Wednesday, 27 May 2009

One good turn deserves another

Just finished 'one good turn deserves another' by kate atkinson...and realised that i should have read 'case histories' first! will be looking in the oxfam shop tomorrow. I don't usually read detective stories but read her first book 'behind the scenes at the museum' (whitbread winner) a few years ago and didn't know what i was getting into with this one. I have already earmarked an agatha christie reading friend to convert. kate's latest continues the jackson brodie saga and is already winning awards.

Reminds me of the Thursday Next series by jasper fforde. I've never met anyone else who's read any of these but they are soooo good. I didn't like his nursery crime series but have an affinity with Thursday who is a sort of swashbuckling bridget jones..but better. Jasper's website is amazingly extensive with back and forth links that parallel his written worlds and is constantly evolving - a book in itself.

Spookiest thing is, that having read several of his books over the past few years and been an occasional website visitor i only just realised that he lives on the marches where we so often visit - his knighton sheep pics look just like mine. This is a one off though...

I Love My Bantams!

On the bank holiday we were up on the Welsh border again visiting one of my favourite places - Onibury, home to a wonderful collection of Bantams. Set on a hill looking toward Wenlock Edge to the north east and distant Snowdonia to the north west are pen upon pen of beautiful poultry.

Their website isn't great but the place is magical. A few years ago it was for sale and if i didn't have gorgeous grandsons very close to my hertfordshire home it would be a perfect place to be me.

Thirty years ago, almost in another life, I found Stagsden bird gardens in Bedfordshire and have been hooked on bantams ever since. It closed over ten years ago, a real shame as there was an extensive collection of owls and many other birds too; we were frequent visitors for all of my children's childhoods. The day I first stumbled across it Ted was only at the start of his second year and we both needed some tlc. The bird garden was a retreat from the real world and i often fantasised about living and working there. There is something very calming about watching the little bantams preening, foraging and sunbathing, against a background of their contented sounds. The huge range of colours just among Pekins, my bantam of choice, now runs to over 30 but there are so many other beautiful breeds that it is hard not to stop there. Google images to see gorgeous sebrights, hamburgs, cochin giants and pretty little dutch bantams. I want them all! The only thing preventing me is that to breed pure you must keep your stock in pens and more than half the joy is in letting them range free in the garden. This is a good reason for choosing pekins - their feathered feet make them less damaging to plants and they are not great flyers so easy to contain. Over the past thirty years we have had blue, white, black and buff birds. Right now i have inherited a black hen and cockerel having lost a perfect little black hen under rather mysterious circumstances. The one we are left with is not pure (i was sold a 'pup') so we won't breed from her, but we get half a dozen eggs a week feb - november so can't complain. I prefer buffs and am deciding whether to get eggs when she goes broody, introduce another hen or wait until they peg out before starting afresh, decisions.....

Weirdly, though the weather was perfect, i was very down the next day, despite it having everything going for it. I just don't get it. But - the following day was my birthday when i am always up and there are always good friends who rally round - thankyou friends! I spent the day cooking (why cook unless to feed friends?) then eating, drinking, entertaining and being entertained. Got the perfect mix of prescription drugs and alcohol - no pain, no after effects and the laughter was real; memo to self: do it more often.

Saturday, 9 May 2009


This header is linked to the Woodland Trust site 'Find a wood near you....' The banner pic was taken a couple of weeks ago when the bluebells were just coming out; already they are almost over. They look most amazing in beech woods where the lime green leaves emerge a few days after the bells, filtering the light, dappling the shade, fluttering in the breeze and making for a magical picture that can't quite be captured either by a camera or in a painting, though every year I see many trying.

The birdsong is still penetrating from just after 5 a.m. and again now at 7.30 p.m. there seem to be allsorts competing for the clearest song and the best composition. Like a Mozart rondeau there are increasingly complex repetitions; the robins are good and look really perky but the blackbirds are winning!
Enjoying the extra daylight hours, resulting new laid eggs and wishing my back was better at gardening ........

Saturday, 2 May 2009

ABOUT TIME.............

Where have I been? What's with the not blog?
I've been consumed with a job application that in the end I didn't get and didn't want, but it was a good thing. It really made me think about what I do and what I want and not getting it was a huge relief. Another bonus: four days (so far) of euphoria, and that doesn't come often - see March, Anaesthesia.
Birdsong: It seems louder this year. Much, much louder and ever present. Is it because my eyesight is getting worse? Is it an age thing? Wherever I go, even in town, the blackbirds and robins and great tits are singing for all they are worth. I had to check out the great tit and so can you by clicking on the link. A few years ago I read a story about Cecil Rhodes exporting British songbirds to South Africa because he wanted to hear their familiar chorus, but they would not sing there; it was so sad.

I got this one from Alpha Mummy, don't know why I find them compulsive, but I do.........
Replace one question. Add one question. Tag other bloggers.
So here goes:
1. What are your current obsessions? Birdsong, almond croissants,

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often? Jeans, trainers
3. What was your favourite childhood meal? Sausage & chips
4. Last thing you bought? Vet supplies for the poor old dog

5. What are you listening to? Silence
6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be? Boadicea - I know she isn't, but she should be,

and it did used to be spelled like this when Peking and Bombay were.....
7. Favourite holiday spots? Wales, Walton on the Naze
8. Reading right now? Pat Barker, Life Class. Regeneration is unbeatable but this is good.
9. Four words to describe yourself. On a quest. Lost.
10. Guilty pleasure? daytime reading in bed
11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak? My friend Sigrid, she's the only one who can
12. Favourite spring thing to do? Walk, stay out til dark
13. Planning to travel to next? the sea
14. Best thing you ate or drank lately? Almond croissant & huge cappuccino
15. When did you last get tipsy? Years ago
16. Favourite ever film? Gone with the Wind
17. Care to share some wisdom? It probably won't happen
18. Song you can't get out of your head? Soundtrack from u Carmen e khaylitsha check it out!

19. One thing you'd really like to do this year? Lie in the garden in the sun for 6 weeks
So, who to send this to next?