Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Wednesday in February - The Teasmade

We bought this I dunnamany years ago, and hardly ever use it.

No, that's not true. I use it every morning and some evenings as a safe place to put my morning coffee or bedtime peppermint tea where it won't get knocked over or mixed up with my pillows.

But just every so often I use it for its real purpose; actually MAKING coffee, or tea. I'm always surprised that it still works... I found that it is best to run through some water first otherwise the tea appears with a surface layer of fine grey. It's an alarming process; the teasmade goes through its sequence of gurgling, puffing and dripping noises, always sounding very reluctant. Then after a series of loud 'pops' (why? how?) the water dribbles out into the cup.

'Teasmade days' are when I'm having a day in bed. Like today. Or rather, this week.

I took antibiotics for two weeks in January because I was properly lurgied, and thought they had done their work. However yesterday morning, while I was making my packed lunch it became abundantly clear that I was back to square one. I phoned the doctor, and he has signed me off.

To give the antibiotics their best chance of doing their stuff, I am staying in bed for most of the day. That effectively stops me from catching up on the laundry, planting out a tray of primulas, putting the kitchen waste into the compost bin, putting the recycling out, and a million other tasks.

No, me and the cat (the cat and I, if you prefer) anyway, us two, we are having a series of duvet days, with endless cups of tea from the teasmade, endless reading of books, endless browsing of internet, endless listening to radio...

Should be wonderful. Have to say that boredom could be setting  in anytime soon...

Ah well. The next cup of tea is ready to drink now. Pukka Wonderberry Green; "a deliciously sensual organic blend of luscious berries, spices and whole leaf green tea".

From the 'immune health' range; sounds terribly, terribly good for one. The previous cuppa was this;

The next will be this one.

Surely one of these concoctions (and the antibiotics) should do the trick?
PS I've tried the turmeric flavour; I don't think I'm ill or desperate enough to repeat the experience - yet.)

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Sunday 18th February - Lent Book

Last year, I read "The Wind in the Willows" as my Lent Book.

This year, I have decided upon the whimsical Brambly Hedge Series written and illustrated by Jill Barklem. A friend has lent them to me; I'm not sure what started the topic of conversation as we ate cake and drank tea, but the result was

"Have you NEVER read any of the Brambly Hedge Books? Here, let me lend you mine!"

This week I read the first in the series, Spring Story. I think this may be my favourite illustration;
Image result for brambly hedge

How idyllic! It is Mr and Mrs Apple's house. She has been woken up early and is making breakfast in the kitchen. Mr Apple is supposed to be still in bed, but I can't see him. Is he in the bath, perhaps? I can't quite make it out.

I think what I took from the first book is the sense of community. They all live close together, and store all their food in The Stump Store, which is looked after by Mr Apple. This is a sawn-off stump of a tree, with a little door, and is full of chambers and store cupboards. Mr Apple's job is to check through everything every day, presumably to make sure that everything is keeping well, and nothing is going "off".

Image result for brambly hedge the stump store
Mr Apple and Wilf in the Stump Store

When it is decided to have a village pic-nic, everyone joins in - the women-folk start baking and making and packing, and then the men help with the carrying all the baskets and rugs and so forth.

How easy life seems - how everyone gets on so well, how happy everyone is - apart from young Wilf, but he is only sad and grumpy for a page or two, and who wouldn't be, having to struggle with such a large pic-nic basket on one's birthday of all days?

Will it be like this forever?

Psalm 133

Behold, how good and pleasant it is
           when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
           running down the beard,
           on the beard of Aaron,
          running down the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
          which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing ,
         life for evermore.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Sunday 4th February - Sexagesima Sunday and Books

Which doesn't mean what some readers might be thinking it means...

It's the Sunday after Septuagesima Sunday (and before Quinquagesima Sunday) and are the Sundays in the run-up to Lent.

If I'm going to take Lent seriously, then I need to be thinking about it before Ash Wednesday. I normally give up Free Cell (that's actually quite a toughie for me, as it is my main way of unwinding after teaching!) and speeding, by which I mean that I pay close attention to keeping to the speed limit, which then lasts me the rest of the year.

They are the basics; I usually add something else. Maybe, this year, it will be the book mountain. As in, NOT buying books through Lent, and donating the book-budget (an as-yet undecided figure) to charity might be a thing to do.

So, here's the pile of books that I am currently reading;

on Kindle;

The Artists's Way - Julia Cameron, nearly finished. I've found this a fascinating program; I haven't followed it exactly, but have got a lot out of pondering the questions and writing theb'morning pages' most days.

A Far Cry From Kensington - Muriel Spark, halfway through. I started this, my first ever book by Muriel Spark, after reading a blog post which described the book as 'almost a manual on How to Write'. I'm finding it very amusing, in a quiet, 'Barbara Pym' way.

Three Men in a Boat - Jerome K Jerome, part way through. I can't remember why I started re-reading this, oh, yes. It was because a description of 'towing' which I read in 'Country Bunch' below made me laugh out loud.

The Diet Myth - Tom Spector, half way through. Interesting investigation of food, digestion, diet-debunking, speculation, gut microbiology.

Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke, a 'dip in and out book'
Selected Poems - U A Fanthorpe, 'dip in  and out'
Flame and Shadow - Sara Teasdale, 'dip in and out'

and 'real' books;

The Secret Life of Cows - Rosamund Young, part way through. Popular bestseller about - cows. Good bedtime reading. Gently written.

A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind - Shoukei Matsumoto. I'm starting Chapter 2 so it is a bit soon to come to conclusions. The cover is a beautiful shade of blue; a possible contender for the bathroom walls.

Country Bunch, an Anthology - 'Miss Read'. a 'dip in and out' anthology of poems, extracts, diary entries.

On Writing - Stephen King half way through. Fascinating, enlightening, inspiring

And then there's the list of unread books... hey, you might think this isn't such a sacrifice, NOT buying new books for a couple of months. But don't forget, I will have given up playing Free Cell....