Sunday, December 30, 2007


This is the time of year to make lists, isn't it? Lists of presents, lists of food to serve, lists of Christmas cards, lists of thank-you cards, lists of holiday gear to pack, lists of who to invite, lists of things to buy in the sales, lists of New Year resolutions.

My New Year Resolution is to write more lists. And to finish everything that needs doing before starting anything new.

The garden, for instance. At present it's more meadow than yard.
This is how I see it:

This is how the cats see it:

Best Beloved doesn't see any of this. He only sees the little corner at the back full of tomato plants and lettuce that he tends lovingly every day, pulling out the weeds and watering. Never mind the fact that our visitors have to use a machete to get to the front door, the tomatoes are thriving.

I would fix this myself, but I'm a tad busy. And he's not. And that's as close as you'll get to a formal whinge about the man from me.

Yes, we're back. I'm in a small pocket of space between being sick all through Christmas, hurling up my lungs constantly in the damp and cold, and the prospect of a stinking hot spell in Mittagong teaching at the Sturt Summer School from NY's day to the 6th. So my daily routine is (list 1):

-- Bit of a sleep-in
-- Sort out my notes
-- Make a demonstration book
-- See a movie*
-- make another list of tips & tricks
-- Make a demo book
-- dinner, with lashings of wine and chocolate
-- Think about the talk I'm giving at Sturt**
-- bed

*This is only possible because Bumblebee is having an Albatross Christmas this year.
**I can't seem to get past thinking. But I have to write it tomorrow, because then it's time to get driving.

Movies seen since Christmas (list 2):
-- The Golden Compass (ripper. Must see. Nicole Kidman probably the worst thing in it, but she suits the monkey more than the description in the book)
-- Atonement (ripper, even more so. Must see.)
-- The Darjeeling Limited (ok. pretty.)
-- Hunting & Gathering (sweet.)

Books read since leaving home for Christmas period (list 3):
-- Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith (yay)
-- Philip Pullman, Northern Lights (read after seeing The Golden Compass, which was probably the best way to do it, really)
-- Anita Brookner, The Rules of Engagement (frustratingly slow)
-- Ian McEwan, On Chesil Beach (reading now, already doing better than Anita on what will probably turn out to be a similar theme).

Books waiting in the wings for the next patch of holiday (list 4):
-- Colleen McCulloch, Antony & Cleopatra (don't snigger, I never thought she'd ever do another Roman book, so I'm profoundly grateful)
-- Nathan Englander, The Ministry of Special Cases (I started this a while ago, but it didn't grab me. I think I need to be at leisure to read it)
-- Cormac McCarthy, The Road (read last summer, but needs a re-read regularly)
-- Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris: A life for our time (from the library, don't know if I'll get to it!)

Cats I met whilst travelling (list 5):
-- Actually, only one cat, called Mr Snooze. Beautiful creature who has a horrible habit of sinking calmly into your arms for a cuddle then farting, enveloping you in a cloud of the most horrendous stench of rotting creatures (he's an excellent hunter). Beauty and the Beast, all rolled into one silky brown package.


So I guess not a list.

Things worth a mention (list 5.5):
-- I heart Gillian Welch. We are the same age. These things are important. I am about to spend my teaching week listening to no-one else.
-- This card is amazing. How many bits of stationery do you see that express sentiments like that? made by the same people who make the excellent pirate cards. I love letterpress processes used with a sense of humour.

Time to get back to my making desk. I'm off the air again now until I get back from Sturt. Then I have another little window of time (3 days?) until we head to Tasmania. And then Melbourne! And then school starts (sob!). But I don't want to think about that right now. Too many lists to make. Happy New Year in advance!


lucy tartan said...

Mr Snooze would be that Burmese heard about elsewhere....

Lost in a reverie... said...

Have recently returned from a visit to Mittagong - it's warm and dry, the perfect temperature to clear away a nasty cough. All the best with the teaching.

Has a decision been made on a venue for Feb?

P.s. gotta love a wild garden!

Anonymous said...


BEST. EVER. MOVIE. This summer anyways. Cormac McCarthy meets the Coen Brothers for a sublime experience!

Dr Sister Outlaw said...

Sorry, that was me. Urging you all to see No Country for Old Men.

Ampersand Duck said...

LT: yes, probably!
LiR: no decision yet. I'm waiting until I'm almost on the boat to see if any clear preference shows. I'm really happy with anything, so would be grateful for someone to make a decision for me :)

Bernice said...

Do not mow the lawn. Repeat - DO NOT. I'm serious. Pllleeeeaaassseee do the meadow thing - your block is perfect. Watch paths slowly emerge from foot pads, animal burrows through the grass, & the stern letters from the fire authorities. The turning of the grass to golden dust in the heat of summer...

Maria said...

I'm interested in reading the Northern Lights Trilogy ... not so sure about watching Golden Compass though. Must say the Nic reviews turn me off somewhat.

No Country for Old Men sounds good, though my Dad couldn't stand it. He doesn't like a movie if there isn't a clearcut ending - that is, the goodie is victorious and the baddie gets his just desserts. He didn't like Million Dollar Baby because Hillary Swank's character died. He felt ripped off!

Bwca said...

Your cat LOVES his view of the grassy meadow.
All cats LOVE long grass - hiding in it and pouncing on things.