I’ve been losing myself a little in Susannah Conway’s book, This I Know, over the past few days.

And I’m planning to lose myself a little more in Susannah’s Unravelling the Year Ahead ebook.

(Click on the link for your own free downloadable copy).

Before I even begin, I know that I won’t be quite the same when I’m done.


I need colours to do this. I need to draw swirls and lines, and to feel creative and arty even though I can’t really draw.

And the beautiful shiny Berol pens unravel me right back to being a child. I’ve often thought that I lived a brand-free childhood; no designer trainers, no logos on jackets. Standard-issue spectacles and very little that was trendy.

I’ve often thought that I was never much bothered about that stuff.

And then I remembered having Berol pens. Being ever-so-slightly cool.

When other people were fixating on shoes and coats, I was falling in love with stationery.

And that remembering’s without even having tried drawing with them yet.

Nanna’s Tablecloth

I tend to have little rushes of both delight and momentary alarm on seeing a bit of my life in a museum. This one was mostly delight.

I found it at the Beamish museum this spring. In the bit of the afternoon where Mike and I had parted for some separate exploring.

And – historians forgive me – whilst a family were chatting to the guide, I leaned over the Do Not Touch rope and held my fingers on the cloth.

This was the tablecloth at my grandparents’ house in Goole. Or one very like it.

I learned to write on a tablecloth like this. And this is where I first heard about heaven.

We would sit at the table for board games and card games and occasional painting. All of them disrupted by the fact that the cloth was so thick that nothing ever really sat on it neatly; everything sort of hovered.

There was a big window right in front of the table. And on many days a cloud above the window. As my little mind understood it then, a cloud where God was looking down on us. Probably shaking His head at my terrible efforts at painting.

At mealtimes, there was a second cloth – a white cotton one. There was a knack to putting it on so it didn’t drag over this one. But once on, it was the base for some of the best foods ever. Porridge for breakfast, soaked through overnight. Sunday lunches groaning with homegrown vegetables. Teatimes watching Countdown with the toaster on the table. And Boxing Day afternoons with tinned salmon sandwiches and a pork pie the size of my cousin David’s head.

After every meal, crumbs from the white cloth would be shaken across the lawn, and we’d watch in stillness as the birds came to enjoy our leftovers. Literally still, so we didn’t disturb the birds as my Grandad painted them.

At other times, people shared cigarettes, photographs, home perms and the comfort of having a hard chair to rest a dodgy back. And all of that was back with me in just a few seconds of touching.

There was a loo roll, too, in part of a bathroom exhibit. Lots of far less comfy memories from that one!

Olympic Moments

Just about a fortnight ago, I was hopelessly cynical about the Olympics.

There were stories of gloom every morning on the radio; people wanting to curb this and that, spectators being banned from taking all sorts of things into the Olympic Park and an army of people being sent out to patrol the cities of Britain and check whether anyone was misusing the Olympic brand. Or, seemingly more importantly, stepping on the toes of the huge corporations who’d sponsored parts of the games.

All of that changed from the Wednesday before the games began. Mrs Button took the afternoon off to travel down to London with a special ticket for the last rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony. One of those times when knowing someone who knows someone comes in ever so handy.

And she sent me a text, way after bedtime, telling me that it was all so exciting that I’d have been unable to cope with the emotion of being there.

It turned out that she wasn’t the only one. Twitter was going bonkers with Danny Boyle’s #savethesurprise hashtag.  I get a lot of my news via Twitter these days, and it astounded me that the people who’d seen the rehearsals all really were saving the surprise.

Two days later, I was awake ’till way after midnight and utterly mesmerised by the whole thing.  I’m still a little unsure of how bizarre it might have seemed to the rest of the world, but it was a fabulous celebration of Britishness.

I squealed a little when the Shipping Forecast spluttered across the opening.  I didn’t really stop gasping with pride and pleasure until Paul McCartney came on to his own spluttering soundtrack and closed the show.

I’ve never been so excited about anything sporty. And it’s been wonderful to share in the excitement online. I can’t imagine it would have been anything like as great if we’d done it without twitter and facebook.  But I’ve been on the edge of my seat at sports I’d never watched before, and I’ve cried along with the stories from the athletes and all of their support teams.

We needed this, I think.

I know all countries have times when things feel pretty grim, but we’d been feeling grimmer than I can remember for a pretty long time.

The momentum that had started with the Jubilee and the first of the torch runs has reached its perfect crescendo.


I’m not sporty. Not at all. I once scored a rounder, and I once managed to turn a single cartwheel. Both of them utter flukes, but both elating enough to help me know what a whisper of victory might feel like.

I know it’s the sport that counts, but it’s been so many other things too. The Royal Mail painting postboxes gold in our gold medalists’ home towns. The police officers striking poses to match winners. Athletes’ wives and partners talking about the sacrifices they’ve made for years for the sake of their loved one having a few moments to shine.

It’s been great because we’ve all been able to get on board with it.  Those are the moments that have made the Olympics.  And those are the moments that have made us proud to be British.

Photos are Creative Commons licenced and from The Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s flickr stream.

Mama Kat asked us to write about our favourite Olympic Moments this week.Mama’s Losin’ It  Follow the link to join in with lots more prompts.

Pictures from Doncaster 10k 2012

I wrote about watching the Doncaster 10k run just after it happened in May, and I used a few of my pictures in that post.

I took quite a few more, though, and I’ve been wondering what to do with them. So here they are. Partly to show off some amazing achievements, and partly in case anyone who was in the run happens to look in here.

Continue reading →

Love on the Beach at Blyth

Part of my 366 Project.

I took this picture on the beach at Blyth. We were there a couple of weeks ago, and it was pretty cold and windy. It seems quite a bleak place, but then there are lots and lots of benches with bits of poetry and songs and quotations on them.

And Cole Porter really knew how to write about love.

(I’ve left this one full size, so if you click on it you get the big version).