Sunday, 2 October 2011

A Sunday ramble

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Sometimes I wonder about the things I write. The blogging rules are that there are no rules. It’s a wonderful explosion of pure democracy, of individual expression. There is no right or wrong, no lines beyond which here be dragons.

I think, I think, that in the back of my head the maxim of William Morris lives strong. He said: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ I like the idea of taking this line and setting it free. It’s not just houses, I don’t think. I think it is life. (I think of beauty here in its absolute widest form; not the cramped idea of beauty which currently holds sway, but all the unexpected beauties that you find in the most unlikely places.)

So, I think that a blog might aspire to be beautiful and useful. If I can write a singing sentence, or put up a delightful picture of the Pigeon, that’s the beauty part covered. The usefulness is a little more vexing. There is the obvious: a recipe here, a note on the writing process there. But when I do revelation, snapshots of my state of mind I think: is that really of utility? I tip-toe along the fine line between the exploration of the human condition and the abyss of self-indulgence.

When I give you what I sometimes think of as my wailing posts, like I did yesterday, I get a little shiver every time I press the publish button. Is it too much? Did you really need to know that? Am I growing dull and repetitive?

Then the Dear Readers come along and save me. This morning, a comment winged its way into my inbox. A reader had found something in that rambling post from yesterday that made her feel better. It was as if someone had sent me a virtual bunch of flowers, a big fat bouquet of peonies wrapped in an existential ribbon. This will not happen for everyone. I suspect there will be days when people think: enough with the dog stuff, or the mortality riffs, or the deadline panics, which is what it has been about for me in the last month.

I suppose all this is very like life. I have a slightly craven desire to please all of the people all of the time. One of the things I like about middle age is that one really realises this is not possible, or even desirable. One of the things that I have long known intellectually but only recently really understood viscerally is that no matter what you do, you cannot make people think of you in the way you would always like. No matter how much you try to cajole and charm and please, they will have their own stubborn opinions. There is nothing you can do. Some of them will not get you. They will think your opinions wrong, your life choices absurd, your dress sense frankly peculiar. I think the great revelation that comes when you motor into your forties, is that you can let them. And that is all right.

Of course, even as I finish this I think: that was a bit of a rambly ramble. What was I really trying to say? Am I just indulging the unformed musings of my untethered mind? Shall I rip it up and start again? The finger hovers. Oh go on, say the impatient voices in my head. Publish and be damned.

Still too dreich for taking the camera out, so here is a little selection from the archives of the last couple of weeks:

2 Oct 1.ORF

2 Oct 3.ORF

2 Oct 4

2 Oct 5

2 Oct 5.ORF

2 Oct 6.ORF

2 Oct 8.ORF

2 Oct 9.ORF

2 Oct 10.ORF

2 Oct 2

A little robin found his way into the house this morning. I opened all the doors and windows and whistled at him until he found his way out again. There is always something rather thrilling when a trapped and panicked bird escapes into the open air, back in the medium in which it belongs. I wonder if it was this fellow:

2 Oct 11.ORF

And now for the loveliness that is the Pigeon:

2 Oct 19.ORF

2 Oct 20

2 Oct 21

A three-day-old hill:

2 Oct 22

Housekeeping note:

I am greatly enjoying doing my new blog, which I told you about earlier in the week. It turns out to have nothing really to do with me at all, so I can turn away from care and frets and just put things there which are pretty or interesting. It seems a bit mad to have two blogs (when there are people who get along perfectly well with none), but such is the lure of my irrational mind.

If you have not had a look, go here, and see what you think.


  1. Thank you for sharing your private thoughts with us! So many times I read your words & feel liberated, because your succinct honesty validates a feeling I've had before. And seeing snapshots of your day, not just your mind, is such a wonderful gift to us! Thank you.

    Loving your other blog too! You are incredible.


  2. Robyn - what an absolutely lovely thing to say. Thank you so much. :)

  3. I also love the other blog. I just read this article, and I thought "Oh Tania needs to know about this!" You see? Even though I don't comment very often, I read the blog, and you are a part of my life...

    (and yes, I know that sounds slighly batty stalkerish.... I'm over on the other side of the pond, if that helps...)

    Anyway, here's the article:

  4. CatherineMarie - not stalkerish at all, just lovely and kind. And you know how excited I get about my transatlantic readers. Going to article now. :)

  5. CatherineMarie - THAT ARTICLE. Now in pieces. Thank you so much for it.

  6. I love your writing. All of it. And the rambling and posts about your grief? They really do help me with my own. So much. I could not articulate enough how much they have helped. And how beautiful and true those words often are.

  7. Siobhan - how wonderfully kind you are. Such a generous and reassuring comment. Thank you.

  8. From Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

  9. I like the idea of applying that William Morris maxim to blogging. It seems so obvious when you put it like that. Enjoying your other blog too!

  10. Razinah - did not know that Dr Seuss quote. Love it. Thank you.

    Kathryn - you are kind; thank you. :)

  11. Dear Tania,
    One (if not the) main reason I read your blog on a more or less regular basis is because of your honesty.
    I HEAR you in your writing and I really enjoy and appreciate that.
    Thank you for this! XX

    Re: your OTHER blog where I can't (or won't go through the rigamarole to) comment. I burst out laughing at the story of the car-jacking lady. That could have been my mother (although she has stopped driving and, as far as I know, has yet to get a hand gun.)
    It's a jungle out there and Florida is no exception!

  12. Pat - such a very nice thing to say; thank you. The Florida lady is killing, isn't she?


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