Thursday, 30 June 2011

“You never saw a very busy person who was unhappy.”


Dorothy Dix, responsible for the statement, was an American journalist. At least, that was her pseudonym. Her real name was Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer (1861-1951)

I don't know if I agree with her or not. At the moment, I'm very busy and it's all going well and I feel in control of it, happy and fulfilled.

But sometimes when I'm very busy, too busy, I simply can't cope.
DEFINITELY not happy then.

I don't even know where the dividing line is between very busy and happy and too busy and unhappy.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Hi-ho Silver moments!

"Hi-ho, Alfie!" doesn't have quite the same ring to it somehow, but he does have a jolly good rear.

By rear, I mean that dangerous sudden vertical lifting of the front legs thing, but Alfie does have a very nice bottom as well. (I had to say that in case he's logged on)

Surprised passer-by: "Who was that masked man anyway?"

Tonto: "Kemo Sabe."

Surprised passer-by:" Uh? You what?"

Anyway, this morning Alfie reared in excitement, just like that, as we were coming round towards a jump during my lesson.

What I usually do is panic and pull him back sharply. (I can't think why! Perhaps it's because I value my life in a strange and rather pathetic way?)

Today, I thought "Right, if you want to do that you can (insert expletive of choice) well DO that, but afterwards you are going to jump this double."

So he did. We did.

Today is going to be a GOOD DAY!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Run like hell and get the agony over with.

Clarence De Mar, American marathon runner said this.

So - last night was the first meeting of the Beginners' Running Club. I count myself as a beginner because the last time I ran was in 1985.

I mean, I've run for buses and away from swarms of wasps since then but not RUN, as in for exercise.

In 1985, I took up running as a way of creating an identity for me. I had three very young children and I felt as though I, myself, had disappeared, however much I completely adored the children and still do.

I trained very early in the mornings before Peter went to work and ended up running two half marathons and one whole one.



Cath and I ran together last night. To our utter amazement, we ran about a mile, up hill and down, hardly walking at all and it was not that difficult.

We were gobsmacked too, and not a little proud of our ageing bodies.

Monday, 27 June 2011

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

Today, I was out riding Alfie, and he was going along very nicely thank you when a large bearded man leapt out from amongst some grapevines and starting reciting poetry at me. I say AT me rather than TO me because he had a very loud boomy voice.

Alfie was not impressed.

I was QUITE impressed.

Here is the poem:

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

This is by Jenny Joseph.

For your information, I see myself firmly in the LAST verse, practising growing old disgracefully by having purply-blue streaks in my asymmetric hair.

For the moment...

Sunday, 26 June 2011

The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions...

...running down their friends, side-stepping responsibility, and pushing their luck!

It's not the ONLY exercise I get - and, by the way, running down my friends isn't something I do.

I know I have lists of things to do but that isn't on any of mine.

But exercise is wonderful for my mind. Today, a ride on Ashdown Forest, tomorrow, apart from riding, I'm starting at the running club, Wednesdays is keep-fit...

My body aches, my knees hurt but my mind feels infinitely better.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

If isolation tempers the strong, it is the stumbling-block of the uncertain

Yes, I tend to agree with you, Monsieur Cezanne.

In my uncertainty, I couldn't decide which picture to choose. All of them are delightful...

So...yesterday, I went out to lunch, invited to celebrate a friend's birthday. I spent a couple of hours talking to REAL PEOPLE.

They are certainly more entertaining than courgettes.
Much better at the art of conversation.

Note to self: Spend less time talking to vegetables.

Friday, 24 June 2011

The first signs of madness?

Cue hysterical laughter (another sign of madness)

The thing is, I talk to myself most of the time. I mean OUT LOUD when there's no-one else in the house.

But - I'm NOT talking to myself, actually. So far, this morning I've had lots of conversations with Roly.

A bit more worrying is the lengthy chat I had with the courgettes in the vegetable garden. I thought it only polite to apologise for ripping them cruelly from their birthplace.

Then there was my computer keyboard. (It needed to know it was very dusty)

And the curtains in my bedroom. (Congratulations for opening so smoothly)

If you don't hear from me again, I'm probably engaged in dialogue with the lunatic fringe.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

To be successful you have to be lucky, or a little mad, or very talented, or find yourself in a rapid growth field.

Edward de Bono said that - the lateral thinking chappie.

And he doesn't even have a beard!

Gosh, I don't even know where to start with all that about success.

To be successful...what does that mean? For me, it changes all the time. At the moment, it means securing the services of a literary agent, so I can concentrate on writing and not dessicate my being in soul-destroying efforts to promote my work.

Even that's a paradox, because I have to promote my work to the literary agents!

I know I'm lucky.

I know I'm at least a little mad.

Very talented? I couldn't possibly judge.

Finding myself in a rapid growth field? Hardly.

Edward de Bono also said this:

If you never change your mind, why have one?

Now, THAT I can relate to!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Perfection has one grave defect: it is apt to be dull.

That's a relief, W Somerset Maugham, because I'm so many light years away from being perfect and my work is so very far from perfect that there's hope for me yet!

Continuing with the imperfection theme - for some reason at the moment I am unable to upload images. This blog is a self-fulfilling prophecy...

The annoying thing about it is that there must be the desire for attaining perfection in me, because I am compelled by some mysterious force to keep on trying with the images. Endlessly. Even though it must be a temporary fault with Blogger.

I'll tell you where I attain perfection! In wasting my time.

I'm going to come back to this later and try again.

(If there are images here now, it is because I've been following very convoluted instructions from a Google Help Forum. How ridiculous is THAT? It's not as if posting images is a matter of life and death.)


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.

Yesterday, I had an e-mail from a literary agent saying that having read the synopsis of my novel, she didn't think it was for her.

This would have been my usual reaction.

That I'm rubbish. I'm wasting my time. I should just give up. Park all my dreams somewhere because they aren't worth pursuing.

See, I even found myself an idiot-proof parking space.

BUT - by some miracle, I DIDN'T think that. What I thought was, 'That agent is not for me.'

In actual fact, I had lost my nerve a bit after approaching the top agent last time and getting closer to acceptance so, cowardy custard me, this time went for a LESSER agent thinking that perhaps I was being too ambitious. And she didn't even want to see my work.

It all goes to show, doesn't it?

I have just posted off the first fifty pages to another top agent.

Bon Voyage, my work!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Having imagination, it takes you an hour to write a paragraph that, if you were unimaginative, would take you only a minute.

 ...Or you might not write the paragraph at all. 

Franklin P Adams was an American columnist. Before he died, that is. He plainly knew what it's like to be a writer.

Over the weekend I had such FUN writing my screenplay. 

I wish I could tell you all about it but then I'd have to kill you. (It's for the final stage of a contest and authors must be anonymous)

My imagination had wings - and that's what takes me so long. Since I'm not writing a novel, every time I think of something - characters, settings, props - I can see it so vividly in my mind but then have to convey it in very few words that will still paint a perfect visual picture.

Believe me, it's very much harder writing less than it is writing more...

Snip, snip, writing, hate cutting.

It's a challenge though. Makes me realise I'm still alive.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.

That's me in the red shorts - me and my daddy, my sister Jane, mother and brother David.

It seems a very long time ago. Perhaps because it was.

My dad was a doctor and a writer. At least I inherited some of his dreams and perhaps live a little of his life's ambitions through what I do now.

I wish he was here today, always, to read my work.The good bits, anyway.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain

Today is like that. Sunshine and showers.

I rode Poppy in the sunshine and then it started raining and there was a rainbow and I had no coat.

We were dancing. It was magic.

Poppy and I share all our girlie secrets.
 And rainbows apologize for angry skies.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Violet will be a good color for hair at just about the same time that brunette becomes a good color for flowers.

Pah! This from someone who can't even spell colour correctly.

Excuse me while I find out who she is...this Fran Lebowitz character.

She's an American author. With hair not unlike my own.

Aside from her spelling and opinions about hair, she says some funny things.

Like: If you are a dog and your owner suggests you wear a sweater, suggest that he wear a tail.

Well, today I have a hair appointment. I was going to go for a change in image but after my huge success at the Antiques Road Show, I'm not so sure.

We'll see... 

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends

I've just had an interesting time at the Antiques Road Show...

No, I DIDN'T see Fiona Bruce. I think they only wheel her out when the sun's shining.

It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences that you look forward to and then think 'Well, that's crossed off the list, thank goodness. Never again.'

Think queues. Very British queues, four or five hours long, of people being stoic and making cheerful conversation in the slashing rain. Think blue plastic ponchos. I have one. Now. It was free.

So...I queued for nearly two hours (we arrived early) with my terribly valuable and interesting framed Napoleonic glass cameo, possibly by Desprez, with tiny letter stuck to the back of the frame dated 1850, saying that this was presented by the Archbishop of Rouen...see below, getting his cardinal's hat. of the ArchChancellor of Cambaceres, who was Napoleon's right hand man, by all accounts, and created the Napoleonic code that forms the basis of the French legal system.

He's the one on the left, next to Napoleon.

The cameo was a present to Dr. Golding Bird, a famous medical scientist who, amongst other things, invented the flexible stethoscope...

So I thought it was Quite Interesting.

The only trouble was, I knew a lot more about it than the expert.

The expert very much liked my hair. In fact, I think he found it more fascinating than my cameo.

Perhaps I should have asked him to value that instead?

BUT, I had a lovely time with my very specially good friend Tessa and her dad, Mr. P, who is ninety years old and as fit as a flea. We toured the gardens and house at Hever Castle, and fed the ducks and watched a line of tiny frogs, dozens of them, making their way along the base of a wall to the lake. And we had ice-cream.

All that made my day one to remember. Forever.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

“A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all.”

Rita Mae Brown. Someone else I've never heard of. Until now.

She must be okay, though, because she rides horses.

She's also PARTLY right about deadlines. I've decided I need them. Not terribly urgent deadlines that make me panic. Just deadlines. Otherwise I footle about rather aimlessly.

Is footle a word? It is now!

Actually, it already was a word.

footle [ˈfuːtəl] Informal
vb (intr)
1. (often foll by around or about) to loiter aimlessly; potter
2. to talk nonsense
Rare foolishness
[probably from French foutre to copulate with, from Latin futuere]

What it has to do with copulation is anyone's guess.
Anyway...deadlines. I just discovered the most wonderful image:


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Scarecrow, scarecrow, How scary can you be?

 You scared Poppy 
But you didn't scare me.

Yes, it's scarecrow season in High Hurstwood again. Two weeks before the village fete they appear. 

They don't scare any crows as far as I'm aware, but they TERRIFY the horses. This year's theme is evidently musical.

Poppy was doing very well, really, until she met the following, all bunched together:

1) Several wheelie bins

These, if you didn't know it, are scary monsters with gaping mouths. (Nothing to do with scarecrows, but she hates them)

2) The Phantom of the Opera in a hedge

3) The Black Eyed Peas sitting on a bench - looking like peas with black eyes, if you must know

AND 4) A septic tank truck

THIS monster actually ROARS and has a SNAKE coming out of it.

Poor Poppy!

Poor Caroline.

I'm too young to die.

Monday, 13 June 2011

The To Do List

Yep, I have one. I know that all those clever people like Steven Covey (Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People Unlike Me) think that To Do Lists are Very Inferior as time management tools.

But I happen to disagree.

It helps my brain. It helps me.

I mean...look at this alternative:

The fifth time management generation Dynamic Time Management Suite incorporates all that you need to manage your time effectively:

Activities and Priorities (AAP) balances the time spent on your main life goals and wellness dimensions. Since you cannot monitor your wellness balance yourself you have to use either AAP or a life coach. Otherwise the disorder is unavoidable

UH? That HURTS my brain.

Give me a To Do List, any day.