Thursday 31 March 2016

31 March : Field Trip

It came to pass on a wet and and windy Sunday morning that MrsM insisted that MrM and MissM accompany her on a Geological Adventure and they all drove to Sandymouth beach.

MrsM waved her arms grandiloquently in the general direction of the cliffs and pronounced them mostly sandstone from the Upper Carboniferous ~310 mya which is Langsettian (Westphalian A) to Bolsovian (Westphalian C) in age. Or some such combination of the incomprehensible words that she had recently read on the internet.

MissM didn't mind too much because she likes walking along the beach and paddling in the sea even if it is wet and windy but MrM thought longingly of his Sunday papers and trudged along behind them like an elderly dog who has been dragged away from the fireside. In the end MrsM agreed that she had absorbed as much Geology as she could cope with and they all repaired to the cafe for hot drinks.

Wednesday 30 March 2016

30 March : Scones

It was the village coffee morning on Saturday and there was carnage at the cake stall. I have mastered the art of strolling nonchalantly beside the table and mentally calculating how much we can (a) afford (b) carry (c) eat. I then turn like a viper ready to strike and sweep baked goodies into my capacious bag. This time it was flapjacks, lemon drizzle cake, simnel buns and bread rolls shaped like bunny rabbits but Freda's famous Cheese Scones were first into the bag. Freda is a very shy lady but she is always part of any village event, selling raffle tickets, pouring tea, washing up. I asked her what the secret of her scones is and she whispered that she puts in a little bit more cheese than it says in the recipe. So now you know.

Sunday 27 March 2016

27 March : Gratitude

My mother says

"We are so lucky to live here. First we have snowdrops and the wild daffodils at Easter. Soon there will be primroses everywhere and then the wood will be filled with bluebells. It is a magical place and I am so grateful that I have family and friends to share it with."

Saturday 26 March 2016

26 March : Eggs

The cottage has been egg-ified for Easter. MrM reeled in shock to find an Easter 'tree' on the breakfast table but I explained that it was only there for three days and he decided, on reflection, that it would not impinge too negatively on his orange juice, cereal and toast. The Easter garland was another source of trauma but MrM eventually agreed that it was a subtle addition to the seasonal decor provided it was only there for three days. Next year I am going to break out the Easter bunting but don't tell him yet. 

Yesterday was glorious sunshine - perfect weather for getting a puncture on the motorway. Today is wet and stormy - perfect weather for going out to lunch to celebrate MissM's recent promotion. Tomorrow is supposed to be sunshine and showers - almost perfect weather for the traditional family Easter egg mêlée. I hope that the Easter Bunny brings enough chocolatey goodness for the little boy cousins.

I wish you all a peaceful weekend.

Friday 25 March 2016

25 March : Rogier van der Weyden

Earlier this month I was at the British Academy to hear the new Director of the National Gallery, Dr Gabriele Finaldi, give a powerful lecture on 'Rogier van der Weyden and the encounter between Faith and Art'.

It was intensely moving to hear Dr Finaldi speak about this medieval Flemish artist whom he has studied for many years and the room was silent as he explored the iconography of four paintings featured in the recent exhibition at the Prado Museum. Rogier van der Weyden was highly respected in his lifetime and was official artist for the city of Brussels from 1436 until his death in 1464.

The final image that Dr Finaldi chose was the recently restored masterpiece 'The Crucifixion' (1457-64) which was originally an altarpiece in the Charterhouse of Scheut. Dr Finaldi described standing in front of this painting for hours exploring every detail and I thought about contemplating such terrible suffering and overpowering grief over a long period of time and wondered if I would have had the strength.

Exhibition at Prado Museum 2015

Tuesday 22 March 2016

22 March : Inbox

Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904)
plate 44: Ammonitida

Email from the Head of Research Group

! High Priority !

I was quite surprised to see...that there [have recently] been significant revisions to parts of the standard timescale, especially the Triassic. 

I suggest we standardise on GTS2012, which appears to be the same as that published by the Geological Society of America, and is the same as that issued by the ICS.

Irritatingly, they no longer mark Upper, Middle and Lower for the Miocene and Eocene, so I have added lines on another copy of the GTS2012.

Unfortunately, this means you should throw away most of the free plastic timescale charts you may have.

MrsM obediently throws away her Geological mousemat.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

15 March : Blossom

All the furniture from our bedroom is in the sitting room while Terry works his window magic. I'm learning to love change but I'm not going to lie to you - sleeping in our spare room is harshing my karma. So I take photos of cherry blossom, breathe deeply and try to transport myself to a parallel universe where someone else worries about home maintenance.

Saturday 12 March 2016

11 March : Out of Office

Ternate, Tidore and Moti
Pencil sketch by Alfred Russel Wallace
© A. R. Wallace Memorial Fund

We are standing in front of a map and the Head of the Research Group says "I am surprised you don't know where Tidore is because there is a picture of it on the thousand rupiah note. It is one of a pair of islands in the Maluku archipelago and I think it is my favourite volcano. Almost a perfect cone. Also, it is the home of the clove."  The window into far away worlds has reopened.

Thursday 10 March 2016

9 March : Daffodils

MrM has a delightful habit of filling our diary with treats and interesting outings but the time allocated to sleeping has been squeezed recently. I worry about how I am going to do everything and sleep. I have noticed that if I do not get enough sleep I am distrait. My Zen guru advises that the root of my stress is that I am too attached to the concept of sleep and it is true, I am very attached to the concept of sleep, I cling to it fiercely. I think that I need to learn to say 'MrM, we are behaving like irresponsible teenagers, it is time for us to act our age. We can watch Countdown and go to bed at a sensible time.' but I don't think he is going to take me seriously. While I ponder this conundrum I sit in my sunny kitchen with a mug of tea and enjoy my Mothering Sunday daffodils.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

8 March : Family

1 x MrsM; 1 x MrM; 1 x MissM; 1 x MasterM

1 x lovely brother; 1 x lovely sister-in-law

2 x little boy cousins

1 x ice cream van, numerous Dartmoor ponies, stunning view.

I started writing my blog just before my brother's wedding in 2007. So much has happened since then to his little family because they moved to South America for three years. The good news is that they returned just before Christmas and now live within easy reach so that we can meet up and climb a tor or two on a Saturday afternoon. It's going to be such fun having little boy cousins around.

Saturday 5 March 2016

5 March : Baking

Glacé ginger macaroons from a recipe by the lovely Mary Addison. Small, dense and deliciously gingery. I am afraid that I drizzled white chocolate on them which looked very pretty but will cause ripples of shock in the dark chocolate vigilante brigade. I can report that the Lent group were delighted and as a result we had a very jolly reading of Psalm 13, the Prayer of the Oppressed. I might have to rethink my offerings. Perhaps some unleavened bread next week.