Writing about things I love and things I didn't know - oh and things I want to eat and cook

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Pencils, Doctors, Twitter, Gougeres, James Joyce

Bit of a rush today as I have and am pleased to be able to help get various people I care lots about get to various doctors appointments.

There's a sentence.

I have only just found Facebook. So far so good. I was guided by Potty Mummy very very well as to how to start a blog. I did and it was great fun but it was a few years ago and I got a couple of trolls and stalkers and thought sod this and closed it down.

I wish I hadn't. It was quite a laugh. Also an example of me capitulating to being bullied which I really really hate. Bullies are cowards - stand your ground and tell them to fuck off.


I have always loved Twitter - many say it has dark sides and the bullying and abuse can be worse there than anywhere but I keep in touch with museums all over the world and the 'font of information' is amazing.

Today's blog post is all courtesy of Twitter and in that vein brief and character limited !

James Joyce had lifelong problems with his eyesight. I heard somewhere but I need to check that his father had a pencil factory.

Today is #NationalPencilDay.

I have always had a thing for Caran D'Ache.

It's also #NationalDoctorsDay - there are so many amazing, pertinent, hugely important things I could post here. The marvellous Agnodice from Oxford Academic, one of my favourites on Twitter.

Thinking too about an initiative from the Soil Association looking to working with hospital food.

It's also #Hug A Medievalists Day. Damn right.

My dog went for an, ahem, extended stroll the day before yesterday. It was very frightening. It was fine he was taken in by a neighbour but he has never done it before. He loves cheese.

So these babies are happening today for this fella :

Saturday, 26 March 2016

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself

It's Easter
We have ‪#‎Brexit‬ and Trump, atrocities, enmity, footballers being paid walloping amounts and Addenbrookes in administration.
Ministers taking money from the disabled, servicemen fighting, religious wars, return of Scarlet Fever, Frederick Forsyth talking about sexting and admitting like me he has no idea who the Kardashians are.
We have ugly vegetables being rejected, dairy farming in the red, twenty somethings that can't get on the housing ladder. An education system third from the bottom worldwide. Maths curriculum that doesn't add up.
We have more trinkets and toys and gadgets than ever before, acquisition of things the new false God. 
I am not sure I see altruism, benevolence, kindness. I worry we are becoming desensitised. I see the countryside snaffled up by voracious developers. Cornish fish sold to Spain. Poets, heroes and heroines forgotten. Pioneers and industrialists not spoken of. 
We have to tax sugar as we have an obesity epidemic. We had the might and majesty of the London Olympics which I honestly thought would cause an existential national shift - for the better. We have reality TV. 

I usually bang on about Dickens - post title - or poets or obscure Italian authors but today my mind is with :

Many many actors have made a career playing Holmes. I will tell you about the Benedict Cumberbatch kissing me on the cheek after Rhinoceros another time. 

He wrote the Holmes series as he needed to make money to send his wife to Switzerland for treatment for his bronchial problems. He was the inspiration for Julian Barnes' mighty Arthur and George. 

He believed in life after death. I always feel he would be a really really good man. 

In my garden I have a magnolia older than the house. I have been on a run which costs nothing. Last night supper was made for me and it was heaven. 
Easter a time of sadness but also renewal no ? When people say they are bored or fed up I always say - and mean - read Dickens. His life as well as his work. I think we need a him to transact and make sense of all of this - via the written word. 

I was listening to something rather lovely on R4 at oddball 'o' clock about a Jewish family. Had some beautiful prayers. I wanted to make something different for Easter. Have a look at this.

Easter wishes to you all.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Getting lost - literally and metaphorically

Whether it's the midlife crisis kicking in, lovely open conversations with people who share anecdotal notions of how to come through hardship, feeling at though the worst is possibly over, wishing such pointless, self indulgent dross hadn't happened in the first place...

I feel slightly edified. We get damaged, we get sad, we cry a lot, we pray - if one is inclined. We read and talk and hope. 

Is it part of the human condition to believe in the essential goodness of life ? People ? 

Yes it is in my case despite at the moment heavy duty reason not to.

I am researching Mr Fortnum and  Mr Mason. My mum has always said I could get lost in Fortnum's - I don't have a very good sense of direction....

I love the idea of enterprise, endeavour, the human spirit fighting for goodness. 

I can't get though an hour let alone a day without Charles Dickens.

Here's what he wrote about Fortnum and Mason :

"Look where I will - I see Fortnum and Mason. All the hampers fly wide open and the Green Downs burst into a blossom of lobster salad."

We are here to be kind - let's try to be kind. If for some reason there are issues ( from where I am standing insecurity, jealous and anger are the big ones ) get some therapy.

I am going to eat this.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Moomin Mamma, Michaelangelo, Invictus, Alec Guinness

Happy Mother's Day. One and all. Be you a mother or not in the literal sense. I am sure you are a mother in some sense - not least to all our wonderful animals.

I have been following the wonderful, inspiring Tania Kindersley's blog for a good few years. The writing is evocative, powerful, funny, touching, hate to use a publishing cliche but she has a unique voice.

Astonishing photos. Glorious, courageous honesty. I mention this here as Tania wrote something this week which went bammmm in my head - something I have felt to be an absolute truth since the age of about 14. That life can be understood, deconstructed and better savoured, simplified by reading A Room With A View.

It is and will always be my favourite film.

A second thought came to mind today, I was asked to engage in a mind melt thing about children's literature.

I thought of the Moomins. On Mother's Day I give you Moomin Mamma :

'You have to go on a long journey before you can find out how wonderful home is.'

Today is Michaelangelo's birthday. Born in 1475 at Caprese. I'm including a link to The Ashmoleum. One can call up and arrange an appointment to see the collection.

You know when words bash around your head, familiar, sometimes in slivers, portions. I have been thinking about the poem Invictus, the poet William Ernest Henley an inspiration to me when I was younger.

Right. Food. There will be banquets and banquets for Mother's Day. Tomato sandwiches and salads. Cakes and clafoutis.

My super, mamma food - white asparagus or any asparagus and oysters with frisky shallot vinegar. Not by the six or twelve but by the trentaine.

Happy day.