Monday, 28 February 2011

A Small Stone...

The clouds might be grey, but the air is coloured with the spectrum of birdcalls.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Creepy-crawly...

I turn the glass tealight holder over, and liberate the brown, speckled spider.

It's that time of year, when things are a-stirring around the house. Silverfish materialise, and dart across the bathroom floor, Woodlice are holding a jamboree in the porch, and spiders scuttle along the skirting boards. I am not fond of any of these creatures, but we have an understanding: I leave them alone, and they don't get too close. But sometimes they need to be rescued, and I have to be brave. I can pick up one of the hairy speckled spiders which rampage around this old house if I have to, but even the thought makes me shudder! Luckily, I only had to tip this one out of its glass prison to set it free. I expect gratitude will make it want to go and live outside...

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Stones, stones and more stones...

The hot briquettes glow molten orange from inside the black iron stove.

Okay, I have decided to go back to writing small stones every day....or at least nearly every day.

For those of you who don't know what I'm rabbiting on about, I took part in the 'River of Stones' project in January, started by novelist Fiona Robyns and her fiancé Kaspalita, a Buddhist priest. Put very simply, the project encouraged participants to become more mindful of their surroundings and daily life, by writing about some aspect every day, known as 'a small stone'. Fiona has produced an e-book about the practice of writing small stones, which you can download for free. It is an excellent reading, and I thoroughly recommend it.

For me personally, although there were times when the stones were a chore, I came out of the project feeling energised in a creative sense, and found myself being really productive. However, this has waned as February has gone on. I haven't been near my beloved novel-in-hand for weeks, and even found myself questioning whether or not I even want to continue with it, a real crisis of confidence for me. I'm still not sure about the answer to that one, but I definitely felt better writing a little something every day. So I'm going back to writing stones, spiritual matters aside, because I'm lazy. I need the discipline.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Clean

Sarah dragged the squeaking vacuum cleaner down the corridor, and thumped it down outside the Bluebell Suite. She checked her watch. It was only a quarter to ten. Lunchtime, and blessĂ©d escape, lay out of sight beyond an unfathomable horizon. She blew out a long sigh, and rubbed her face with both hands to soothe the anxiety if only for a moment. It wasn’t fair to expect her to work today. Mrs Matthews had been sympathetic, apologetic even, but she’d refused to give Sarah the day off, and was unshakable in her resolve.

“Look at it another way,” she’d said, fixing a corporate smile to match her uniform. “It’ll take your mind off things, being in work. Otherwise you’d only be sat around worrying.”

‘Sat around worrying’? What else was she supposed to do while her sister was having her cancerous breast removed? Oh yes, cleaning hotel rooms, of course, just like any other day. She gulped back the threatening tears, and rummaged through her keys.

At that moment, the Bluebell Suite’s door opened. Sarah startled, and stepped back as the tailored figure of Mr Bentley-Chalmers appeared in the doorway.

“Morning Mr. Bentley-Chalmers,” she said, admiring her powers of recovery. “I didn’t mean to disturb you, I thought you’d already left.”

“My phone,” he said, producing it from inside a silk-lined pocket. “I left it behind. Anyway,” he said, looking her up and down, distaste souring his handsome face. “I’m glad I caught you. I wanted a word.”

“You do?” Sarah’s eyebrows shot skyward. She’d be the toast of the staffroom at tea-break. Mr. Bentley-Chalmers was staying all week, and his expensive, coiffed looks had caused quite a stir.

“Yes,” he said, drawing himself up as tall as a five-foot frame would permit. “My room hasn’t been cleaned properly all week.”

“I beg your pardon?” Sarah took another step backwards. She was very proud of her work; no one had ever complained.

“The room?” His head weaved from side to side, like a snake preparing to strike. “Cleaned properly? Especially the bathroom. The taps are grubby, the toilet needs scrubbing: I have never stayed in such a dirty hotel.” He pointed his finger at Sarah. “I’ve a good mind to report you.”

Sarah gawped. He was friendly with the owner, Mr Ridley. If he complained, she would lose her job.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, her face flaming. “I’ll give it an extra clean today.”

“See that you do,” he said, wagging the finger. “Attention to detail, that’s all that should matter in a place like this.” And he strode away in a waft of cologne.

Sarah picked up her cleaning box, and pondered over its contents. Attention to detail, that’s all that should matter, never mind her sister. Now, how best to make the bathroom gleam?

She set to work, and wondered how the surgeons were getting on. She wondered how her sister’s scars would look, and if the cancer would go away, and if they’d be able to go on holiday in July like they always did. The taps were invisible behind her tears, but she scoured and scoured. She couldn’t see the toilet either, but she knelt down beside it, and spent ten minutes scrubbing and scrubbing. And finally, when all was done, she stood up, blew her nose, and promised herself that somehow, everything would be all right.

She took a good, satisfied look around the sparkly clean bathroom, and smiled. And then, on the way out, she put Mr Bentley-Chalmer’s toothbrush back in its holder.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Half Term Blues...

As chief entertainments officer for the duration of the half term holiday, I haven't managed to write a thing all week between refereeing fights, fetching snacks, and organising trips out. I tried, really tried yesterday, but my darling offspring work from the point of view that if Mum's got time to sit on her bum and type, they must devise ever more ingenious ways of being demanding. As we say 'chez Tales', it's not seeming to be demanding, it's being demanding which gets results. Normal service on the blog-front will have to wait until next week.

But I just had to apply ear plugs, and pop in just to let you know that after all my pontificating over the moral niceties of the 'Appy Feet' fish-pedicure shop in Manchester's lovely Trafford Centre, it has now closed. I asked elder son if he thought I had exerted some small influence, and he gave me that pitying look he does so well. I bet you'll all feel so much better for knowing it's closed,(!) and I suspect it was only open for Christmas. But I can't help but wonder, what has happened to the fish?

Friday, 18 February 2011

An Evening Walk

It’s a beautiful evening. The sun is still high, turning the dove-grey clouds peachy-pink, and trimmed with gold. I throw open the back door and take in a deep breath, filling my lungs with the fresh, briny air, and my ears with the sound of curlews crying and eider calling. I walk through to the sitting room, drying my hands. “Come on,” I say to Verity-Anne, quiet in her crib. It’s a beautiful evening, Baby. Let’s go for our walk.”

Her blue eyes widen when I pick her up. “Mama,” she says. “Hush Baby,” I say. “It’s wonderful outside. Wait until you see the clouds. We’ll walk down to the seashore and see if we can spot a Kelpie playing in the waves.” She likes it when we do that. I tilt the pram so she can see, her blue eyes take everything in. Then the wind catches her blonde curls, and she looks just like the angel she is.

I dress her up in her soft snuggle-suit. It took me weeks to knit it last winter, working away by the light from the fire. It’s patterned with lace. She likes it, I think. She is a good baby.

I settle her in her pram, and off we go, the silver chassis squeaking over bumps. The woman next door is at her window. She waves as we walk past. “There goes May and Verity-Anne,” she’ll be saying to her husband. “Off on one of their walks. How she cares for that little girl. Takes her to see the sea, no matter the weather. So good for the baby, all that fresh air.”

We walk down the road. Verity-Anne snoozes, rocked by the pram. I sing her a lullaby, my voice joining with the curlews and ducks. But then I see the strangers. I stop singing as they grow nearer. My fingers tighten on the pram handle. Verity-Anne’s eyes flicker. I hope she won’t cry.

It is a woman walking, her hair wild and wind-blown, two boys gambolling around her, shouting “Look Mum,” and “I want another sweet Mum.” My heart lurches, but I make myself smile. I picture Verity-Anne, older, running up to meet them.

“Hello,” the woman says, clawing her unruly hair from her smiling face. They are outsiders; holiday-makers, I expect. I smile, intending to walk straight past. But the woman turns.

“What a beautiful…” She pauses, stricken. She doesn’t know how to finish. She was going to say ‘baby’ but the word hangs unsaid, floating in the air, there but not-there, airy, but leaden. I say nothing and keep walking.

“What is it?” I hear one of the boys saying, his scornful face turning to stare. “Shush,” the woman says, hurrying them on.

I walk on, down to the sea to look for Kelpies playing in the waves. No, I’m not mental. This doll is Verity-Anne. It’s what she would have looked like all of those years ago, if only she’d lived.



I don't know why this story came to mind this morning, but this really happened...I was the wild-haired woman who bent to admire the baby in the pram, only to find myself looking at a doll. And I didn't know what to say! What do you say? The woman herself offered made no explanations. Maybe it was her granddaughter's: who knows?

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Problems, problems...





Look! Doesn’t this look nice?

This is a picture of where my garage used to stand. It’s supposed to be garden now, new beds full of rich, chocolaty soil waiting to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers once the weather picks up. Instead, it’s full not so much of water, but a slimy green primordial soup, which bubbles and moves in the sunlight. It’s got to the stage where none of us, including the dog-of-small-brain, are keen on venturing out after dark, for fear of what might rise up out of its depths. Even the chickens give it a wide berth, and they ordinarily eat pretty much anything. (the dog is very nervous around them)

I’m waiting for the builder to come back and sort out the drainage. He keeps ‘forgetting’, much to my chagrin; what woman want to be ‘forgettable’? Although to be fair, perhaps he is too afraid of what might lurk under the blanket of green goo.

All this is bad enough, but this morning, as I was peering into the depths, wondering just how it manages to move, there came a loud ‘ribbit’. Question answered. One of my neighbours has a large pond which teems with frogs in the springtime. This winter’s cold-snap damaged its lining, and he has been forced to empty it for the time being. We wondered what would happen to the frogs; now we know. Why would any self-respecting frog want to wait for a nice pond to be repaired, when it can wallow to its heart’s desire in the disaster zone which is my garden?

Now I have a new quandary; the builder promised he’d be along in the next few weeks, what do I do with the frogs? I think I must have words with them before any even so much as think about spawning...

Monday, 14 February 2011

A Cracking Good Read!

'Bones in the Belfry' by Suzette A. Hill

I've been reading this book over the weekend, and I've got to the point where I'm trying to read as slowly as possible to avoid finishing it, because it's so much fun. I've been on the receiving end of many a perplexed look as I lapse into another series of loud guffaws, but you couldn't read this book without laughing out aloud.

The story features a vicar who has, in a previous book, murdered one of his parishioners. In this installment, the dubious acquaintance who provided him with a fake alibi for the murder, recalls the favour by asking him to store a couple of paintings, which turn out to have been stolen. The vicar, Francis Oughterard, is dedicated to having as quiet a life as is possible, but between the demands of his colourful parishioners, and his guilty secret, this is impossible.

The story is narrated in parts by the vicar's dog and cat. Normally I'd avoid something like this, it's a bit whimsical for me, but the animals' insights add to the comedy. Not to mention the vicar himself who, when the going gets tough, resorts to whisky and pills. It is very, very funny, and I'm enjoying every page.

I had a peek over at Suzette A. Hill's website to find the title of the previous book, and it turns out there are three in the series. Interestingly, her website mentions she self-published the first book, after finding it impossible to interest either an agent, or publisher. 'Bones in the Belfry' is so funny, and so well-written, it's impossible to believe she had any difficulty being published. Maybe there is hope for the rest of us!

Anyway, I thoroughly recommend this book, and now I'm going off to read a bit more - slowly!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Pies

Everyone was pleased when the Merryweathers moved to the village. They re-opened the little petrol station, so handy when the nearest one was miles away. Their prices were low, and, to the delight of the older members of the community, they insisted upon manning the pumps themselves. No sooner did a car pull up, than one of the Merryweathers, and there were four of them, grandmother, mother, father and son, all alike in drab, knitted sweaters, with wild, unkempt hair, would appear and take charge of the nozzle. It was like going back in time.

They re-vamped the garage shop too. No longer did it just sell crisps and chocolate, expensive engine oil and the wrong type of headlight bulb. It sold bread, and sandwiches from the bakery in the next village. It stocked milk from the local dairy. And, after a while, they began to sell hot, homemade pies.

But not everyone liked the Merryweathers.

“They’re so rude,“ Stella Fotheringham complained to her husband. “I mean, it’s nice they come out and serve you, but if they won’t even pass the time of day with you, well, I don’t know why they bother.” She ran her hand through her blonde, blow-dried hair, remembering how elder Mrs. Merryweather had stared when she’d stopped for fuel on her way home from the hairdresser.

“Nonsense Darling,” her husband lowered his newspaper. “I think they’re very nice. Why, their son was telling me they’re thinking of offering a valeting service. They’ll come to the house and collect your car. Isn’t that a good idea? And those pies are lovely.”

“Their son?” Stella shuddered. “His beard is a disgrace. It’s so thick and matted. I’d have something to say about it if he were mine. Mind you, look at the father,” and she let her words trail away. Mr. Merryweather was, if anything, more hirsute than his son. “I don’t like them, and I’ve a good mind to start filling up elsewhere.”

“That’s not very nice,” her husband chided. “If people don’t use the garage, it will end up closing again. Remember what happened last Christmas?”

Stella scowled, and shrank into herself at this hurtful reminder. It was so like him to bring it up to make a point. She had forgotten to fill up with petrol and they’d broken down half-way to her daughter’s house on Boxing Day. Any kind person would have pretended to have forgotten about it by now.

A few days later, she needed petrol again. Reluctance gnawed, but remembering the conversation with her husband, she pulled into the Merryweather’s garage. The shop door opened. Her heart sank. It was the son.

“Hello,” she babbled. “Isn’t it a lovely day. Can you fill her up, please?”

The young man looked at her, his watery blue eyes peering from under the thatch of his eyebrows, but said nothing. He stuck one hand into the pocket of his torn, waxed jacket, and picked up the nozzle with the other. The pump hummed into life.

“It is a lovely day, isn’t it?” Stella said again. But the young man merely stared at the dial on the pump, and appeared not to hear. Stella blushed. She looked down at her feet, and wriggled her toes.

Finally, the pump cut out. The young man replaced the nozzle, put the cap back on the tank, and turned towards the shop. Stella followed.

“Good afternoon,” she smiled, all four Merryweathers standing in the shop.

“Fifty-three pounds and forty pence,” said elder Mrs Merryweather, holding out her hand. Stella looked from one to the other, then bustled in her handbag for her card. Elder Mrs Merryweather took it, processed it, and handed it back.

“Thank you very much,” Stella said, but again, no one answered. Her cheeks flared. Outrage sparked. She took a deep breath

“What is the matter with you people?” She glared from one to the other, but no one spoke. But slowly, elder Mrs Merryweather’s mouth widened into a big, toothy grin.

“Oh fine,” Stella shouted. “I was going to ask for two of your meat pies, but if you’re going to be so bloody rude, I won’t bother.” She turned on her heel, stamped out of the shop, climbed into her car and drove off with a little wheel spin.

The Merryweathers turned back to their chores without so much as a comment. There wasn’t any point in being nice to the likes of Stella, the bony-arsed bitch. She would be too chewy to go in one of their pies.

The World's Worst Job!

Not very long ago, I was working as a school dinner lady. I know, I know; that’s completely blown your image of me, hasn’t it? But although it fitted around the boys’ school hours, and took my mind off the ongoing divorce saga, I loathed every minute. I hated it so much, I used to comfort myself by compiling a list of jobs which I thought were worse than mine. First place went to dental hygienists, second to chiropodists. Sure, they’re better paid, but could you imagine getting up in the morning knowing you were going to scrub bits off people’s manky teeth, or carve gnarled skin off grotty feet? Looking back to the piece I wrote about garra rufa fish, in hindsight, the craze was probably started by a disillusioned chiropodist.

Now that I no longer wash pots in a school kitchen, I hadn’t given my list much thought, but this morning, it needs re-adjusting. Between tap-class (oh yes!) and collecting eldest son from Scouts last night, I sat down to watch ‘The Human Planet’ on the BBC. I haven’t watched much of the series, but it features all sorts of colourful people from around the world, who all amaze me that their traditional ways of life still survive in our technological world, and make me long to run away and join them. Last night’s programme, of which I only watched a little, featured people living in remote mountain areas.

I tuned in with a pot of tea, just as the programme focussed on a remote Buddhist community high in the Himalayas. “One of the difficulties this community faces,” the venerable John Hurt said in his gravely tones. “Is how to deal with death.” He went on to explain that burials are against the community's beliefs, there are no trees for fuel to manage cremations, and so the answer is…. I know this, I thought, still wanting to put my hand up after all these years. I learned about it visiting Neolithic burial sites on Orkney. Sky burial!

The programme went on to the introduce the village undertaker. I didn’t catch his name, so let’s just call him ‘Fred’. He seemed a nice chap, sitting chanting with his prayer beads. Talking to the film crew, he explained that no one else could do what he does, not even the priests, but he does need a lot of whisky. I swigged my tea and wondered what on earth he was talking about. Archaeologists studying the many finds on Orkney, have shown bodies were laid out on specially constructed platforms near the cliff edges, and picked clean by sea eagles, before the bones were lovingly interred in elaborately built burial chambers. This might seem brutal these days when compared to our Western, squeamish approach to death, and I like a nice dram myself, but what was Fred talking about? I poured another cup of tea, and sat back.

They’d filmed a funeral. There was a small procession of priests, family, and, of course, Fred. They climbed up the mountain, one of the sons carrying the dead man’s body on his back. There was a brief ceremony, then the family left, and went back down the mountain. They don’t, John Hurt explained, want to witness what will happen next. Quite right, I thought, I don’t blame them. I agree with their beliefs the body is just a shell, but I can’t think of many people whose bodies I’d enjoy watching being picked apart by vultures. Not many, anyway. The priests sat down at a respectable distance from the body, still wrapped in its shroud, and I wondered again what Fred had been talking about.

‘Now,’ the narrator said. ‘Fred must do his work.’ What work? Oh yes, someone has to open the shroud and expose the body. ‘Fred must see to it that the birds can get to the flesh.’ Oh right, perhaps he has to undress said body. A grim task, but still, why the whisky? Then Fred is shown with an axe. And the next moment, you see him throwing things to the gathering flock.

Now, they didn’t actually show any more detail, but Fred’s job is to chop up the cadaver, and feed it to the birds.

No wonder he needs whisky.

So I think it’s official. Dental hygienists have been toppled off the top spot in the A-Z of the world’s worst jobs. I don’t think anyone can beat Fred. The piece concluded with him saying it was good Karma to feed the living creatures with the corpse, and it avoids the unpleasantness of finding remains strewn around by other scavengers. I don’t know a huge amount about Karma, but for facilitating the disposal of the village’s dead, I think Fred must have the most highest, purist Karma there is. And he deserves that whisky. I feel like sending him some myself.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Muddy

The pattering against the panes pronounces today to be another muddy-dog day.

It's raining again, so this is another day in which the dog-of-small-brain will, to his dismay, require a post-walk bath. He's very good: once he's been forced into the shower cubicle, he stands with his ears slicked to his head, and his tail tucked between his legs, berating me with reproachful looks, until he's clean. Then, he retaliates by streaking to the sofa and rolling around on the cushions, kicking his legs, until he is dry. When I shout and order him off, he merely pauses to give me a look, tongue lolling over his grinning chops, which says, 'ha, that's shown you.' Between he and the children, I am horribly outnumbered.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Cutting the Spending - 'Tales' Style

What a morning! Here in ‘Tales’ things are looking a bit frazzled. Feathers are ruffled, and hackles raised. Why? Lots of things, but what’s really got ‘Tales’ going this morning is the announcement that Manchester city council is to save money by closing libraries, leisure centres, and swimming pools.

I live near Manchester, although under a different local authority. I’ve already blogged about the threat to my local library; this morning its closure seems even more likely.

Discussion with friends reveals that while we all oppose these closures, few of us use the facilities on a regular basis. I’m not sporty, but the children have attended lessons at our local sports centre. They’ve been swimming since they were tiny. And I use the library, although few of my friends do. But when you can buy books so cheaply online, maybe it’s not such a big deal. If so few of us are actually using these facilities, perhaps we don’t really need them.

So why am I flustered? Well, as a child of the seventies, I grew up with libraries, leisure centres and swimming pools being part of the fixtures and fittings. I’ve never lived anywhere in the UK which didn’t have these amenities. The prospect of suddenly being denied them is unsettling, unfamiliar. And it feels we’re taking a step backwards, back into unenlightened times when the poorer sections of society had no access to such things. I believe this will cause more division in an already divided country in which social mobility is increasingly limited, and the gulf between rich and poor is growing.

Today, my younger son’s case for a special school placement is going before its third committee meeting in four months. In the interim, reports have been written and revoked, and various meetings held by an education authority determined to follow a principle, in spite of the concrete facts which render it untenable. In reality, the whole conundrum could have been solved by one person and a telephone four months ago. Money, is being wasted, and we are but one small and insignificant case. In my opinion, the financial savings which could be made at both local and national government level by removing the layers and layers of bureaucracy, could fund everything from swimming pools to school facilities. Closing local facilities is a lazy solution, avoiding the real, hidden issues of where money is being squandered.

These closures are going to result in the need for more spending in years to come, as the younger generation grow up without the access to education and a healthy lifestyle required to create a more equal society. I don’t know what our country is going to look like when we emerge from these turbulent times, but the view down here in ‘Tales’ this morning looks decidedly gloomy. Madness indeed…

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Intruders

Ducks paddling in the waterlogged field scold us for intruding with a disgruntled quack for every wing beat as they take to the air in disgust.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Seeing The Shadow

(you can look, but can you see?)

She knew there would be trouble when his face twitched, a tremor scuttling across the surface, predicting the gathering storm. He leapt to his feet, eyes alight, and his face turning scarlet.

“That’s sick,” he squawked. “How could you?”

He flung the story as far from him as he could muster. The sheets shimmied through the air, and scattered across the carpet, landing like wind-blown leaves.

“You’re sick in the head, you are,” he shouted, his fat finger prodding the air, jabbing the words home. “I don’t know why I bother with you. I don’t even know why I even, even,” he scrabbled around, trying to find just the right word to fit his outrage, the most cutting combination of insult and rebuke. “I don’t know why I even talk to you.”

There, that told her. He drew himself up as tall as his paunch would let him, a colossus of righteousness, unshakeable in the face of her depravity. He turned on his heel and strode from the room.

She waited until the door slammed before she began to collect the pages. Her mouth stretched into a grin, but she tried not to laugh out loud, just in case he heard. No need to throw more fuel on the fire. She gathered up the white sheets spidered with her spiky scrawl. It was a good story, this one. She put the pages in order, contentment warming inside. She’d known he wouldn’t like it. He’d inspired it.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Crow

The crow was standing on the grass, its bluish-black feathers glossy in the sunshine. I noticed it because it didn’t fly away as we approached. A bold one, I thought, as the dog-of-small-brain edged closer, nose down, tail quivering. There is great sport in scaring birds, he finds. Every walk is an opportunity to beat his personal best on the pheasant-frightening front.

The crow turned, and made a few rather wobbly hops. Oh no, I thought, it can’t fly. It must be hurt. And sure enough, it flapped and fluttered, but could manage nothing more than a few feet into the air. The poor thing, I thought, I must rescue it.

I’ll catch it and wrap it in my scarf, I decided, picturing myself striding back down the hill with it nestled under my arm, dog trotting obediently at my side. I could feed it bird-seed, and it would hop around the garden going ‘caw-caw’ every time it saw me. It wouldn’t take any nonsense from the cat, and it would try to peck the dog. And in time it would flutter up onto my shoulder to impress the children. I’d be a bit like Nanny McPhee, only without the stick and handy magic powers. I stepped onto the grass.

It’s only right I should point out I don’t have a good track record in rescuing wild creatures. The bat died. The cat ate the pigeon. And when I took the jackdaw to the wildlife sanctuary, the owner threw her hands up in the air and asked just what the hell did I expect her to do with that? And it’s as if the crow knew. As I walked towards it, it flapped off down the field with this panic-stricken look in its eyes which seemed to say ‘stay away from me, you crazy fiend, I’ve heard all about you.’

I stood there for about five minutes trying to decide what to do. In the end, I left it fluttering. I supposed it would be able to hop around and find food. And maybe it was just winded; there was a crow/buzzard altercation going on over a neighbouring field. I wished it well, and carried on my walk. But it’s due to become very wet and windy tonight, so I hope it will be okay. Besides, I think I would make a very good Nanny McPhee. I might even work out how to control my children!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Another small stone

I realise I am being watched; the figures of sheep solidify from within the mist.

I just couldn't resist. I thought all I'd do with 'Tales' today was pop in and play with the wallpaper. But, seeing as I'm here, I thought, I'll just add another stone from my walk this morning. Another benefit of the 'stones' project for me was that it got me in the habit of blogging every day, even just to write a sentence. Normally the frequency of my posting depends upon how positive and optimistic I'm feeling, which varies, to say the least!
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