Thursday, 26 July 2012

Steam On, Crazy Soup

Wednesday: A heat mist over the fields this morning calls up a favourite description from the diaries of Admiral Yi Sun Sin: the earth as a scalding pot of soup.
On this steaming day, sweeping and cleaning and the last of the indoor clearing is done.
We are prepared to hand over the keys of Rosehill, our former abode. I write ‘prepared’ as old Farmer Landlord is unlikely to be where he says when he says. And the moving saga isn’t over until the fruit bushes are brought to the long garden space at Number Three. And the telegraph pole.
My car holds gallons, gallons and more gallons of wine in many shapes of flagon, and a chainsaw, and a galvanised bin. Carefully driven around corners. Reversed clumsily from heat of driveway to shade of shed.
No one wants to work, we are too busy melting.
Mr drives the hot road to Plymouth. I flop in the passenger seat, hypnotised by the half popped bubble of moon. As the road cools, the moon thickens. On the home stretch, I see clearly the relief of plains and seas, so exactly halved, like a coin half pushed through a slot.
Some cosmic gambler, I wonder, trying to bring up three-in-a-row identical earths?
Is this how it is for the moon, always pushed, from one reality to another? Is it coinage, or is it cog?
Lightly poached brain comes home to a pep of coffee and a cold glass of blackcurrant port.
Thursday: Oh no! Wake up in a tomb of boxes! Relax, it’s only cardboard. Oh! In two days, the annual Tae Kwon Do Camp ensues- where is the camping kit? Aching all over from tip trip exertions, peppered with furniture bruises, the idea of training twice a day for a week, outdoors, all weathers? Away from all this pile up of stuff- I will love it. But, first, to uncover a tent…

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

From The Second Floor, A Mattress Is Gleefully Pushed

Sunday: Stumped by the internet, a repetition of which we are quite bored. Metaphorically, head meets wall. Head meets wall again. Head aches. Wall remains incommunicative.
Sunshine bakes our wearied faces as we shift more loads to the tip. Each fling and release of bin sack, broken box, bit of unmendable thing into the regrettable landfill, each ditch of a reusable item to the recyclable container, takes some stress with it. On the home journey, wind the car windows down, watch Dog’s ears cavort in the air current. At home, eat pudding outside. Home-grown raspberries. Fat trunked ash tree reaches into the blue. Sparrows fetch their fledglings supper.
Monday: The internet we do not speak of. The heat is mentioned. The car is loaded, unloaded, grime builds an underlayer, a slime between skin and cotton, it smells like earthy hard work. These are the last days of toil; this is mentioned.
Tuesday: Charging up for a sprint finish. When I was a child we seemed to move house every weekend: I loved it, the sense of momentum, the discoveries of new quirks to opening doors. A pinch of this remains. From the second floor, a mattress is gleefully pushed. These flingings are fun. But in such a day of heated grit, the germs of fatigue multiply swiftly. I am struck down by an illness of humour. The cure, however, is simple- after coffee on the lawn, me and Dog park up at Widemouth South, hurdle from the car, shoes and sense abandoned, cavort fully clothed into the froth and frisk of an incoming tide. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

You Can't Always Get What You Want

Thursday: A short trip to the tip before the welcome diversion of work.
Friday: Long trips to the tip, scooping out a clear floor in Girl’s garage. Long trips to fill it up again with items to puzzle over later. Mostly glass jars for brewing. Long does not denote distance here but effort. My fingers are porcupined with flakes of rusted metal.
Saturday: Discover that the sofa will dent the ceiling of the entrance hallway but not fit into the house. Sofa is sent to the holding pen of Girl’s garage. Returning to Number Three I forget to put the latch on. Mr shuts the front and only door. Mr climbs in through the window to let us back in again. We have hired, used, returned the nifty van. My objective for the day’s end was to be sat on our sofa: I had not envisioned sitting in a garage looking at all the other stuff that doesn’t fit. Sorry says Mr, for his measuring had proven fallible. We both sigh. At the old house, trundling dusty things into collecting points- here for the tip, here for the holding pen, here for moving on- we are surprised to meet up with our old Farmer Landlord, and Mrs Farmer Landlord. The kettle goes on. I rinse spider husks out of cups. They are sifting through the old double door garage. ‘Anyone collecting mummified mice?’ He asks. ‘No thank you,’ I respond, and after breaking the news that there’s no sugar here, enquire after the bed base that is dragged out under the washing line. Consequently it travels on the top of my car, is installed now as an improvised couch.
[Thank you all so much for your comments- looks like I've persuaded the internet to work properly after what feels like some kind of exile!! To find myself online without a struggle induces happiness, to find such lovely words induces a little happy expressive dance :-)Thank you thank you thank you!
And yes, one thousand of these verses is my goal- should stretch my powers of observation and description! – This I wrote in response to other comments on my Ten of One Thousand piece: unable to post as internet promptly crashed.]

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Ten of One Thousand

A little bit of sharing; this project has been going on in the background for a while. About time I cracked on with it! Fairly happy with it up to verse 462, only another 538 to go. 

One Thousand Miracles In One Day
(The first ten verses, first edit.)
Down the wall a spider walks
Unseen, the whisper of eight feet
Unheard on the wallpaper, this is
A secret world, a spider’s world
At the zero hour it seems nothing exists
But the deep breathing of sleep
And the heaving of wind in darkness
Bowing trees as though dragons fly here

Uncounted leaves stream, pulling
On thin stems, twisting loose, one leaf
Takes hold of the air, it has no plans
For landing, that will just happen

Droplets absorb night, outside
Dark rain falls, clouds
Thicken sky, at the deepest
Point of our dreaming sleep

Too far above to permeate sleep
An aeroplane passes, full of journeys
Full of stories we will not hear, the travellers
Look down at patterns of streetlights

A lamp is left on, through a window
A dog can be seen twitching on a sofa
A coffee table supports two wine glasses, paper
Lists of what can be done when awake

The washing machine light is on
The last spin happened after bedtime
Fresh damp clothes wait in the drum
For the pattern of occurrence to progress
Curving further than the night sky
Of one ephemeral planet, stars
Shine through light years of nothing
Possibilities in the abyss
A sock lost under the bed, a left sock,
Literally. It will be searched for
And, from the odd sock pile,
Restored to a pair, folded together

Silence. The wind halts, the leaves
Hang in still air, the spider pauses
The clouds are emptied, the dog sound asleep
A scene encapsulated, like a microscope slide

Short Attention Span Stories

I can’t remember what happens on Monday; by Tuesday it has gone. I’m not sure how that happened. Evidence suggests overseeing the migration of cardboard boxes.
A knock on the door is my neighbour, excitedly gesticulating, asking if we are missing a ferret. I think about it. No, we don’t have a ferret. Cat has learnt to use the cat flap, Dog compulsively flushes birds out of crop fields, Rabbit likes to sit in the under space of his hutch and watch the green lawn world. There is not a ferret missing from this scene. Later in the day, as I am waiting in the road while a breakdown flatbed winches a silver car to the curb, my neighbour passes. They took the ferret to the vet, I learn. It’s a baby. I update Mr on the story and he trumps me by suspecting a cuckoo, having found a fledgling dead upon the ground under the sparrow nest.
Been working, while estranged from the www. All this house moving malarkey also interrupts my access to concentration. So, a short story is emerging. And, I am revisiting my 1,000 Miracles In One Day: an experiment in poetry. Line by line, verse by verse, slow work over the thesaurus, scratching my head with a biro, drinking espresso too close to midnight. 

Monday, 16 July 2012


Thursday: After so much rain, the clouds lay flat out, from corner to corner of a washed out sky. Tyres in swathes of water spray out wings either side of every car. We travel, a line of neckless swans, on the dark wet road, wondering where the summer is hiding. Everyone sighs. Back at the old house, clothes flopping in the tumble dryer, I heat a kettle on a blue gas flame till it whistles. Make hot chocolate, a mugful.

Friday: I am trying to set the router up. At this point I a person who does not care about weather, or chocolate. Boy is brave enough to help. Mr says he loves me. I say I will love everyone when the internet works. The instructions for accessing the connection are on an email. Which I can’t access. It is time to walk away from all things electrical, taking deep breaths. It’s only another little tribulation, on a sense of scale distorted by frustration.
Baby gleams, playing hide and seek under a duvet. She wears a toilet roll inner tube as a bracelet.
Rabbit lets himself be caught: at the new house he is primped, put on a lead, taken for a garden stroll. He sits in his new hutch, acclimatising, chewing hay.
After coffee with friends, come home. Mr hands me a glass of wine.
Dog sighs in her sleep. We went running this morning; she jumped into a hedge when a car drove close, with such a lurch the poo bag split. I performed a lovely sprint finish, undermined by the bad splats on my t-shirt. It was a blue print for the day: bad splats, turned out funny. Which I will share with everyone when the internet works. Sigh. More wine please.

Saturday: Forget all technology except a tennis ball, rubber boots and a waterproof coat. The coat is tied around my hips, vivid red and flouncy. Dog and I launch into the old Rosehill fields for a secluded walk. Only the thistle dragons watch us; wide open eyes on hydra heads. A buzzard in early flight cuts so close it steals the breath I was about to put in my lungs.
I pick up Cat and pop her into a travel case; deceptively easy; put it in the back of the car. Dog sits importantly on a seat. We drive slowly. Cat escapes swiftly, clings to the back seat miaowing. Glancing in the mirror I catch her tumbling nearly onto Dog’s lap; there is an awkward moment of tolerance before she climbs back. All the animals now live under the new roof, this is progress.

Sunday: Boy reports the internet has nearly worked today, though coverage has not settled. He is lying in bed chain-reading, spying occasionally on cows. ‘I look up,’ he says, ‘and sometimes they surprise me, they’re so close.’ Visions of cows on ladders knocking on his window are rather delightful. I am so relaxed I could be described as flollopy, if such a word existed. My car, which is turfed on one side after the grass is mowed, transports pots and pots of flowers and herbs and one fruit tree from old house to new. Most of my day happens outside, winds down to being sat here at the clothed table, watching the fat trunked ash tree seep to deep shadow. 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

On The Couch

Not having money is on us like a clamp, uncomfortable, unwelcome. Mr has made a kitchen lampshade from a colander, clever chap. We have remeasured both the sofa and the space it has to be dexterously persuaded into the house; it doesn’t seem workable but the maths say otherwise. The sofa is the only thing we decidedly can’t strap to the car, there must be van hire. The expense of van hire is broachable; a sofa exchange takes time to organize, and, besides, we like the one we’ve got. It represents welcome comfort. It articulates to me, this is exactly how you were: uncertain that you could fit in here; that this house and this life would meld. It further reveals, this is how you can be: a little squeezed for space, a bit scuffed from the journey, but settled, rested, raring for subsequent escapade. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Matter Of Time And Toil

['Printing isn't quite as mechanical as people think. The people who take a little more time with machines print something better... There is love and craft in it, which means that a person with a better heart can do it better.'
David Hockney.]

Pick Up The List
By the clang of the plumber’s spanner and the lightness of his humming, it is not too crazy to believe the burst pipe joint can be mended. Dare I hope that the whining pitch of the singing toilet also be soothed? I think about this, then dismiss my feelings; it will happen or not happen, hope and worry have no part in play here. I make mugs of tea and prepare to mop. Meanwhile Dog runs out, chases her ball the long length of the garden. The air is the kind of damp which can gather in raindrops or disperse into heat. The nextdoor chickens are slow clucking. The nextdoor chickens are great fence breechers: consequently chicken wrangling is a new hobby of ours. Tasks and chores for the day line up. Roll up my sleeves, pick up the list, move on.

A Vision Of Sustenance
It seems our plumber has indeed curbed the ambition of the singing toilet. There is a whisper, a murmur, even silence. Behind the bath panel, an abandoned bath rack is found and restored to soap minding duties. Mr has crafted and cobbled a selection of shelves. I am herding objects to pragmatic places. Then I change my mind. Then I rethink. Then I trial a fresh arrangement. Then I can be certain that the first idea was the best idea.
At the old house, possessions are shooed into heaps of keep and not-keep. Higgedly fruit garden is pouring out currants and berries. Last years apples are out of the deep freeze, into the press, as we squeeze the most use from the end of our Rosehill era.
We plan a civilised layout, for moving the fruit bushes from the wild tilts of Rosehill to the gentle slope of Number Three, with room between rows for lawnmower access. Mr proposes an irrigation system and a compost regime. Having lived so long without ease or order, how agreeable this groundwork seems. Just a matter of some time and toil: next years fruits will be lined up on the bushes; boiling in my jam pan; blipping in shelved jars. 

Homemade smoothies are the best :-) 

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Posting in haste, while the connection is working! Playing catch up is driving me bananas- why are bananas the crazy analogy fruit? 

July 6, 2012
The Rabbit, the Wizard and the Bed Base.
Yesterday’s highlight was beheld on the return visit from collecting a rabbit hutch. This in itself contained the excitement of the hutch being bigger than the space in the car, and having great faith in the strength of string. As I guided my vehicle gently to a roundabout, waiting to cross the road was a man in navy blue wizard robes, long hair wafting wisely in communion with a soft breeze, staff in hand and stout leather sandals on feet.
Today we strapped the bed base to the top of my car with binder twine and reef knots. If an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered, getting the bed base up the spiralled stairwell was definitely an adventure. Especially the part where, in spite of removing some banister rail and carpet, the puzzlesome chunk became firmly wedged. I was underneath it, resembling Atlas. Boy was in a shrinking corner, Mr stood above. By determined employment of eye popping heaves, teeth grinding wiggles, and Mr sliding underneath to saw through a slice of bed base wood strut, we all three shared the elation of standing the bulking object on the landing and light heartedly surveying the trail of it, left in sawdust, plaster, chipped paint and a gouge of windowsill.

July 8, 2012
Frivolous Kicks
In theory, the inability to take internet access for granted should make it a wondrous and precious thing. Maddening, in practice, but one can decide to review one’s temper.
I am liable to be annoyed, living out of boxes and not being sure either where stuff is or, having found it, where stuff should be kept. The deadline for getting out of the old house seems much closer than the end of the list of objects to be moved. There are other complications; a leaking pipe, a burst pipe, a freezer of apples to be pressed, a cat, a rabbit, a camping trip and even the looming shadow of festive preparations, because we make Christmas presents. I have illustrations to finish and bills to pay. Having exchanged cash for a temporary internet connection, I am bound to feel annoyed when it won’t connect. I could have deliberately wasted that money on something more frolicsome.
Two hours of Tae Kwon Do later, balance is effectively restored. I am not solely speaking calming words. I am experiencing the composure. As though a personalized helium balloon is rising in front of me, bearing the slogan Take Frivolous Steps Against Irritation, it is joyfully clear that a deficit of fun must be redressed immediately.

Before I Dive Into A Jug Of Java

Despite my intermittent access to blogtime recently, a triple whammy of awards has accumulated. I hope to accept them all without doing too much work (which laziness I can thankfully blame on a protracted house moving experience) or compromising humility.
Thank you very much for sharing these with me, Unikorna and Carolyn, you are both most splendidly generous and appreciated.
Please find them here:

Two of my cache come from Unikorna:
"The Fabulous Blog Ribbon" and the "Lovely Blog Award".
Both awards require an honorable mention of the one who bestowed the award, followed by 7 nominations of bloggers suitable for the distinction. The Fabulous Blog Ribbon also compels to disclose 5 fabulous moments of your life.

And for the Liebster Award from Carolyn:
The rules:
1. Each person must post 10 facts about themselves
2. Answer 10 questions the tagger has given you and give 10 questions for the people you’ve tagged.
3. Choose 10 people and link them in your post.
4. Tell them you’ve tagged them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

I am going to cheat, of course, by amalgamating all of the requirements and by supporting the nominations already made:

10 Facts about Lily Tequila: includes some Oddly Fabulous Moments

1. She is one of two pseudonyms.
2. Her right foot is held together by what looks (in the x-rays) like three woodscrews.
3. She is full of calm advice but is still a rubbish patient.
4. She has birthed two children using only taboo words as pain relief. 
5. The worst job she ever did was hand packing frozen sand eels.
6. She honestly believes that the ‘occasional’ over indulgence is a wholesome way to stay humble. (Even if you have just scooped three awards. Aha! Apple wine it is!)
7. As a child, rarely wore shoes: could run barefoot over gravel without flinching. Used to love watching tourists mincing over pebbles on the beach.
8. Has been chased up a tree by vicious cows (Limosin-Devon Ruby Red crossbreed, known as The Battlecows) and whilst there witnessed her angry husband pass water on a cow’s head. This vision, whenever thought of, brings much laughter.
9. Has been naked in public twice: once on a nudist beach, once in a thick sea fog.
10. Is currently moving house and very much idolising the end of the process

Q&A Session

1. How long have you been blogging?
Under the twelve month mark.
2. Why did you start up a blog?
Because I always write, and am on a mission to put fresh eyes in your head. Fresh eyes are a key ingredient for the metaphorical Wishbone Soup.  
3. What has been your weirdest experience with blogging?
Nothing more dramatic than pressing ‘Publish’ the very first time. Suddenly I wasn’t alone, I didn’t know if I would like it. 
4. What is your favorite book?
The dictionary I’ve had since I was eleven.
5. Who is your favorite author?
There is a roomful of them. In this room I am such a flighty butterfly. You should see how Jane Austen is eyeing up Henry Miller though.
6. What do you want to be when you grow up/what is your profession?
I teach Tae Kwon Do, and write and draw (and don’t earn very much.)
7. How many books do you think you might have?
Less than before moving house, although I don’t have to own a book, I’m happy to borrow. Libraries are the best indoor places.
8. Do you prefer reading a proper book or a ebook?
Not curled up with an ebook yet- my gadgets are more in the line of cutting tools and wind-up torches. Maybe I would like it, but I would miss the physical act of turning real paper.
9. If you could choose to live one character's life in a book, who would it be?
Little My from the Moomintroll series.
10. If you were stranded on a desert island what 10 items would you want to have with you?
Ten items seems like a lot! 1: Billhook or machete. 2: A shed. 3: Coffee plants. 4: Magic notebook that never runs out of paper 5: Magic pen that never runs out of ink. 6: A postal service. 7: A flint for fire lighting. 8: Mosquito net. 9. A good strong pan. 10: Water container, large.

And The Nominations

From Unikorna

From Carolyn:      Leslie Pugh

Well, there’s the end of my little bit of graciously accepting escapism: back to the next round of unpacking and finding spaces. After a GARGANTUAN coffee.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Rosy Reminiscence

Lost in a crowd of thorns and stings, a rose pined for the sun. Last year I chopped the competition down: the sweet pink flowers hurled open unshadowed petals in clear day. I plucked blooms at leisure then, with red and white beads of blood and stung weals striping my arms. This year the path I hacked is grown in, but the stems of rose still reach higher. Before I can really work out why, here I am, diving through the nettles and the brambles, pulling secateurs from my pocket, snipping every stem I can reach, armfuls of fragrant pink, the hooked spikes catching in my sleeves. This bounty is brought to my new, unprepared kitchen, a selection of mugs and old bottles stand in for vases. As each flower drops, the petals are stuffed in a teapot for fresh rose tea. Only the buds are left now, snakelike heads: Medusa’s wedding hair. I’m thinking I might dry them, preserve some rose tea for winter time. Then I will sit in the short day, laughing at the impetuous dive. If I wanted to, I could worry over the fate of my rescued beauty; or, I can let it go, knowing I brought some freedom to it, and that was the limit of my influence, whether I chortle or weep.  

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Five Easy Pieces

Scrawling compulsively everyday, not enough time to tweak and primp these words, but I've grown accustomed to sharing and these are busy house moving days- this is like me saying, here, step over the cardboard boxes and let's drink coffee out of plastic wine glasses. 

June 29, 2012
Family Day.
After lunch, two dead palm trees are cut down. Baby sits naked in a bowl of pasta. Dog runs her rope around the bench and any other available legs. Boy is up the tree, bow-saw brandishing. Grampa Jim directs. There are pak choi flowers in the salad- edible flowers, my best kind. Scattered family gathers, comfortable on a selection of garden furniture, the six year gap is nothing.

June 30th 2012
Family Wedding Day.
Children we have seen brand new to the world; crumpled, tiny; they surprise us: hand us their children; walk down aisles in beautiful costumes; grow taller than us. Cousins at play on the bouncy castle here, while we say, oh, it will be their turn, scary, soon.
I’m sat in the passenger seat, looking in the wing mirror; now in the mirror, tired brain is rambling, things are backwards but someone stood in front of you, that can see what the mirror sees, how can it be that they don’t see you backwards?
Because the mirror can’t see you, idiot, I tell it. It is only reflecting. And it’s who, who can see what the mirror sees.
Brain slides out of my ear like a sulky blancmange.

 July 1, 2012
First Impression
The middle of the summer months arrives. It finds us preoccupied, busies itself making cloud shapes. I write the date on the minutes for the Instructors Meeting with a guilty hand. Yesterday I watched three quarters of the moon over a supermarket car park and no-one but me was looking up. Yesterday’s clouds were a whole other hovering planet of terrain and everything was alien. I scowled at an earth-slob dropping his cigarette butt on the tarmac. June was so distracting: is this how summer is? Is this how we are? The date is arguably irrelevant, since every day only happens once, and, likewise arguably, to give a day a name is to acknowledge the unique moment of it.

July 2, 2012
"How does one become a butterfly?" she asked pensively. "You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar." 
[Trina Paulus: Hope For The Flowers]
Ran through the high-sided lanes this morning; when the air is damp; as the wide awake hedgerows quiver and flit. Dog humours my pace. It is our usual route, only I follow the circle to the right: the hills are steeper upwards and the slight gradient of the flatter section runs downwards, so I struggle most at the start. Flowers sway, graceful, represent the ease to which I aspire.

July 3, 2012
Metal on metal noise of friction directs my car to the garage. My transportation method for the rest of the day is two boot-clad feet. Back along the lanes, under the rain mist, daydreaming of shallow seabed, the hedges are land reefs of curling green corals. House martins shoal past; they have a speed and a languor of motion that suits an underwater pace.  Work at our new house is kind of tidal too, I decide: after my lunch I will press forwards with it again. Dog leaps dolphin style over the garden hedge. This is how it is, in the dull weather, the bright lures of thought catch the real light of things.