Posted in Notepad Conversations, Weekend Coffee Share

Coffee Chat IRL

Walked through the first snow of Christmas in town today… light, floating flakes.

We had coffee while we were out, and at the table we wrote in my conversation notepad, though it seems to have been mostly me wittering away! It’s been ages since I’ve copied one of these to my blog.

Me: “I seem to remember an old bugbear — cars that don’t signal a turn till the very last moment. So you wait for them and then find you didn’t need to wait at all, but by then it’s too late and another car is coming. Even worse are the ones who think they only need to signal to other vehicles. Pedestrians don’t count.”

Me: “L still looking for a tree — but I’ll use the plastic one if I don’t see anything better.”

Mum: “Get the feeling L house will be better decorated than ours.”

Me: “Currently only has a Turkish rug and a silver wreath.”

Me: “Nigel Farage looks sad in his radio shows.”

Mum: “How can you see him in a radio show?”

Me: “They film him and put it on YouTube as a video. I can’t hear the radio shows — no captions or transcripts. But the YouTube videos have automatic captions — a bit garbled. His name often comes up as ‘Faraj’ or [sometimes] ‘Large Parrot’ or ‘Roger Ferret’.”

[Mum rolls her eyes and sighs].

Me: “I think I made the right choice, buying the teak cupboard.”

Sister: “Why?”

Me: “It looks nice and is quite convenient for clothes — and the house fits on top. Also the Ikea thing [in the same charity outlet] was ramshackle, over-priced, and too big.”

Sister: “Local auctions often sell chests of drawers.”

So that was part of our coffee chat. Bet the blogging world is fascinated (!)

Posted in Computer Graphics

I Should Have Done a Halloween Picture

I got all creative at 05:40 this morning when unable to sleep. My vision was purple, green and white… not sure what happened. Anyway, when I saw the Daily Prompt for today, I rushed to finish it!

“6:00AM: the best hour of the day, or too close to your 3:00AM bedtime?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us DAWN.”

I think they hoped I’d call my post The Golden Hour, but I wouldn’t call this golden — would you?

Snowy Cottage: ArtRage (iOS 7).

Posted in Christmas and New Year


Snow and ice still stuck fast. It’s not showing signs of leaving in a hurry.

It seems the days I get up and do a workout are the days I’m the most hungry and sleepy… I don’t feel like preparing for Christmas; I’d rather lie wrapped in a rug, snoring.

Going to try and break out tomorrow, though. Stupid snow…

Posted in Art, Desktop Pictures, Technology and Software


I wrote the following post on Tuesday, then got icy feet. 🙂

Been snowing for a few days now. Gets thicker and thicker, but I’m not rushing out to photograph it! Looks kind of dull in the immediate vicinity. Me, I like bright colours and skies with visible clouds…

Funny how a whole load of unknown works by a certain artist has arrived in the news. I was scratching around for a good title for my ‘Not a Picasso’ wallpaper, but decided against it. Went for a more boring title instead, mostly because the only link between my wallpaper and the other title is that I put Paloma Picasso perfume on, and the wallpaper promptly went bad. That’s my private joke, anyway, and I couldn’t expect the rest of the world to understand it without knowing the story.

My keyboard is breaking down… the backspace key is particularly unresponsive! But I have a spare keyboard; I should attach it. I’ll probably do it the next time I have to hammer the backspace key into the desk…

Posted in Desktop Pictures, Dreams and Nightmares, My Cats, Photographs

Fleeting as Snow

Everyone else has been talking about snow… they’ve had problems with gritters and cars, and took photos on their wild and icy walks.

The Diddums family, on the other hand, had deep-looking snow in the areas round about, and on the hills… but did any fall on our own little town and its local villages? Nah. It’s like it has its own internal heating. It’s been that way for years.

Imagine my surprise last Thursday to find this scene through my window:

There was more white out there than not. I nearly keeled over with the shock.

This is my journal entry for that day:

Dreamed about making wallpapers — what else? Someone told me if I was dreaming about making them, it wasn’t a good sign. Anyway, in my dream I was considering the set proportions of the blank canvas I started out with, wondering if the picture would be different if I cut it any other way.

I woke up and smiled — of course it wouldn’t — BUT if I had a different starting point, it might be.

So I’d been lying half awake, thinking about how one didn’t need to start with a blank canvas, and Mum came in, smiling, and mimed taking a photo outside. “Uh oh,” I thought, “let me guess”. She threw open the curtains and pointed at a certain blank whiteness in the landscape outside.

“Are you staying home?” I asked. She mimed phoning her friend — going to discuss what they should do.

I got up and wandered over to the window, and the trees were thick with snow! I went down in a hurry and said to Mum “I thought it was going to be just a LITTLE snow!”

As soon as I could, I took photos from doors and windows — tried a couple of shots just outside the back door, but the snow kept coming down, and it was wet. Not good for cameras. I waited, but it was so wet, the snow, it was melting and thudding off branches and soaking away into the grass, and when it finally stopped snowing, everything was more brown and green than white.

At least I got a few lousy shots as evidence that it was there. It wasn’t even sunny and bright — started off a bright white like my blank canvas, then dulled gradually to grey, and finally to night.

The pictures weren’t exciting. Edited one of the garden… nearly threw it out, it was so boring, but finally came up with something I quite liked.

Got an email from Woolworths — they’re delighted in people’s interest, and are going through all the comments to work out what we want to see.

Racing Frogs: I looked in a frog’s photo album and was rather surprised by a photo of it riding a motorbike. “Where did it get that?” I wondered. “I don’t remember buying it a motorbike!” Then realized it must be the ‘scooter’. I was visualizing the type children scull around on (or used to!) Have they stopped selling kids’ scooters now?

I’ve been thinking twice about the anti-competition articles I read. I agree to a degree, though the neg space contest got me doing a picture I wouldn’t have thought of if left to myself. I was trying to figure out last night why I like to put things into these contests. I think the answer is ‘wanting to put forward my take on things.’

Have begun going through my stockpiles of wallpapers from various sites. I’m surprised how my own tastes have changed. Most are still good, but here and there I think “WHAT’S that?!” It’s good that I can throw some away now… though I’ve noticed the ones I find less attractive are generally with very low JPEG sizes. Just chucked out one with a JPEG size of 60 KB. That’s futile.

Because of the low light (and my too-deep DOF) I got some noisy shots with the camera today… including of Samson, unfortunately. But I made quite a sweet wallpaper (will probably decide later that I hate it) of him on a chair, lying with his back to the camera but his ears listening backward. Light ahead of him, from the snow glowing through the porch windows.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. 🙂

Posted in Lost in Thought, My Cats, Observations

Early Morning Driftings

Yesterday morning when I woke too early, I thought I might fall asleep again if I tried a little meditation.

I’m unused to talking about any such thing, and have to keep fighting off the urge to say ‘medication’. Meditation would be more relaxing if they called it something else. Anyway…

It’s difficult ‘meditating’ when the kittens have woken up and are thrashing around playfully, but I closed my eyes anyway, attempting to visualize something pleasant. The other day I read about a mother who took up meditation with her little girl; they would sit together and fall asleep. When they closed their eyes, the girl liked to think of her cat. So do I. When I’m trying to come up with a pleasant image, I always end up filling my mind’s eye with Sharky. He stares at me with his clear green eyes and blinks contentedly, and that dark stripy tail wraps itself round his feet.

Feeling guilty, I’ve tried to think about the kittens instead, but in my thoughts they fix me with their devouring gaze, giving rise to the unsettling feeling they’re about to thunder over my feet with their claws. That doesn’t make me relax. So I summoned up a beautiful sparkling blue-green wave. It was tight and rolling, rearing up higher and higher – the pit of my stomach dropped away when I imagined the wave swallowing me up along with forests, villages and towns.

I shifted my thoughts to the nature photos on the Caedes desktop wallpaper site. I thought of sunlight arrowing down between tall green trees… beautiful. Static, though; no real depth. I needed something that moved.

Said hello to Sharky again and buzzed past… thinking there must be other images out there I could hold in my mind. Finally I had it – winter snow in Edinburgh. Not just any snow, it has to be early 1980s snow. You would get up in the morning for school, and look out into the blackness, and it was whirling down. Through the back window it disappeared again into more darkness, falling behind the rose bushes and apple tree, but when you looked out the front window, the sky seemed lighter and the snowflakes flew into the hedge.

Normally I hated having to face school early on a cold dark morning, but heavy snow often meant we got to stay at home. That makes it a positive memory rather than a negative one.

In my mind’s eye I tried to be part of that scene, looking out of the window at the hypnotic motion of the snow. A distant pair of headlights appeared at the far corner of the vision, startling me. Headlights? Where did they come from? I didn’t ask for headlights. But they would have been there… cars and buses creeping cautiously through the slush, window wipers beating, leaving plenty of room for each other.

Funny how those headlights beamed out of my memory all by themselves.

The kittens gradually stopped pummelling the lights out of each other, and in my mind the snow spiralled down against a dark grey backdrop… now lashing with fragile fury; now drifting implacably. Next thing I knew, the sun was high and Delilah was curled against my neck, chewing my thumb.

Posted in Christmas and New Year, Life and Family, My Cats, Pet-Minding

Frustrating Conversations

A day or two ago, Mum said “we should start taking down the Christmas decorations bit by bit – it’s easier than taking them all down in one fell swoop.”

I began with the bears on the stairs… a lot of them lost the little sparkling pieces they were holding in their paws. The tinsel draped on mirrors and other surfaces by the stairs came down too, till I had a respectable pile of garlands waiting to be put away.

At tea time I walked Thundercloud. It was freezing but not too bad, till all of a sudden I got this feeling deep in my bones that the temperature had that very second stepped beyond the line of what was acceptable, freeze-wise, and the gathering clouds and general light was just somehow… not good any more. The dog and I were going back home. Now. And we wished we weren’t quite that far away.

When we got back to N’s house, I let Thundercloud rush in for her tea. Mum was coming out, and we walked home together.

A wet snowflake went SPLAT…. intolerable. As a hint to walk faster, I said to Mum “it’s starting to snow.” Her pace didn’t change, and the steadily increasing snowflakes melted and splotched on my glasses. I hate having to view the world through a blurry screen of waterdrops, which was why I wanted to hurry.

A little further along, Mum slowed right down till she had almost stopped, and said “I invited N. to tea. I thought it would be nice to do it now while the house is bright and cheerful with all the decorations.”
“OK, fine,” I said.

(I thought to myself, “couldn’t you have told me that when we were inside, warm, and dry? Why are we slowing down on a freezing, blowy and snowy road to discuss this? And guess who will be replacing all the tinsel that got taken down because you said it would be a good idea to start taking it down now?”)

Since we were walking slowly through the wet snow anyway, I decided to get my own conversational mileage out of it. “When I was walking Thundercloud, I found it was warmer in the woods than on the road.”
Silence while Mum looked off in completely the other direction.
“Did you hear…?”
Looks round innocently – “what?”
“I sai…”, I began, only to be immediately interrupted by a definite nod of her head. “Yes, it’s always colder on the road.” Then she went ahead up the driveway – the conversation was at an end.

Yeah… (shivers).

We finally got inside and looked out, and the slush was belting down in the gathering darkness.

I went upstairs to clear up a few odds and ends, and Sharky came along, stared gauntly at his food bowl, and announced in clear, ringing tones that he was a very sick cat and his supper should have been waiting for him already.

Well, cat, we were standing outside in the snowstorm talking about how cold it was on the road. Somebody has to do it…

Posted in Books, Observations, Pet-Minding

You Fill Up My Senses

I’m back walking Thundercloud, and it’s freezing. I didn’t think my winter coat was thick enough to protect me, so I crossed my white teddy bear scarf over my shoulders and down the front to block the chill, which it did quite well. I always think of the old Chalet School books when I put on my scarf. I thought it was terrible the way the mistresses and prefects dictated every little thing you did, including the best way to don a scarf, but perhaps they were right.

I was relieved to find that the bright sun was more than just a promise – the air was still cold, but the sun’s touch was warm. Snowdrops bent their bright heads at the foot of trees and in every shadowy corner.

The duck pond was covered with a light film of jagged ice. Hailstones clattered down as though a goddess had broken a necklace of shining white beads. The beads scudded across the road, blown by the wind, then disappeared as though swept up by invisible hands.

The sky is blue, the sun shines… the cold is being driven back till night falls again.