Tuesday, January 31, 2006

decisions, decisions

I've decided, I want a iBook. I've been debating on laptops for a good six months now and I've dithered from PC to Mac over and over again, with people advising me on both sides. But I've finally decided. iBook it is.

I think.

Or perhaps I'm still not sure.

Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

wanted: one adventure

This afternoon I quite fancy an adventure. It has been a while since anything one could call adventurous has happened to me, now I have a distinct longing. Unfortunately I have a niggling feeling that adventures are not events that one can just pop out and purchase; "Shop-keep, find me an adventure!" They are the sort of events that just happen, when you least expect it, whilst you're hoovering or mowing the lawn or something equally domestic and dull.

The most adventurous thing that happened to me today is my left shoe falling off. I have a suspicion that it is slightly too big, so I've folded my sock over and over my heel which seems to have done the trick. You see, that isn't adventurous at all. In fact, it's not even worth mentioning, and I now feel slightly silly for having done so.

I don't really mind what sort of adventure I have, it could be swashbuckling, romantic, daring, the list could go on and on. What concerns me most is that an afternoon without meetings, a free afternoon with just my lonesome in-tray, should pass without even the slightest wiff of adventure. What a shameful waste.

Friday, January 20, 2006

sunshine, glorious sunshine

Today is turning out to be a splendid day and I put it down to one simple thing: sunshine. Without it, we all mope about, tired and depressed but not today. As I stomped around Stanmer Park at lunch time, I noticed the number of fellow stompers had grown dramatically. There seemed to be hundreds of us, lapping up the rays as our feet walked through the mud.

This afternoon I shall go home, cheery and chilled, to crack open the gin and welcome in the weekend. It's good to be awake again, basking in the glow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

soft boiled

I'm having one of those weeks when my brain feels like a soft boiled egg. Every morning I wake up and feel as if I haven't slept at all. My usual two cups of coffee slip down but don't even shake the sleepiness and I find I've mislaid all signs of intelligence, having probably left them by the sink. I plod through the day, unsure if whether anything I do is correct, but crossing my fingers and smiling. By the time I get home I'm bedraggled and confused, I mutter to the cats and cross my fingers that the next morning I'll be myself once more.

I have decided that the cure for this soft boiled brain is gin and tonic and sunshine. There's nothing like lying back in the sun against soft green grass, with an iced gin and tonic. I'd like to be listening to Madeline Peyroux, feet tapping softly and sunglasses shielding the bright light. In the distance I would be able to smell trout cooking on the barbeque, with the promise of freshly picked strawberries and cream. Bliss. Oh for spring, oh for summer, oh for gin!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

bill's best beginning

Yesterday morning I got up at eight and strolled into town for breakfast at Bill's. It didn't take me long to decide that breakfast at Bill's is the best beginning to any day. I ate gorgeous scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on delicious home made bread and drank a delectable, creamy latte. I wrote notes for myself in my moleskine, and on looking up found myself surrounded by kindred spirits, moleskines out, heads down, coffees steaming.

After breakfast I took a turn around the town, before driving out to Newick for my Grandfather's birthday party. It was a lovely afternoon of food and conversation. I took special delight in the story of my meeting with Simon Button, a friend of my uncle James. At a very tender age, and literally knee high, I was introduced to Simon who stood at over six foot two in his stockinged feet. My eyes raised from floor level, my head tilting further and further back until I eventually fell over backwards. I'm not sure my eyes ever reached his face.

I drove home in the dark, before curling up on the sofa with a bottle of red wine to finish the day in comfort. A perfect end to a perfect day.

Friday, January 13, 2006

stanmer stroll

At lunchtime, Sue and I took a walk in Stanmer Park. We set off across the football pitches, wellieboots picking up the soft mud, and climbed the hill to the cap of trees. It's a long climb, much like walking up Coldean Lane, which runs along the same hill but further down. There were the usual lunchtime dog walkers, today it was spaniels, long soft ears flapping as they jogged along, sniffing tree trunks and picking up sticks to gnaw.

We walked under the bare trees, along the muddy paths and down the hill again behind the green houses and along beside the badgers, before heading back to work. It was a wonderfully refreshing walk, clean cool air and the joys of squelching mud under foot. We talked of holidays in the sun, hams cooked in Cherry Coke and the haunted underground tunnels in Edinburgh. We cleared our lungs, stretched our legs and felt as if we'd worked off at least some of the inevitable Christmas weight. And I remembered that even though the winter rips the leaves from the trees and drags away the colour from the world, it is still beautiful out there.

Monday, January 09, 2006

well read

Having recently commented that afternoons of reading books were to be a thing of the past, I was almost grateful on Friday when I came down with a cold. Once I'd got a three and a half hour meeting out of the way and dragged my sorry self home, all that I could face was sitting on the sofa, reading books for the rest of the weekend. Joy of joys.

There's nothing that quite beats sitting curled up, head rested on soft pillows, cats warming your feet with your nose in a book whilst the rain pours down outside. Ok, I was surrounded with boxes of tissues, cough medicine and painkillers, but I didn't have to move.

In fact, I didn't even have to cook as James came over on Saturday evening, with a Sainsbury's bag full of goodies and promptly made us a gorgeous pizza each. We discussed New Years Eve parties and the terrible script writing on a certain BBC drama. I drank a glass of warmed red wine, medicinal of course, and I managed to keep talking until gone eleven when I finally started wilting and crawled off to bed.

Of course, lovely as it was to spend the weekend engrossed in Rebus novels, dreaming of Edinburgh and the highlands, it meant that all those things I was supposed to be doing are still not done. They now hang over me, constant reminders, and although I was ill and so therefore couldn't possibly have done them, I feel guilt as if I've skivved off. It will be a busy week of catching up, especially as today is the first day of term. This evening though, I'm off to Narnia with Katharine. Needs must.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

freedom passing

It's the last day of the holidays for me. Tomorrow it is back to work, back to early mornings of darkness and days in front of the computer. I will no longer be able to sit, engrossed in a book on the sofa for an afternoon, but will dash off to meetings and plan workloads.

I was going to spend the day in London, going around the National Gallery and the Tate Britain with Mum, but unfortunately Dad has managed to do some serious-sounding damage to his foot, and so has to be ferried to and from work in stockinged feet. I hope it recovers before they depart for snowier climes. My second plan was to go for a nice long walk, but the weather put a stop to that. Rain clouds hovering and drizzle dampening didn't fill me with enthusiasm, so I loaded up the car with the recycling and headed off towards Lewes. Once the boot was empty, I took a leisurely drive through Offham and turned left to Plumpton, running the car smoothly along under the downs, through Ditchling and up the Beacon to that glorious view at the top. Fields upon fields of green, squared off with hedgerows and thick clumps of cloud hanging low over it all.

This afternoon I braved a walk into town, managing to restrain myself and only buy two books. I shall spend the next few hours writing Thank You cards and curling up with a cup of steaming coffee and a book, the last peaceful afternoon of freedom.