Thursday 18 March 2021



Blue skies down by the river and birdsong everywhere. I hear a woodpecker on my walks most mornings which is lovely. He is showing off a bit and staking his claim to his territory I think. 

It's been a week of small frustrations here. You know the sort. Banging your head against a brick wall with the Revenue. Ditto trying to open a bank account for a child. Trying to tell the printer that there is nothing wrong with the brand new genuine branded cartridge you have spent a small fortune on. Ordering a new printer, then ordering the ink somewhere else, then being told the printer is not in stock. My head felt dangerously hot at one point, I worried it might explode. 

The littlest boy has grown over the latest lockdown so that neither his school trousers nor his school shoes fit him any more. He had to take a note in so that he could wear non-uniform shoes as they are being quite strict at his school these days after a number of rather shambolic years. The middle boy also seems to have grown out of his school shoes. He pointed out that they were bought for him way back in August, so it is no surprise that he needs new ones. Good grief. He has only worn them for about three months. 

Anyway, I am being all calm and zen about it all now and not getting het up about things I cannot control. Well, okay, that is absolute rubbish, but it's what I aspire to.

Bertie had a hair cut last week, which he absolutely loathes. He shakes like a leaf when he realises we're headed for the groomer's. I practised walking past her house with him last night to try and get used to it, but it didn't work at all and I ended up carrying him. I wonder what he objects to so much. She does shave him quite closely in places.

My camera isn't working properly at the moment. On an ordinary setting it lets in so much light that a picture is almost entirely white, so I have to put it on a really dark setting. Not sure if it is fixable, but it is making taking pictures tricky. Maybe it's time to look for a new-to-me one. The biggest boy did mutter something about giving me his old one, but I fear I would be told off all the time for slinging it carelessly in my bag. Any sort of definitive action is slightly beyond me right now for some reason, so I will no doubt just stumble on taking over-exposed things or too dark things and muttering under my breath. 

I hope this post didn't come out as too much of a moan. I am very chipper really, just slightly short on any actual news. How are things at your end?

Wednesday 3 March 2021

Mind the frog

Lockdown reading. I seem to recall muttering something about taking more photos last time I passed this way. What I actually meant was for next time...

Has anyone read Where the Crawdads Sing? It has such good reviews, I was so excited about the idea of reading it. Then I started it and it was so utterly dismal at the beginning I couldn't stand it. Lockdown reading has to be very carefully selected I've found. But I did wonder if I should have persevered. Then the library asked for it back, so that was that. If anyone can persuade me to give it a proper go I shall be happy to hear from them. I have annoyed myself rather.

I thought Three Hours was excellent. Hard to say much about it without spoilers, but one line in particular was very damning I thought. More than just a simple entertaining story.

Sir Philip Pullman remains my favourite writer and his Daemon Voices On Stories and Storytelling is exceptionally promising so far. The sort of book where I want to write down all the quotes. 

And hopefully Intuitive Editing will help me faff around with the manuscripts. Tiffany Yates Martin seems very knowledgeable on the subject. 

And with that, my to be read pile is looking a bit small. Do send any recommendations my way.

In other news, the frogs have gathered in the pond and there is frogspawn. I always feel so sorry for them at this time of year, I see them wandering the streets in the evening, desperately searching for a pond. They are so few and far between. I told a group of teenage boys the other evening to mind the frog, who was sat in the middle of the pavement trying to be invisible. I looked back to check they'd obeyed and found them giving it a ten-foot berth, which made me laugh. 

The Bewick's swans have headed back to the Arctic tundra for the breeding season. They had a bit of a false start this year, when the cold weather swept in from the East. Four days after leaving, they turned up again, which is really unusual. Safely on their way now though. 

And one final sign that spring is in the air, the clunky, ringing crash of a skateboard shooting across the patio at high speed and smashing into a terracotta pot. Sigh. I spent Sunday afternoon sticking them back together - the skateboard one and the ones that the frost got. Everything is (briefly) together now.

The urchins may be on their way back to school next week. It will be strange without them. How are things in your neck of the woods? Frogs? Books? Skateboards? Do tell. CJ xx