Friday 30 June 2017

A couple of minutes of wonderful madness

Fighting the tide of plastic . . .

admittedly on a tiny scale but if everyone did it . . .

We have become slightly obsessed with second-hand yogurt-makers - they turn up at all junk emporiums and boot vide greniers, usually sporting a fine 1970s livery of orange/red/mustard, etc.
We have three now - a mid-yellow one that cost two euros in a local boot-sale, a large circular mustard-coloured one which is only suitable for really for large yogurt events (?) and our new find: orange-red, called SEB and fitted with a pleasing smoke-coloured plastic lid. This is definitely the best yet - a fine, even yogurt and just the right sized jars and it only cost THREE euros!
We haven't purchased yogurt in plastic pots for years now, and at a rough estimation, if we had, and had kept them all for some weird reason, there would be probably enough to fill the kitchen or at least the shed.
Having seen yet another distressing bit of film this morning about whale death due to plastic, one of the many, many answers is to make more stuff at home and buy less packaging - washing up stuff/shampoo etc, purchase 'loose' from bio shops, fizz-up tap-water with a soda stream and of course, the yogurt-maker - pint of milk (bio works best), a bit of the last yogurt to get it going, or a small sachet of 'culture powder' (wonder what other sorts of culture could be dried and reanimated) a minuscule bit of electricity and off you go . . .

Sunday 25 June 2017

inspirational places


Our local museum - The Piano Museum (and behemoth/ex-church) is stuffed with beautifully-polished and documented pianos. Mark and I were there yesterday - he page-turning for a pianist friend, me attempting to take photos in the unforgiving spotlights/deep shadows.
Away from the main museum, I found this stock/dumping area which was far more interesting with its collection of rejected, or waiting-attention pianos, dust and portraits of composers. I thought I'd do my own of the composer I live with, and will probably return soon to see what storylines might occur in this ancient resonant space.

Saturday 17 June 2017

where's the map?


It's that time again - book finished (writing, that is) at least to the point where the end has been reached and the editing starts - that rolling project that envelopes you in a certain security each day - knowing where you are amongst all the other day-to-day stuff, where you're heading - sort of.
So where next? I've several ideas stumbling about looking for the right path; some to be developed from short stories, another in my Londonia series, or a follow-up to the one just completed - The Hundred and Fifty-Eighth Book.
As Hamish, the main character is still firmly inhabiting my head I might just continue with his life - I rather like him and it might be interesting to see where he wanders off to next, me following, pen in hand.

Thursday 8 June 2017

More things I know nothing about

We have B and B guests arriving and suddenly the loo broke down and the cooker . . . The loo looked fairly straight forward and I did some DIY in the cistern; this worked for a while providing you gave the button three 'clonks' perhaps not something to have to request of your 'invitees'.
I tried to improve on it and then broke the whole thing. No plumbers answering phones, so I went to the plumber's merchants and spoke to a biker who was delightful: didn't sell me anything unnecessary, explained what to do with the thing I had bought and gave me the number of a local reputable plumber in case it - me, failed.
Yeah . . . instructions! bits of ratchety plastic! things to unscrew, tighten again, lose down the bog . . nope, need the right person for the job. Mark can play extraordinarily complex bits of Scriabin or Chopin but faced with a dribbling loo and a spanner or two - nope, encore. Luckily the plumber was free; came round with his backpack of tools, accepted a glass of water and tamed the bog - in about ten minutes. Lesson to be learned, hm - yes, don't DIY unless you have an awful lot of spare time and patience. There are people who know about theses things, just as I know about . . . lots of other things.
The cooker . . . Oh, God, what a thing of fearful complexity. From the outside it looks Aga-like; friendly, solid, dependable, but when the 'special man' (electrician had sucked in his teeth and advised a specialist) unbolted it all and took the top plate off, it was full of wires and tiny skinny bits of metal as fragile as a spider's leg.
I went and tackled something simpler - cleaning the bathroom (I'm good at this - water, Jif, scrub, done) while he talked to himself - 'Alors, donc . . . cette fil blue, hm, pourquoi ├ža . . . ah, d'accord. Bon . . .alors, donc . . . cette fil marron, hm', etc. After two hours he announced he knew what it was, and that IT would have to be ordered and that he would have to come back again when I had agreed to the price of the thing that was to be ordered, uh?
I suggested I didn't have much choice and perhaps he could just order it. Suppose I could haunt ebay for a few days, but time wasted and possibly not the right IT would be even more annoying. So Mark will have to suppress his cake-making urge for a few days and we won't be able to offer our guests home-made bread, but at least the loo works.

Loo and oven I probably could mend