Monday, July 25

to make Kale crisps

tear up dry raw pieces of kale leaf without any stem, rub them over LIGHTLY with nice oil and lay the pieces out on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and bake in a moderate oven for about 5 minutes.   When you remove them from the oven you must EAT THEM INSTANTLY they are delicious for precisely 30 seconds ... at 31 seconds they are foul

I'm all about food this week

WOMAD starts on Thursday - this is the 10th year that I will be shopping, chopping and hopping around for this musical food event

This year's big challenge has been to find a ewe's cheese like one used in Romania to make a rustic dish called Shut-up-and-swallow. I am also looking for live clams, garden eggs and several shades of yellow/green plantain

three years ago Babylon Circus made this film about their experience of Taste the World

*if you click the 'womad' tag below all previous posts on this annual extravaganza will appear

Saturday, July 23

The Man cycles to the pub on Friday nights

he meets other people there, they drink pints, talk about car engines and catastrophise about Brexit

today he told me about the previous evening and said that he thought that his daughter might eventually want to join in on the Friday night pub merriment

why do you think that?

well I asked her along and she gave an excuse rather than just said no - it'll probably take a couple of years before she does though

Friday, July 22

An abandoned steel chair frame

arrived at our house 5 years ago

I gave it an new coat of red electrical wire  which faded and became saggy and sad 

luckily i was recently given a few miles of knicker elastic by the underwear factory down the road  - chair is refreshed

Thursday, July 21

Doloresand I visited the river today

She produced special oily ham from Spain and I supplied a pair of pears. We ate our picnic listening to a roaring weir and squealing children then I picked my way into the river for my first dip this year.

Wednesday, July 20

from the end of the garden I could smell hot jam

and figured that my neighbours must be processing some of their abundant fruit.

then I remembered that I had put plums on the stove to stew - the burning jam smell was coming from my kitchen ... 

Friday, July 15

Kale Mountain

I'd photograph it but the pile of vegetation arriving from next door has got to the point that I can no longer push my way into the kitchen, there's also lettuces, raspberries and a cabbage the size of a big man's head

In Other News

I've been scraping the rust off my Spanish - listening to Spanish radio through the computer and language exchanging with Dolores - in this dayandage we should be able to meet in a clinic, have wires attached to our heads and download each others language files but unfortunately we are still poor so we meet every day for one hour: Spanish on Monday, English on Tuesday and so on for ever until one of us leaves the country.

Tuesday, July 12

So I made a gooseberry ice-cream

but I can't get it in the freezer because it's full of the wool that I've been hiding from the moths

so I haven't actually made ice cream at this point - just a sort of cold fool!

Monday, July 11


arrived on my doorstep today, plus raspberries so soft that I have already squashed them into some cream and dates for my tea

Saturday, July 9

While I was in Wales

the Man started putting out food for Mrs Bird. 

I was hanging out clothes this afternoon and she came hopping around near my feet - the Man said

she wants blueberries

I put some blueberries out on a plate

no you have to cut them up, she likes them quartered

I did this then turned my back to do some other chores, when I looked back at the plate the berries were so cleanly gone that I was sure that it must've been the Man eating them and pretending - like he used to do the Tooth Fairy. He came out behind me and looked at the clean plate

she likes some cheese after blueberries - shave a little Parmesan for her

It's like Santa Claus all over again

Friday, July 8

I was in Wales

and seeing a tiny charity shop, I went inside, it was crammed full of the sort of items that might be left after a garage sale had finished, all piled in that way that the removal of one thing will bring an avalanche of plastic beakers, blankets and jigsaw boxes down on the large woman on the sofa in the middle of the jumble who was staring at me

then a cross woman came in

My daughter's just bin yer, she bought these curtains off you and she wishes she never 'ad - she wanted plain and these are patterned and they don't suit 'er room at all - will you change 'em?

sofa lady indicated the other two curtains available - a single stained shiny boudoir curtain and a torn stewed-gooseberry throw. Curtain lady and I dos y doed in order that she could get into position, inspect them properly and decide which would look better in her daughter's room.

I'm nuturing a growing obsession

with bacteria - the more I read about them the more I love mine. Ten days ago the dentist made me drink a suicide cocktail of antibiotics and I've spent the intervening days growing a replacement microbe population.

In scientific experiments, lack of gut bacteria makes mice unhappy and listless - they won't bother swimming to safety and that definitely happened to me - I too forgot how to swim to safety without my biome.

This enthusiasm for all things bacterial might not be making me the best company at parties - best avoid me until I'm past the honeymoon phase of this particular relationship.

In Other News

Summer popped briefly in to the UK last month - then we had a referendum - Summer buggered off leaving Squally Showers to punish us for being pillocks.

Our political landscape has become a surreal farce with various overgrown schoolboys running away to hide behind their mother's aprons while peeping out to point and laugh at the Punch and Judy show going on in the Labour party. Our next Prime Minister will be one awful woman or another awful woman, which might be better than a series of awful men - but not much.

A Happy Thing

Mrs Bird still  pops in to nitpick about the state of our kitchen

Saturday, July 2

is there a word for the opposite of talent?

Inabilities doesn't seem right I want to call it 'anti-talents' which might be an infection caught from a year in academia where making up words is de rigueur

Friday, July 1

my gum is stitched up

the wrist magically normal again

I paid my mother-in-law a visit - her back is bad and household chores are accumulating.

The job that most needed tackling turned out to be ironing - it didn't seem fair to mention that I'm the world's worst ironiste so I got started ...  

After a while we decided that I might be more usefully employed in the garden.

So that I wouldn't feel bad about the ironing, mother-in-law listed the two other people (both children) who are worse at ironing than me.

Monday, June 27

Owchy time

the IN/OUT of Europe referendum has stirred up an underbelly stew of misery - we're still reeling from that debacle.

also my wrist has been malfunctioning - today I went for a cortisone injection at the hospital which was really really hurty. On my way home from the hospital there was a limping man who was hurting a lot more than me and really needed the hospital so I turned around and we walked back there together with him using me as a walking stick and it must have looked like a very funny three-legged race because the path was all pot-holed and we stumbled like a pair of drunkards.

Tomorrow I am having more dental work done but afterwards I shall go back to London and look after my favourite cats while my bruises go yellow and purple.

In other news

The Birds have tolerated us poking about in their garden for long enough and have started visiting us for a good nosey around. Mrs Bird, appalled at the standards of housekeeping among humans, comes in every day to try and tidy us up. Mr Bird sometimes comes with her but he usually gets tangled in glassware or computer cables and makes things worse so she usually leaves him behind to look after the children. This is today's visit

Friday, June 17

Where to start?

there were cats and now there are none

there was school but that's  finished for summer

I'm sort of back in Bristol but keep going away - that embroidered rendition of Clifton Suspension Bridge was discovered on a visit to a Stoke Newington junk shop on wednesday with my fairy-godmother-aunt who haggled mercilessly to buy it for me. After the f-g-m-a left I met my tutor and asked him if our exam results were out yet

yes but I haven't worked out how to publish them

visited Holy Island with the Man to see the priory and the upside down Hobbit boats

then to Scotland to see my sister and the nibblings where a discussion of future careers was going on:
adult: you can be anything you want
five-year-old : can I be a Wot Wot Hoo Ha?


I feel the need to draw your attention to this poem about hermits

Monday, June 6

It was like the Sleeping Beauty House

While I've been up in That London for the last few months the dust snuck in and blanketed the house - slightly less in the places where someone had brushed a space to eat at the table or torn a path through the cobwebs on the stairs.

But I'm back and banging moths out of their sexy revels in my jumpers, degreasing the stove, taking the bindweed off the pinks and marigolds in the garden and getting my sunny sunshine clothes out from the under-the-bed-boxes.

It's lovely to be home

Saturday, June 4

I've come back to Bristol

the garden is full of slugs and I'm shaking moths out of blankets as the Man appears - I tell him that we're besieged

no he says, we're popular

Saturday, May 28


Gary makes sure there's no funny business with the knives, Brian and Nigel cover the exit -Barbara is sitting on my feet

Friday, May 27

being held under strict surveillance

I'm under house arrest - will smuggle out messages when I've finished the tunnel

Friday, May 20

cat polisher

Two weeks ago the toothless cat had starey fur that was a bit sticky-feeling and off-putting and she also really really wanted a lot of hugs - so gave her a rub down with a slightly damp towel like it was a gigantic mother's tongue and put in a bit of regular brushwork with a soft rubber brush ... she's come up all lovely and shiny. 

I'm hoping that the owners are going to be ok with this new shiny cat when they come home because maybe they like sticky cats and they might just think that I've broken her

Monday, May 16

On Friday we said goodbye

to our friend Simon,

he hadn't been that keen on music* so there were no hymns or any kind of singing, instead we told stories about him that made us laugh because he was the funniest man in the world, he saved butterflies and kept a supply of food plants in his garden for distressed caterpillars and he would chase people up the street with the litter they'd dropped and wave it in their face - which sometimes got them angry and he had collections of bits of old motorbikes and interesting bicycles and big mechanical pencil sharpeners and his yard was full of the bee hives that he'd made because he kept rescuing bee swarms - once he inadvertently upset one of the hives and made a bee so angry that it chased him inside and upstairs and managed to follow him into his bedroom to sting him.

we'll miss him

*He went to a concert once  - the Rolling Stones - and slept through it

Tuesday, May 10

The other cat is perched by my ear

she purrs constantly - a rumble accompanied by the wobbly creaky-squeakiness - like an old fashioned pusher lawnmower

Different cat in the bag

This one is also sitting on my pencil case

Saturday, May 7

I left my jacket on the sofa

when I came downstairs this morning it had been turned into a cat's nest and one arm was covered in sicked up hairballs  

I read until cross-eyed then walked out across Highbury Fields which were teeming with frisbee-playing youth. I should've been happy in the sun and the smokey barbeque air but an enormous gloom has descended.

Friday, May 6

the man came home

but today I had to return to London - another cat sit and a study binge before exams.

I am looking after a pair of rescued cats, one of them is already sitting  in an alert position in my half-unpacked suitcase, the girl cat has neither teeth nor tail and talks incessantly - naturally I am already very fond of them. 

We're in Highbury which is quite posh and appears to be a lesbian hotspot

Thursday, May 5

The man is on his way home

the man is on his way home

the man is on his way home

from switzerland where he has been visiting these exact same ants

An Irish Sisterhood Practise their Defence Skills from Ammonite Films on Vimeo.

in other news

last year I wrote a post about the man going out to film a woman and her dogs who'd discovered bioluminescent worms in their french garden

the bioluminescence film is now ready and can be seen on english television on monday - here's a clip

Monday, May 2

Too much going on

exams next week - scary   
houseboat study continues - great   
a death - tragic 
home -  messy 
weather - changeable/British 
friends - brilliant-but-not-enough-time
end of first school year - emptiness looms
job-hunting - grim

Tuesday, April 26

Tomorrow I am back at school

but today I am in Bristol  - we sat by the fire, me mending jumpers while my Japanese friend, K made a patchwork quilt and we spoke together about everything:

I showed her the holes in my jumper and made a crying face
moths ... moths make me sad

she thought I was talking about moss and looked puzzled, I explained about the creatures that eat my jumpers
aaah yes in Japan sometimes I think I can hear them in the roof space

That turned out to be mouses so I mimed an evil tiny flying nibbling thing  

Saturday, April 23

Vienna was full of cake and sun

and I spent last Saturday walking beside something I took to be the Danube until I looked at a map and realised it was just a canal.

Returning to London, the Thames houseboat research continued, we visited a squillionnaire who owns three large houseboats - one for himself, another for his offspring and a third for guests, afterwards we visited the lady who had run the boatyard for 30 years, we told her that we'd just met Mr Threeboats. She scoffed

Him - he's an idiot!

We had been sifting through newspaper cuttings in the library going back to the fifties, there were many stories concerning glamorous-looking students, actors and writers who lived on the houseboats in those days, I wondered how accurate this image of houseboat tenants was

When I arrived in the boatyard (the early '70s), the houseboats were mainly occupied by old women, very well educated women, their boats full of books, interesting women who wanted to be left alone

In other news
spent last night with some girlfriends dancing to Prince songs
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