Wednesday, 30 May 2012

(just for the record)

The Staff-Student Rounders Match

Yes...I did get up early
and make these scones
before work.
Be proud of me!

Yes...I did wear
sparkling white jeans
in the sure and certain belief
I wouldn't be in the team.

Yes...these are the umpires.
You will note that
the two student umpires
are studying the rules.
They are young and responsible.

On the other hand
the Young Academic
is drinking Pimms.
Nuff said.

Yes...this is the student team.
If they look motivated
and ready to crush the opposition
that is because they were.

There is a photo
of the staff team.
I am in it.

So is MissM
who was 'persuaded'
to join in.

Yes...this is Jenny
cutting her scrumptious cake.

Yes...I can confirm that
the Pimms slipped down
very nicely in the sunshine.
So did the cake.

I ran.
In public.

MissM ran faster
and scored a rounder.
Yes...I'm proud.

Yes...there are worse ways
to spend a sunny afternoon
at the end of term.

Monday, 28 May 2012

dinner by candlelight

imagine a table with white roses and candles

a jug of Pimms prepared by MrsM

lemon and thyme chicken cooked by MissM

and chilled apricot tart*

** wishing you were here MasterM! **

*disclosure : made by St. Michael (not MrM)


Thank you for all your delicious comments...
they are the sauce and seasoning for every post!

If you have been reading for a while
you will know that the start of June
is fairly frenetic for me
because I am part of the exams team.
Apologies in the advance
when I am extra slow at responding
to comments and emails
over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Exam Cake

Using your knowledge
of historical events
and the domestic context,
discuss the likely outcome
of a request for a
coffee and walnut cake
by hard-working examiners
and propose methods
to mitigate the potential
for marital disaster.

Don't blink, it's summer!

It was warm enough to eat outside!
The outdoors tablemats
came out of the cupboard!
And a candle!
We lit a candle!
There were roses...
from the garden!
We drank chilled white wine
and ate fresh strawberries!
And somehow, magically,
it felt like Saturday
even though it was Tuesday.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Woman Ironing
(La repasseuse)
Pablo Picasso (1881 - 1973)

I regret to announce that
due to the fact that I spent
too much time at the weekend
admiring my shiny new iPad
there is a slight laundry crisis
that I must attend to.

Can you talk among yourselves?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Sunday Evening


"Well hellooo Special Offer Broccoli
now is your moment to shine
Do not go soggy or grey
because you have been chosen
to complement the famous
Lamb shanks with cannellini beans
and I shall be extremely displeased
if you let the side down."

MrsM pauses and tries to decide
if talking to vegetables
is an ominous development

or just an indicator of
the amount of gin
in the G&T.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Fly Past

Windsor 19 May 2012

Friday, 18 May 2012

a legacy of beauty


Inside the house there was a dining room.

Something about the the way that
the light fell on the polished table
from the tall windows with simple drapes
or the subdued lime green flowers
or perhaps the understated colour scheme
created an elegant and tranquil room.
I stood for a long time
trying to commit it to memory
but the details elude me now.

Only the memory of quietness remains.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

It must be summer

It's the Finalists' BBQ next week!
Seriously - is it really a year
since the last one?

Anyway - no panic this year
because MrsM has been camping
and knows how to light a fire.

The technical staff
are doing their bit too.
Preparation is their middle name.

And then we let the men
start the cooking.

Can you spot the Head of Department?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

betwixt and between

I spent the day
creating new ideas
but they were not for me
and when I got home
I felt empty

and I thought
"is this what I want?"

but then I remembered
the friend visiting my office
as lecturers came and went
noisy with their laughter
who said "I miss the buzz"

and I thought
"is that what I want?"

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

House Rule #435

The Poorly Mug shall be used
to facilitate the consumption of LemSip.

The only exception to this rule occurs
if MrsM requires the Poorly Mug
for colour-coordinated flower displays.

In this exceptional circumstance
no-one is permitted to be ill
until the end of the display period
which shall be at the discretion of MrsM.

Monday, 14 May 2012

'Silence is of different kinds'

The New Governess
Thomas Ballard (1836 - 1908)


Charlotte Bronte

'Villette' is a study of love by Lucy Snowe, the loneliest of heroines, who recounts her life and examines the relationships of the people around her.

Lucy observes the love of a son for his mother, a father for his daughter, the faithful love of the bereaved, devotion to God and the poisonous love of money. As the story develops a conventional courtship and marriage is contrasted with a surreptitious affair which ends in elopement. Every relationship is a source of sound and light but Lucy herself is a point of silence and darkness, alone and unloved even by God, and it is only at the end that she flares into incandescence.

It would spoil the story and the multiple plot twists to say more but I urge you to read it and find out for yourself. I was absorbed by this novel because Lucy has an emotional detachment from the society that she lives in which enables reader and protagonist to stand together looking in at the fascinating and surreal world of Villette.


image sourced from Hermes
whose blog, British Paintings,
provides a daily source of inspiration.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

sweet as the song of the rose

You know that strawberry smell?

The one that makes you think of
pick-your-own fields
bright white meringues
home-made strawberry ice cream
summer cocktails with mint
scones in the sunshine
hot strawberry jam?



Thank you for your lovely comments

Is there anything sweeter than
sharing good news
with friends?

I think not.

Friday, 11 May 2012

the woman who wrote

woman, writing at a high desk
Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916)

There was once a woman who wrote on small pieces of paper. She played with words and made them line up obediently and it was all she needed to be happy. The writing was essential to her for some reasons that she could articulate and other reasons she could not. After a while she started a blog and now there were people who read but still she wrote for herself.

And then on a wet February day an email arrived from the lovely Liz Ann Bennett, editor of a magazine she admired very much, asking her to write a piece for them. And she did!

(In the bit-in-between she rushed around saying "I've been asked to write for a magazine!!! And her friends said "Wow!!!")

Now you can go into any good newsagent
and buy issue 10 of oh comely

and admire the photos and illustrations and writing
and see if you can spot MrsM

because she's in there too.

How cool is that!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Robben Island

Robben Island is the bleakest place
that I have ever been.

It was a place of banishment
for lepers and criminals
for centuries before it was
a prison for political activists.

You are driven around the island
and your senses are assaulted
by grim grey buildings,
wind-twisted low bushes
and the limestone quarry
where manacled prisoners laboured.

There is no colour, no sound.

In the maximum security jail
a former political prisoner
acts as your guide to the buildings.

It is a great privilege to meet
these men, imprisoned for their beliefs,
who all wear sunglasses
because their eyes were damaged
by the glare of light
in the limestone quarry.

Sobu Sokwe was only 20
when he was imprisoned for membership
of the African National Congress.
He had been on Robben Island for 5 years
when he was released in 1989,
the same year that MasterM was born.

He stood in the middle of the dormitory
detailing with great dignity
the brutal routine of prison.

He also explained how the structure of the ANC
created a community within the prison,
supporting the youngest prisoners,
educating each other
and understanding political developments
in the changing world outside
from scraps of smuggled newspaper.

He took us to Nelson Mandela's cell
shown as it was in the 1960s
with only a bucket and sleeping mat.

It was impossible not to be moved.

All along the corridors there were other cells
and each one had a story,
and the spirit of a courageous man.

Our guide had told us
that the kennels for guard dogs
were twice the size of the cells
and it seemed extraordinary
that human dignity could overcome
such physical and emotional deprivation
and create a new nation
striving for equality and opportunity.

This cairn is at the entrance to the quarry
and the first stone was laid by Nelson Mandela
at a reunion of political prisoners.

It symbolises the foundation
of modern South Africa.

As we were leaving South Africa
the passport officer asked me
if I had enjoyed my stay
and I told him that we had visited
Robben Island on Freedom Day
He was very impressed

"That must have been something...

I am so proud to be South African
it is a wonderful country."

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

sky :: trees

And while we were gone
the view changed.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

the carved rhino

We wandered around the the small church fair,
listening to the schoolchildren sing,
sampling the local produce,
looking at the crafts.

MasterM stopped at a display of wooden animals
"Did you carve all of these animals?"
She blushed and said that her brother carved them.
"Your brother? What is his name?"
She said her brother was called Innocent
"Did Innocent carve this lion? And this rhino?"
She said that Innocent had indeed carved them
"Innocent must have been busy!"
She agreed that Innocent had been very busy.
"Is it a white rhino or a black rhino?"
She said that she wasn't sure. It was a muddy rhino.
We all laughed and MasterM negotiated a good price.

I tell this story to remember the moment.

You might see a small carved rhino
but I see my son.
And he is laughing.

Monday, 7 May 2012


So...we were in the far end field
and Grandad said
"We will have a lot of people
coming through here next week
on the Parish boundary walk
and I'm not sure where the best place
to get through this hedge is"

and Grandma said
"I always climb up that tree
and jump down on the other side...
why can't they do that?"

The problem with Grandma is that
she behaves as though she is 18.

Well, maybe not as old as 18

perhaps 16...

Friday, 4 May 2012

Dinner on the South Bank

I had planned to write
a very serious post for Friday
that would have challenged you
to re-evaluate your understanding
of the world you live in
but instead I went out to dinner
with some friends from work.

We had fish finger sandwiches
and roast chicken'n'chips
and laughed a lot
so I didn't get to write that post.
Your understanding of the world
is safe for another day.

It's their fault, they led me astray,
but it is difficult to be cross
because they are very lovely.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


It rained when we went to Kirstenbosch.

I had been looking forward to exploring
this spectacular botanical gardens
on the slopes of Table Mountain

but a dense mist enveloped the mountain
and we were caught in a torrential downpour.

As we ran for shelter
I felt quite philosophical...

I am sure it won't be long
before we are back.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Comfort Zone

I just want to make something totally clear...
we were camping.

Here is our tent...
with added nyala

It was very cold at night...
so we needed throws and suchlike

Candles, matches...
we were living close to nature

We tried to eat organically,
living off the fruits of the land,

and everyone should experience
flowers with their granola
once in their life.

There were opportunities
for meditation and relaxation

and water therapy
to help you centre yourself.

Oh lovely, lovely Botlierskop
you have the friendliest staff
and the best sundowners in Africa.

It was so hard to leave
and we are missing you already.
Thank you.