Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Want to come play at my house?

OMGYOUGUYS. So much to do today. A's brother and wife are flying in this afternoon to stay with us for a couple of days. I should be doing my last-minute frantic clean right now (for the purposes of cooing, 'Oh, this old place? Sorry for the state of it, it's normally not this messy,' the sparkle of the countertops reflected in my blinding smile), which of course is all the inspiration to blog that I need. I don't even know when their flight lands - in typical fashion, I get vague 'middays' when I query A, which could mean anything from noon - EVERYBODY PANIC! WHERE'S THE HOOVER?! - to four this afternoon (ah, plenty of time for this old blog, then). I've got lemons in a bowl and fresh flowers in a vase, so I really don't know what more one could expect.

Wait! It's stopped raining! Hold on a sec.

Ahhh, there we go. House may be a mess but back garden's just been tidied. My favourite hobby right now is sweeping all the snails off the walls and dumping them into the garden waste bag before scattering salt over the top. I make it snow with happy little flicks of the wrist, humming away like a demented angel of death, watching with satisfaction as they shrivel and foam. I just don't know how it gets any better. I used to salt them where they perched but that just led to green slime everywhere that was hard to clean up. The new Mass Grave Method is making the job a joy. 

It's scorching out. London is trying to kill me with this rainforest climate. Working on the laptop at the garden table is terrific until you start dripping onto the keyboard. Also, I think the cherry tree is spraying sap or something because every so often droplets drift through the air and everything gets vaguely sticky. Is this a thing sap does or is the tree poisoning us like in some evil-horticulture thriller? Someone who knows how nature works tell me in case I need to be out here in a hazmat suit. 

I've got to leave in a few minutes - for an actual MEETING, with HUMANS! I really am not equipped for this job, with so much persons, so many opportunity for awkward - but before I go, look how sweet our little garden is! How many walls for snails to scale! 

Not pictured: Mass Grave

I hope your day is going well!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Sunday, April 17, 2016

On Print Swaps, and How I'm Pretty Sure I Got the Best One


So a few weeks ago I signed up for Dianne Tanner's Print Swap because it had all the elements one could possibly ask for in a creative project: the involvement of others, a push to produce, and - most exciting - the CHANCE TO GET MAIL. What's not to like??

So fast forward to last week, when the world's most beautifully-wrapped package comes clattering through my mail slot. YOUGUYS.

It was not just a print, oh no. It was a work of ART. Several works of art. There was a COLLAGE. There was a hand-painted and -bound BOOK that had words of JOY and ENCOURAGEMENT. There was even candy and hot chocolate! I can't even believe it. (Apologies now to the girl whose name I drew. She's going to be like, 'Thanks for the photograph, jerk.') And even though I don't personally know the artist, Helen Jones, I can say this with complete confidence: SHE IS WONDERFUL HUMAN.

 JUST LOOK AT ALL THIS. And when you expand the black square on the lower left, it turns into THIS:

I KNOW. A truly stunning mixed-media work of art. The paint on these pages gives them such a gorgeous texture that I can't stop running my fingers across them. And the vibrancy of the color is incredible. And don't get me started on the words themselves: 'Find what makes you different then live a lifetime of it', 'applaud imperfections.' The phrase 'raptures of delight' doesn't even come close to how I felt as this expanded in my hands. 

It all sits with pride now in the front room and I tell everyone I made it. 

If youguys want to stalk Helen with me, you won't regret it. Here's her writing, her photography, and her etsy page (in case you want to buy something she's created to pass off as your own. I highly recommend it.) 

Helen, I can't thank you enough for this. 

Big hugs and lots of love,

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ringing in the New Year, French-style


We are back in France. We arrived on Wednesday for a week of Ultimate Relaxation and we're on top of the game: we got enough food at the market to survive a nuclear winter and enough kindling to burn a witch. NOTHING will get in the way of our slippers, our fireplace, and our new years diet of all-day-grazing. It is officially GO TIME. (If by 'go,' we mean 'stop.)

Can I talk about these clementines for a second? There are not WORDS for how sweet these are. They were so ripe the bag itself was sticky from nectar oozing out of their skins. They're so soft you can squeeze them nearly flat (if you don't mind tempting an explosion). When you pop a wedge in your mouth, it's like a juicy citrus sugar bomb goes off and arghoushoqlahoalw

Obligatory Cheese and Charcuterie Board pic. That dried duck though! Why doesn't EVERY place sell duck jerky? They put it on salads here and call it Salade Perigord, the French's nod to healthy eating.

Youguys remember The Great Argentina Road Trip of Death? One thing made it worth it: this llama wool rug we got that's currently in our guest room here. Just LOOK at its thickness, its rough-soft handmade perfection. I can't wait for your feet to touch it when you come visit:
Also check out the view of the church's stained glass windows next door! When those bells go off at seven, this room just SINGS. You will LOVE it.

And now for random Fun Times Photos:

The Dordogne and stuff.

The church in nearby village Beaumont. BEAUMONT! All he wanted to do was dance!

Bergerac, acting all festive with the Christmas lights up, even while everything was shut. And I mean EVERYthing. Don't come here for New Year's Eve, youguys. TAKE MY WORD FOR IT.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's bubble bath time! Happy Sunday!

Big hugs and lots of love,

Monday, December 21, 2015

Poetry Monday: The Hanged Pigeon

OMGYOUGUYS. Favourite day of the week. POETRY MONDAY. This will be the last one of 2015 and it couldn't be a better finish. It's so, so fitting for this year.

Then go and buy Jo Brandon's newest poetry collection because it will give you all the feels, with all the words, that build and make and do.

The Hanged Pigeon, by Jo Brandon

You are more stark even
than the tarot card I turned at fourteen:
the Hanged Man, macabre and ridiculous,
his strangled leg, ankle noose, freefall of hair,
the hard jewel colours I still associate with death
though the book said it represented rebirth 
I heard the elliptical Chorus whisper-sing
first-death, first-death.

I flipped your card walking through the park
on a day when the sky was too blue
to be anything other than an illusion;
you hung like a bauble on a tree, a faded Robin maybe
whose claws should fold easily over the branches, rigid as tradition,
but has slipped upside down – and now nothing looks right 
strung up with tangerine mesh you were an omen
of something.

You wished so hard to avoid the predictable
that your wings had started to come away,
and all the vinegar and glue and brown paper
salvaged from those park bins
couldn’t have put you back together again.

You might have appeared to me as Icarus or
a penny dreadful, but you struck me as the Hanged Man;
not so serene, not so willing to give yourself up as deeper meaning.

As I spoke to you, tried to soothe you up in your tree
I could have been in a fairy-tale asking boons
of any unbelievable creature; you might transform,
burst from your pigeon chrysalis or you might grow still
and provide a medieval spectacle for nine-to-fivers on lunch.

A comic strip of heroic deeds ran through my head; ladders,
broken branches, clambering, soft landing, gasps, free-flight

–  I left unsure of what I did and didn’t do to rescue you.


Big hugs and lots of love,

Monday, December 14, 2015

Poetry Monday: Istanbul

OMGYOUGUYS. It's another Poetry Monday! I can't get enough of these. I don't want to sound like I'm mad bragging or anything, but I know some insanely talented people and their genius has got to rub off on me at some point so REMEMBER THIS FACE.

Today's work of art comes from the indomitable Claire, professional writer, cook, and karaokyer.

Istanbul, by Claire Bullen

We wake sucking on the milkfat mornings,
the hour in its last stage of night-bruise.
Like emperors, centuries ago,
who woke to find their jaguars and take 
them strolling through the rosebushes.

Now the city wakes with a riot of sheep
in the basement, a dusty football, and
taxis that speed up the uneven hill.
We breakfast like emperors: sucking on petals
in tea and cakes and smoke.

On a ferry over bright-dark Bosphorus,
we fly faster than emperors could dream, 
savouring the word like rose candy: Bosphorus, 
Bosphorus, Bosphorus, past the blooming
buses that drop their sweating cargo into Asia.

In the evenings, campfires spill across highways
and birds wheel, crazily, around the minarets.
Like emperors, we sharp-laugh into the night 
from the vantage of our temporary palaces.
First we are timeless. Then we are cargo.


Big hugs and lots of love,