Look around, look around! How lucky we are to be alive right now!

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

The Twits by Roald Dahl

Being an adult isn't easyI put my hand up and confess. I’m not a very nice person. Lately, I’ve been tired, grumpy, down and tetchy. Poor Hubby has endured my moans with his usual hugs, ‘there, there‘s’, cups of tea and a bit of clowning around.

I reached a real low when on the eve of Easter Friday, one of our suppliers told Hubby that everything had gone wrong in the company “when your wife joined” – that’s me peeps. Continue reading Look around, look around! How lucky we are to be alive right now!

A Christmas Tale and a 2017 Calendar

“”Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”

Little Women by Louisa M Alcott

Little Women Louisa M AlcottA Christmas past. Muddy roads and rain. I had 3 nieces rather than 4. Dad was still alive. We’d been cooped up inside for too long and the cracks were beginning to show in tantrums and whining.

“Okay, this is what we’re gong to do,” I ventured, placing each niece in seclusion with a sheet of paper and a pen.

“I want each one of you to write a letter to Father Christmas. Tell him if you’ve been good or not, and write him a list of things you’d like for Christmas.”

For a few blissful minutes they took to their task enthusiastically. The adults breathed a sigh of relief and I padded over to the awaiting kettle. Continue reading A Christmas Tale and a 2017 Calendar

IOW: Hovercraft, Intrigue in Cowes and miles of shipwreck coastline

Ratty, the rat from Wind in the Willow’s: “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham

alternate endings
Not my pink-nail-polished finger.

Do you remember the ‘Choose your own adventure’ books? The protagonist is “you”, and you are given choices that lead to alternate outcomes. You’d get to a certain page which said something like, “If you want to investigate the noise in the attic turn to pg85. If you decide to put earplugs in your ears and hide your head under the covers, turn to pg76.”

Not great literature, but as a recovering control-freak, I understand the temptation to try and be the mistress of my own destination/life/story. Continue reading IOW: Hovercraft, Intrigue in Cowes and miles of shipwreck coastline

Days out part 2: Libraries, secret passageways and the last Whipping Boy

“It sounded like something in a book and it did not make Mary feel cheerful. A house with a hundred rooms, nearly all shut up and with their doors locked—a house on the edge of a moor—whatsoever a moor was—sounded dreary. A man with a crooked back who shut himself up also! She stared out of the window with her lips pinched together, and it seemed quite natural that the rain should have begun to pour down in gray…”

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

secret garden fulham palace
Our very own secret garden at Fulham Palace.

I looked around to see if anyone was watching. You particularly need to be careful of the room guides. Hubby had wondered off to look at another formulaic painting by Sir Peter Lely. I was safe. Between the great hall and the Duke of Lauderdale’s bed chamber I’d spotted a small door. ‘Staff only’, it stated. This, I suspected, led to a small servants’ passageway. Continue reading Days out part 2: Libraries, secret passageways and the last Whipping Boy

Be your own Activities Director

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

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

spring hanging basketI had to have a photograph taken a couple of weeks ago for our company website. I’m usually the one behind the camera so this was a little daunting. Hubby did the deed because he has a fairly good eye, doesn’t mind my requests for lots of retakes and responds well to being given specific instructions. Though he took a good picture, the woman I saw staring back at me in high definition seemed considerably older than how I felt or how imagine myself to look.

Frankly, it was a bit spooky! So I made myself a cup of tea and contemplated my life. Continue reading Be your own Activities Director

A guide to days out in London and a Valentine’s Day do-over with lots of drama

“Officers, what offence have these men done?

DOGBERRY: Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have
belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.”

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare 

valentines dayI think Alfred Hitchcock once said, “What is drama, but life with all the dull bits cut out?” My life, like all of yours, is part dull bits, part drama. I rarely write about the dull bits. It’s waffle. It’s the same every day. You’d stop reading.

The dull bits can drown you, but they are inevitable. Work, commute, budgeting, filing, bad hair days, wardrobe crises, house work, meetings, paying bills … then you blink and a whole month has gone by! Continue reading A guide to days out in London and a Valentine’s Day do-over with lots of drama

Heat, dust and the ‘Big Four’: unlikely lessons from the Pilanesberg

“The Go ‘way birds do not feed on ticks and have nothing to do with the game; you find them where there is no game, and it always seemed to me that it is not concern for the game at all, but simply a combination of vulgar curiosity, disagreeableness and bad manners, that makes them interfere as they do.”

Jock of the Bushveld by Percy Fitzpatrick

dangerous animalsIn some strange supernatural way,  the ‘bush’ ‘calls’ to me. I’m not sure that this is a concept anyone but South Africans can truly understand. When I’ve been away for some time I begin to have dreams of giggling hyena and hooting owls – both by day and at night. My heart grows a little achey and a restless feeling mounts in my spirit. It beckons ruthlessly, and eventually I must answer. Continue reading Heat, dust and the ‘Big Four’: unlikely lessons from the Pilanesberg