When my daughter was back from university, she was imagining what her future would look like and it included a big house and a flash car. My husband told her that those things won’t make her happy. He asked her to reflect on what made her happy as a child, things like a balloon or an ice-cream. He said that when you’ve worked hard for that house and that car you realise it’s the packet of seeds for the allotment or sunshine on your back that brings happiness. In middle-age, like childhood, it’s the little things that count.
So here are the things that make me happy on a Saturday morning:
Cups and Cakes, Dorchester
Roll on next weekend!
What makes you happy?
Thank you to everyone who sent messages of support owing to my forthcoming redundancy. It really cheered me up to know so many people are behind me. I have completed a couple of job applications and I know there are a couple of posts that I’d be interested in coming up. Fortunately I haven’t had long to dwell on the situation because I’m currently in Vietnam. I met my Australian friend in Saigon on Tuesday and we’ve since spent a couple of days in Hoi An on the central coast. Weather has been boiling but slightly cooler today so we managed a bike ride to the beach. Here are some photos:
harvesting water spinach
motorcycles in Saigon
Randy’s book exchange
Swan towels in the hotel bedroom
The dinner bell is ringing – I’ve got to go. Stories from Vietnam coming soon!
We’ve been fantastically lucky with the weather this week. On Saturday we booked a last-minute deal at the Royal Duchy Hotel in Falmouth for dinner, bed and breakfast for 3 nights and we’ll be heading home tomorrow. My sister-in-law spent her wedding night here, so I’ve always wondered what the place was like. I’m glad to report that it’s really quite splendid. Very friendly staff, swimming pool heated to just the right temperature and marvellous views out to sea.
Here I am, squinting in the sun, as we took the ferry over to St Maws. The ride was distinctly bouncy but as the journey’s only twenty minutes, we survived. We had lunch with friends who have a holiday home there and took a walk around the pretty church at St Just in Roseland.
Today we went to St Ives, had coffee in The Tate, then drove along the north coast to St Agnes. Look at the colour of that sea. Absolutely beautiful. Now that should inspire me to do some writing.
Where have you been recently?
For those of you still wondering what on earth the artefact below is used for, let me put you out of your misery. It is not a drinking vessel or a hearing aid, but a piece of clothing.
A penis gourd is worn amongst the male members of tribes in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. It is secured by the rattan loop and worn in an upright position without other clothing. While it is frequently assumed that the wearer is making a sexual display it is more usual for Highlanders to simply wear the penis gourd to cover themselves.
One of my other treasures from Papua New Guinea is my bilum bag. This is a netted bag which is made from imported wool that is twisted into twine. The colours make this type of bag more sought after than the tradition ones made from woven plant reed. Each bilum has a long strap that is worn by women across the forehead to enable the carrying of heavy loads balanced over the back. Depending on the design, bilums also make useful baby carriers.
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This is a classic image that comes to mind when mention is made of the Pyramids at Giza. In the foreground is the Sphinx which was carved from an outcrop of rock left behind when the stones for the Great Pyramid were quarried. Used for target practice by Napoleonic troops the human head remains without a nose and beard deliberately although the paws and haunches of the beast were renovated during the 1980s and 1990s. Behind is the Pyramid of Chephren, with steeper sides than the Great Pyramid and its summit intact. Chephren was the son of Cheops who reigned between 2589 and 2566 BC and for whom the Great Pyramid was built.
Here I am standing on the blocks of the north face of the Great Pyramid. It was early in the morning and there were not too many people about so we were able to linger without being hassled by the tourist police or hawkers. I hope from this image you get a sense of the huge scale of the pyramid, the task of construction and the sheer antiquity of it. We visited other, lesser known pyramids, including Mycerinus which is sheathed in Aswan granite and is sometimes known as the Red Pyramid. Closeby there are three subsidiary pyramids which you’ll see below: Read the rest of this entry »
When I booked my ticket for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s winter party, I had no idea that it was to be held at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. At One Birdcage Walk the building is just around the corner from Westminster Palace and about a 30 minute walk from Waterloo. Fortunately, by the time my train arrived, the wind had died down and the rain had turned to drizzle. Even though I’d been advised to wear glitter tights, my outfit of black trousers and a top seemed appropriate and also suitable for travelling. My only concession to party-wear were my shoes: pointy with kitten heels. Although my toes cried for mercy with every step I managed to see the evening out without crumpling in a corner and although the acoustics in the library were appalling, I was able to chat with a number of writing friends.
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Dorchester is the county town of Dorset and with a population of around 20,000 it now boasts TWO cinemas. When we first moved here six years ago I was delighted to live within walking distance of a cinema and I’ve been a regular visitor to the Plaza ever since.
Built in the 1930s the Plaza has been updated to provide an all-digital, four screen, 3D and live satelite enabled modern cinema. Some new releases come to Dorchester very quickly but I ran out of luck one year waiting for Atonement to arrive and had to slip along to Weymouth to see the film. That said, with tickets charged at £2.50 during the week and £3.50 on Friday and Saturday nights, going to the Plaza is a brilliant and cheap night out.
However, we have an interloper on the Dorchester cinema scene with the Odeon three-screen cinema newly opened in Brewery Square. The development is on the site of the former Eldridge Pope brewery and will have several new restaurants, shops and housing when it’s completed. In the meantime we have Carluccio’s and the Odeon to keep us guessing as to what the final facilities will be like. But with another cinema, therein lies a dilemma.
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