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Showing posts from June, 2008

Rooms For Reflection

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Friday: West Wales.
With relatives in and out on hospital on both sides there are pressing reasons for a trip to the south. Mil and Dil are missing Tom but Mil isn’t up to travelling at the moment and Ma’s been sounding a bit wheezy on the phone so I’d like to make sure she’s all right too. A couple of phone calls later we’re collecting things together for an early start the next day.

Saturday: Epsom
We’re at my Auntie Joanie and Uncle Sid’s for a quick visit and it occurs to me that their modest living room is one of the constants in my life, a container of so many memories. I’ve ‘twisted’ here as a very little girl amongst a sea of adult legs at one family party, drank my first Snowball at another and spent years aching to be like my glamorous and sophisticated older cousins. It’s a merry, vibrant room with the satisfying patina of long, deeply entwined lives. There are small plastic tubs filled with dolly mixtures and liquorice allsorts and other little treats on one table, a hug…

Feeling Groovy

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Saturday 14 June
Tom and I have now recovered from the Great Wormery Evacuation. My brain has managed to wipe out the memory of the terrible smell, so I no longer have to plug my nose with Vick to erase it, and the noxious fumes from the compost have died down sufficiently for us to be able to venture out into the garden again.

After all the excitement I find myself a bit fidgety. Whilst I am extremely happy not to be doing my previous job, I did used to enjoy walking through the town in my lunch break, watching all the faces, seeing what was new and absorbing different influences. It’s quite easy to settle in a groove here and sometimes you have to push yourself a bit to get out it. Tom has some paintings to collect from Art Matters in Tenby, which offers us the chance of an excursion, a gallery to view and a chance to catch up with the lovely Margaret and John who run it. Margaret shows me an autobiographical short story she has written which leads us into a discussion about the …

What Lies Beneath

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Thank you for your concern about the dark clouds over Hotel H, they involve people who are very dear to me and that’s all I can say but your kindness is much appreciated.

As well as fears for others, we’ve been beset by general worries; slow progress on the boat engine has put Tom in the doldrums whilst I keep looking at the Great Green Monster in the garden, aka, the oil tank, wondering how much more of our budget it’s going to devour. With chores building up after our run of visitors I decided that sitting around worrying wasn’t doing me any good so I’d start tackling the backlog, beginning with the garden.

Inspired by Wizzard’s composting blog,(http://wizzardsfirstrule.blogspot.com/ - why can't I get the script prompt to work?) I took the plunge and decided to get to grips with the wormery. Now a wormery is fine and dandy at the beginning; it arrives pristine and shiny with a little bag of bedding material and your very own compost worms. You simply put the lot together and …

Making Hay with Honno

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'In Her Element', Honno's featured book for June.

May’s seen Hotel H heaving; we’ve had the Fat Boys (five days), Lily and Boyf (long weekend), Rose and New Man (Five days. Very nice, Rose. You can keep him. Yes, Lily, Rusty is lovely too) and Stepson One and Girlf (six days). It’s wonderful to see everyone but I was very glad to have the chance of an outing last week.

When I received an invitation from the lovely people at Honno asking me to join them at the Hay Festival to celebrate 21 years of publishing, I was thrilled but a bit apprehensive about my credentials for mixing with the hip and happening. As a Hay novice, the event was smaller than I’d anticipated, even, at first, a tad disappointing; I wandered round in a bit of daze worrying that I wasn’t ‘getting’ it. But once I’d parked myself on a bench to absorb the atmosphere I started to see beyond the clich├ęs, the Boden catalogue families, and designer wellies, organic chocolate and worthy ice creams. Look a l…

The Ballad of BT Broadband

It was a Saturday morning
and in the mid May rain,
that BT Broadband left our house
and didn't return again.

At first we tried to shrug it off;
it happens all the time.
It comes back when the sun comes out,
or sheep roll off the line.

The junction boxes warmed and dried
but Broadband came there none.
'We'll have to ring BT!' you cried,
'Good luck,' I said. 'Have fun!'

We made new friends across the globe,
performed all kinds of tests,
until they said they'd send a man,
'Oh yes,' we cried, 'that's best.'

Flaxen-haired and pierced of lip,
he came with his computer,
'I fixed the outside line but now
there's trouble with your router.'

Our BT friends played hard to get
and made us sign new contracts,
'Please connect me soon,' I begged.
'Just get me back in contact!'

Five working days I waited,
my brand new hub was due.
The parcel company disagreed,
'We've never heard of you!'

At BT it was Groundhog Day,
'What seems to …