Friday, October 16, 2015

Wonderful Lea Stansal

Thursday 15 October 2015

Glorious autumn day

Spent day in bed feeling ghastly.  Drank a lot of tea and dozed.  Listened to A Good Read on podcast - Miriam Margoles and a writer I havent heard of.  Miriam chose Great Expectations and the bloke chose To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolfe.  I have not yet managed to get to the end of a Virginia Woolfe novel.  I find them turgid and the characters inspid.  Miriam was of the same opinion.  The lady in charge of the show recommended Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote which I then found a copy of online and rather enjoyed, for the part I managed to read before dozing off again.

Here, for your enjoyment, are some photos of the work of Lea Stansal, who I absolutely admire for her stunning and original embroidery

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My mother in law is annoyed and everyone is cross eyed

Wednesday 14 October 2015
Sunny but cold 14 degrees

My mother in law was back.  I dreamed that it was the day of my neice's wedding and my sister in law had decided to flood her house and have water lilies as decorations.  My MIL was not pleased.  Her tights were getting wet and she was on a plinth, above the water line, and couldnt get to the food.  I have absolutely no idea what this means.  OH suggested I was losing my grip on reality.... helpful (not)

Looked at WF's job application and cut out all the fluff and tightened up the language and put it all in bullet point form and sent it back to him.  Took OH a cup of tea in bed and went back to sleep.

He dug me out of bed an hour later and we went to see about getting him some shoe supports for his flat feet.  When I did Reiki one and two, my teacher said I needed to practice in people.  With his varicose veins, flat feet, bad neck and shoulders and assorted pains, I only need to practice on one person to keep me up to scratch.  Strange thing reiki - apparently he feels intense heat - what I feel is tingling in my hands where the pain is, which subsides during the treatment.  It has really helped him, he says.

We arrived at the clinic just before eleven.  The waiting room was deserted.  The secretary disappeared into the office.  We looked at the range of astonishingly expensive orthopaedic shoes.  Ten minutes passed, then fifteen then twenty.  OH started getting very agitated. There were voices from a sideroom and they seemed to be having a real laugh and joke. After half an hour, OH charged up to the office door and hammered on it and told them their customer service was a joke and then we left and he posted a largely illiterate note in French on their FB page.  Yet another place where I wont be able to show my face again.

Came back home and had egg and bacon and I felt really rough but alas, had an appointment so off into the weak sunshine and 13 degrees to find a farmhouse.  Not a great location, next to a road, and manned by some very aggressive guard sheep and a boss eyed spaniel.  A small girl let me in and her mother appeared and showed me around.  They want a heck of a lot of money for it.  Discussed price - it transpires she also works in estate agency so I asked her the average price per m2 in the area and she said 1400 euros so I did the calculation and it was 100k less than the price she was asking.  Took it on anyway but told her I wouldnt be having very many visits at that price.  She was boss eyed too. Went back home and discovered OH had gone fishing.

GDF have finally cracked the problem of the incorrect email address so I got access and informed NZ ladies.

Need to do something with the duck in the fridge.  Head bad.  Need sleep.

Inside were unexpected delights...

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Sunny periods
18 degrees

Alarm sounded early and it was still pitch black and alas, it was already 8 am.  Crawled out of bed and loaded up properties and OH went to see the kine and have his back pummeled.

In the afternoon I set off, nervously, in my new car.  It is still stopping itself at traffic lights. Must find out how to turn off the automatic start and stop.  The GPS took me up a grassy track and I had my heart in my mouth as the clearance on the front of the car is not very high at all.  Arrived in front of the house and it was a large triangular shaped building with sandy coloured rendering and a long alley of Hortensia and plane trees.  The owner appeared and started waving at me and I squeezed the car through the narrow entrance way and was so slow that it turned itself off twice and I finally parked and got out and tried to look as if I knew what I was doing.

It was a surprising property.  The plain facade was no indication of the splendour within.  A massive 85m2 living room with grand beams and massive chandelier.  The far end window showed the garden beyond.  I thought of feng shui and how it is very bad to have entrance and exit aligned because the energy flows right through and out of the house.  I was welcomed into the library and sat down on an ornate chaise longue and offered coffee from delicate Limoges china and a selection of delicious chocolate biscuits.  An oil painting of an uncle, painted in the 19th century, hung over the marble fireplace and his eyes followed me around the room.  Golden sunlight filtered through the windows and a curtain of fine orange leaves floated past in the light breeze.

The couple were in their  70's - the man from Germany and the lady from California.  We spoke a mixture of French and English.  The lady's accent was as smooth as honey.  I could not believe how little they wanted for it but time is going by and they want to sell so I signed them up and eased back out of the driveway and then got horribly lost and the GPS brought me back by road on which I have never previously travelled.

Back home and OH had been on the bone rattling tractor for a couple of hours and looked shattered.  I didn't feel good - cold and shivery - think I am getting a cold.  Fell asleep on the sofa and had to go to bed early

WF (youngest son) has decided to apply for deputy manager position and needs help with editing his text.  He writes in a very floral fashion for a 24 year old.  RJ (eldest) is fed up of his employers and wants to move.  He needs help too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thoughts on the life of an author

Monday 12 October 2015

Lots of rain
18 degrees

Day started black and hammering it down.  Lovely to lie in bed with a cup of tea and spend an hour writing.  I do enjoy the discipline of getting words down on paper and must now, at just over three hundred posts, be at the size of a novel.  I will probably have to write every day for a number of years to get to the size of the last few Harry Potter novels.  I don't know how you would keep the discipline of writing a story every day.  Hats off to all authors.  I do know one lady who had her first two novels published, to moderate acclaim and her second novel was one of the last books I left before leaving England, and ever since she has produced a book a year and nothing has seen print.  She needs a good agent.  She needs someone to promote her on social media.  She also needs to get rid of the clich├ęs but how to tell her?  She is an eccentric dresser.  When scrubbed up and wearing a lovely dress and makeup, she is like a mature Marilyn Monroe.  She usually prefers wearing her children's cast off clothing and has a particular aversion to skimpy underwear.  I still remember the faces of the French women in the changing rooms at the local baths, when this lady stripped down and was revealed to be wearing a faded pair of men's underpants....

Spent morning loading properties and then went out and hacked at the greenery.  It is fighting back.  Weeded the strawberries and chopped some bits off the rampant sages.  Dog slept all day.  Then lunch and made some resin buttons and pendants.  The sticky pendants have stopped being so sticky - I may not have to consign them to the bin after all.  Attached some bails after hand drilling.  My fingers kept on seizing up - hope I am not developing arthritis in my fingers like my mother.  She would be reading a magazine and suddenly her fingers would lock.  It is really painful.  Dug out the cod liver oil and washed some down with orange juice.  It is beyond disgusting.  Dog looked interested so he had some too.

Rang lots of suspects and sorted out appointments to take on houses.  My gorgeous dentist rang and said he was looking to sell so I will pop around and see him later on.

Battled with Gas de France.  They have set up an account for a client with my email address but have got it slightly wrong therefore I have not received the activation email.  I cannot alter anything because the client account is now associated with this incorrect email.  I cant get through to them on the phone and we have had numerous emails.  They are absolutely pond life.

I wonder if no one comments on this blog because I hide my true identity?  Sometimes I feel I am speaking into a void...

A lot of bling....

Sunday 11 October 2015

Sunny in Torrelevega and raining when we get back home
21 degrees

The thing about blinds is that there is really no light in the room and then when you emerge in a fog and drag them open, you discover it is already well advanced into the morning.  Drift out into the morning and eat croissants and drink coffee and orange juice and the streets are still empty.  Back on the road to home by 11 am.

Have had to download Chrome in order to load photos.  Microsoft may be the Edge in terms of search engine but Blogger is not happy and tends to seize up.  So, here are the photos I promised you

Love the horses on his sombrero

Sombrero detail

Back home and the pension lady said dog had spent the weekend trying to hide in dark places and was he like that at home.  She says there is a delay between him hearing and processing information.  She has not seen him when I shout - well bellow - who wants a dog treat.  He is such a moron but at least he does look pleased to see me, although exhausted.  I think he is too old for PC's dog pension now - too many dogs and PC has a voice like a fog horn.  She says dog needs a course of treatment to oxygenate his brain and it is expensive.  Will have to get that one past OH.  Back home and dog is running about, eating his dinner and rolling on the mat like a puppy.  Ought to film him.  He behaves like he is over a hundred when at the pension.

Catch up with Strictly Come Dancing.  There are some truly terrible dancers and a number of brilliant ones.  The most stunning and very sexy was the jive and the most delightful was the charleston by Kevin Clifton but the most amusing, in the words of Len Goodman, was Jeremy Vine - a little bit of Hollywood and a little bit of Borehamwood (town in Hertfordshire).  Here, for your delight, is the link.  I think he will last to Christmas as he is so terrible but entertaining.

Jeremy Vine on Strictly

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rifling ladies, a red light experience, and a hot time in the old town....

Saturday 10 October 2015

Hot and sunny
24 degrees
Torrelavega, Cantabria

Miraculously, OH didn't snore very much so awake feeling almost human.  RJ send me a picture of a woman he had seen in his local town and said she was my doppelganger.  Only a rear view but she was built just like me and was wearing a pair of trousers almost identical to a pair I have and a green cardigan and handbag which I very much admired.  Apparently, she had given him a real shock and he had looked around to see if OH was far behind.  But no, I am here and she, whoever she is, is there.

Went out for breakfast and re hydrated and stocked up on some butter rich carbs and admired the stained glass and then went out and looked for the car but OH had no idea which car park he had been to (fortunately with the owner).  Encountered some interesting shops on the way - the enticingly named Women's Secret where I obtained two pairs of fleecy PJ's and no skimpy underwear although OH did enjoy looking at it.  The bras had very narrow shoulder straps and I squished out of them and it was not an attractive look.  Then came across some lovely haberdashery shops and bought some ribbons and trims.  I can add them to my stock of lovely, lovely things back at home.  Also, a large material shop.  OH asked me what I needed the material for.  Has he understood nothing from the past thirty years?  Ah, the difference between crafters and non crafters.  You don't buy stuff because you need it.  You buy it because you love it.

I still didn't have a pair of shoes for Winter so went in a shop where everything was hidden away in boxes and the man was hiding behind the counter.  All the clients, women to a woman, were fed up of waiting to be served and were rifling through the boxes on their own.  I found a pair of black leather shiny shoes which were lovely and insisted on paying for them and then left the women to terrify the man into performing more sales.  OH thought that his wife had died and he was not used to serving in the shop.  Most shoe shops in Spain are run by a very determined line of lady owners whose aim is not to let you out of the door without having sold you at least two pairs of shoes.

OH then found a gents hairdressers where the barber didn't look like he would slit throats (some of them are strange looking coves) and I found some pop up shops in the local bars and had a good rifle through the contents.  The French have a word for rooting through things - farfouiller - no English equivalent.  It is almost impossible to be overdressed in Spain - they just love bling.  There were some very sparkly handbags and some knitted ones liberally spread with synthetic feathers and faux Swarovski skull beads. 

OH reappeared, suitably shorn, and we had beer and sandwiches and then decided to go for a slice of the chocolate cake.  It turned out to be full of salt crystals.  Took it back and insisted that the cook tasted some, after which he consigned it to the bin and then tried to charge us anyway.  Back to hostel for snooze but owner was there and talked to them, loudly and just outside our door, for the best part of 40 minutes.  Wrapped large feather sausage pillow around head and passed out.

Later, went to find a bar called the Lord Byron, well reputed for its G n T's.  It was down a side street and no one was in it and I had trouble getting OH through the door as he was convinced it would be (a) rubbish or (b) expensive.  Propelled him through the door and asked for two gins of the bartender's choosing.  The bar tender was a man who had seen the movie Cocktail.  He span bottles and grated oranges.  He selected cardamoms and pepper corns.  He crushed ice; dramatically.  He whizzed the mix round with a swizzle stick.  Time went by and OH decided to go to the toilet and then reappeared at speed having missed the first step of the flight.  The bartender smirked and said it wouldn't be long now.  Thought of Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually - tis but the work of an instant.  The man looked under the counter for some parasols and OH seized his glass and went outside, clutching his groin, having strained it on the rapid descent.  I grasped my glass also, assured the bar tender that we didn't need paraphernalia, and followed him out.  OH's verdict was that there wasn't a lot of gin in it but the flavour was good.

OH had written down the name of the restaurant where he had booked and it was illegible so the man outside the bar rang up the phone number, less illegible, and directed us off into the edge of town.  It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a salubrious area.  There were many South American woman wearing very skimpy clothing.  There were black guys, glaring at us.  There were men cruising in cars.  I saw clothing I havent seen since the 80's.  Pink sparkly jumpsuits.  Shell suits.  Medallions.  It was like being in a pop video.  Refused to ask directions in case I was asked the price of turning a trick.  Got back into the main drag and found someone with a better grasp of the layout of the city and arrived at the restaurant just before ten.

We have never eaten Mexican before so just asked for a selection.  We started off with spicy crisps covered with melted cheese and avocado and chick pea.  Really tasty. Cant remember what they were called and then tacos which had shredded pork and a spicy salsa and then burritos which were wrapped pancakes.  Finished off with a lemon cream and OH had flan.  The cook, having finished one service, put on his Mexican outfit and came and sang to the diners.  He also distributed sombreros which were surprisingly heavy.  Made out of wire substructure with velvet and felt cover and decorated with fine woollen skeins and sequins.  A good two kilos of headwear.  He asked for some song requests but we knew nothing Spanish although we did recognise one which starts, Ay ya ya ya, si si senora.  The words we knew were different....

OH tried some orujo which is disgusting and appallingly strong.  Discovered, on coming out, that the hostel was just 250 metres away.  Heaven only knows which route we had taken.

Dream life...

Friday 9 October 2015

Spent the night trying to redesign a chateau for a very demanding Russian client called Tristan.  This is not the first time I have dreamed of the place in my dream.  One day I will go somewhere when I am awake and realise that I have been there many times whilst unconscious and it will really freak me out.  This has actually happened once before - I dreamed of the barn conversion which my dearest friend Ms Noddi was in the middle of creating, and walked around the main room in my dream and saw the wooden slats of the floors and the steps and the latches on the doors and the shower room just off the landing.  Although the dimensions of the actual room were different, the essentials and layout were more or less accurate.  Sometimes, when I cant sleep easily, I take myself out of my body and float through the ceiling and into the night sky and look down on our house and barn and garden and the fields around and then I go up high, so everything is small and I fly across the sky and the breeze is cool in my face and I only land when I wake up again.  It helps to put things into proportion, literally by leaving oneself.

I often repeat dream.  One of the most recurrent in the past is my transport dream.  I am in a large city and I need to get a bus or a train home and I cant get to the right one on time and end up having to walk along the same very long road home.  I cant tell you how many times I have walked along that pigging road in my dreams.  And I am thinking, oh ffs, I am back there again.  Or I dream I am at university and it is Finals and I havent done any revision.  Thirty years since I left and I still revisit those days regularly in my sleep.  It is only with the benefit of that wonderful thing, hindsight, that one looks back and sees the major junctions in one's life.  I was offered an MA in Iowa and everything had been arranged for me.  If it had been California, I would have gone but it wasn't and I had a change of heart and moved back home and met OH and my life has gone in a certain direction and I wonder if I revisit this junction because some part of me is still asking What if?

OH had decided we needed another weekend away to 'make the most of the good weather' and 'test the car'.  I said I was happy to make the most of the good weather at home, where the good weather is almost inevitably better than where we go, and also pointed out the incongruity of testing the car in a foreign country where I have a tenuous grasp of the language and all he can do is order alcohol but no, it would be lovely and we had to go so yet another weekend when I dont get to do any crafting or get out and hack at the jungle.

Arrived at Torrelevega in Cantabria after only a few hours in the car and checked into the Hostel Puerto des Sol.  It was packed with the most amazing furniture which had been garnered from various chateau house sales all over Spain.  I was particularly taken with some wallpaper, featuring the most massive tulips.  You will have to come back to look at them because my internet connection is really slow and it is taking forever to upload the photos - worth it believe me!!

Town was heaving and we have G and T's on the main place and then back to hotel for siesta and OH realises that he hasn't brought any toiletries and sends me out to find some and I am not altogether compus mentis and get horribly lost.  Out later and find a cider bar serving wonderful air dried ham, calamares and squid