Good with words

Fear... distractions.... the efforts of a self-employed writer to pay the mortgage.... all that jazz.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Housekeeping goddessry

Since Anthea Turner's series finished I find myself in a sea of jumbled laundry, white vinegar, and labels that I have no idea what to do with. I'm all fuddled without her organisational tips and domestic methodry! But all is not lost. I have discovered Martha Stewart.

She's clearly the original Anthea - her website is an encyclopaedia of how-tos for the domestically challenged. Sorting laundry into labelled baskets, organising the airing cupboard, how to fold a fitted sheet (by the way, did anyone ever manage Anthea's T-shirt folding technique? I have tried and tried but it always ends up with crumpled t-shirts and an almighty sulk).

I wish Martha lived nextdoor to me. In the meantime, I'm settling with her wonderful video-taped genius.

By the way, I did discover this website legitimately - it's the only comprehensive source of spring-cleaning tips on the web (and I am newly appointed domestic-goddess for a mail order company - ah, the irony). It includes a stain-busting bible and a lengthy video entitled 'how to iron a tablecloth' - which to be honest takes almost as long as my method of just laying the tablecloth on the table and letting it iron itself in its own time.

While I was there, I was also distracted by the pumpkin carving features. Steve and I carve pumpkins every year - small ones mind you, and it's hard as heck, but it's become a tradition we can't break. Martha's ideas are all rather grand for me, but she did make some by pinning fruit peels onto the pumpkin, which eliminates the tiresome carving itself. I will see how the carving goes this evening - if it gets too hard and my hands start to blister, perhaps I will stick on banana peel instead - and keep you posted...

If you're bored, this clip with Andy Dick ("the man with two first names!") is funny, especially since I think it wasn't quite planned and he really does get stuck... check out his face when he finally gets his head free...

Andy Dick and the Pumpkin>

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Please click here

Please, please click here - turn the sound up first!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Steve's travels

Hmph! Steve has far more red than me! 7% indeed. Still, at least he can barely remember most of it. Or at least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Countries visited when you were 9 don't count, right?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Unusual Christmas Presents, 2

Victoria has directed me to the weird and wondrous Teapottery....

Do you know, I have always fancied collecting teapots. But I hate tea, which, as Steve says, makes the whole endeavour a bit of a waste of time.

Oh well. I can't think of anyone who would like this (unless Victoria was hinting) so it will sadly have to wait for another year.

The Bird Clock is over at

Monday, October 16, 2006

Unusual Christmas Presents, 1

I would like to see everyone else's best present ideas... I am thinking Gramp might quite like this, though...

< The appropriate bird sings for a minute when the clock strikes the hour.

Cool huh?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Curious mind

Have had to remove this video as certain computers can't cope with it!! - but you can still view the amazing diet coke / mento experiments over at

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The crazy chestnut race

Steve and I were innocently collecting conkers the other day when we noticed some other people who were taking it rather more seriously. While we had enough conkers to fill a small peanut bowl (a cute display for the cottage:-), they had binbagfuls.

We noticed another type of conker that didn't look as pretty and had sharper spines, but we ignored it. We have never heard of chestnut gathering before.

Seems like this is big business in Devon. Every day the gatherers become more and more dedicated, bringing equipment (rakes, bags, sticks, even a foldable chair) and spending hours beneath the chestnut tree. Even though I have bought those expensive, vacuum-packed chestnuts from Sainsbury's, I have never equated them with real things that grow on trees... or known that they could be added to my 'food for free' list.

Since spring we have collected wild garlic, blackberries, and elderberries from the National Trust land where we walk Holly. Now it seems there is a new item to add to the list!!

So I collected my first batch today. I was a little disorganised and forgot an extra bag, so I ended up with two bulging pocketfuls (and the spines dig into your legs if you do that, so not recommended). I noticed how all the collectors gather around the two trees down by the car park, and nobody (except the regular dog-walker) goes to the top of the hill. perhaps they don't know about the trees up there. Anyhow, Holly and I soon got to our chestnut spots, although you've really gotta climb to reach them. Piles of shiny brown chestnuts, abundantly rolling around on the grass (and in the cow poo). Some squirrels aimed them at us, but that didn't put us off.

I will collect another few pocketfuls tomorrow and then attempt to roast some. And report back...

Friday, October 06, 2006

World map

I know, I should be wading through the work mountain, but I got distracted by the 'Countries You've Visited' game after visiting Clare's blog. I've only been to 5%! How rubbish is that? Got lost looking at the list of places I want to go, too...

Make yours here.

Friday meandering

So it's Friday, I have a whole load of work that has been shuffled along all week and is now in a great big pile at the end of the day. It all has to be done by today and I can't see that I have any hope. It isn't going to happen. And nobody is to blame but me. (See how I'm taking the self help words to heart?)

So I am panicking, at which time my strategies are usually (1) ignorance and (2)keeping myself distracted. See, the veg box just arrived!! And, instead of learning from last year, when we were overwhelmed with pumpkins for 8 months, I have ordered the seasonal Squash Box! 8kg of delicious squash in different shapes and sizes.

Mind you, leaving it on the doormat while I went to get dressed wasn't a good move, as Holly has developed rather a taste for the small, spotty ones. She has eaten quite a bit so I am hoping raw squash is safe for dogs. Good for her teeth, by the sound of the cracking and nibbling she was doing.

I forgot she wasn't even here last year for Halloween. We won't be leaving our pumpkin lanterns on the windowsill this year, clearly.

It's Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! Also in the vegetable box, which is in a weird summer/winter transition period: Celery, broccoli, spinach, dirty rocket (which I am addicted to), tomatoes, miniature orange squash, red cabbage, lettuce, and ONE other thing that I have forgotten. Yum, yum to all of it apart from the broccoli, which I can eat boiled but not in soup (yeurk). I am making a big vat of squash and sweetcorn soup tomorrow. Without broccoli, obviously.

Now, back to the architectural visualisation and funeral copy. For now...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Good game, good game!

I saw this on another blog. Try it!

What you do:
Open Google Images, and type in your answers to each of the 10 questions. Post a picture from the first row that comes up on the search page. I think some of mine are pretty darned obvious but there are a couple of tricky ones!!

1. Place you grew up.

2. Place you live now.

3. Your own name. (Ha!)

4. Your grandmother's name.

5. Your favourite food.

6. Your favourite drink.

7. Your favourite song.

8. Your favourite smell.

9. Your age on your next birthday.

10. Your favourite colour.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Holly

A belated happy birthday to Miss H, who was one year old yesterday! I will post the photographs of Holly opening her presents when I can find the camera cable.