Any small chunky object with a hole in it to dangle it from a string will work as a pendulum ~ the jet one was stolen by an unpleasant young man who sat in on a tarot reading with his girl friend ~ he must have thought he was stealing the magic but of course he wasn't ~ sad that ~ it was very special to me and I never found another.

The fire restored ~ thanks to Mary !

Back to normal

the 2017 Dodo Pad ~ the 40th I have had since my sister Mary gave us all Dodo pads all those years ago !

I've left a message with the electrician and hope he will get in touch to put a new bulb in fire and check plug on the standard lamp up here ~ without the cheerful flame effect, the sitting room feels dull and chilly (this is psychological as with radiator on it is perfectly warm, and I hardly ever put fire on for extra warmth).   I'll spend an hour or so tidying up all the files in the picture gallery, several of which have served their purpose.

Oh Lordy !  Dave Moth the electrician rang to tell me he has retired ~ wonder where I can find someone else ~ emailed Barbara and Ellen hoping one of them can hekp . . . 

Fascinating programme last night about the archaeology of the Orkneys going back over five thousand years, among other things explaining why they built not of wood but of stone ~ part 2 next week ~ brill !

4.20pmWell, blow me !  Mary came down with a generous helping of cauliflower cheese for my supper, and offered to have a look at the fire ~ having removed all the coal, she replaced the bulbs, both of them, and got it all back together again ~ what a wonderful woman she is ~ in fact, I wonder whether one of the bulbs had gone some time ago and the second one followed it on Monday night ~ it seems to be burning brighter than ever now !

Wednesday 4th : 9.15 and Mary Smith (from number 4 and now living at Saltburn) turned up with an hour between buses on her way to York ~ good to catch up on family news -> rather a slow start but not to worry.   I'm going down in a mo to make another pan of mushroom soup which is so easy and cheap and nourishing and delicious.   It's an interesting book I'm readin ~ slow and without much plot but a peep into the lives of half-a-dozen thinly connected charaters.   Barbara is going to get me a couple of these 'candle' bulbs I need for the fire, to have them by me in case . . .   Dave Moth having retired, Ellen sent me details of two other electricians ~ for now I won't bother about the standard lamp up here though Bev offered to check the plug ~ I've moved this desk light over here beside the computer screen and with FOUR tiny strip lights it is brighter than the other.

The window cleaners came yesterday ~ it looks as if they will come regularly ~ they charge me £9 but Margaret and Peter £10 ~ I asked the young lad if he would clean the top halves of kitchen and study windows ~ gave him a fiver ~ the trouble is that I cannot reach across the sink down there and across the worktop up here ~ he says he'll do it whenever it needs doing ~ they have been filthy, both ~ so that's a relief.

Thursday morning : at this time of year the sun shines right in my eyes as I sit here at the computer ~ even when I let the blind down I am practically blinded though I still need the desk lamp on to see what I am doing !   I suddenly have a great longing for a baggy brown jersey which is ridiculous at my time of life but found nothing on Amazon or Ebay !   Maybe nobody wears BROWN at the minute ~ a man's would be best, good and baggy and chocolate brown ~ I expect the longing will have disolved before one turns up.

It is Margaret Drabble's "The Flood Rises" I am reading at the minute ~ it took me a while to get into it but now I am hooked.   All these years I've kept a record of everything I read ~ I jotted down titles and authors in the snazzy black notebook Dianne Doubtfire gave me all those years ago ~ the first entry is for "Goodbye Mister Chips" by James Hilton July 1985 ~ the last entry is "The Secret Life of Bees"  by Sue Monk Kidd ~ my eyesight is so poor I can no longer make entries, indeed the last ones are mere scribbles ~ alongside this record I've kept a card index going too giving me a cross reference ~ I absolutely love card indexes !   I may have told you this already but I'm certain nobody is actually following my wafflings ~ quite pointless, all this reading matter but it did mine I could always check what other books I'd read by the same author and if they were starred ~ just one of the silly things I enjoy.

Dianne Doubtfire is known to most struggling writers ~ she was a leading light at Swanwick Writers' Summer School which has been going for years, fifty and more ~ I was lucky enough to get a place twenty times and when they realised how difficult it was for me to find the fee they gave me the honorary title of Dancing Mistress and let me in for half price ~ in fact I did very little, it was Joyce Bentley who organised the nightly sessions between 10pm and 1am ~ I never mastered the record player ~ for my sins, all I did was dance !   Until then (and this was after our divorce) I'd never danced ~ at school Miss Pickwick (yes, that was her name) did her best to teach us ballroom dancing but I was always falling over my feet ~ now at Swanwick it was DISCO which was a different matter altogether ~ there were always twice as many men as women and rather than sit around like dummies hoping to be chosen, I bravely got up and danced on my own dragging a few friends onto the floor with me ~ in no time everyone in the hall was up and dancing ~ with or without a partner ~ we'd usually allow the smoochers, the ballroom dancers a last waltz but otherwise it was free for all every night of the Summer School ~ it must be twenty years since I last went to Swanwick ~ I wonder whether the nghtly dancing still operates like this.   The other great thing there was the swimming pool ~ out door and very cold ~ but I'd generally get three swims a day ~ 6.30 in the morning and back to bed with a mug of tea; before lunch, late afternoon, and sometimes Joyce and I would have a swim once the dancing had finished, say 1.30am but this was frowned on, in fact FORBIDDEN for fear of an accident in the dark ~ come to think of it, the dancing and the swimming were as important as the lectures and discussion groups ~ well, they were to me ~ no wonder I never made it as a writer !

I remember thinking that if the time ever came when I could NOT get to Swanwick that qould be unbearable, but then suddenly I'd had enough ~ I guess I'd grown out of it though it was the highlight of my life and so many good friends among the 350-odd delegates.  One year they allowed me to take the ribbons which I hung up in a quiet room and all week people were grabbing me to 'read' their ribbons ~Swanwick is a religious centre and I was not allowed to use the pendulum to help with the interpretations ~ the pendulum was considered by the management to be verging on the supernatural ~ if I produced it I would be expelled from the conference and permanently black listed ~ in my ribbon readings I do rely on the swing of the pendulum to tell me YES or NO or POSSIBLY so I was finding it difficult without ~ then I realised I could as-it-were call on the pendulum for help without risking trouble ~ I simply VISUALISED how it would respond as I analysed each bunch of ribbons.   Amazingly, there were no complaints, no cries of That's rubbish !  So I got away with it.   Funny how frightened they were of a small Whutby pebble, a pebble with a hole in it, dangling on six inches of string !  Black magic !   But I now know it is nothing more spooky than bio-radio-magnetism at work and you can look it up for yourself ~ sadly not magic but PHYSICS !


The powerful reading lamp I'm using now alongside the computer

the stolen jet pendulum ~ I realised the lad had taken it as soon as they had left ~ bloody thief !