Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The things I dread

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Sometimes, age does teach you things. Sometimes, it teaches you bugger all, but that is another story. One of my very, very small, but quite true lessons is:

Quite often, things are not as bad as you think they will be.

You see? It’s like I am channelling Confucius. I should write a book.

What I mean is that quite often I dread something I must do. I put it off, even though I know procrastination is the work of Satan. The more I put it off, the more it grows into a three act opera in the amphitheatre of my own head. Then, finally, sweating blood and bullets, I get it together to do the damn thing, and it’s nothing like as bad as I thought.

I had this the other day with my library books. (You see the glittering life of daredevil and high drama that I lead?) They were late, I had renewed them more than once, and there was one I could not locate. I had run mad visions in my head of the librarians saying: ENOUGH. They would surely drum me out of the covenant, and I should never be able to borrow books in this town again.

Of course, nothing even remotely like that happened. The lovely librarian appeared to be delighted to see me. We had a delightful chat. I paid my fine, apologised, got the errant book renewed, and went home and ate some toast and marmalade.

It could not have been nicer or more ordinary, in the very best sense of that word.

This morning, I had another similar reminder. I had, for complicated and top secret reasons, to go and have my photograph taken. I loathe having my photograph taken. I suppose it’s a stupid vanity thing. I vaguely think I look slightly presentable; then I see a picture of myself and it’s more Ena Sharples than Annette Bening. Then I hate myself for minding, because I know that kind of thing is not important. Cheekbones and skin tone count for nothing. What matters in life is that you have the secret of a really good chicken soup, or can make people laugh, or fight the good fight against moral relativism.

Anyway, I was late; I could put it off no longer. I marched crossly down to my sister’s house, to the Younger Niece and her camera. I was excessively grumpy about the whole thing.

In the end, it was the most fun. The Niece was brilliant with the camera, shrieked with laughter the whole time, and paid me an excess of compliments. She has the trick of that; of saying the kindest and most delightful things.

I had a chat with the Sister and the Brother-in-law, who was busy monitoring the Norwegian weather reports. We have a party on Friday, and need the good weather, and apparently the Norwegians are the most accurate, when it comes to Scotland. The Brother was making a dauphinoise, still wearing his hat.

‘I love that hat,’ I said.

‘Sometimes I sleep in it,’ he said.

(It is a brightly coloured, intricately patterned beanie.)

I went home and looked at the pictures, and they weren’t bad at all. I am forty-four, and I’ve been round the block a bit. I’m never going to get that shine of youth back, and that’s all right. And anyway, as long as I can still make soup, it really does not matter one little bit.


Poured with rain all day today, so here are some pictures from the last few days, when the clouds lifted:

2 Aug 1

2 Aug 2

2 Aug 3

2 Aug 3.ORF

2 Aug 4.ORF

2 Aug 5.ORF

2 Aug 5.ORF-1

2 Aug 6.ORF

2 Aug 7.ORF

2 Aug 8

2 Aug 8.ORF

2 Aug 8.ORF-1

2 Aug 9.ORF

2 Aug 10

2 Aug 11

2 Aug 12

2 Aug 13

The special blinky eyes:

2 Aug 19

And the wild smiling:

2 Aug 20

No hill today; it is hiding in the cloud.


  1. Nothing is more demoralizing to me than to see photos of myself, particularly candid ones. In the mirror I look OK to myself, not great, but in photos I look like the most hideous troll who ever lived. The people who love me assure me, chagrined, that "some people just don't photograph well." You, however, seem to, based on limited profile-picture evidence.

    And the Pigeon, of course, is a born model.

  2. Tania you are a tonic. Whenever I feel down in the dumps a visits to you will sort me out. I like the idea of having been around the block. It's starting to sound alluring to me at the ripe age of 37. I have decided 37 is a nowhere age; not near mid thirties and not yet 40. I assume 40 to be fab and anything after better. Am I right? Please don't disillusion me! I have started looking forward to your book being published, how long must we wait? Lou x

  3. A visits to you? Damn iPad autocorrect...

  4. Ellie - so glad I am not alone in the photograph paranoia. :)

    Lou - what a very lovely thing to say. Thank you. Book is out next June.

  5. The Pigeon is a natural in front of the camera, of course, and I... am not.

    Would love to see your photo. Or is it too secret squirrel?

  6. How can we wait until next June? As a friend of mine says (as we send each other dog photos over the ether) "Is there nothing faster than instant?"

    AND we still haven't seen the Brother's Hat. A photo of the Hat should be mandatory.

    The Pigeon has the most lovely smiley eyes.

    Lou - the 40s are great. The Give-a-damn meter for others' general opinions is well and truly broken and it becomes easier to live true to yourself. There is some accumulated knowledge and experience and still the ability to play, take joy in life and dismiss what is trivial.

    And the third photograph down just SINGS

  7. I try not to look at the photograph of myself at all. Even in a group I skip over mine - just look at the others. But you do tell a good tale, you make me laugh on a workday morning (that is I think the best skill - my workdays of late are so stressed out that starting with a smile is huge), and you do give good soup receipes which I am going to follow. Thats more than enough talent in one body. And you like the cricket.

  8. i agree with louboo...quite the tonic. all that matters in life is the secret of a good chicken noodle soup. :)

  9. Tania - Your pictures are stunning. As much as I adore the plant/flower images - the chairs, the chairs, the chairs. Evocative.

    And The Pigeon is always wonderful.

  10. Em - you are so kind about the dear Pigeon. Picture is going up today, specially for you.

    Erika - aren't the eyes heaven? And so agree about the forties.

    Oh, and further to my reply to Lou - forgot to say, yes, yes, the forties are tremendous. There is a bit of mid-life crisis, but a huge amount of realising what really matters. And quite a lot of what the hell. :)

    Mystica - that is the nicest, nicest thing to say. You bring a little tear to my eye. What a lovely reader you are. Thank you.

    Sarah - yes, YES, the soup. Most important thing of all.

    Michelle - always so lovely to hear from you, over on the other side of the world. So glad you like my old chairs.

  11. Beautiful photographs, as ever. I especially like the old chairs and the wood. I also hate having my photo taken - the best ones of me have been sneaked when I wasn't looking... I find this works well with other people too - the more people pose, the worse the photo, it seems.


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