starting over

The holidays are finishing, decorations are waiting for the boxes, schedules are reappearing from under the mince pies and wine.

There are no ‘resolutions’. We muddle through and do the best we can, even if we sometimes try to shift our focus to different aspects. There’s no need to resolve to do that; it’s “do or do not”.

Our ‘all the good things’ jar has started re stocking. I love this random collection of  notes about good events gathered up during the year. We had several notes about Girl2’s netball team winning a regional competition, a note of clothes drying weather last March, and a reference to the circa 1985 souvenir from Knock sunvisor we were gifted during the summer. Not what you’d find in most of the reviews of 2016. We can go for ages without adding things, and some of the stuff reflects otherwise forgotten moments (Speccy lost some weight!!!) causing New Year hilarity.

I have a pristine work book ready to start the year. I love new note books, and always aim to be neat this time. That never works. I’m incapable of neat. Neat doesn’t have arrows and squiggles to join up thinking, or asterixes to remind me of the important stuff. When I grow up I’m going to take neat notes on a tablet, and know what they mean the next week.

Our charity has a million tasks to complete in the next few months, and, prior to the break I was feeling overwhelmed. How could we do it all? What would happen if we couldn’t meet the challenge? What if my brain stopped working and I couldn’t be an effective Chair? I’ve spent some time sleeping and reading and hanging out with my people and those issues haven’t crossed my mind. Now they’re back and I know I can handle them, with a bit of planning. I need to switch off. I need to read more books, listen to more music, take more walks, if the overwhelm is to stay away.

I can do that. Reading is good for me.

Happy 2017, bloggy buddies. Plan to be good to yourselves.


a girl free zone

What with the ME, small children, and Spurs Fan working all the hours, we’re not in the way of going out much. But the children aren’t small any more- they’re well able to go abroad to show off their Irish dancing with their dance school, and be briefly featured on Polish TV.

Spurs Fan, Jake, and I were home alone for 10 days, during school summer holidays. There was painting and furniture assembling, sitting reading on beaches, and generally enjoying time in Donegal.

We came back to join Awesome Academic in celebrating her marriage. Ditsy led us astray with directions, but the regular reader expects no less.

Spurs Fan is a primary school teacher. He is fortunate that parents and some colleagues like to acknowledge his work with small gifts at Christmas or the end of the school year. I am fortunate that I get to share some of these gifts (chocolates, wine, book tokens). From time to time a number of tokens gather up and much fun can be had. We spent one Saturday afternoon in the fancy hotel in town, having afternoon tea.

Any amount of hot drinks, sandwiches and sweet things, with silver acoutrements and musical accompaniment. Seriously civilised. Doggie boxes were available. Thanks to all those who donated to the vouchers- it was a fabulous experience.

We spent some time at a Hockney exhibition I draw, I do, enjoying skill, challenge and humour.

And, and, there’s more… we went to another concert in a church. Nick Lowe of the wonderful voice and incredible songwriting talent. He was fabulous. We even had free tickets, thanks to Claire’s prizewinning ways.

I was entertained by the fact that the location of the event had to be changed at the last minute so that this song, and others, wouldn’t be drowned out by traditional NI marching bands. Peace, love and understanding are still often wanting in these parts.

Girls are home from all the gallivanting. The summer holidays are drawing to an end. My brain is working itself clear of fug and mush. I always need more sleep, but I’m getting ready.

I might even return to blogging…


I was 15 when John Lennon died. I remember the shock, sitting on the bed with my oldies, listening to the morning news with disbelief. No, surely that’s not possible? Dead? That doesn’t make sense.

This morning, Spurs Fan woke me with the news that David Bowie has left us, and I felt just like I had 35 years ago.

I wasn’t a Bowie fan when I was 15- that came later. I met JWN at university and we combined our record collections; my Beatles, Springsteen and Ultravox to her Bowie and Velvet Underground. I learned a lot, and loved it all.

Bowie was there, always, it seemed. Where there was creativity, theatricality and fun, there was a hint of Bowie.

Of course, Bowie’s influence is beyond music- Caitlin Moran calls it…


But where to start today? I’ve spent hours with 6Music listening to much wonderful music by Bowie, influenced by Bowie, and which influenced him. I’m hearing old interviews, and bereft broadcasters and listeners sharing tales of humour and kindness. A man who did things his own way, and enabled others to do the same.

Thanks, Bowie. The stars will look very different today.








I love those moments of discovery

You know the moments I mean. Happening across something that makes you stop in your tracks. Something which puts a new spin on the familiar, which challenges you to see the world differently.

Moments that make you sit up straight, put down the book, and then wiggle in a old person dance style.

Bloggy buddies, met my new enthusiasm, Rhiannon Giddens.


Christy Moore is more likely to make me cry than dance. There’s room for both


Thanks to tv coverage of the Cambridge Folk Festival