Monday, February 16, 2009

The Moors of Mitcham

I have dovegreyreader to thank for what has been one of the best, and most needed, days out in ages. Sometimes your head needs a bit of time off. I’ve been having a phase of cabin fever one of the pitfalls of working from home and what’s worse… writers droop and readers block! So rather than do nothing on a Sunday which is usually (and slightly infuriatingly) the case I demanded Mr B get up and off we went on a magical mystery tour to Mitcham Common.

I had some slight reservations about what might be lurking there as despite dovegreyreader's delightful memories of Mitcham, but it has become renowned for being a bit rough. However I had promised I would visit the area (I certainly wasn’t going alone during the week) and so we got the bus and ended up in what looked like a lane that wouldn’t go amiss in a crime novel as you can see.
I had some slight reservations until we turned the corner and were confronted with One Island Pond which looked like this…

I felt like I had stepped into one of the Moors from Wuthering Heights and yet I was still technically in London. In fact scrap Wuthering Heights I don’t like that novel, it was more a mix of the Moors from Jamaica Inn or Jane Eyre.

It also had the slightly spooky ominous edges of the sort of barren autumnal wasteland that you might get in a Susan Hill crime novel. My readers block vanished; I knew what I would be tucking into before bedtime. I think it’s the trees being so bare that made me think of crime sites, or too much ITV3, what do you think?

We then got lost and it started to rain. I could see the non reader (who forgot their coat) was looking less than happy until we turned another and were greeted by lots and lots of wild rabbits, some of which scarpered their white tails bobbing off in the distance and others who simply looked at us nonchalantly and carried on regardless. It was a delight. Sadly none of them stuck around long enough for a photo as it started to rain hard and they all vanished into their warm warren the lucky things. We then came across a small reminder of where we were which seemed to fascinate Mr B more than the rabbits ...

Despite getting so completely lost and their being no one around we eventually found a cyclist and some directions though the walk ended up going from four miles to six, we didn’t care as we were completely encapsulated by the area. We ended up finding the Ecology Centre, which was closed and then Seven Islands Pond where we both sat on an old tree trunk by the water skimming stones in one of those delightful comfortable silences. You don’t need to say anything to each other you’re both simply happy in your own thoughts letting you head wind down.
All in all just what the doctor ordered. I am off to start a crime novel... writing one or reading one, you'll have to wait and see!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

In The Mood For Love?

Today’s blog is sponsored by Cynical Smug Married

So its here, Valentine’s Day is upon us, the day when we celebrate the Saint Valentine who was martyred and buried in Via Flaminia on February the 14th around AD 269, no jokes about the number please as this is a serious Christian and Catholic Day… only it isn’t. As it goes other than the information above nothing is really known about St Valentine, so why do we celebrate this day, and should we really if we aren’t religious? The answer, well the people I blame are the likes of Clinton Cards, Thornton’s (who can be forgiven for their amazing Viennese Truffles), Tesco and if I could I would blame Coca-Cola but that’s Christmas isn’t it. Actually I did some research and even one of the Pope’s (Gelasius I) abolished one of the original Valentine’s festivals Lupercalia as he felt celebrating fertility was a little sinful. So why are we? I blame Chaucer and his lines ‘for this was on seynt Volantynys dayWhan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make’ I mean really, who can make any sense of that?

I am not and never have been a fan of Valentines Day. I don’t mean in a ‘bah -humbug’ way just in a ‘what is the point’ kind of way. I have this thought that people should know you love them without buying them cards, chocolates, fluffy teddy bears and roses. Though that’s what Mr B got when he came down to the lounge at 5am, we’ll gloss over the slight hypocrisy there as a) it is our first Valentine’s married and b) I didn’t spend over a fiver, I simply refuse. Mr B is quite a fan of all the romantic schmaltz but we do things on June the 12th which is Dia dos Namorados or ‘Day of the Enamored’ in Brazil. I don’t really deep down go wholey for either, I think you should tell people you love that you love them everyday and buy little surprise gives just randomly now and then, not on a forced specific day, well apart from Christmas and Birthdays - would be bad manners not to on those days. It’s quite sad in a way that for some people this is the only day it happens.

The other thing that really irks me about Valentines Day is that is can make people who don’t have that special someone feel like lepers. I know some people say they don’t care and indeed I am sure some people really don’t care, as one of my friends said to me ‘while you’re having a romantic dinner for two’ which we aren’t we are having fish and chips in front of the telly ‘I will be off in a certain shameless venue having sex with copious men’ now that doesn’t sound like a bad Valentines night does it. Oh I mean it would be if I wasn’t married that is… moving swiftly on! One phrase I love about Valentines Day is from Bridget Jones when she talks about ‘smug married people and sickly couples’ who simply throw it in your face. I haven’t been single on a Valentines Day since I was about 16, ok let’s rephrase that I haven’t woken up alone on a Valentine’s Day since I was 16 until oddly today!

So what is Smug Married Savidge doing on Valentines Day, apart from blogging right now of course? Well he had a small lie in even though Mr B woke me up at 5 to leave for work where he will be until 5pm. So I have most of the day alone doing exciting things waiting in for a new bed, washing the whites, cleaning out the goldfish bowl, finishing a review novel, writing 1000 words, hovering and maybe cleaning the bathroom, oh and not forgetting a run to Sainsbury’s to buy dinner for tonight. I might fit in the perusal of a few book shops just to show myself some love and treat myself.

So basically it’s a normal Saturday not one of theatre trips, staring into each others eyes with love on the tube to town to upset single people (who couldn’t really care less) whilst eating a ridiculously over priced meal with champagne and its bliss. I have even cancelled a work thing tonight so I can simply snuggle up on the sofa with some homemade grub and nice glass of wine or three, Mr B and a good movie (Burn Before Reading) which to me is bliss. The only thing am slightly riled about is I haven’t had a card… well not from Mr B anyway ha, ha.

So rather than end wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day, I shall do as the locals in Finland do and wish you Ystävänpäivä which is today and is ‘Friend’s Day’ remembering and giving love to all your friends, so that is what I shall do! Happy Ystävänpäivä!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The S-ing Game Answers

I put this up on my other blogs and completely forgot to do it here, I blame deadline week whole heartidly! So after the post I did on the challenge of finding my top ten things beginning with S here are the answers;

Yes of course my delightful if slightly mad family, though the photo I uploaded I realised was also including a lot of my friends as this was taken on a very special day in my life when they were all together, my wedding last year. So those of you who guessed Siblings and social events… good guess but no. My siblings are on their as are my very little cousins, in fact if you saw them close up you would wonder which are siblings and which are cousins or aunts. My mother is 42 and the eldest of four and it regularly happens that we are confused for siblings and my actual little sister (aged 9) and my brother (aged 7) are confused as nephews and nieces.

I am particular about seasides though. Firstly they can’t be sandy as I have a slight phobia of sand which I blame on moment in Tynemouth when I lived in Newcastle aged about 6. I don’t like to talk about it but Polly was there only it didn’t scar her for life. Since then sand makes me panicky and sick. So I like pebbled beaches as a rule and they MUST HAVE rock pools. I am off on holiday to Whitby soon and am wondering what sort of beach that is?

In particular Jelly Belly as pictured, the tutti fruitti flavour is amazing!

Everyone thought this was swearing which is actually more appropriate so maybe I should change it as I love a good swear even if it is ‘lazy language’ its bloody descriptive. As I like writing I thought scribing would be good, I was going to put an image of scribbles as I do that all day too.

Stately Homes
I believed Sunbury in Matlock Bath where I grew up was one of them, it was more Mansion sized, and spent a lot of time as a youth in Derbyshire going around Chatsworth. My Gran and Bong also took me to endless stately homes and castles as a kid; my favourite of all is Hardwick Hall.

If you though Spooks then that’s also correct as its one of my favourite shows. I wanted to be a spy for ages after my great Uncle Derek read me many spy stories as a youth on our ten mile daily hikes (we went on lots of walking holidays) and I have always liked a good Bond.

I just put the cat on there to confuse. I do love big cats though but Snow Leopards aren’t my fav’s and didn’t think to find a picture of a sabre toothed tiger. Love swimming is a current favourite past time in my new gym routine.

I could live on Sushi (and curry) as it is one of my favourite foods. I used to think the whole idea of it was wrong on every level and once I tried it I was caught by the bug… no not a tummy bug. The best place to have it was Gili Gulu near Seven Dials in London as you could get all you could eat for £13. It’s now closed down and there is an empty space in my heart… and my gut!

With a picture of the Most Haunted crew which is my guilty pleasure on the TV. I geekily own every DVD and am quite a believer. I had the pleasure of a ghost hunt with ex Most Haunted member Phil Whyman and my mate Michelle last year and something very, very, very odd happened. Sadly nothing happened when we spent the night locked in the London Tombs for charity last year, maybe on the next one?

Second-Hand Bookshops
I cannot help but be pulled in. I think it is a defect somewhere deep in my psyche. It is also what my study and lounge are slowly but surely beginning to look like. You could also see this as Stories, as you may have guessed I love a good tale/novel/book so it’s a multiple answer.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The S-ing Game

I have been challenged by Cornflower to do a list of my top ten favourite things beginning with the letter 'S' as pulled out of her scrabble letters bag after a shake and a rummage (I love the word rummage) and so my gauntlet has been laid down. I loved what Harriet has done which is to leave you guessing a while so I will do the same and put the results up tomorrow or Monday!

Can you guess what my top ten favourite things beginning with S are?

I am mulling over prize ideas...