Standing on shifting sands

1989. I was sixteen and a band came out of Manchester, a band so wonderful and amazing they could never live up to their own hype. That band was the Stone Roses. In 1990, I went to Spike Island with a whole lot of other people – I’d guess over 20,000 – and it was a crazy, wonderful time.

This is one of my favourite tracks, though I should really have put the first Stone Roses album on my Desert Island Discs. The brash monotones and acid colours of the 80s gave way to the much more pessimistic 90s, when Nirvana and Pearl Jam would become my most-listened-to bands. I can’t think of a more Much Love Monday album. Not unlike many other bands who change the tone of everything that everyone is listening to, they found it hard to live up to the hype.

So what am I loving this Monday?

Firstly, forest walks. The garden’s kind of slowed down. My vegetable patch is no longer uncontrollable. Heston is a boy who has a lot of energy (don’t get me started on his new-found friendship with César, labrador-hobo-extraordinaire, who turns up in my garden to play and then takes Heston out on walks around my village… Heston was standing at the front gate yesterday, all giddy, like ‘look at me! I’m outside!’ and he was so pleased with himself it almost felt horrible to lock him back into the garden and seek out one of César’s many escape-holes that Heston had managed to follow him through.)

I won’t lie to you. I’m also hunting for mushroomy-treasures.

I have a mini-mushroom obsession. The day I find my first cep, you’ll hear me crowing about it from China. Every time I read a story about a 2 kg cep being dug up, it just excites me even more.

Plus, my dogs are cute when they go out for walks. They love a walk.

Today, we saw a deer just eating a little lunch at the side of the road. Deer here are kind of small. They’re not much bigger than the hares, which are MA-HOO-SIVE. I’d always expected deer to look like the big red stags in the parks in England, but no, these babies are tiny. Roe deer are small even compared to me. Heston stands at 22 inches now, and a roe-deer is about the same size.

Not only did we see a deer, but we also came across a dormouse. I should say one of the dogs came across the dormouse and I’m guessing it was preparing itself for hibernation and was a bit slow, but it was soon a meal for a dog. And then it was regurgitated. I managed to throw it away before it could be eaten again. Heston is a bit like Lennie in Of Mice and Men and I half expected him to go after it again.

It’s also good weather for jumpers, scarves, hats, gloves and thick socks. I like this weather. Fires are good. I’ve burned myself three times in the last two days on the fire – mainly because I pull my sleeve up to put the log in and then I catch my arm on it. My dad suggested gloves, but since I wear gloves to do it, I need some of those cow-birthing gloves. Cow-birthing gloves made of asbestos. It’s hot-water-bottle, electric blanket, two-duvet weather, when it’s nice to feel warm and you’re not so cold that you mind, but cold enough to really enjoy warm beds and blankets and fires.

It’s ten degrees in the day, the sun is out, the leaves are crisp, there are lots of people walking about and ferreting in the undergrowth.

Also a time for sticking on films and getting into an art groove.

I’ve got my concept for my Christmas cards this year, and I think you will like it when you see them. They’re a little more colourful than last year, though still very ‘me’. Black outlines, lots of text and fonts. I’ve also been using acrylic and inks rather than water colour for them. I’ve done a handful and this next week, I’ll finish them off. I showed them to a little girl today and she said ‘What are you doing??! It’s not Christmas! It’s not even Hallowe’en yet!’

I like to be prepared.

I’ve also been working through classic films. Last night it was 12 Angry Men. It was the first time I’d watched this classic. I thought it’s funny how the world has evolved to the point where racists no longer feel comfortable (on the whole) sharing their views with all and sundry, but in all likelihood, put a black kid in the box and you’d have the same situation. However, the likelihood of having a jury of 12 angry men has ceased to exist. Now, if only we can beat both racism and sexism out of the entire world for good in the next 50 years… I also thought the actors of the latter years were much less handsome and shiny and polished. Bar Steve Buschemi, we favour a flawless cast these days. I watched Dark Matter the night before, and I’m quite glad Tim Burton favours weirdness from time to time. 

I’m also Much Loving this Monday article about how lucky we are: 4 big predictions about the future. You don’t usually die of a broken bone. You aren’t as likely to die as a result of a crime, a war or an act of terrorism. Even the poorest have access to some of the lifestyle features of the richest, like mobile phones and the internet. I remember working in Sheffield in 1995 where only 70% of the families had a washing machine and only 30% had a car. As for living forever, well, at least I might get to read all the books I want. Lovely children’s author Elizabeth Laird told one of my classes that even if she read three books a week for the remaining twenty years she expected to have good vision, she’d still only be able to read 3,000 books. I might have twice that long. 6,000 books is not a lot, really.

That brings me to my final Much Love. The Hunger Games trilogy. Just finished it yesterday and I feel a bit bereft. I’ve moved on to some Stuart MacBride, but it’s not the same. I’m not feeling it. Plus, not much love for the hasty epilogue. It needed another chapter or so. I don’t like it when stuff is over so quickly.

Finally, you know I’m a tree-hugger, so much love to my sumac, which is 50 shades of splendid right now.

I love autumn in all its splendid fires of dying. I love it in its soft browns and muted greens. I love it as it fades and as it pops. Sometimes it goes gentle into that good night, where the leaves fall like a soft rain and sometimes, like my sumac, it goes out in a blaze of fury. Ii o-tenki, desu ne?

6 thoughts on “Standing on shifting sands

  1. I just bought the second Hunger Games book and can’t wait to dig into it. But I’m a ‘one book at a time’ reader and am in the middle of Lovely Bones. That’s an I treating stat about how many more books we can read in a lifetime.

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