I keep my blog as a personal record of what I'm up to, which might be seen as working towards "An elegant sufficiency, content, retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, ease and alternate labour, useful life"

I'm certainly not there yet.  There is quite some way to go!










Not me


It happens almost every time I go to take a look at what’s happening on Pinterest.


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As my eyes scan the page they fall on that name.

Gillian Boyd.

As soon as I came across her, I simply had to click “follow”.  Fortunately, she pins some rather interesting pages and it’s clear that we share some common interests.


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Recently, though, she’s been pinning country cottages just like those down our lane.  I can’t get excited about those!

I’d like to know more about her, so I find myself looking at her other boards, wondering about her interest in fashion, her age and lifestyle.  I’m a bit spooked by her, to be honest.  Because for the first 27 years of my life, I was Gillian Boyd.


sandcastles at Par in Cornwall


It’s a fairly unusual name, I thought; well, at least, I’d never come across another until now.  Growing up in Hull in the late 1950s/early60s,  I don’t think I even met another Gillian, let alone a Boyd I wasn’t related to.  I think the first clue that I wasn’t unique was when I received my first driving licence and noticed I wasn’t xxxx-01 but xxxx-09 or something. 

We get attached to our names though, don’t we?  Gillian Boyd still trips off my tongue easily, even though I have not been generally known by either name since we’ve been married.  But my attention is immediately caught by the sound of “Gillian!”, spoken in that same tone as my Mum would use all those years ago.  Because somewhere, underneath the layers of identity I’ve acquired along the way, beneath Gill and Gillie, Mrs Thomas and Miss Boyd, the original Gillian Boyd is still there, just the same as she always was.


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But it’s not me.

I realise I could google her.  I think I have identified which Gillian Boyd has created the pinterest board I follow, because needless to say, there are at least half a dozen others out there.  But somehow, it’s sufficient to settle into an easy peace, secure in the knowledge that she’s fine; that she has no more of a monopoly on the name than I ever had and that she’s using the name well.  Because it’s a fine name, after all.  I don’t think I shall want to use it again regularly, so I don’t mind that she does.  It’d be a shame to waste it.

I’ll still do a little double take when I come across it, though.


When we were last in Valparaiso


(one way to begin a story!) we came across something fascinating in the Vina del Mar museum




I listened to our guide tell us a little about this polynesian seafarers’ chart as we passed swiftly through the museum, returning to take a closer look and to think about it.  I commented on my blog that day how such non-verbal interpretations really do pique my interest and added a few notes to my journal together with my intention to find out more.  As is the way of things, however, over a period of weeks travelling, the list of subjects to investigate further gets increasingly longer and some things just get overlooked.





My hero was sitting reading last evening. 

I know.

But turning the page, look what he came across:




An article about those stick charts!


Now one of the challenges in finding out more about them was my inability to read the caption in the museum and the scant information I had at the time.  Now, I could google “Marshall Island Stick Charts” and find out all I wish to know.

There’s a whole new language for me to learn: rilib, kaelib and bungdockerik swells and there are mattang, meddo and rebbelib charts.  I look forward to sitting and reading more, to following up one or two links and extending my knowledge of such things.  I may be inspired to create something along these lines for myself, just to see how it could work.


What gently intrigues me is the description of the concept in one of the many online articles as “lost knowledge”.  Just how much knowledge have we lost along the way?  


Rabbit holes


On an overcast Autumn morning with an hour or so to spare, it’s tempting to begin the day by reading email and allowing myself to get distracted.  I’ve done my Spanish practice (level 10, no less!) and the washing machine is humming.  As my Mum would say, “nothing spoiling”.

I opened up my Feedly blog reader and began at the top.  Books and Journals.


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The entrance to the rabbit hole is staring me in the face.  As I read about the book art course in Amsterdam, I click on all the links and a succession of Windows tabs opens up on my desktop.  I’ve read about Rachel’s courses before and they always sound so tempting, especially this one in Amsterdam.


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Having read the article, I settle back to follow through the links I’ve opened, then.  As I do, I decide how best to store these interesting websites for future reference – after all, we might find ourselves in Amsterdam one of these days and it would be fun to drop into one or two of them.  Normally, I will look on my Pinterest “Places” page these days, but links to sites like this cute set of Amsterdam-related rubber stamps don’t seem to fit there.  I resist the temptation to reorganise my Pinterest catalogue right now and simply bookmark the whole article with a tag “Amsterdam” in the hope that I’ll find it when I go looking for it.


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Working my way through a variety of websites, I hit upon a new and rather interesting blog and decide to add it to my Feedly list.  As I click +, the last couple of posts appear and one of them in particular looks fascinating.


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The Story Behind the Art – Robin Pickens tempts me to click through straight away and reveals a great story of career development.  I enjoy reading about how people end up doing what they do, especially when the story involves skill, energy, tenacity and sheer hard work. 


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You’ve already guessed where I went next and yes, Robin’s blog is immediately added to my Feedly list as well.


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In particular, I’m interested in her post about designing fabric on the theme of pie


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I mean, who couldn’t be tempted by this?  What an interesting recipe…




especially as, out in the garden right now, the ingredients are hanging from the tree.  I think I need to spend the morning baking, don’t you?


What’s not to like about a rabbit hole with an apple pie at the bottom?


Two worlds


On our way to do the shopping this morning, at the bottom of the hill.




Rather a surprise, because on the top, it was like this.




Ah, Gloucestershire.


Around here




There’s a distinct chill in the air and the season has changed.  I wandered out into the garden this morning in the hope of finding some indicators of the season, but it’s still green and leafy for now.




A few more cold nights and I think we’re going to see some rapid changes on our outlook, however.




We’ve had such a fun weekend; filled with good company and thought provoking and entertaining events, we enjoyed the sunny, sparky Cheltenham Literature Festival atmosphere over a couple of days.  We heard politicians, pundits and the writers themselves and each one of us now finds ourselves with a longer list of books to read than ever.




The logistics are never easy.  We always begin with a wishlist, as soon as the programme is announced and juggle the numerous events to accommodate preferences and time slots.  I sit by my computer on the day the tickets go on sale and do what I can to secure our first choices, though undoubtedly, adjustments have to be made.  This year, we did pretty well and found ourselves with a pretty full schedule for two days.



As if that wasn’t enough, we took in an opera at the cinema for good measure!

Tristan and Isolde was an interesting start to the season, though, with mixed reviews all round.  I maintain that it’s worth hanging in there with Wagner, nevertheless, for that magical moment which only works after several hours’ investment!

(I’m not sure that everyone agreed with me)




This morning, my Hero and I find ourselves in a quiet house.  Everyone’s gone home, the dust has settled and we are slowly getting back into our routine. 

There’s a definite “after the ball is over” feeling around here!