Tuesday 27 May 2014

But some things are simply beautiful...

Like the incredible photographs Hilary displays on her blog, The Smitten Image. Bless her cotton socks, she has given me permission to use any of her images to spark my writing, So with no further ado, here is a detail from one I particularly admired, complete with my added Tanka.  There may be more poetic thoughts in the pipeline ...

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Nothing Is Ever Simple

For example, buying this new cooker, after the drop down grill door of it's predecessor dropped, and refused to un-drop... or in common parlance, would no longer stay closed. As I'd bought it second hand in 1992, it had done sterling work, and deserved its retirement.
New safety rules and regulations meant a gas/electric expert had to disconnect the old appliance, as well as re-connect the new.

Perhaps you begin to see the logistics of needing two cookers in my kitchen at the same time, so that only one visit from the fitter would be needed? When a payment of £65 is charged for such a person to simply step across your threshold, you can see how the cost may escalate, if the whole operation isn't tackled like a military exercise!

However, after several unintelligible mobile calls from a non-native UK van driver, the cooker arrived late Monday morning, and a Little and Large duo carried in the appliance you see here in all its glory. They removed all the plastic sheeting and polystyrene blocks with umpteen wooden strut strengtheners, and left me with the untrammeled stove, and no wheelie bins stuffed with its wrappings. Bonus brownie points.

A local gas/electric fitter arrived at tea time to do his bit - only to discover the old bayonet gas pipework was so old, the modern replacement wouldn't fit. Off he trundled to the nearest supplier, but they'd closed an hour ago. He said he'd be back with the new part at 8am Tuesday, which left me with the happy prospect of having a pizza delivered for my dinner, as no way was I in a frame of mind to cook, even if I could. And he told me the end payment would be £105.00...

Eight o'clock on the dot, he arrived as promised and fitted this smug looking silver-coloured gadget, as befits a Silver Surfer like me. He also said he had a mate who would come later in the day to take away the old cooker at no extra charge. Another bonus. And I went to bed last night with dreams of cooking up a storm or two...eventually. Eventually being the operative word, for it so happened the length of electric cable supplied with the cooker was not long enough to reach my previous socket, and if I didn't want to permanently play put-and-take with my kettle plug, I'd need another one fitted in a better position behind the cooker.

For another £65 pounds, he'll come back next Tuesday to 'socket to me' ?! And I thought that would be a wrap.

But no. I was counting hatching chickens erroneously.  After lighting the grill to toast a currant bun this morning, as the fan started its automatic humming, a CLOUD of blue smoke and an awful scent of burning rubber blew out of the grill cavity, as I grabbed the pallid, un-toasted bun from its jaws.

The manufacturers will be sending an engineer to inspect my appliance in due course. And 'twas on a Monday morning that the gas man came to call, as the song says...

Saturday 10 May 2014

Love Thy Neighbour?

Listen to the news on almost any day, and there will be talk of unrest somewhere in the world; Russia and Ukraine ; kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria; these are but two examples we've heard of during recent days, and this made me think about how Nature copes with its differences.

Do you see plants having a battle royal over territory, or ownership? Of course not. They carry on doing their own thing, minding their own business. If only we could all live the same way...

In Harmony

Honeysuckle twines and plaits its way
through jasmine, smoke bush, lavender, hibiscus.
Foliage and flowers flourish here,
with scant respect for others' boundaries.
They intermingle, managing to grow
with minimum of fuss. No fight for food,
for space, for light, appears to stunt their growth.
The flower kingdom lives its days in peace,
with only nature's laws to shape its fate.

Friday 9 May 2014


A Plane Tree's Beauty

Dappled shadows waiver on bricks-
muted red-brown, dust covered-
beneath the plane tree's canopy
of rustling, summer's-end leaves.

In blocks of cool grey, shading to umber,
the bark flaunts a rich, textured surface,
while one bright spot of gamboge
draws the attention like a beacon.

Specks of eau-de-nil moss, or fungus,
are embroidered in a sparse pattern
down one side. They lift the colour palette
into another dimension, alien to the tree,

whose branches spread a benison of calm
over all below. The day's breath
slows at the approach of dusk, until
a sudden crescendo sends a few dry leaves

spiraling to earth, where they scutter
over the cobbles, rasping, brittle, whispering,
as they scurry across the road's surface
in a wind-whirled dance of Autumn.

Looking through folders on my computer just now,  I thought this picture and poem should be in partnership, even though they are nothing to do with Spring. The same tree which inspired both, is now dressed in a new gown to greet another year. I stood admiring it, last time I walked to the shops, and it's as beautiful as ever

And now I'm linking it to Imaginary  Garden - long after its first appearance!  Hope some people enjoy it anyway...

Thursday 8 May 2014

Where Did Yesterday Go?

In the blink of an eye, of course, where else? Do you have days which concertina, despite your best efforts to stretch them longer? Wednesday was like that for me. All intentions to write a blog post went out the window, and I spent the greater part of the day immersing myself in yet more music. I blame this, of course, on my discovery of Loreena McKennit and my initiation into iTunes for Windows.

They both occurred on the same day.  With happenstance leading me to Ms McKennitt's video on Tuesday, curiosity about her music soon had me rushing to join iTunes - something I'd previously ignored. As with every other technological bit of wizardry I embrace despite initial reluctance, it caused some minor blips, from which my long suffering No. 1 son rescued me. Bless him. Again.

By Wednesday morning I was clutching my Plastic Pennies in my hot little hand, metaphorically speaking, spending them at the rate of 79p per track on collecting iTunes for all I was worth. Or about £7.11's worth, whichever was the greater! No problems there, but, in order to choose favourite tracks, I had first to listen to the whole album...That is my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. LOL.

So I had another magical musical day; live at the Alhambra with Loreena  McKennitt, torn between West Meets East with Yehudi Menhuin and Ravi Shankar, memerised by Joshua Bell's violin concertos by Bruch, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky then serenaded by Voces8 as they sang my favourite 'O Magnum Mysterium', from their album Eventide.

Hence no blogpost.

Though to make up for missing a day, here's an extra, poetic thought to add to the musical ones above.

Blank Pages

Our book of life falls open at a page
whereupon we write our stories daily,
with tracery that weaves our souls’ intent
into the fabric of the words we choose;
ours the choice to seek the light or dark
inks to embellish the script of our play.

We have to take the leading role. Each act
supplies a cast of characters for us,
without whom our production would be dull,
a monologue in shades of monotone
uniformity.  So raise the curtain,
let the orchestra play an overture
as we stand in the wings of a stage set
with backdrops poised to paint the scene for life.

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Magic of Music

Since I bought an Internet WiFi Radio, I've been listening more and more to a Dublin station which goes by the the name of Live Ireland 1.
Many of the folk songs it broadcasts are in Gaelic, but just as with Indian songs I enjoy, the language of the music creates no barriers in my mind.
But  I'm unable to Google for the titles of any  of them, because I can't speak or read the Gaelic! What a conundrum.
However, here is a perfectly understandable English title to one well know melody, which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.

Monday 5 May 2014

Bank Holiday Monday

That doesn't sound half as romantic as May Day, does it?  The first of the month used to be our traditional day for a holiday, but eventually powers that be decreed it had to be forced to fit a Monday mould, regardless, thus the first Monday in May took on a new persona.

But in the spirit of ancient traditions, if not by date, here's a picture of a birthday card I've kept for many years, because of its special 'vibes' which I hope will bring a spring to your step, if not Spring to your local environs!

Sunday 4 May 2014

Asda Takes The Cake

Or at least, one lady in their customer care team. In a moment of idiocy, I sent them a copy of the 'Pesto Houmous' diatribe I posted here last Thursday.
Saturday morning I got the following reply:_

Hi Penelope

Thank you for your email about the pesto houmous.
What would I do, if I had the same pesto as you?
I'd make sure we sell more so that every customer gets them in store.
I'd suggest them as one of the best, and give the pessimists a taste test.
I'd buy so many, but then that wouldn't leave you with any.
So instead what I'll do, is leave the pesto with you.
I hope I don't see any drivers, youths or dog walkers in green. But if I do, I'd know you weren't being mean.
You like the pesto, and want to share it too. I might not get to taste it, but I'm very glad you do.

Thanks again for contacting me and if there’s anything else I can help you with please let me know.
Have a good day.
Kind regards

Asda Home Shopping Team

Thank goodness a sense of fun is still alive in this commercialised world.

Saturday 3 May 2014

Inside Out

Or perhaps that should be inside looking out, because four years ago, this was the view I had as I sat here before the gaping hole which was, and would be, patio doors.
And why blog about it today?
Well, last time I was wandering down my reading list path to pop in an out of other Bloglanders' worlds, one lovely lady gardener had a snapshot of a plaque which said 'Leave room for fairies .'  Sadly, my abysmal ability for name recall, means I can't at this precise moment say who she is, but it might come to me later.

Anyhow, I thought I could guarantee a promise to do exactly that, and started to hunt through files, to prove it... But I became disillusioned when I came across this image. Which self-respecting fairy would chose to set up home in such a rain-splattered wilderness? None.

That's why I had some squatters!

This Mummy fairy and her offspring roosted high on a shelf, well out of the reach of inquisitive fingers and guarded by two fearsome Chinese Dragons who happened to be circling nearby...

 A  diminutive cousin chose to hide herself away amongst some fairy foliage on the opposite side of the room, while a couple of Woodland Sprite Tree People danced on top of my bookcase in admiration...
The workman soon had my garden back to rights, but for some reason the fairy folk you see here decided to stay with me on this side of the new double glazing.

From here, safe and warm, they may gaze at the often wet and windswept playground which awaits them, should they decide to escape, any time I slide open the patio door. Do you think they ever will?

Friday 2 May 2014

Calloo Callay

Oh, frabjous day! This morning, as I opened up Napple Notes, Lo and behold! The top of my page had a NavBar (of sorts) complete with a Blogger logo, and a message about Cookies.

This reminded me that I had opted out of as many cookies as possible, some months back... Now, perhaps I shall experiment with allowing some again, to monitor the effect that has. It's certainly brought back my longed for NavBar, for starters. Yay!

At least for the moment, I have no wish to yell 'Pesto Houmous!' in the direction of Blogger!

Thursday 1 May 2014

Pesto Houmous

My eyes focussed on those two words as I threw a paper wrapper in the bin, and my brain had a Harry Potter moment. I suddenly pictured them being used as a spell to ward off any loutish or unseemly behaviour.
"Pesto Hounous!" car drivers could shout at jaywalkers, to make them think twice before undertaking a potential suicide mission.
"Pesto Houmous!" we could fling at unruly youths as they mingled in boisterous groups, blocking our path.
"Pesto Houmous"! we could chant, as we pointed our invisible wands at the non-public spirited dog-walker who failed to have a Pooper-Scooper ready to wield as necessary.

Now you try. Say the words out loud and with gusto, then give us a clue as to whom you might be inspired to aim them at! Hehehe! And at worst, should your spell prove effective, your victim would only be covered in a tasty, green-tinted sludge, and no harm would have been done.