Friday, 30 October 2015


Today I am testing something. If this works then I've just got back home after spending the day with Doctor Who in Cardiff....
I made this as part of a photoshop course last year.
Anyway, testing things. I've just been asked what the "Schedule" function does on blogger and my reply was "Oh, it doesn't work" But, I've been using wordpress for years, and haven't really used blogger much before this blog so my assumption that scheduling doesn't work might just be wrong. Time to test the theory!
If you are reading this on or after Friday October 30th 2015, after 6pm, then blogger scheduling works exactly as it should.
Assuming it worked... To schedule a post: Write your content, choose Schedule from the right hand side, pick a date and time, hit "Publish". The post will be published at the time you chose, on the day you chose.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Dirt feels good

You know how some days you feel like you can't do anything right? Today was one of those days. I missed a call, let someone down, and then it was far too late to do anything but apologise.
The reason I missed the call? It wasn't raining today. I was hanging washing out, then working in the garden, and didn't hear the phone. All very understandable, but I still feel bad about it. Today I woke with pain in my neck and shoulder, having not slept well, and confused with the clocks change. Maybe confused is too strong, but it leaves me out of sorts for a day or 2. I'm out at work tomorrow and Tuesday, then busy Wednesday, so garden work had to be today or next Thursday. With the location, and time of year, I have to take advantage of the lack of rain whenever it happens. There is no, maybe later in the week, here!
The pain in my neck and shoulder is an old thing that happens now and then, a cramping/spasming muscle, which if left unchecked becomes really painful and affects my entire back. Out with the exercises I used to use to ease it and then make it all work some more by digging and building things in the garden. It aches now, but is moving a lot better. Exercise really does help sometimes.
The mission for the garden today was to tidy up the compost, dig some more of the pond, and stop the cat digging my bulbs! The cat issue was simple - put some sticks in and across the bed where the digging is happening. Deter them and they'll go and dig somewhere else. It worked for the garlic, that's why they started elsewhere: in the bulb bed. Hopefully that'll sort it out until the bulbs poke green through the soil.
Tidying up the compost was more of a problem. I've been using one of those black plastic "dalek" style bins. Fabulous invention, easy to place, move, fill, absolutely brilliant. Until you get rats move in and live in it. The neck is great for filling, and keeps it all nice and warm, but you can't really get a fork in there to stir the compost properly. So the rats love it. The rats have to go, so the dalek has to go. But I still have compost....
Three pallets and a few screws later, and my compost is mostly contained, and I can get in there and turn it regularly to deter the rats.It's uneven because I didn't bother trimming the pallets to size. I don't care really, it's just to contain a sprawling pile of rotting vegetation and to provide a space for me to throw more. It works, and there's plenty of space for more to be added.
I dug the pond hole a bit deeper before deciding that my shoulder wasn't going to like that for too long. So it's still not finished but it's a bit more done than it was. I also added 3 more pallets to the growing hen run. Again, it's not finished but it's a bit more done than it was.
Through all of that I realised I'd forgotten something. Dirt feels good, and helps me to feel better. I'd lost the time and head space to just work on my own, in my garden, breathing in that special earth smell, feeling the mud dry on my hands, the wind through my hair, hearing the birds and insects around the place. It's healing.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Smelling the weight of years

I wandered into a second hand bookshop today. I love bookshops, the smell of new books is wonderful. The fresh ink, the crisp pages, unturned, unread....
But second hand books have a different life. There's a stage where a book has been read a few times, handled a few times, and it's a well read book. Books are wonderful things, but the difference between a freshly printed book and a read one is like making a new friend. First you dance through conversations, discovering new things about each other. Then after a while you know which brand of tea they like, how they take their coffee, which song will get them singing if it comes on the radio. Then there are your best friends, your longest standing friends, the ones who've shared the best times, the worst times, the ones who are your memories.
The freshly printed book is your new friend, you're still getting to know them for the first time. Those are special moments.
A well read book is a good friend, who you've known for a while.
But the old book with that special old smell, that one is the friend you've had since you were five, that smell is the weight of years, and memories.
It wasn't my oldest friend today, but it was someone's comfort, someone's memories, and it was 123 years of it. Today's book with that special smell was a bible printed in 1902, with a list of names from a bible study class from 1912, all male. I wonder how many went to fight 2 years after they wrote their names on that page. I wonder how many came back. I wonder how many weddings that bible has seen, how many christenings, how many tears. How many people have whispered their fears, sought guidance, begged for forgiveness.
That book has seen and survived so much, and can't tell us. But the smell is so rich, so laden with the weight of all it's seen.
In the end I didn't buy it, and the staff in the shop didn't laugh at me inhaling the scent of history. They just smiled, and pointed me to another shelf, with more old books.

Friday, 16 October 2015

20 years ago.

Twenty years ago I wasn't a mother. I was a daughter, a sister.
Today I am a mother and a daughter, but I no longer have a sibling, yet I still consider myself a sister to a brother I no longer have. I've blogged about it before, "Is someone there with you?" and 20 years on, it doesn't go away. It just is.
Go and hug someone you love, tell them you care.