Sunday, 29 March 2009

Like Water...

Thought for the day...

A parent always hopes that, like water, their children will eventually find their own way and even when sometimes they appear lost to themselves as well as to others, the faith holds that the river runs deep; sometimes it just takes a while for the banks to be rebuilt and for flora and fauna to take root, regrow and blossom...

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Wanted one new car to Bond with careful owner...

The day of reckoning looks as though it has finally come for my dear old Cabriolet.  We've been together for eight years, and spent many happy hours meandering through country lanes in search of the creative muse or powering up hills to watch the sun go down, or chasing dreams in quaint little places like Lulworth Cove or Moonfleet.  It has served me well, been to numerous concerts, picnics, arts events, weddings, funerals and celebrations.  BUT today after the MOT report, things could be better.  So although I am not a petrol head, I am on the hunt for another newer model of a Cabriolet, maybe with a tin top opening.   I feel somewhat disloyal that I am already considering a replacement, but seeing as monogamy and motors are not a match made in heaven, then I see no future in patching it up.

Funny how when things feel terminal we can compartmentalise; relationships are worth 'patching' up, motors are not; illnesses are, unless of course you're an animal and then maybe not (although I tried every form of revival with our family pets before making final decisions); favourite dress is, ripped jeans are not.   Many would say, 'it's a car, get over it' but it is not that easy. there is history between us.  Parts of it work absolutely fine and the engine is as sweet as a soft embracing psalm (were those lyrics in a song?),  but it is the bodywork that is starting to go (bit like me... absolutely hunky dory on the inside with everything working when it needs to, but could benefit from some exterior renovation).

Oh well, it is quite possible that I will know before the end of the day, but the search begins in earnest...

Monday, 23 March 2009

My Cup runneth over

I have always believed that people should only be with me if they really want to, not because they feel they have to.  So I felt exceptionally blessed this Mother's day when my daughter visited twice in one weekend.  

This week saw the newspapers filled with the sad news of two lives cut short before their time, leaving in their shadows several fragile youths having to come to terms with the death and loss of a parent.  Every day I count my blessings that I lived long enough to know that my daughter is her own woman and she will survive and blossom whatever life throws in her path.  A mother can never say her job is done, by the very nature of the role it is in fact one of the few jobs for life, but we can aspire to reaching the basic platform that will provide an individual with as many skills for the next stage of the great expedition as possible.  For me, motherhood is all about having the courage to be your child's conscience when their fails and employing the wisdom to bare silence when a tirade is deserved but above all it is about providing the safety net when they fall and need encouragement to dust themselves off and try again before celebrating from the shadows when they succeed, for they will if they keep trying.  Motherhood is that constant spinning circle which frequently tests not only who they are, but who we have become.  Without wanting to sound too sentimental, I feel blessed my daughter was born to me, through all the hardships and difficulties, the joy and the tears... for she is her own woman and I feel privileged to still feature in her life.....

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

And another day dawns

Reborn, re-earthed and ready to catch up with a good friend, the tribulations of yesterday are but a mist of smudged 
memories.

I met up with dear Gilli the editor of Muse mag and we chewed over the fat, or not, as we chose to pop along to the delightful new cafe called Pick more Daisies.  It does not pretend to be vegetarian as it also offers some tempting meat dishes, but the vegetarian options are too good to pass on.  The theme of this tiny cafe, which cannot serve more than 36 covers in one sitting, is distressed Kitch with a real, if not slightly hippy feel to it.   The Decor is a cool white interior with sign written motto's, sayings and announcements on the walls.  Everything is spotless which blends perfectly with the red and white ornaments, pots and Nick knacks dotted around, all of which are for sale.  Scandinavian simplicity dominates in the use of gingham's, stripes and spotted fabrics, embellished with applique hearts and flowers. The food however is a completely different matter.  

The choice was made all the more difficult by the wonderful array of 'tarts' on offer.  Savory tarts with melting mouth watering fillings blended with a selection of seasonings worthy of a Michelin chef and the presentation was stunningly simply, yet appetising and delightful.  The whole layout of this little gem reminds me of some of the veggie cafes in Bristol in Clifton Village or along the walls, down by St. Batholomew's.

For the starter I chose a five fruit, freshly juiced drink, consisting of Bramley apple, pineapple,   fresh lemon, carrot and celery, the meld of flavours and quantities perfectly blended to create a naturally sweet refreshing drink.  Gilli ordered the watercress, broccoli and celery soup with bread and croutons.  As I am on a diet and Gilli was full after her soup, on recommendation from the waitress, we shared a slice of savory nut and carrot pie with a hint of curry served with a bowl of salad.  I adore pies and tarts in almost any guise and have tasted most combinations and concocted many original mixes of ingredients, but I can honestly say with hand on appliqued heart that this was an award winning pie of orgasmic gravitas.  Never in all my born days have I tasted anything like this.  The appeal and the pull is like that from a chapter of the novel Chocolat, for it was the waitress who recommended it to me after some reflection, the perfect match between diner and dish!
After the Luscombe farm lemon and Elderflower juice, we both vowed to revisit this little tucked away gem as often as the LBS would allow.

I asked for the recipe but was informed it was being kept a secret until the launch of their cookbook.  So until then I am going to try and replicate the quantity, blend and mix of the filling.  I suspect there will be many disappointments but plenty of excuses to revisit in an attempt to determine the recipe.
Sam is due to visit in April for a few culinary days and more than a few alcoholic nights - the champagne is on ice as I type -  but this will definitely be on the places of interest to visit. 

I may just get withdrawal symptoms and have to visit with notebook and pen beside me to record the ingredients through dissection.

No means No

In danger of ending up like a female Victor Meldrew, yesterday was one of those days when I could have chanted hourly...'I don't believe it'.  

Is it just me or are people today programmed to challenge absolutely EVERYTHING?  There was a time when 'No that isn't possible' followed by an explanation as to why that isn't possible, meant 'NO THAT ISN'T POSSIBLE', not 'Well I don't like that answer so I'll go to someone else until I get an answer I like'.  Attitude?  Everyone is hustling and hassling.  Is it just the current climate of uncertainty or has the new generation been born with a new gene called 'Chall engger Every thingoso'? 

Yesterday my energy was zapped by just clearing up the wake of tidal wave of misinformation that was casually released by someone before they engaged their brain.  There is a business plan and a process in place to ensure a fair and due process is in place to protect EVERYONE. PFhhh Honestly....  Rant over... I am off to boil my head...

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Saturday, 14 March 2009

And another week closes...

Yet another week has zoomed by in a nano second and as usual I am reflecting on what I have achieved, if anything.  This week has been a good week.

I have completed a funding application for a new project and pitched the idea; moved further forward with charting out the conditions for the new script prize, organised more elements of an event and recruited my script judging panel along with the script readers and completed the first draft of a new business plan AND thanks to a prompt from my mate Monique, I attended a Creative Writing day at Upton Country House with my old (as in former) Tutor from my Uni days.  A day of self indulgence indeed, two in less than ten days cannot be a bad thing, and it is official, I have re-discovered the purple in me.  I wandered over the boardwalk and visited the bird hide and looked out over the ancient marshland leading down to Poole town and felt blessed as the sound of children's laughter and squeals of delight broke through the squawking of the squabbling birds.

It was a day when my heart was encouraged to feel again and my soul swelled with the beauty that surrounds us in this part of the country.  Everywhere I turned, some miracle of nature sprang up to remind me how blessed am I.  My thoughts turned to the ancient landscape and although the distant skyline was of this age, the time honoured fields and reed marshes were bruised by a silvery light.

I rejoiced in the fact that for today at least, I enjoyed taking time to just be...

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Divine Inspiration

I woke this morning with a story in my head...

Rare moments of subconscious inspiration strike me from time to time, but when they do they often arrive fully formed.  This weekend was one of those occasions.  I am wondering if by taking my foot off the pedal during a self indulgent 24 hours (well 12 actually but who cares), I have allowed my brain to recharge in an instant whip kind of way.  For on Monday morning I woke up with a title, the characters, the themes, the plot and structure along with the narrative devices and by Gad does it feel good.  I am resurrected.

I am currently resisting the pull of just sitting at my laptop until I emerge with a novel, but I have logged it all in my dream journals which have remained lonely and unloved by the side of my bed for the last couple of months.  I want to write, I need to write and I want to launch into this novel and, this is very much a novel at the moment, although I think I could turn it into a radio play for today.  Maybe it is the combination of removing myself from my own writing by talking about writing with other writers, or maybe just because I let my 'little grey cells' recover, reshape and re-form into an order, or it might be to do with the fact that I have stopped bashing my head against the brick wall.

Although I fully understand and know how to compile a radio play, it is something I have not really launched into, as film, television and prose have featured more heavily in what I write. So I am going to give it a crack and I will let you know how I get on.  Acceptance for radio along with the turn around time if accepted, is so much shorter than the whole film and TV cycle, this makes it quite attractive as I swear I will be skeletal and the subject of archaeological reincarnation before I ever see one of my films on the big screen. 

Writers are taking matters into their own hands these days, as more and more shoot their own scripts into calling cards.  I am considering taking a sabbatical next year by applying for and hopefully attending the 10 week filmmakers course at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth.  I'll be shooting raindrops on posies before I know where I am.

Foxi, over and out and for now, dancing on rooftops...

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Another week roles on...

Indulgence... Pure and unadulterated...

Today was the best kind of day,  full of unadulterated pleasure.  The radio playing all afternoon, three sets of Sunday papers, it took me 4 hours to plough through the Sunday Times, Telegraph and Independent and I still haven't covered every article.  I always wheedle out and set aside the sections on motoring, sport, appointments and money matters, before I dive head first straight into the arts and travel, then on to the supplements, returning to read the main papers after lunch. 

In a kind of effort to cut back on waste, now I only buy the Sunday papers when I know I am going to have time to read them.  I cleared a pile from my office before Christmas dating from September, still in their cellophane!   At the time another distraction from writing; I was like a child sent to clear her bedroom but on finding a favorite book finds time to sit amongst the mess before falling under the spell of the narrative, yes even old news holds and interest, losing all sense of time or purpose.

I made a delightful lunch with Savoy cabbage, sausages and gravy that reminded me of my cooking chums in Arvon, hardly worthy of a culinary award but none the less full of flavour and goodness. I whipped up a baked egg custard and a rice pudding  to use up some eggs and a surplus of cream and milk and a maraschino jelly.  It was a day taken at a leisurely beat, when the cooking just fell into place, nothing was stressful, everything flowed with ease ensuring a smooth end to a hectic week and a relaxing start to a new one.  For once guilt escaped me, I was just filled with a sense of indulgence as I finally tucked into my rice pudding and blackcurrant conserve from somewhere in between the broadsheets ...  Ahhhh.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Resounding success

Whislt the sun sets on yet another day, I can conclude today has been a resounding success. The talk to the writing group went down a storm and brought in the possibility of a one day writing workshop. The warm welcome, enthusiastic and energetic approach by all the members to the tasks in hand, made it extremely rewarding and, as ever, I am amazed at the hidden talent which just nestle in pockets of suburbia.

And although my sunset did not set its golden glow on a view of the Malverns, it certainly warmed my inner soul.  

Roll on the weekend and the Swanage Blues festival, snow or no snow a whole weekend of musicality.
Foxi, hot to trot....

Rolling in Snow


Yet another sprinkling of snow, which by urban Dorset standards almost makes it a ski resort, except the community comes to a grinding halt because no one can steer their steeds of steel over six inches of snow and of course, food supplies will run out in twenty four hours.

Otherwise, it is a wonderful reminder of the biting winters of childhood spent between Wales and Essex, when rivers were frozen and I could skate along the pavements to school in my leather soled shoes. When I returned home the stoked and roaring fires meant I could dry my socks and discarded slush sodden gloves and watch them steaming above the furnace of embers, whilst wrapped in a blanket drinking hot milk and listening to the radio accompanied by the constant ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall.

For me these are the sounds of childhood, embedded in my memory bank, the ease with which I imagined the people who lived in these aural worlds beyond the veil of Bakelite. 

Tonight, unless it is cancelled due to the weather, I am due to give a talk to a writing group on writing for radio.  Radio is the one medium where every word needs to be carefully chosen for its properties of recall.  To be able to write radio well is indeed an art as well as a craft.  To be able to paint and bring alive invisible images through the subtle use of sound or noise, to put flesh on the bones of the characters who are strangers to our eyes but friends to our ears, this is indeed the sharpening stone that many writers cut their teeth on.  

In Poole town centre, the TAPS group will gather for a night of comedy and sketches with Mr. Jug and yet again, diary clashes prove the age old theory of famine or feast.  It is with a degree of excitement and trepidation I look forward to meeting a new writing group, facing the questions  and sharing the knowledge of writing for radio, learning what people like about it, how it moves them, talking with my potential audience.

If it is a 'snow day' where you are I hope you make the most of it, if you can put your feet up in front of the fire, toast marshmallows or crumpets, listen to the afternoon play on Radio 4 or read a good book, enjoy the moment for it will all too quickly disappear.
Love and hugs Foxi