Note Number 58…Grammar and All That…Innit?

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Everyone says that these days, English grammar is slipping. I would agree, although sometimes it’s a matter of evolution. Language is a form of human communication – a living thing. It changes with time, age and usage. BUT, there are some things that grate a little and others that grate enormously.

Today we have lots of text speech.

— thank u 4 the w/e

— LOL

— CUL8r

We now have a myriad of #s This week I had to look up what #OOTD meant after my daughter had posted it on Instagram. Answers on a postcard, please!

We older folk get frustrated with what we consider to be the deterioration of both written and spoken English. I expect I’m opening up a can of worms but I have a few pet hates. Here they are:-

Should of...(or would of, or could of) instead of should have etc.,

I was sat (which is apparently okay but I would always write or say, I was sitting. It’s a conditional conjugation I think. Now, I’m no grammar expert but it just feels right and looks right to me.

I wish I was…I prefer, I wish I were, which is correct, but little used.

Up until… is wrong. It should be until, or up to. 

their; their; there. Commonly misused.

Listening to BBC Radio 4 this week an interviewee kept saying, ‘it’s sort of... ‘ it is the most annoying phrase and she repeated it several times.  My late husband (not to be confused with The Man who is still with us), used to say, ‘It either is, or it isn’t, it cannot be sort of.’

The Man, does not like tautological statements. . . Reverting back; Pretty unique; dry desert; adequate enough. 

I am quite sure that many people reading this will have their own opinions as to what is right or wrong. I am also sure that there will be plenty of others wishing to correct or disagree with me. Carry on — I like a good discussion.

PS #OOTD  stands for Outfit Of The Day

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Note Number 57…A Writing Retreat…

I’ve just returned home after four nights away in the beautiful Devon countryside, in the village of Sheepwash. It was a writer’s haven. Good healthy food, endless cups of tea or coffee, (and delicious wine), homemade cakes, flapjacks, gluten-free or vegan if required. Debbie Flint knows how to look after her guests at Retreats For You

Wine O’Clock…Table Laid for Dinner…Debbie working hard in the kitchen.

I loved my bedroom which was spacious, well-appointed with kettle, tea, coffee etc., towels, bathrobe and slippers. A writing desk close to the window where I could look out to a street in the village.  My one concern had been that I would have to share a bathroom (although large) with three other guests. I need not have worried. I never once met anyone coming in or out, nobody ever had to knock on the door to disturb me and I didn’t have to knock on the door to get anybody out! There was another bathroom on the ground floor, so we all managed very well thank you.

Retreats for You the big white house in the corner. My lovely room. The Village Square  and Pub at Sheepwash. Two lovely horses walking by my window. 

This was a screenwriting retreat organised by Retreat West . Our teacher, for three mornings was C M Taylor, or Craig to us. You can follow him on Twitter @CMTaylorStory. He shared his screenwriting and novel-writing expertise with us and we were all enthralled. Well, I’m easily pleased. NOT TRUE! This week I have learnt; techniques for structure, planning, character building (fictional character that is not mine) and so much more (what a cliché cop-out). From a personal point of view, I recieved some solid advice about which point in the story to begin my novel, which I hope to finish one day AND I would like to write the screenplay for it. A girl can dream can’t she?

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All working very hard…(I need a haircut!)

Above all it was a productive, fun week with lovely people, all with one common interest— WRITING.

Amanda, Sylvia, Gayle and Craig…hope to see you all again soon and Debbie of course oh and Linda and the lovely young… something beginning with N…but not Ninette, I am so bad at names (help me out here screenwriting chums).

I am going back in November for the flash fiction retreat run by Retreat West, you can find the link here…hurry, there are only two spaces left!

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I have borrowed a book from the library in the Phonebox, I went cycling twice in my four day visit, I had a brilliant time. Devon is a beautiful county 

 

Note Number 55…If you can’t beat ’em Join ’em…

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The Man and I in a few years time…

I have succumbed, I have given in, it was not my intention EVER to say yes but I have…and now, I am the proud owner of a bicycle … it is an E-bike which means it has a battery and can help me up the hills. Without this I would definitely not have said yes. Since we relocated to the UK from Italy, a couple of years ago, The Man has been cycling mad. This year he has planned many long, day rides (100 – 200k) and a big ride from St Malo to Nice in June (fifteen days I think) We are leaving on the ferry from Poole at the end of May, driving around France staying one, two, three nights here there and everywhere and he plans to ride almost every morning to keep up the fitness before the big ride. I’m going to abandon him and leave him to cycle across France and I’ll collect him from Bristol airport a couple of weeks later. I don’t think I’ll be attempting anything too adventurous on my bicycle, but you never know.

Jpeg waiting

‘When we’re in France you can walk the dog and I’ll ride the bike, I’ll be back by lunchtime and then we can do whatever you like,’ he said.

I wasn’t so sure about this arrangement and the dog didn’t look too happy about it either. I could tell what she was thinking.

‘I don’t mind being in the car for a few days then stopping in one place for a month where I can lay in the sun and chill. But, stop, start, stop, start every other day and only putting my paws on terra firma for a maximum of three days in one place does not sound like fun for me.’

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Jpeg…’thinking’ 

 

I took her advice and booked her into the kennels for 19 days — not sure that was quite what she had in mind.

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I’ve been out on my bike several times and I love it. I’m not hooked (yet) and I’m not out there trying to win any Strava segments or be Queen of the Dorset hills, but I’m happy to pedal along and zap up the power when I need it. The battery only works if you pedal, so you can never just sit there and do nothing, unless you’re going downhill of course. I’ve been shopping a couple of times and have to carry stuff home in a back pack — but, not for long, the panniers have been ordered. Not exactly the same as the ones below as mine will be blue.

bike panniers

 

I cannot wait to get to France and cycle along the Loire Valley, stop in a beautiful place and wait for The Man to join me (as I can get up the hills faster than him) for a picnic, which I will have transported.  I will lay back on the grass, snooze a bit and be inspired to write — I hope.

The dog, may not get off so lightly. I’m investigating the ‘harness and lead’ for bike riders so she can run along beside me. She doesn’t know what she’s in for!

 

My bike is a Volt Pulse LS Step Through E-bike from Volt bikes at London Bridge. I think I got the last one! LOVE IT.

Note Number 54. . .A Month to Catch Up

I knew it had been a while since I posted but could not believe it was the beginning of March, when we had all that ice and snow, that I last updated my blog. Well, it would be thoroughly boring to take you through the four weeks with a day blow by blow account so I’ll precis the 2nd March to the 30th and we’ll go into detail for the last couple of days.

Most of March was spent avoiding the rain, snow and ice, walking the dog in a sodden field or delivering The Man to outlying places in Dorset so that he could cycle back. Sunday 25th he fought his way from Wareham to Axminster via Poole and Weymouth and back to Wareham, 206 kilometres to be exact. Why? I have no idea but I was proud of him even though he was completely wrecked when I collected him at 8.45pm after 13 hours on the road, (including a couple of breaks.)

I have been writing plenty. My fingers are worn down as are the computer keys but it may be to no avail. I’ve performed my poem Waiting at Apothecary Words in Bridport and I entered the Flash Fiction Slam at Bridport Arts Centre — I wasn’t placed but it’s the taking part that counts. A friend of mine won the people’s vote, so that was enough for me.

Now for the Easter Weekend: We drove up from Dorset on Friday — the traffic going our way was not too bad but the poor holiday punters travelling west, were in slow, sometimes stationary traffic. The rain, however still poured on we poor travellers, whichever direction we were taking.

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Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville 

Friday evening I had booked tickets for A Long Days Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill. I knew that it would be a long production and I should have paid more for the seats. The leg room in the Wyndham’s Theatre Grand Circle was akin to a Ryanair aeroplane. But, the play was excellent and the three-and-a-half hours fairly flew by. Lesley Manville as the morphine-adicted Mary was superb and Jeremy Irons played her actor husband whose penny pinching ways contribute to the angst and emotional turmoil of the family. You can read a review of the prodution here  . I was in awe of the sheer volume of diaglogue and on the one hand I was inspired to rush home and write a play, but, on the other hand I acknowledged the certain fact that I would never be able to produce such an eloquent piece of work.

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Saturday we visited The Foundling Museum, I had wanted to go there since I saw in mentioned on the BBC programme Stitch in Time  when they had talked about mothers leaving a swatch of material with their baby when left at the Foundling Hospital. This little token would enable the mother to be reunited with their child in the future should they be in a position to do so.  The museum gives an insight to the lives of babies and children from 1739 – 1936 who were either abandoned in the streets or handed in to the hospital to be cared for. Now the hospital is now run in the form of the children’s charity Corum. Captain Thomas Corum was the founder of the hospital back in 1739. As is usual with these museums it has stirred in me a need to find out more about the stories of the children who were left here. It is heart wrenching to read the book of billets, (of which there are many) each billet is the admission slip for a foundling and they make sorry reading, just a number, date, age (if known), a few bare facts, a token, if there is one, attached to the page. I need to read more about it and will be searching for books to give me more information.

 

The association has a strong connection to The Arts, music, art, literature etc., with many well-known artists, writers and musicians donating their work to the foundling hospital to be used as a means of generating money and interest. Handel was a particularly ardent fan of the hospital and not only did he leave them a substantial sum of money on his death he also left the manuscript of the Messiah and all rights to it.

There are several displays in the museums and I was particularly drawn to Labelled,  A display exploring young people’s experiences of being labelled as a ‘child in care’. These were portrayed by means of a name tape in a child’s shirt with derogatory and hurtful comments made by bullies, teachers and others in charge.  Clever idea.  I was also intrigues by, Mead’s Mysterious Medicines created by some children from Great Ormond Street Hospital. You can read a little about these and the other installations here.

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In the basement of the museum was an exhibition of the poetry book The Lost Words I was particularly interested in this because I bought the book at Christmas, but I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read it through properly yet, I will now though. What inspirational poems and illustrations. If you can get to the exhibition then you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t, then just buy the book. It’s beautiful.

the lost words

Last night we ate Vietnamese food at the Cây-Tre in Soho. Buzzing atmosphere and fab food. Loved it! We finished our evening back at our London base with a game of Cribbage…The Man won. How very annoying. I’ll get him this evening though!

Vietnamese

One of many dishes of Vietnamese food savoured on Saturday night. 

Note Number 51…Guest Blog from The Man…

The Man needs no introduction…read this, it’s from his Strava ride notes…I think he should be a bike blogger don’t you?

Grand Balon

You’ve got the bloody thing taking up space in the spare bedroom, it’s raining, why aren’t you on it?

ahhh ma cherie I murmured, that same thought crossed my mind not a nanosecond ago, but I am of course most grateful for your kind words of encouragement …

with a patently false, devil may care expression attached to the bon visage, I creaked my way up the stairs and proceeded to get it on!

But before you get on it, you need, a bottle, a towel, your expensive shoes with the pro cleats, 2 new batteries for the Garmin Vectors (shoulda changed them last time) the laptop, two boxes to stand the laptop on, the bedside cabinet, and the wifi booster thing.

Suitably armed, climb aboard and get on with it – well not quite yet because the reason that you aren’t getting any resistance even in the big gear, is that you didn’t clip the wheel to the flywheel before you started, so, climb off do that, get back on and pedal … Oh shit I forgot to start the f***ing video of the German chap riding Liege B Liege with his mates, in the rain, last year, so I have to hang out over the handlebars holding on with one hand and attempt to fire up the laptop with the other, find Favourites, click on the vid, sit back down and …. Christ! I think I might have twisted my knee doing that …..

and so it went on – but I did eventually get in the zone and managed to crank out an hour’s worth at 30kph, so that’s only just over 200km of the LBL still do do AND IT’S BLOODY HILLY by the look of the video, yer man on screen was pedalling single figure kph for lots of it and the profile is very jagged – hmmm – better think seriously about the lardshedding eh!

Perhaps not today though as one of LBN’s exquisite Thai green curries is on the lunch menu …

 

 

Note Number 50…It’s Always Easier for Men…

Apologies in advance for embarrassing any members of my family with this little post and if you don’t like discussing anything of a delicate nature then don’t read on.

beautiful day

Generally the roads around here are lined with impassable hedges…hmmm

I don’t wish to stir up the gender equality debate, but I’m sorry, it’s a FACT — no fake news on this blog — a man can take a pee in several other places rather than a loo, far more easily than a woman can — and what’s more, it’s accepted.

The pee debate for me began when a male friend of mine (who shall be nameless but lives in Burton Bradstock) posted on Facebook about seeing two woman on a country road squatting down, baring their backsides, to pee on the side of the road.  They were, I told him, obviously desperate and he had no idea how difficult it can be sometimes, for a woman to find anywhere to ‘go’. I told him that, when I was out walking the dog, I often found it impossible to find a place where I could hide away and not to be spotted, where there would be enough room etc. If I were a man it would be so much easier. No, stinging nettles to worry about, no panic about snakes, rodents or other small wildlife, that might be lurking in the long undergrowth etc., etc., His sister was with us at the time of this discussion (she shall also be nameless, but lives in North Devon) joined in the conversation and with great gusto said, ‘Oh but you must get a Shewee!’

‘A what?’

‘It’s a gadget that you can use to have a wee like a man.’

Well, I thought, I must get one of those. So duly got on to Amazon and ordered one with a carrying box. The first time I used it, it wasn’t too bad, but it did feel very weird and there was some leakage. Also it was quite bulky to carry in my bum bag. I discussed this whole thing with another friend, (who will also be nameless but comes from Bristol). She thought it a brilliant idea for camping, walking the dog and using some unsavoury public lavatories. She of course, because she’s like that, bought a more superior one called a Whizz Freedom. It was pliable and small and comes with a discreet carrying bag rather like a pencil-case.

‘I must have one of those!’ I declared. Quickly ordered on and then I took it out on my next long dog walk.  

DISASTER!! I should have practiced with it first as I found it so pliable it wasn’t effective enough and I ended up with wet knickers and wet trousers and I was only half way round my walk! I might as well have just wet my pants! Lesson learnt, I went back to the Shewee so that I could practice with the Whizz Freedom at home.

Alas and alack…today, whilst out on my 6k walk, I inevitably needed to pee after 3k, so I went into my usual hidey-hole, which is through a gate and round the corner a little bit. I stuck my walking stick through the handle of the dog lead, so she was ‘tethered’ so to speak and prepared to pee. A few feet away on the road I had just stepped away from, a woman walked past with a dog that barked at Jpeg, who duly barked back and pulled on her lead threatening to escape! I was interrupted at the most awkward time and yet again had to walk home with my dog walking trousers soggy. I think I’m going to give up and just squat in the corner of the field and hope that the man from Burton Bradstock isn’t lurking somewhere close or out in his car disguised as a driving school instructor!

Jpeg Tethered

Jpeg, patiently waiting whilst tethered, it didn’t last…

Note Number 49. . .Why go to London when you can have art like this on your doorstep. . .

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Batten Down (one of my favourites)

Well, Bridport is on my doorstep anyway!

Before Christmas The Man and I went to the Dalí/Deauchamp exhibition at the Royal Academy. It was okay, interesting. Last night I went to the Bridport Art Centre for Dialogues concerning the land an exhibition by  artist Beverley Rouwen, and ceramicist, Douglas Reeve. I loved it. I’m no artist and I’ve not studied art appreciation but there is no doubt in my mind that my excitement towards the creations I saw in Bridport far outweighed any feelings I had for the works I saw in London. Okay, these people are acquaintances, but I have not know them long and I wouldn’t bother to write anything about it, if I hadn’t been bowled over by what I saw.

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Powersky 1

The collection is divided into three sections, Trees, Skynets and Landscapes and each part included something that I enjoyed. The harmony of the porcelain and paintings reached out to me. I’m not even a fan of ‘contemporary’ or ‘modern’ art, whatever you wish to call it, but these were nothing less than fabulous. Pity our little house and tiny walls are not really up to housing any of the installations I saw. But I can dream. . .

The exhibition is on until the 27th January, open 10am  until 4pm  Tuesday to Saturday. If you would like to know more about these two and their work then check out  Beverley’s website here and Doug’s website here.

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Powersky 2 (probably not the best angle for a photograph, but I may have been intimidated by the presence of Brendan Buesnel – the official photographer )

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A small section of ‘Were you invited?’  It’s actually 65x180cm. Love it.

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Were you invited…ceramics