I’m looking to move house and am having great difficult deciding where to go.
One of many factors is what the immediate area is like, and might there be a better view from the windows, or at least a view nearby you could go and look at repeatedly. For example, should I go to a seaside town so that I can sit and look at a view of the sea?
The above photo shows a view from my hotel balcony, on a little trip I went on last year. (I’ll leave you to guess where it is.)
This view taught me something about views! Namely, they may be nice and impressive and interesting the first time, or the first few times. But after you’ve been looking at the same view for a week, it just becomes boring, like a looking at a picture – doesn’t it?
So if I buy a house by the sea, for the view – won’t I quickly get bored with it? I don’t know the answer.
Oh dear, I seem to be starting an animal bookends collection.
I picked up an old children’s book I found amongst my stuff, to re-read. The Wild Heart, by Helen Griffiths. Published 1953. I reckon it’s around, or at least, 40 years since I read it. I was so hit with familiarity as I read the first couple of sentences, and saw a word that had not been in my mind all that time, that I burst into tears.
“The gauchos say that there is a heaven for horses. They call it Trapalanda.”
I wonder how many other people know or have heard that magical word.
It is a very beautifully written book telling the story of a wild horse, and all she suffers as various men try to capture her, for her speed. It creates such an atmosphere and is in the end so sad; I have really enjoyed reading it again.
Last night, before I’d finished it, a phrase came into my head, which turns out to be the last phrase of the book. I am beyond astonished that this has been buried in the depths of my mind, un-accessed, for 40 years, and yet it has leapt into my brain whilst reading the book, and now feels so, so familiar – it’s a phrase that must have had a profound effect on me all that time ago.
“… for surely in Trapalanda, La Bruja deserved to be.”
Oh really, when am I going to wear something like this? What a ridiculous purchase!
But it was so wonderful, the colour, the feel of the material; I couldn’t resist. From a shop in Brighton – not the first obscure item of clothing I have bought in that town, and which I hardly ever wear!
However, this skirt is going to symbolise the new, ‘alternative’, me! Question is, will I ever pluck up courage to wear it? People don’t wear skirts much at all these days, never mind long wacky indian print ones in bright colours! With green and orange zebras on!
But why not? I shall wear it next time I return to Brighton.
I have finally achieved another animal experience I had set myself to undertake – ‘walking with llamas’.
As I drove down there I was thinking, I’ve got an appointment with a llama!
It was at Ashdown Forest Llama Park and I chanced on a beautiful sunny day. My llama was large and dark coloured and walked alongside me very obediently and without issue. Only towards the end of the walk, when we crossed a golf course, did all the llamas tend to stop to crop grass as we walked.
It was an hour and a half with some uphill bits, and it was about at the limit of what I can manage in terms of fitness. Very pleased to have done it successfully though, and really enjoyed the day.
It’s a great way to get some exercise in an interesting way, and also a way for someone on their own to go for a country walk with some company and in safety.
I want to do it again!
I was amused by this painting I saw in a pub somewhere – the red arrows aircraft display team appearing in a traditional Constable painting!
I did see them this year, when they were appearing at an airshow nearby. I must admit I’m always impressed – on a physical level the wonderful noise is just exciting, on a mental level you can’t help but marvel at the wonder of human achievement, and skill, that such a thing is possible.
They always make me think of my father, who passed away many years ago, my first bereavement. He had been in the air force and was always interested in aircraft, in fact my last photo of him was an at airshow – I came across it the other day when sorting things out.
I wonder what Constable would think if he could see how his masterpiece had been embellished?
I have often before noticed the phenomenon that after you come across a new word, you then find you hear it more often than you would expect. The conclusion can only be that it’s about as prevalent as it always was, but you notice it because you are now aware of it.
In the USA in July, I had something I’d never eaten before, something which is very common in the States but which I have never, ever seen on any menu in England. Grits. Actually ‘cheese grits’. A sort of mushy stuff made out of ground corn, or something, which is served with breakfast. I enjoyed them, but couldn’t finish the whole bowl.
Since my return, I can’t believe how often references to grits have come up in books or newspapers or on TV. They’ve been referred to several times on US shows and cartoons, it seems amazing. In the past the word must have gone in one ear and out the other.
Similarly ‘corn dogs’. I’ve never had one of these before but really enjoyed eating one in Kentucky. A frankfurter sausage on a stick with generous, slightly sweet batter, something like yorkshire pudding mix but crispy on the outside. So far two references to corn dogs noted since my return!
Well, grits I can leave, but I’d love to eat another corn dog! Wonder if I can source one in London somewhere?
(The second picture is fried chicken with sweet waffles and syrup.)
I’ve been collecting Breyer horse models (possessions have become a consolation) and decided to go to the Breyerfest collectors’ event in Lexington, Kentucky, in July this year.
It was a great success, a sensible sort of thing to do alone. I attended the event for three days running at the Kentucky Horse Park, did a ‘horse farm’ minibus tour, visited Mary Lincoln’s house, and generally enjoyed the hot weather and excitement of being back in America.
I also – since there was no public transport and I didn’t want to hire a car – learnt how to use Uber taxis, and have now tried them back home as well. Very useful.
And I must not neglect to mention that (despite being extremely anxious about the risks involved) I managed to go horseriding as well, so have now ridden three different horses in three countries:
– Titan in Menorca
– Alfie in England
– Hank in the USA
Quiz: How many Breyer horse models did I manage to carry home with me from America in my case and hand luggage?
- Two (Would have been sensible)
- Five (Would have been quite a few)
- Eight! (Well, that was the whole point of going out with a large, half empty suitcase!)
I continue to amuse and console myself by going to all sorts of events – I’ve never been to as many as in this last year.
Crawling round some show or other, or attending a sporting event, or going to an antique market, or a new shopping centre, all serve to distract me and generally make me feel better than when I’m sitting at home alone feeling depressed.
This has been a year of ‘reckless leisure’ for me. It cannot, of course, go on.
Decided to go to Windsor for this horse show on a complete whim, the day after I saw it mentioned on TV. Went by train, found it was a long walk to the venue. Absolutely loved the view of ranks of flowering chestnut trees around Windsor Castle, so beautiful. Lots of pretty horses and perfect people riding them – another world!
It was so hot! Especially trudging back to the train station laden down with horsey purchases.
Lovely day though.
I went to the Chelsea Flower Show this year. I think I’ve only ever been once before, a long time ago. I did enjoy it, though it was very busy and noticeably expensive to get in.
I wandered round for hours, looking at stuff, eating, buying things – most notably a little picture of seven sparrows from the ‘Moorcroft’ stall. (John would have liked it – see Sparrows.)
The main thing that struck me about the show was how different it actually feels to be there, compared to how it appears on the television programmes. Of course they film when it’s quiet, but I think a lot of close ups and careful angles are employed to give an impression that the show gardens are bigger, there are far more flowers and beautiful vistas in general, and far fewer people!
Very pleased to find there was a shuttle bus right outside the exit which went to Victoria station, though, as it was an exhausting day.