stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Stepping stone or stumbling block?

Its not been an easy week at work. We are working on a bright new library system (that is a necessary and carefully budgeted project) against a background of this.

Very unsettling. Glad its a long bank holiday weekend now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Last Sunday dawned grey and drizzling. Wonderful! Just the weather for marathon runners. My eldest daughter and her boyfriend had run the Bristol half marathon in the autumn for charity, and got carried away and signed up for the London marathon. Madness in my book, but they trained diligently through the winter.

What's more, she organised a wonderful quiz and celebrity raffle. She used all her networking contacts from working as a creative in a top notch London advertising company, and pulled in many favours to get amazing prizes, and a famous DJ to come and do the business at the event.
They raised more than their target of £3,000.

So, dawn saw us proud parents and our good friend (who was her sort of non-godparent when she was young) in London with thousands of others. The atmosphere was totally amazing. We had pre-arranged points to stand - 15 miles and 20 miles - in case they had need of bananas! It was uplifting to see them sail past (though she said she was having to focus very hard on just running because the pain was setting in) But it didnt look like that, they looked happy and fresh to me!

We clapped and cheered on all the runners we could - especially those running for the same charity, struggling ladies and anyone with their name on near enough to hear us! The crowds lining the roads were good humoured, and it was one huge party with balloons and noise.

CLIC Sargent, their charity, take good care of their runners, and had booked a reception in the very grand RAC Club in Pall Mall. Hot food, showers, massage - all laid on. We agreed to meet there, rather than at the finish, as there are so many people crammed into a small part of London (33,000 runners and probably as many supporters) that the mobile phone network can't cope! The food was amazing, and there is a basement swimming pool. complete with pillars and mosaics, that is bigger than my local pool. Talk about how the other half live.

They finished in five hours! Amazing for a first time. I cant believe they ran for twenty six miles!
And when we saw them, we found out even more lovely news. He had proposed on the finishing line! And with a one carat diamond Tiffany ring! Wow!

What a day to remember.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Garden life

Now that the weather is warming up a little, new things are appearing in the garden - live things. I saw some swallows flying over it on Easter Sunday - so that means that summer is here?

A pair of ducks shambled across the lawn, looking for a comfy place. I didn't like to tell them that last year I saw a mink slide through the garden, and scrabble at the patio window like a dog trying to get in! That night the mallard duck nesting in the next door garden lost all thirteen eggs to the mink, (probably the same animal that killed our last lot of chickens the previous year) But luckily they waddled off, and the last thing I saw was the rear end of the drake, pushing between some daffodils and over my Chinese granite stepping stones!

Then there was the frog I surprised as I stepped out onto the patio. It gave a huge leap into the camouflage of some dead leaves in a pot - twelve inches in the air. Not bad when you are only three inches long yourself. He then tried to pretend he didn't exist, not an eye blinked. How could anyone call such a handsome fellow a Common Frog?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Four things meme

Ive been tagged by the other Val, so here goes :-
4 Jobs I've had in My Life
  • Personal assistant in advertising in London
  • School secretary in a small village
  • Reference librarian
  • Doing exciting new webby things in public library
4 Movies I Could Watch Over and Over
  • Spring summer fall winter spring
  • 2001
  • Kundun
  • Chitty chitty bang bang (and believe me, I have had to!)
4 Websites I Visit Regularly
4 Favorite Foods
  • Avocado
  • Pavlova (raspberry if possible)
  • Roast chicken with roast potatoes and roast parsnips
  • Bendick's Bittermints
4 Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
  • Kyoto
  • Iona
  • Sinai
  • Bali
4 Books I Could Read Over and Over
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  • Dragonrider series by Anne McCaffrey
  • The Art of Setting Stones: Writings from the Japanese Garden by Marc P Keane
  • Shogun by James Clavell
4 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over
  • Any from Adiemus IV: The Eternal Knot
  • Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff
  • Little Fluffy Clouds by the Orb
  • The Lamb by John Tavener
4 Reasons Why I Blog
  • I always enjoyed writing a diary
  • I find the process of creating it very satisfying - there is a final product
  • I like the whole techno thing - I used to read about such things in my older brother's sci-fi books under the bedclothes
  • I love finding new like-minded people from around the world.
I will tag David, but whether he takes up the challenge is another matter!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Time for tea

Well, we did it last year and had a good time. So it seemed natural to do it again, only with more thought this time. The Crocus Walk for Breakthrough (the breast cancer charity) is a gentle version of a sponsored walk or run, and definitely more gentle than my eldest daughter running the London Marathon in a few weeks! Rebecca registers the walk, organises us, hands out the forms, and researches a suitable route. The main prerequisite is that the walk ends up somewhere that serves excellent tea and cakes!

This year there were ten of us (nine ladies and Lesley's husband, Russel) and the chosen day was a typical April day - sunshine, with a cool breeze that meant that the showers were sharp, but brief. It was an easy walk that started in the valley of the River Frome, which is where Thomas Hardy lived for many years.

You can see how flat it is from the photo. I dont think it's typical of Dorset, and feel vaguely uncomfortable in the wide river plain. I was glad when we headed back into the hills and Puddletown Forest. Its a managed area, which means that some of the woods are quite young, and some areas look totally devastated to the untrained eye. I really enjoyed that part of the walk the best. The path was quite narrow and animal trails went off left and right, and I was sorely tempted to deviate from the path and follow them into the unknown, but I happily followed Lesley. It was much warmer in the shelter of the trees and we were lulled into shedding layers , until the next shower came along!

We went quite close to Thomas Hardy's birthplace - an interesting thatched cottage owned now by the National Trust. But the lure of cream teas was too strong, and we were magnetically pulled to our destination - Pine Lodge Tea Room. This is on a farm that is owned by some ex-neighbours of ours. And, like many farmers these days, they have diversified into other ventures. They serve not only wonderful cream teas but an excellent lunches too.

A good time was had by all (thats me at the back in front of the curtains). The scones and cakes were amazing.

I was inspired during the walk to go and buy a new daysack today. The one I used was twelve years old, falling to bits, and wasnt mine to start with! Now I want to get my boots on and go and try it out. Its got all sorts of pockets and useful looking straps.

I am sorry, the other Val, but the ground was really too soggy after all the recent rain for me to lie down and take the traditional photo of the aforementioned boots! I did think about it, but common sense prevailed - this time at least!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring's arrival needs royal retail therapy

Tulips and crocus chrysanthus "Prinz Claus" - planted last year

Some lovely photos on Kerri's blog and the other Val's blog - both journalling (is that a word?) errr... noting the heralds of a new season even though continents apart - spurred me into action in the garden. Ive had a rewarding couple of days. Ive hacked and pruned away at some overgrown rosa rugosa; trimmed back some vines and climbers that climbed over the fence and all the way through my trees; and generally had a fun time.

Of course then I needed to go to the new garden centre on Prince Charles' new "township" called Poundbury, on the edge of Dorchester (now that should have a post all to itself one day) and buy :- a cheap set of 3 patio pots in the style I collect; small pots of chives, coriander, Spencer sweet peas; pot of purple wallflowers (didnt plant any in the autumn); some corms of autumn flowering cyclamen (mine disappeared) and some lovely fritillaries - the snakeshead ones (mine disappeared under the decking). Also a plastic bucket thing with handles (which would have been brilliant for skepping out pony poo from the shavings rather than a laundry basket, when I had horses that is) and a small cherry tree (just about to flower, this will assuage my longing for Japanese cherry blossom) its called prunus incisa kojo-no-mai apparently.

The wallflowers

Prunus incisa kojo-no-mai

The snakeshead fritillaries still in their pots

I've use the plastic bucket thing already. Its proving very useful for weeding and carrying compost about - shame I haven't got a pony now though.....