Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Seasonal Snowbert

Here's a  little wintery offering to enthrall the teenier peeps in your life.  It takes me back to the days when  Lou was wee and  CBeebies seemed to be the only thing that was ever on our telly.   Anything for a quiet life.  I probably wouldn't be a grown up if I hadn't found a lot of kid's TV exceedingly annoying,   Those squeaky voiced Tweenies were the prime example.

But I looked forward to the utterly charming 64 Zoo Lane.  Each night a little girl called Lucy escaped from her home for a bedtime story from the animals in a neighbouring zoo.  The one about the arty polar bear, Snowbert, has to be one of my favourites.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Holding Space

I'm a bit of a chatterbox in real life as well as in Blogland.   Often I hardly draw breath and there can be about five different conversations going on at once.  Really! Sometimes it is good for me to just shut up and let someone else do the talking.

So I'll do that today by sharing this link.  It'll lead you to one of the most thought provoking articles that I've learnt from this year.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Only in Totnes: The Timehouse Muzeum

It's been a weekend of two halves with Louis.  Yesterday he was struck down with a tummy bug and spent the day in bed,  A teenager seems to be a heady mix of grown up and child.  When they're poorly it's definitely the inner kid that takes precedence.  So I holed up with him, doled out the mama love and in between fetching, carrying, soothing and snuggles, I read my book, meditated, sorted papers. That kind of thing.  Enforced battery charging isn't such a bad thing.

Satuday was a different kettle of fish.  I've been planning to vist the Timehouse Muzeum in Totnes for a while now.   After all it's only around the corner from where I work.   It's housed in former mental health offices where I used to go for meetings.  I was curious to know how it had changed.  The journey starts in the shop at the front called Narnia. I was given 'a festival wristband to add to my posh wrist.  A good start in my books!

Our journey began down in the basement.  Yep, it was very different to how I remember the place. There were no trainlines.  Back then it was just bland and tatty.

Back up on the ground floor, Louis decided to kit himself out as an extra from 'Allo 'Allo in the communications room.  He NEVER likes dressing up normally and was definitely getting into the swing of things.  Whatever was going on!

Through to a Moroccan cafe where I sat, contemplated my navel and drank complementary mint tea. By now you might be getting the idea that this is no ordinary museum.  It's more art installation. Right up my street then!  I'd have been happy there all day but there were another two floors to explore.

Onwards and upwards.  This fine lady was on the staircase.

Ah!  We reached my favourite room of all, 'Cloud 9'.  Curiouser and curiouser. Lou was well chilled in here.  The wonderful lighting made us very photogenic.

See what I mean! Here's one of both of us.    There's not many conventional museums where you get to hang out lounging around on the floor on a bumpy carpet in a fluffy room watching randomness on a big screen!

After being persuaded to leave my most hippiest of hangouts we peeped into a room full of pop memorabilia.

And then there was the perfect pairing of a '50s kitchen and cinema complete with the proper seats.  Every home should have one!  A film about alien invasion was being show. Here's me in the cheap seats!

The front room on the first floor was utterly gorgeous.  Very roccoco.  This place could be an interior designer's dream source of inspiration.

The top floor had a very happy retro feel with lots of stuff that maybe wouldn't have been out of place in my own home.  Loving that mad wall of clocks!  Old TV adverts were the audio-visual backdrop up there.

And here's Lou reading old annuals, modelling his new rose tinted specs that stop the words moving around the page.  One of his dyslexia problems solved then!  Have you noticed that my son doesn't smile so much in photos these day.  I think it's something about cheesy grins not being cool!

Oh I forgot the little courtyard that used to be a no-go area in the mental health team days. So, so pretty now though.

This is a brilliant place although I understand the viewpoint of more conventional folk on Tripadvisor After all they were expecting a proper museum and were disappointed that they didn't get it!  From the reviews, most folk though, seem to go with a sense of wonder and love it, just as we did.

The staff in the museum and shop are lovely.  However they told me that even though this is the No 1 attraction on the most famous of travel websites, visitor numbers are down.  So opening hours are limted at the moment.  It would be a shame to lose this place that is such a good fit with the alternative vibe of Totnes.   So please go if you're in the area and give me a shout.   I'd love to visit with you if I'm around. I'll definitely be bringing my friends back to my new favourite chill zone.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Two Arms This Time!

I saw Passenger at the Plymouth Pavillions for the second time the other  week.  And yay!  My concert photo of him is rather more substantial than the one of titchy one armed bloke that I took last time!  I had a ticket for the seated area but ended up swapping it, in an act of mercy, for one in the standing zone. That's how I captured a few reasonable shots of the man who, now Leonard Cohen has passed, does not have to fight to be my favourite living poet/singer anymore.

To be honest I was happier in the throng near the front of the stage even though I had very achy feet by the end.  I sang, danced and whooped with glee until I became a little horse....nay hoarse!  Passenger's rendition of 'Sound of Silence' sent chills down my spine and I was going to share that until I realised that it must have had the same effect last time around.  It featured in the post from the 2014 concert that I've linked to above. You can go back and have a look there if you're interested .

Instead I've  dug out my favourite track from 'Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea', Passenger's latest album.  I concurred with the critics when many of them said that it wasn't his best, but it's grown on me a lot.  I particularly like the reflections about bravery and cowardice in these beautiful lines from 'Home', the audio track that you'll find below.  It is a call to be bold and face fear head on as it emerges, in spite of the discomfort that confronting it brings.  For although avoiding it gives short term relief, this course quickly cripples us and stifles our capacity for love. For fear is its opposite.

They say fear is for the brave
For cowards never stare it in the eye
So am I fearless to be fearful
Does it take courage to learn how to cry

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Wet Dry Wet

Yesterday I mentioned that the patch where I work, around the Kingsbridge area of the South Hams, is so incredibly beautiful, it can be seen as one of the perks of my job. Today I want to share one of my favourite spots, the road adjacent to the River Avon near Aveton Gifford.  I say adjacent but that's not strictly true.  Sometimes it's underneath the river instead.  For this is a tidal road which becomes submerged a couple of times a day.   There's quite a few of these around the UK and, for wet road geeks there's a website that describes their whereabouts.

Here's my favourite part where the road meanders across the river bed. It's totally gorgeous and a good place to spot bird life. I saw oystercatchers and those  immigrant little egrets yesterday.  Whilst I was taking some photos yesterday I spoke to a local couple who told me that the road is submerged to waist height at high tide.  They'd tackled it once in a 4x4 when they were feeling brave. Not something that I'll be trying in my little Citigo though.  I'd end up with very soggy sandwiches!

Friday, 2 December 2016


Photo:  Instagram
Over one hundred consecutive days artist Becky Margraf produced one hundred little felt faces like the eighty one shown here.  I think they're rather wonderful.  Little squares of cuteness.   It's got me thinking about my own creative output recently.

Of course I have to recognise that blogging daily is no mean feat. Over the course of 2016 I've also made enormous strides in making my Brixham house a home that is a rather beautiful place to be.  But I've done little in terms of creating visual art this year, no prints, no mosaics or jewellery.  I'd like to make regular time for that again
It's been an eventful year. In particular the long bout of mental illness where I came to a near halt and the death of my sister have brought about  much soul searching.  What's really important in life?  What's got to go?

Let's deal with work-life balance first.  What the hell is that!  There's been none for the last couple of years.  My job's been consuming so much  time that should be my own with no intrinsic or extrinsic rewards.  But hang on! It's not all bad.   If it's kept within the confines of a 9-5 five day working week what I do for a living is ideal.  I travel around a beautiful area of the country and make a difference to people's lives. I'm intellectually challenged and rarely bored, always more to learn. Being a 'brainy bird' as I was once called by a short lived Essex boyfriend, that's important to me.  So I've been working even harder over the last few weeks, catching up, reflecting on the way that I do things and determining where I need to be more boundaried. And I'm now at a stage where my job can be a delight again within the confines of  a 37.5 hour working week.

After significant thought I've also given up studying for a Masters degree. I couldn't make time for it and being totally honest, maybe I don't want to.   I wasn't finding out what I actually set out to discover within the confines of a rigid academic course. So, I'll go it alone and inquire in my own way.  The decision is a relief.  It's freed up a lot of headspace I can tell you.

So what am I going to do with this extra time?  Well, as a kid with specific learning differences that makes school challenging at times, Louis needs me to be properly present rather than constantly pre-occupied.   I want to be  with friends and family in a guilt-free way, not always thinking that I should be studying or working instead.  And then there's a fledging relationship with Lovelybloke who's funny, kind and gorgeous and worth a bit of investment. It has no chance of working if I'm always stressy and have no time to give from the outset.

And  there will be a  time over for making stuff. I'm going to make sure of that.  For I find losing myself in being creative highly restorative.  I hope to be able to show off something very shortly!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

House Yoda

I'll eat my words.  Nom, nom!  The 'bag of shite'  that Louis got me to bring back from his dad's home the other day contained some rather good stuff.  Not only am I reunited with a couple of cuddly monkeys I also dug out Yoda. Every home, and indeed motorhome, needs one.  The cute little felt one that I put in Louis' Christmas stocking last year now hangs from its rear view mirror.  This one, comes to life when you've got your act together and bought enough batteries.  He also becomes quite animated if you wave a special light sabre at him. 

In mint condition this is probably a collector's item but our Yoda not going to be hidden away.  He's been given pride of place in the living room. At Louis' insistence, a very plasticky  R2D2 has joined him. After all, it doesn't pay to get too stuffy with home decor does it? Minimalism isn't cosy.

So now I have a visual reminder to tend to my inner Jedi!
This little guy is a teacher who is full of wisdom.  “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” is  one of my favourite quotes from Yoda as is his response to Luke Skywalker.  'I can't believe it'.  said Luke. in 'The Empire Strikes Back'.  'That is why you fail' replied Yoda.   Wise words little Jedi master.  We'll do well to heed them.