Wednesday 31 October 2007


We are not big on Hallowe'en at ChezMagpie

But if you are going large on
Tricks, Treats and Frights in the Night

Have Fun!

p.s. these photos are for MasterM and MissM
to show them that I DID buy special chocolates
but I put them in a SAFE place
and I FORGOT to hand them over.

Just in case...

I found this book in a charity shop.

I thought that I would share it with you

because if you are thinking of sending me a posy

I would prefer to have Calla Aethiopica
or Camellia Japonica, White

And you will know not to choose Cardamine.

I'm sorry about the colour of the picture with text
I had to adjust the midtones so that the words were legible
but it has made it whiter than it should be.
The original is a fabulous cream colour.
I will try again this evening.

Tuesday 30 October 2007

Last Minute Panics

My children are at boarding school.
It works for us - they have fun with their friends
and they know that we are safely tucked up in a home.

It is like respite care for parents of teenagers.

These are the things that they said to me
before we went back to school on Sunday:

Don't let me forget my flute
I can't find any socks
I can't find any underwear
Please buy me lots of bacon and cheese...
Please sew up my gloves and send them to me
....And sausages and chocolate biscuits and tomato ketchup
I have taken your shampoo
I have taken your toothpaste
Could you take my library books back
I forgot my basketball boots. Can you send them?
I forgot my flute

Enid Blyton didn't mention any of this in Malory Towers.

Monday 29 October 2007

A difficult decision

Today, says MissM, I am feeling the BLUE vibe...
I want a car to match my jeans.

I explain that this is a very SHALLOW way to choose a car.

She should get a classic RED with a soft top
for the pop star image that she wishes to cultivate.

She is almost convinced but then she sees a YELLOW car
And she decides that this is the one
Because even though it is VULGAR it would impress her brother.

Personally, I think that she should buy enough
to play colour patterns outside our house.

It is a shame to do things by halves.

Sunday 28 October 2007


I have a secret passion for cauliflowers.
I love the cool creamy colour.
The squeaky green leaves with their frilly edges.
The snap of the stems.
The fresh smell.

If only everyone else in the family felt the same way.

When I lay in front of them a bowl of Cauliflower Cheese
with a perfectly browned, crisp top
and a faint smell of bay leaves
they turn their heads away and say in martyred tones:

"Why, why do we ALWAYS have Cauliflower Cheese."

I think I might run away
and set up a community on a Hebridean island
where I could live in harmony with like-minded souls.

On reflection,
it might become a bit boring
worshipping cauliflowers.

Saturday 27 October 2007

Personal Statement

I wish to apply to your university because my girlfriend will be studying there I believe it offers a challenging and rigorous academic course. I am particularly attracted by the pictures of the Students' Union wide range of courses and the opportunity to pursue my academic interests. I believe that my ability to absorb Sports Trivia analyse and evaluate will be very useful. I have recently read "The Day of the Jackal" by Frederick Forsyth the classic text on the course that I wish to take and it has profoundly influenced my view of the world. My long term ambitition is to do the 300 workout without feeling nauseous take a professional qualification and contribute to society. In my year out I intend to travel to South Africa and have a few beers with my friends take advantage of cross cultural experiences at this exciting moment in history.

Friday 26 October 2007

A New Day


Thursday 25 October 2007

MissM knits

I'm so excited.

It appears that there is a knitter in the family
and so this blog may, after all, be able to join
the hallowed inner circle of Craft Blogs.
I am delighted that MissM has agreed to be interviewed.

She is wearing a smoky blue velvet waistcoat
and drinking a detox smoothie.
Her PA is next to her wearing an expensive red necklet.

Who taught you to knit?
My mother inspired me.
She said if I wanted fingerless gloves
I could knit them myself.

Do you prefer plastic or bamboo needles?
Well, I am very aware
of the environmental issues that this raises.
Bamboo is degradeable
but over-use can damage the natural habitat of the Panda
and so I prefer
plastic which can be recycled.

What is your next project?
It depends how much wool I have left over.
It might be a beanie hat...
or a tea cosy...
or an egg cosy.

What is your long term ambition as a knitter?
To knit Shreddies.
I need 50 years experience to qualify
and so I knew I had to start now
to give myself that opportunity in the long term.

Do you have any plans to move into crochet?
I'm taking it one step at a time.

What does knitting mean to you as a person?
It shows that I am an independent spirit.
It is important to express your creative individuality
whatever other people say.
You don't want to be a sheep.

Wednesday 24 October 2007


busy at work

half term at home

drop shoulders

focus on white space

breathe in...

and out...

Tuesday 23 October 2007

Happy Birthday, Grandma

My mother and my son
meeting for the first time.

Happy Birthday Mum!

Birthdays, Birthdays

In the dark before morning I lie still,
trapped between sheets and duvet.
I live the day that lies before me
but mostly I worry about birthdays.
About forgetting
About presents and cards and postal strikes.
About almost forgetting
About cakes and flowers and celebrations.
About forgetting.

At least I don't have to do party bags now.

Monday 22 October 2007

Happy Birthday to the Lovely MissE

The Lovely MissE is mad about olives
And so now we have olives in our fridge.

We used to be a crisps family
But we are nearly converted.

Not all of us though...
MasterM will do almost anything
to make the Lovely MissE happy

But not even love will make him eat olives.

We wish you a happy, happy day
and a year full of wonderful adventures.

Sunday 21 October 2007

Close Supervision

This little robin likes to supervise my gardening.

He has high standards,
Always checks the area that I am digging
And tells me to work harder.

Now I know how MrM feels.

Saturday 20 October 2007

Coming Up Smelling of Roses

A sad tale with a happy ending

One year ago MrM was offered a ticket to the World Cup Final.
He assumed that he would be watching
South Africa v New Zealand
But he said yes.

Four months ago he booked the Eurostar to get to Paris
And the hotel to stay in Paris
And the restaurant to eat in Paris.

One week ago he realised that he would be watching
England v South Africa

MrM was very, very excited.

and his VRF said
'The tickets will arrive on Wednesday'
and on Wednesday his VRF said
'We will collect the tickets on Friday'
and on Friday his VRF said
'There are no tickets'

MrM was very, very disappointed.

He spoke to his lawyer.
MrM's lawyer said
'I will fix your VRF and get you some tickets'
Which he did.

So now MrM and his lawyer are on the Eurostar
drinking champagne.

And tomorrow they will meet
our wonderful friends, Glen and Mary
and MasterM's South African friends
and celebrate one team or the other.

It should be a great weekend.

Friday 19 October 2007

Time Passes

There was a time when I knew the names of fungi

I attended lectures given by H.J. Hudson
and read the classic textbook

Ingold CT & Hudson HJ (1993) The Biology of Fungi.
Chapman & Hall, London.

I knew about gills and spores and mycorrhiza.

Now I have forgotten the detail

but I can still take pleasure
in the shapes, fragility and delicate colours.

It is - as MissM suggested - an example of transience.

Thursday 18 October 2007

Autumn Collection

hebe, skimmia, cyclamen, pansies, ivy

This will face up to cold nights and foggy mornings;
sunshine and driving rain.

The cyclamen which look so delicate on their slender stalks
love the changeable autumn weather
and the silvery heart shaped leaves bring pleasure
even after the flowers have finished.

MasterM worries that Granny will not approve:
"She will say 'Blood and Bandages, Blood and Bandages'"

I reassure him the pansies are not red,
they are crimson, the colour of garnets.

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Facing Up To The Future

There comes a moment in the development of any blog when you have to start confronting the important things in your life. You move away from the superficial and face up to what really matters. It is only at this moment that you mature as a blogista.

I feel ready to take this next step
and so today I wish to talk about potato peelers.

For the first twenty years of my marriage
I had a perfect potato peeler.
It was my constant companion and never let me down.
And then one day it snapped and I was inconsolable.

I attempted to recreate this perfect relationship
by buying identical but younger models
but they did not have the same smooth action.

I went through a period of denial
and just cooked pasta and rice
but then I understood
that the halcyon days were gone for good
and I had to face up to the future.

I tried the 'bigger is better' model
but discovered that size is not everything.

And then there was a brief phase
where I toyed with an ergonomic model
but the peel just got stuck in the blade.

And then, on Monday, I saw this model in the supermarket.

I'm not naive but I did feel that glimmer of hope
that this could be 'the one'.
I have had too many disappointments
to commit myself quickly
but I feel optimistic that it could be
the beginning of a long term relationship.

It is an important moment in my life
and I am glad that I was able to share it with you.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

People Watching

When your feet hurt from walking through galleries
and your mind is full of new images

You must make your way through the V&A
to the refreshment rooms
for a pot of Darjeeling (first flush)
You can rest under the great, glowing chandeliers
and listen to the grand piano

Surrounded by the intelligentsia of London
eating slices of banana cake.

A word of warning:
if you sit and contemplate
the beautiful curves of the young ladies
supporting the fireplace

You feel less inclined to eat the chocolate mousse.