Thursday, 29 March 2012

Needle Envy!

Oh, now I am suffering!

The divine duo are duly impressed

Now my fingers are itching and my knitting needles are prodding me in the soft, fleshy parts where envy lurks.
'What about us?' they are shouting resentfully. 'Why don't we get to do things like that?'

'Because you aren't crochet hooks,' I spit at them.
'Go and learn how to loop and twist.'

But they aren't mollified.
Apparently it is I who needs to learn...

This all began, as you may well recall dear Reader, way back when I started knitting the pole warmer!
It has gone from strength to strength!
And beware, it's spreading! If it hasn't already, soon it will appear in a place near you...

Wouldn't you die for a pair of trousers like that?

All I can do is applaud!

Hooray for the guerrillas!
Long live the knitters of the night, those who crochet in the dark hour before dawn, the intrepid souls who creep out under cover of dusk and bedeck our streets.

There should be awards!

When Is a Rabbit Not a Rabbit?

While hanging the In-Charge's shirts on the line this morning (naturally I am the Boss, but husband makes a far more reliable In-Charge), I was pondering this week's 100 WC, and lamenting that I had, unwittingly, read Isobel's entry before putting finger to keypad on my own account.

I bemoaned this lapse to my four able assistants - the cats Hobbes, Henri and Popsicle, and the speckled hen.
'And Isobel's is - as always - so good!' I said.
Henri and Hobbes stared at me unblinkingly, offering no comfort. Popsicle was busy chasing a small pebble.
The speckled hen was just busy.
'Now I can't think of anything original,' I complained.

The cats shrugged with what I can only call Gallic indifference and the speckled hen begged to be excused.

But later, in the woods, the dogs sensibly suggested that this wasn't necessarily a problem.
'Rabbits,' they said, 'can pop up anywhere. But when you're looking for one, they don't. Better the rabbit already in the hat than not having one at all. And by the way, any chance of borrowing it?'

So I hope Isobel won't mind me continuing where her Philosophical Rabbit left off.
You may already have read Isobel's excellent entry this week, but if not - please do. You can find it here.
Mine will certainly make more sense if you have read hers first!

'What was the rabbit late for?' echoed dreamily through Alice's head and she awoke with a start, picturing jam tarts and flamingo mallets.
'So,' the lecturer was saying. 'The rabbit's anxiety is predilection not propensity, but was he late?'
His eyes rested on Alice and she flushed self-consciously. 'Alice - any thoughts?' he asked sardonically.
'Um...' Alice began blankly. Then: 'It depends,' she said with sudden inspiration. 'If you subscribe to Newton's timeline theory, yes. If you side with Kant and Leibniz, time isn't measurable, so he couldn't have been.'
‘Good answer!’ The lecturer grinned. ‘You'll become a philosopher yet.’
Everybody laughed.
Slowly Alice smiled.

Needless to say, I didn't actually read Julia's page - I only looked at the prompt words.
Now I see that the last ten words have to be used to start off next week's...
Looks like I've blown that one.

I see that Julia has published an appeal on her page this week, namely and to wit:
I don’t know if there’s any way to post a message that everyone can see but for all the blogspot people, it’s very hard for those of us who aren’t members of blogspot to ever get to post a comment. If the word matching is turned on, it never thinks you’ve matched and sometimes when it’s not the comment just hangs up while it blinks back and forth to the word matching but never posts… I note from comments that I’m not alone. Definitely helps when people turn off the word match but maybe blogspot needs a heads up?

I am going to ask Julia to post this too:

As a blogspotter I am sorry to hear of your problems and  hope that your appeal will help.  However, you are not alone!
The problems of commenting are universal it seems! I find it almost impossible to comment on WordPress blogs. Time and time again when I press 'publish'  my comment disappears without trace. In some cases I have come to understand that my comments have been instantly binned as spam.  SO frustrating do I find this, that I have almost given up either commenting or trying to enter WordPress based challenges - ie the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, on which I am UNABLE to leave my link. This is a shame.  It has also posed a problem on the school 100WC. My comments are only recognised if a comment I have left is fished out of the spam bin and 'instated' in the comments column. Thereafter, generally, I have been 'recognised' on that particular blog and my comments 'allowed' to appear.
I don't know how to overcome this problem - as often people don't look in their spam bins and are unaware that someone has tried to leave a comment.. Sometimes I leave comments via Facebook, but it's annoying that leaving a comment isn't a simple business.
I wish Blogspot and WordPress would talk to each other and sort this out. I have left comments on the Blogspot forum, and beg WordPress users to do likewise (you are missing out on lots of comments at the moment!), or send an email to WordPress if they are lucky enough to have that facility.
There seem to have been a lot of additional problems commenting recently. WHAT IS GOING ON?!

In the meantime, I would recommend all bloggers read this post about word verification and her original post which recommends how to deal with it, paying particular attention to point 5.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Swans Sing Before They Die

These are the kind of days that make me think I've died and gone to heaven.
Or France.
Perfect blue mornings, the sky rinsed and pale, the air still and cool as water, the sun a red-gold blossom bursting on the horizon.

The dogs can't wait to be off, and neither can I.

The lush, green riverbank, dotted with daisies and anemones

In the woods, the morning is clotted with birdsong and new leaves, the river a myriad rippling rings with fish rising or drunken insects falling in. Yesterday I stumbled on an empty eggshell on the riverbank, perhaps a heron's egg. They nest in the fir trees nearby and circle patiently overhead while I trespass on their hunting grounds. Sometimes they settle on the far bank and watch until we have gone, and I hear them clear as a bell: 'Hurry up! We've more important things to do than wait for you. Second breakfast is escaping.'

The heron caught fishing. Caught in the glare anyway!

The dogs generally ignore the herons. But if the cormorant is there, they will chase him to kingdom come.
They are convinced that the cormorant will become their breakfast, one of these fine days.
They are blissfully unaware that the cormorant plays games with them. He leaps into the water and flies low along it's surface, his trailing feet kicking up photogenic spray. The dogs race alongside on the bank, determined that today will be the day. Sometimes he flies away, but often he lights down onto the water and then they plunge in, doggy-paddling dementedly while he swims this way and that, luring them on.
But it is to no avail. Just as they approach he dives and they are left, staring suddenly at each other, heads turning like seals, wondering where he's gone.Only I - left on the higher bank, see him surface twenty yards downstream, and fly away.

They fall for it every time.

And I?
I fall too, but not for the antics of the cormorant.
The heron gliding overhead does it for me, or if I am lucky enough to see her, the falcon who also nests in the fir trees. And then Gerard Manley Hopkins's poetry dances in my head, his words rippling through my soul like the fish in the river.

'I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
  dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
  As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!...'

This morning  was even more special.

A sudden noise made me run from under the cover of the trees, and when I looked up, a skein of swans was flying east above my head, a ribbon of white light undulating against the pearl blue sky.

I don't know when I have seen anything more beautiful. I stood, watching until all twenty-three had disappeared from sight, feeling blessed beyond belief.

I felt an absurd longing to take to the sky and follow them.
But left behind, feet firmly planted on the lush, green riverbank, I found an optimism blooming in my heart.
Swans sing before they die.

I too shall sing.

(Samuel Taylor Coleridge notwithstanding.)

Walking home, I felt as if I'd been enchanted.
And I remembered, the children of Lir were turned into swans.
Not such a terrible fate, in the scheme of things.

It's too early for cygnets yet. I took these pictures on the Garavogue River a while ago.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Light a Penny Candle

It hasn't been a good day.
The little Empress has died today. She has been ill all week.

Marie-Louise, every inch an Empress

I moved her into the kitchen - the ICU - two days ago, and have been giving her round the clock, extremely intensive nursing. But despite medication and care, she hasn't improved at all. She looked very jaundiced.  
I wouldn't normally take hens to the vet, as treatment for a hen costs more than the hen itself, but as you will know, Napoleon and the Empress are very special.

The vet diagnosed liver failure and she has been put down.

It doesn't take much to make me cry at the best of times, and this really isn't the best of times.
It would be marginally easier if either husband or I were feeling pink or perky, but husband has succumbed to a relapse of the flu and I am still pretty ropey. And the trouble with me is, I am just so pathetic where animals are concerned - totally, helplessly, hopelessly committed to them all. In fact I remind myself of Colin Powell's immortal illustration: 'If you want to know the difference between involvement and commitment, think of a bacon and egg breakfast.The hen is involved, but the pig is definitely committed.'
That's me.

I cried all the way home from the vet's, not to mention at the vet's.
And poor Napoleon is standing outside the back door bawling now.
He is going to miss her even more than I will.

Napoleon and the Empress in better times. (Although I think she hadn't been warned of paparazzi presence and was caught having her afternoon nap)

Don't you just hate it when your animals are ill?
At least your kids can say 'this hurts' or 'my head aches'. (My brother, when he was small, used to complain of a 'heggache' and rub his tummy meaningfully.) But, even though non-specific, it gives you a clue.

Not so long ago, I was recalling one of my beautiful dogs, Beshlie who died back in 1997. As I quoted in that post, Lord Oaksey, when asked if there was anything he regretted, said yes - he regretted all the dogs he had loved and lost over the years.
They leave such a gap, don't they?

Beshlie, the best-ever babysitter. How she did love kittens!

Even a tiny cuckoo pekin Empress leaves a gap. She had more character packed into her meagre eight inches than all my ordinary hens put together. Feisty is the word that springs to mind. I can't recall how often I would hear her shouting, and I mean shouting, outside the back door. I would open it to find this pint sized creature yelling up at me at the top of her voice: 'I've lost him! He's off chasing bits of fluff! Come and sort it out!'
As often as not, Wellington hoving into sight had sent Napoleon into an air-head spin and he'd just run as far and as fast as possible. I'd find him hiding behind the hydrangeas, or pretending to be invisible in the turf shed, quaking quietly to himself.
Bless him.
As soon as they were re-united, all was well. Darby and Joan.
Better known as my babies, around here.

I think of them often, the animals who have contributed so much to my life. Many of them are buried here in the garden. In England, if you have to have your pet put down, the vet performs the dread (and often merciful) deed and you walk away, to cry alone. In Ireland, you bring your animal home with you afterwards, and have the small solace of a funeral.

I was once told that you should leave a dead pet in his or her bed for a while, so that any other animals you have can see what has happened. Apparently it stops them pining for a companion who just never comes home. We had a cat when I was young who spent years looking for our dog - every time the door opened he would run to look. The dog had gone to the vet and never returned. So sad.

Strangely, all our 'funerals' are well attended. After you've dug a grave, and wrapped their body, and picked some flowers, you turn around and all the other animals are dotted around, watching. Today as we buried Marie Louise, the dogs stood on either side and the orchard was full of hens. Who knows what goes on in their heads at such a time?

When my lovely Juno, mother of the divine duo, died two years ago, we also buried her in the orchard. It had been her favourite place to lie. The whole household, cats, dogs and people - including a young couple from San Diego who were staying with us - gathered around her grave, the people all with little bunches of flowers. A few days later, husband went up into the orchard and found this:

Keeping vigil

Top Dog and Hobbes were sitting on either side of her grave, keeping vigil. They were still there when he returned after rooting out the camera.
More tears.

Under Dog behaved very strangely for weeks after his mother died. He would go outside at  night and just stand out there, all alone. It was very sad.

I knew how he felt.
They give us everything while they live, and leave such a huge hole when they die.

Juno enjoying the afternoon sun in her favourite place - the orchard.

Just a few days ago, Isobel wrote on her blog:
It is a year ago tonight since Freddy the Gorgeous Boy, known on this page as Cat, died. Now, as then, I’m preparing for bed. Next Sunday, I am going to ask you to join me in the evening by putting lighted candles in your windows to remember all the pets we have loved and who have enriched our lives.
Last year I asked the same, both here, by email, phone and face to face. The word spread to more people than I could have ever imagined. Friends here and in foreign countries passed the idea on and I got messages telling me of people who I have never met in the real or virtual world lighting candles. People told me stories of their pets. I heard of much loved dogs, of guinea pigs, cats and rabbits. There were memories of ponies, horses, donkeys and pet goats. It felt like people had kept these stories bottled up, and there was joy in the telling. Everyone’s pet was the best, which is just as it should be.
So dig out your candles, chill that bottle of good wine, and on Sunday night, let’s remember all the great times we have had with our pets, and how much we have loved them.

When I first read it, I intended to add my request to hers. Little did I know that it would be so apposite.

What a nice idea - to dedicate a day to remembering, not with sadness, but with joy, all the animals who have made our lives so special. It seems a deeply appropriate time too - the vernal equinox.
A time associated not with death, but with life. With new beginnings. With hope.

So - if you have ever loved and lost a pet, join us on Sunday evening. Light a candle and put it in your window - and smile.

It's now late on Sunday evening. Here are my candles, burning for so many that we have loved.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Just Like That...

To welcome me home yesterday, Pushkin, aka Senior Cat, took me on an extended tour of the garden.
She's quite an outdoor girl, is Pushy, and if the weather is at all conciliatory, prefers to be out in her domain, so she was the ideal guide.  She is probably the only person who knows it better than I do.

We set out eagerly. I like March. It's a great month. Things are moving and promise lingers in the air like evening sunlight, yet all that burgeoning ebullience is still manageable. March is the last moment when you still feel in control. 

I had quite a shock.

Admittedly, 'There's not a moment to lose' is the order of the day around here, but even so, the garden has pulled a fast one in my absence.

I was expecting to see these pretty things. They politely hold back when all the other daffodils are thrusting themselves forward to be the first and foremost of spring. Come what may, they obey the dictum of their breeding, and flower appropriately:

Daffodils - variety Paddy's Day. Planted for my gorgeous boy who's birthday was last week.

Naturally, I was also expecting to see these, as they are one of the first every year, their pretty heads rising high above their delightfully spotted leaves.

Pulmonaria that I've always known as Mary and Joseph for the pink and blue flowers together. Some are already fading.

 Eagerly I was anticipating these:

Primroses - one of the joys of spring

And there was always a distinct chance that I might find some of these:  

These fancy daffs are some of the last to flower

 not to mention this little beauty:

My gorgeous young prunus Shirotae always flowers in late March. I am still waiting for it to take on the more traditional umbrella shape! Perhaps this year it will start...

But I didn't really expect to see these, which shouldn't be here until next month:

Narcissus Winston Churchill - very heavily scented. They also spread beautifully

And I distinctly remember a time when these were a feature of May. In fact, I'll be honest - these were May. Like a kind of wallpaper behind everything else.

Wild garlic. You have to learn not to fight it. I'm still learning

 And exactly what is going on here, for heaven's sake?

These tulips aren't just in flower - they have FINISHED flowering!

Pushy, I have to say, although not surprised at such forwardness, was not entirely approving of everything she had to show me, as witnessed by her expression in the vegetable garden.

These are hardly the delicate stems, pink and 'palely loitering' that I would expect in March! As you can see, Pushy entirely agrees with me. She is old enough to remember a time when things did what you expected them to do.
(They are however as delicious as they look. What could be nicer for breakfast than stewed rhubarb and yogurt?)

But her final revelation took the biscuit.
What, may I ask, is this all about?

Bluebells in March?

However, I was very happy to find that the sharks lurking in my little pond haven't managed to gobble up all the tadpoles yet. 

Tadpole heaven

Can you see them?

Look closely. There are millions of tadpoles squiggling about in this picture, but the light on the surface of the water makes it hard to pick them out.
Mind you, the sharks are still circling lazily.

And hiding under the kingcups.

The only thing I saw flitting about was this unidentified insect. I didn't actually see Tommy Cooper's ghost drifting over the pond or above the shrubbery, but I had the distinct feeling he had been in the garden while I was away.
Do you remember how he used to jig his hands and say 'Just like that...'?

I wish he'd come back and do a bit more jigging. Maybe this time he could jig away a few things.
Like the weeds.
Because they're as ebullient as the flowers.
So much for control!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Forgiveness of Dogs

Dear Reader - I have missed you!

I am sorry to say that I've been ill, and am still not 'a wellie' as we say in this house!
Husband's flu has been virulent, brutal and resilient. It has not - so far - responded in any meaningful way to the vast quantity and array of drugs I have been throwing hand over fist at it. It has, moreover, morphed into flu + nasty cough, which is just typical. I'm starting to sound as if I've been on 60-a-day since birth.

In the midst of my flu, and with deep reservations, I got on a plane and went to England for 5 days.

Not a good idea, I hear you cry. And how right you are!

I didn't see much of lovely Suffolk. My kind brother took this for me, as I was missing out on all the pretty blossom bedecking the picturesque cottages. Thank you, kind brother

I did ask advice of several people - including a pharmacist - who all urged me to go, assuring me that the worst was probably over, especially the contagious bit.. (I had, after all, spent many days in bed.)

Anyway, enough of that. Suffice it to say that I am feeling rather sorry for myself, and poor husband, who's  had the dread bug for a whole ten days longer than me, is still not a wellie either.

I didn't see much of lovely Suffolk, but I did see some of my nearest and dearest, which was wonderful.
I just hope I haven't passed anything nasty on to them.
Including my brother who sweetly drove all the way from Cheshire for my visit - that self-same hero of the hour who heretofore did battle with the inner workings of my blog, slaying the dragon lurking midst my feedburner in fearless but lengthy single combat. (Unarmed.)

Another pretty Suffolk cottage.  Thank you again, dear brother

Travelling makes you feel even worse, especially when you have to deal with the petty dictatorship that is airport security and Ryanair. The former includes having to remove half your clothes and endure pat-downs, the latter, lack of information and delayed flights. Also, now that Ryanair has made it virtually bankrupting to take luggage, the aircraft sits on the tarmac for an additional twenty minutes while cabin staff try and force everyone's hand luggage into overhead lockers that are already full.

Ryanair is not good for people who are suffering from any form of stress. Especially flu.

However, my ghastly return journey was all worthwhile. Not one, but three smiling faces welcomed me on arrival back home. Husband had brought the dogs to the airport.
Aren't dogs wonderful? They never say: 'Where've you been? Why've you been gone so long? Who said you could go anyway?'
They just say: 'IT'S SO NICE TO SEE YOU!'
Unlike cats, they are instantly and endlessly forgiving.
They've never said a word about all the days when I was in bed and they didn't get a walk.
They looked sad, but they didn't say anything.
And they don't make loud and voluble complaints when breakfast is dished up late.
Or supper.
Unlike the cats.
And the hens.

Oh, the forgiveness of dogs!

Dear dogs

Monday, 12 March 2012

Picture it in Your Own Words - Contrast

This week's photo challenge is Contrast

I am sick. I am feeling very sorry for myself. I have succumbed to husband's flu.
A picture of me this week and last week would be quite a contrast, but none of you deserve to see such an appalling sight.

Instead here are some other images.

Sunset, the tip of Nephin just visible

Magnolia stellata flowers

Sunset - the only time those ugly poles seem eyecatching

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Spring Mizzles Midst the Daffodils

Early this morning I went out into the garden to pick daffodils for the Market
It was what the Irish call a soft morning.
I think 'runny' might have been more accurate. Nice, but runny.
And for March, it was warm and blissfully still.

The cats all came to help, as they do. (Also to check I hadn't actually forgotten about breakfast.)

Lots of daffs at the market

Beside the daffodils, the chives are already four or five inches high. New, bright green spears thrusting through the soil, with curly-leafed sage curling up alongside, and hyacinths straggly but damply beautiful and heavily scented in the wet March air. And the pond is heaving with frogspawn on the turn, the miracle of life taking place in each and every gelatinous bobble, while the goldfish circle lazily, like sharks.
Do goldfish eat frogspawn?
I have no idea.

All around me spring has sprung.

The Forsythia's a bit of a miracle too

I love spring, but as husband and I commented on our way to the market, in my head Spring is an Event - possibly even with a fanfare - something I await every year with bated breath, whereas the reality is that it's been creeping in by the backdoor for months, and before you know it, it'll be over. Half the daffodils are finished even now, the crocus long gone, the snowdrops already just a memory.

While I am sleeping, the Shirotae will have burst, and I picked three bluebells in the woods ten days ago.
Bluebells in March?

The seasons are even more upside down than we thought. Looking back, there was a rose in flower on this bush or that climber throughout the winter, and everywhere I look, the weeds are flourishing.
The slugs and snails certainly are.
There is even a fat bud on one of my summer poppies!
But, like me, my lovely viburnum bodantense that has been in bloom since October, seems unaware that spring is here, that it should be packing  up and going to bed. Its bare branches are still covered in oleander-scented pink flowers, the tiny shoots of new leaves just starting to appear.
I think it's waiting for the sound of trumpets.

Perhaps I should tell it - fanfare or no fanfare, this is it. Now. Today.

Somehow I have to get out of my preconceived expectations and learn to revel in the moment.
Every moment.
Even if it is a mizzly one.

Narcissus have such pretty faces

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Sea Horse

The prompt for this week's 100 Word Challenge is a picture.

The driftwood horse at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK

Isn't he stunning? 

My entry is a poem, The Sea Horse

The unbound tide has chased him,
the bone horse, raced him to mere
tracery, beached him, flittered and 
sand-blasted him smooth as silk.

Then the tide caressed him,
the sea horse, to moon-bleached 
bones; his hide forfeit, his
ribs pleached to lacy fretwork.

He rears from the waves, the
bone horse, staves off the 
tide's undoing and braves the
brittle judgement of the air.

He is lit from within, the 
sea horse; sinew and blood
effaced, his silken bones
encasing airy light and liquid grace.

Proudly he stands, the sea horse,
the bone horse, for he has won the race.

More driftwood horses by Heather Jansch

How strange - this is my second filigree horse this week. 
Here's the other one!

And, here is some more of Heather Jansch's fantastic work to inspire your dreams

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Of Chieftains, Blossom Trees and Sunday Thrills

We had rather a different weekend - for us.

We got in the car and headed off inland. We don't do that very often, so it felt as if we were on holiday, or in a foreign country - or both.

The wide, flat horizons of Roscommon and Westmeath are very different to the coastal landscapes we are used to here, and while I wouldn't want to swap, it was nice to explore them for a few hours.
We were on a mission, but we managed a little detour to look at some trees. All grist for the mill in deciding what to plant in place of my poor, decapitated, hanged-drawn-and-quartered elm tree.

As well as the trees, our journey took us past the Chieftain which is always a pleasure.

The Chieftain by Maurice Harron

The Chieftain, who guards the pass into Sligo over the Curlew Mountains, is quite stunningly beautiful and never fails to move me. He stands high above the road, overlooking the ancient battlefield at Ballinafad, where the Irish routed the Brits back in 1599, and it's nice to know he's there, keeping watch. No one could slip into Sligo without him seeing. He is lifesize and looks completely real. As real as a ghost. A wraith-lord waiting, silently watching - as he watched for the first English soldiers to appear on the pass 400 years ago.It's as if he has been there ever since and Harron has somehow conjured him into nebulous reality.

(Honesty compels me to tell you that the Curlew Mountains ought really to be called the Curlew Hills, but that doesn't have the same romantic ring.)

Before we lived in the Emerald Isle, we used to visit regularly. That was years ago, long before the Chieftain was placed on his mound high above Lough Arrow to thrill you on your way. Then, there was just the old, winding road that twisted to the top of the Curlew pass, but even then it was a thrill because from there you had your first, distant view of Benbulben, Sligo's iconic mountain and you knew the wild, wonderful west coast was only an hour away.

Perhaps the Chieftain can see the sea, from his lofty perch. But he would need to turn his head - and he is too busy, watching.

Benbulben, Sligo's iconic mountain

But, thrilling and all as it was to see the Chieftain and look at previously unknown blossom trees, they weren't my only treats at the weekend.

We also went to the cinema.

I would like to be able to tell you that we go to the cinema every other weekend.
Alas, it is not so.
We always mean to, but it's just far enough away to require a certain commitment.

But we were determined to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and  it was totally wonderful, so if you haven't seen it, do.
We went on Sunday afternoon and had the felicity of being half the audience! (It was a very early screening, but it suited us perfectly.)

I have to say we laughed out loud at regular intervals. Honesty again compels me to tell you that the other half of the audience didn't - but maybe they were just more contained than husband and me. Maybe they laughed quietly, to themselves.
It was poignant and touching too, and riotously colourful, as you would expect. It has immediately soared into my extremely select bracket of 'top movies' and I came out wanting to see it again as soon as possible.
Highly recommended.

We even saw a rainbow as we came out of the cinema - but I can't promise that you will too.

We even saw a rainbow

The tag line from the movie has been adopted into our family phrasebook forthwith:
'Everything will be all right in the end. And if it isn't - it isn't the end.'

Amen to that.

The Chieftain looms on the top of the hill - you see him first from far away

Elevenses - Tagging Along For the Ride

IsobelandCat has linked me into a daft blog game! It's all elevenses as far as I can make out, but no chocolate biscuits.
However, as I've been feeling eleventy-one years old today, I suppose it was meant to be.

You must post these rules.

Paste the questions the “tagger” listed for you in their post
onto a new post of your own and answer them
Create eleven new questions for the people you tag to answer.
Choose eleven people to tag and put a link to their pages in the post.

Let each taggee know that you have tagged them.

So - here are Isobel's 11 questions with my answers:

What makes you angry?   Any kind of cruelty to animals.

Where was your best UK holiday? (if you have never had a holiday in the UK, say where you would mots like to visit in the UK)   The magical summer holidays I spent with my husband in Somerset (his home county) when we first met and when we were first married

Where do you eat breakfast?  Standing on my head

Who in the public domain do you most admire?  Off the top of my head, Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley  Whittingstall. They have both changed the way we think about food, and animal welfare and have been central to many people in the UK eating a healthier diet

Where would you advise a visitor to see in London? (if you’ve never been here, say where you would like to visit in London)  Greenwich, especially at the weekend - a lovely walk in the park and then a visit to the market. Or the other way round if you prefer. Lots of other things to do and see there too - the Observatory, the Cutty Sark, the Queen's House, the Maritime Museum etc etc etc. It was always one of my favourite places

What do you like most about your home?   That it fits like an old coat but manages to be so beautiful as well (beautiful building, rather than my clutter, I mean)

Would you ever have plastic surgery to reverse the signs of ageing?   After looking in the mirror this morning, how soon can I book?

What would you do if any of the following tried to shake your hand:
Vladimir Putin, David Cameron, Angela Merkel?  As I can't imagine any circumstances in which this could happen, I don't have to answer that

Which was your favourite Father Ted episode? (if you have never watched Father Ted rectify this life error asap)   I will try to rectify this terrible error

What are you reading and would you recommend it?  Notwithstanding by Louis de Bernieres, bought in a charity shop. Yes, it's delightful and quirky

For how many minutes do you boil an egg?   We have our own hens and the eggs take longer to boil than shop bought for some reason. I like eggs either really really soft or really really hard. - no idea how long either of those take to achieve. All a bit haphazard here!

OK - here are my questions:

Looking back, which author did you most love in that transition between childhood and becoming an adult?

Which 5 plants or species would you always want growing in your garden (or hypothetical garden)

What would you try to save if the house went up in flames and you knew all the people and animals were safely out?

Which country/city in the world (that you have never been to) would you most like to visit and why?

What's the number one favourite piece of music/song you would take to your desert island?

Do you read using a Kindle or would you if you could?

What individual item of food would you not eat, even if it was served to you at the Queen/President's dinner table? (Something ordinary, we're not talking about sheep's eyeballs here!)

If you found an unexpected £20 in the bottom of your coat pocket, what would you spend it on - books, wine, plants, clothes, bills...?

If your car could be any colour you want, what colour would it be?

Looking back, what do you most regret not buying (no matter how big or small)

Do you still have your childhood teddy bear? If so, what is he/she called?

I am tagging the following bloggers (who don't have to take part if they don't want to)