Tuesday, 23 December 2008

This is the universe. Big, isn't it.

Over the weekend,  the tv, the new tv, the one with the obscene ( compared to 5) number of channels, delivered my favourite film. I had a suspicion it might be on soonish because a couple of weeks back another from the same stable and nearly as wonderful had been on too, and the schedulers have a certain predictability. 

I happened upon it in the best way, by accident, without hunting it, it was just there and I landed at the beginning. Just as I did the very first time at home on vacation from university. I am not sure how it was possible that our paths did not cross before I left home but I am glad that they didnt. It was a pivotal film in the career for Mr Niven who made me laugh out loud one summer.

This film reaches out and plays with your heart, amuses your mind, and dazzles your ears and eyes. Witty dialogue delivered simply. Images once seen you don't forget and ideas that LIFT YOU UP and make you think. Each time I see it I wonder at it.

Greeted by the sound of barking - a black bounding labrador and the sound of a flute, Niven believes he has entered heaven. 

OOh I always hoped there'd be dogs..

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Roger and the Mars Bar

We werent talking of hoovers, but vacuums, and my sister commented that she had known a few hoover dogs in her life. This set me thinking about my canine companions through life and sidewinding I came across this description of the first family dog in my living memory, Roger.

"This lovable little dog is among the smallest of the working terriers. It has a short, strong, sturdy body with strongly boned legs and a fox-like muzzle with large solid teeth. The eyes are dark and expressive and the ears are upright. Norwich Terriers are active, courageous, affectionate, balanced and without any nervousness or quarrelsomeness. They are easy to train, and need consistent rules to follow. These little dogs love everyone and are great with children"

There was more, about what they are bred for. It misses out a few other characteristics about him too - he was intelligent, cunning and definitely ambitious, particularly when there was a bitch in season in the neighbourhood. "Get your lecherous hound away from my dog" (the female in question was a Great Dane - Roger wasn't perturbed) became a legendary quote .

He chose us. All our animals come to us. My Mother's Uncle bred him and this particular puppy would follow my brother around and pull down his rompers. My Mother staked her claim. He was middle aged when I was born. He liked to roll on his back and for hours would relax as assorted hands would tickle and rub his tummy.

Strangely every single cat and dog I have had since has liked this.

Roger liked chocolate and simultaneously made another of our clan annoyed and overjoyed when he leapt Lazarus like from his bed to snatch a Mars Bar being waved about in conversation above his heart attack stricken body.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

I took more than a Quantum of Solace

to see that Daniel Craig is getting better and better in role. And the use of technology seems less and less far fetched, even down to MI6 supplying him with a limited edition phone that seemed to be easy to use, reliable, full of functionality.. and not bimbo technology at all


Sunday, 19 October 2008

A good use of power

Russia is rolling out an alternative to GPS, the Global Navigation Satellite System, military in origin and now productised for the civilian market.

Lots of the news channels have it today Auntie, CNN, Russia Today all with videos as Putin's labrador Koni is given one to wear. In September Putin's labrador's Nephew, Sheldon had one too, this only on Russia Today.

And I can understand why. I had a labrador with stealth capabilities. He periodically reminded me I was still capable of the odd sprint. After a comment about lying down in puddles, Putin replied that his dog wasn't a piglet and didn't behave in such ways.

Mine was a thinking playful being, who would catch my Father's eye, stare at him and then pick up his ball and look at the pond. Just as my Father started to shout NOOOOOOOOO, the Stealth Labrador would casually trot just fast enough to evade him and drop the ball in.

Then generously, in a great act of canine kindness he would jump in, retrieve it, as he was born to do . A knowing look would pass between them (more than a note of triumph in the dog's face) as the ball was returned to my Father

When I am lucky enough to have been claimed by my next retriever, I shall be seeking a similar tracking device.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

At least 4 journeys in 2 hours

This afternoon, caught sight of War Games on tv. Decided to stop what I was doing and watch it again.


The Ferris Bueller actor is the star but it's a few years earlier. Similar "butter wouldnt melt" strategy he uses, reminds me of an old friend's brother. Make txt connection, not caught up with her properly for ages. We both suffered (not really) from brothers who apparently could raise their eyes to their Mother and all was forgiven. HA! Good strategy. Another watches.

It is a fun and superb film, loved it the first time, now enjoy it, retrospectively and in the moment simultaneously. Emotional time travel. Remembering how I felt the first time I saw it (before I had been anywhere near a computer) and now when I work in the software industry, when in relative age -though sadly not in intellect - at either point of the journey I could associate with either Falken and the naughty good boy.

Fascinating experience. The last line is still, for me, one of the best film lines of all time.

Strange Game
The only winning move is not to play.

How about a nice game of chess?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Commandant Cat

Feeding them this morning, the small one noticed I had opened the last tin. The Last TIN

She is small but she has very round eyes that dilate fully to complete blackness. If she had a brow she would be capable of raising it beyond her ears when perturbed about something. Very effective.

She also "talks" constantly. Some have said she runs around the house shrieking "Milk! Milk" ( I rarely give them any - but guests might not know that -so she tries her command) I think more often than not it sounds like " Now! Now!" It's loud too.

Today the Last TIN was clearly not what she wanted to see. The heavy enormous bag of biscuits was no source of consolation at all. She wanted to know that there would be more wet food after today.

So with her shrieks ringing in my ear I left the house knowing I had just 3 things to remember;
Milk (for me), Toilet rolls (for all bipeds) but most importantly, Wet cat Food. Remember Milk, Toilet rolls and Wet Cat Food.

Arrive at work, into the Vortex..... several hours elapse

Leave work for return journey, full moon, tonight I saw a fox and an owl on the way home, and noticed the fields and valleys luminous, swathed in the moonlight. Even in the dark, in the special black and white, somehow the change of leaf colour is apparent, the mood of the countryside busy shedding, saying goodbye, preparing.

Radio 4 accompanies me til I get bored, Classic FM had plain song, the plainest sort of plain song- switched to cd (old technology) shock horror, Billy Joel.! Sing about one thing, think about another 3 or 4. Plan a trip, wonder about horse. Roads beautiful to swoop along, night driving so cooling and altered than the day. The long warning of oncoming traffic silently heralded by the seeking glow, hugging the tarmac, slinking round hedges.

Pass through small market town, find myself walking into supermarket and then from nowhere the mantra begins. Milk, toilet roll and Wet Cat FOOD. Would like to think that the order is dictated by the geography of the shop, but recognise that as the mantra is repeated in my mind, there is a rise in volume and the accent is most definitely on the last two slow syllables.

Compelled, I respond to the instruction of the morning, dormant all day and now commanding me.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Autumn Smells

It does. You meander through the summer, rain or shine, mostly rain this year and then one day you go outside and you know the season has turned because the Goddess of the Autumn life death cycle has a very particular perfume.

Keats nearly captured it and placed its essence on a page. The mellow sun appeals far more then the harsh hard heat of a hot summer. (Unless I have a pool or the sea nearby or a trees or all 4 and a horse. If all these conditions are met with a good book, access to the radio - when I want it, then, then I will be very happy).

There isn't the fresh snap to the air of later yet, your breath may make streaks in the air, but they are gentle streaks that disperse willingly and gently.

But the smell is musty and piquant. The sound of foot on ground changes, as the decay starts to dance to a different tempo and the fruit swells and drops on the ground to be harvested by creatures making the most of the sugary harvest, drunk on their last days.

If I live to old age I wonder if Autumn will always be captured completely in one memory of repeated days.

Walking through the front door, school bag in one hand, violin case in another, coat slung round me somehow. I was resentful of their heavy companionship, hungry for milk and biscuits. I spect the door slammed, the 30 second early warming system for those within -not through temper just eagerness to get on. Drop the encumbrances I have just carted a couple of miles and gather speed as I walk down the corridor to the back of the house trying hard to ignore the presence of a silent and waiting piano.

Even if the breakfast room door is shut, I will know what activities are taking place. There will be damp warmth emanating from the kitchen. Steam and smells and the sounds of activity. Bubbling, water splashing, metal against pan, wooden spoon resting after testing for viscosity.

Depending on the produce it will be Chutney, or Jam, or Wine.. As I get into the kitchen I will be greeted by some acerbic but welcoming comment and maybe hear some light profanities and dark mutterings, probably, not aimed at me. The dog's wet nose will insist I stop and greet her, as she is welcoming me. A cat may deign to open an eye before receding into a snooze by the fire, punctuated by the occasional thoughtful flick of the tail.

A bonus might be all that and some baking too, so the spices used will give me a clue. Ever the Sorceress the mixtures may change depending on whim and availability, creativity unleashed through necessity.

Warmth with subtlety, sarcasm and strength, applies equally to Autumn and Jam , Wine and Chutney. And My Mother.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Lawn Mower ballet

This week, whilst sitting in a red room listening to a lively debate with 4 other people, I was unexpectedly the sole witness to a lawn mower ballet.

The Dancers were determined looking men with stubble, in bright orange clothing wearing the sort of earphones designed to be worn near Harrier JumpJets

The movements themselves were simple, smooth and strangely elegant. At speed they were completing a figure one after the other that was like an S on its side, with one following about 12 feet after the other, around the corner of the building.

In 2 minutes they had precisely cleared 2 lawns and then disappeared as swiftly as they arrived. And the over powering noise of the lawnmowers ceased. Efficiency with artistry.

You might think that it odd that I was the sole witness to this. Of course this might have been a hallucination on my part, and for one moment I did think of carting myself off to see a psychiatrist.

But then I realised of all the people in the room, the only other woman had her back completely to the scene.

Its a shame they missed it, it was surreal and surprisingly beautiful

Fate - Freedom, Buddha, Einstein, Mum

I love Radio 4. I mean it.

This isn't an emotion lightly held, I really love radio 4 ( 'cept Today which I can not abide. I don't want "ner ner ner, got you now! argument in my bedroom as I wake up)

I love it because it gives me so much STUFF to play with. I learn so much from it. Time in the car isn't wasted, its either think time, sing time, or listen to the Radio. If I tune in to Radio 4 there, I am highly likely to be given something to think about and take away something to learn, or enjoy, better still and usually, both.

On Radio 4 one morning this week, a debate about America and slavery and freedom, amongst other things delivered this quote from an African American

"You are free once you take responsibility for your fate. "

I loved that phrase. It made such sense to me (who has always had luxury of freedom of movement) Immediately I heard the last lines of a poem by Colonel Lovelace, introduced to me by Mother.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage;
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage;
If I have freedom in my love
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

It's all in a state of mind, which brought to the fore another poem from my childhood and endless debates with my Mother, who introduced me early to the concept of the discipline of mind, and another poem the last verse of which is this:

Life battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can

Certain amount of audacity in that isn't there, a sense of belief without arrogance. Tricky balance.

So I'd had a happy for me, meander around my past and thoughts and beliefs I hold or don't or have learned, when literally as I came to a Stop at a give way junction some miles later my reverie was halted, with an astounding thought from the side.

You are free once you take responsibility for your fate

So going back to the quote I stopped listening to my thoughts and just mused on the phrase. I thought ( and still think) that I understood what the speaker meant. And yet for it to be meaningful in the way I was finding it meaningful, I had assumed a very specific definition of Fate. Not the definition that events are inevitable, but a wider definition.

So not this meaning:
destiny: an event (or a course of events) that will inevitably happen in the future

but something nearer to this,
"I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act. ( Buddha)

Or possibly beyond it somewhere.

If I hadn't already had a (believed) shared understanding of what Fate is, I could not have accepted the statement he made. How often do we assume a shared understanding, when there isn't one, because we use the same words. And how often is there a shared understanding, left unknown - because the descriptions are different.

This took me somewhere else which I couldn't quite grasp whilst navigating roundabouts and an angry driver. And then I arrived at the office.

Saved by work!

Thanks for the thinking, Mum.( and Radio 4)


Looking for alternative definitions of Fate this evening I happened upon this :

Concern for man and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. ( Albert Einstein)

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Wave harvest

They both started out not really knowing where they were going but up for a challenge. Then it was fun but hard then it was hard but rewarding with some fun. The journey wasn't learning about the music.

"I wouldn't mind winning and I wouldn't have been able to say that before this. Its all right to say that I want to take it to the end and see where I can go"

"I've won anyway cos I've learned so much."

He wasn't robbed.

A delight for me was Maxim Vengerov replacing at short notice one of the other judges... Ha! big bonus. Given up playing now, he teaches and conducts. Shame, sublime.
About 12 years ago he was in an advert that was really only shown in cinemas. I forget what the product was, it might have been Coco from Chanel.

Anyway he was in the Waves on an amazing beach. playing a bit of Beethoven'sViolin Concerto as a serenade. Obviously this advert was made JUST for me.

Maxim also needed a few more greens as a child - just a little bit short.... perhaps I am picky

Another amusement was the Radetzki March. (audience conducting here too) This is ancestral whistling music for Ocelot calling and it works a treat every time - sustained rhythmic high notes.

They are compelled. Hard to whistle when laughing... worth the concentration to see their consternation, strong little wills.. Very Funny

Which is just as well, because tomorrow I may be pressed with my chin against my knees curled up tight in a localised black hole.

Oh well . It's worse than that its Physics Jim!

tra la la

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Waving and NOT (quite) drowning

Dancing down the aisle gleeful because he was conducting Opera!! He lost the violins, twice in similar phrasing but he caught them again. Obviously this was Goldie, my new hero. And he wasn't pleased with his performance, rightly.

Everyone tonight taking part was very serious about what they were doing. They were having fun in that "eeek this is scaring me" kind of way, being brave, by staying with it. This hasn't been about comfort zones, certainly not the last two weeks. Their comfort zones are about 4 valley's behind the mountain range they found themselves in and no time to worry about the height, BREATHING has become a technical skill.

The quality of the feedback in this programme has been a masterclass in it's own right. He knew what he did and was able to appraise it. The judges were straight, respectful, encouraging and wanting the best. The mentors were not fluffy either, if they thought more could be given they said so. They too were competitive on behalf of their person and supportive and real.

Right at the beginning the weak spot of the entire programme Clive Anderson, asked the two opera singers firstly what they wanted from a conductor, the response: sympathy, passion, flair, inspiration.

Goldie was saved by the orchestra as was Jane Asher...

OOOh next week...

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A dream reality

Whilst I am by no means an addict of TV, I can and do go weeks, sometimes even months without watching it, I have also been known to change plans if I am taken with something

Tonight, flicking, whilst waiting for the kettle, I came across Maestro on BBC2. It's about celebrities of all shapes and sizes learning to conduct an orchestra. It's wonderful!

I found myself smiling all the way through the programme. Even doing something that was strange for each of them, their real personality shone through. They all did it their way. So Jane Asher came across as a serious perfectionist, Jon Snow as mad etc.

The one I am now rooting for ( though I guess others could take my fancy next week) is Goldie.

He was in a different class today. Even though he can't read music, he found his strategy to track the patterns on an orchestral score, listened to his mentor and put himself completely into the job at hand. No half measures, no staying in the safe lands, but risking himself and being himself.

I actually didn't see who was conducting when I heard the music for the first 30 seconds, engaged as I was in an activity involving pain killers and a loud and not very pleased cat.

BUT the orchestra sounded completely different, the audience enjoyed it and the orchestra clearly did too as they responded to him. What a feedback mechanism an orchestra is!

And he maintained it too.

Playing in an orchestra is the ultimate in team playing I think, even better because it doesnt involve sport. HA! But the adrenalin rush of a concert and a hard piece is hard to beat..and I am remembering this as if it was yesterday, rather then decades ago.. THRILLING

The conductor's role is an interesting one. All the musicians are excellent in their own right. They all choose to play together as together they can achieve more. Good orchestras can and do manage without one. Another, usually a violinist, may step in and lead from the front, or a soloist likewise can operate in this way too.

They are no mere metronomes either, as their interpretation of the music and understanding of the musicians adds a dimension that the composer can only guess at on writing.

It is generative. And when it works, magic happens. Some people are never lucky enough to experiencec this. I see it often at work, and its equally thrilling.

This is one reality show I would love to take part in. What luxury.

I already know what I will be doing the same time next week. The cat will get her medicine early and lump it

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

My Heroes: Two have died but one still lives

Heroes, you come across in books. I have my real life heroes, people who have appeared, taught me something ( whether I knew I need to learn, or was prepared to learn it, is ANOTHER matter) and in the process taught me something else. They are unsung to the world at large and it is probable in most cases that they are unaware that to me they are heroes. Heroes they are, and they are all around me.

Then there are the ones from books who are real too. A long time ago I read Good to Great by Jim Collins, about companies that get good and sustain it over years and years and years to become great companies. He described a number of factors that were common to the handful of companies he and his research team decided passed the entry bar they had set for a great company. One of these characteristics was labelled the Stockdale Paradox (I am told it isn't a paradox, but I am not a scientist and therefore the label works well enough for me)

A description of this can be found http://www.jimcollins.com/lib/goodToGreat/ch4_p83.html

He was a flier, tortured and held captive, for years during the Vietnam War.

“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Admiral Stockdale
You do need to have faith that you will prevail AND you do need to face the current situation as it is, not as you would like it to be, but as it is. The faith supports a personal resilience the brutal facts support decisions about how you can deal with your current situation.

To me this seemed second nature. Use of the word Brutal seems highly militaristic, but he was an Admiral and they were truly brutal facts that he was facing. Maybe the use of the word Brutal was a function of the time in which he was operating too, and also a flavour of the time Jim Collins was writing his book and the companies he identified, living in the land of " it's a jungle out there" and operating from a mindset of siege rather than opportunity, retaining for oneself, rather than sharing with others too.

The Admiral had an effect on me and I wanted to find out more about him. Web is full of stuff, and Wikipedia is a good start and his own website.

One very Admirable, Admiral.

Cecil Lewis author of Sagittarius Rising and one of the founders of the BBC

I picked up a book a long time ago in a bookstore at a railway station because I was bound for a long journey. I picked the book by its name! A whimsical choice that took me completely by surprise. It is about the exploits of a WWI flying ace. It has the most breathtaking and real descriptions of flying I have ever read, which has inspired a goal - not yet embarked on - to learn to fly. Literal by the "seat of yer pants stuff" for which you'd need a cool head and a sense of adventure. He joined the RFC from school underage and survived the war becoming an ACE in the process. There are lots of reviews of the book on the net, Amazon has most. The best parts where he really comes alive in his writing, are the adventures and descriptions from above. Though he clearly approaches and experiences life as a series of exploits and adventures, his element is the air and his place is in the sky at speed, maneuvering.

He was an interesting person to read about, as seen from the centre of his own universe.

As with Admiral Stockdale above, after reading about him I wished I really could have met him. But I had prematurely decided on both their deaths, and was and am very frustrated with myself when I read later at different times obviously,that they HAD just died!!!

Monty Roberts - The Horse Whisperer man

Breaking in horses, is the way that for hundreds of years worldwide man has been able to subjugate and control horses. Break is a brutal word. Monty Roberts is not alone in believing there has to be a better way, but he probably is the most famous. His life is one of contention, he maintains he was abused as a child by his father and his siblings maintain that he was not. He believes he has an affinity with horses and his methods are improving the lives of horses (and people worldwide)

He starts from a premise of respect, that the animal has to choose to work with you and that choice does not come about through coercion. Messages might be very clear about consequences, but the consequences are clear and accepted by both sides. By choosing the horse maintains dignity and his own spirit. He has written many books, and he, or a ghost writer, writes in a simple voice, old fashioned, homespun - nevertheless sincere.

This respect for the intelligence and sense of the horse has saved his life at times, when the whisperer listens to the horse and is guided by their insight.

He is tough, he thinks, ultimately he is kind. He is confronting the brutal facts and has faith that he will prevail, he is living in his element and having an adventure.

A few years back I was standing outside a bookshop and noticed a sign that read he was giving a reading and signing books that evening at a local hall. I stared and stared at that notice for probably several minutes because I really could not believe my eyes.

I was not disappointed.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Oh to live in the canopy!

Much to the annoyance of others I like the trees to grow tall in my garden.

When I look out of my bedroom window at the dawn rising or at the antics of the weather that day, I do so through the veil of branches from a Flowering Cherry Tree. When I hear the rain at night I hear is as it bounces off the leaves, or patters on the twigs or slides down the branches for a drip drop rhythm onto the ground below. I could tune that out and hear the water in the guttering, or tipping against the roof, but hearing the rain through the leaves is the best way for me. The sound is dampened, its percussive nature given more subtlety and variety simply because it is not as harsh.

I could live in the trees (provided I could have regular hot baths and access to reading material) I like the green light, I like the play of shade. I love the fact that one part of the tree can be completely still and another experience some turbulence, probably external, but who can know.

Today I saw something close up that I know happens but you can not see from the ground.
A rather determined blackbird had decided he wanted something. As I looked out the window, at eye height in the trees was I with a shiny healthy blackbird. In his sunshine yellow beak against the green leaves he had a cherry. This Cherry was almost as big as his head, glowing like his shining beady eye, and was a glossy scarlet red, plump and full of juiciness. He held it firmly and was apparently standing in the midst of a large leaf, and looked all around him - turned to me, barely gave me a second thought (maybe he calculated that the chances of me leaping into the branches for his fruit were too slight to worry about). He was both very pleased with himself and also prepared to protect his booty. His beak for a swag bag, he turned once more and despite the theft of it's fruit, left swiftly without disturbing the tree


Sunday, 29 June 2008

The writers of Dr Who understand my Dad's idea of heaven

My Father had his own views of how Heaven would be - I am trying to recall what tense he used and I think he was ambiguous . He had no doubts about it's existence but that it was centred around the person. It made sense to me instantly, far more believable then an old man up in the clouds. It wasn't hard to accommodate it along with all the other things I was believing at the time. This belief has lasted. As a belief it is one I am fond of. When Heaven happens is another matter, I think my Dad was talking about after death but I am not certain he was. He was, I suspect musing out loud and he was more interested in making me think, rather then being attached to what I did think (well not about this!).

The last few weeks I have finally got back into Dr Who. I left it emotionally more then a decade or two back. Accidentally I saw the Forest of the Dead and the Library and I was utterly entranced. I have seen subsequent episodes now which have all been good but this was in a different league. I read A LOT and I know what I likes! I don't have any pretensions of being literary, but this shone out as the most exquisite writing, scripting I have seen for a very long time. Sometimes even when you are not an expert in something but you come across excellence, you notice it. It shouts at you somewhere and sometimes there is a physical reaction, like a tingling or goosebumps. I knew nothing about Ice Dancing, would occasionally watch late at night mainly for the background music and then saw Torvill and Dean and knew they were in a different league. I have seen some nice furniture and then touched a craftsman made antique and KNOWN it's excellence without reference to a text book. These episodes did that to me. There were one or two lines which made my heart miss a beat.

The thing that entranced me though, was something else. It was a connection, a voice from the past or across the great mists of time. The thing I LOVED was the idea that a Father had placed his ill child in a library so that she wouldn't be bored/lonely and could continue to grow.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

A tale of two boxes

It's thinner then the previous model

..And they aren't pleased

Pretty annoyed about the box too. Any new purchase that comes in a box is a playground, it should be just left casually about for them to attack, snuggle in, smear with scent and use as a castle to defend and launch sudden attacks from.

I failed them. Even though it is a very light new machine I don't have the abdominal muscles ( sliced ) to be able to lift things up, so the easiest way to get it out was to slice open the top and rip all the way down the side so that I could slide it out. Instead of being pleased at my combined use of an opposable thumb (or two) and some preplanning they are frustrated that their game has been changed.

One of them forgot and leapt from a chair top onto the side of the box - to make space I have fashioned it to maintain a box like shape. She pretended she was testing her "sudden and unexpected free fall in the dark" technique. The other looked away but I saw the whiskers trembling.

They will find a use of it, no doubt when I come downstairs tomorrow there will be evidence that it once existed all over the house

And whilst they are doing this I also know that their minds will be turning to how they can make best use of the thin replacement on the trunk. I just hope it doesn't involve more MMB .

Still reeling from having gone from 5 terrestrial channels to over a 100..

Wonder if I will start watching it more ?

Cats to exercise

Cats have enjoyed the delights of the warm laptop to snuggle up to for a couple of weeks now as I enjoyed the delights of the iplayer, which is a marvellous thing. I particulary like watching Holby when I have a bout of insomnia brought on by a whizzing mind.

Cats approve of laptops, warm thing, human stays near it for long periods bringing more warmth.

No more! family is visiting, I shall have to get a tv in to go with the salad and fish and of course no "pickly shit" - would take too long to explain.

It is well and truly spring now, cherry tree is in blossom, time they went outside and caught something that didn't arrive out of a packet

Cats like visitor, another warm bod and spring board, and another to play their feline mind tricks on

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Reasons to buy a new tv

Because you are interested in the latest technology ?
Because you need the tv because you watch it all the time?
Because the one you have is an old one that is not digitally aware?
Because you want to play Call of Duty on it?

2 of the above are true 2 are untrue

and the decider was this

I came home yesterday, turned the telly on to catch the news before bed, started out towards kitchen for some tea and was arrested by the strange noise coming from my tv.. the sound that a million years ago I would hear when trying to tune my Granny's tv into the alternative itv channel she could nearly receive that had Catweazle repeats on it.

Only my tv is tuned in properly, the 3rd Nephew made that happen.
No, one of the feline owners of my house had peed on my tv

So I will now buy myself a new tv, but this was sooner than I would have done, the other reasons not being strong enough.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Wrestling Silently

In the bath reading I listened to the cats at play on the landing, the sort of play that shifts from friendly to deadly on the turn of a paw. Today it was done silently. When I say silent, all I really mean is that the sound of a rugby scrum on the wood only came from the paw swipes and tumbling, the foul language was being held in check. Perhaps ( as I didn't see it) this was some sort of judo.

I have wondered about this since. One of my cats was definitely the model for the cat in Shrek ( apart from colour) big sad pleading eyes and claws that can eviscerate small mammals - and humans when she is stating "Right I am really very annoyed now" - in one smooth swift and unexpectedly vicious moment. When they are silent is it worse, or not? Is it serious practice play so they have to concentrate or are they both so angry and tight lipped they can't speak?

They are not going to tell me. Certainly not right now, one of them is snoring and the other is watching me type so closely that her nose is resting on my little finger

When she is being this cute she wants something....

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The Invitation

Sometime ago I came across this poem/verse/writing - I don't recall how or who, though several of my friends know of it, I dont know how it slipped between us all. I read it and recognised it deeply. It is the start of a book which was a very personal account of someone who was coming to terms with "stuff" as we all do and she wrote almost as a stream of consciousness what she wanted.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

The Invitation. Oriah Mountain Dreamer

If I had to sum it all up the poem speaks to me of two things only, Integrity and Commitment. And is brave enough to say that integrity sometimes means having to break with something because it is no longer right, it's not blind as loyalty can be.

It is scary as the BIG STUFF in life can be even when thrilling.

They know they are at the centre of the universe

So, another day another blog. The sun is shining over my valley outside, the fruit is quietly rotting in the bowl and my head is in about 5 places. Down from the 25 yesterday and the 50 the evening before, this is restful.

If I can just get to 4, I'll get out of bed and feed them.

That's selfish isn't it? They have a permanent supply available to them and successfully operate the "buffet snacking when they are hungry" approach. What they really appreciate is the ritual of me calling them to something fresh and placing it in front of them. I am rewarded with the odd flick upward of a tail, or a nudge of acknowledgement, well done chatelaine you are doing what you are here for. Then the heads go down to eat and each are lost in their universe and I no longer exist.

Independent, fierce, brave and undemanding, capable of deep affection and loyalty, always thinking and always always ready for mischief. What better real companions could you ask for?

We orbit eachother, the pull of warmth for gravity ensuring connection with a lot of independence.