Thursday, 28 April 2011

Who Will Pay The Ferryman?

Good Morning Dear Friends!

Welcome once again to the study at Myrtle House where yours truly sits and writes for you despite a throat full of razor blades and an imminent case of ague upon himself; such is the love and esteem in which you are held - you lucky people!

It appears to be another lovely day with sunlight dappled blue sky filling the windows which suggests that the climatic pattern of recent years is being followed once again with the best weather appearing albeit always too briefly in May; selfishly I hope it lasts a little longer this year - at least until I return from Jura in early June!

All that seems to be lurching ahead though the transport issue is fantastically and amusingly complicated; I am currently engaged in trying to leave a message on an undecipherable voice-mail belonging to the captain of a ferry asking him to wait for me while I pick up a car from an airport on one side of an island and drive to the port on the other - an act of Diagon Alley and wizardry which must be completed in about 30 minutes! It's all good fun though and the lovely Sam from Whyte and Mackay tucked away up in Glasgow is doing her best to remain calm and  patient with my fixations about connection times and being prepared for any eventuality including attack by mutant star goat and its possible ramification on ticket validity! It is an adventure however and one I truly appreciate being chosen to undertake . . .

Today sees a brief pause in the madness and a meeting with Sister Cate in Nero in order to put the world to rights over green tea and muffins and possibly indulge in theraputis retailis  - an act which I consider only natural and my birthright though sadly somewhat hampered and curtailed by a total and utter absence of the necessary spondulicks to carry out the treatment to the nth degree of desirement but I shall do my best and soldier on bravely. . . 

The paucity of resources is causing me also to rethink the plans for continued enlightenment; two courses I had set my heart on - one of them booked and due to start next week - are now firmly on the back burner and in imminent danger of being bagged and placed in the freezer until the financial climate mirrors the meteorological one . . . it's very enervating and frustrating to have at least some of the skills but be unable to expand on them and get the necessary qualifications because of the lack of filthy lucre - a state of affairs that is mirrored in the life of many students already and one which can only increase in severity I believe . . .

Anyhow life is a compromise I suppose though as a concept I find that a tad unnerving . . . but accept it I must and on with it!  My financial wants could quite easily be satisfied by 1% of the cost of say, napkins, for tomorrow's shindig though I will leave it to you to decide which you think would be the most useful in the long run!

And I must leave you to your day too as mine grows older by the second and tasks wait somewhat impatiently to be dealt with - not least the small matter of walks with the Famous Sally Dog who's fan base continues to expand as neighbours and passing strangers continue to fall head over heels for her Patterdalian charms; we are off to see those lovely ladies at our favourite boutique shortly where I will buy yet more assorted tat to adorn the walls of Myrtle House - eclectic is the word - and Sal will receive love, attention and dog biscuits all in equal measure - a process she bears with fortitude and wagginess as always.

I hope you have a wonderful sun and love-filled day; and if you're off to the wedding tomorrow think of us poor writers starving in our garrets and maybe filch a napkin or two to tide us over these days of scarcity!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Sunday, 24 April 2011

O Lente, Lente Currite Noctis Equi!

Good Morning Dear Friends

And welcome to Easter Sunday - and what better way to start the day than with a cup of tea and a dash of Ovid? Well, perhaps quite I lot I hear you thinking and wondering why on Earth I should choose to weave this particular thread on this beautiful Spring morning for - unless your Latin is as rusty and dog-like as mine own - you will have realised that the quote translates as " Oh, run slowly, slowly, horses of the night"

Well, of course the horses in question are those charged with pulling Time's chariot and are spoken by one spending but a brief time with his lover; today seems such a beautiful day and as I read those words (in The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, incidentally) I was struck by their pertinence . . . each day and second is unique and should be valued and savoured and, as I seem to have written on a few occasions recently, I believe we spend too much time seeing purely our goals ahead and what we might achieve rather than looking at where we are and what we have in the moment . . . because, as another phrase will have it Omnia aliena sunt tempus tantum nostrum est - nothing is ours except time.

As I sit, in philosophical frame of mind it seems, the sounds of church bells from nearby All Saint's floats like thistledown through the open window of the study; the sky is robins-egg blue and the day stretches out like Sally in the sun, content merely to be which, after all, is everything.

I wish you all a wonderful day filled with happiness, joy and love

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Bunyips, Birthdays and Beautification!

Good Morning Dear Friends!

And Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos*  the first word of which is one supposed source for the name Maundy  - today being the particular Thursday that bears that name - although if that were to be the case it would more likely to be known as Mandy Thursday don't you think? Most people agree that it comes from the name of the baskets used to distribute alms to the poor . . . I still await mine patiently!
Anyhow, what ever its derivation welcome to it and what appears to be a whole bucket and spadeful of Bank Holidays approaching on the horizon with an unseemly rapidity! I must admit to a lack of in-depth knowledge of such ecclesiastical events; I asked in all seriousness yesterday if it were Palm Wednesday before realising the stupidity of my remark! I would like to thank my source of all thing Vatican for the gentleness of her rebuke and for only laughing for an hour or so . . .

For Easter is fast upon us and, although somewhat tardy this year, signals the fact that my current stint in academia is fast drawing to a close and with it comes the piercingly startling fact that, along with the several thousand words I need to conjure from thin air in an increasingly short period of time, I shall soon have more time to devote to that other thing I used to do - what was it called now? - ah yes, life!  Having said that I must admit I have another brief bout of learning to do, this one occupying Friday mornings and aimed at teaching me how to play - you're never too old to learn! - and I also have my eye set on a post- diploma course which would be fascinating and useful but is also madly expensive . . . hmmm! Ah well, I have the application form so let's wait and see . . .

Today is also the birthday of a very old friend; APS was one of my co-conspirators in preserving-sanity-by-being-insane at our old Grammar School and is now something huge in artiness in Bournville - and so a very happy birthday to him and wishes for more success and happiness than one can shake a Rotring rapidograph at!  

Curiously enough, next week also has a reminder of those days as another of my school chums making a flying visit from his little piece of Hebden to perform with his outfit at the local venue just around the corner from Myrtle House; David and the Midwich Assembly ( will be appearing as part of the Words Art Festival at the Tudor House on Thursday 28th April so be there or be somewhat rectangular in outlook and appearance! I intend to make a supreme effort to shift myself in that direction so maybe see you all there?

I hope you approve of today's little image by the way; it is a design for a t-shirt I did last year but still haven't got around to having it printed up . . . it should appeal to any antipodeans reading this waffle and think it makes a refreshing change from cute bunnies . . . I am, of course a March Hare man myself . . .

Talking of images I've spent some of the week  - and a not inconsiderable part of my budget - buying old pictures and frames which which to adorn the walls of Myrtle House; I've been a fan of all things Japanese for some time now and especially love the prints of people like Hasui, Utamaro and the creator of this wonderful little image Hiroaki Takahashi.  It is entitled Misty Spring Evening and I think it is adorable and brilliantly done! The different artists I have are all somewhat diverse but I think my walls should reflect the somewhat eclectic nature of my being, don't you? So, in an attempt Kimono My House I shall have a variety of styles and frames and various objects d'art scattered around the place - just like the inside of my head.

Today sees me off to do some preliminary work at my new counselling venue; setting up record systems, making appointments etc all necessary stuff. The people there seem a lovely bunch and it's especially nice that I already knew one face there who is always ready to greet me with a smile, a selection of songs from the shows and a cup of dubious tea - I have installed a pack of my own green tea in the cupboard already so as to avoid the pomegranate and slippery-elm confection offered by Mr H last time!

Before that I will be strolling around the local environs with my canine sweetheart Sal who has settled into Myrtle House readily and is busily making friends with the neighbours, stealing their hearts and food with equal aplomb! She loves the fact that, after tiring of sitting in the study listening to me clatter away on the keyboard she can trot off and become the hound of the baskers in the sunshine-bespattered courtyard - I have decided it is big enough to be a courtyard by the way; it's not just me being pretentious! - as well as the accompanying gated area of cobbles that is reserved for us . . . bliss!  Yesterday, I ate my lunch outside at home for the first time in ten or more years; such a treat!

Anyhow, the time as come and so I must away and beautify myself;  I hope you have a simply wonderful week of holiness and wholesomeness

'til next time

Be Seeing You!

*which translates as "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you"

Friday, 15 April 2011

If My Memory Serves Me Well . . .

Good Afternoon Dear Friends!

And welcome to this, the first posting proper from the finally finished study at Myrtle House! The clatter of keys is suitably accompanied by slurps of Lemon Tisane and ginger-nut craquelure crunches as I work through the early evening to bring you the very latest in happenings in this sleepy backwater, far from the madding crowds who populate the town at this time of year; for it is, as I'm sure you are aware, the school holidays and there appears to be 'youth' everywhere one looks.

Mesnes Park, a Victorian splendour which is currently undergoing restoration, is densely populated with huge groups of them, spread over the formal lawns like so many instances of mould on cheese but seemingly without the beneficial results; the trouble is, I suppose, that I find them so very loud. They seem intent on communicating purely by bellowing and shrieking;  I don't recall doing the same whilst at their tender years but I suppose that could be selective memory  . . . it's now nearly sixteen years since my own adolescent first saw the light of day, one Saturday afternoon at 17.17 to be exact . . . it certainly does make one query just where the time goes especially when the off-spring in question now towers over me and is making decisions about his life and career . . . I wonder if I should do the same? Hmmm! Maybe have another cup first . . .

So, exactly what has been happening? Well, in your absence the library has been upped and boxed and brought here and unpacked; new shelves courtesy of those wonderful Swedes now line some of the room and cushions and carpets abound giving a wee snug bolt hole for yours truly - and your good selves of course when you come to visit!

Plans are afoot for the Jura expedition with transport options being narrowed down by the lovely folk at the distillery;  I'm still trying to find some angel to give me a mac book so that I can look the part whilst sitting in secluded splendour, suffering in The Writer's Lodge for my Art - we don't do starving in garrets these days, no my dear ones  that's simply so passé ! However, if all else fails my wee Dell will have to do as it has done for the past year or so . . . it's just that computers age so rapidly these days as software designers make the progs more and more memory hungry  - and even as I write I notice that this main PC ( another Dell) is slowing and not doing as it should . . . still the small one's memory is still considerably better than mine in the short term . . . did I have that tea?

Well pot and cup are cold and so I presume I must have unconsciously consumed it . . . another cold object is nose-shaped and connected to a persistent canine who is probably passing on rather urgent memos regarding the capacity and probability of overflow from her bladder and so I shall cut this short before she gets caught short and the new rug in the study becomes waterlogged!

I hope you have a wonderful evening and that your weekend is full to the brim (sorry, Sal!) and bursting (and again!) with happiness and you are showered (Whoops! That could be the final straw!) with love and luck!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Monday, 11 April 2011

Transports of Delight . . .

Good Evening Dear Friends . . .

Welcome to the sequestered grange of Myrtle House after what can only be described as a bizarre day of mishaps transport~wise...

Today I was due to be in Bury to see my lovely clients. I had purchased the necessary ticket at the usual great expense, traversed the countryside deep in thought about how to activate mobile data settings on my new phone and had arrived at Manchester Victoria in time to catch my tram through the misty twisty ways to the town with the biggest most popular market in the universe - if you believe the publicity!

It was, of course, raining and so I was very pleased indeed when the aforementioned conveyance trundled into the station and welcomed me aboard. We had just passed the tram depot which lies somewhere between Victoria and Woodlands Road ( forgive my ignorance!) when suddenly there was a large flash and a huge bang and the tram stopped; the driver left his cab to inspect and came back in and started the tram again.  This time the bang and the flash were somewhat larger and accompanied by copious amounts of smoke issuing from the pantograph housing on the roof of the tram.

Smoking like a kipper we crept into Crumpsall and waited. After a while we were asked to leave the tram and board the next one which was two minutes behind. The original one now creaked off very slowly indeed towards the increasingly fabled Bury  and thoughts began to formulate in my head.  I could see a problem arising here in that the tramlines are single track; ergo if a tram is slow or, heaven forfend, stops then surely no other vehicle could pass?

Anyhow, the second tram arrived and on we got  and sailed onward to Heaton Park where we stopped again. The original tram had stopped for good this time and so needed to be shunted by our tram . . . this could be done but only if the tram doing the shunting was devoid of passengers.  So off we got to enjoy the seasonal gusts and rain of Heaton Park whilst awaiting our replacement tram - from here on referred to as #3. 

Time was leaping forward like a sexually frustrated hare and I was conscious of the fact that my first client would already be waiting for me and so I called ahead and apologised and said I would be there as soon as was humanly possible.  Right on cue #3 arrived like a white charger to rescue us from the dragon of despair, we got on and gave thanks even though now the original cast of one tram full was now three trams full so it was  very intimate indeed.

So we waited for the green light. We did this for five or ten minutes and enjoyed it so much we decided to do it for a wee while longer. Sadly after 20 minutes our fun was spoiled by an announcement that the trams ahead ( that's #1 and #2  - you following this?) were stuck and it would be a considerable time before any progress could be made.  I decided I'd had more than my fair share of tram-sardines and gave up my place in the can in order that others could breathe.  On the platform ( still raining) I called and cancelled my appointments, crossed the footbridge and waiting for the tram back to Manchester.

Obviously sensing my disappointment at being able to travel in a reasonable manner the authorities responded, after five minutes consultation, with a declaration that no trams whatsoever would be in service on the Bury line and we should consider alternative forms of transport.  Having left my velocipede at home I decided to get the bus which disappointingly turned up, was road worthy and had me back in Manchester - via the delights of Cheetham Hill - before I could say " This is a farce and I want my ticket refunded!"

The train was no better; delivering me as it did unscathed and in a prompt fashion in time to utter my phrase at the ticket office at Wigan Wallgate where a delightfully pleasant and helpful creature duly refunded all my pennies.  

However, not everyone's day has been so fortunate; a dear friend of mine noticed a wee light blinking in her car and so drove to her dealership to have it looked at which, £660 later they duly did, and invited her back again tomorrow to finish the job; at least I got my money back if not the several hours of my life consumed by public transport . . .

And so here we are; late into the evening and sleep is calling me.  I have two newly assembled bookcases to stock before tomorrow's arrival of the study sofa and so I intend to get my head down for a few hours kip.

I hope your day has been better and that your tomorrows are doubly so; sleep well and wake refreshed joyous in the knowledge that, unless misfortune rains upon you, you are unlikely to be going to Bury . . . and certainly not by tram!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Monday, 4 April 2011

Walking the Long Road . . . *

Good Evening Dear Friends . . .

And how the devil are you? Yours truly is somewhat under the weather due to a sleepless night followed by a long but ultimately satisfying day with clients in Bury and the complete refusal of my legs to work or my elbow to shrink to a size suitable for an elbow rather than a thigh . . . but I thought I'd dash off a few lines before bedtime just to reassure my faithful public (and myself) that I'm still alive!

Big news for me this week is that it looks as though plans for the sojourn in the Writer's Retreat on Jura are firming up nicely; I should be winging my way there in around 6 weeks or so and am planning to be there for around 4 days - bliss!  I must say that I'm so grateful to the wonderful people at Jura who are supporting me in this and making it all possible; it is an amazing opportunity and one that I never imagined would come my way . . . it's also spurring me on to re-examine other aspects of my life, not just the creative areas, because winning this award has allowed me to rekindle a little bit of self-belief . . . so thank you Diurachs!

The week ahead is busyish - not least in that a sweet wee sofa should be arriving for the study - somewhere for me to lounge in comfort when the muses have temporarily abandoned me  - and Friday sees me visiting one of my most beloved places ever . . . yes, I'm off to Stockholm! Well, the little bit of it that resides next to Marks and Spencer in the Gemini Retail Park and does marvelous meatballs and gorgeous bookcases . . . the latter being the main -  but I'm sure not sole  -  reason for my trip!  I'm really looking forward to having the study fully sorted . .. a room of ones own, eh! And as I write these words I am floating in silence - another experience I didn't imagine I would ever have again!

Tomorrow I'm meeting up with the Old Duchess who's gracing both Nero and me with her presence - just hoping that the weather is a tad less colder than today . . . the OD feels the cold dreadfully these days;  visiting her at home in the stately pile normally results in me sporting a bikini after walking through the door . . . no, not literally of course, but you get my drift! Actually, sitting in a place like Nero is such a departure for her - she used to consider 50p to be rather over the top for a cup of coffee -  but she does like the atmosphere and sitting with me watching the world go by . . . On Thursday I have a meeting with some lovely people in the counselling world about an exciting new venture for me to undertake . . . it's all good stuff!

Oh dear! As I write this piffle for you my aged PC is struggling manfully but is, I'm sure, about to give up the ghost once and for all; I need to update and I don't need to remind you of my plans on that particular front, nor the seeming impossibility of achieving them . . . but, if the Jura experience has taught me anything it is that you never do know, do you!  Now, what did I do with Steve Job's email . . .

Whilst I search for that i shall leave you to enjoy what little is left of the evening;  I hope your week is fruitful and rewarding and filled with all the love you need -  and a wee bit more! 

'til next time

Be Seeing You!

* the "Long Road" is the name given to the one road on Jura ॐ

Friday, 1 April 2011

White Rabbits . . . Again!

My Dear Friends!

Ah!  Well, I have to admit that there was a significant amount of lower limb manipulation going on in my previous post; it being very date related of course . . . However, I did give a tiny - well, not so tiny, really - clue with the April Fish logo, didn't I?  Aren't you glad that it was a just a load of codswallop?

Mind you, it makes one appreciate the many free opportunities the internet affords us poor struggling writers - imagine if blogs were pay-per-view! I'm sure no-one would be reading my words - I certainly couldn't afford to do so!

So I'll wish you a very happy first of the month and hope that the silliness continues throughout the year - it would be great if that's all the world had to trouble itself about, wouldn't it?

Have a great day, a great month, a great life!

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

White Hares, Hairs and Fish in April

Dear Friends  . . .

It does sometimes beggar belief, doesn't it? 

First of all blogs disappear for no reason and then Blogger introduce a charging system without telling anyone!

What this means, sadly, is that most of you who read this humble offering will already have been running up a large-ish bill that can be added to anything you buy on-line via Google!

My apologies to you all and a small Poisson d'Avril to each and every one of you!

Following more research I expect to post a follow up to this at around Midday BST

'til next time
Be Seeing You !