Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Up The Airy Mountain..

It’s the fine weather, you know.  Makes everything look better.  Why does anyone go abroad, one says smugly, when everything is so much nicer here.  Lovely little country, green and golden.

That’s how I felt today as my Fairy Godmother whisked me away to her mountain fastness.  I didn’t even have to do any driving, just loll back giving the odd direction -  just to show that I was, in fact, alive.

Daffodils, tulips and grape-hyacinths nodded a welcome in multicoloured rows – all planted by the diligent fingers of my hostess.  Birds pecked at feeders fat with peanuts, the males outshining the females in their striking plumage. Lovely airy house with wonderful view across the glen. Labrador frolicked at the sight of human company, miraculously trained not to intrude into the sheltered sunny-spot that overflowed with window-boxes of herbs and fruit (and cabbage plants waiting to be transplanted).  What industry had created such a haven, and didn’t expect me to do anything except enjoy it.

It is a place where fairy-tales could be imagined – I’m sure I saw some peeking through the trees as we sat there. 

I just know its going to be a lovely summer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I’ve always been fascinated by detective stories and detectives. It’s strange, because I don’t really like the murders, just the solving of the puzzle.  Can’t take the blood and pain, but like the brain-work.

I suppose Miss Marple was the first detective  I came across  in books.  Once I saw the films I went off her a bit.  She was so old, for a start, and maybe it also was because she was a bit dithery and I could see into my future and feared I’d end up that way. 

I should have mentioned that in the main, I like my detectives to be male and handsome.  I find it makes it easier for me to read the book or watch the screen happily.

There was Stratford Johns in ‘Softly Softly’, a TV series in the seventies.  Kids were either strapped into chairs or let loose on the street (depending on the season) so that I could watch that at 6.30pm without fail.  There was Inspector Wexford ( a bit slow he was), followed by Bergerack,  (I still like him, John Nettles, I mean, in Midsummer Murders although he gets through an awful lot of bodies ),  Then there was the wonderful John Thaw as Inspector Morse.  We built a ‘family night’ in our house around him when the first series began.  A women’s night, with my daughter and the transient girlfriends of my sons, complete with crackers and pate and red wine.  Ever so sophisticated. The men in my life usually found the programme too slow and tedious, but of course we girls were all half in love with Morse and didn’t care how much opera he listened to, beers he drank, or time he took to unravel the tale.  Now that a couple of years have passed I have even become quite fond of Lewis – the replacement of Morse in the series.

But my favourite Detective has to be Brunetti in the stories by Donna Leon.  Not only does he solve crime in the wonderful setting of Venice, but he appreciates good wine and gourmet food, adores his wife (bless her heart, I don’t resent her too much) and his two quite normal children.  He introduces me to that wonderful place as he takes note of the streets he walks along, and the boats he hops on and off.  And  he manages to bring romance to the readers of the books who (in my experience) range in age from 30 to  well, a lot older…..  You should check him out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Did you know?

Did you know that there is a ‘talk like a Pirate’ Day – I think its the 14th September. I know a lad who got detention because he wouldn’t stop even after lunch-break, replying to serious maths questions, ‘arr, it be around forty-five point nine, surr’

I think Hallmark invented this day – and probably designed cards to go with it (or the other way round, whatever…)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Half Full or Half Empty?

Normally I’m a half full person – my glass is half full (unless I’ve been tippling, of course, in which case it’s actually empty but I still hope for another little drop).

And so it was over Easter.   Sun danced in the heavens.  No, I didn’t actually see it this year either, but I nearly did!  Two minutes earlier and I would have witnessed this sight that my father got us out of bed for every Easter morning.

Garden looked lovely, leaves sprouting as if they had just invented the idea of recreation.  Birds singing from 5am since the clock went forward – especially the lovely blackbird opening his yellow beak and dropping wonderful sounds into my head.  No 1 grandson moved garden stuff around creating ‘bird place’ with seeds and bath and shoving the sprawling rosemary bush, covered in its blue spring outfit,  back into some kind of shape.  I’d prune it if I had the heart and the energy.

Even the fact that a lingering cold still has me wheezing and coughing didn’t damper my ardour.  I reigned supreme in my domain and drank in the beauty.

And then today the sun vanished – or was it my brain that had gone grey?  Crows and pigeons raided the seeds, scaring off the Great Tits and the Blackbird, leaving only the brazen robin picking up the husks.  Sky was leaden and low.  Everything was too much trouble.  I’m sure I saw a black dog (just a little one) lurking in the foliage around the garden shed.

Now I’m going to get a big rock and throw it at that black dog ; and get a glass that will be entirely full, at least for a little while; and turn on my radio and hope that Seamus bloody Heaney will have stopped reading his poetry interminably as he was this morning. 

I mean I love poetry and stuff, but some days, y’know, you are just not in the mood for beauty!