Thursday, November 16, 2006


Natalie (who is about to find fame and fortune via featuring of her amazing illustrated blaug on the good old BBC) has drawn attention to my recent absence.

I've had enough psychotherapy to know that when one can't actually communicate, it can be useful to communicate about the blockage to communication - the meta level.

So ... here are some thoughts ...

I've had the sort of cold that is not dramatic enough to blog about but makes you envy the energy levels of a sloth.

My cat is very horribly ill. Heart problems and fluid in her chest. Hopefully survivable as apparently the nine-lives-thing does kind of translate into organ redundancy in felines.

I've been getting on with some of those real-world-things-to-do. Change the butane bottle. Scrub out the chicken shed. Make firelighters. Wash clothes. Type of stuff.

To steal a royalist phrase: My powerbook is dead. Long live my powerbook. Fortunately the insurance is coughing up for what would have been a hugely expensive repair, so instead I have used that to fund 2/3 of the cost of refurb powerbook from the lovely people at Cancom. It's gorgeous but there was a gap of around a week and a bit between the old one really being unusable and the new baby being set up.

I'm doing NaNoWriMo ... well, I'm at about 12,000 words instead of 25,000 with half the days gone, but it's proving interesting anyway. I have been alternately encouraged by the struggles of even the ultra inspirationally focussed Lorianne of Hoarded Ordinaries, and discouraged by the unbelievably fast growing word count of Watermark. I think as well as the time this occupies, when I might otherwise be blogging, I am lost in the voices of the characters of my novel, and the voice of Stray has been difficult to hear at times. That sounds a bit wanky doesn't it? Oh well. Darlings, I'm writing a novel!

And now ... I'm off to spend some chillin' time, no internet access, probably no mobile phone signal. Phew! Back Monday, and boy do I have some baby goats for you ...

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Collective nouns for piglets

A squiggle, a wriggle or a wiggle?



Saturday, November 04, 2006

Fire(works) night

It's nice right now in here. Dark outside the curtainless windows, the fire is blazing and we're tucked up on our huge leather couch with blankets and hot water bottles.

Ruby, sleeping at my feet, perks up occasionally at the fireworks, but she's more irritated than afraid, barking a warning back.

The cat is pinning down my right arm, washing her front legs again, though I can't think I've seen her do a single thing today that might get her dirty. As the temperature drops the animals slowly manipulate themselves under the blankets with me, these days tolerating the proximity to each other in exchange for body heat.

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Im in! (here!)

I have decided to give NaNoWriMo a shot. Hey, it's no big deal, if I don't do another word it's still about 4000 more than I would have written otherwise. Anyway, this is where I am at, writing. Our shack in the woods.

The whole south side is glass, so the building warms up a treat during the day, though you can see your breath when you first wake up in the morning. Our main source of heat is a wood burner, lit just as darkness falls, we are slowly making our way through the stack of logs piled up by the back wall.

The trees in the quarry provide shade through the summer, but have dropped their leaves to let the warmth of the sun rush in unobstructed through the winter. The longer I live here the more I understand that the architect who's home this was - John Brownrigg, who designed the innovative Yvonne Arnaud Theatre here in Guildford - really did use the location and living things around it as part of the building design. It's such a modern design, I find it hard to reconcile with the fact that John Brownrigg was born in 1911. He lived here up until his death just 4 years ago in 2002.

When asked to describe my home, the expression I most often use is "Think Frank Lloyd Wright meets a scout hut". There's no doubt that the building was done on a budget. The neighbours recollect Brownrigg living on site in a caravan, doing much of the work himself around 1962 - 63. It is a peculiar building, and the genius of the design really only reveals itself when you actually live, daily, with it. Many of the quirks that originally seemed irksome are now emerging as features, details I will miss when I move on, to live somewhere "normal".

The plum sapling he planted over forty years ago was the provider of our superb crop and jam this summer. I wonder whether he imagined future generations, people like us, living in this space, loving it. I am in love with this house, in a way I have never felt about a building before. It's agony to think that it's going to be bulldozed and the quarry banks cleared of the woods, flattened and filled with flats. Not this year, but maybe the year after. This building should be listed. If it were, there is no way we'd afford to live here, but it's not about that any more. I hope to start documenting some of the detail of the house over the next few months. Capturing it, just incase.


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Wednesday, November 01, 2006


A confession, inspired by Mary's post about her favourite jeans: I only wear Gap Carpenter jeans. Light blue. Age 10-12. I own four identical pairs.

And somehow, I still manage to have a favourite pair. Huh?


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