Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Cheerful things on winter days

Over the coffee cups:

There are worse ways to linger over the breakfast table. I'm currently rather taken with toning stripes; those two blues are somewhat more different than they appear. They're more fingerless mittens for Jantien's partner Jessie (here are Jantien's finished carmine pink mitts).

And then it's that time of year again, bickering our way through the Christmas card list. It's all right really, we got Lifeboat ones when we were in Jersey, and we keep it sensible, are seldom able to reduce the number much but it's perfectly manageable, we aren't such excessively friended people as to have hundreds to remind that we're still alive every year. 

I broke the back of it today and got the overseas ones off all save the few that go in parcels. I intended to go out and do a bit of shopping for these and other things, but then decided against, since insomnia struck at 4 am, and the sofa downstairs, my big blue blanket, a glass of warm milk with a dash of orgeat and Aubrey and Maturin were beckoning. Life and hours are so leisured these workless winter days, I can easily afford this kind of broken sleep, and in truth rather enjoy it, as it's more or less the only time I allow myself to read and only to read, but it does leave me a bit bleary and disordered and out of sync. Also I thought the O'Brian would lull me into somnolence, lapped by the waves and lost in the impenetrably rich texture of detail and terminology and nothing much happening but exercises, with the men's characters drawn bit by bit in bold yet elliptical strokes, as it has gone on for nearly a third of the book. But then all of a sudden it got exciting with an Algerine galley attacking a Norwegian cat, and quite a bit of blood and thunder and the promise and disappointment of prize money, so it kept me awake longer than I meant it to. 


Talking of cats, I got out of the car in the drive the other day and perceived I was being watched.

A little face looking from the thuja hedge.

Possibly birding but more likely just exploring. I called Tom round and he enquired if she were stuck,

but she said she was OK, and gave his hand a quick pat and a rub with her head before climbing down. Don't know whose she is, she's friendly and seems happy and cared for, but we agreed we shouldn't invite her in.


Lastly, they showed this again in full on telly today, I do like it so much, be it ever so kitsch and camp and tacky and I'll probably be raided by the Taste Squad:

As well as to mark the launch of BBC Music, it's a Children in Need fundraiser thing, it seems, though I didn't know and don't actually follow that. And I'm so far from au courant I don't have a clue who many of the musicians are in any of the genres, but it's nice to see some familiar faces and there's a list of all of them as they appear here.

Tom's ophthalmology appointment tomorrow, so must needs find out where we're actually going.


Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Beautiful photos and colours, Lucy, and that cat apparition in the hedge!! Amazing! Nice one of Tom writing too.
And I loved that BBC 'God only knows' video even if I only recognised a few of the performers. Am not at all up to date with who's famous anymore. Ah well,ça n'a pas d'importance.

the polish chick said...

love the blue, especially next to the lemons.
how strong you were not to invite the cat in - such an adorable little face!

we don't do cards. haven't for years, so if you fail to get one, know you're not alone, but it doesn't change the fact that we do wish everyone (well, almost everyone) well.

Roderick Robinson said...

Is this Pontivy? I do hope Tom gets to share my Dmascene moment. Tell him he may have to work hard to keep sentimentality at bay. As a foretaste, and gritting his teeth, he should study all the verses of Louis Armstrong singing It's A Wonderful World. Exit left, retching. Surely Tom's proof against that.

Soize said...

Nous penserons à toi cet après-midi à Quess'quitricote ;-)

Lucy said...

Thanks friends. I know it looks either a bit sad or a bit affected to have just two lemons on the fruit plate, but they genuinely were there on the table like that! It's down to one now, as the other got cut up to go with mussels, and some apples.

Natalie - no, and some of them I'd heard of vaguely but wouldn't have known them from a bar of soap, but I did like Kylie in her bubble and the montgolfiers going up and the general style of it, and I've always loved the song. It was filmed at the Alexandra Palace, apparently.

PC - we've contemplated giving up the Christmas card thing, but truth is, it really is a way of letting people know you're still alive! Perhaps they don't need to know, but some at least might spare us a thought and wonder what was wrong if we didn't, as we would if we didn't hear from them. In fact the people who are more actual, current, friends, and hence in other forms of contact like e-mail, I don't feel so much obligation to send paper cards to. Changing countries has also perhaps increased its importance a bit, and as we don't do much other decorating I appreciate a string or two of cards to brighten the place up.

Robbie - yes, Pontivy-Tantivy it is, presumably just for an initial consultation, I can't imagine they'll get the gear out and do it there and then. We're both rather edgy and anxious about it just now, too many unknowns, but with luck many of them will be resolved by the end of the day. I have very much enjoyed your waxing euphoric and in love with the world following your op, so no need for back-pedalling and self-mockery now!

Soize - merci! Desolée de vous manquer aussi, mais on se revoit la semaine prochaine.

Stella said...

The photo of the kitten in the hedge is an excellent composition; a really wonderful image ! you have a good eye and a quick trigger finger to get that shot. After today I hope you are reassured about the "surgery" , it is here considered a routine procedure and a dramatic improvement.

Lucy said...

Stella, thanks. In fact the little cat stayed like that for a minute or two, so I had time to run round and get the camera! Thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words about cataracts, along with Robbie you's helped greatly in allaying fears. We were much reassured by our visit to the clinic today, including the ease of the journey, and have firm appointments for January then February, which should fit in just fine with the rest of life!

Roderick Robinson said...

How the Hell did I manage to miss the fact that you're embarked on the O'Brien series. And that your reaction is 180 deg out of kilter with what I might have expected (ie, you're seized by the action rather than the impassioned laying on of historical detail). Oh this must be nourished and the best way of doing this would be for me to shut up for a year or so and let the author work his skills on you. I'm assuuming you've started with Master and Commander and you're involved with Cacafuego. Oh joy. But my lips must remain sealed, I mustn't push, I mustn't nag. I mustn't give in to the immediate impulse to buy the remaining 19 novels and have them transported to you in a jewel-studded post chaise.

And how glorious the fact that I have a locum there representing me so eloquently. A man blessed with all the virtues I lack, whose initials - like mine - are alliterative.

God speed.

Lucy said...

Robbie - I assumed you approved. Trouble is what started out as a remedy for insomnia is now provoking it. I've been meaning to give O'Brien a go for ages, and put M&C on the Kindle a while back, and rediscovered it recently (Peter from Slow Reads, a formidable mind on theology and American history, also proved to be a follower and gave me a nudge a while back citing something from one of the books). I like both the detail and the action, but the latter is quite slow to warm up, which is fine. I felt for a while as Maturin did when first shown around the Sophie by an enthusiastic young midshipman: that the patter of unknown and incomprehensible terms and technicalities formed a soothing and musical background over which his thoughts about other things could glide undisturbed - I also perversely rather enjoy persistently confounding the Kindle's on-board dictionary by clicking for definitions it hasn't got. But what left me bleary-eyed this morning though, was the long night Stephen and Dillon spend over the brandy alone on the French ship after the former has nonchalantly delivered the captain's baby, talking over old times in Auld Ireland and discussing Aubrey. In fact I'm getting on for half way, and Cacafuego rings no bells, and indeed, your erstwhile alter ego has not appeared either, though I know he will because I searched ahead. The bosun is called Watt and has shown no importance as a character.

It being O'Brien's centenary year, there was a Radio 4 'Bookclub' programme discussing M&C, and a repeat of an old serialisation of 'The Surgeon's Mate' read by Benedict Cumberbatch, which I'll get on podcast, should be worth hearing. Initially I thought in terms of a couple a year would give me time to get through all 20 but I think it might have to be a more thorough immersion. I am somewhat tickled by the thought of a jewel studded post chaise, which would perhaps be rather bumpy to be conducive to reading - I think perhaps a chaise longue might be more suitable!

Catalyst said...

I'm going to swipe that music piece from You Tube and put it on Facebook though I'm sure it's been there before. Great pictures of the homestead and the cat in the hedge.

Avus said...

The mug and the knitting look perfectly matched for colour, Lucy - was that the intention? (although I am slightly colour blind it is in the red/green spectrum).

Wise not to encourage the cat - We once "lost" one for about 3 months - it turned out it had found a good berth a couple of streets away and was lodging there!

Pam said...

I like the pictures of the little cat. (Well, I like all your pictures, but I like the little cat).

That song kept being on the tv and it makes me very sad, since I still don't know how to do without our London daughter. She comes home quite a lot, of course, but then she goes away again, which makes us miss her more. Sigh.

christopher said...

A lovely post as ever. Happy Holidays to you and Tom and the cat who shall remain outdoors, maybe.

Zhoen said...


And I thought of you.

Lucy said...

Thanks again.

Bruce - good, nice to share.
Avus - well, I noticed that they matched, so I took the photo, likewise the lemons really were there at the time. Beyond a small amount of shuffling it wasn't set up. Some people are blue/yellow colourblind, I understand, though your form is more frequent. It would be sadder to miss out on the blues and yellows, I think, but perhaps the red/green form is more of a nuisance, what with traffic lights etc.

Isabelle and Christopher - I am so grateful for your open-heartedness and constancy.

Zhoen - great! I don't reallt crochet and am rather in awe of it.