A toilet roll trail and reading about Jack Kahane

Is it Friday already? I swear to God my life is speeding up and every year it gets quicker. I cannot believe it’s nearly Christmas!!

Anyway, so far this week I have done this: gone to work, taken the boy to his swimming lessons, hoovered (a lot cos the dogs are worse than the kids for making a mess), gutted the house (more on that in a minute), put the outside Christmas lights on our small trees, attended a funeral (my friend’s mum, was a lovely funeral) and had lunch with friends on two different occasions ( I am turning into a lady who lunches all the time!).

Back to cleaning the house. I spent around two hours on cleaning up the house yesterday. I really went to town on gutting the place. It needed a good old scrub, so I gave it one. I was so happy when I finished and the house was sparkling. Then I went upstairs to wash and change (I always break a sweat when cleaning the house – I like to put my all into it, it’s like doing a workout). En route I took up a basket full of clean clothes leaving some toilet rolls on the stairs. Big mistake. I washed up, changed and touched up my makeup. Happy that the house was sparkling, I skipped downstairs (kind of like Snow White but not as young or as thin or dark haired) full of the joys of not having to clean anything for a while when I saw it…First it was the toilet rolls spilled all down the stairs and onto the hall rug. Then I noticed the trail of white toilet roll paper from the hall into the living room a la Babes in the Wood. Taking a deep breath to quell the rising fury, I peeped into the living room to see Millie looking all innocent with a chewed and decimated toilet roll sitting next to her and a tell-tale piece of toilet roll stuck to her little black, toilet roll chewing lips.

Her: Whaaaaat? I’ve done nothing. It was Casper.

Me (wild fury that only a parent can muster): Oh MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!! I’ve just cleaned in here! Naughty dog! Naughty dog! Look what you’ve done.

Her (shame-faced and all big sad eyes and drooping ears): Sorry.

Casper, by the way, had been with me the whole time Millie was merrily chewing her way through the paper, so I knew it wasn’t him. I wouldn’t have minded, but it wasn’t even cheap nasty toilet paper, but Andrex…the quilted one! Sigh.

I did not tear up the toilet roll!

I did not tear up the toilet roll!


This evening I was looking forward to taking my wine making into the next stage by de-gassing the wine and sticking the hydrometer in. Unfortunately, I am clumsy and it’s worse this year and I dropped the hydrometer onto the kitchen floor which is tiled with ceramic tiles.  It smashed into a million pieces – okay a bit of an exaggeration, but it did break and I couldn’t use it and I couldn’t check if the wine was ready for the next stage. So I swiftly went onto Amazon and ordered a new one. Bloody butter fingers and I was completely sober at the time! I’m making Chardonnay, but the way. I hope it’s nice.


Harley Quinn

Watched Suicide Squad this week and loved it. I really like the Marvel films and this one was great. Harley Quinn definitely steals the show although I hope she doesn’t have too much of an influence on the girl who watched the film complete with Harley Quinn-esque bunches in her hair. Sigh. She’s already having her ‘moments’ – thank God I can take her phone of her as punishment – and loves Harley, so I don’t want any of Harley’s attitude rubbing off on her. Why can’t kids stay as babies and not turn into pre-tweens with the attitudes of a 20-something New Yorker? Anyway…what is it about Marvel women that they (mostly, there are a couple of exceptions) have to wear the skimpiest of skimpies? Harley for instance spends most of the film in a pair of the smallest glittery shorts that leave nothing to the imagination. They are actually more like knickers. And the Enchantress is not much better.  All the men, however, are fully clothed throughout the movie (except for the Croc one who takes his shirt off at one point to get into water, but trust me there was nothing sexy about it). Talk about objectifying women! Anyway, enough of my moaning…

Currently reading Neil Pearson’s biog of Jack Kahane, the founder of Obelisk Press who printed Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Anais Nin, D H Lawrence (Lady Chatterley’s Lover), Lawrence Durrell, Radcliffe Hall and James Joyce. I’ve only just started it, but am already enjoying it. I watched the tv programme that goes with it and loved it.

Jack Kahane

Jack Kahane

It’s a really interesting story. He was born and bred in Manchester, was injured in the First World War, met and married a French girl, moved to Paris in the late 1920s to become a writer, didn’t succeed so set up a publishing company. It’s a great tale of a man who loved books printing some of the most controversial and influential books of the last century. As well as the more high brow literary smutty books (haven’t read Tropic of Cancer, but Neal Pearson read out an excerpt, it’s explicit), he also wrote printed cheap smutty books too to bring in regular money to keep the business going and food in the mouths of his kids. Apparently they were quite a sensation in their day, but incredibly mild by today’s standards!


Anais Nin

Right, on that note, I am going to leave you to go upstairs, put my Christmas CDs on (cos I love em!) and read all about Jack. Til next time.

Dawn xx



Where the fat balls go


Hello there! How’s things? Hope you are all well. Jings it’s been a right blustery week this week. High winds and rain abound. Thankfully we’re not getting it as bad as the Americans did last week…their blizzards looked a bit mental!! Am just back in from picking up the kids and, despite having on my warmest coat, I was frozen to the core waiting for them at the gates. Brrrrrrrr. Have cranked the heating up full bung just to get the warmth into my bones.

I solved a mystery this week. I had been wondering why the fat balls I throw out to the birds – I usually throw out three at a time –  had been gobbled up so quickly…especially as I haven’t seen any small birds in the garden lately (I think the wind is too strong for the poor wee mites). Anyway the mystery was solved this morning when one of the squirrels – possibly the one we call Popeye due to its missing eye – was seen scarpering up the garden with a fat ball in its gob. Then it tried to bury it, found it too large and took it off into the trees, no doubt back to its drey. I did not think squirrels would like fat balls. They weren’t bought for them but for the birds. I think I’ll need to strap the balls to the trees so they are not nicked!! If squirrels weren’t so cute they would not be getting away with this. They are the furry mafia of the garden!


There’s not much to report this week. The weather has been that bad that we haven’t really been going out except – in my case – to go to work and – in the kids’ case – to go to school. Poor hubby has been finding it too cold, he’s still not back to full fitness and won’t be for some time.

Ah the joys of Netflix! As I write, the boy is watching Dr Who again. Not that I mind. It’s the David Tennant series – I love David Tennant, defo the best Doctor!!


I decided to end my dry January early so had some wine last night. I thought I would have enjoyed it more than I did. It was very disappointing. It wasn’t as if I’d bought a cheap bottle either. Sigh. So I’m doing a dry February too. I’ve decided I don’t enjoy it that much – or as much as I used to – so what’s the point of doing it. When I was into my dry January, I felt so much better – I had more energy and ate fewer rubbishy things. Last night, I had some wine and then I ate an entire packet of chocolate counters. How to damage my diet in one fail swoop! Sigh. Back on the ole diet again today. Have lost a total of seven pounds so far – half a stone – so am not going to continue to jeopardize my efforts again by drinking alcohol. Or coca cola…was nearly back on that again last night too. Damn you wine!!

Anyway, on that final note, I am away. Am thinking I might just have a wee peek at Pinterest…I love Pinterest. So full of lovely things.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Favourite illustrators part 2

NPG P1363; Mabel Lucie Attwell by Elliott & Fry  Mabel Lucie Atwell

Had to put in a wee bit of Ms Atwell because her illustrations were another part of my childhood. I just loved her rosy cheeked children and lovely images of fairies and children’s book characters.


So how are you all? Sorry I’ve been missing in action for the past two weeks…it’s just been a busy time for us what with hubby’s various appointments, catching up with family and friends, working and keeping the home running. No wonder I’m feeling so tired!

ppaw09-bigSo how’s life been for you since we last spoke? Let’s see…I suppose the most interesting and fun day we had recently was last Saturday. During the day, I visited my parents and we rushed back to get the house in order to get it tidied for friends coming round. We ordered a Chinese carryout, drank lots of wine and had a good old laugh when la famille Blanc came round to play. I’ve known this couple for…oh God!…twenty years. Is it really that long? You know you’re getting old when your friendships go into decades! We have worked together, played together, holidayed together and been really good friends for  a long, long time.

Anyway, we had a great night. I got slightly drunk (ahem!)…okay I was well drunk, but after the last few months (which have been pretty stressful) it was good to let my hair down and be with friends who don’t mind me partaking a little snifter or five!

Thanks for the great night!!


I have started training for the Great Scottish Swim at Loch Lomond next year. I love swimming, I feel at home in water – I love it – and it’s near where I live. Plus my friend Jane did it a few years ago and totally inspired me. I have concerns about doing it – mainly about the actual day itself, about panicking in the crowd (am not good with stressful situations or crowds these days) – but I figure that if I start training for it, tell folk I’m doing it and get to the day and panic about it and don’t go in, then the worst I will have done is get fitter and (hopefully) a bit thinner.

The inspiration for actually being serious about doing it came during a walk – part of the John Muir Way – Jane, Tracy and myself did last week. We were all talking about challenges and the Great Scottish Swim 2015 took place last weekend. As we admired the fantastic view of Loch Lomond, Tracy said she wanted to do it, I said I will do it with her and Jane looks like she may do it too.

I need to do something about my weight and fitness levels, although I do a lot of walking and I swim every week.

Anyway, the plan is I’m going to do it…so watch this space about this time next year.


Just finished reading Tom Hodgkinson’s How to be Idle, which is his manifesto for everyone to be much more idle and less workaholic. It’s funny and I love his views on various aspects of being idle throughout life (even if many of his suggestions are totally impractical in real life). However, what he’s saying about not being a consumer and living with less so you can work less and enjoy life more does ring true with me. Definitely a book I’d recommend if only for the lovely warm and witty way he writes.


 I met my youngest sister in Glasgow this morning for brunch. What luxury! I never do this, but we hadn’t seen each other since July (dad’s birthday) and it was the only time we both could make. We went to the Riverhill Café and it was lovely. Riverhill have a bone fide restaurant in Helensburgh and I’d been there. I knew they had a café in the town so suggested meeting there. I was glad we did. She had a hummous and potato naan and I had the poached eggs and black pudding on toast. Oh it was delicious! My mouth has just burst alive with saliva at the memory. Yum! Was great to catch up with her and happy birthday to her daughter this weekend.


Did I tell you I am totally hooked on True Blood? Can’t get enough of it. Am now on series four thanks to Sky boxsets and am addicted to it. The storylines are getting increasingly ridiculous, but although it can be really gory, it can also be really funny. It’s my current fave programme.


Right, am going to finish up here. It’s nearly 10pm on a Thursday night and I’m desperate for my bed and need to be alert tomorrow for a bike ride (and later on more True Blood). Hope you enjoyed the lovely pics. Til next time!

Dawn xxx