Friday, 7 October 2011

Brain scorch

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Ten days to go.

I genuinely have no idea what is happening in the world today. I feel this is shocking dereliction on my part. It is as if there is a magical thinking section of my brain that believes if I were to know the current state of, say, Greece’s parlous debt, or what poor Mrs Merkel is going to have to do about it, then somehow it might make it all better. I have no idea where this comes from. I was not brought up in a house of news hounds. Somewhere, I imbibed the idea that it is the concerned citizen’s duty to know the state of the world.

I know nothing because when I get to this state of intense thinking even the sound of John Humphrys may act as a massive distraction. In fact, the only thing I can listen to is classical music, because there are no lyrics. The only words that I can listen to, in this final stage, are my own. (This is, I should admit, quite tiring. I’m not that interesting.)

The thinking is in one sense good. It is about clarification, mostly. What are you really trying to say, is my current song. But then it can lead me astray. Suddenly, this morning, I realised that I had neglected an entire section. Part of me thought, oh sod it. No one will notice. The rigorous part said, crossly, WRITE IT DOWN. So I did 2231 words.

2231 words in a day is crazy talk. Only Barbara Cartland wrote that much in a sitting, and she could do it because she in fact dictated her books to a secretary, whilst lying on a chaise longue, dressed all in pink.

As a result, my brain feels slightly scorched. I am also suffering from sudden waves of nausea, which come and go like seasickness. I thought perhaps it was stress, but I learn that there is a wild sickness bug in the village. I just went to the village, to buy carnations, on a sudden whim. (I thought that arranging flowers might be good for the singed mind.) I went to the village, when there is a sickness bug? What was I thinking? I cannot be ill; the good body must keep working.

I swallow handfuls of spirulina, Echinacea and fish oil capsules, in the vain hope that vitamins may save the day. If that does not work, I’m moving on to whisky, the spirit that kills all known germs dead. It's neck or nothing, now.


Today's pictures:

The hydrangea, with one fallen rowan leaf providing the singing splash of scarlet:

7 Oct 1

Slightly blurred, as it was blowing in the wind:

7 Oct 2

The white marjoram:

7 Oct 3

The shrub whose name a dear reader did kindly remind me of, and which I have again forgotten:

7 Oct 4

These little beauties were quite over, and have suddenly come for a second late flowering:

7 Oct 5

Cyclamen, still going, like some kind of miracle plant:

7 Oct 5-1

The lavender really should be over now, but here is a nutty little plant suddenly putting out a new flower:

7 Oct 8

The amazing viola:

7 Oct 9

Newest tree, a prunus, bending in the wind:

7 Oct 10

Pigeon, with her all present and correct face on:

7 Oct 15

In sepia, for full nostalgic effect. I always think it makes her look like an Edwardian dog, on her way to Sandringham:

7 Oct 16

And in black and white:

7 Oct 17

I know I should not go on about the dog, in a shamelessly sentimental manner, but those two politely placed paws slay me.


7 Oct 17-1

Just as I am finishing this, the Beloved Cousin rings. This is very exciting. No matter how stressy I am, she has the talent of making me feel that everything is better. We laugh for twenty minutes. I put the telephone down. I check. There it is. Her gift has not deserted her. Everything is better.


  1. Oh, I hope you don't get ill! I've been flat in bed for five days from a stomach I'm woefully behind on everything!

    (And arranging flowers always makes everything better!).

    Its interesting, though, living alone, you don't always hear of the flu/bugs going around until its too late and you've gotten the plague! (At least in my case). Hope you didn't get anything!

  2. CatherineMarie - how kind you are. Am FIGHTING off any hint of bug with watercress soup and handfuls of vitamins. So sorry you have been ill; hope you are up and about soon. :)

  3. Keep calm and carry on. Believe in The Power Of The Cousin.

    I am in complete agreement with you regarding concentration and classical music. Anything with words erases the words that you're trying to come up with. Just like how trying to remember how a song goes when other music is playing is competely pointless.

    I know you were being funny about Barbara Cartland, but I wonder how different writing would be if one did get in a comfortable position and just talk into a recorder, and put it down on paper later? I've never tried that, but it might be an interesting way to capture creative thoughts.

    Regarding world news? I regularly take vacations from it for my own sanity's sake. It's always there, and always as bad, when I return.

    I love the way your hydrangea photo looks like small white butterflies dancing around a flower... and it's all flower!

  4. Holy cow, I am so much more than "a day late, a dollar short," that I hardly know where to begin.

    I am truly loving the new look, which isn't to say I disliked the old look, simply that I adapt more quickly to change than might be good for me.

    As for the rest, I seem to have quite a bit of catching up to do, enough of a bit to fill my Saturday early afternoon anyway.

    The Pigeon is gorg, as usual, and I'm an oversized sucker for turning leaves. Thanks for some snaps of those. I don't know why, but I do love autumn. And a whiff of wood smoke? Oh, my goodness, it intoxicates.

    I will return once I've gotten caught up. I know you are quivering with anticipation for my return. What a peach you are, Tania Kindersley.

  5. Marcheline - love the idea of hydrangeas as butterflies.

    Larrouxgirl - you jest, but I do always wonder when I don't hear from regular readers in a while. It's not just that I love the comments, but I actually fret slightly in case some disaster should have befallen you. I'm afraid I get this from my mother. So lovely to have you back.


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