Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Postcards from the Edge

Dear Pom Pom,

We have settled most satisfactorily into our latest little home. I have found a book with a whole section on water! Oh the rivers of Ireland, Pom Pom, are fine and flowing things. One is so black and so deep and so sleek that it reminded me vividly of dear Otter. Mags says that the salmon leap there, and men seek their knowledge. Close by we visited the spectacular Giants' Causeway, and Mags held on tightly to us, so heavy was the rain becoming and so shaken were we all by Mole's adventure. I'll let him tell his own tale. Hope all is well and happy with you? Our own book is a wonderful thing to behold now!

Well, Pom Pom, greetings from Ireland- it is certainly very agricultural and in places suburban. But there is exciting potential- do you see the title of this book? It has been done! Round Ireland with a fridge! I say! Mags' own fridge seems quite too permanently installed to be of use, sadly.

I must complain, Pom Pom, of Mole's behaviour recently. He has become quite, quite ridiculously unpredictable. Careering off into the dark without a word to anyone and causing all sorts of fuss and panic. Do send him a word of admonishment. Who knows what will become of us if he keeps this up- we have a quite a way to go, you know.

Mags took us to the very edge of the land at the weekend, and it was most pleasingly grand. Don't you think I am looking remarkably dapper after all this globetrotting? Shame Mole can't say the same, ha ha!

Dearest Pom Pom, how are you? Congratulations on the latest addition to your most lovely family. Mags showed us the photographs. I fear I gave her the most dreadful scare at the weekend, but secretly to you I can confess what a thrilling time I had!

I know she didn't at all mean to drop me from her bag. She was really quite preoccupied at the time. She was hurrying from a shop where she had spent quite some considerable time, and was talking to her (fine) husband on her phone and rummaging for her car keys at the same time. I am hoping to spring clean that bag sometime soon.

All was well in the end. I didn't lie in the middle of the street for too many hours, and it wasn't Mags' fault that it started to rain. Some of the local Wombles did shuffle along after dark to ask if I wanted to join them in their burrow for some hot berry juice and a nice forty winks, but I trusted that Mags would return. And she did! And really, I'm sure those lovely volunteers at the Corrymeela Community had much better things to do than worry about me, but I was very touched by their kind concern.

Best wishes to you and our faraway home. Please pass on our deepest, most humble thanks to all the wonderful families who have hosted us thus far. We are having a fine time!

Emily, USA; Emily, Canada; Catherine, Germany; Matt, USA- thank you!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Greatitudes 498 - 527

This week I am very grateful for Lent. The time where you clear a space to find more of God and He rushes straight in and says, "I'm here for you." Thoughts rush in too and so many of them are shared through Floss. This is a very special, and a very tangible, result of bloggisme! Thankful for pancakes and a husband who'll make them continually all week!

There is progress on the blanket, and it is slow and erratic, but as some of you so beautifully pointed out, where's the rush?! Its width is the perfect length for a sun who stands above my shoulder and it is now just deep enough for him to snuggle under!

However, today I am overwhelmingly grateful to Cooking Catherine for an invitation to join her on a duty weekend at the Corrymeela Community. Living in community fascinates me, because I am so bad at it! But in the Croi for worship, looking at the cushions so intricately laid out on the floor, I was struck by how they lay cheek and jowl, jostled by each other, rubbed by each other, uncomfortable maybe with each other. But there they were, laid out before the cross, and fit for purpose, getting the job done.

"Come for a weekend of peace and quiet," said Catherine. "Come and get your head showered." (Interesting Northern Irish? expression for clearing the mind- no doubt linked to climate!) So I took my crochet and my book and my Lent journal. And barely touched any of it- so much noise and bustle and tea to drink and food to eat and volunteers to chat to and jobs to be done and tea to drink and food to eat and noise and tea and food..... I had the most fun, genuine, belly laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh fun that I have had in ages!

I did also walk lots and lots yesterday and there was much time to breathe and look and stand in awe. This is a wondrous land.

Now. Confession. I am deeply, deeply grateful that he who was lost has been found! Bedraggled, paint that has run, bit grubby from his ordeal. Oh dear! The full sad tale will be told tomorrow- but Mole has had a real live dark and scary adventure!

Sunday, 26 February 2012


I thought we were starting with valour, and had already decided to find a Rend song to go with each of the Cardinal Virtues this Lent. So here is Cost! In apology for using all these Youtube steals, I would state that we have bought both albums, and you should too! Pay special attention to the wonderful Northern Ireland pronunciation of "counting"!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Poor Ratty

He has Toad on one side telling him that this is not at all suitable accommodation for a toad of his standing and brave Mole on the other organising lists of tidying and dusting and washing and ironing and sorting and mending and fixing and...

Maybe they're just a tad tetchy after their long flight, though Frances did ensure that they had fabulous reading matter! I'm taking them away for the rest of the weekend. Giants await!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Willows (may) have landed!

It is so spring-like today that the down jacket has not been out of the house and I wore shoes instead of boots for the first time since September! So, for their third country and second continent I am deciding that we can call this their third season of travels! I think the Willows may be on the island of Ireland! As I was out today, however, I missed the nice man in a van from Royal Mail who left his calling card. The only package I'm expecting is one full of a Grand Tour of the Whole World so I shall be going back to my nice friend on the hilltop tomorrow.

Hopefully a night's incarceration will not seem too much of an anti-climax after a trans-Atlantic flight and their daring escape from North Carolina- but I fear I will have much making up to do! Oh the pressure- below the highlights of their American Adventures- with joyous thanks to their hostesses!

Fast cars and a loose (Barbie) woman in Canada.

Churning butter in Oregon, amidst palatial splendour.

Back to beloved willows- but in Minnesota they are mystical ancient swamp willows!

Pooh Sticks in Appalachian mountain streams, and another charming young lady.

Fast cars and a glimpse of home at DISNEYLAND, FLORIDA for Christmas.

Held hostage in North Carolina. Biblical nature of escape most pleasing! For a full reminder of their adventures hitherto click on the links at the top right of fraise. Look out, County Antrim- here they come!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Greatitudes 471 - 497

Pussy Willow a month on. Generous friends with cosy house in Bushmills. Beaches, sand dunes, rusted old rail roads, tunnels, rock pools, FUN. Husbands, wine, gas fires, quiet nights. Friends, children of friends, coffee and colouring and cakes. Family feasts. Progress and unexpected stars hiding in balls of wool. Angela, bondaweb and Ikea. Adventurous families who will drive with you into the higher hills for THE PRIZE!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

It has come quickly upon me this year- too much worrying about snowlessness to see it coming! But it's time to dust off the brume and walk into the desert, signing up with Floss on the way, and onward.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Grumpy giveaway

Even the Wombles are mocking us now. Tonight's chapter was The Snow Womble: It was a really beautiful morning, with the sun just up and the snow almost blindingly white except where it was in the shadows, where it turned to deep blue.

I had been saving this book for our snow.  I was ready for an un-white Christmas, and could happily console Jo. It always snows in January, I was thinking confidently. Ha!

So before winter is no longer with us, and given the profusion of hot cross buns and tulips in my local multi-huge national supermarket, I shall just have to offer you this now. I can no longer bear to look at the tantalising snowflake on the cover.

I must be clear. I am aforewarned by Angela's recent post. This book was given to me a whole snowy season ago, but it remains unread- it may be set in France but Mosse's deep caves are far too scary for me! So comment at your peril- one intrepid reader will be chosen next week. Bon courage- you might want to share some little anecdote of your snow with the poor snowless of the ironically frozen North!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

And to you too, LHH!

Well, I'll tell you what. I may well have suspected all manner of mischief on the Willows' Grand Tour of the Whole World, but I did not for one minute envisage just what might befall them from the hands of others! I will trust that they are indeed now leaving the Land of the Free, and there's an irony for you, keenly to be welcomed on the Emerald Isle.

I can only recommend that you recap on their American Adventures via the links to your right. I will do my best to put up an overview of a whole season of travels but I'm too busy tonight. Now. Damson cheese in a jar...

Happy Valentine's Day, Banksy and Lisa R!

Prince Charming bought me a Banksy diary for Christmas. I was impressed. Provoked, interested and more than a little challenged by the cover, but exceedingly impressed! It's good to think, and even better to be made to think, I think.
I'm sure that this week's image was very deliberately placed, and it was the only one that I just couldn't live with! Could not bear the thought of the girl losing her love! Very painful memory of a balloon escaping from boot of car and small boy crying and small mum racing round block in exercise of utter futility!
So, in homage to Lisa R, here is my amended image of the week. Lisa does amazing things. Like Banksy. They make me think!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Blogogram to Frances

Release the Willows Three. Stop. Ransom dispatched. Stop. Amazon don't do damson cheese in a jar. Stop. Will belated reward for November's daily blogging do instead? Stop. Photographic evidence of Willows' well-being required. Stop. Immediately. So STOP hanging around drooling over sausages!!! Stop.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pretty you, appreciative me, joy-full possibilities

Here comes a gush. Stop me if I run to sycophancy! It is simply that I cannot help being moved by blogs and their bloggistes just lately.

It is Pom Pom's fault tonight. Her latest pretty, appreciative, joy-full post makes me wonder why I don't revel in the lovely little bits of everyday.

So this month I am resolving to enjoy pretty you, be a more appreciative me, and explore all the joy-full possiblities that must surely lurk on dusty shelves?

Or maybe even behind closed doors! Happy hearts for February. Gush over. I'll leave you alone for a while- half-term next week. I'll be exploring the joy-full possibilities of chaos....

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

For Mise

Mise has, as always, pronounced le mot juste in the her commentary on mon petit bloggisme. I wasn't thinking of cake stands per se, except that obviously subliminally I was. I am delighted!

Maybe if any old subbing money ever leaves County Hall and discovers the location of my non-Swiss bank account I'll get the Portia cake stand. This would be suitably appropriate after a part-time month of coaxing Year 9 through A Merchant of Venice.

This is the cake stand I'd send to Mise. Elegant perfection. Cake only to be served by lady-at-home in hat to match surrounded by an intelligent but still cake-appreciating circle of fine acquaintances.

Or perhaps we need something for Valentine's Day?
If a cake stand did appear, and actually, what a fine idea, it would perhaps be one of these.
Which one do you want? I'll ring County Hall tomorrow...

Happy St Patrick's Day!

  I hope you've had a lovely 17th March! The weather was glorious here today, and legend tells us that this must be because St Patrick h...