Showing posts with label day2day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label day2day. Show all posts

Wednesday 3 February 2016

TGI February ...

Phew ... we've made it! We've got through the awful grey doldrums of January. At the risk of repeating what I said last year: January sucks! It's the one month of the year that I'd be happy to miss. Wake me up when it's over! And this year, with grey weather, sniffles and colds and a nasty dose of flu here at Talk-a-Lot Towers, it was especially grim.

But roll on February ... with Pancake Day, Valentine's Day, loads of spring flowers and the half term holidays to look forward to. January, with its dowdy back-to-work mentality, and those awful New Year's Resolutions, makes February shine. Yeah! Fun-time February has arrived, and not a day too soon in my book.

Yesterday the Wonder Dog and I took our customary walk around Ealing Common. The daffs were up, the sky was blue and it definitely felt like the season was turning, but there were still a few traces of the post-Christmas hangover lingering around the edges of the green. Here and there a few discarded Christmas trees still lay dejectedly on the grass. Can you spot the sad little conifer lying forlornly at the bottom of the second tree from the left?

There are few things that look glummer than last year's Christmas tree, dumped outside, withered and grey, when the festive season has long since been and gone.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Saturday 16 January 2016

Moonlit London by the Thames ...

The weather in London has finally turned wintery, and the very best sort of wintery at that: cold and crisp with blues skies that make the spirits soar. Sadly we were unable to go out and make the most of it yesterday. I had a towering mountain of work, and a series of meetings that kept me indoors all day.

Finally night fell, and I had to take Emi to swim club. Normally I bring a book or some work, and sit around with the other parents waiting for our kids to do their stuff. But last night I brought the Wonder Dog, left the child with his chums and tore off to the river. It was wonderful. Exhilarating. Joggers jogged by; a few revellers hung around the riverside watering holes having a sneaky smoke outdoors. And apart from that it was just my faithful hound, the moonlight, the river and me. An amazing moment stolen from my normal routine.

Thursday 31 December 2015

Knapweed ... or floral super-hero?

"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them."
said Winnie-the Pooh 

I'm completely in agreement with Pooh - especially at this time of the year when there's not a whole lot of colour around anywhere for us to enjoy. I saw this rather glorious cluster of knapweed this morning growing quietly beside the path I was following up the cliff. It called out loudly for me to stop and admire it ...

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Harbour patrol ...

We'd hardly touched down when the Wonder Dog and I were drawn to the harbour. There's something irresistible about all those boats parked up, and bobbing around on the swell. I love, love, love the harbour. It's a strange, illogical thing this love affair of mine. I'm a rubbish sailor - always sea-sick, but I hanker after this place, and all these lovely boats that I have no desire to ever board and sail away on.

Monday 21 December 2015

Home for the holidays ...

We've made it back home to beautiful County Tyrone for the Christmas holidays. And we're so grateful to have arrived safely. We had an epic ferry crossing from Holyhead to Dublin in really rough seas, which made us feel relieved to disembark and stand on terra firma without the horizon moving around chaotically with the rise and fall of the waves.

This morning the sun shone, and we rounded up the dogs for a walk around White Ness. It's actually called the White Lough, but Emi always refers to it as White Ness in the hope that one day it'll have its very own resident monster - just like Lough Ness in Scotland. Hope springs eternal  when you're ten years old.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Osterley Park's 7 swans a-swimming ...

I'm almost there ... I've almost got everything sorted for Christmas. It's been busy, but I feel as though I'm finally cantering up the home straight. Emi's been off on his Christmas holidays for a week now, and together we've got everything sorted from last-minute presents and Christmas cards, to hair-cuts and dental appointments.

And, powered-on by this new and relaxed sense of completion, we took the Wonder Dog for a gallop round Osterley Park this morning, where we met this lovely chap:

Friday 11 December 2015

Happy Birthday ad hoc labels ...

Today my baby turned 10. Ten! He's in double figures.

And to celebrate we had a special birthday lunch at a sushi bar close to Mr B's office, and then he and Emi headed off to Brick 2015, where they appear to have passed a very happy afternoon indulging in one of their greatest shared passions ... Lego!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I've been busy wrapping Christmas presents. I ran out of parcel labels to match my wrapping paper and improvised with these:

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Cosy times ...

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and the road downhill all the way to your door,  runs a traditional Irish blessing that resonates with me on cosy nights at home.

When the world outside is cold and grey and dreary it's lovely to have the lights of Christmas inside to keep us going.  And I guess that need for light and warmth in the middle of the Northern hemisphere’s winter is pretty universal. In some small part it may explain why we embrace festivals like Hanukkah, Diwali and Christmas, all celebrating light and life and hope in midwinter.

Over here at Talk-a-Lot Towers we’re pretty expert at the fine art of chill-axing and letting the weather do its worst outside, but if I were to judge which of us truly excelled at taking life easy, the prize would undoubtedly have to go to … <drum roll> ... the Wonder Dog.

These days he always bags the best spot on the sofa in front of the fire, where he luxuriates in the warmth, stretching out to his full (not very extensive) length and snoring loudly. You could be forgiven for mistaking him for one of my woolly creations - a schnauzer-shaped cushion, perhaps. Moreover he never sees any reason why he ought to move out of that prime spot when anyone else wants to sit down, which often results in people sitting on him. Still he could teach us all a thing or two about our priorities: enough food, our loved ones around us and a warm bed to sleep in, what else do we really need?

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Friday 27 November 2015

Happiness is ...

... having a Great Spotted Woodpecker as a neighbour. He totally floats my boat.

Isn't he amazing?

He's a timid soul, clutching the branches of the trees in a Gollum-like fashion, and peering carefully around them to make sure the coast is clear before he ventures out to help himself at the feeders.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Happiness is ...

... finding a hoard of old bakelite knitting needles going for a song in a second-hand shop.

The other morning, as I was racing to the station, something caught my eye in one of the charity shop windows. I was late (as usual) and in a terrible rush, so I couldn't stop for a better look, but I kept thinking about it all day, hoping that it would still be there at home-time.

And happily it was: a consignment of old knitting needles. There are loads of brightly coloured bakelite needles from the '40's and 50's that lift my spirits every time I look at them. In fact I thought they were so wonderful I put them in a flower jug and displayed them on a side table.

My son, Emi, (age 9) was not impressed when he came home from school.

Weird, Mum. They look a bit weird like that. Maybe you could find a nice box for them somewhere, he said in that slightly superior tone he uses when he thinks his mum's barmy.

Well, I don't care what other people think. I think it was a tenner wisely spent and I'm very happy with my hoard displayed as though it were a bunch of exotic blossoms in my favourite vase.

Here's to the small victories and commonplace trophies that make our hearts sing!

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Happiness is ...

... seeing these little guys breakfasting just outside my kitchen window: a charm  of goldfinches enjoying a niger seed banquet.

Even though the London weather is grey and dismal they've brought a little sunshine into my morning.

Hope you're finding inspiration in whatever you're doing today.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Happiness is ...

... when you finally understand how your pattern works without having to squint at the chart ... .

Today I'm working on some Aran. It's been a while since I've knit Aran, and I'm enjoying how the whole thing ties together. It feels very organic in its construction. I prefer not to use traditional Aran weight wool. It's just too bulky for comfort. I can understand how marvellous it must have been for the fishermen and the farmers working the land on the Aran Islands with the Atlantic winds buffeting them 360 days a year, but for us urbanites with our central heating and feather-down winter coats they're a bit too heavy. I prefer to use double knitting yarn. It takes more stitches and rows and, hence, more work, but the end result just seems to work better.

I may also be historically more accurate in that preference than if I were using the Aran wool that's marketed for Aran knitting. For centuries the people on the islands have been knitting the Geansaí Árann, a gansey jumper with many of the cables and diamond patterns used in modern Aran knitting, but they used different construction methods and a finer wool. Aran knitting, as we know it today, was largely the creation of an entrepreneurial group of island women who set about knitting jumpers for sale to supplement their family income in the late nineteenth/ early twentieth century. Now as we all know knitting a jumper, especially an Aran one with all its intricacy of design, is a time-consuming business. And, if you're treating your jumpers as commodities for sale, time is clearly money. So they hit upon the brilliant wheeze of simplifying the construction techniques and using a much thicker wool that would knit up quickly, enabling them to produce more jumpers and up their earnings in the process. Thus the modern Aran jumper was born in a flourish of female innovation.

And I've been innovating a teeny bit myself. How do you like my sparkly Aran? It looks better in person, but this wool is really difficult to capture. Maybe it's something to do with the light, courtesy of our miserable grey London weather. No wonder I'm reaching for a dash of sparkle ... .

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Friday 20 November 2015

A charm of goldfinches ...

Did you know that a gang of goldfinches are known as a charm? No, me neither, but I'm going to use it at every opportunity. It's just too charming not to ... .

I've got a few of these little chaps who come to feast on niger seeds just outside my kitchen window. And I'd hate to add up all the time in my day that gets lost admiring them. In the bad old days these little guys were under threat from the caged bird trade, but one of the RSPB's first campaigns, Save the Goldfinch, happily turned the tide, and now they're growing in numbers again.

All the best for the weekend,

Bonny x

Thursday 12 November 2015

An unseasonably warm November ...

It's been a funny old autumn with very little cold and frost. I know I shouldn't complain, and I'm not, but it still feels a bit strange not to have the big coats out of the closet and in active service. My brain tells me every morning to put on more clothes than I need to. Last Friday night I went out with my cousin Clare for dinner. She arrived ... wearing a blouse ... with no woolly cover-up. Admittedly they breed us tough over in Ireland, but even so, that's not proper going-out-for-the-night-in-November attire.

Still, looking on the bright side it means that these guys can still enjoy their daily bread al fresco. I'd hate to be a cow who had to spend all winter in a barn with a hundred other messy cows ...

  ... and the trees get to wear their leaves for rather longer than normal.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Return of my furry nemesis ...

Last weekend I decided that it was time to dust off all my bird-feeding kit, get it all tanked up with birdie tucker and back in the trees. It's not been desperately cold or anything like that, but it just felt like it was time to get the winter-feeders back in action. And I have to admit that it's not an entirely altruistic activity: I get a huge kick out of seeing all the little critters who come to my back garden for dinner.

Sunday 8 November 2015

Angel wings and Christmas cakes ...

Mr B and Emi have been away wargaming this weekend. Whilst they've been busy commanding their Dacian troops against Trajan's Roman Legions the Wonder Dog and I have been keeping ourselves busy back at base.

In truth it's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas ... . I know, I know: shoot me now for mentioning the dreaded C-word so early in November! But, the thing is, if you're planning on making a Chrimbo cake you really need to get cracking now or it'll be too late to feed it the requisite amount of alcohol to achieve that perfect level of boozy, fruity unctuousness by the Big Day.

Yesterday I spent the morning baking my cakes. I used my old, tried and tested recipe, which you can find here: Boozy Bejewelled Christmas Cake. The house smelt divine with that wonderful fruity, buttery, spicy smell that comes from fruit cakes baking slowly in the oven. Yum!

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Perspective ...

“And those who were seen dancing, were thought to be crazy, by those who could not hear the music.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

The other day I was busy taking photographs of the world from the perspective of a daisy. A man walked by, and looked at me in that pitying, somewhat superior way people do when they think you’re a bit simple. I passed no remarks. I knew what I was about, and I didn’t need his affirmation.

This is what the chap, who thought he’d got an edge over the mad bird with the camera, missed. He didn’t see the dewdrops condensing on the blades of grass as the late autumn sun melted the fog off the lawn. Viewed from the perspective of the daisy it looked like a lush jungle dusted with diamonds. I wonder, if he’d paused to look, would he have heard the music?

All the best for now,

 Bonny x