Friday, February 26, 2010

I need a cat

I don't have a cat and this is not an advertisement. Today's blog is brought to you by the 'awwwww!' factor and things-found-while-trawling-the-net. Have a good weekend!
PS Do you think they have those cocoons in human sizes? ;-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A telescope with a mouse in it

They're screening The Young Ones here again. I haven't seen it since it was originally on tv in the 80s. I was a teenager then and loved it - so weird and cool - everyone was into it. So my DH and I wondered last night, would we still find it funny now that we're looking down the barrel of 40? The answer is yes and no. It was strange at times - very staged - almost like a play with the actors seemingly very conscious of what I assume was a live audience. So, in that way, it had aged quite badly. And slapstick comedy is definitely for the teenage market only. But the utterly surreal bits were great - I possibly enjoyed them more now than when I was 14 and needed things to be very clear and grounded in reality. And it is a lovely time capsule of the 80s - Rick with his overalls, skinny ties and badges; Neil and Vvyan as cultural refugees from the 70s and Mike...well, I never really understood Mike and that hasn't changed. Anyway, I had to include this clip which I found funny then and still find funny now. Oh, the social angst of parties...though it was never quite this bad!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Night Sky

I am all for trying out new things at the moment. However, as I mentioned a couple of blogs back, art was not my forte at school and what suggestion of artistic inclination I may have had was stomped on by the derision of my classmates.

Now I realise my painting (above) is no great work of art but I gave it a go yesterday. Inspired by the lovely picture by Seamera at (her own blog can be found at, I stocked up on some painting stuff while shopping on Sunday and tried my hand at it last night. And I really enjoyed it! I have tried painting before (post-school) and I've always lost patience with myself - I could never get it 'right' and so just gave up. But yesterday, I took my time, didn't expect to suddenly be struck by artistic genius and just enjoyed doing it and I think that's reflected in a result that I'm reasonably satisfied with.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Food nostalgia

I am currently researching food in the 1960s, particularly in America, for a book that is being put together about Mad Men. I have been trawling the Internet for favoured recipes of the decade and what food was regarded as new and exotic. There are really some brilliantly informative sites out there if you want to go looking. Retro Food Recipes at was especially good with such memory jogging favourites as avocados with prawns, prawn cocktail, brandy snaps, caramelised oranges, chicken kiev, chicken maryland, chicken & mushroom vol au vents, creme brulee and lemon souffle. Although I wasn't born in the 60s (just missed it), my parents were still serving these dishes at their dinner parties into the 70s. How I hated avocados! "You'll like them when you're a grown-up", my mother would tell me (she was right). Chicken & mushroom vol au vents were more in my line and my mother would make them with salmon too. And I still have the dish that my grandma always made her famed creme brulee in. It's not that any of this food was particularly brilliant - though it's hard to tell when viewed through the tastebuds of a five year-old - rather it's food nostalgia. Avocado with prawns takes me back to our kitchen circa 1976, watching my mother in her long, green 70s evening dress, putting the final touches to each dish before the guests arrived. The creme brulee transports me to all of us sitting around my grandparents' kitchen table circa 1978 at our weekly Sunday lunch. Of course, we realise now that a lot of the food of this era was often full of chemicals (think 'Tang'!) and cooked almost exclusively in butter (or dripping - ewww!). So we mostly eat differently now. But one bite of any of those dishes is like a trip in a time machine. It's not the food itself, but the memory.

What foods do you remember?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ready to Launch

Like the song says - All dressed up and no place to go.
Well, commercial greatness eludes Handmade by Feronia for another day! All psyched up to sell my cards this morning, ready to go, cards all packaged up and looking pretty...and the shop was shut. Nevermind. Six months ago, this would have been a bad omen. Now I figure, well - go back next week. But ring them first! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Excusez-moi but I am an artiste

Now that my little black doggie friend has been firmly on the leash for a while, I find that my creatvity has returned to a very pleasing degree and in ways I didn't imagine. I have always been ok with words (though perhaps you disagree...), but truly artistic stuff has always been beyond me. At school, in my art class, people would laugh when I would take drawings out of my folio (isn't school just a delight). So it has come as a surprise to me that I have been able to make a couple of cards on which I...draw. And it looks pretty ok. At least, I'm happy with them and my DH who is never one to call a spade a shovel thinks they look alright too. In fact, tomorrow I am going to chance it at a local book shop and see if they want to buy some...eep. Wish me luck :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So wonderfully, wonderfully, wonderfully pretty

Photos from flickr group 'Gyrus'

I would love to adopt a cat. But it's not quite that simple. First, I suffer from chronic sinusitis and so I worry about the fur factor. Second, my DH comes up in big, red welts whenever he's scratched by a cat. Third, our house is really quite small and so I'm not sure that it's very pet friendly. Fourth, I also really love birds and have spent some time drawing the local birdlife to our yard so that they now feel comfortable to potter about here whenever they choose. I know cats are just being cats when they chase birds but I'm not sure how I feel about actively putting the two together.

So it would appear that I am going to have to content myself with admiring other people's cats, amusing myself at and reading about all the wonderfully mysterious cats of history - Bastet, for example, and the cats who pulled Freya's chariot across the sky...

But I do love cats. They're independent, they're smart, they don't make you take them for a walk...and they purr. A friend of mine had a cat who would purr and purr whenever he sat in my lap. Then he would stand up, walk very steadily (and painfully) across my thighs in order to climb back down to the floor, claws fully extended with each step. And I would let him. Just for that purr.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy days

Happy days this weekend. Making passionfruit butter on Saturday (our vine is producing at least 6 passionfruit a day); eating passionfruit butter this morning on pancakes; taking a beautiful sunny walk with my DH this afternoon and finding some lovely Tibetan silk yarn to buy... Happy days.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Perfect Storm

We had the most tremendous storm yesterday afternoon. The air had been heavy with humidity for a number of days but yesterday morning I watched as birds took to the skies to find a safe haven and ants scuttled across the ground, moving their goods to higher spots. Something was brewing. And sure enough, it broke spectacularly with a good half hour of pouring rain, brilliant flashes of lightning and fearsomely wonderful thunderclaps which shook our windows. From the safe confines of the house, I was able to watch this awe-inspiring display of nature and then, as things slowed down, thank it for filling our water tanks and nourishing the plants with a much needed drink.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Corners of the house

Just a few random snaps from different corners of the house.

First, a figurine of Mr Samuel Whiskers - Beatrix Potter character and rat-at-large. I thought he was a mouse at first. I acquired him from the op-shop on Tuesday and couldn't resist his cheeky expression.

Second, the two goblins who guard our front door from atop the bookcase closest to it. They don't have names as yet - any suggestions?

Finally, proof positive for all my European friends that down here in the South, the world is topsy-turvy. This is a truly bizarre looking passionfruit we pulled off the vine last night. Bright red almost gruesome looking seeds (think pomegranate) and squishy orange skin. Only my DH was brave enough to eat some...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Six degrees of Press Gang

Do you do this? I have a habit of associating essentially disassociated things in my mind. Take these two for example. Press Gang, a brilliant series for 'youth' from the last 80s starring a young Julia Sawalha and Dexter Fletcher (amongst others) and British band the Sundays, also from the last 80s/early 90s. That's where the story ends - both were about at the same time. But in my mind they're all rolled up into one, each acting as a soundtrack and background for the other, along with big earrings, curly bobs, oversized jumpers and t-shirts and too-big bows.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We're having a heatwave

Hot, hot, hot here at the moment. Or, should I say, mostly humid. February is often the hottest month so I shouldn't be surprised having lived through 36 of them. It's just that, as I've mentioned before, I'm not what you'd call a summer person. Each day of late has been much the same - throw open the windows and doors in the morning in the hope of some air swishing through the house and then close everything up again at about lunchtime as the scales tip in favour of the sun and the house starts to heat up once again. Our house does stay quite cool for at least the first few days of a heatwave it must be said, being made of double brick. It is only when the bricks themselves heat up that things start to get truly sticky. What I've noticed with this sort of weather - and perhaps this is just me - is that you wake up each morning feeling sort of chewed over, for want of a more eloquent phrase. It could be more because of my ongoing back issues but that, with the heat as well, means I am not really sleeping, so morning comes, and I don't really feel that there's been any significant break from the previous day at all. Oh well! On a more positive note, summer (like the extremes of winter, I guess) reminds us of our relative position in the universe. We really are still very much dependent upon the weather, the seasons and nature as a whole. And that's a good thing to keep in mind.

I thought of taking some photos for this blog - clear blue skies, blanched white sunlight - but then I realised that what I really needed to do was to record the sounds of summer - the buzzing mosquitos, chirping parrots, trilling crickets and gathering winds of an approaching storm. And I don't know how to do that. So, I say let the Muppets speak for me instead. We're having a heatwave!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Play misty for me

It has been really humid here this last week or so. Not blazing heat - sure, I'll acknowledge that - but humid, wherein a damp slick of perspiration is perpetually on your skin. So it's been lovely to have a little temperature drop overnight, a constant mist falling gently from the skies today and the plants getting a much needed drink. Poor babies. Although something is having a very nice meal in - or should I say of - my front yard: a bit of lemon balm for the mains and then a nibble of rose petal for dessert. Hmmm...Now that I look closely at the photo of the lemon balm, I see a telltale snail trail...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thankyou Thursday

Two lovely cyberfriends of mine have sent some awards my way! How very nice. First up, dear Dilly at Dilly's Castle ( has awarded me the Superior Scribblers award - thank you Dilly! - and then her sweet brother Bob over at Bob T. Bear (esq.)'s Diary ( has awarded the Sweet Friends award to all of his regular blogging friends because he couldn't pick out just one recipient. Thanks Bob! Of course I don't blog to receive accolades - truly, it's just a lot of fun - but it does give me a good case of the warm-and-fuzzies to receive nice awards from these two friends of mine.
As part of the conditions of the Superior Scribblers award, you must nominate someone else for the award and so I nominate my very good friend Bodecea over at Bodecea's Palaver ( As for the Sweet Friends award, I think I'll follow Bob's lead and award it to all the lovely people who regularly stroll through the Yellow Wood! As another part of this one, I am asked to list 10 things that make me happy and try to do one today. Ok...
1. Sitting in my backyard as dusk falls watching the birds fly home to their nests.
2. Eating vanilla ice-cream with chocolate topping and sprinkles (my summertime addiction).
3. Picking herbs from my garden, putting them in a vase and then enjoying their aroma as I walk past them dotted around the house.
4. Having a milk coffee mid-morning, with two gingernut biscuits on the side.
5. Feeling enthusiastic about whatever it is I might be doing.
6. Listening to a CD that exactly matches whatever mood I might be in.
7. Chatting about the day's events with my DH as we sit in the evening breeze.
8. Doing the newspaper's trivia quiz with my DH over breakfast.
9. Biting into a perfectly ripe peach.
10. Reading something that gives me a new idea or at least something to think about.
Thanks again Dilly & Bob! Hugs x
Conditions of the Superior Scribbler Award are as follows:
1. Nominate someone else for it.
2. Post the Award on your blog.
3. Mention that the Award came originally from here:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sit. Stay.

I may have mentioned before that in the course of my life, I have taken a number of journeys with the black dog of depression very firmly in tow. The last 12 months or so have been the longest of our walks together. But of late I have just started to feel a little bit of the old me returning, with a little bit of the (hopefully) 'new and improved' thrown in for good measure. Things that were once so interesting but for a year were not even worth looking at are suddenly interesting again. And as a result my desk is a buzzing hive of busyness - books piled upon books, 'ideas' notebooks being started with enthusiasm and regularly added to, projects which had been relegated to the 'too-hard' basket are being returned to and finished off...last night I even thought it may be worth having a notepad by the bed, because I was still thinking of things as I dozed off. Or perhaps I am learning to better ride the natural peaks and troughs of life and to grab the times when the Muses are with me with both hands - to make hay, as it were, before I sit quietly alone again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Down amongst the long grass

Faeries and Goblins, depicted by the brilliant Brian Froud

While we're on the subject of alternate worlds and worlds between worlds, I have been reading a lot about faeries (or fairies) of late. Although they have mostly been reduced to the Tinkerbell variety in modern Western pop culture, many cultures have strongly believed in 'the Fae Folk' as they can be more authentically regarded, and continue to do so. Certainly in Ireland, for example, Celtic culture had (and has) a strong faith in the existence of Faeries. Throughout Europe, there were (and are) Faeries, Brownies, Elves, Goblins, Disir and Gnomes, to name but a few.

Unlike Tinkerbell, faeries are not always all sweetness-and-light. Sometimes they can be mischevious, sometimes malevolent - as with all entities and energies around us. So, in order to harness some good Fae energy around our little abode, I have installed some wind chimes in our backyard as well as threading a long string of multi-coloured beads which glistens and glitters in the sun (apparently faeries are attracted to the bright and shiny). Our backyard is apparently one which is likely to attract a faerie or two - longish grass in parts (good hiding spots) and not clipped and primped and preened within an inch of its life...others would perhaps call it a mess!

Do you believe in faeries or do you think this is a load of old nonsense? For me, the jury is still out, but either way, I figure the gentle, melodic chiming, the rustle of long grass and the bright glistening of a string of beads is bound to attract some good energy, from somewhere, and spread just a little bit of magic.