Wednesday, 5 December 2012

all there is

the perfection of it
hurts your heart:

the whiteness of the light,
the blueness of the sky,
the blackness of the trees,

and you must pause,
there is no choice.


I'm taking a break from blogging

I have things to do
and people to see

in the meantime
let's turn up the volume

my love to you all

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Five go to Skyfall

Dick, go ahead with Anne
through the secret passage
and out onto the moor.
Don't use your torch,
that's a beginner's mistake,
the baddies will see you
and shoot Anne.

I'm afraid
because I have the body
of a feeble woman.
Also, I'm wearing a skirt.

It's not a skirt, it's a kilt,
but we all understand,
fieldwork is not for everyone.

What shall I do next?

Go to the old chapel.
In the meantime
I will fend off the baddies
armed only with cherry cake
and ginger pop bottles.

I will send Timmy the dog
to show you the way
through the dangerous bog.

But what about me?
How will I find the way
when I need to escape?

Don't be a cissy, Julian.
There will be plenty of light
to see your way across the moor
when the house is ablaze.

Welcome to Scotland.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

(just for the record)

The Annual Lecture

The Head of Department was so pleased
with the success of last year's Annual Lecture
that he decided to go large for 2012.

'Invite a celebrity speaker!
Book the biggest lecture theatre!
Invite as many schools as possible!
Make a huge publicity splash!'

And we all set to work

MrsM booked the biggest lecture theatre,
Schools were delighted to be invited
and the Admissions Tutor, the Lady Professor
and the Academic who is a very youthful 43
invited a speaker from Another University

On the big day the Head of Department
looked around and was exultant...
the lecture theatre was full
of the brightest and best sixth formers
enjoying the anticipation.

And then the Celebrity Speaker started

After the wine reception
MrsM thanked the catering staff
and took a deep breath...
it had been a bit awkward when
part of the ceiling fell down...
thank goodness the Annual Lecture
was over for another year.

Friday, 30 November 2012


I am planning
to eat
my body weight
in satsumas
Look away NOW!

Thursday, 29 November 2012


I know, I know...

don't tell me...

I spoil him.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012



in South Africa...

MasterM is enjoying the sunshine.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


It is the season
for Fenland celery.

Go forth,
I command you,
and make soup.

Monday, 26 November 2012


the campus in winter

Sunday, 25 November 2012



I shouldn't
have told
my friend
that kale
gives you
chin hairs.

It's really
quite nice.

Friday, 23 November 2012


My work computer died recently.
It was an abrupt and unexpected departure
but my work was all backed up
so there was no great drama.

The only thing that got lost in the process
was the image I used for the screensaver.
It was a picture of rocks
at the bottom of a cliff
and was much admired by
Physical Geography colleagues.
I miss it after so many years.

This is my new screensaver -
I expect I'll get used to it.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

friends near and far

Have you visited Julia in Prague recently?
She has started to post everyday
and it is a delight to discover the city.
It is also fun to learn more about Julia
who has been a loyal commenter on this blog.
Audrey, my mother-in-law, loves Prague
and insists that we must visit soon.
I say "Well...I have a friend who lives there..."


Happy Thanksgiving
to Julia and all my American friends.
I wish you a peaceful weekend.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Risotto and other matters

I regret to report that
The Young Academic is in trouble.

When he asked if I could
join the party going to the pub
I explained that it was impossible
because I was going home to make MrM
my famous Courgette Risotto

The Young Academic expressed his admiration
and innocently asked
"What are you planning to make next for MrM...
your Famous Nut Roast?"?

At this point everyone looked aghast
and the Quiet Academic blushed rose-red.
The Young Academic beat a hasty retreat
to the sound of my laughter.

One day he will join up
his brain with his mouth.
One day....

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Food for Honey Badgers

You will need lots of lemons.
Lemon rind, lemon juice and lemon zest.
You want to make your cheeks
hurt ever so slightly
before the sweetness settles.

And three eggs.
If you were making a bigger cake
you would need more.
And a dipper and a half of flour
with a handful of ground almonds.

You must have a special fish bowl
to beat your eggs.
If you haven't got one
your cake will not be a success.
I'm sorry about that.

The drizzle on this cake
is not up to prize-winning standards
but it does elegantly show off
the charming olive wood board
that I bought from Pernes-Les-Fountaines.

This cake is dedicated to Nick Cummins,
hero of the Australian rugby team
who is inspired by the honey badger:

“The honey badger travels 40 kilometres a day
and is one of the most fearless
and fiercest animals in the world.
So that’s something for me to aspire to.”

Lemon Drizzle cake is MasterM's favourite.
He understands a thing or two about being brave...
he's just been cage diving with sharks.
My very own little honey badger.

Monday, 19 November 2012

endings & beginnings

It was a weekend
for doing things
that I have wanted to do
for months...

I organised the garlic bowl
and accessorised the fruit bowl.
These things are important.

I tried to eat healthily.
The lemon drizzle cake will be
displayed for your approval tomorrow.

I cooked cauliflower cheese
and MrM humoured me
because I have been ill.

I  ripped out too many rows
which will teach me not to multitask
by watching thrillers while I knit.

I replaced the candles
and dusted the mantlepiece
and washed the kitchen floor.

And listened to music.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

the splash of words

Garden Bench, 2001
Jenny Holzer

Istrian stone
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice
Nasher Scuplture Garden

Friday, 16 November 2012


Thank you
for your kind good wishes for MissM.
She had a wonderful day
which ended enjoying cocktails with her friends.

Thank you
for your get well wishes for me.
I'm better!
But still a bit wobbly.

We are having a quiet weekend at home.
Bring it on.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

(just for the record)

Thoughts While Knitting

The Scottish Professor
has just returned from
the first holiday of his retirement.
His wife chose the Seychelles
because there are no bogs, no midges
and she has never been there on fieldtrips.

The Lady Professor
is taking 50 students
to the Wildwood Trust.
Wolves! Lynx! Bison!

Pierre the Palaeontologist
has had a new species named after him.
Melaneremia schrevei
Isn't that amazing!

I wish the Admissions Tutor
would give up eating peaches.
Out of a tin.
With a fork.

The ice scientist is coming to
give a prestigious lecture.
I hope there is a spare seat because
I'm going to sneak in the back.

It must be unseasonably mild:
the famous red fleece top
has not made an appearance yet.
It is a proxy for climate change.

Did I ever mention that
the academic who is 40+
was on Time Team?
Digging big holes is his speciality.

The young academic
has just got his first big grant.
I always said it wouldn't be long
before he was Head of Department.

The tall Scottish PhD student
is standing still in the sunshine,
He has just called his family
to tell them he has passed his viva
and he can't stop smiling.
Never plain Mr again.

Lots of PhD vivas coming up...
there may be a visit
to 'The Happy Man' in my future.
Or two.

Gareth has not made scones recently.
I must mention it to him.

The newest little Quaternary Scientist
is due in 16 weeks time.
I need to knit faster.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

MissM, 21

Today MissM is celebrating her birthday
with her friends at university.

We send her our love,
this beautiful young woman
who is our daughter.
She has brought us joy
since the day she was born.

We have learned so much from MissM
but most of all she has shown us
that you can make dreams come true
with hard work and determination.

And that you can never have
too many handbags.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Compound Word

Go and play with Ali today...
she has started the Compound Word project
a collaborative blog of photos and words.
It's going to be fun.

My compound word of the day is
I'm lying low.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Albert, Samuel, William, Albert

11am Remembrance Sunday

Albert, Samuel, William, Albert...

Each year these names resonate
from cold granite facings
in this country churchyard.
Albert the blacksmith's lad,
Samuel the parson's son,
William the postman
and Albert his brother.

The birds fly up at the crackle
of the bugle into the blueness
of every November day since
they left the village,
but in the long distance
the cows on the green skyline
wait patiently for their return.

Alice Christie
11 xi 12


thank you for your moving posts
to commemorate Remembrance Sunday

the Quince Tree
an acceptable time

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Venice by night

It is dark when you leave the Jazz club.

Signposts have disappeared,
swallowed by shadows...

you must find your way back
by the sound of a party
crowded outside a bar,

masks which gleam
in dark shop windows,

light from a restaurant
which has closed for the night

angular shadows creeping
across marble bridges,

lamplight reflections on water
and a lute player nearby,

and then you see the hotel
at the edge of the canal
and another day is over.


for Diktynna
who loves Venice too.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Venice by day

We walked and walked
along canals, over bridges
under low passageways
and through narrow alleys.

It is easy to lose your bearings,
to find youself unexpectedly
at a dead end beside the water.

You follow people who seem to know
as they cut across empty squares
and disappear down alleyways

Unconsciously you find markers
for the way back,
a purple flower, an orange shirt,

chandelier drops in sunlight,
marble leaves that curl and twist,

gleaming almond tarts,
a lion staring from a verdigris door

and curvaceous cherubs
frolicking joyfully
in the bright November sun.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Venice at High Water

Right, let's get this over with, shall we?

MrM was right.

It was very high water in Venice.

A record flood in fact.

We needed wellies.

I shouldn't have argued.

Wellies are cool in Venice.

Even the gondoliers wear them.

Luckily, I was forced to take mine.

There, that wasn't so painful was it?