Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


Flustery Friday

Not sure where this week has gone.

I have been busy but in a 'not-in-the-studio' sort of way and I keep looking at my work longingly. I have one more commitment to fulfill this morning then I will  shut myself in the studio with the radio, whichever cat deigns to tolerate me and Moss.

One companion that I will be glad to see leaving is Storm Gareth, he has been rather up close and personal the last few days which has made walking less enjoyable and in some cases impossible.  My next 'personal milestone' for the #walk1000miles challenge is a rather heady 200 and I am less than 2 miles from it. And have been for the last three days ....so close so close.

Himself purchased a moleskin pocket sketch album for me and it landed with yesterday's post. He had miss read the sizes, switching inches for centimetres and it was a lot smaller than he anticipated and was rather disappointed.

However - I am delighted!  I use moleskin art journals - I love them, my present one is a little bigger and therein lies a problem. I'd bought it to tout around when I am out to do quick sketches of faces or views etc however it is a little too large to whip out anonymously and start a surreptitious scribble in a cafe. So this new and happily unexpected pocket sketch book is very very welcome!

My laptop, who had been sounding a bit asthmatic for the last couple of years or so, started having hot flushes about twelve months ago and more recently taken to throwing tantrums and fainting at crucial times. Early Tuesday morning it finally folded it arms and said 'no more'.  I tried all the usual tricks of pleading, coaxing and the tried and trusted method of ... have you switched off and back on again?...

All to no avail. I had to call in the big guns. So I rang my mostly reliable computer-mend-it-man only to get a recorded message saying that 'this number is not recognised'. So I went on line with my tablet and found his web site and was slightly put off by the huge link saying 'this domain is now up for sale'..... In a moment not only had I lost my laptop but I 'lost' my fix-it man too!

Then I remembered, not far down the main road is a PC repair chap that a friend of mine once recommended. Quickly I searched his name and found his number and gave him a ring. The conversation went thus....

Him: Morning PC Repair

Me: Morning, sorry to ring you so early, a friend of mine recommended you, my laptop has just died and I wondered if I could pop it down to you?

Him: what's up with it?

Me:..... I gave him a quick resume of it's shameful antics

Him: Where are you? as I have to be out by 9.30am

Me: (triumphantly) oh only five minutes up the road, I can drop it off now

Him: ok - see you shortly.

I hung up, grabbed the lifeless laptop, shoved it and the cord and mouse into  a bag, unceremoniously yelled at the dog to go to bed and to stay and galloped out the house and down the road as quick as my legs would decently go.
A few minutes later, I breathlessly knocked on the door and fairly quickly a youngish man opened it ... ah.....
The face did not match the voice.... so I hesitantly said..

Me: Hi, I rang a moment ago?  

Bloke ... blank look on face

Me: About my sick laptop?.................you told me I could bring it down?

Bloke (sudden realisation on his face) Oh - he moved. About six months ago. He lives in Whalley now.

Me: (...... tumble weed rolling and wind blowing sounds in my head .... ) oh.

Bloke: bye (firmly shutting door in my face)

I look at my watch. Nearly 9.30.  There is absolutely no way I can get the car ready in five minutes let alone get to Whalley (about 30 minutes away)....

I gallop back up the road home, crash into the house, startle the dog who (bless her) has not moved and grab the phone, redial....

Him: Morning PC repair

Me: (Laboured breathing) ...you (gasp gasp) you (puff puff) are not five minutes away.... 

Him: What?

Me: (puff puff) You are not five minutes away - you don't live in the village you have moved!

Him: Yes.

Me: (feeling indignant and still trying to get my breath back) I will never make it in time to Whalley. 

Him: It is ok, I am coming down to the village...... I'll pick it up from you

Me: (Instant mood change from grrrr to 'OH?) Oh? could you? that would be great, thanks

So.... it turns out, he did move, about six months ago but comes to the village every day to collect and drop off work as so many of his customers are based here. He explained later, when he returned my laptop to me, that my accent had thrown him - his words were.... you speak so posh I thought you lived in Whalley........ 

hey ho.

1. Laptop is better - no longer asthmatic, no longer suffering fainting fits or hot flushes.
2. laptop no longer has any downloads so am having to find them all again.
3. Laptop now has microsoft office on it - woop woop.
4. Whalley is pronounced worley and not wally. Coz iz posh ya see.... like me accent..... sigh.


A path less trod

A phrase I try to aspire to - although not one that is that easy to achieve. I suppose you can make the meaning of that sentence bend and flow as you need it for your own life. Whether you use it figuratively or symbolically.

Today's post takes the literal meaning of the path less trod.

Although this little path can be easily taken, most walkers seem to steam on ahead along the main route, ignoring the quiet invitation. Yesterday, I stepped off that often busy and certainly muddy way and lead my little pack into the trees.

Moss, ever ready, shot on ahead, I chose to ignore the quizzical mutterings of the other two.

It was like stepping off into the unknown. Falling from a causeway into a secretive space. The air felt different and my two, who'd been deep in conversation in a mechanical masculine vein soon fell under the spell.
The path meandered through larch trees, quietly heralding spring with the tiniest pink buds.

I collected a few that had fallen and Himself held them for me - we left them on a mossy log - the colours were beautiful.

The little woodland finished all too quickly but we had all felt it's magic.

We will return.


Mud glorious mud

The pinprick sound of raindrops on the summerhouse roof fluctuate as the trees are blown around, if I listen really carefully, in between the drops are the scuttly scratchy feet of the blackbirds as they dash across. The cat, with her apparent xray vision, watches the sound as she twists her neck tracking their roof top races.

It is the same cat who, on my last post, triggered an interesting thread - so many noticed and commented on 'her penknife'. Believe me - this cat has no need to a mere mortal's trifling tool - she has 20 very sharp scimitar knives of her own! We as a family have an array on knife like tools, we all use them. We each have at least one (some of us are blessed with two) Swiss Army knives. Mine are identifiable by the generous quantity of painterly finger prints. As is my laptop and mouse.

Winter seems to have slipped back. Walking Moss has been more of a trial by mud than a pleasure and today we may even postpone our morning muddathon until a later hour when hopefully the clouds part and let the sky back in.
Yesterday I persisted and seemed to be one of a few hardy fools as I stomped around the local nature reserve. I was accompanied by an increasingly splattered but happy dog who splashed in puddles, leapt into full streams, jumped over leats and slipped and slid in as much mud as she could find. I chose to withdraw into my coat and wellies which made a glup---glup--glup noise on my calves as I walked.

I became fascinated by the sound, glup--glup--glup. That sound of the synthetic slap of the boot on your leg. Glup--glup--glup.
We followed the river - Colne Water - quietly raging like strongly brewed black tea. The ducks had wisely taken themselves off and sat like flattened feathery stones along the bank. Our route took us past the old mill pond, finally filling up after last summer's dry months. The weeds and bullrushes making beautiful reflections in the still waters.

We managed - or rather I managed and Moss thrashed - a slippery sliddery 1.6 miles before I gave up and took us back to the car. The grinning happy face on the dog made me smile but I was ready to get out of my wet stuff.
Now, today, it is still raining as I type this. I think I need a coffee before I start painting.

Please excuse the quality of the images - all were taken with my cell phone, I did not want to expose my camera to the weather.


Monday meanderings

Once again, my lovely lot, you have done yourselves proud - I set you some interesting words and you all rose to the challenge - well done! And talking of challenges - the link up was a little flummoxing too. Let's hope that will be the last time I have to download a new version.

Well, I better give you the words for March - hopefully it will get your creative juices going. 
Remember it is a photograph inspired by a word, words inspired by the photos.

My own choice

We'll share and show our photos on Friday 29 March 

I shall leave you with a grubby white cat-loaf, Pan, sitting on my 'display' seat (see photo below). 
With Storm Freya dancing outside, 
this very independent cat chose to sit in the studio with me 
(well she chose to sit in the studio - I just happen to be there too) 
A compromise - she is outside, while being inside coz the outside is so horrible.

Have a lovely week xx


February's Link up Party!

When you tap on someone's link - it takes a second or two before transferring you
please don't think it is not working :)

With apologies - the link up tool has changed, please bear with it - it does work but rather differently!

* Inlinkz Link Party *

February's words

All the images, apart from taste, are from one walk from last Sunday - enjoy x

The soft swish-scrunch of each boot as we walk through the moorland grasses which are winter dry, brittle and crisp. The seashell roar of the light breeze past my ears, carrying the peewit cries of the lapwings and the haunting whistle of the lone curlew. A quietly constant deep rumble from distant tiny cars travelling along narrow lanes far on the horizon. The chatter from Youngest who is a steady source of random facts and stories. The click of the lid from the flask, the plop and sploosh as tea is poured and finally the crunch of a biscuit as I bite into a digestive and drink in the view.

That muddy sludge odour when the dog wallows in every boggy patch she can find. The ponds and puddles are beautifully 'stagnant' on the tops - giving dog-walking an added element of 'enjoyment', well, it does to one of our group.... 

That glorious feeling of warmed wood as I climb over a ladder stile. The ladybird basking in the sunlight confirmed my joy.

Homemade lemon drizzle and sticky ginger cake - two of our favourite tastes. 

My usual view, as seen from my perspective, is the sight of my walking pack several meters ahead. Their legs are longer, their stride more consistent and I stop to take photos. They chat - cars, motorbikes, politics and silly cat videos as seen on the internet. I listen to the trees, see the grasses, watch birds and think.

My own choice
That silly-dilly-dog finally rinsing off the black mud she has been caked in for the last couple of miles.


Random thoughts

A day for emails, for paperwork and for chasing up lists.

A day for quiet empathy and sending of virtual hugs. Jayne from The View from Bag End has had a rough few days culminating in the loss of a precious dog - Daisy. I know I was not the only one who shed tears this morning when reading her post.

Eventually I had had enough of being attached to my laptop and hankered for a walk - I needed the air and it felt so very wrong being inside, getting more frustrated - it felt like I was herding cats and failing.

Youngest and I (and an eager Moss) locked the door and stepped out into the sunlight and with every step, the tension just faded away.

The sublime sunshine coated everything and everyone with such a honey coloured warmth.  Our route took us to the far edge of the village, down past the bowling green then up on to the ridge skirting the valley.  After a while, we dropped down to the river - Moss was delighted and threw herself in at the first opportunity. We followed the river through the nature reserve and briefly stopped at the reserve cafe.

Our return leg took us back up on to an old lane affectionately known as 'Ol' Joe's' which has some of the best views of the village.

Once home, kettle on, a much needed brew and chat with a friend.

Today was a day where I felt swamped by paperwork, saddened by a friends loss and a day where I reached 155 miles of boots-on-walking. Who would have thought, when I started #walk1000miles on the 1st January that as I reached the end of February I would be saying that?


The movement of sound

I am quietly and happily racking up the miles as part of my #walk1000miles. However, I am finding that, other than the obvious miles - I can fit in a size smaller jeans (happy dance) and feel to have more endorphine-fueled energy. Apart from a still tender ankle - it is all good so far :D
Black jeans - trousers of choice up to December
Blue jeans - got them on now!

I do have another rather interesting 'side-effect' to all this walking ... I am learning to listen - not just listen but learning to hear ...

Himself bought a book for me Nan Shepherd - The Living Mountain. She writes lyrically yet factually about the mountains of the Cairngorms. She intensely weaves her words describing both the harshness of the terrain but its beauty too in wonderfully poetic prose. 

I was captivated. I was captivated by her understanding. Her finding the 'inside' of mountains and listening to their hearts. I fell under her spell when she wrote about lying on the rocks, looking upward into an endlessly blue sky as she listened to the sounds of the river tumbling over stones as the water falls into the loch.

She urges listening - listening to the trees, listening to the stones, hearing the sound of the wind, bird song, the rustling of grass, the crackle of leaves. I drink in each word and when we are out walking I have found that I now actually see things, hear sounds, feel.

Yesterday we were out walking in the Dales and although just a gentle yomp through fields and lanes there was so much to see, to hear and feel more.

The rivers - a sound that has always captured me - were quite full from all the recent rains. I listened, properly, breaking through the layers of splashes and could hear a variety of tones. The deep timpani drum of moving water above a deep hole, the musical tinkle of a thin layer of water tumbling over smaller rocks, The middle ground of wooshing, slushing, dashing and slopping - filling the space - making a fluid wall of moving sound.

I observed the silvery silence of deep water - so clear that I could see the rocks and pebbles littering the river bed. I watched ripples of water, catching the gentle February sunlight, then as the ridge of water became a trough - the spark of light vanished leaving a deep dark groove. Magical.

I thought I 'got a lot' from walking - and I do, however this added element to being out and being 'in' nature has added so much more colour to a passion of mine - I shall continue to absorb, see and enjoy. There is so much still to learn xxxx
Enjoy the rest of your weekend and have a good week xx


In which York was trod and airheads are dissed.

Saturday had been planned for a while - a day in York - not a jolly out though,  no, this was serious stuff. We were off to check out the University of York for Youngest.  I, recalling how far we trogged around University of Lancaster for Eldest, thought that it would be a good way to clock up some miles for my #walk1000miles challenge.

I managed to squeeze my much improved and getting thinner ankle into my boot, set up my 'strava' (my mileage logging app) and took my knitting (for in-car entertainment of course). We had to be there for 10am so it was an early start. Wow the weather was foul!  Storm Erik was playing out too and to show his presence he'd kindly tossed down a few trees and branches down along the way (so kind...)

Anyhoo - we arrived in good time despite Erik's truculence. Youngest - usually fairly ebullient was decidedly unsure and chattered nervously however once we'd signed in and started the programme of events he suddenly became very quiet. The talks given were interesting - albeit a little light on information but we had been promised more details in the afternoon as we were to be taken on a tour by existing students where we could chat to them and ask them questions.
What is not very clear are the words on the sign .. it says ..
DANGER - thin ice keep off (must be very thin, the geese were swimming)

I quietly took a look at my 'strava' and saw that the miles were quietly stacking up - I'd reached 3 miles just walking around the campus between the talks. By now it was lunch time, we'd found details about housing and finance among other necessary things and we were suddenly starving.  One cafe later (fresh sarnies and hot tea have magical properties I am sure) we made our way to the afternoon programme. This time we had to meet at the department were Youngest would be based, the students would go and meet the lecturers who'd taken them around and chat to them while we would meet the present students who would give us an insight to uni life.

oh boy.

We walked out. If we had to hear a silly little girl saying .... literally, like, oh yeah.... one...more...*!!*//!! time I was going to shake her...... I have never met more vacuous pair airheads as these two - I did originally write a slightly sharper account of them but felt I needed to retract ... **

What did they take us to see?

Accommodation? Nope
Library? Nope
Anything ? Nope - unless you mean three bars and a hall where they have regular 'soirees' .....

Before you think - but they are young etc - the Lancaster University talks were also given by students and we saw all the varieties of accommodation available, where the library was, the laundry, recycling, dustbins - whoa! What a difference......

Youngest will be happy here.

Any hoo - having turned around and walked away with a ...this is the best bar- literally ... ringing in our ears, we walked to York.

What a breath of fresh air - 'literally'.

We walked through fields away from the university and tumbled into some allotments - it was wonderful peeking into sleeping secret gardens, adorned with winter hardy leeks or kale and hosting the most characterful sheds and lean-tos. The allotments gave way to suburbia then to historic walls and finally we found the river. Full to bursting after Storm Erik induced rains.

York centre, despite it being off-peak season and a rather blustery and cold day was full of folk, so we did a quick yomp through the Shambles and one or two other famous places then returned to the riverine walk.
This too was full of folk but they were all walking with a purpose rather than congregating for shopping or meeting up with friends. Eventually it was time to turn back so we followed another route back to the university - this time through a military training grounds - with the most amusingly appropriate yet different road sign. It tickled me :)

We returned to the uni - back to the pre-arranged waiting place (a warm reception room in the departmental building) and sat and sat and sat. My tired ankle was giving a good impression of toothache and I was ready for home. But no sign of Youngest.

About 3/4 hour after we'd arrived, the airheads and their group of bored-silly parents wandered in and joined us. They looked fed up and cold. The airheads both gave us a sneaky sideways look as they walked past us - pah. I felt vindicated at going AWOL.

Youngest eventually appeared - in his usual languid loping gait - He seen the library.....walked past some accommodation ... visited a few lecture halls and he'd had a very successful afternoon and enjoyed it.

Oh oh oh and my mileage??? A whole 11.10 miles - wow!

Durham Uni in a fortnight... 

** I am saddened that, at this day and age of proactive equality, girls still feel the need to act and appear silly and helpless - I don't want to say 'man up' although until there is a better genderless way to say get a grip (oh - hey - I'll use that one :) ) those silly silly girls need to 'get a grip and man up'.


Of half imagined things and dreams

She sleeps. 
Her tongue very very slightly out, 
the tips of her toes gently moving. 

From our perspective, she is a zonked out dog dreaming of ... dreaming of? Of what? We often just say ... oh look she's chasing rabbits... but ... is she?

Or is she dreaming of flying over the moors, soaring with eagles as they chase after a never tiring tennis ball.  Does she laugh with the crows as they tumble in the breeze, rolling over the updrafts while they chase after a Frisbee.

All four feet are twitching now, a dreamscape re-enactment of running with greyhounds, her front legs stretching forward as if she had seven league boots on. The greyhounds are left far in the distance - they have given up and wandering off, they have a bus to catch. Our Moss grins over her shoulder as she soars free as a winged griffin, paws flashing and tail lashing.

Her back, warmed by the fire, twitching, tickles the cat who frowns with a disapproving stare however, Moss is still deep in her dream. The protruding tongue tip curls as she swims through a deliciously cool stream, her paws paddle-steaming her as she hunts down that elusive stick we have just thrown.

Suddenly the actions hots up, her tightly shut eyes flicker and her ears jerk back and forth - dragons have appeared and they want to play too. Moss, ever the ready, races around them, her legs flying as her chops puff with an invisible woof.

We watch and wonder - should we wake her - remove her from her dream - are we rescuing her or interfering with the magic?

The deep throaty grumble followed by a whistling squeak makes us lean forward and give her shake.

Blurry eyed and confused our fur-hero is awake and at first she seems befuddled and embarrassed but after a large dog yawn and a bow-stretch she is back on earth - her mission to save the dragons is temporarily put on hold.... are these are the musing of a much loved dog or are they the over imaginations of her owner?

Does our dog dream? Oh yes - but what does she dream? Her little walnut brain probably has far more colour and stories than we give her credit ... or does it??

We'll never know!

Have yourselves a lovely weekend :)


Not for the faint of heart....

Look away now if you are squeamish.....

But first, a bit of a back story.

I have, if I say so myself, rather slender delicate ankles - the kind you look at and think ... hmmm ... very nice.

The rest of me looks down at my ankles with a certain amount of envy and wishes their slender and delicate nature was indicative of me as a whole. But no - the rest of me is just downright envious of my ankles with their angles and curves and their slenderness ..... until that is...now.

My left ankle has taken on the personae of Jabba the Hutt's not much smaller sister ...  Image result for jabba the hutt
You don't believe me?
check this lot out ....
Can you see the family resemblance?

My poor left ankle can not believe what has happened and the rest of me is like ... deal with it fatty! mwuhahahahah!

And for those who have managed to stay without feeling the need for reaching the smelling salts, a fan and a convenient seat I shall explain what happened.

I tipped sideways into a hole (a small divot - not much bigger than a saucer) which was cheekily hidden beneath a layer of snow. Youngest and I walked into town last week - it was a beautifully icy wintery day with shockingly blue skies and sparkly snowy hills.

I was admiring said natural beauty when the rather sneaky - previously mentioned - small hole leapt out and sharply grabbed my slender and delicate left ankle. For a few moments it was just not the sky that was blue.  !//**!!~#!!

When I got home (bravely limping and cussing) - I pulled Jabba's sister out of my boot. Owie owie owie!


So you can imagine it has kinda scuppered my #walk1000miles somewhat.

Now, several days later, still limping and sporting a elasticated support bandage and a grimace, I took my ankle out for a walk - I was going stir crazy at my self-imposed house arrest.

Himself, Youngest and I went to Skipton Woods to find the sculptures and walk amongst trees, listen to tumbling water, marvel at ice coated twigs and breath some cool fresh air.

We saw grazing horses,
...even managed to stroke a muscled neck.
We followed a well trod, well maintained path through sleeping trees and alongside gurgling streams. Crusting ice decorated the edges of the leat adding another layer to the reflections in the water.
We found the Medieval huntress as she raised her bow and aimed carefully. She did not blink her eye and was not distracted by our presence.  
Along the way I spotted a carved bench down by the river. Adorned with kingfishers and a giraffe - I was confused by the inclusion of an African animal until I saw a small metal plaque. Then I knew

A little more sombre we walked on, beneath the castle high on a narrow ridge flanked by water on both sides.
Once in Skipton we found a corner alongside the canal and stopped for lunch.
A local tried his luck and when he noticed we had Moss with us
he hurled abuse and foul words at us
and rattled his little fist
while we chuckled at his antics.
Then after he'd said his worst words, he came back down and 
continued to patrol his patch.
Muttering dark and catty things at a blissfully unaware dog.
We returned back along the path beneath the castle,
past the huntress, still poised and steady,
past the bench with the giraffe and kingfishers,
past the stone poetry seat covered in rock hard ice.
Through the sleeping trees
and over the chortling brooks.
Up the steps and along the paths.
Back to the car.
My ankle was tired.
But we'd managed a whole 3.3 miles, Jubba the Hutt's not so small sister and me :)

Now - feet up
(no really - my foot is up
 - being elevated to help reduce that squodgy mess that.is.my.left.ankle
fire on, brew to hand and happy.
(despite that blue/green/grey hue)

Bring on Monday!