Thursday, 31 January 2008

A Portrait of the Author.

Miss Tiny Small has graciously permitted me
to show you her portrait of me.
It is very true to life.
Please note the wild, sticking-up hair - it was a windy day.
Long eyelashes - I don't want to brag but I am glad she noticed.
It would seem that my black bootcut trousers
have a very, very slimming effect on my legs.
The curvaceous body shape - children are very honest...

Shopping with Miss Tiny Small

Today I met Val and Miss Tiny Small
and we went for some retail therapy.

No photographs with this post, folks
Well, you don't embarass a celebrity when she is shopping.

Everyone needs a personal shopper to guide them
and encourage them to Think Pink.
I was taken under the tiny wing of Miss Tiny Small
and she wanted to help me transform myself.

1. A Bargain Wedding Dress
A snip at £8.99 - why spend more?

2. A sparkle kit for Fairy Wings
Could be pink, could be silver.

3. A Hello Kitty handbag
Every girl needs at least one.

4. Pink, Pink and more Pink Hair Accessories
If only I had blonde, curly hair like Miss Tiny Small.

5. Pink Marshmallows
Very low calorie.

6. Strawberry Pink Chocolate Egg
Less low calorie but a must for a self-respecting three year old.

7. A Pony
It is not pink but
it eats plastic carrots,
waves its tail, nods its head and twitches its ears.
And lives in the toy department.
Poppy might not like it but I'm tempted.


Thank you so much, Val and the lovely Miss Tiny Small (who nearly got smuggled away in my handbag). I had so much fun that I was very sad to wave you off on the bus. We must do it all over again soon.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Under the Weather

It has been cold and grey.

I wish that I could find my own little patch of sunshine.

Tomorrow I drive north to visit a university with MasterM

And then I drive south to meet up with Val.

It will be a busy couple of days

And it would help if I didn't have a cold.

Back on Friday.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Cupboard Confessions

I looked in my cupboard
and what did I find?

1. A Stockpile of 64 White Birthday Candles.

If there is a national shortage
it is My Fault.
I must have had a period of
birthday cake anxiety attacks.

2. Three Sizes of Matches

This is for everyday,
children's birthday cakes (XLong)
and finally,
my birthday cakes (XXLong)

3. Two Types of Fairy Cake Cases

Fairy cake case snobbery unmasked here.
One can't have fairy cakes in coloured cases...
Can One?
It is is bit like bathroom suites.
They must be White.

4. The Salt.

This salt was purchased in 1990
When MasterM was still in nappies
And has been on every self-catering holiday since.
Either we don't use very much salt in our cooking
We don't do very much catering on self-catering holidays.

5. The Heritage Box of Yeast

This heirloom was bought when I got married in 1985
So that I could make fresh bread for MrM.
It was bought with the noblest of intentions.
You will note that it is unopened.
However, I have recently been inspired
to resurrect my short-lived breadmaking career.
Reports to follow.

6. The Bottle of Rosewater.

Imagine the situation
It is late at night just before Christmas
The aisles of Sainsbury's are empty
Except for the army of shelf stackers.
I run in to buy
(Oh! The shame of this confession!!)
Pre-Sieved Apricot Jam.
I clutch aforementioned item and turn towards the tills.
I know that the teenager on the till will judge me
if I arrive with just a pot of Pre-Sieved Apricot Jam.
And so I pick up this bottle of Rosewater to Improve my Image.
What is all that about?

7. The Bottle of Grenadine.

This is it, folks.
This is the item which I bought just for the label.
The label that matches my curtains.
That is how shallow I am.

Now I think it is time to close the cupboard door.
There will be no more confessions of weirdness
from ChezMagpie.
I would like to retain a shred of dignity.

the Mother of the Lovely MissE
reads this blog!

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Out and About in Blogland

There is an administrative backlog
here at ChezMagpie.

I have very belated thanks to make,
new friends to mention,
Good News to draw to your attention,
A plea from the heart,
and a message for Domesticali.

No time to waste.

Belated Thanks

for the most generous awarding of Awards.
Too kind of y'all.
I know that I must reveal much weirdness in return
and that will follow tomorrow.

New Friends

Ginnie has been leaving lovely comments for some time
but now she has taken the plunge and started her own blog
It has been a great privilege
learning about the challenges that she faces.
Welcome, Ginnie!

I have so enjoyed reading flossie teacakes
and this post about Haiku
was sheer delight.
Thank you, Florence!

I lived in Africa as a child
and so I was fascinated to read
It brings back memories of life in a small African town:
the dust, the heat and the snakes.

Good News from Toddler Planet

WhyMommy has successfully finished
her gruelling chemotherapy treatment
and has now had a double mastectomy.
She is a very courageous lady
and now must recover from surgery
and finish with a course of radiotherapy.
Go, WhyMommy, Go!

A plea from the heart...

Do you good Wordpress and Typepad people realise
that your email address
is not automatically included in your profile?
I lerv to reply to your comments
but I am not able to access my blog
during the day
and so it has to be done by email.
And I can't if I don't have an address.....

A Message for Ali

Dear Ali,
I hold my hand up
I am guilty of buying food
just because it is in pretty tins.
(But - to the best of my knowledge -
I have never bought pilchards.)
The whole idea made me laugh a lot
And so I looked in my cupboard....

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Paws for Thought

Make time for your friends.
Organise special treats to enjoy:
A walk in the country or a meal together.
Let them know that you value their friendship

Love Poppy

Please think of Ellie
who is going through difficult times.
Thank you.

Friday, 25 January 2008


It is time to refresh the palate

with apple green petals,

sharp lime stamens

and feathered leaves.

Too much rich food

is bad for the digestion.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Name Dropping

Yesterday I spoke to Professor Geoffrey Hill.

When I mentioned this to colleagues
there were gasps and murmurs:

“The Greatest Living English Poet”
“The heir to Milton and Coleridge;
Eliot, Poe and Pound.”

I was impressed
by the depth of my ignorance
and decided to do some research.

His poems are indigestible, solid with historical allusions.
His dislike of readers, renowned.

I cannot pretend to have a critical eye
And yet, reading small sections of his work,
I glimpse the magnitude of his art,
The page glittering with extraordinary words.

Not to skip detail, such as finches brisking
on stripped haw-bush;
the watered gold that February drains
out of the overcast; nomadic aconites
that in their trek recover beautifully
our sense of place,
the snowdrop fettled on its hinge, waxwings
becoming sportif in the grimy air.

A Treatise of Civil Power
Yale University Press

Treviso v. London Irish

Italian women wear fur coats to rugby matches

Which contrasts nicely with the feather boas

That London Irish women wear.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Souvenirs of Venice

I longed to bring you all a souvenir from the shops of Venice
but there was so much choice and so little time.
Here is a selection -
Please pick whichever takes your fancy.

Murano Glass

Silk and Velvet

(I think this is the one for Florence)

Fine Linen

(these are for Becca)


(I am sorry but the frame on the side is MINE)

Artisan Chocolates

(these are for Dragonfly who has had good news...
but I am sure she will share them.)



(more cookie cutters than you could dream of, Ali)

And...for the priest in your life:

The 2008 Vestment collection.

The last photograph was taken in nearby Treviso.
This shop was absolutely fascinating
and I was so tempted to go inside and discuss crosiers.
Unfortunately, the sales assistant was occupied
with an important customer in a black soutane
who saw me looking through the window
and gave me a smile with an irresistible twinkle.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

A Watery World

In a world with no cars you travel by water
in a Vaporetto (water bus) or water taxi.

There are police boats, fire boats and Ambulanza.

There are boats for builders, heating engineers
postmen and even TNT delivery boats.

If you are a tourist
you recline expensively on the gilded seats of a Gondola

but if you are a Venetian
you cross the canal in a Traghetto, standing.

Rubbish is collected from the canalside by boat

and farm vegetables are sold from a boat deck

It all makes for busy waterways
and an early morning traffic jam.

La Serenissima

Venice is an elusive city.

It has a formal face of grand buildings

built to display wealth and impress the visitor.

It is curiously unsatisfying to capture these images.

Your photographs slide off the polished surface.

You feel that the real Venice is hidden behind a mask.

If you turn instead to the small canals,

and tiny sidestreets,

the markets

bars ,

and osteria

you catch tantalising glimpses of the private Venice

and if you are lucky

an elderly Venetian woman will smile at you from her window.