Wednesday 31 October 2012

Temporary lodger

We have hundreds of lizards in the garden and sometimes they end up in the pool skimmers. I always lift them out and put them on a sunny rock, hoping they might recover. Surprisingly they often do. After lying panting for a few seconds, they suddenly scurry away to carry on their lives.
This was a different visitor to one of the skimmers. A newt! I hadn't seen one since we had an old bath in our garden in Birmingham which was full of them.
I put it in a perspex baking tray with some rocks and rainwater and considered, for about forty seconds, making a pond. Then I remembered how difficult it is to dig a hole in our garden for a small plant, let alone a miniature wild-fauna lake.
Phoned Jonathan, local font of all wildlife knowledge, and decided, after a chat, to release it into a stagnant part of the small river Cornelia.
Trip out with boy, newt in jar, and directions for correct part of river. Released him/her, shed a few tears of joy at creature's enthusiastic swimming and headed back for tea and cake.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Fourteen hours

I woke up this morning with this melody in my mind.
Yesterday it was a nasty song from the 70's by Black Lace . . . God knows why I was using my brain cells up on storing that. Have deleted it now.
Mark played this tune - dirge, possibly - for over twenty two hours, only stopping for a pee twice, (just as well it wasn't me playing) and drinking occasional sips of black tea. It was very weird to see his clean-shaven face gradually changing to the dark shadow of stubble, and his eyes twitch slightly as his brain screamed for sleep.
This film was fourteen hours into the performance of Satie's Vexations, the tune beginning to shift slightly as Mark's concentration dipped in and out of reality. If you are interested, look at the other films on Youtube; he does make it to the end and doesn't collapse in a crumpled heap as I thought he might.
He's played 'Vexations' before, when he was about twenty, and he's threatening to do it a third time.
I think it aged me about three years. Please don't.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Building number 8

Actually, more, window number 1, but this could get complicated.
So, building number 8.
In the same area as the sheds - post before - a strange area of Limoux, melancholic, a little forgotten.
I've passed this old shop many times and wondered what it was before the nets went up. I think possibly a hairdressers, or a general everything shop. The jaunty door handles . . . mm, perhaps a café.
What happened? Why empty? When was the last time someone closed the doors, pulled the nets across, fastened the top and bottom locks, and turned their back on it.


Mmm, maybe I would like to start doing some again.
Inspirational image by 'Angel Ceballos' of  Zac Pennington, lead singer from 'Parenthetical Girls'. Beautiful creature . . .well I think so.
I found him while looking up google images for 'sharp cheekbones'. Isn't the internet a marvel?
I then went on of course to look all their music videos on youtube . . . have a look at 'the pornographer' — simply clever, cheeky, inexpensive music vid which way out-erotica's anything that dear Mads or Lady G could put out there for several million no doubt.

Friday 26 October 2012


Ezra and I had a wander around the allotments on a grey day. These ones are well placed - near the river with super-efficiant irrigation, and such rich soil compared to our stoney pale stuff - grrr.
Sheds always fascinate me, especially on allotments. No DIY store varnished and manicured ones here, just weird slightly menacing constructions made out of whatever was to at hand.

The top one is my favourite, on account of its teeth and sideways glance. What is in it . . . probably just tools, but it could be Madame Dupont after she didn't cook the 'Sanglier' just so.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

MUD - Tiger Feet

I just had to really . . .
I like the girly dancers - strapping wenches.
Oddly I was in love with Rob Davies at the time - the one with the flowing jumpsuits. All my friends were kissing their posters of Donny Osmond and David Cassidy at bed time. Not me.
I still think this has one of the catchiest dance guitar riffs of all time.
The clothes, the hair, the miming . . . ah, Happy days.

Sadly, the video has been removed so here's a couple of pictures of them instead.



Oh dear

Another happy memory of the 70's crushed.
Well, not exactly 'Sir' Jim, but all the stuff that went with him. The tacky show, the big chair, Top of the Pops.
Gary Glitter - I think I always felt he was a little worrying with his ball-hugging silver trousers and twisted facial expressions. But M Saville, weird, yes, but so much a part of the Dream Topping, Angel Delight and Arctic Roll world of that time. As sure as the Beano would be in the newsagents, and your nylon shirt would crackle as you pulled over your head.
Good job he's moved on really. Hope he's going to return as a lonely dung beetle forever pushing a ball of turd across an empty freezing tundra.
I still feel cheated though. I suppose I might have had suspicions as an adult but as a twelve year obsessed with 'MUD' at the time, he just seemed a cheery chap devoted to making our dreams come true.
Just look at that bed linen — we had that in yellow.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Building Number 7

I stumbled across this grey concrete slab-fest in a 'cartier' of Limoux that we had not explored entirely.
I was intrigued as to why the word SO had been painstakingly welded into each window railing.
An English enclave in the town had built it in the 1970's as a retreat from the French perhaps? a shelter for the partaking of marmite on toast, strong tea and and bit of British self-deprecation amongst the blustering confidence out there
You know nuzing of patisserie. SO.
Your wezer is rubbish. SO
Nous, we 'ave three automobile companies. SO.
On closer inspection the letters were actually SC. Hmm . . . Society of Crêpes? Chardonny, carnival?
Actually when we walked round the front it was clearly the 'Secours Catholique. I think they should have painted it a nice heavenly blue though.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Chicken soup

There are very few things about Mark being away that I enjoy.
In fact I can't think of any . . . aaah. Perhaps watching a crappy film occasionally, that's about it.
It is however a chance for me and the boy person to revel in eating MEAT. Not a lot, just a bit more than we might do when Mr veg curry is here.
The one meat-fest I do miss is the chicken dinner, (free range of course!) There's just something about the roast potatoes, the succulent white meat, and the happy knowledge that the remainder of the feast will become chicken soup. King of soups, king of waste-not-want-not, and endless re-inventions of that last remaining bit of stock. Fab.

Thursday 18 October 2012

October winds

Last night the shutters groaned and slapped; I got up about six times to locate which ones were the culprits. Eventually fell into a disturbed sleep punctuated by dreams of weirs and bare mountains.
By the time we walked to college the madness had calmed and the wind had dropped to an oddly warm, soft breeze. Stunning clouds, and 'flocks' of tiny bats, don't think I've ever seen bats in the morning?
Now the weather has woken up again after its brief rest. The house is full of odd creaks and settlings, the garden a leaf wasteland.
On the walk I felt calm and somewhat elated; now, the wind is whipping the house again and I feel strange, like something is lurking in the woodpile outside, or in that dark shoe cupboard.
I can understand why people say the 'Mistral' makes people lose their minds.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Building number 6

Hey, I've just found out how to make pictures bigger on the blog. Wooopeeee.

I got lost in Toulouse yesterday after spending too long aimlessly wandering in IKEA looking for . . .  actually, I wasn't looking for anything. I had gone to collect Alvin from the airport, but got caught in the IKEA spectrum laser field that they cast over the interchange where you can choose to go to Bordeaux or Foix. I will never get to Bordeaux even if I wanted to as I am always overcome by a sudden idea that our bedlinen must be looking a little grey, or that one can never be happy with only four scatter cushions.
In the restaurant, I declined the reindeer balls, or whatever they are, and chose some odd chicken thing. The red drink was quite fun however, and I wrote a whole chapter involving something a tad cheeky so it was worth going to the blue and yellow cube after all.
Afterwards, I got lost, and ended up on a road full of shops called 'Carpet Mania' or they would have been in the UK. In the distance I could see a group of sleek clouds, strangely close to the ground. As I got nearer my brain informed me that they were, in fact, buildings.
I love architecture like this. How totally fabulous it must be to draw it out on the back of a fag packet, 'Hmm, this looks good, think I might work on this a bit - wonder if anyone would ever go for it. Then fast forward a few thousand meetings, yellow diggers, a million tons of concrete, glass, lots of sellotape and suddenly there it is, or there they are in this case - weird and beautiful pods. Alien eggs surrounded by carefully landscaped grounds.
I was so excited that I drove up and down for about twenty minutes trying to work out how to get in to the grounds so I could take photos. I couldn't frame the magnificent entrance area as I would have to have stopped in the middle of a dual carriageway. This was the best I could do. It's not really pink; I got carried away with the adjustment sliders on iPhoto.

Monday 15 October 2012

Something for after the weekend

I have spent quite a lot of the weekend with their new CD on perpetual 'boucle'. This is one from their last Album, which we have also played into a pulp.
Grizzly Bear - masters of strange, broodingly beautiful music, and fittingly disturbing videos.  those eyes . . .

Sunday 14 October 2012

Help me, I should be working

That's the trouble with Youtube: you go to look up how to cast off a piece of knitting, or how to cook a fish you've never heard of that someone has given you, and before you know it an hour has vanished - never to return, lost in trivia space.
I did check who the wonderful girlies were in the previous post. They were women, not men, and the hair was real, and they sang terrible songs. I also found some like-minded musers out there, which was fascinating.

I thought I should just embellish my blog with a few more album cover masterworks before I start what I was supposed to be doing this afternoon.

Think I'd like to redecorate our bathroom with the top one. It's beyond the flat world society, more the world is flat, but also held in space by a mad grinning German guy.

Post for no reason

I just thought everyone should enjoy this.
The hair.
The clothes.
Star Trek?

Friday 12 October 2012

Earth tenants.

What is the meaning of life?
One thing I know for sure is that one of the meanings must be gardening, whether for food or just for the pleasure of growing things. If I am feeling tangled inside, cross, mentally lying in a ditch: whatever — getting my hands into soil helps.
I haven't always had a garden: flats in London had elaborate window boxes, or a jungle of interior planting. Sometimes I shared a garden, or borrowed someone else's when they weren't looking. In any case, I was always in contact with plantage of some sort.
This is our old house. When we bought it there was not so much as a geranium on the balcony. We dug some illicit holes and planted vines, imported potted trees and filled the balcony with pot grown veg and flowers.
After a while the urge to put a fork into deep soil took over and I spent many weeks following up leads about spurious garden plots around the town. Eventually we did find a plot just outside a village and many happy hours were spent removing oak roots and planting fruit trees. Now we have moved to 'the Hothouse' I have more garden than I can deal with, and the piece of land haunts me somewhat. This year I'll get there . . .
Why am I rambling . . . oh yes, the meaning of life, and being a temporary dweller on this planet.
Much as I love our garden and spend large amounts of time in it, I am aware, of course, that there will be a point that that the garden becomes someone else's. Or rather, they will borrow it for a length of time, and then someone else and so on. (I just hope they don't cut the pomegranates down.)
We are just tenants, the trees will outlive us, hopefully the ones we are planting now will see
a couple of generations of humans.
When I visited Mum in the home last time, she was naturally frustrated at being there, and having to have left her home and garden. We have planted a couple of small trees in the magnificent grounds of the home: next time I will see if we could 'borrow' a small patch of ground and make her a garden there. It's the same soil type as her own garden, the same species of birds, the same weather patterns, just removed a few miles away.

Tuesday 9 October 2012


I had to put this here . . . an explanation:
In everyone's families, unless we are an exception and I think not, there are quirky phrases and familiar things that slip into everyday-ness.
Years ago, when Ezra used to start a long and rambling story or idea, when he paused for what seemed an interminable time, I would insert the word 'fishcake', cruel? Mm, maybe. It became a reoccurring household joke. One day I thought I would lookup 'fishcake' on the newly-burgeoning 'Youtube' and there it was, a marvellous piece of madness; a rambling tuneful ode to these crumb-encrusted entities.
It is now sung around the house, mainly by Ezra in variations that Kurt Schwitters would have reveled in; my favourite being the 'version Francaise'. If I can catch it on film, it will join this one on Youtube.
By the way, the Thornton family — if you happen upon this post, does the narrator have a slight resemblance to someone . . .

Sadly, the fishcake video has been removed but I left the post as it was such a family landmark.

Monday 8 October 2012

Building No 5

I discovered this cyclopic, celebration of crepi while turning the car round in a back street of  Carcassonne. For those who don't know of this material, 'crepi' is a porridge/Artex-like substance that covers a large proportion of France. I was stunned by the varying shades of dismal grey-ness, the fabulous curvature of the structure, the sheer . . . wideness of it.

Opposite was a large boat, trapped in someones back garden, smashed up against their house, as if left by some retreating Tsunami.

Friday 5 October 2012


The sudden dip in temperature has passed and we are back into vest tops and keeping water in the fridge. I daren't look at the weather to see how long this might go on, but it's wonderful while it lasts.
Apart from late spring, this must be the most beautiful time of year. Many overheated plants are making a comeback; the wild sages and marigolds re-flowering and bees cruising with new found vigour.
The figs have had an odd year. Many started to fruit, then after a cold spring they failed to produce ripe fruit. At last they have produced and people have been arriving daily on bikes to pick from the huge tree opposite our gate. The best tree around - may have something to do with the fact that our 'fosse septic' possibly gives it some super nourishment . . . Anyway, it's all good stuff, 90% vegetarian and all that.
Talking of such things, and this should perhaps be on my Post-Materialist blog . . . my granddad always used the 'household waste' on the garden; well rotted of course, but really how sensible, rather than using gallons of water all the time to flush it away into a reed bed somewhere. They didn't have a choice then anyway, and there certainly wasn't any kitten-soft, quilted, perfumed bog roll. If we could, we would have a composting toilet system, but we are rather stuck with the conventional 'mr crapper style' - one of the many reasons why it would be such a great thing to build a house from scratch.

How did I get to talking about poo. I'm not sure, anyway here is a picture of a lovely fig and feta salad.