Wednesday, August 16, 2006

So much to blog about, so little time ... or, Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

As I type there are seven boxes of books in the hall, waiting for a courier to come and take them away. These seven boxes represent a major archaeological dig currently being undertaken in the room I laughingly call my study. The carpet, I have (re)discovered, is a sort of pebble-dash bobble in fetching shades of brown. I hadn't seen it for some time.

Then there are the deadlines.

Then there is the washing.

There are at least five things I would rather be writing about here: Dancing on Ice; Christopher Hitchens; aging and memory; Mandy Patinkin; the Prime Minister's last few days and the idiotic media use of the word 'backflip' to mean 'he thought better of it and made the correct decision'.

But they will all have to wait .. except maybe Ampersand Duck's Twelve Things That Keep You Going meme. That I can do. Despair is always a danger for anyone, and here are twelve things (not counting assorted beloveds, who go without saying) that move me away from it, or it away from me:

* Music. For the bottom of the pit, Beethoven's late string quartets, which collude with the despair after the fashion of a chemical reaction and transform it into something else.

* Any cat, but particularly my own two, who must, no matter what, be fed, and warm, and have clean litter.

* The garden, which like the cats must be looked after and kept alive, and rewards me with some new and miraculous development every day. (I have made a radical breakthrough discovery regarding the science of gardening, which is that a garden will thrive if you feed and water it on a regular basis. Sometimes I astonish myself.)

* Making things: unnecessary cooking, an ambitious piece of knitting, collages.

* Puzzles -- word, number, visual, duzzen matter. Acrostics, sudoku or a jigsaw will all take you out of yourself.

* The sight of the sea, any sea in any weather.

* Semi-precious stones and rocks, which make brilliant meditative objects.

* Hot chocolate, made with Haigh's Gourmet Drinking Chocolate and a spoonful of Kangaroo Island honey from the only pure strain of Ligurian bees left in the world.

* The Zoo. ('I recommend a course of the larger animals. Don't let him think he is taking them medicinally.')

* Photo albums, though this can be a double-edged sword and is not recommended for the severely depressed or the truly desperate.

* Rainbow lorikeets, which my back garden is full of.

* Rainbows.


Kate said...


As an aside, I wish I could find joy in gardening -- except living in a rental with a massive, dishevelled backyard (and a nasty real estate agent with an obsession with the lawn) I usually just feel besieged.

Ampersand Duck said...

That hot chocolate does sound good. I'll have to try it. I'm hooked on chai at the moment, with my brother-in-law's homegrown honey from Buddhist bees (but that's another story). I just tagged you for another meme, but I really don't want to add to your stress. Just whenever you feel like it (next year will be fine).

Pavlov's Cat said...

Pots, Kate, herbs in beautiful pots: they will be yours and not the landlord's, and you'll still have all the magical pleasure of watching things come up and grow and knowing you did it all yourself. There's inexpressible pleasure in cooking with your own fresh herbs. And I'm sure the manwhocooks, with whom you seem to be friends, would have lots and lots of suggestions about what would be good to grow.

&D -- Buddhist bees?

Ron said...

You disposed of seven cartons of books? How could you? I can't even pass on my worst mass-market paperback.

Oh ... an exception to that last sentence: anything by Bryce Courtenay.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Some books, Ron, are not worth keeping. Others I already had copies of. Most of them were entries for literary prizes I've been on judging panels for -- there have been five or six of those over as many years, and often over 100 entries for each.

If I kept every book I'd ever bought or been given, I would have to buy a six-bedroomed house and line every wall in it with bookshelves. And it still wouldn't hold them.

Ron said...

You've just described heaven! :-)

JahTeh said...

It must be the heralding of spring. I am going through magazines, Vogue from '68 to '70 to try and remember why I've kept them. The pages are marked, dresses and jewellery.
Does anyone remember POL magazine? I thought I could toss those but there are still laughs in them. It was the first real bitchy magazine.
I couldn't bring myself to ditch the Antique Collector in case I win Tattslotto.
One copy of Vanity Fair which has Martin Luther King, LBJ and Claudette Colbert so that stays. Just dust and return.
Victoria magazine from America, fashions and lush photography of things Victoriana.
Sorry PC for the blog post instead of comment.