Wednesday, 22 July 2009


I've just had three days at a favourite place in North Wales. Favourite things -

the lilt
changing light on the mountains
views across Conwy castle
bara brith
gardens with water in and around them
the Glassblobbery and -

excellent company. We were joined by eldest son and his lovely girlfriend who introduced us to another hidden Welsh joy, Cadwallader's ice cream parlours. I can recommend the white chocolate with ginger and the turkish delight.

It's also such a land of stories, and I think the Welsh tales are influenced by the landscape - misty and mysterious. I have mixed English, Welsh and Scots ancestry and am mostly Northumbrian. I'm the red-haired, Pictish type. So, as a mongrel, I have no connection at all with the appalling brutalities of Edward I and his cronies against the Welsh and the Scots, but also as a mongrel I would like to apologise for them anyway. God bless Wales and all who live there, (especially eldest son and only daughter, who have had the sense to move there.)

Monday, 13 July 2009

It must be July because...

Is it that long since the last blog? Everything seems to be happening at once. Little things - lots of odds and ends of work, local things, parties, and, of course, barbecues.

Barbecues are not about food. They are about sweaty men with tea towels over their shoulders. They are about cooking on a reluctant grill thing in either baking sunshine or pouring rain when you have a perfectly good cooker in the kitchen (and somebody who knows how to use it). As a fusspot, I'm never sure how cooked things are on a barbie, and as a veggie I don't eat them anyway. But a barbie is also about one of my favourite things...

...being outside on beautiful summer evenings. Never mind the barbie. Give me a glass of something cold, a few crisps to nibble on, and good company. And a garden, of course. The barbie in York on Thursday was pretty well perfect. Thank you, everyone.

I forgot to say strawberries. Thank God for strawberries. If you're allergic to them, never mind. I'll eat them for you.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Already July

I don't know where June went, but July kicked off with a gloriously sunny day in York. My great friend and former neighbour Mary had phoned to say that she was coming to York for a day, and could we meet? We've kept in touch through the years, but not met for over a decade. I had the joy of seeing the Minster through somebody else's eyes - she noticed details I've never seen - and it was too hot for lunch so we had ice crem and Pimms instead, and parted knowing that we should have done this years ago, and will again. Mary, a good Northumbrian, neighbour in a million, still making me think and making me laugh.

Thursday was York again, sun again, great company again, and this time it was strawberries and sparkly flavoured water. All the time, a new story that I can't yet discuss was fizzing, too, and taking new, funny exciting twists much better than the course I'd planned for it.

Today it poured, and Andy Murray NARROWLY lost the semi-final. Andy, you are a star, you Great Scot, you will win it one day, and you can ignore any sneering pundits who sit in their comfortable chairs with their ice-old drinks and try to say otherwise. Anyone who can even see those serves, let alone return them, is a man to treat with big respect. Now go and walk the dog. He knows you're the best in the world.