There was no post today.  OH remarked upon it as we left the house for our morning dog walk.

‘There’s no post today,’ he said.

I thought about it and decided he was jumping to conclusions.

‘There might be,’ I said.  ‘Perhaps Milly* hasn’t come yet.’

And off we set.  We walked into the village and around the church green, up to the chemist’s shop to drop off a prescription request, and back home.

When we were a few hundred yards from home, and there was still no sign of the lovely Milly, OH turned to me.

‘Perhaps something’s happened to her!’ he said.

Me: ‘Milly?’

OH: ‘Yes! I haven’t seen her this morning at all!’

Me:  ‘Well, look on the bright side.  She might have brought our post by now. She might be there even now, pushing all kinds of stuff through our letterbox’.

OH (In tones of gloom): ‘Stuff we don’t want’.

Me: ‘It might be! There might be a letter – from, um – from your brother, C!’

OH turned and gave me a Look.  The fact is that his brother C communicates with the rest of his family once every decade, if we’re lucky.  He married S, emigrated to Canada long before we were married, had children, got divorced and became a bit of a hermit. He is now a school bus driver.

I said: ‘There might be! He might have written to you! Come to think of it, though, he might have dropped dead. How would we know? Who’d tell us?’

OH: ‘S would let P** know, and he’d probably tell us’.

Me: ‘But what if they both died? Maybe they took his school bus out for a joyride, came off the road and fell into a canyon. And were eaten by bears!’

There was a somewhat lengthy pause, while we both pictured this scenario.

Then I added: ‘Mind you, that’d probably make the news, don’t you think?’

OH:  Yes, I do think. ‘Estranged husband and wife in bear death pact’ – I can see it now!

There followed manic laughter, startling a couple of nearby road workers, who turned and began cautiously walking away.

OH: ‘Of course, she might have been kidnapped’

Me: ‘Kidnapped?’

OH: ‘Yes, we have to admit the possibility.’

Me: ‘By aliens?’

OH: Well .. maybe just someone at home. Maybe she knocked on the door to deliver something, and they opened it and just dragged her inside.’

Me: ‘You do tell me she has a certain something …’

OH nodded: ‘An old-fashioned charm!’

So yes.  I can see the headlines now: ‘Village Post Lady kidnapped by Obsessive Enid Blyton fan!

We are expecting to hear that the ransom demands have arrived at the Post Office any day.

* Our post lady, for whom OH has a bit of a thing.  She reminds us both of someone from certain children’s stories of the fifties – all cheery and rosy-cheeked with rumpled blonde hair, pedalling like a dynamo all over the village with her post bag.  Just like an Enid Blyton character, in fact.

** S is C’s ex-wife. They live just around the corner from each other and get along better than ever. P is one of their sons.

Names have been changed or disguised. I do love a bit of subterfuge!

Posted on February 17, 2013 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay12 Comments »


Here’s another easy-peasy Macro Monday puzzle for you all. I know you love the easy ones!

This is something that I have seen in our house from time to time since I was quite a young child. They’re not terribly long-lived, even if they’re not used for their proper purpose. Put it this way; they’re ephemeral.

Many, many people like them, some hate them. Some would like them but find it better not to have them. I wonder which category you’re in?

Pop your guess in the comments, and I’ll be back on Tuesday evening (UK time) around 10pm with the answer in the form of a picture link.

Have fun!

Well, maybe that wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be!  You didn’t ALL get it right, not by a long chalk!  Here’s the answer, for the curious.

Congratulations to Lori, Liz, Babs and Herman Turnip who all guessed (more or less) correctly!  Well done you four – go to the top of the class!

I’m not sure who should get the title of ‘Most Creative Guess’ this week – several of them made me smile, or go back to take a closer look at the picture!  On the whole, though, I think Doris takes the biscuit, because she made me laugh – thanks, Doris!  I like the way you think!

So that’s it for another week.  Thanks so much for playing – and see you all next week!

Posted on February 15, 2013 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay18 Comments »


Lori of ‘What Remains Now’ is on a creative journey. She wants to find out if there’s a path she can take which would allow her to earn her crust as an artist. I suspect it’s a dream that many of us have.

So why, as creative people, do we not do so? Why do we not at least try?

I was born in the 1950s. When I was young, an artistic career was thought to be risky. Some of the things we heard from parents were ‘You’ll never make enough money’ and ‘OK, but you should have a second string to your bow, so you should train as a secretary/teacher/accountant/go into the armed forces/whatever and then see’.

As it turns out, the only job out of that little list which is now relatively safe is that of the accountant! With the government turning more and more of the responsibility for taxes etc over to the businessman, he (or she) is an essential survival resource for most. The number of office workers has been cut dramatically with the advent of the computer age, teaching staff have suffered with education cuts, and even the armed services are operating on a restricted budget with both manpower and equipment funding having been cut.


As a teenager, I went to see both the careers adviser in the school and the independent one in the town. Both had the same suggestions to offer: teacher, secretary or armed forces. Talking to my friends, most of them were offered the same options. Only the ones at the top of a particular subject were offered anything else.

My own family, I have to admit, did suggest I went to art school, but art school was the equivalent to university and I simply didn’t feel I was up to it academically. I had no ‘A’ levels. I left school at sixteen, because I hated it so much and the last thing I wanted was to go off and study for them in college, though now, with the benefit of hindsight, I know it would have been a whole different kettle of fish.


So I took a job working with animals and I made things and drew things and sewed things in my spare time. I drew cartoons (mostly bad). I made felt mice for a magician (well received). I made seed pictures which were great until the seeds began dropping off – and I wish I had a photo of my crowning accomplishment in that department; a ten pound note made entirely of seeds with a background of tapioca. I made Christmas models of fairytale castles for Mum’s cancer unit and I crocheted ornaments and hippie-style tunics. I learned origami, I even tried carving wood. Later, after getting married, OH encouraged me to try oil painting and one of the things I painted was a large portrait of a lion, which hung in my mother’s lounge for decades, and has now been claimed by Son. No. 2. It isn’t that good, really, but he likes it, and I’m sorry to say I can’t show it to you because I don’t seem to have a single picture of it.


I’ve also attempted to learn guitar, piano and violin, but while I do enjoy it, I have to admit that I really don’t have what it takes to be a musician.

These days, I have an Etsy shop where I try to sell a few hand-crafted greyhound-related items. I’ve sold a few, but really, not enough to make it worthwhile and I might give it up. I also sell at dog shows and greyhound gatherings, where I make ends meet and end up with a bit of profit for Brambleberry. But when it comes down to it, I craft, sew, make jewellery and paint because I want to do it. Because something in me is unsatisfied if I don’t have that creative outlet.

I don’t create every day … although if you count writing and photography, perhaps I do. The important thing is, when I do sit down and do something creative I am happier and my stress levels are lower and I eat less because I’m absorbed in what I’m doing. Will I ever be good enough to turn professional in some way? Probably not. Is that important? Again, probably not.


Which brings me to another question. Why do so many of us need validation for what we do? Isn’t it enough to produce something we like, or that we know is good? I think it must be something in the creative personality that makes us all so uncertain of ourselves.

It does seem to be important to feed the creative urge though, which is why several of my blogging friends are doing art challenges at the moment, and of course, I’m taking part in Illustration Friday. ‘Wool’ – that’s the prompt word for this week. I’m going to have to think about this for a while, or you’re going to end up with a sheep!

So tell me: Do you think of yourself as a creative person? If so, what are you doing about it?


It’s a simple thing, but it gives me pleasure.

What you see up there is not a sliced loaf. Well .. it IS a sliced loaf, but not an automatically sliced load. I sliced it all by myself, by hand.

There aren’t many breads I can tolerate these days, because I seem to have a problem with commercial yeast. I’ve been buying long-fermentation loaves on the basis that they need a lot less yeast and some of the structure of the wheat will be broken down in the process and they’re much more digestible. Up there is a loaf of Cranks’ wholemeal, long-fermentation bread. It comes unsliced, but I slice it because I don’t eat much at a time and I can freeze and thaw it easier that way.

Why does it give me pleasure? Well, one of the enduring memories I have of my mother is of her slicing a ‘long tin’ (her favourite loaf shape) for our tea with an old-fashioned bread knife, and hearing the rhythmic saw-saw-saw-saw-saw of the blade as it cut through the crust, and watching the slices falling evenly on to the breadboard. Yep, it took about five ‘saws’ for my Mum to sever a slice, and she was just so good at it, I used to stand watching her with my nose just level with the work surface and wonder if I would ever be able to slice bread so perfectly like that.

And look! I can!

I’m not very good at baking bread. i do my own soda bread sometimes, but it’s not really like real bread. And of course, I’m going to be attempting sourdough some time very soon. Just as soon as I can get hold of some rye flour, which is proving a tad difficult. I’m going to have to go into town and find a health food shop.

Meanwhile, I’m slicin’. Just like my dear old Mum.


‘How to be HAPPY!’ is a new meme. It’s about finding the little things in life which bring a smile or a glow of warmth to our hearts and souls during our daily lives. Why? Because it’s the way all these little things add up which truly determines if we are happy people, not the big stuff like a lottery win.

To enter, write a post about one thing which has made you happy in some small way recently – it could be birdsong, a favourite smell, a particularly good loaf of bread, a blue sky, anything! Then scroll to the bottom, click the Mr Linky graphic and add your blog post details to the Linky which will appear in a new window, and you’re in.

If you’d like, copy the badge (up at the top of this post) and paste it into your own.

Oh, and it would be nice if you popped round to visit and comment on a few of the others, too!