Alexander Averin

Friday 29 February 2008

February Farewell

Dear Diary,

February makes a bridge and March breakes it.

George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum

So goodbye Dear February, my most-disliked month. No hard feelings though because perhaps I was a little harsh in my condemnation. You did carry beauty, good luck and blessings in your wake and I have survived intact. Nothing too untoward has befallen me or those I love.

Tomorrow comes a new month, Dearest March, a real harbinger of Spring and She will open with a very special saint’s day for the people of Cymru. There will be much wearing of the daffodil tomorrow and vases of them will be displayed in every home and public building. Daffodils are budding a-plenty hereabouts; there seem to be more than usual this year, or is it my imagination?

Today, the 29th February, they say, is going to be very wet and windy but I wake to a dry day with the barest of breezes. The collared doves are still busy flying back and forth to their new nest in the tall pine. I hope they have built a sturdy and secure home if gales truly are on their way.

I missed that earthquake by the way, I am so cross, I would have loved to have had the experience of the earth moving. I haven’t felt that for many a moon. (That joke was on everyone’s lips yesterday, I apologise).

My cold has come back, they are calling it a ‘boomerang virus’ round these parts. This time it has set up residence in my throat and chest and my voice has gone all funny. I would like to say it sounds huskily sexy but it actually sounds as if I am somewhat demented and close to death, when in fact I don’t actually feel too bad. By the end of the day I do feel rotten though and have been indulging in, or rather collapsing into, Early Nights.

So are there any Blessings amongst all this?

Bronchial Balsam from Boots. Not sure of the make but it’s the cheapest in the shop and there are no nasties in it; rather it contains all sorts of weird and wonderful but wholesomely dark and natural ingredients. Good black stuff, almost as good as those Calpol Brandy slammers (Purplecooers’ secret indulgences).

Paracetamol, honey and lemon, they also keep me going and stop me coughing too much.

Log fires are a comfort too and the sofa with blankets, soft cushions and pillows and some mindless TV. And let’s face it, most TV is mindless these days. It’s cooking, gardening, celebrities I’ve never heard of etc etc, you all know what I mean. I have been watching Place in the Country, or whatever it’s called…all about these really odd couples going house hunting, relying on some equally smug and weird person with an annoying accent to find them four houses to choose from. As if they didn’t have the gumption to look for themselves. And we all know they only do it for the huge fee and to appear on TV. But somehow if I am feeling poorly I can happily watch this crap. I don’t mind Location, Location, Location/Relocation etc as I really like the intelligent presenters of that one, also it’s the original idea I suppose and not a cheap copy.

Final blessing.
M has fixed my new Un Peu Loufoque tiles on the kitchen wall and very fine they look too. I will try and take a photo of them in situ but this is what they are.

Some people M knows came to visit us with their metal detectors yesterday and went round our field. The most interesting thing they found was a medieval loom weight if you know what that is. It is made of lead, looks like an over-sized Polo mint and apparently was used to weigh down either the warp or the weft (am sure someone will tell me). My money is on the warp because the weft goes in and out?

Here is a photo of one, not of ours, ours is the same but is not cracked...... but I haven't taken a photo of it yet.

They found all sorts of interesting little bits and bobs but no buried treasure unfortunately. We want to get the field ploughed up as an old Roman road actually crosses it, who knows what may lie beneath?

Well I will sign off now, I am feeling a bit worn out.

Before I go here is a poem I have only just this minute discovered on the net. Isn't it lovely?


Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat-
You must have walked-
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell.

Emily Dickinson

Funnily enough Emily Dickinson uses the term ‘Dear’ to address the month. I had already done the same in this blog but swear I had not pinched her idea.

Ho Hum.
There is nothing new under the Sun and all that…..

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Sunday 24 February 2008

My Son...Open Your Eyes - Snow Patrol cover

I cannot believe this is a year old, my son's first go at recording on YouTube
To listen you will have to stop my other songs on the right, click on PAUSE button with your mouse.

Ode to Joy

Dear Diary,
One joy shatters a hundred griefs
Chinese Proverb

Another coincidence concerning those angels.

This morning as I lay in bed drinking my honeyed tea, I draw an Angel Card , the one that falls out as I shuffle is labelled ‘Joy’ and coincidentally M is downstairs playing music, a Roxette CD and guess which track is playing? ‘Joyride’.

A few days ago I drew a card which said the angels would leave signs for me (coins, white feathers etc) to show they are helping me. This does happen to me when I am troubled so it was nothing new to hear. However, on the same day, it was when I was unwell earlier this week, I was eating a meal that M had cooked for me. I had helped him dish it up so I knew exactly what was on the plate. When I had nearly finished eating the meal I looked down, there was about one mouthful left and lo and behold (that phrase again) there was a white feather on my plate!

There was quite a lot of joy in the cottage yesterday afternoon and evening as both Wales and Ireland won their rugby matches. Much whooping and clapping went on.

But in two weeks comes my dreaded fixture, Wales versus Ireland. Then I am drawn in two ways and painful it is too!

So are there even more joyous blessings for today?

Firstly M has woken up feeling better, miraculously so he says, maybe those angels really are working overtime.

Also, two Purplecooers have brought joy to me this week.

Artistic angels I shall call them.

I have always disliked matching tiles and have all different ones in my kitchen so discovering Un Peu Loufoque’s art has been a joy. Today the set I bought entitled 'Washing Line' is going to be fixed on my kitchen wall. I treated myself to it, I deserve it and all that.

It’s especially wonderful as I have a ‘thing’ about washing lines. I started taking photos of them actually until I thought I might get arrested for being a pervert, spying on people’s underwear and the like! I like nothing better than the site of real washing blowing in the wind on a long old-fashioned line. They are disappearing from the landscape actually so I may well carry on capturing those images.

Dear Pipany is another gifted artist and she brought me joy too in an unexpected parcel containing some seeming-to-be magical lotion and some surprise Cornish delights. Also a lavender bag which I popped under my pillowslip last night and its effect was to make me sleep like a baby.

I think some human folk are really just angels in human form don’t you?

M is feeling better - miraculously so he says, perhaps all those angels are working overtime.

Before I go, a poem.

Joy and Sorrow

Then a woman said, 'Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.'

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, 'Joy is greater than sorrow,' and others say, 'Nay, sorrow is the greater.'

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Kahlil Gibran

It’s Sunday, a free, blank-canvas day.

I wish you joy,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


PS I have been asked to pass on the name of the author of the poem The Crabby Old Man posted on my previous blog entry. I am afraid it is Anonymous.

This is the story attached to it.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

Some doubt its verity but I care not whether it is ‘genuine’ or not. The truths therein are for all of us to digest, nurses or otherwise.

Have a great Sunday.

Wednesday 20 February 2008

A Crimson Moon

Dear Diary,

Nothing in the world is meaningless. Suffering least of all.
Oscar Wilde.

Today’s blog is a short, boring one and something of a mish-mash, a bit like my head really.

February is my most ‘difficult’ month, the one I’d like to eliminate from the calendar altogether. The very cold temperatures start to get to me, the winter seems too long and there is often too little sunshine to lift my spirits. This month has been an exception though; it has been very cold indeed but the Sun has shown herself on many occasions.

But it’s still the month when colds and flu are in the air and I have at last succumbed. . I’ve caught a fluey head cold and unfortunately couldn’t go to work yesterday. Yes I love my job so I am not pleased to have a day away from it. Still the library is in good hands as dear C, the relief is there.

You know when it’s a bad virus infection because it always comes on so suddenly, it doesn’t creep up slowly and there may well be no sign at all of its arrival, save perhaps a feeling of being over-tired in the day or two before it breaks out. It can start with just a sneeze, a runny nose or a sore throat. You also know it’s an infection when you have no appetite, a temperature with its resultant aches and pains, shivering and hot and cold feelings. These viruses just have to be endured until their lifespan ends. I had the turning point last night, the sweats and the feeling of release that comes with fever proving that my immune system had fought a battle and won. This morning I feel so much better, though still very weak.

Time for Blessings methinks.

I couldn’t concentrate on much reading yesterday but I did dip into dear Sara Ban Breathnach’s books, they are always such a comfort. Also a few glossy country magazines that shall remain nameless, they also soothe with their beautiful photos. (I have saved every copy even though I no longer buy them). And the radio helps. But most of all my best blessings were aspirin and paracetamol (not together of course) and sleep when it finally would come. Mostly I was just dozing, tossing and turning.

Other Blessings?

Music of course. Talking of which….. apparently stroke victims recover quicker if they listen to at least two hours of music every day. That is very interesting. Would listening to music help in stroke prevention I wonder? I digress again.

I am listening to dear Johnny Walker this morning, my favourite DJ, he is sitting in for Terry Wogan this week. He always plays such good music, I admire his taste. I make a mental note to remind myself to listen to his Sunday early evening show on Radio 2.

The View from my Window. I don’t need television because there’s plenty to see going on outside, a real wildlife soap opera is being played out just for me. Amongst the bird population that is. There has been much romancing in the air in the branches of the two tall pine trees. And as in all species the whole world over, the male chases the female until she catches him! There have also been a few viewings of the bird boxes, that is always good to see. Three magpies feasting on the mixed corn that M has put out. Sammy Squirrel is also about, feasting on the nuts as usual. A fox makes his way across the field, blissfully unaware that he is being watched.

It is bitterly, bitterly cold again although the weather forecast says today will be the last cold day for a while, a spell of milder, wetter and windier weather is on its way.

Hooray is all I can say and thank God for hot toddies.

My last blessing will be Finn our lurcher. When I am poorly he curls up on his pillows on the floor beside my bed sending his healing rays up to me (he likes nothing better). And I mustn’t forget M of course, he is an excellent nurse and healer himself.

I’ve still not got much of an appetite but I’m off now for a hot shower. Then I will change the sweaty bed linen and return to bed. I will break my fast with an orange, a banana and some tinned peaches. Aren’t the oranges juicy this time of year?

There were two coincidences today - you may be interested in such things. I have started drawing an angel card each day and today’s (Reward Yourself) told me to be kind to myself, maybe take a day off work and reward myself. My astrology reading by Russell Grant said the same thing Reward myself, be kind to myself etc.

Then I heard on the radio about the excessive number of accidents happening today and I idly wondered if it was a Full Moon. I had no idea but checked my very own moon calendar on this page and lo and behold it is a Full Moon!

And no ordinary Full Moon either.

I’ve just checked my other favourite astrologist, Jonathan Cainer and he has this lunar information.

A glorious lunar eclipse will be visible tonight. It lasts for several hours from 'first bite' to last clearance. The Moon will turn crimson and some think, at totality, it should appear briefly turquoise. It's visible in the UK from around 1am - 5am. If you're not staying up all night, set your alarm for 3am and take a brief look. Assuming the cloud cover is not too thick it will prove well worth interrupting your sleep for. It is, of course, on view much earlier in the USA - and it happens a little later across continental Europe. When you see it, make three wishes... one for your own wisdom and growth.. one for the wellbeing of a loved one.. and one for the world!

I hope you haven’t been too bored with my mish-mash and I hope you remain virus-free.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

PS Just before I depart here is a poem sent to me from a cousin in Canada. I read it and it stopped me feeling sorry for myself.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? ......What do you see?
What are you thinking......when you're looking at me?
A crabby old man, ...not very wise,
Uncertain of habit ........with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food.......and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice.....'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice ...the things that you do.
And forever is losing ............. A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not...........lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding ...... The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes,'re not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am ........ As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten.......with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters ..........who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen ..with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now. ..........a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows........that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now ......... I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . And a secure happy home.
A man of Forty ......... My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other ....... With ties that should last.

At Fifty, my young sons ...have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside see I don't mourn.
At Sixty, once more, ...... Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children ......... My loved one and me.

Later in life dark days are upon me .......

My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ...........I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing ...young of their own.
And I think of the years...... And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man.........and nature is cruel.
Tis jest to make old age .......look like a fool.
The body it crumbles..........grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone........where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass ..... A young guy still dwells,
And now and again battered heart swells.
I remember the joys.............. I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and over again.

I think of the years ...all too few......gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact........that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people and see..
Not a crabby old man. Look closer and see........ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

The best and most beautiful things of this world can't be seen or touched.

They must be felt by the heart.

Friday 15 February 2008

Musings on Education

Dear Diary,

It's 2008 the National Year of Reading.

It's World Book Day on Thursday March 6th.

At least I’ll start with some positives.


Living in Wales

Acupressure. Thanks to dear Westerwitch who gave me a few tips for migraine relief.

A Good Night’s Sleep on Clean Sheets, the two seem to go together, I often mention this, forgive me, its one of my passions.

My local writing group, an inspiration and a joy to be with.

Last but not least:
The tantalising and uplifting taste of spring we have recently been granted.

I’m just going to blog a few musings on education. After hearing on the media yesterday that money has been ‘found’

(where does one 'find' money, I would love to know?)

Money has been found for an ‘initiative’ - how I hate the misuse of that word too……..
to ‘give’ children five hours of culture a week. Is it me? I thought that’s what children should get from their time in education establishments. A taste at least of culture.

I looked up the definition of culture in my Concise Oxford Dictionary 1964. This book is my Bible where words are concerned. I shun all modern publications, they seem to lack a lot of words that were in use in the old days. Yes I know language evolves…. but it shouldn’t disappear.

I digress,

Culture, improvement by training by mental or physical means. Intellectual development.

It’s a tillage/rearing thing, much like making cultures in a laboratory.

So it obviously can’t be something you tag on to regular schooling, it is schooling.

I got to musing …… thinking about what I expect from education, pie in the sky most of it.

I wonder what you want from it? Your educational aspirations for your children/grandchildren?

Here are mine.

Firstly all children need to gain confidence and self-esteem. This is a top priority.

Then for a basic grounding I want children to learn to read, write, spell, learn their tables, add and subtract. I want them to learn their tables by rote as I did. I want them to learn the rules of grammar.

Without these basic skills, standards will plummet.

It may be too late I fear.

I want them to have access to a local library and to fall in love with books. I want them to also read and write poetry (I would wouldn’t I?).

I want them to visit museums, galleries, places of historical interest etc. as part of their education, not something tagged on as an afterthought. When I was a child at school in South London we did all these things. Aren’t we meant to have progressed? Where have we progressed in education?

In anything come to that?

(I digress again.)

I want them to learn how to find information in all the many ways available. They will need fast keyboard skills and to be able to READ.

I want them to learn crafts and skills before they are lost altogether. All crafts and skills should be given as much status and financial reward in our society as academic ones.

I want them to learn how to grow food organically. I want them to learn to cook and also to eat healthy foods. They need to learn about the science of nutrition.

I want them to ‘experience’ the soil, to grow plants and flowers as well as vegetables.

I want them to learn about the Earth and how to save it (another top priority).

I want them to learn a foreign language or two.

I want them to learn sciences (much as I hated them!).

I want them to have the opportunity to study and experience all forms of art.

I want them to learn to express themselves artistically, to use and develop their imagination and creativity in whatever medium they are drawn to, whether it is by acting, singing, dancing, music, playing sport, writing etc.

To learn the arts of relaxation and meditation, to play sport and dance, to exercise in all sorts of ways.

To learn about other countries and their cultures (that word again), to maybe go on exchange visits.

To help both one’s local community and those overseas.

I want them to learn about history and how NOT to repeat it.

To mix with all different races.

I want them to learn about the REALITY of war, not about its glorification. I would like them to be part of both a local and a global community group that fights for peace.

I want them to learn how to help those less fortunate, both in their own country and the rest of the world and to understand why they are less fortunate. I want them to understand and care for anyone with any kind of disability.

I want them to learn about the dangers of advertising and the subtle exploitation of people in all its guises.

Let’s teach them about real and worthwhile role models.
I don’t want their idols to be so-called celebrities.

I want them to have Original Thought (most important).
This is a sign of true intelligence and is nothing to do with the retention of learned factual knowledge.

I want them to each develop their own (individual) potential.

I am not a number. I’m a free man!

Before I go, here are some words, the lyrics of a song by Enya.


Pilgrim, how you journey
on the road you chose
to find out why the winds die
and where the stories go.
All days come from one day
that much you must know,
you cannot change what's over
but only where you go.

One way leads to diamonds,
one way leads to gold,
another leads you only
to everything you're told.
In your heart you wonder
which of these is true;
the road that leads to nowhere,
the road that leads to you.

Will you find the answer
in all you say and do?
Will you find the answer
In you?

Each heart is a pilgrim,
each one wants to know
the reason why the winds die
and where the stories go.
Pilgrim, in your journey
you may travel far,
for pilgrim it's a long way
to find out who you are...

Pilgrim, it's a long way
to find out who you are...

Pilgrim, it's a long way
to find out who you are...


I’ll stop ranting now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Thursday 14 February 2008

A Valentine for You


We walk through half our life
as if it were a fever dream

barely touching the ground

our eyes half open
our heart half closed.

Not half knowing who we are
we watch the ghost of us drift
from room to room
through friends and lovers
never quite as real as advertised.

Not saying half we mean
or meaning half we say
we dream ourselves
from birth to birth
seeking some true self.

Until the fever breaks
and the heart can not abide
a moment longer
as the rest of us awakens,
summoned from the dream,
not half caring for anything but love.

Stephen Levine 1937-

Monday 11 February 2008



I have been tagged by In the Mud

This is a quick MEME. What does MEME stand for?

This is how it works:

I have to pick the book nearest to me, go to page 123.

Find the 5th sentence.

Type the next five.

Tag five people to do the same.

Don’t forget to name the book. I borrowed mine from the library.

Invisible Acts of Power by Caroline Myss , bestselling author of Anatomy of the Spirit and Sacred Contracts.

Her words meant the world to me at that moment. She gave me the gift of knowing I was not alone and that I was understood. Both these acts of service came as complete surprises. I now feel that I can do pretty much anything!

Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.


Like the person who tagged me, I tag the first five visitors to this blog!

Saturday 9 February 2008

25 Needs

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Check out the audience.

Dear Diary,

A while ago I said I would take up the challenge to write 25 of my needs so here goes.

I can’t think of needs without going back to my nurse training days. When I was studying psychology for my diploma, great emphasis was placed on dear old Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs model. We were advised to use it when creating care plans for our patients.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as being associated with physiological needs, while the top level is termed growth needs associated with psychological needs. Deficiency needs must be met first. Once these are met, seeking to satisfy growth needs drives personal growth.

The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are satisfied. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman (at the esteem level) who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

I was not that impressed with it to be honest. Common sense really.

Anyway to get back down to earth,

I am thinking about my needs and here are the main ones that spring to mind: health, happiness and peace and I want them for all my family and friends too, well actually for all humanity would be the ideal. A true democracy and trustworthy politicians too. I don’t ask much do I?

I also need financial security, just enough money, not a great amount as I am not at all materialistic.

I also think I probably need, in random and no particular order……..

Apart from my family, who are the most important part of my life, I need: warmth, peace of mind and (sometimes) solitude, books, poetry, music, a shower and a bath, a home in the countryside, a beautiful, pollution-free environment, reading glasses, cats, dogs, a real fire, a garden, trees, libraries, my computer, the Internet, a radio, tea, Guinness, wine, birds, animals, healthy food, chocolate, to feel safe and secure, sunshine, all sorts of weather, art, more sleep, something to look forward to, friends, a comfy bed, soft pillows and duvet, rain, Nivea, pure air, a pen and paper to hand, imagination, passion, enthusiasm, trust and finally what I am in desperate need of……… more hours in a day or for those hours I do have to go a little more slowly!

Wants are different to needs aren’t they? I might try and think of a few of my wants next, that might be fun to do. Perhaps I will throw that out as a challenge in the future. But for now if anyone else wants to have a go at blogging some of their own needs, well 25 actually, do have a go. I know I have done more than 25 so I have failed miserably. I do tend to get carried away.

Before I go, a poem.

A Celt’s Wishlist

God give me my Celtic birthright
and let it be my saving grace,
with vision for a poem,
love of language, love of nature, love of place

Give me a flame that burns with romance,
a torch to carry and a Celtic hero at my calling,
And pure imagination, the ‘I-magic’ of the mind,
with wild humour to banish melancholy,
bring forth its sorcery to all I find

Give me a home among green fields, with mountains to surround me.
With tunes of river, lake or ocean perpetually playing for me.
Give me a garden to create and bring forth magic in its wake.
And to the sound of running water let me live the peaceful life.

Give me the gifts of second sight and wit,
with inborn powers to heal. Give me
a wood of trees and let them be my friends.
So when I sit beneath them or listen to the Celtic harp
or meditate upon the vagaries of life,
give me a dream to call my own

Give me a reason to exist each day;
the seeds that I may plant them,
the rules that I may follow them,
the crafts to learn, the words to weave
and spells to cast to heal the Earth

Give me all the colours of the world and friends who care.
A smile each day to take the tears away.
The healing rays of Spirit’s children,
still living in the moment, all their days.

Let me heed the call for justice, fight for what is right,
then show the hand of peace.

Give me a shoulder to lean upon at day’s end and
a sign when night is falling and the answer is not nigh
that all will be revealed when morning comes anew

©Cait O’Connor

Bye for now,

To end a bit of a slushy one, Leo Sayer, When I Need You.
Well it is Valentine's week..........

Saturday 2 February 2008


Dear Diary,

A Woman’s Work is Never Done

For a change I'll start with a couple of poems.


HERE lies a poor woman who was always tired,
She lived in a house where help wasn't hired:
Her last words on earth were: 'Dear friends, I am going
To where there's no cooking, or washing, or sewing,
For everything there is exact to my wishes,
For where they don't eat there's no washing of dishes.
I'll be where loud anthems will always be ringing,
But having no voice I'll be quit of the singing.
Don't mourn for me now, don't mourn for me never,
I am going to do nothing for ever and ever.'



Some women marry houses.
It's another kind of skin; it has a heart,
a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.
The walls are permanent and pink.
See how she sits on her knees all day,
faithfully washing herself down.
Men enter by force, drawn back like Jonah
into their fleshy mothers.
A woman is her mother.
That's the main thing.

Anne Sexton

I have been tagged by Bradan to write some Household Tips so here goes.

I will start with a few suggestions and they are but a few.

Vinegar has so many uses, just try it for everything. White vinegar is best as its scent is less like a fish and chip shop, but any vinegar will do. It is powerful stuff; you will be impressed and wonder why you ever bought anything else.

To neutralise smells in the loo, strike a match.

Baby wipes are a marvel. Use them to clean absolutely anything, from computer keyboards to spills on your clothes! The only worrying thing is that they are so powerful, it makes one wonder what is in them and should we be using them on out babies skin?

Sprinkle bi-carbonate of soda on your carpets, leave as long as you can and then hoover (gets rid of doggy smells etc).

Save orange and lemon rinds and burn in your fire, makes a nice smell. Or simmer in a saucepan with cloves or cinnamon to scent the whole house.

Use eco-friendly cleaning products, they are more expensive but smell divine and are safest for the environment. I use Ecover.

Don’t use aerosols. Or any chemicals. I am allergic to chemical air fresheners and many many other products. Even walking in the ‘cleaning’ aisles of supermarkets makes me feel their powerful effects.

I save my soap pieces in a soap jar. Add hot water and use for all sorts of things. Spraying on roses for example to kill nasty bugs. Any other suggestions?

This last one is nothing to do with housekeeping but I am quite taken with it.

If you make custard with custard powder, don’t add sugar, there is no need. Try it and see!


I have a teeny room in my teeny cottage that I call The Snug. On the wall is a framed picture of a quotation.

Dull Women have Immaculate Homes.

Where I live in Wales Dull means something different, it means someone who is a bit thick or a trifle ‘dim’. I understand the word dull to mean someone who is boring. Either way the quotation resonates with me and I love it.

Every woman loves it.

I don’t like mess and I love to be in a clean, tidy and shining environment but it is a constant struggle to keep one’s home in tip-top condition, would you not agree? Unless you have ‘hired help’ I suppose. Ha Ha.

Whenever my little cottage is clean, tidy, sweet smelling and shining immaculately no one turns up but whenever the place is looking like a tip, visitors will always appear unannounced. And the thing I hate about having invited guests is the urgency I am struck down with to clean and tidy up before they arrive or I feel guiltily sluttish. Am I alone in this?

I like and feel most comfortable in houses that look and feel lived-in, that are filled with all manner of wonderful things, all strewn around. I don’t like homes that feel like furniture showrooms or something out of a magazine, these so-called Ideal Homes in the Country for example, that resemble nothing like REAL homes lived in by REAL country living folk, none that I know anyway.

When I was a young wife I bought a book called Superwoman by Shirley Conran. It was filled with Household Hints and hints on life in general. Very good it was too, I still have it. I always remember a couple of Conran’s quotations

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom


I’d rather lie on a sofa with a book than sweep beneath it.

And I remember reading somewhere else that a woman’s gravestone would never have the inscription ‘Here lies So and So …….. SHE WAS TIDY‘. No I don’t think that anyone has ever been especially admired or rewarded for being so.

I will admit to one weakness in the housekeeping line and that is my passion for doing laundry. Iespecially love the act of hanging washing out on a line and I also love to see clean washing blowing in the wind. I also adore the smell of clean washing and even find ironing relaxing when I get around to doing it, when the mountain is so high or I have run out of clothes to wear!

My sweetest ally in the laundry stakes is my beloved, ancient Rayburn. It is so old, it is actually one of the original models, but is still going strong. It dries, airs and irons for me as well as warming the cottage, heating my water, simmering my pots, keeping my dogs and cats cosy and being the heart of my home.

But the main problem with Housekeeping - I love that word - I wonder why? is that it is still (nearly) always seen as a woman’s job and women still feel that they are somehow defined by the image of the home they present to the world.

I prefer to make my home as pleasant as I can just for myself (and my animals) to suit my needs and tastes, to make me feel cosy and comfortable as well as safe and secure……… rather than to impress.

I don’t want to be judged by it.

Home is where the heart is after all,

Here endeth the lesson,

I am tagging five more victims now

They are:

Camilla, Exmoor Jane, Frances, Irish Eyes and Faith.

(And like housework dear friends, only do it if you want to ).

Go mbeannai Dia duit,
God Bless,