Tuesday 23 February 2016

Remarkable days

There are many un-remarkable days in life, okay-ish days, pleasant days and then some really special ones. Yesterday was one of those for me.
Not only was I about to embark on a few days of exploration of The Ariege with my son, but I received a message from 'Cracked Eye' to say that my story 'The Hundred and Eighty-Fifth Book' was live on their site - the audio version, as read by Mr (fabulous) Anton Lesser.
Throwing all else aside I sat and listened to his voice pronouncing MY words - wow.
His reading of it is perfect.
Thanks, Cracked Eye, Robert Rigby, for the production, Mark Lockett, my husband, for the superb accompanying music, and of course, Mr Lesser.

Monday 15 February 2016

The wonderment of inexplicable things

I may have blogged about this before but after an episode yesterday I was inspired to write on the subject again . . .
Many things are inexplicable: what is outside our universe? - where does space end? what happens at the end of it, etc; where do scissors and pens go? why do 'the elected' in small towns like ours allow the building of yet another supermarket, and so on. But one of the most un-explainable things must be
I woke early yesterday with a nasty bout of Cystitis, and spent the whole day hobbling about in loose clothing or lying on the sofa with hot water bottles and dogs. I decided a fast might be good so opted for lots of water and bicarb (ugh) but gave in after lunchtime and ate some rice and a banana.
I tried a homeopathic remedy - Cantharsis, remembering it had worked years ago - unfortunately to no effect.
By bedtime nothing had changed and I was dreading multiple trips to the loo and stalking about in the semi-darkeness downstairs moaning softly.
Thinking about the previous time and the remedy that had worked, I looked up other suggestions: Aconite (monks hood plant, and very toxic); sepia (extract of ancient photos?) pulsatilla, and Nux Vomica - I love this one. Poisoned nuts, I seem to remember, from the Strychnine tree . . . mm.
Anyway, I settled down in bed with hot water bottle and book on disappearing/disappeared London; took took two small white pills (nux vomica) the size of a largish pin head washed them down with a large pinch of scepticism, and then forgot, immersed in my book. Did you know that the word 'Spitalfields' comes from the fields that used to surround a certain hospital in that area of London? And that spital is a shortened version of the word hospital. Incredible.
Fifteen minutes had passed in reading and I suddenly learned something equally incredible (on a small me-scale at any rate). The pain had gone: GONE, completely. No urge to do go, not burning sensation, nothing.
This morning? still the same, all discomfort gone (so far). So, how the Hell does it work? How can a suggestion, a ghost of an extracted thing mixed with water and a tiny bit of sugar effect the body thus?
I don't know, and I like that - something else that science cannot explain, a bit of everyday magic we can all use.


                                                                     Getty Images

Monday 8 February 2016

majestic beasts

We are lucky to own one, two in fact, and a small runty-edition in the shape of a three-legged Italian greyhound.
As any reader of this blog will know, I mention these dogs frequently, but they are a continual source of wonder and hilarity. Looking for a dog? We can recommend re-housing a 'galgos' or Spanish greyhound. Used (and mostly abused) for hare-coursing in Spain these elegant creatures of ancient race are regarded as non-beings, something to maim and kill in horrific ways when their time is up (a very few years).
Plus points as pets: they shed very little hair, don't smell (except a very faint scent of warm something - toast, perhaps) don't require mega-loads of food, will hike for hours, or are happy with a couple of well-paced walkies a day, bark rarely, and most important, have a wonderfully calm and affectionate nature.


                                                  'Bali' on a walk this morning

Negative points. Err . . . can be tricky with cats, although our house cat survived very well, until passing away last year - not through dog attack, general old-ness.
They are quite large but will try and climb onto your lap.
Not recommended perhaps if you are ultra-house proud, or at least sofa-proud as any couch or chair will become a dog bed. These are creatures of little hair and like to sleep elevated, preferably surrounded by wool and humans.
A link for anyone tempted. These dogs desperately need homes.
There are similar associations world-wide, and for other 'sighthound' varieties such as the British Greyhound.


Sunday 7 February 2016


For various 'getting noticed', or attempting to do so, reasons, in this overloaded world of novels and writing, I've been trying to 'build a profile' (ugh); difficult as many people seem to be called Kate Hardy, and even adding my middle initial doesn't make a lot of difference.
However, I do seem to be a little more visible on paper/screen, so, in order to be up there, face-wise with the other Kate H's I'll try this . . .


A fairly honest, and recent pic of me looking like a manic owl. Must get some more done - but I'm always behind the camera.


                 This one's better, and I like the hair.

Importance of choosing a good name

During reading someone's Facebook post, this name stood out. The sexy Weirdos . . . how could you not check it out? And good it is too.
Unfortunately for me, the very thought of Tequila makes me want to . . . blurk . . .
Invited to a medical students party in the decaying house I lived in near Goodge Street way back in my post-art college days, I duly joined in and drank many, many slammers; woke to find myself in a bath (empty) and was then ill for about three days.
I put this episode into one of my books - Going Out in the Midday Sun - click on the 'featured post' to read 'Jasper' reliving the experience.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Building No 55


I was reminded on seeing this ghost of a house interior, liberally slopped with? builder's mousse? of Rachael Whiteread's concrete house (now demolished). An insult, I'm sure - sorry Ms Whiteread, but there is a resonation there - inside space; who lived there, what they left behind, a certain presence . .
There seem to be a lot of these in Spain - semi-demolished buildings shored up with bright orange, brittle foam. I wonder how long they are supposed to remain thus?
The one I've idly noticed in Port-Bou on countless visits is still there - un-demolished, and orange.
I suppose it protects the walls from rain and sun, but it must be environmentally-disastrous, all that toxic foam, and you don't get to see the ancient wallpaper/choice of paint colours from decades ago.
Not that everyone will be too excited by those remnants, but I find it fascinating, the narrative of a building.



                                                House by Racheal Whiteread 

I had to add this - I just looked up the spelling of Mousse, and found this photo of a sad lady in A&E waiting for treatment after using builder's mousse instead of hair mousse.