Are you in need of a pep-talk?
This may be it. Living Well Is More Than Organic Fruit from Everyday Hygge.
It worked for me.
I got up and did something immediately.
Are you in need of a pep-talk?
This may be it. Living Well Is More Than Organic Fruit from Everyday Hygge.
It worked for me.
I got up and did something immediately.
Simply..books, books, books,
..by the million from one penny.
Two very different takes on the business of selling books (both of which I have used and appreciated).
I have bought quite a number of books for one penny (plus £2.95 p&p) in good or very good condition and have often wondered how anyone makes any profit from them. Read the full story here in the New York Times magazine. It doesn't explain though the anomalies of new copies often being cheaper than used copies. Why would anyone buy Norman Ackroyd's lovely Shetland Sketchbook for £90.19 used, when you could buy a new copy for £16.95? (Not signed or 'collectible'.)
Another efficiently run operation is Barter Books in Alnwick in the north of England. but they do it with tea and cakes and a certain amount of whimsy!. Be charmed by their lovely video here. Must plan another visit....
I have linked to this before but you may like to see again the video of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which I have to admit, brings a lump to my throat.
I think the book business is still pretty much alive.
Thank you Oh Amaryllis for the little burst of joy I get every time I look at you!
Thank you Oh Larch Branches (actually I think they may be alder!) for falling just where I could find you, and bring you home to adnire fully your twiggy lacy cone-scattered decorative loveliness.
I was reminded by my friend Julia of thanking our things (a la Marie Kondo). I had rather got out of the habit, and it is such a fun habit - it makes me smile every single time I do it!
Go thank you favourite things.
Did it make you smile?
..in books (and there are lots of them!) Here are some I have read...
And here is the one I think best so far...
Though a bit old fashioned (it was written in 1960) and full of generalisations about the character of the Venetian (which is one of the reasons it seems old fashioned) it is still in this 1993 revision an excellent and enjoyable read. The foreword to this edition, in which the author justifies not making many changes, is a delightful read in itself.
To be read slowly, and savoured.
Some others I have are in this post.
Simply..where was I?
Chestnuts, yes. Cut a cross on them with a sharp knife (so that they don't explode like Mog's) and put them on a tray in the oven at 200 for 20 - 25 minutes. Sooo good!
Soup in Carluccio's. Squash soup garnished with some toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkling of thinly sliced spring onions and with a tiny drizzle of oil. Every mouthful was delicious.
This is by no means a foodie blog but I do love my food. There are lots of posts under Simply Eat (see sidebar) and I have just had a good browse myself!
Posts about the stress of buying food (I have got over this although it is still an ethical minefield!). Posts about books I found useful, Posts that make me aware of just how much I have changed my thinking about food, and developed healthier eating habits since that first post.
I hope you have all enjoyed some (but not too much!) beautiful food this day of thanksgiving.
(By the way, do you know that Lucille has a category titled Grrrr ? )
I know how she feels. The above line is the last line of quite a long post about chestnuts and soup and the stress of shopping for food, with several links in it and, for no reason that I can see, the rest of it has just DISAPPEARED!!
I WILL WRITE IT AGAIN TOMORROW WHEN I HAVE RECOVERED MY EQUILIBRIUM..............
Simply..getting in the mood....
I have always used white paper lampshades - the Chinese ones which have become a modern classic and last for years and years until one day you notice that the paper is torn and the wire is poking through...
This, in true Ikea style, is a flat-pack light shade.
A frothy frilly fun lampshade! Rather pretty I thought at the top of the stairs in an otherwise very plain space.
What intrigued me most as I put it together was the creative process of the person who designed it. Someone must have spent hours 'playing' with layers of paper with wire reinforced edges, folding, cutting, scrunching, and then considering the practicalities - how do you keep the bulb away from the paper, how do you get the paper attached to the fitting, and then of course the big question - how do you describe, without words, the way to put it together!! (I wonder if the same person does that or if it is passed on to another creative mind....)
I felt I was in that person's mind exploring potentials thinking hair scrunchies, meringues, wedding dresses, flower bouquet wired ribbons, 'free' or 'wild' origami, origami with a twist. The designer must be a very observant and imaginative person - always looking at how things work and at how things can be done differently and how practical problems can be solved.
.in my recovery position (feet up on the sofa) after an eventful day yesterday.
Our almost stationary car was hit quite hard by another in the third lane of a packed four lane motorway on the way to the city (all ok) to see the ballet.
Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty has a dark twist to it and was captivating. Starting in the Victorian era with Aurora as a (puppet) naughty baby, moving on to Edwardian times and her coming of age (stroppy teenager) then after her 100 years out, into the present day (hoodies and selfies). Vampires, sado-machonism, this is an adult version of the tale. I found the start a bit slow to work its magic, but that may have had something to do with the incident on our journey! The dancing was superb, the sets dramatic and the recorded Tchaikovsky wonderful and eventually it took me out of myself in that wonderful way that good theatre does.....
See a review here
Weather warnings led to an uncertain journey home (would the midnight ferry be cancelled?) and when we got to Loch Long an ominous lack of lights in the shore villages made us wonder....yes, there was a power cut.
So glad of the woodburning stove. I sat by it with a book all day today!
I hope you are having a good weekend.
After a recent very stormy ferry crossing with the boat pitching, and the bus (on the deck of the boat) rocking to a different motion, if you know what I mean, I am reminded that I like looking at water, but am not so keen on being on it or in it!
Some of you will know of my fear of deep water and my use of swimming metaphors - in at the deep end, treading water, keeping my head above water .....
Water is not in short supply here in the west of Scotland where the prevailing winds are westerlies coming in off the Atlantic Ocean. We get quite a lot of rain! We get lochs and peaty burns (streams), waterfalls, and good drinking water from nearby loch Eck.
Thinking about the different elements has made it clearer to me that I am living in the right place - the elements appear here in the right proportions for me. Earth is dominant, air fresh and invigorating, fire for comfort (a forest fire is a very rare occurrence here) and copious clean and sweet water to drink - maybe a little less of it falling from the sky would be good.
But, for me, this is pretty close.
(Hah, I wrote that before last night's gale and power cut!!)
Do take a peek at Lotta's recent beautiful Sparkling Water post here
My Venice post this week has to be this sad and moving one from the blog of Venetian Cat Bauer.
(Venice posts come under Simply Write as writing my novel is my reason (or excuse!) for going there this winter.)
I'm quite often fired up with some new enthusiasm, but my love for fire is more to do with the comfort of it. Fires on the beach, wood burning stove, candles - they are alive and elemental in a way that central heating and electric light can never be.
We have a wood-burning stove. It heats the water and four radiators.
It is hard work, stacking wood, drying it, lugging it in in baskets. The stove (and the woodpile) need regular attention, the chimney requires sweeping twice a year, it's quite hard to regulate the temperature at times .........but I love it. Cheering blaze, glowing embers, smell of logs, and I like to think it keeps us fit. There may come a day when I yearn to just flick a switch I know....
We burn both coal and wood as hardwoods are not easy to come by here and softwoods burn so quickly you would never keep up in the cold weather. We recently tried sawdust logs which use up wood waste, burn for four hours and leave very little ash - I think we may order more of these.
The comfort of it on a cold wet and stormy night like tonight is so worth the effort.
As for candles, I love them both indoors and out. We always light some on the dinner table, and sometimes at lunch as they do in Sweden. I find the steady flame of a candle has a very calming effect. Again - it is alive. (I tried little battery ones - awful!)
I like the real thing.
It is what is attractive to me about the elemental.
It is real.
Fiery, fired up, fire in the belly, trailblazer perhaps - would any of these describe you?
Perhaps fire is your element!
The gentle Mog books by Judith Kerr have always been favourites in our family. (See the wonderful animation on yesterday's post.)
Goodbye Mog however, came as a bit of a shock! Mog dies, and we, the adults who buy the books and read them to our children didn't know quite how to take it. (The reviews on Amazon are quite interesting!)
How to talk about death with children is clearly difficult, and I was a bit concerned at the analogy with being very very tired and with sleeping, worried that it might trouble a child who hears us say we are tired, or that they might fear going to sleep themselves.
The reviews led me to Badger's Parting Gifts - same analogy with sleeping, and The Sad Book by Michael Rosen about the death of his 19 year old son. Does anyone know either of these?
Five year old Scott is asking about death a lot lately. Mercifully it was only the death of his little fish that has prompted his questions.
How anyone explains death by terrorist or war, to a bereaved child is quite beyond me and my heart goes out to all those to whom this heartbreaking task falls.
Simply..a little light relief....
Simply..in your element?
Hah! My website says 'drag your element here' meaning text/image etc :-)
My element is earth (see yesterday's post.)
Have you figured out what yours is? Or have you always known? And does your current lifestyle chime with it?
My second favourite element is air. I like flying, and have done a little gliding and ballooning which I adored. I like flying a kite. My paintings have a lot of empty space in them which I think of as air. Oddly I don't much like the wind (except for the kite flying of course), though a gentle breeze is pleasant. On the west coast of Scotland the air is almost always moving, never stagnant or heavy or stifling. I always feel I can breathe easily. I like that if the air indoors needs freshened we simply open a window, and I love the smell of washing that has been dried outside.
The air here is sweet and pure, as evidenced by the lichens on trees and rocks. There is very little traffic (we are fifteen miles from the nearest small town) and we are not on the flightpath to anywhere important. A little sea plane is the only regular flight to go over and that mostly in the summer months. We had a wonderful flight on it once. Have you time to join us for a couple of minutes of it? (videos 1 and 2) The last few minutes where we came down onto the River Clyde in the middle of the city were the most exciting!
If I could be any kind of animal it would be a bird I think. I have used the image of birds to represent freedom in paintings - a flight of imagination!
Is air your element?
..my dear Watson,
I quite often use the word elemental about things that move me deeply, and thought I'd take a look at the four elements of earth, air, fire and water and consider how they play a part in our chosen life here in rural west of Scotland.
There are quizzes you can do to see which element you are....be warned that many of them are actually ads for something else (dating agencies, chat lines with psychics!). I soon gave up, and I had already figured that earth was my favourite element. followed by air, fire and water in that order.
I am not into astrology, but when on our landscape course we discovered that 13 out of 15 of us were earth signs I did wonder if there might be something in it. Momentarily.
Earth then: feet on the ground and down to earth. Walking is my favourite (sometimes only) exercise. I love the wild landscape around us here. I am interested in the geology, and the ecology. I love the variety. We have forest (man-made) behind us and sea-loch shoreline in front. Glens with rough grazing (no arable) mountains and lochs. I feel at home here.
In my element in fact!
As a passionate gardener I love the soil. Half an hour with my hands in the earth and I feel restored somehow. Good soil in good condition delights me, and I get a real satisfaction from composting our household waste into rich crumbly stuff and adding it to the garden.
You can click on the photos to enlarge (though I will understand if you don't want to look at a close up of the contents of our compost bin....)
Which is your preferred element?
Simply Write..about Venice....
On Fridays I usually post something about Venice.
I love this little drawing of Venice from a nautical map of the 13C.
And to the city of today a link to a wonderful autumn photgraph from a blog I enjoy.
And you may enjoy this essay written by Erica Jong in 1986 in which she extols the advantages of being there in winter (as we will be..)
Have you been, in any season? And has anyone read Erica Jong's Serenissima?
PS first snow on the hills today!
This 'List of nice sounds' blogpost over at Cornflower Books inspired me today to think about some really nice sounds. Enjoy the lists on the comments page there. You will find your self saying 'Oh yes, me too!'
Here is mine -
Owls hooting in the forest (with the window open while I soak in a hot bath.)
Eider ducks, curlews, and that sweet whispering little song the robin sometimes sings as if to itself.
The squeals of city children on their adventure centre night walk along the shore path, little crocodile of torches flashing all over the sky. It always makes us laugh to hear their excitement.
A log settling on the last embers of the fire.
The glugging of the coffee pot.
The buzz of bees in the berberis flowers beside the bench on a warm day.
The gentle irregular tapping of the boiling breakfast egg in the pan as I set the table.
A musician tuning up his instrument before a live performance. The anticipation of something really special!
Tiny wavelets lapping on the sandy beach.
As today went on I found myself remembering more and more.
The sound of silence late at night (now) when everyone has gone to bed.
Thank you Karen for all these nice moments today.
Oh, one of the nicest. Laura floating in the sea and singing through her snorkel in a deserted bay one very hot day. We were looking all around to see where the singing could be coming from before we realized. Happy child!
There's no getting away from it now!
I was sent this today. For something a bit different take a look at GSA shop! I know I am sounding like an ad but am just sharing what I think are some lovely original ideas for gifts, the purchase of which support Glasgow School of Art which I love.
I also love the acrylic necklace at £20.
Even better than their online shop, if you can visit the Reid Building where the actual shop is you will enjoy the architecture too (this post and several adjacent ones) The work on the original Mackintosh building which was badly damaged by fire is under way and is in good hands with Page and Park.
It has started me thinking about my Christmas list....
Simply Seeing..or not....
When I got the diagnosis of dry macular degeneration (from the optician on a routine check-up) I was given a leaflet about AMD and of course came home and consulted Google.
A horrible experience (of more anon).
But I also went straight to Lucent Imagery. I may even have done that first, I can't remember now. I had come across Lucent's blog via Sarah's Down By The Sea Dorset and found it truly inspiring. What I liked most about it was that it was about living life to the full. The tag line is A legally blind photographer's journal but the blog was not about blindness. (AMD is a leading cause of blindness, though Lucent has different eye problems). It was about loving life and having adventures, being observant and mindful, and having fun. Lucent is an inspiration and a generous and brave spirit. We correspond now and then and I write about this subject here on the blog in the hope that someone else might find it helpful in the way that I found Lucent's blog helpful.
I don't want the character of my blog to change - it is about loving and appreciating the simple things in life and celebrating them daily, and my efforts to live simply in a complex world.
Thank you for reading.
(For the previous four posts on this subject please ignore that 'Or Not' at the top of the sidebar - cannot get rid of it!! - and scroll right down to Simply Seeing..Or Not.)
If you liked the Raoul Dufy link in this post, you might also enjoy these textiles (thanks Lucille!)
The weather has changed since I took this shot, it is wet and wild and the leaves are falling fast..
I guess it's winter.
By way of this episode of one of our favourite radio programmes, Private Passions on Radio 3, I heard about the remarkable work of Sugata Mitra. This 20 minute Ted Talk on child-driven education will I hope, inspire and delight you.
..'Mostly plants, not too much.' See this post from waaay back.
We are so spoiled for choice!
I don't even know what some of these are.
Wholefoods Market yesterday.
I wish we lived nearer to it....
It was fun reading your comments on the previous post with this title, and before I drop the subject want to share just a little more with you.
Aw rerry are ower rerr!
A family at a service station looking around for the cutlery etc. This was a father speaking to his daughter.
Oh, there they are over there!
I laughed (affectionately) for days....
The writer Jackie Kay said she knew she was home in Glasgow when the taxi driver asked her
Are you wearin' tha' ha' for a be' hen?
Are you wearing that hat for a bet, dear/love/chuck/whatever endearment applies depending where in UK you live.
Most Glaswegians of course are 'bi-lingual' ie they speak English too, so don't hesitate to visit if you get the chance! There are books (you can read quite a bit of this one online) and mugs and tea-towels and t shirts based on The Patter as it is known.
I know that Liverpool and Newcastle, and famously London's east end, have their own patter and wonder Do cities in your country have such distinct dialects?
I do love Glasgow!
Simply..an American in Venice....
I've been enjoying reading blogs by people who live in Venice and this post interested me, especially the mention of San Michele which I've visited.
ln preparation for our winter month in Venice I'm swotting up Palladio (I always was a bit of a swot, and have decided to own up!)
Getting excited about February again.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)