathing spot of the Bassett family, who were local nobility. I wonder if the path was better in their day...

Having freed S from the magic screens, he couldn't sit still and danced and climbed and hummed. If ever there was a boy who needs a more active life, it is him. He is so near to being a fully fledged teen. He has some of the attitudes down pat. He is aware of girls and is embarassed by the use of certain words now. He has a girlfriend, I think, but they haven't kissed, I think.

I had noticed a man come to the egde of the cliff above and spot us below. What none of us realised is that he wanted our nice ledge, he had plans for it. When we returned to the car we realised that while we had got all our trash, we had forgotten to pick up the bbq and cans left by some others. We sent S running back to get them. It quickly became obvious that this was an annoyance to the four people waiting above.

There was a photographer, a lady in a bathrobe and high heels and another couple. They had obviously wanted to use the ledge but given the changing light the photographer grumpily set up there and instructed his model to start posing to test the light. And then he instructed her to take off the robe, just as S got back. And there was a beautiful lady, thin and tanned lady wearing a skimpy bikini striking poses on the cliff in the sun.

I could tell that S desperately wanted to look......

I am sure I wasn't the only one in the car wondering if the bikini would stay on after we had gone...

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Roseland Roadtrip

Today F and I went out on a little trip to the Roseland. The Roseland is a peninsula that is separated from mainland Cornwall by the Fal. The Fal runs south past Truro to Falmouth and is a flooded river valley. To reach the peninsula by road requires a large detour around the river valley. Unless of course you take to the river. The King Harry Ferry crosses the river. The river is tidal as far as Truro and is broad and heavily wooded along it's banks.

The view from the ferry up river to where some old ships await their fate.

From there we drove to a small village called Philleigh where we stopped at an Inn for a sandwich outside in the sun. We also explored the church behind the Inn and were lucky to be able to do this as the organist practiced. The graveyard is one that is managed by wildlife and as we entered through the gate we were greeted by a robin.

On from there we drove to Pendower Beach. The view from here was stunning as the beach sits in a large bay. Porthscatho sat glistening in the sun around the bay. The beach sits at the mouth of a valley and is sandy with small pebbles. As you walk along the beach it becomes backed by a cliff before the cliff drops away and it turns into Carne Beach. F skimmed stones into the sea and we admired the beach rocks. We spent quite a bit of time there....

Pendower Beach in the foreground with Carne Beach opening up beyond.

We drove on to Porthscatho, a lovely little fishing village / town which is joined to Gerrans. I was amused to see a poster advertising a frog race!

Porthscatho, across it's harbour.

From there we drove on to the very end of the peninsula, St Anthony's Head. This headland is the southern most point of the peninsula and sits at the entrance of Carrick Roads. The Carrick Roads is the expanse of water where several flooded river valleys come together. The largest of these creeks is the Fal, to the west is the port of Falmouth which sits between Falmouth, Flushing and Penryn and the third is the smaller creek which flows past St Mawes and into the Roseland Peninsula. Carrick Roads is such a deep and wide channel that huge ships regularly pass through it to avail themselves of the docks services at Falmouth.

From St Anthony's Head across Carrick Roads to Pendennis in Falmouth. You can just see the castle as the highest point on the headland. The docks are to the right of the headland.

To one side of the mouth sits St Anthony's Head and across the other side is the mound on which Pendennis Castle sits in Falmouth. A twin castle to Pendennis sits on the Roseland at St Mawes. Further military facilities sat on St Anthony's Head. A battery was sited on the head with an observation room for positioning ships. They were defended by the addition of walls. There was still ammunition and guns up there until 1959.

View from St Anthony's Head looking towards St Mawes with the Fal passing St Mawes on the left.

Walking between the battery walls.

At the bottom of the head there sits a lighthouse, St Anthony's Lighthouse. This lighthouse guides ships into Carrick Roads and warns them of the Black Rocks and the Manacles Reef. This lighthouse was the one used in the classic children's programme, Fraggle Rock. A little further along the coast is the old parafin store for the lighthouse.

St Anthony's Lighthouse

The Black Rocks from the Lighthouse.

From there we drove back up the peninsula, round the creek, to St Mawes. We walked along the sea front a ways and then drove up to St Mawes Castle.

View past St Mawes Castle to St Anthony's Head, you can just see the lighthouse.

I have seen so many beautiful views today and I have seen the Carrick Roads from so many angles.One last view of Carrick Roads from St Mawes Castle.

On the map below, the Roseland is the landmass to the right, with St Anthony's at the very bottom.

View map of Falmouth, Cornwall, England, TR11 3 on Multimap.com
Get directions to or from Falmouth, Cornwall, England, TR11 3

Friday, 17 April 2009

Memory


Tis a strange thing, like glass, sometimes blurry, sometimes clear and other times completely dark. My childhood is pretty blurry, where I can see it at all.

I remember a heavy fall of snow followed by winds. A nearby lane had fields with no hedges bordering it and the snow had swept across forming huge drifts. I remember walking with my parents, jumping in the drifts, being hauled out by my Dad. I have never seen snow like it since.

I remember hot summers days dawning in clear cool blue mornings. Going into the garden with bare feet and feeling the mud and the dew between my toes. Later cool air could be found under the apple trees, lying in the long luscious grass. The houses stone floor small windows meant it was always cool downstairs. Upstairs it would be hotter.

Dusk would see me lying on my back in the grass watching the bats fly overhead, swooping and turning. I would leave my small window under the eaves open all night, to let the cool air in. I would awaken to bird song and reflected green light on my ceiling.

One night sticks out in my mind. It was hot and my sister and I wore thin cotton nighties. We knew my parents had gone out and as they left my sister came to my room as my window ad a better view. We peered out under the eaves at a sky turned red and unkind.

Some of our near neighbours owned a couple of fields and a barn. That night the barn burnt to the ground. The thatch cottage nearest the barn was at risk but the flaming soot didn't settle there.

Why did this fire touch me so? The farmer and his wife had two dogs. The dogs slept in the barn. The farmer went in to get the dogs but one turned back, seeking the comfort of it's bed perhaps. The farmer had to be restrained from going back in. The other dog tried to go back in, to it's mate but they held it back.

My child's brain struggled with all the emotions of this. Why did the dog go back in? How did the farmer feel when he failed to rescue them both and was stopped from going back in? How the dog left alone feel?

It was my very first encounter with death. The sky was beautiful that night.

Go to Carla's blog, Leafdays, to see more memories!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Emotional Intelligence

I am still grumpy about actually having a steady job. Or maybe I just really am feeling under the weather. Sometimes I find it really hard to figure out my feelings. First I have to figure out if I am feeling something or not. Then I have to try and figure out what it is... I sometimes think that some links in my brain don't work too well. I have spent too much of my life learning how to be a rational, logical, analytical science geek. I sacrificed some other parts of myself, the bits that have lots of emotions and creativity.

I am working at getting these lost things back. I have to practice. My body gives me little clues. A headache here. A sneeze or two there. A whopping great case of glandular fever (mono? I think) occasionally. Emotions don't achieve anything, they aren't rational. If something happens, analyse it rationally and decided what to do on the basis of cold hard facts. Way to go for a nice happy life?

So I am learning to listen to myself better, one step at a time, but the messages don't get through to clearly sometimes. I am trying to learn how to honour my emotions more. Every bone in my body is shouting flee! flee! with regards to work. Is this just my inner coward or is it a genuine warning from myself?

It has to be said, I know my inner coward is alive and well and emotional. My inner coward thrives on my career choices (also known as disasters). I want life to take me somewhere else....

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Virus (Word Wednesday)

In honour of the bug that has swooped down on Mel and her family today's word is virus.

A virus is a microscopic organism which can live outside of a host cell. Not all viruses hurt the cell in which they live, many just live their lives and pass on. Others cause a variety of effects and hepatitis, the common cold, flu and AIDS are all viruses. Our immune system has developed to try and fight viruses within our bodies. So some people may carry viruses, with no idea that they are doing so as their immune response manages to win the battle but not fully eradicate the virus.

There are other types of things that behave like viruses but have different mediums. Computer viruses are pieces of virulent code which can infect computers and self replicate. Some have disasterous results for your computer while others are harmless, such as chain emails. Memes are a form of virus that infect blogs.

In the film 'The Matrix', Agent Smith likens humanity to a virus and I have to agree. We have well and truly infected this planet we call home. I guess we have a choice, to be a nice happy smily virus, a virus that doesn't affect anything very much or a nasty destructive virus. I suspect that the Earth's immune system would be enough to take out this little virus, a few mega volcanoes and some nice dust clouds high in the atmosphere or perhaps a fresh little ice age. But then again maybe this little virus will kill it's host before the hosts immune system has a chance to fight back.

I would love to see us all just stop what we are doing. Becoming a nothing-y virus that doesn't affect much would be a helluva achievement. I would love to see us actively work with nature for the benefit of the planet. Nature aims for complexity and we are destroying this...

One thing I saw on TV very recently was a programme about a Devon farmer's desire to make her family farm sustainable. All farming is reliant on fossil fuels - even organic farms. There are however things called forest gardens where trees are planted with wide spacings and plants and bushes are grown inbetween, according to their requirements so that they fit the environment. In this way the complexity of a piece of land is harnessed in order to produce a fertile and largely self sustaining garden that produces food.

These gardens aren't suited to mass production or the use of oil guzzling tools. They encourage the use of old species grown unfashionable such as nut trees, medlars, quinces, damsons etc. There isn't room in these gardens for cereals or foreign imports that can not survive happily without being propped up with polythene or chemicals.

Imagine if we truly tried to work with the earth instead of against it?

She spoke of memories of flocks of seagulls coming to feed when they ploughed their land in her childhood. Now the birds no longer come when it is ploughed as ploughing has killed the rich ecosystem of the soil.... Are allotments similar somehow, with their neatly weeded rows, regularly composted.

Is there really another way?

I would love to think that the beautiful, wild looking gardens I saw could reallys support us....

Dream Dogs

Sometime ago I had a dream, it went like this:

"I was in Russia (no idea) and I was staying with a friend (nameless, faceless). I needed to travel to their house by myself but I had two very large dogs with me. They are not the dogs I currently own but I obviously considered them family as well as protection. I needed those dogs for that journey. On the way however I got stopped by an officious high level officer. he wanted my dogs and I knew that the consequences of not giving him the dogs might be severe. I didn't want to lose them as they were family but also because I did not feel able to complete the journey without them. Sometimes in my dreams, once they really catch my interest I become more aware within them and can alter them. I sometimes replay different endings and try and find one I like from the point where I become aware. I am not sure if the following ending to the dream was created by me in a more aware state or not. I rang the friend and he suggested giving the officer a puppy from the two dogs. I have no idea if the officer accepted. I woke up. It seemed like a compromise but I was left with the suspicion that it wasn't enough..."

Following much discussion with various people, it seemed people agreed that these dogs were spirit guardians and my good friend Mel wrote this poem:

Guardians

Amber eyes mirror ancient memory
brindle coats streaked with alchemists gold
Fierce as forge fire beat their hearts
muscle and sinew wild as the wind-torn moor.

From the mists they come
torn howling from the deep of the wood
Savage breath clouds the night
Rage in those eyes, terror in those souls

At the edge of the forest she waits
daughter of the moon, child of earth and sky
In her hands she weaves for them, silver threads of moonlight
whispering the words of the Summons

Faster now, they run
Closer, sensing her near
Stronger she is, with every thread her power grows
until...
she steps into the wood to meet them.

In the shadows they circle
Tasting the air, white teeth gleaming in her light
Quiet, she stands, peace in her heart
Softly, she speaks the Binding.

And there, in the space between the worlds
she slips the weaving over ancient restful heads
And gentle now, they come to lie
at the feet of the Dreamer.

Things began to change for me though on March the 6th. My beloved Big Dog died, suddenly and unexpectedly. He had a nasty bone cancer that once it was identifiable, it was too late... The dream began to resonate in my head again, but for very different reasons. One of my guardians had been taken. For nasty officious officer, read Death. My dog had indeed been taken and there had been nothing I could do.

I might have remained in this viewpoint but for continuing synchronicity.... I saw a fantastic idea for a photo mosaic on Quinceberry's blog which I posted all about here. One of the questions that really stumped me was 'who is your celebrity crush?'. I don't really have crushes, I am a bit single minded in my affections and they are kinda pointed in the direction of F. I have many celebrities I admire for many different reasons. I could just as easily have picked David Bowie or Sean Connery as Heath Ledger. Why I picked Heath Ledger is an odd thing really, I am sure I admire him that much in the grand scheme of things (not up there with Bowie and Connery but still very much up there I guess).

I dutifully typed in his name and started scrolling through the first page of pictures that flickr returned. I was most bemused to find this picture.
In many ways it fits so perfectly and although on the surface it has nothing to do with Heath Ledger, I had to pick it.

Today I decided to have a really good look at it and look at what the artist had witten about it. It was inspired by a story in a book called The Bloody Chamber, which is now on my amazon wish list, and tells various fairy tales in darker style... This picture is based on a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood:

"A young witch is courted by a local nobleman, (and in the brilliant film version of the story he also gets her pregnant). He promises to marry her, but instead ditches her and gets engaged to a wealthy young heiress. On the day of the wedding, the witch decides to take her revenge, and, turning up at the reception, promptly turns the married couple and the entire wedding party into wolves – who race off into the forest."

So you throw all this in together and what do you get?

A witch has two magical dogs / wolves. She stands under the full moon and the stars, on the edge of a wood. She is pregnant, either literally or in a creative sense (I want kids and hope to get started on a family sometime in the next couple of years). The wolves are a result of her power and may or may not be the result of her transformation of less positive aspects of her life. I don't know how the story turns out, if the wolves liked her after she worked her magic, but my wolves are clearly friends, family and guardians. The picture also brings in the crow and lots of jewellery. I relate to members of the crow family, one of them has a link to F, another is apparently by Native American horoscope birth month and another has a special link to me as I use them to read omens. The jewellery looks strangely like offerings, or clooties, not to the witch but to the Goddess.

I think the dream had several levels, i think yes, it was some sort of warning about the loss of Big Dog. I also don't think I can ever lose these two souls linked to me. What do you make of all these strange rambings?

Findings

I love it when new people visit my blogs. It inspires me to go and visit theirs and have a little poke around to see what I can find.

Wendy commented on my blogs last night and caused to me to have such a rummage and I found two little gems!

Firstly Postmuse. I have found the delights of PostSecret and Postcross and making postcards but this is a new one. The writer of this blog has a huge collection of postcards but came to the realisation that blank cards are not as much fun as ones with writing and stamps and postmarks. The aim is to send all the postcards to people who have either visited or live at the places on the cards so they can write a little about them and send them back, complete with local stamps and postmarks.

I love this idea!

I hope to get a few cards sent to me so i can write about them and send them back!

The second is the Save the Words campaign. Apparently hundreds of words are dropped from dictionaries each year and are slowly forgotten about... This website allows you to adopt a poorly word. I adopted gipseian which means of the gypsies or belonging to the gypsies.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Behaviour Patterns

I am not sure what to say tonight. I have lots of things I could grumble about, my boss, work, future m-i-l, moon time etc, etc.

I think so much of how I feel is about feeling trapped and unable to tell people how I really feel. I don't feel able to stand up for myself.

I don't feel able to stand up to my boss. I have seen her completely illogically not listen to colleagues and keep believing her version of events no matter what the other person says. The other person got fed up of being shouted at and having to say the same thing over and over again without being listened to and walked off in the end. They have a heart of gold but don't deal with stress to well. Every mistake or problem is huge and the worst thing ever. Instead of making us more careful, it makes us nervous and I end up feeling quite jumpy. When will there be another eruption?

In the past, whenever I have felt myself to be in a situation like this at work, I have handed in my resignation and moved on. This time I don't feel able to. Part of me craves some stability for a change. I want to work for two years so I am entitled to paid maternity leave. Now is not a good time to leave a job... Competition for other jobs is so fierce out there right now.

My future m-i-l is another situation where I can not talk and discuss the situation sensibly. The events that take place are always from her point of view. She could be seen as selfless - she is always doing things for others but, with her, there are always strings. She wants to control and be involved. She wants to spoil without any reflection on whether this is what people need. It is what she needs. I feel there is some deep instability and need within her. She wants you there, not to talk to, or do anything with, just to be there - and do nothing.

Discussing this with her is out of the question. Any sort of confrontation and she turns on the waterworks and is suddenly at risk from having a stroke. At this point you might think I am being a little unfair, but... She has a very sharp tongue and uses it freely on others, she complains in restaurants with the ferocity of a lioness protecting her cubs. If there is something you don't like her doing, you can tell her, she cries a lot, then she is a bit ill so you can't bring it up again and then slowly, oh so slowly, she starts doing whatever it was again... Trying to sort anything with her is a lesson in futile.....

So why is this sort of situation a recurring theme in my life? What is this trying to teach me? That sometimes you have to fight? That sometimes running away is a good thing? That acceptance is the way forward with some things? I don't know. I don't know what is the best way to face this challenge that keeps coming in different forms. I can sit here, at this point in my life, and look back and see it there, and there, and there. Stretching back..... I want to move out of this cycle...

Monday, 13 April 2009

Charles de Lint

I first found him when I was about 14 I think. I breathed books and Moonheart appeared in the sci-fi / fantasy section in local bookshops. I loved it. It combined the magical world of faeries and other creatures with our world. I loved the way he bought magic and mystery into the common every day settings of modern life.

I bought every book of his that appeared in the shop and I had a nice little collection. When I was 19 I dated a chap from the north of England for a while and I lent his sister my collection. We split up and my books never made their way home. I have re-purchased some of his books but others are still missing.

His books became harder to find as book shops began to reclassify his work. Sometimes they were no longer in the sci fi / fantasy section. Sometimes they weren't there at all. Moving to Cornwall took away my access to huge bookshops and specialist sci fi / fantasy bookshops. I no longer saw his books at all really.

One day I looked him up on Amazon and was horrified and overjoyed to discover that this author I adored hadn't stopped writing, if anything he had been extremely prolific. My bookshops had never stocked all of his books. In fact he has published 65 books to date. I am so far behind!

Looking at his titles though a few more things become obvious. He writes horror, thriller and fantasy. He writes short stories, novellas and full length stories. He writes for adults, young adults and teens.

Having achieved his own following he is able to write short stories and have them published as little chap books with fantastical illustrations. His short stories slowly get gathered over the years into collections. Some of his earlier shorter stories have been gathered into books I own.

His chap books have a specialist collectors market and as such the ones amazon even lists are often over £100. Collections of his earliest writings are again collectors items and command high prices.

I have found 35 of his books on Amazon that are available and I don't have and would very much like. Of those on my list, three are over £100 (one is £170!) and another 5 are over £50. This leaves 28 books within my budget(ish)! As quite a few of these are older paperbacks, they are reasonably priced...

Imagine being such an author though that you can write best sellers and also small fantastically illustrated art editions... He is a folk musician and his stories are full of music. He draws on folklore from all over the world and from many different cultures and they are all magic....

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Heaven

I haven't done a lot today but I did finish another book. It was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It is a fantastic book but I would hesitate to recomend it because some might fight the subject difficult.

The book focuses on Suzie and unusually for a lead character, she is dead. She watches her family, friends, first (and only) love and her murderer from her heaven. The most difficult thing is how she died, she fell into the hands of a paedophile. Now I know this sounds unpleasant and potentially horrific but the book just isn't either of those things.

Alice writes with such honesty and sensitivity and although nothing is left out it is not written to shock. The book is all about acceptance and the healing power of time I suppose. It was gripping and interesting and all the characters were likeable and human (except the obvious one, who was just human).

Another thing is that she has managed to talk about death and heaven without being religous or mentioning God or angels once. This heaven could belong to so many different religions. That is quite some achievement! Nothing riles so many people up so easily as messing with issues of faith...

It did make me cry - but then a lot of things make me cry. I cry at happy films. I cry at sad films. I cry at books as well....

I can now appreciate why the BBC placed it on their list of 100 greatest books and I hope the other books I have chosen to read are this good and interesting.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Signposts

Yesterday Little Dog was rather sick and afterwards she was left with a rasping cough. First thing, she went to the vets and received a jab or two (or maybe even three). She takes the Vets mostly in her stride and even gave the Vet a nice lick as he was listening to her heart.

I had planned to go to the Post Office today before it shut at 12.30. I needed to post lots and lots of things. Some cards to family, a art supply swap, my ATC's for the soul journal swap, some letters for F and my first Postcross card. Before I went into town I gave in to weakness and signed up for a further four postcross addresses.

I bought the stamps for my postcross cards and also my post secret card, which I have yet to make. My postcross cards are off to Finland, Netherlands, Germany, Russia and USA. How exciting is that! They are going to such varied people as well, a ten year old boy who likes urban cards and reading about space, a grandmother who likes landscape cards.... I wonder where I shall get cards from and when! I know that I won't be eligible for cards until my first card is received and the code entered into the website.

One thing I have learnt from blogging is that how and where we live varies in the details a lot fro place to place. Life in the far north is very different when it comes to snow. By the sea, things are different to. I love the coast and never tire of it although some do take it for granted or are a bit blase. If you live in the heart of Russia, receiving a card of the Cornish sea would be very different from what you are used to....

After this, I wended my way up the high street to a paper craft shop I had seen but never been in. I had been looking forward to giving myself a little treat. It wasn't meant to be as it was shut for Easter. I found myself further up than I normally shop and the quickest route home took me down a side street with a sign to an alternative shop I had never really been able to find that sells esoteric items. Today it was suddenly on my way home...

One thing I have been meaning to get is an Oracle deck. My tarot is a slightly complicated tarot that I don't always find easy to read. I use it mostly to draw a daily card and it isn't the right deck for that. Oracle decks are designed to give advice for the day and are a lot less about readings.

I had hoped to buy the Druid Plant Oracle but the shop didn't have it. They did have several different ones on the angel and fairy themes. I bought these Angel cards instead. They aren't what I would normally go for but... The lady in the shop asked me to pull one form her deck and I pulled power. Apparently I don't have to worry about using my power because I am coming from a place of love...

I ended up chatting to some people in the shop and they suggested visiting several places on my 101 list...

Little Dog has improved throughout the day, although I am not sure she is very impressed by rice and meat stock....

Friday, 10 April 2009

Rock

I remember the first time I came across it, on a drive from one place to another, long forgotten. It seemed to rise out of the ground, dark and brooding and fascinating. I asked a friend from that area about it and my brief glimpse was fleshed out and I learnt it could be climbed....

I always intended to go back but never had. One time we nearly went but it was a windy old day and didn't the most sensible plan.

Today however, we went back and I caught maybe my third look at it. This was the first time I had ever stopped to look, let alone considered climbing it.

The nearby village is called Roche which means rock in Cornish. It is not hard to see why for Roche's Rock sits just outside. The area around it is normal cornish heath with the odd granite boulder. A low hill grows out of the plateau and on top of this hill there are a number of pieces of granite jutting. Some are like jagged knives sticking out of the ground while others are lumps of rock dumped.

Many photos make it look a dark and brooding place but I think this is the contrast between rock and sky as seen by the camera. I felt no darkness there and certainly no sense of brooding. I could have stayed there forever, on top, in the sun, with a book and a flask of soup.

Once the hill has been climbed and a path wended through the rock knives to the foot of the biggest rock, you find a ladder bolted onto the rock which takes you up to a ledge. On this ledge is a wall with a doorway. This leads into the ruin of the chapel built in 1409 and dedicated to Saint Michael.

The chapel would have been two storeys high and a second ladder leads up to the top of the remains of the old stair case and then through a door, up some turning granite steps and you find an open precipice. Another doorway leads back on yourself so you can look down into the chapel and walk across the top of the granite, level with the old second floor.

I felt so at peace up there, even though I was not alone and other visitors were around.

There are many legends and it seems at one time a hermit lived in the cell of the ground floor of the chapel. The giant Tregeagle once trapped his head in the large upper window. It has been proposed by some that it must have been a religous focus long before the chapel was built. Some say the place is sinister. The rock has also provided a refuge for doomed lovers, from the hounds of hell and to many pios folk who became early religious figures in Cornwall and are remembered as local saints. I don't want to delve into the legends to far though, because they are somehow at odds with how the place made me feel...

One day I will go there on a quiet day, by myself, and sit, and watch, the clouds drift by....
From the half way up the low hill. The two stacks of granite are not joined in the middle and a path leads between the two.


Between the two main stacks, the chapel looms.
You can just see the first doorway in this photo, with it's ledge and the ladder up to it.
View from in the chapel back through the first door to the ledge, notice how there isn't much land through the door!
The top of the second ladder, in the chapel, leading to the second door. behind the wall, stairs climb to the left to the third door which is shown on the left. S climbed up the stone steps to nearly the third door but the openess up there was too much for him to continue!
View through the third door. Do you notice how there, again, isn't much land! The rock drops straight down.
From the third door the top of the rocks stretches along for the sure footed. This was as far as I went but there were climbers up there who went all the way to the far edge, twice as far as I went. You can see the second door and the window in which the giant Tregeagle got his head stuck. Really not for the feint-hearted!

Did I mention that Cornwall is so beautiful that this isn't even a major tourist attraction....

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Easter has Arrived!

Leaving work today was a relief!

I now have four days, starting with Good Friday going through to Monday. Then I shall work Tuesday, then I am off on Wednesday...

F is working Sunday and Monday so I will have two blissful, quiet crafting days...

F had booked Tuesday off. You see Tuesday is his birthday. I am however, somewhat bad at remembering numbers. To my eternal shame I booked the wrong day off. We realised this last night. I knew I would never get Tuesday off because of leave and training at work. F had to go to work and tell them why needed the day after his birthday off instead. He had to tell several different people. I am soooo going to blush the next time I see any of them.

Anyway.

I love this feeling of freedom. It may only be temporary but it is what keeps me going at work.

I could do ANYTHING over the next few days!

There is a feeling of possibility...

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Word Wednesday: Leaf

I need a new one.

So I can turn it over and hide under it.

Or maybe float on some lovely green pool while sat on it.

It needs to be a large one...

I find myself with a few negative emotions zooming around right now, I suspect it is the old hormones giving their little rumble before they spring fully in to action. The newest leaf on my tree ain't helping though...

This leaf is all young and fresh and conscious of her luscious green-ness. She doesn't want to do the same hard work as the other older leaves. She wants to hide in the shade while the others do all the hard work of changing the sun into lovely glucose. Maybe she doesn't quite get it.

Maybe she isn't really a leaf but a flower in disguise. Designed to attract the honey bees but somehow very self conscious of doing so. I want to look nice but I don't actually want anyone to look at me, but you can tell me how nice I look!

If she is a flower then maybe that's why she doesn't mind the leaves around her but going and doing some work with other leaves a little further afield is just too much! Or even thinking about doing some other things apart from the work that she always does. Taking responsibility for said work is just too much but she will happily plug away without getting stressed or taking any of it seriously... I am not saying she doesn't work just that when there is so much to be done and she is given some different jobs to do, coming and giving them to me shouldn't be her first reaction.

I know this is a poorly disguised rant and it is not that I am jealous of her being pretty or young. I just have so much more to do now, trying to take responsibility for managing her, when she should be managing herself is too much. When I have a stack of other jobs, that take me away from the task we share can't she see that she needs to take responsibility for it now? Why do I have to think about picking up new work and dropping off completed work? She needs to step up, not work harder exactly as she does already work hard but just step up, take the strain and be a nice little team player... And except that men are going to look at her and just hold her head high and get on with it.... or go work somewhere that isn't male dominated....

*sigh* not much about leaves at all....

I saw some today... leaves that is... they were all green and curled... Fresh and clean looking, like they had just woken up. I bet THEY don't have problems with each other and like working together... Why can't I be more like a nice little leaf? Maybe that's the leaf I need to turn over...

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Escapism

My other lover is not doing quite as well now as he was. I am on the third book and Edward is behaving like a slightly obsessive boyfriend. I still like him but now that first flush of romance is over, things aren't quite the same...

The first book was special and I suspect I shall read it many, many times over the forthcoming years. It joins a select group of other books that I re-read for various reasons... I think mostly because they make me happy in some way.

Magician by Raymond Feist -a fantastic adventure that follows two boys from humble beginnings to the realisation of their incredible destinies. The thing about the book is it carries you with it all the way. You care about Pug and Thomas.

Howl's Moving Castle by Dianne Wynne Jones - This book has since been turned into a film but for me, nothing beats the book. I like the story in the book much, much more. A bit of adventure, a lot of magic and a wee smidge of romance.

The Winding Stair - an old fashioned thriller / romance of a genre from a different age. I found this book at my Nan's one visit. Whenever we went there, I would bury myself in her pile of Mills and Boon romances. For me these books conjure memories of sitting in her conservatory with the view across the river as my family went about their own things, which some cases also included book reading. This book has a lovely little mystery and again, I adore the hero...

I love romance. I think romance is a difficult thing for most men to accomplish. Somehow if you tell them the romantic thing you would like them to do, it removes the romance. I love everything about F but sometimes, for a little extra dose of romance, I like a good book.

If you add into this that the best romantic heroes tend to be of the sort that don't always make quite such great long term partners.... I want to be sat on a rocking chair reading a good book at 80, with F on a rocking chair next to me snoozing away after he has finished doing some man thing in his shed. The sort of temperamental, talented and oh so male character that makes a good romantic lead doesn't tend to be the sort to have a shed, or snooze in a rocking chair.

I am quite happy to have my books....

Imagine if he didn't have sports, or computer games to vent that testosterone? I imagine he feels the same about the romance... *laugh*

Help!

I really need three nice people to give me a little hand...

Over on my arty (well attempting to be, at least!) blog I have put up a special offer... I am beginning to realise that trying to find five people with time is a bit of a challenge for a small little pair of blogs like mine. Anyone over here fancy having a go?

You could even sign up to mine and Mel's and then you would only need to find three other willing participants...

*pulls sad eyes like the cat, Puss in Boots, played by Antonio Banderas, in Shrek*

Monday, 6 April 2009

Viral Influences and other things that spread...

I think F has infected me... He had a mild case of man-flu last week which is lingering slightly. I have managed to avoid colds this winter despite his best efforts to give me the offspring of each of his chain of colds... I have had the occasional little baby sore throat, a sign maybe that my body has been trying to expel his nasty invaders.

Yesterday I felt lethargic and crawled back to bed at lunchtime for a snooze. Today I have a little baby sore throat lurking and I have been sneezing a little. I feel tired and very, very lethargic. No chance of me doing anything very much at all tonight.... Bed will call me home early I expect.

I think Little Dog is a little disappointed in the lack of outing but she doesn't overly like rain so I don't think she can hate me toooo much....

Today I bought some Easter Eggs for a local radio stations request for eggs to deliver to children in hospices this weekend. I just have to find out where to drop them off exactly. This will work nicely as my charity donation for this month.

I also got some fenugreek to be my first herb / spice. What I have learnt today is that the herbs and spices I use and am confident with form a large proportion of those on sale in my local supermarket. This challenge is going to be a little more complicated than expected! I shall dig out my book on herbs and see what I can figure out....

I also have set up my postcross account and have my first address to send a postcard to! This one is off waves breaking on rocks and will be going to Germany. I can see that this would be quite addictive.... I also finally managed to think of a secret for my post secret card. This is an odd thing because sending a postcard means everyone who handles the card on it's travels can read it. I imagine it can be quite cathartic. My secret is a funny thing. I am awful at keeping secrets. F knows everything about me really, worsd fall out of my mouth. There are however certain parts of my past that, although he knows about them, he doesn't want to explore too deeply and I respect this. My secret is something I could tell him but I don't think he would want to know, although I could tell him at sometime in the future...

Sunday, 5 April 2009

101 Things

Today I spent a bit of time on the internet looking things up for the things I want to do for 101 Things.

Yesterday's drive through Bodmin to get to Padstow made me think we should visit there as one of my visits to an unfamiliar town. I picked up some leaflets while in Padstow, including one for Bodmin Jail. This was the last county prison to remain open in Cornwall. Browsing their website I discovered that they do ghost nights... for a price... A little out of my league, but...

Then I found the company who do ghost walks in Penzance and St Ives. It seems they also run ghost nights at haunted locales for a much more affordable price. They do shorter nights from 8.00 pm to 1.00 am as well as full nights. One of the shorter nights is the day after my birthday at Pengersick Castle.

Pengersick sits in Praa Sands, which is a beautiful place with a stunning beach. I have seen the castle and it looks like a fascinating building that would be great to explore. It is also, apparently, the most haunted place in the country... It has suffered from TV programmes sensationalising it as a dark and demonic place but the owners and the people who run the ghost evenings claim this is simply untrue. Apparently a lot of odd things happen there and it has a unique charm and a sense of mystery. Sounds perfect to me...

I also looked up wildlife boat trips and discovered that they aren't that cheap. Then I remembered that The Helford Voluntary Marine Conservation Area have in the past run a cruise on the Helford to spot wildlife. I once went on a walk with the group and the esperts were very knowledgeable and informative. I can't imagine the boat trip being any different. I expect it would be better than a more commercial trip and it is definitely cheaper... Might have to get on and book that.

I am also determined to get to the Minack this year. I have never seen a performance there and neither has F. It is a delightful amphitheatre hewn out of the cliffs above Porthcurno, the sight where the first telegraph cables to America came on shore. Although it is outdoors they rarely cancel performances. Last year we finally booked to go see War of the Worlds. We managed to book one of the few days where the rain was coming in so heavy and horizontal that even the Minack felt the performance should be canceled...

I know ten trips to expensive restaurants might seem extravagant but I have some secret weapons up my sleeve. There is a website allied to the local newspaper where companies put up offers for auction. You might get dinner for two at a good restaurant for £25 if you are lucky. Many places have special offers to attract locals in out of season or for lunches or early evening. So I intend to be sneaky and find bargains....

I am liking having something to aim for, something to plan for. It helps stop me just drifting through life.... Must go buy some fruit though before I mess up some of my targets before I have even really begun...

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Padstein


Today we celebrated F's birthday. It wasn't actually his birthday - that's in a couple of weeks time. Tomorrow is the last day of a special offer for a lunch time set menu at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. And today it was our turn.

The restaurant was lovely with a calm but sophisticated air. The service was flawless as our waitress seemed to read minds and was always there without being intrusive. But the food... the food was beautiful.

The main course that F chose was normally the same price as the entire price of this menu for one person. It still wasn't cheap but how often do you get to eat at a celebrity chefs restaurant? Cornwall, being a tourist place has more restaurants than local population can support in the winter months and there are all sorts of lovely offers. Even the best of our restaurants need us poorer locals over the winter to fill their tables.

So the menu focused around Rick Stein's newest book and consisted of seafood. I had lobster and fennel rissotto to start while F had a gratin of turbot cheeks. For main I had sushi and F had Sea Bass. For desert I had pana cotta with rhubarb and he had a thing... (oops, slipped my memory). We finished with a latte and a peppermint tea )made with actual fresh peppermint leaves.

My sushi was perhaps a little more adventurous than I expected. There was a fair bit of raw fish. I don't think F would have liked it! It was beautiful and something I wouldn't normally have gotten to eat.

Part way through the meal, a young couple was placed at the table next to us. They were very attractive and were dressed expensively. They sat there and talked about money, about people they knew losing thousands, about shopping in New York, about not using the nursery slopes on skiing holidays and on and on. F and I don't have to talk. Their presence reduced us to silence but we were still communciating. And trying not to laugh. For them it was just a meal, while for us it was a special, special thing.
Afterwards we walked around the harbour and admired the views. Padstow sites near the coast, in a flooded river valley (caused by the change in sea levels after the last ice age). As such the harbour is very sheltered. Opposite the river from Padstow is Rock and the two are linked by a ferry. Rock is known for being the playground of the children of the rich.

Rick Stein knew what he was doing opening a top restaurant where he has access to both the rich and holidaying. The harbour continues to be home to a working fishing fleet, which is becoming less and less common in Cornwall. These fishermen, I hope, receive more for their catch because they are linked to the gastronomie that Rick has created. He has a restaurant, a bistro, a chippie and a cafe. Then there is the bakery, deli, gift shop and wine shop...

After our walk we returned to our car park and decided to visit the Lobster Hatchery. Most aquariums in our area tend to be small and overpriced. This one was small, reasonably priced and utterly charming.

Lobsters are under threat from fishing and pollution but it has been discovered that if females who are carrying eggs when they are caught are placed in a hatchery and the larvae raised until they are large enough, a much, much higher percentage survive to be adults. Lobsters are generally a mix of blue, cream and orange but occasionally genetics creates a rarecolouring or two. These variations occur in one lobster in several million (can't remember the number I think it was ten million for one and four for the other). They had lobsters of both these colourings, one was bright orange and the other was a vivid royal blue.

As well as full grown lobsters there were vats of larval lobster. There was a strong current in these jars and you could see little tiny lobster shaped individuals being thrown around. As soon as they leave the larval stage, they are separated into individual cells, as they have a tendency to fight and eat each other. The little lobsters in theit cells were so tiny! Once big enough to survive they are released into the seas of Cornwall.

We then drove through the sunshine along the coast back to home....

Friday, 3 April 2009

Grey Day

It is an icky day. It should have been sunny but the increase in temperature brought moisture in off the sea. As the sun rose, mist began to blanket everything. Haze has been the anme of the game today. As it got later, the mist grew heavier and it began to rain.

Unfortunately this rain began just as I reached my destination for my evening walk with Little Dog. We got wet. We didn't get very far either. The path reaches a gate and you have to climb a stile to pass through the field. Unfortunately the field contained a whole herd of cows. Even more unfortunately they were all gathered at the gate, waiting. While I would have h ad no problem pushing through a herd of cows, Little Dog had other thoughts. i could see she was nervous and I didn't want to push her. The cows were also nervous of her and the thought of having her bark and scare them just didn't seem worth it....

I am tired. Most of my team will be doing overtime tomorrow but I have gotten out of it by having a reservation to a nice posh restaurant and as it is the second to last day of their special offer, no one would ask me to cancel. Unfortunately F has had a cold recently and I can feel my throat....

I am not sure I should be allowed to blog on days like today *laugh*