How I fixed my sleep … without sheep

“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it. I drank more and continued my mantra. ‘Stop thinking’, swig, ’empty your head’, swig, ‘now, seriously empty your head’.”  

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

Larson cartoon animal humourDid you know?

The first reference to counting sheep is found in a twelfth-century Spanish book, Disciplina Clericalis by a lad called Petrus Alphonsi. It’s a collection of fables in which the author tells one humorous tale about a King and his Story-teller counting sheep. Apparently counting sheep was a widespread practice in early Twelfth century Islamic countries, which fascinated and influenced our dear Mr Alphonsi. No doubt a shepherd or five was known to fall asleep during this monotonous daily routine …

Et voila! The origins of a completely useless remedy for insomnia.

So you can’t sleep? Neither could I – on and off for almost 10 years!

Now I’m sleeping like a baby. Continue reading How I fixed my sleep … without sheep

Speak to me 2020

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)” 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

mouse on stepsMy Dad was desperate to retire.  He wouldn’t admit it, but work was challenging and he wasn’t coping. He had many plans for his retirement years. But he was also anxious. After all, he’d worked since he was 16.

On his last day at work I gave him a card.  “How exciting,” I’d written. “To be on the cusp of a new season, a new chapter in your life!

For months, even years later, in deep thought, he’d often say to me, quite out of the blue, “I’ve thought a lot about what you wrote in my card. A new chapter … I’ve got to make the most of it.”

After he died I found that card with a few other precious things he’d kept in his bedside table. Continue reading Speak to me 2020

Communism: Ceaușescu’s 170 room palace for his family of 5

“This world is full of the most outrageous nonsense. Sometimes things happen which you would hardly think possible.”  

The Nose by Nikolai Gogol

Sunset
Moldova to Romania – sunset on what used to be the northern reaches of the Danube Delta

I sent a Happy New Year message to a friend today.

iPhone auto-correct did it’s magic again …

Complications of the Season to you!” I sent him.

I think you could say that Complications of the Season is what Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu experienced on Christmas day in 1989 when they were summarily executed by firing squad. Continue reading Communism: Ceaușescu’s 170 room palace for his family of 5

Moldovan Christmas, snow, honey, a goat and cheese

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Odd socksUnlike Dumbledore, I gave a received socks for Christmas. I also gave and received books.

Thanks to Christmas in both London and Moldova, and a skit about a goat, we also made an absolute killing in bread, sweets and Lei moldovenească (Moldovan Lai)!

Socks (left) are what Hubby and I gave to our nieces on Christmas day. Continue reading Moldovan Christmas, snow, honey, a goat and cheese

Something special to declare

“Now here’s my idea. Why not keep the journey times the same but make the trains so comfortable and relaxing that people won’t want the trip to end? Instead, they could pass the time staring out the window at all the gleaming hospitals, schools, playing fields and gorgeously maintained countryside that the billions of saved pounds had paid for. Alternatively, you could just put a steam locomotive in front of the train, make all the seats inside wooden and have it run entirely by volunteers. People would come from all over the country to ride on it. In either case, if any money was left over, perhaps a little of it could be used to fit trains with toilets that don’t flush directly on to the tracks.”

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson 

tour of Moldova
Travelling the length and breadth of Moldova.

A knock at the door. Lights on. We sat up, bleary-eyed. 03h30.

A black-leather-jacketed Romanian border guard stood at the open door of our train compartment.

“Pașapoarte!” We handed them over.

A welcome fresh breeze played into our 2 person compartment from an open window in the corridor. Old soviet trains are seriously over heated in winter.

“English?” he noted. We nodded.
“Tourist?” Again we nodded.
“You have something special to declare? Drugs? Weapons.” Continue reading Something special to declare

A funny old time

Mama in a huge plaster cast
Big foot and our new little cousin.

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

“Come home, Babes. All is forgiven.”

This is the WhatsApp message I received from Hubby about 10 days into my recent 2 week break in South Africa.

I didn’t go because South Africa won the Rugby World Cup, though they did. Nor because it’s dark and cold in the UK, which it is. I didn’t go to check on our house, although I did that. I went because Continue reading A funny old time

October 2019 in photographs

red and yellow autumn leaves“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

The colours speak for themselves.

Autumn.

Of travels to Canada and north west New York State. Of nippy mornings, a new coat and leaves. Of old friends and new, spicy apple drinks, apple picking, Quebecois, bad coffee and leaves. Continue reading October 2019 in photographs