22 January 2013

another messy tuesday

I am in what has become known as the knitting room.  Not that much knitting goes on in here because I seldom knit, but when my niece visits she charmingly asks to go up to the knitting room because there is always business going on in here.  Today, as on many other days, it is a mess.  The mantelpiece is the tidiest spot.  The table where I am sitting is a shambles with books, envelopes, diaries, two - one for what is coming and one for what has been and gone, books, fabric, yarn, mending, receipts.  The bed, for there is a bed in the knitting room for those occasions when a secret nap is needed, harbours more flotsam - blankets, a scarf, a skirt to be upcycled, scraps of faux fur.  On the sewing machine, more scraps, a broken lamp (it fell onto the floor yesterday!) and, somewhat oddly, a large carton of mixed spice next to the scissors and pins.  The only point of comfort is the fireplace where some orange fairy lights twinkle and fool us - for I include the cats who often join me here - into thinking that there is a real fire.  It is a remarkably effective trick.

The reason for this messier-than-usual mayhem is that there has been rather too much gallivanting.  Norwich, and later Cambridge by train; longish local walks to reclaim well worn routes through old stamping grounds; a new sewing class; a trip to the Southbank to hear the T S Elliot Poetry Prize nominees reading from their work; glee-filled hours snatched with WI buddies; rather too many visits to cafes.  Riches recorded only fleetingly, all part of the doing a bit more resolution.  No wonder each room in the house is littered with discarded scarves, hats and bags for bringing home booty and a scattering of blankets for staying warm.

Tucked away in my head, more small pleasures.  Kathleen Jamie's no-nonsense walk to the lectern, launching straight into a poem from The Overhaul, knocking the hail-fellow-well-mettery of the men into place, and the breathtaking finale of Sharon Olds reading from Stag's Leap; an Eccentric Flint, just one of many beautiful pieces at the stunning Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts; buying a Sooty glove puppet for one besotted fan's birthday in a proper toyshop.  And at home, the too-short reflected light from a day's snow before the streets and pavements turned to ice and grey slush.

Bathroom window, Sunday
Now that the sun has gone down, all is quiet in the knitting room apart from the occasional drip of snow melting from the roof and the snore of a faintly disgruntled cat.  Thankfully the muted light makes it look just a little less chaotic.

If I get my metaphorical skates on I'll be in time to buy a zip and some raisins before the shops close.

07 January 2013

dear sir

Scene: Monday morning in a dimly lit London kitchen. The only trace of the recent seasonal celebrations are a woolly garland, three satsumas in the fruit bowl, and an unused mulled cider mini kit earmarked for emergency use only. He is washing up the porridge bowls.  She is making a sandwich for his lunch from some dubiously dated cottage cheese, humous and a tomato.

Him:  "Dear Sir - My beloved wife of many years is morphing into Sir Stafford Cripps. There is talk of growing mustard and cress on a damp flannel and even the birds are throwing stale bread at us.  I would carry on, but I am simply too weak to write more..."

Her: You'd better get used to it. (This is followed by loud guffaw...possibly a cackle.)

01 January 2013

looking ahead

When I woke up this morning I thought I was getting a cold. You know the feeling - stuffy nose, aching back and limbs, heavy eyelids. Then I remembered that I had seen the new year in with a glass of champagne, fireworks on the roof and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Instant recovery.  So we packed up the last of the pannetone and set off to the seaside for blue skies, fresh air and, erm, another glass of champagne, followed by several cups of tea, lunch at The Neptune, then a final mince pie and coffee with cream looking out over the sea (thank you, Julia!).   

I've decided that my aspirational resolution for this year is to do a bit more. As I've no idea how successful I was last year with being more attentive, the analytical part of my brain tells me that I really ought to have some kind of baseline for measuring quite how much that bit more might be.  So there may be more lists, more tea, some coffee with caffeine and a bit more writing about it all.  

I hope the year ahead holds good things, new adventures and enough blue skies to make you happy.


And finally - I  got round to writing out all the thirty one names who commented on the advent calendar for the Sightlines giveaway.  Congratulations to Lizzi (without an e) who left a comment on day 15.   Lizzi's name was picked out of the tea-pot.

(Lizzi- as there no link I can use to contact you, please email me at eastendwi[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk and I'll post the book to you asap.)

I didn't take any photos of this exciting draw because my battery needs charging.  But if you are interested, here is the lovely teapot on the day I bought it.