Friday, May 30, 2014

diagnosis book choice (not as catchy as diagnosis murder)

So, I opted for the slender Muriel Spark over the hefty Luminaries, but now I'm finished this and back to being between books, free to start The Luminaries whenever I like.  But it's actually going to necessitate finding a different work bag!  Excuses, excuses...  The sad thing is I really want to read it and think I will like it a lot, but it's such a thought.  It might take me months to finish and I'll have to carry it to and from work for all that time...  Maybe now I'm starting to understand why people get Kindles!  But I just don't think seeing progress through a fat book as a numerical percentage (rather than a visual chunk of pages read) would be nearly so satisfying.  I think I will read The Luminaries next after all.  I can do it!

Honestly, though, the thought of that extra weight in my bag makes me want to cry.  Man, I'm tired.  I'm going through a phase of realising/accepting that my heart is making the stupidest little things stupidly hard.  Stupid heart.  I tried to get a couple of days off as annual leave next week but those meanie organ grinders at the subtitling mine (talk about mixed metaphors) wouldn't let me have any of them.  Yawn!  I hope I'm not about to fall apart again :(

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

embroidered animation

If your ears can handle the racket (when did I turn into such an old lady?) there's a piece of embroidered animation, a music video, on Channel 4 tonight at twenty past midnight.  I'll be in bed, naturally, but I'm going to record it so I can watch it later.  Seriously, three and a half minutes of EMBROIDERED animation.  Can you even imagine the amount of work involved?!  It actually looks like a world made from heavy metal fans' patches, recently removed from their denim jackets.  There's more info about the people behind it and how they achieved this feat here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 3)

1st February 1988
Today I went to swimming.  I can dive in now.  I have to be sitting down mind you.  Tonight granny and papa are coming.  There here now.  (The end.)

2nd February 1988
Tonight I had to have an extra practice for tap and ballet.  We had to do half our ballet in the cloakrooms.  Sums at school.

3rd February 1988
Today it was sunny.  Wearing my spotty socks today.  Painted a nurse at school.  Rode my bike in the playground with Julia after school.

4th Februie February 1988
Today is Thursday.  I am wearing blue socks today.  Crisp damp but warm.  At school I played this stupid game.  Boys have to chase girls and give one a kiss.  Then girls do it.

5th February 1988
Today I had tap and ballet exams at quarter to three.  I think I have passed.  I wore my red nose to school.  Toby's fell into his pudding.  I watched comic realief.  Andy Crane in gunk tank. Ha Ha.

6th February 1988
Today I put on some make up then washed it off.  I went down stairs had breakfast and went to Jhon menzies and the library.  Today dad went to Glasgow.

7th February 1988
Today it was snowing so Kerry and I naturally were in the sledge for an hour.  Kerry and I also made up an act.  Percy, mum and dad all came.  We are putting the money to comic realief.

[Percy was my sister's cat.  Look out for his untimely demise later in the year - a sad day but a diary highlight!]

Monday, May 26, 2014

non-geographical rudeness

I saw this "artwork" (made from tubs of dip from Domino's Pizza) on my way home from work tonight.  I thought at first that it was a map of Britain.  It wasn't.  I think I need to be getting more sleep, or perhaps less?!  Oh, what has become of me...?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 2)

25th January 1988
Today I went swimming.  At night I took Kerry to guides I went to see Lynsay.  She was awake.
THE end.

26th January 1988 - Australia day
Today I was busy telling every one that Lyndsey was getting married to Craig E.  I made drew a pot at school.  It is going to have words like smoke coming out of it.  At art I drew a nurse.

27th January 1988
Today Ruthy came and we played on the computer.  I was very good at the war game.  Today I finished my animal lovers book.  It was very good.

28th January 1988
Today I went to school.  Which isn't very strange for a Thursday.  At sewing I made a nurse hat.  It was pretty babyish.  Emma got in such a state when somebody scribbled on it.  I went to browies.

29th January 1988
Today I wrote a letter at school for Mr Clark saying thank you for the farm and the fort.  I went to ballet and tap.  We have to put elastic across our shoes for ballet.

30th January 1988
Today I went to Asda.  When we were going out Kerry and I went to the toilet.  When I dried my hands the towel fell out.  Kerry said quick get out of here.  Watched Octopussy.

31st January 1988
Today it was quite nice.  Tonight I went to hear the Drumblade choir sing.  They were O.K.  I was skipping with Kerry.  Then I played football with her.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

easy cheesy!

 We had workmen round yesterday so had to spend the loveliest day of the year stuck in the house.  We decided to make the most of our confinement, however, and cooked up a storm for most of the day, including these easy cheesy biscuits.  We'd had them earlier in the week at Dulcie's wee pal's house and wee pal's mum kindly gave me the recipe.  They are simple enough that even a toddler can make them, as we shall now demonstrate...
 Weigh out 100g each of plain flour, butter and grated cheese.
 Mix it into a firm dough, adding a little water or flour if your dough seems too wet or too dry.
 Roll out to about half a centimetre thick.
Cut into shapes (we chose dinosaurs) and bake at gas mark 4 for 10 minutes or until golden.
Enjoy with a glass of milk and don't forget to share.
Our day in the kitchen didn't end there.  Dulcie peeled and chopped hard-boiled eggs.  (Chopping is one of her favourite things to do these days and I quite often give her a ripe pear to chop up with a regular table knife.  She gobbles up loads of pears doing this too.)
Later in the day she helped me use up the over-ripe bananas from the fruit bowl to make this banana loaf, minus toppings.  (If you use that recipe, be warned it will take almost twice as long to cook as the recipe suggests.)
After being stuck inside all day, it was good to take what we'd made to the park for a post-work picnic with Graham and get a bit of fresh air.

Our kitchen has never seen so much action in one day before, especially since Graham made delicious guacamole from scratch (avocados going cheap!) once Dulcie had gone to bed so that we could have a tasty treat for our weekly snack session in front of Gogglebox.  Mmmm!

I should add, for honesty's sake, that Dulcie was not mad keen on the cheesy biscuits (which astounded me - they seem like her ideal food) though we grown-ups loved them, as we would since they are two thirds fat and we're meant to be avoiding that!  Also, Dulcie claimed not to like the banana loaf either, but happily ate some for breakfast this morning, so maybe she just wasn't in the mood for it last night.  She also rejected the egg yolks.  Three attempts, three fails!  Oh well, stuck in the house all day, what else were we going to do?  It was not a total waste of time, it was not a total waste of time, it was not a total waste of time...!

Friday, May 16, 2014

heebie-jeebies of the best possible kind

I had a hospital appointment this week, which gave me enough travel/waiting time to really get my teeth into the book I'd been semi-reading for the previous couple of weeks (at an average rate of about a page every two days).  Ooh, it turned out to be a good un, a right old-fashioned ghost story that actually gave me scalp tremors towards the end, and that with the sound of Peppa Pig in my ears and summer sunlight streaming through my windows!  I wish I'd been able to read it in the dark on a stormy night.  Spoooooky.

This slender paperback takes my total number of books read this year up to a semi-respectable ten so far.  I'm now trying to decide what to read next.  My friend gave me a copy of Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries for my birthday and I had been wanting to read it for ages (being a great believer in Booker Prize winners and shortlistees) but the size of it and the tales of its slow complexity are intimidating me.  If I start it now, will I still be reading it come Christmas?  And will I even be able to carry it in my bag, a major consideration since the majority of my reading is done mid-commute these days?  I think I'll decide tomorrow.  It's that or a super-skinny Muriel Spark.  What do you reckon?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


My sister introduced (or reintroduced?) me to this old clip from the Muppets recently.  I showed it to Dulcie yesterday and her face was an absolute picture - totally entranced throughout and bursting into a hearty chuckle every time one of the tubes got booted off stage.  I bet you can't watch it without smiling :)

And here's a wee extra - a papercut stop-motion film created by Jim Henson in his early twenties.  I came across this via somebody's blog recently, but I can't remember whose, so apologies if it was yours and you would have liked credit for your excellent recommendation.  I did appreciate it.

PS If you (or your toddler) want to be further entertained, Dulcie also seemed to appreciate this one and this one.  And this one, obviously.  Apparently Animal (when doing the "Mama" bit of Bohemian Rhapsody) is "just like" my dad.  Interesting to get this insight into how Dulcie views her grandfather!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 1)

Here is the first installment of my new weekly feature, Time-Travelling Tuesday!  

I mentioned that I found a diary from 1988 when I was clearing out stuff from my mum and dad's house recently.  I was seven/eight when I wrote it.  This week I've spent a lot of time reading and re-reading entries and laughing my head off (as my eight-year-old self would have said) at the random things that were obviously highlights to me, my funny way of thinking about things and the snapshots of eighties' culture, or what passed as culture to someone of limited years.  

I've decided to share the whole diary, unedited and in chronological order, a week at a time every Tuesday.  The entries are short, so seven in a post should be a nice readable amount and hopefully there will be something amusing in each weekly installment.  

I'll do my best to leave the spelling and punctuation as they are in the original and will try to give you a flavour of the layout (I was quite an adventurous typographer, you know) where appropriate.  

I probably won't have photos to go with a lot of the posts, but the words (oh, the words) should be enough.  
I'm going to resist commenting from my 34-year-old perspective if I can (I don't want to run the risk of getting all maudlin on your asses!) but might add the odd note to explain the context if something is unlikely to make sense or if I really can't resist commenting.  I'll leave notes from the present day in square brackets [like this].

The diary was written in a notebook and so doesn't run for a whole year as it runs out of pages somewhere in July, but there's over six months of entries in there.  If you were a child in the late eighties, I'm sure some of it will bring back happy (?) memories.  Enjoy!

18th January 1988
I woke up at quarter past 7. At 10.45 I got the bus to go swimming.  I learnt the back stroke properly.  I did a whole breadth on my back.  I thought I was only halfway then bang I bashed my head on the bar.

19th January 1988
Today I went to singing.  I got to play the chimebars for a song.  It goes AA DD CC A three times in certain places. Then AA GGGG CCCC A.  I wrote this under my bed.

20th January 1988
Today I saw Bigfoot and The Hendersons.  The end was very sad.  The Bigfoot walked off with his wife and his little boy.

21st January 1988
e e e e
Today at school we made soup and cheese pastry.  Everyone wanted second helpings even Jacquline.  At brownies I got my Hostess and booklovers badge.  I asked Jana if I could do my computer badge and she said, Yes I've been waiting for somebody to ask for that.  I am the first Gartly brownie to do it.

22nd January 1988
Today at about 7.00pm my cousin Lynsay was born she looks like Finlay OH NO. I made a card for Finlay, Flora and Lynsay with a baby hitting a bear with a rattle and the bear saying ow and the the rabbit and cat laughing.

23rd January 1988
Today I went outside to play.  Then I went to see Lynsay in hospital.  After that we went to Gateway.  When I came I had tea.  At night we played pictoinary.  Kerry and dad won the game.

24th January 1988
Today I went out in the puddles and got soaked to the skin.  It was raining all day.  For lunch --> Chicken roast tatties and brandy snaps.  Then I loaded soemthing in the computer. It said hello stinky.  Press a key please stinky.  Then it went blank and after a few seconds it said Ha ha did I full you.  You thought I was broken.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

she wants to ride her bicycle

 What a busy weekend we've had.  Recently we bought Dulcie a balance bike (basically a bike with no pedals for little people) but she knew nothing about it until yesterday.  Graham left it at the front door, rang the doorbell and ran away.  Dulcie was very excited to find it and we took it to the park straightaway.
 She's still probably slower than her own walking pace on it, but she's improving already and slowly but surely getting the idea of sitting on the saddle and pushing with her feet.  She's almost starting to get the idea of steering too.  Unfortunately, she thinks her brake is a horn and keeps squeezing it when she has no intention of stopping.
 I just wish we had a garden she could ride it in as getting her and the bike to the park and back was definitely a two-person job and there's not often two of us free at once.  I can't see myself risking getting stranded on my own with her and there's no way I could carry her and the bike home.
Here she is, sitting with her dad while he adjusted the saddle height for her.  She's very chuffed to be just like him and keeps grabbing her bike, telling us she's going to work.  So cute.

It was really nice to have a seminal sort of moment with her this weekend, the perfect birthday treat for me.  She's growing up fast but it makes me very happy, especially now she's happy to admit that she may be a big girl but will always be my baby :)

While we were at the park we also went into the visiting carnival for a look.  Dulcie was too small to go on any of the rides, but we had fun looking at all the lights and watching other kids and parents going green around the gills.  Dulcie wouldn't stop dancing to the hideous music they were playing and gave a very firm "NO!" when Graham asked her if she'd like to go on the scariest looking ride, all most amusing.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

more candles than we care to mention

 Yesterday was my birthday.  I had a busy day.  Birthday breakfast with my family in Elgin (here's my birthday buttery - yum!) in the morning, a long train journey with Dulcie in the afternoon and then a short evening with Graham back in Glasgow - prosecco and snacks while watching Gogglebox and The Trip.
To my great surprise, Graham had used his time alone in the flat to make (yes, make!) me a birthday cake - a delicious Victoria sponge.  Here's one of the super-cute candles from it, which he found in a nearby hardware shop.

I've decided that if your birthday falls on a Friday that your birthday should officially last all weekend, so I'm still celebrating.  I think the birthday weekend will be filled with cake, cheesy music and a trip to the zoo.  Aren't I lucky that my birthday so often coincides with Eurovision?  Poor Graham can't refuse.  Ha!

I'll be back soon with some photos from my trip up north as well as a new regular feature, I hope.  Oh, you are in for a treat, people.  I found my diary from 1988 and it is hilarious.  I'm planning to share it all in weekly installments.  Time-travelling Tuesdays perhaps?  Watch this space!

Friday, May 2, 2014

unseasonably good T-shirt...if I do say so myself!

Mimi & Will, the ethical kids' clothing company who feature my tent design on one of their T-shirts, are now selling via Etsy as well as on their own website.

Image of I Love Puddles by Emma Henderson

This design by Emma Henderson is my favourite, I think.  So cute.

If you're an Etsy type, you should go and check them out.  All the T-shirts come sized for ages two to twelve, so plenty for bigger kids too.

**All images pinched from Mimi and Will**

Thursday, May 1, 2014

they pay me for this?!

Today was a long and hectic day (yawn!) but also my last day at work for ages!  Yippee!  I think I've only got one shift between now and the 19th.  Heaven :)

That said, I have been enjoying work this week.  Monday was one of my best shifts of all time - getting paid to watch David Attenborough shows from the 1950s ALL DAY.  They were absolutely amazing.  Obviously David Attenborough is always great, but it was also really interesting to see how much attitudes towards conservation (and fags) have changed over the years.  The series I was working on were called Zoo Quest and it was basically David Attenborough travelling around, capturing wild animals to take them back to London Zoo, or sometimes buying them from locals for a few boxes of cigarettes.  As well as capturing and taming an orang-utan and trapping a komodo dragon, at one point he dug up and ate 88 turtle eggs!

Zoo Quest was almost as much a travel show as a nature show, it seems, and I really enjoyed the Balinese music and dancing in the clip above.  Skip to 18 minutes in if you'd like to see that.  David Attenborough's reaction to it (in his description at the end of the clip) was really sweet and naive.  I can't imagine anyone getting away with that sort of reporting nowadays.

The series are part of the BBC4 Collections, full-length programmes from the BBC archive being made available online.  We'd already watched a few of the post-war architecture ones that Janet Street-Porter selected and I'd highly recommend them too.  There are all sorts of programmes, though, and it seems like they are adding more all the time.  You should go and check it out.  TV had a lovely pace in the olden days :)