Sunday, 31 July 2011

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”

I'm trying, I'm really trying but my right foot is SO painful...

Kenji Miyazawa, who said that stuff about pain, was a Japanese poet and author of children's literature in the early Shōwa period of Japan. He was also known as a devout Buddhist, vegetarian and social activist.

But not a road runner.

I'm not by any means a coward. I keep going and I keep going. I've been embracing my pain AND I've been burning it as fuel for my journey. SO THERE Kenji Miyazawa!

My body is NOT co-operating. My policy of ignoring the pain in the belief that it'll simply give up and go away isn't working.

I'm seriously fed up.

(Note how I phrased that very politely)

Speak again tomorrow when I'm sure I'll have recovered my equanimity.


Saturday, 30 July 2011

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that and for me it resonates.

Today is our THIRTY FOURTH wedding anniversary! (Not me and Antoine but me and Pete!)

Here I am on that special day.

And here we are together.

Honestly, we don't look that much different.

I am immensely proud and happy today.

Sometimes, things have gone badly and we both thought that was IT for our relationship, but there was always something that saw us through, kept us working at it.

Now, I couldn't be happier.

What a lucky girl I am.

Friday, 29 July 2011

“The more you let yourself be distracted from where you are going, the more you are the person that you are.

"...It's not so much like getting lost as it is like getting found.”

Courtesy of William Stafford, American poet and pacifist.

Drawing courtesy of Mindfulness In Education.

This week has been a mare of a week from a distraction point of view. And that expression is an insult to mares everywhere.

I seem incapable of getting on with my writing if the gap between appointments and Things That Must Be Done is too small.

I get into a flap...

...and achieve nothing.

BUT - I have met some great people who may open doors for me to achieve more as a writer.

I was going to say "networking is so important." But what a horrible, HORRIBLE buzzword networking is.


That's a lot more like it!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

“Nothing is certain in London but expense.”

The quotation was written by William Shenstone, poet and landscape gardener, sometime in the eighteenth nothing much has changed about London then.

I have a meeting there this afternoon. I'm not sure who it's with - I mean, I know the name of the woman but nothing about her - and I'm not sure what it's about. It MIGHT mean more work for me, which is always exciting.

Country girl goes up to the Big City. I like going to London. It makes me feel grown-up. But I like coming home even better.

So, ARE the streets of London paved with gold?

I'll tell you later.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

"Oh, what a shock. My career must be slipping. This is the first time I've been available to pick up an award."

Michael Caine said this. I like it!

ANYWAY - today I'm going to an award ceremony. Not the Oscars. Not the BAFTAs. Not even for me. It's for Pete's company - UHV Design. They've won the Queen's Award for Enterprise, for International Trade. Don't ask me what they trade in. If I try to tell you, my brain might explode.

Here is a pretty picture, anyway, just to give you an idea. This is an MD35lBX000Z ISO (top view) Though, of course, I didn't need to tell you that.

The trouble is, I have to get myself into a Director's Wife costume. Not to mention a Director's Wife Persona. The mad purple hair makes it a little tricky to appear civilised and conventional.

Worst of all - THE SHOES. I HATE wearing smart shoes. If you were to ask my feet, they'd tell you they prefer riding boots.

Oooh, those are nice! (not)

I did once win an award, with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and The History Channel. The Focal International Award for Best Use of Footage in an Educational Film.

The ceremony was at the Savoy. (Get me!) Our particular section was quite well on into the evening. By which time I had drunk much champagne and kicked off my insanely ridiculous shoes, so sure we wouldn't win.

We did win. I had to go up on stage and make a speech. In a split second, I decided NOT to put my shoes back on. (I could hardly walk anyway)

It wasn't until the photographs were taken that I came to and realised that my stockinged feet would be visible to THE WORLD. I started blustering. The man from the BBC said "I did notice you had no shoes and I thought - How cool is that?"

Bless him.

Judicious cropping. You can't see my feet.

But I do look quite short.

Swings and roundabouts.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

“Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is...

...I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the drug store, but that's just peanuts to space.”

Douglas Adams. Oh, how I love 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' - the original, radio version most of all.

However, the reference to space is nothing so intellectual as commemorating the final space shuttle mission. In fact, it's quite a feat to produce a blog at all.

It's to do with the state of my head. Spaced out.

Too many pain-killers yesterday. I think.

Either that or someone has stuffed porridge up my nostrils and into my brain while I was sleeping.

I'm rather hoping it's as a result of the former.

The latter would just be TOO weird.

Monday, 25 July 2011

“An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.”

Hmmmm - it doesn't look as though Lord Chesterfield did much in the way of road running - but you never can tell.

Anyway, my stupid body is probably trying to tell me that I'm not as young as I used to be. (My body is very good at coming out with axiomatic truths.)

I have tendonitis.

Posterior tibial tendonitis, says Doctor Internet. Which, apparently, is not that common. OF COURSE IT ISN'T.


The good news is that although it's painful to walk, let alone run, riding is fine, as is riding my bike, and so is swimming, so I don't have to undo all the weeks of stamina training.

Yesterday I embarked on a Tour de Buxted. A bit like the Tour de France, only shorter.

I won!

But then, I was only competing against myself.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

“No guest is so welcome in a friend's house that he will not become a nuisance after three days”

Titus Maccius Plautus...yes, I tend to agree with you.(Not that I want to discourage anyone from visiting, you understand.)

We just had visitors.
They came for dinner and stayed overnight, then left after breakfast.
It was lovely!

The trouble with me is I'm such a light-weight. I'm often in bed at 9 o'clock or sometimes as late as 10 if I'm feeling daring.

I get tired and when I'm tired, things get all out of proportion. With visitors and visiting other people's houses it's that balance between being polite and self-preservation!

Yesterday, I had a sleep in the afternoon and didn't go to bed until 11.45.

I survived! I feel kind of pathetic to admit it.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”

Kahlil Gibran.

Today I'm sad for the people of Norway. Sometimes, I think being sad about news items can be pretty self-indulgent - but some of my heart is in Norway. It has been since I was about fourteen.

I spent a few months working there in the year before I went to university. (I'd already fallen in love with the place on school ski trips to Voss)

I worked on a farm way up in the north. Here's me with a piglet I nobly bottle-fed, saving his little life so he could be made into bacon a bit later! In the push-chair is Rune, grandson of the Hellem family. More of him in a bit.

Here is Rune's Mum, Åsa. I didn't see that much of her as she was away at college when I was on the farm


About a year ago, I found Åsa on Facebook! It took me about two minutes. She replied to my message in about five minutes. Facebook has its detractors but tell me that wasn't magical - thirty six years on. Rune and I speak quite a lot.

And here is Rune now, with one of his children and his grandmother, the kindest of women who gave me a home and memories to treasure all those years ago.

Rune lives in Oslo now. He and his family were safe. Åsa was on a visit to Oslo. She was a few blocks away from the bombing, unhurt but scared. As she said:

Brått ble en hyggelig Oslo tur noe helt annet - Suddenly, a nice trip to Oslo became something completely different.

My heart goes out to everyone. I must go back there soon.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Do not plant your dreams in the field of indecision...

...where nothing ever grows but the weeds of "what-if."

Someone called Dodinsky said this. I can't find out anything about Dodinsky except that he says things like this which you can purchase written on mugs, mouse-mats and T-shirts.

One day, maybe I'LL say something wise enough to appear on a mug?

ANYWAY - today we went to view a house. It is the house of my dreams. It's all higgledy-piggledy and has a balcony for breakfasts and two loose boxes and a paddock for the horses and is in the village where I want to live.

Me - ruled by my heart

BUT selling our own house will be SUCH AN EFFORT, won't it?

Peter - ruled by his head

Who knows?

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Music is an outburst of the soul.

Delius said this. He of 'On hearing the first cuckoo in spring' and 'The Walk to the Paradise Garden' fame. If that IS fame. Not if you've never heard of it, it isn't.

Don't call me highbrow. My mind is on much less ethereal music. I turned the radio on this morning, in the car on the way to the yard - Heart FM, if you must know - and there was the Electric Light Orchestra with Mr. Blue Sky.

Immediate smile, lusty singing and a flood of happy memories.

Mr. Blue Sky was released in 1977.

In that year, I was in Liverpool, I graduated from university and I got married.

My life was indeed one of endless blue skies and sunshine.

It's lovely to be taken back there in an instant.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew his breath upon it, and created the horse.

...according to Bedouin legend. Perhaps I was a Beduoin in an earlier life?

I'm hoping Poppy and Alfie aren't online today because I don't want them to read this and get big-headed.

They are BOTH going very well at the moment. (Ssssssh. Pretend I didn't say that)

For a change they're forward-going. This doesn't mean they usually go backwards. It means that they are enthusiastic and lively and I don't need oxygen after about five minutes of trying to get them to move.

For a change, and for Alfie, for the first time EVER, they are collecting beautifully. This doesn't mean they've taken up jobs as dustbin horses but that they use their back ends to drive forwards instead of pulling themselves along with their front legs.

"The horse draws the body in upon itself so that it becomes like a giant spring whose stored energy can be reclaimed for fighting or running from a predator."

And I am in heaven.

I tell you, there is NOTHING as good as the feeling of being in perfect harmony with a horse.

It's even better than the times when writing just flows.

But that's pretty good too.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Sohn von Schadenfreude

...or I could say Braut Schadenfreude, if you prefer. It's all the same to me (except one means 'son of'and one means 'bride of')

Suffice to say, it's more about laughing at misfortune...

Yesterday, this story caused me considerable amusement:

To avoid paying a £2 fee at a nearby car park, the owner of a £30,000 Alfa Romeo driver decided instead to park it on a slipway next to a harbour before commuting to London by train.

By midday his posh motor was floating out to sea. Eventually, it was completely submerged under water.

Well, I'm sorry but that is FUNNY!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Only a weak mind seeks ultimate answers

Who is this Agnes Thornton woman?

(I do TRY to credit people properly.)

Possibly HRH Prince Charles's 22-Great Grandmother. Possibly the sister of someone who signed the Declaration of Independence. Oh, and she's on Facebook.

SHE'S not on Facebook. She is The Unknown Woman painted by Ivan Kramskoy. I won't get started on 'Who is Ivan Kramskoy?' because I haven't got all day. I expect he's on Facebook too. Most people are.

ANYWAY - I am the proud possessor of a weak mind. Obviously.

I spent a lot of the weekend trying to write more of my screenplay.


I was seeking ultimate answers. Today I'm training my mind to be strong.

It's FAR more strenuous than training my body.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

There is no sight on earth more appealing than the sight of a woman baking a cake for someone she loves.

Thomas Wolfe nearly said that, only with "cooking dinner" instead of "baking a cake."

No sight on earth more appealing?
Perhaps he meant something more like this?

I was thinking about baking cakes because I've decided it must be some sort of psychological condition like the famous Dunning-Kruger effect.

There's even an equation and I expect probably a graph.

Caroline + Feeling Content = Bake Courgette Cake

I've just looked up a recipe for beetroot cake. I wonder what that means?

Is there any hope for me?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.

Good old Aristophanes. A man after my own heart.

Now - you know my theory about men with beards...

I am unable to say anything clever because a) No-one has passed me a beaker of wine.

b) I have water in my brain (and many other places too.)

This is the result of riding Alfie on Ashdown Forest for an hour and a half in the pouring rain, wearing nothing but a white aertex shirt on the upper half of my body not including my head. Why? Some sort of death wish?

(Note to self: white aertex goes transparent when wet.)

Then I came home, had a hot bath, got into some clean dry clothes and went to the Recycling Centre was pouring with rain and I got drenched AGAIN.

The good bit is it makes my hair extra curly.

The bad bit? What ARE the symptoms for double pneumonia? (What IS double pneumonia? Twice as much pneumonia as regular pneumonia?)

I'm sure I'll survive.

Friday, 15 July 2011

"The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize."

This is definitely one of my top ten quotes.
(Thank you Marnie, New Jersey girl and writing friend.)

Thank you too, Robert Hughes, Australian art critic, who said it first. He certainly gets my vote for taking issue with Mr. Formaldehyde Shark Damien Hirst about "the extreme disproportion between his expected prices and his actual talent."

I mean, come ON, people!

Yesterday was a day of learning interesting things. (Actually, most of my days are. There's an awful lot I don't know.)

Yesterday was the day when another writing friend - thanks Matias, Buenos Aires Boy - introduced me to the Dunning–Kruger effect.

Brace yourselves...

"The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled people make poor decisions and reach erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to appreciate their mistakes."

"The unskilled therefore suffer from illusory superiority, rating their ability as above average, much higher than it actually is, while the highly skilled underrate their own abilities, suffering from illusory inferiority."

AT LAST, I understand why Alfie is such a bundle of insecurities. He's just one super smart horse suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect.