Friday, 1 February 2013


I well an truly had to scratch my head, Stan style this afternoon. I’m pretty new to blogging. This site was formed as a bit of an experiment in connection with other sites I have (Etsy/Facebook/Flickr) etc but friends, without blogs are reading and I’m receiving the most delightful emails. I was forwarded information regarding the Leibster blog award from the delightful Helen ( and accordingly here are my 11 random facts:

I always turn to page 44 of a book I’m about to buy and read it. This is a relative thing but if a novel is of a generic size the plot has started by then.

If you add together the letters (quals) after my name, it sounds like a fart in a bath.

I really dislike walnuts (it’s the squeak business) but adore all other nuts.

I brew Earl Grey tea far too long until it’s the colour of black coffee.

I really like the Terry Thomas gap between my front 2 teeth and sometimes I wish it was wider.

I have far too many Nightmares

Tomatoes are divinity in my book

I always forget about toast, I get distracted so now I’ve become accustomed to eating cold toast and prefer it.

If I squint my chap looks like Humphrey Boggart

I dislike tartan but love tweed

It’s my year’s ambition to learn a ‘Charleston’ routine in full, it reminds me of my Nanna.

The answers to Helen’s posed questions are:
  1. Have you tasted snow? Yes, the recent snow didn’t taste of anything much. The snow in Venice tastes extremely salty.
  2. What was the last thing you ate that you had cooked? “Fishfinger pie” A University staple that I cook for my fella and I occasionally, it’s pure nursery food and an exercise in food strata. A week before I went to University as an undergraduate, my Mum cut out a recipe from the newspaper written by the actress Frances Barber-that is the pie.
  3. Would you rather work on a farm or in a factory? A factory -but in the 1940s. A favourite artist of mine is Ethel Gabain, and I would have loved to have met a few of her portrait women  and listened to their conversations.
  4. What memory do you have about one of your  teeth falling out? I remember laying the table in my doll’s house out in full for the tooth fairies to have a meal when they came to collect my tooth. Each plate had a rather colourful ‘dolly mixture’ and the teacups were filled with cordial. In the morning I found little teeth marks in the half eaten dolly mixtures.
  5. What couldn't you live without? Multiple contact/conversations with my chap and my parents through-out the day- all three are the most delightful company and have the quickest wits.  
  6. Three songs you like? All of me: Billie Holiday, Allez Viens: Bart and Baker and You are my sunshine:  Johnny Cash
  7. Film you think everyone should watch? Brief Encounter
  8. Food staple? Sushi:
  9. Favourite smoothie combination? I’m a green smoothie girl, so anything with apples/spinach/kale/lime.
  10. trousers or dresses? This is a hard question to answer because my staple look is a dress over jeans.
  11. flowers or plants? Fruit plants. I love the look of fruit more than flowers.
I will use the weekend to come up with some questions for you…… x

What could you have named better?

This started as a Blog about ‘pet hates’ a question a few people have asked me recently, I must look particularly ‘scowl-ridden’ at the moment. When you ask people what ticks them off, they list a number of things that make you feel self-absorbed for your one selfish pet hate. The masses list: mean people, lost money, crime, hatred, injustice etc.

Mine is, when the tea bag label falls into your tea on a 10 min break. Ok I know this is ridiculous but that’s it I like a dry label to dunk the bag whilst it’s brewing. If it falls in I curse for Britain (grated 1940s swear words but still)
 But, today when brewing a calming camomile tea, the little blurb was quite enlightening, apparently the Greeks inspired by the camomile’s distinct apple-like smell, called it ‘kamia-melon’ (ground apple).  I like this…it’s obvious, it makes sense and you can count on the Greek culture, so much nobler than the Romans. I’m Welsh and as such have never forgiven the Romans. As the Monty boys ask: “What have the Romans ever done for us?” Hmmmmm
But it got me thinking, what would you have named differently if you’d been there at the beginning with the Greeks: Bee-jam for honey? Monkey enigma tree? Empty cake (Doughnut)? 
I love the birth of a word, and if anything that’s the ‘QI’ of being a Librarian in a Land based college, Natural history/Horticulture loves a good root word. Our students are so familiar with Latin terms they throw them about with the confidence of text speak. I’m proud of them for this, it is in my book (excuse the pun) the ultimate street-wise. 

(Coloured) Box(es) Beats

I’m a child of the Eighties, I’m not proud of it but there we are. The ‘Art-man’ assures me it was a very good decade for music but I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s an amniotic thing, maybe the birth pangs of electric pop were keenly felt whilst I was still in the womb for me to think, enough now. No, I begin and end with Billie Holiday and I follow in my Dad’s size nines in the belief that you can only really get to know an artist by remaining loyal. His poison is one, Robert Dylan (the early years).

However, I do seem to be experiencing a bit of an eighties revival, well 1988-89 to be precise.  On a trip to London I saw and was smitten with a ‘Moon collection’ bag from that great fashion concept that was ‘Benetton.’ I loved it on sight, its bold primary colours were/are framed by black piping and I was treated to it by my parents as a holiday treat. 

This Mondrian inspired beauty has lasted in its appeal and look and is now my everyday bag for work. The sapphire blue, apple green and scarlet are glorious first thing in the morning and I do feel like an art thief nonchalantly walking with a painting under my arm. However, anything that makes me think of Peter O’Toole at ten to eight is ok in my book….what a cool cat.

Weekend days will be studio spent and a conspiratorial ‘wedding/Chanel’ lunch with my beloved Mum on Sunday x

Keep it flying dear George…..

‘Keep the Aspidistra flying’ is the novel equivalent of a Valium & Caffeine cocktail.  Whilst the story and characters calm, the prose’s concept makes me feel agitated. Gordon Comstock is a personal hero of mine and I often feel like ‘declaring war’ on what he terms as an ‘overarching dependence’ on most things within my working life and the banalities of mundane things like ‘shopping’ and ‘social convention’ (i.e. not spending my lunch money on a new set of pencils rather than an ersatz sandwich)

When the ‘Art-man’ and I got into the motor this morning we noticed that we’d left our Aspidistra in the back of the car, its leaves clearly visible in the back window of the car.  We decided to leave it there and like a toddler it enjoyed the journey immensely, shaking its leaves with every pothole. But I couldn’t help thinking when I locked the car and walked into work, what an ‘Orwellian’ symbol it was, sitting there in the back of our car until we’re released from the routine of work.

 I think I may have my lunch with it later, that ersatz sandwich and the G2 crossword-for even symbols of Bohemian liberty may get lonely.