The Pearl

In 2004 I ordered a CD from Amazon, and was sent the wrong one, but as it’s music (AND free), there clearly would have been something wrong with me had I not listened to it.

Love it.

‘The way we are’ is the album, by a sort of grungey/alt rock duo called ‘Fleming and John’, and it’s definitely intrinsically linked to most memories I have of my first crack at ‘adulting’. My favourite track (apart from ‘Ugly girl’ for its superb lyrics: “Is she so nice it makes up for her face?”) is ‘The Pearl’. Fleming wrote this after reading a book by John Steinbeck with the same title, and 14 years ago I thought “I’ll read that “. Last week I ordered it, and today I finished it.

The Pearl is one of those sorts of books that you would read in an English Lit class, and want to annotate. It really is so packed with meaning it takes a few a goes to really get everything that is trying to be said, but when you do get there, you are deeply in awe.

The story is set in Bolivia, and the main characters are from a fishing village who don’t have two pennies to rub together, but one day, discover great wealth. The rest of the story unfolds around how this ‘wealth’ literally changes everything, turning the world upside-down. Given a chance, I don’t think many people would be able to finish this book without being made to re-evaluate at least something going on in their life. It is actually that good. You would want to sing about it.

You don’t always pay for what you get

Annoyingly, I have always been allergic to whichever metal it is they use to make the backs of watches. My skin swells up in red, nobbly, itchy, bumps which are very unpleasant, as am I (I imagine), until the irritation passes. So I largely gave up on the exercise of wearing a timepiece, which again, was probably an unpleasant experience for those around me as they became my time keepers; until I got my first phone, and then had the inconvenience of having to keep it on my person constantly so I wasn’t late. That was until…


I know! Seriously cool! Not only can I wear these, but I LOVE them. Wood in general to be fair. It is my ambition one day to live in a house made entirely from wood. It’s a beautiful material, and comforting, and cosy and just, it has so much soul! Anyway, so I asked for a wooden watch for my Christmas present, and there are loads to choose from, but the one (pictured) had my name on it, and is made somewhere totally random like Outer-Mongolia or something, and cost £8, but I genuinely love it. And I don’t really have prized possessions. What’s more, I have accidentally washed and tumble-dried this watch twice now. And it’s still going. And you just rub a bit of olive oil into the wood and the leather strap, and it comes up just like new. What an awesome thing. And I’m rather inclined to think the best things in life really don’t cost much. I don’t think I need to say any more….

Yellow Spoon

yellow spoon

We move on from food to cutlery.

So I have this yellow spoon. It’s really old (at least 15 years), pretty bent, and looking at it objectively, not the most attractive item in the kitchen. But if I could only ever eat one meal ever again, it would be with that spoon. I love it. It might be something to do with how lovely it is to hold with it’s worn plastic handle, how it is weighted, the fact that I eat faster than a dog scoffing chips and you can fit an untold amount of cereal on it, I just don’t know.

I wonder if everyone has a yellow spoon? Perhaps not yellow, or a spoon, but something that isn’t the most beautiful object in the world, but is used time and time again, for whatever reason, because somehow it has simply commanded the title “favourite”.

If you do own such a thing, I wish you many more happy times together.

6 May

Station at Beale Park


For Mother’s Day I was given an annual pass to our local wildlife park, and Kate and I visit often (the gardens particularly are so beautiful). Kate’s obsession is the little train that does a circuit of the park, and we have made it a tradition now to catch a ride before heading home.

Today as we approached the little station, it appeared we would be the only passengers on this trip. The train’s driver asked if we minded waiting to see if a few more people would turn up, and as we were hurry, we stopped and chatted and were regailed with this story.

A month ago Bryan the Train Driver had been sought out by a company who specialise in finding the heirs of unclaimed wills. This had led him into discovering an Aunt he never knew he had, and becoming the recipient of a sum of money that was greatly unexpected. Feeling rather awful he had never had contact with this long lost relative, Bryan felt it only proper to attend the Aunt’s funeral, where he met a couple (The Cornwells) with whom he shared a connection – Glebe Court, an old manor house in Goring-on-Thames.

The Cornwells had been house keepers for the owners of Glebe Court – the Shoolbreds and later the Golodetz, but left when the ouse was demolished and the land sold to developers in the 1970s. Bryan’s link to Glebe Court had been to obtain some architectural salvage prior to its demolition in order to sell this on for his employers at the time. However, he had found it so difficult to let some of the pieces go, such was the beauty of their craftmanship, he had bought them himself and incorporated them into his own home in Goring (where he had moved to from Worcester). At the mystery Aunt’s funeral, Bryan had told Cornwells of this, and they were visiting his house this very evening to reminisce about the good old times of Glebe Court.

I write about this because my Grandparents, Frank and Ivy Godfrey, and their seven children (including my Mum) lived in Glebe Court Lodge, the Groundsman’s residence at Glebe Court, as my Grandad was Head Gardener to the Shoolbreds and knew the Cornwells well.

They say that you know everyone in the world through 9 people. Today I believe this to be true.

4 May

May the 4th be with you.

Today was lovely. Kate and I attended the Christening of my friend’s daughter Savannah-Rose at our local church. The sun shone on their family, and the service was tremendous and very geared up for the children, with lots of singing, tambourine shaking and flag waving. Kate had a whale of a time, and almost clapped herself to sleep at one point, she was so worn out with enthusiasm.

At the end of each service the Minister asks the congregation to remember people in the local community, and today he asked us to think of those attending the nursery school where my Mum is a teacher. Unbeknown to the Minister our prayers are needed perhaps more now than at any other time, as there is a little girl in their care at the moment who is beautiful and vibrant, but very poorly.

So as I sat with my cuddly toddler on my knee, my heart broke for that Mummy and her baby who but don’t know how many more cuddles they will have. How incredibly and indescribably sad. I think of them often. I don’t know if any of this works, but please think of them too.

So the rest of the day sort of took on a new impetus and away from its intended course. My ironing didn’t get done. But we all had a great time playing with the brick truck in the garden.

God bless.

Girls just wanna have fun

And failing, that make the best of when your Mother takes you to Basildon Park…


Kate and I took a turn around our local National Trust property Basildon Park yesterday, as we both found ourselves at a loose end and rather fancying some fresh air. The daring sorts we are, we ate rusks by the ha ha, Kate indulged herself in a bit of manual mowing (new favourite past time), we both waved at the trees (much to the amusement of some sensible sorts wearing moccasins), and then Kate fell asleep in her chariot while I sat and watched the world go by overlooking the Berkshire countryside. This was purely self indulgent and wonderful! One thing you don’t get an awful lot of time for looking after a small person (fantastic though it is!), and having been an only child I realise is something I often took for granted, is the opportunity for head space. This blog is of course equally self indulgent but exercises the same opportunity, to have a good old fashioned think. How I have missed it.


katemowingAnyway I have to say I returned from our escapade a much jollier person, having cleared the debris to make room for some new plans of action. So much so in fact, Kate and I have booked in another session next week.

I am only grateful that Basildon Park has large expanses of lawn so we don’t create bald spots, and there are an abundance of trees to greet to keep the experience fresh. We are now also bidding on some grown up and mini moccasins to blend in with the other weekday patrons.

Kate has also put her name down for a course on 17th century basket weaving. Girl after my own heart.

Loaves and Fishes


London Aquarium


Emily and fish

Helen and Emily

yellow snow

Yesterday I met up with my dear friend Helen and her daughter (and my adopted niece) Emily, for a visit to see the ‘fishes’ at the London Aquarium. It was wonderful to see them both, and as is always the case, Emily had grown up beyond all recognition and kept me in constant fits of giggles with her exclamations of ‘oh no’ at the sight of anything untoward,  and was a lovely reminder of how amazing a place the world is when you have only 2 years worth of experience, and aren’t yet 3ft tall. The shock of the sensation of touching ice was enough to provoke tears, but a hug from Mum was all that was necessary to put everything to right again. These girls have a very beautiful relationship and friendship, and it was great to be part of their world for a day.

Sadly, however, not m/any snaps of our trip were in focus owing to the lack of light, a ban on flash photography, and the adventures of someone who is two, but this is of course by-the-by, and the good news is that no one was tempted by the yellow snow.

I have become a bit obsessed by bread blogs lately. I haven’t yet pursued this avenue of baking, but I am doing a fair amount of research with thoughts to entering a loaf into the Tilehurst Horticultural Association’s annual show. I fear I will face stiff competition owing to last years offerings, but I hope that 3 months of practice will hold me in good stead.

If not, I will be accepting ideas for a ‘garden on a plate‘ – this year’s theme being ‘The Olympics’. I consider that there is more than one way of being creative with a spring onion…

Cooking the books

Going to the libraryI must share with you something amazing! There is a place about a mile from where I live, and in exchange for your details you get a little plastic card, and with that card they let you walk out of the building with up to 24 books/talking CDs/DVDs for period of three weeks (or more). And you haven’t heard the best bit yet….

…it’s all for free!

I know!

Along with marmalade, Radio 2, and David Dimbleby, the library is by far one of my best re-discoveries, and I can’t believe that it has taken me so long to re-enter this magical literary emporium, albeit with a slightly misguided 70’s exterior. It brings back incredibly fond memories of being little and cuddling up with the giant crocodile in the corner of the children’s section, catching up on the latest adventures of Topsy and Tim, or finding a new ‘Judy Blume’ in my teenage years and giggling at the ‘rude bit’ which could be easily navigated by the most thumbed page.

My journey back hasn’t disappointed. The same musty smell fills the building, a combination of carpet tiles and decaying paper, and the same lady librarian with the bejewelled spectacles, and the nervous one who takes ages preparing the stamp. There are the same red edged shelves neatly marked with catalogue numbers, the same green and yellow draylon chair that we used to fight for possession of, being much comfier than any of the other plastic offerings, and I was heartened to find that even the old BBC computer still remained in the corner by the wonky blind on which to look up a required title.

This week is a slightly busy one and so I have been forced to limit my account to ‘Brilliant Business Plan’, ‘Bags, Bags, Bags’, ‘101 ways with felt’ and ‘The Grown Up Gap Year’, all of which are proving most inspirational, although I am still grappling with the notion of ‘fabric mixology’ in one of them. Liquid mixology on the other hand appears to be second nature, so I am encouraged that it will come in time.

Or maybe I could combine the two and write a book of my own…

The Vyne

The Vyne - drive

The Vyne


face on a tree

host of golden daffodils



Today I put on some tweed, and thereafter felt a sudden need to plan a day ahead that would match my outfit. As luck would have it, a free range mother came wondering past as inspiration struck, and we thus bundled ourselves into my little ‘blue bullet’ and headed for ‘The Vyne’, (a National Trust property near to Basingstoke for those who aren’t familiar), that is both magnificent and magnificently tranquil.

I watched that chicken dig that hole and then hide three worms down it. She then surreptitiously stood in front of said hole with the passing of other hens.

It made me fall in love with her.

And feel very guilty about what we’re having for dinner.

The inside outside predicament

Walking Stick Cabbage

I have a bit of a thing for blogging, but it is rather somewhat of an indoor activity. And I have been mostly outside. Because that’s where the sun has been. You see my predicament.

Whilst not in front of my laptop however the rubble has been cleared from the back bedroom so the plasterer can get in and do his thing (who build’s airing cupboards out of breeze blocks anyway?), the cars are shiny clean, the fence is mostly painted, two veg patches have appeared as if from nowhere, and a daily monitoring of our two seed trays now occurs at around 8:30am every morning in the hope that something green might appear. As yet this is not affirmative, but I am excited at the promise of a seven foot cabbage nonetheless. With a kid rocking some retro velour.

You will also be terribly pleased to know I am sporting a new hair do, this time with slightly more emphasis on the choppiness of the fringe, and with a tad more blonde added. I would be kidding myself if I were to say it looked any different, but a timely lop does have the effect of making me feel that little bit more perky. Happily this appears to have also translated into a discount on my car insurance. Think I now have grounds that an eyebrow re-shape is a totally worthwhile investment…

Have a lovely time in the sunshine x