Sunday, 14 October 2018

14th October - Here goes another week

I've been rattling away on this keyboard all afternoon, apart from the occasional pause for a cup of tea - and I think it's time for one now. We've had to be a little careful with water all morning as somehow an 18" water main (imperial measurements?) burst over towards the next village, and the water pressure slowed to a trickle. It is back now.

I got up just in time - another half hour and I might not have been able to move. As it was, I felt definitely creaky until I made it into the kitchen.

What was I doing all afternoon?

I'm a bit behind on my on-line creative writing course, so had to catch up with a couple of writing exercises. We are supposed to be setting ourselves up to write a short story in week 8 (this is week 6) of 750 to 1000 words. After five and a half weeks of how to create characters, we are now ready to plan The Story.

I'm keeping track of the various characters I've created so far on a new blog;

so if you are curious, now's your chance. I set it up because a friend who is a wonderful sounding board for all these ramblings said I should combine all the snippets into a magazine style format. Done.

What did I do yesterday?

Went with Daddy to a Masterclass on The Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss, given by Dame Felicity Lott at Champs Hill. It was most impressive. I'm not a Strauss/Wagner heavy on the Grand Emotion music lover, as a general idea, but as a friend who was also there said, it makes a difference 'when you get your ear in', as it were. It was definitely a handkerchief moment for the very final phrase;

Wie sind wir wandermüde--            How weary we are of wandering--
Ist dies etwa der Tod?                     Is this perhaps death?

Perhaps not so surprising, when I had been to a funeral the day before. Although the funeral was for someone I didn't feel any close connection to; more a case of supporting the family.

Much of the time this afternoon has been spent trawling through photographs to illustrate the various characters. I needed a scruffy dog, and had a couple of goes at drawing one.

I rejected

plenty scruffy enough, but too gormless, in favour of this one.

And I have been salvaging cuttings from a couple of flowering succulent house plants which are in their death throes from lack of water. I've no idea what colour flowers these will have when they grow up. They are from the plant in the back bedroom;

So far they seem to be doing all right. There are two more little vases on the bathroom windowsill of cuttings growing their roots. Guess what everyone will be getting for Christmas?

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Sunday 7th October - Never do today what can be left until tomorrow...

Coped and pasted from

I find Number 10 is especially true...

Number 4 is a bit scary...

Number 8; No, that's not entirely true
Years ago I worked in a computer department where the plans always had to be done 'urgently, at once', and then, having stirred a hornet's nest into action, the word would come down from on high 'no, everything has changed'. So then I would have to call round everyone and say 'stop - it has all changed...'. After one such incident, and I was yet again talking to some Extremely Patient (major computer supplier's name deleted here) Engineer/Sales Manager, I was taken aback, but not entirely surprised, when he told me that they always waited several days before initiating anything from my department. "We've learned (he didn't say 'through bitter experience' but I seemed to hear those words) that everything will have to be altered as soon as we've  made the arrangements." I learned a lot from these engineers.

1.“We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.”
Erica Jong

2.“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

3.“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
Napoleon Hill

4. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
Pablo Picasso

5.“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.”
Bill Watterson

6. “The scholar’s greatest weakness: calling procrastination research.”
Stephen King

7. “If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it.”
George Bernard Shaw

8.“What is deferred is not avoided.”
Thomas More

9. “Imagination only comes when you privilege the subconscious, when you make delay and procrastination work for you.”
Hilary Mantel

10.“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”
William James

Friday, 5 October 2018

Friday 5th October - Connections

The book club choice for last month was 'A Time of Gifts' by Patrick Leigh Fermor'. I had already read it several years ago, and enjoyed it then.

I think it may be one of the first books that Mummy read after her stroke; I have one of those penguin '40s' books of just the first few chapters (my brother gave me 40 of them for my fortieth birthday, rather clever, I thought). She loved the descriptions of the Netherlands, especially Rotterdam, before the war.

I spotted this book by Robert MacFarlane and downloaded it because it was only £1.99 and I liked the cover picture;

Then I discovered it is all about Robert MacFarlane's reaction to having been given a copy of 'A Time of Gifts' by a friend.... and the effect gifts of books have on the giver and the recipient.

My father, a couple of weeks ago, insisted on buying me a copy of 'The Hare With Amber Eyes' by Edmund De Waal.

At the book club meeting, one of the members commented that there is a link between 'A Time of Gifts' and 'The Hare', in that a descendant of someone that PLF stayed with on his travels appears in 'The Hare'. I will have to finish the 'Gifts' i order to make the connection.

I've just started 'The Hare', but stalled in the first paragraph of the preface (I nearly always read the preface - it can be the best part of the book!) where De Waal recounts going to a language school in Shibuyah, Japan.

I teach an extremely popular chant in my music classes, which goes;

Shibuyah! Shibuyah! Ha! Ha! Shibuyah! Hoh!

You then go on to add individual statements before repeating the chant.

I'd always thought 'Shibuyah' was a made-up word; it has a lovely sound and feel. And then the word leapt at me when I was least expecting it!

The chapter names in 'The Hare With Amber Eyes' are so enticing that I can't wait to find out more;

I ought to get up. It is nearly lunchtime. Himself has been busy fixing the gates back to the driveway; a job which has been 'on the list' for a few years. Every time he goes to the tool cupboard in the next room, I hear 'hohoho Merry Christmas' from the Toy Father Christmas that was in a stocking so many years ago. Its battery is lasting well.