Last night my Husband and I abandoned the children to a new babysitter and escaped into Bath for our version of a night on the tiles. No, silly! ....as if we're going to go night clubbing at our age! No Darlings, we attended Mr B's for "An evening with Alastair Sawday"! As literary soirees go, this was great fun - part sobering environmental message mixed with great chunks of his humour which is sharp and witty.
His new tome "Go Slow England" is a 'select' selection of his 'special places to stay' - to earn a place in "Slow" the owners of these establishments have to exhibit genuine slowness and passion - for this read local, organic, green, homemade or quirky.
I'm relieved to say he was preaching to the converted, we became snails a good long while ago, and continue to slow annually, but I was genuinely surprised how few other people there were snails - one woman fessed up to having to get up at 5am to read her emails, another said that on her first night of 'passion' with her new other half he woke at 3am to discover- no girlfriend and a cold bed.... she too was checking emails! Wow that's one hot romance!
While researching for the book Alastair apparently discovered that people who keep chickens or make bread have a general feeling of contentment and wellbeing - well, we'll vouch for that - our little daily cycle of feeding and collecting eggs is very basic and very rhythmic and the same can be said of pounding lumps of dough.
Blogging got a mention - he thought it a very 'fast' pastime - so you'll be pleased to hear that I corrected him - I told him that it was impossible to be fast, when the people you are blogging with are geographically so distant, that they inhabit a time zone six hours behind you! Time lapse blogging?
Well, the wine flowed, everyone was relaxed, and Alastair set us a little task - to talk to the guest next to us about being slow....easy peesy - I wish things were this simple all the time.... next to me was a charming Californian girl, who was 'fast' but planning an escape to 'slowness', the other was a rather competitive mother who demanded - "It's not possible be 'slow' if you have children." I almost choked on my Chardonnay! "Hah!" I responded "haven't you tried Idle parenting?" I went on to extol the virtues of being 'just good enoug'h (Jen you would have been so proud) and gave examples of how we deliberately ignore our small people (Suburban - it wasn't quite as good as your latest list). Instead of looking impressed she looked disdainful - obviously one of those mothers who frequent 'auditions' (hey! Minnasota Matron - "laptop mother" she wasn't).
Anyhow we left feeling rather jolly - it could have been the wine, but I think it was actually because we felt, despite the earth's fragile state, we are doing ok, we have got things in a pretty good perspective, we don't always get it right, and we don't always choose the greenest option. But we do consider things carefully and weigh up the choices and savour the results- and to me that is the essence of 'slow'.
Should you wish to discover if you are slow - answer the following questions!
1 Listen to the radio 2 Learn a poem 3 Don't buy anything new for a year 4 Check emails only twice a day 5 Plan you days around large communal meals 6 Buy a bike - and ride it. 7 Write a letter to your sister/best friend 8 Dance on your own 9 Have proper afternoon tea 10 Plant a tree 11 Buy organic / seasonal /local.
and this is my favourite ( I have to confess I've been doing this for years!)
12 Press the buttons on pedestrian crossings as you walk by, thus slowing down drivers in a hurry!
Or are you "fast"?
1 Hothouse your kids 2 Buy ready made meals 3 Shop at the mall 4 Change your decor before it goes out of fashion 5 Buy ready cut fruit in a plastic container 6 Buy kindling at the garage 7 Use a microwave 8 Hurl all your rubbish into one big black bin liner
....his list goes on, but if you've said yes to one of these......then you are a 'Fast woman'!!!!
Come on, let's all put up our feet, and get slow enough!
Yesterday was tough going, after losing Chicky 2 the day before, we were disheartend to find the last 'good' egg pipped, but no further action. After doing a crash internet course on helping chicks to hatch I set about slowly helping Chicky 3 to hatch - it took 8 hours to hatch and another 3 hours for it to recover some strength.
I have to thank my lucky stars that we have an Aga - because I'm certain without it Chicky would not have pulled through - it acted as Chicky special care baby unit!
I was afraid to look under Marjorie this morning....but joy...look!
It is still early days, but I feel a bit more hopeful today!
Over the next year I intend to bore you all rigid with tales of our building project...but I thought this would amuse-
Telephone conversation with local builders suppliers -
DC: "So, what types of roofing slate do you sell?"
Salesman: "Ermm, well, we stock loads of one kind, which you probably wouldn't want to use, but we can get other types..."
DC: "Why wouldn't I want to use them?"
Salesman: "Errrrmmm, well, they are turnips."
DC: "Turnips?" (Is this new term for something c***?)
Salesman: "No, really, you wouldn't want those, they haven't even got a guarantee, let me find out about the other types, and I'll call you back." (at least he seems honest - to a fault - no wonder they have loads of stock!)
DC: "Thanks." (Not holding out hope here)
FIVE MINUTES LATER
Salesman: I've found out that information you wanted - we do a really nice textured slate...made of concrete."
DC: "Concrete? I wanted Slate..."
Salesman: "Ohhhh, I see - would that be clay slates madam?"
DC: "No, SLATES made of SLATE!"
Salesman: "Ermmm, what, actual Slate?"
DC: (through gritted teeth) "Yes, SLATE!"
Salesman: "Ohh, I'm not sure about real ones...I call you back."
DC: (weakly) "Thanks."
DC: (sinks to floor clutching head and moaning) "I only wanted slates!"
Given that this conversation is hot on the heels (not Prada, Darling) of the fake Chinese eggs, DC is feeling a little weary that everything in our world is fake.....good job you lovely bloggers keep it real!
Only last week Suburban Correspondent was discussing the subject of Dentistry - it caused lots of comments - all in the same vein (or should that be molar), so when I took number 2 to the Dentist on Friday I TRIED to have a positive outlook and not pass on my fear of the Dentist.
The Dentist is after ivory.... four to be precise - great big horrible adult molars which have crumbled- irritatingly not as a result of bad brushing or too many sweets... but due her contracting Chicken Pox when she was a baby.
Chicken pox in the very young 0-6 mths can cause hyperplastic enamel (lay man's description: non-existent enamel formation) - and just as nobody describes the joys of the teenage years when you are pregnant, no-one had ever told me that this could happen. Apparently it is terribly common - just not to those mothers who have their deliberate chicken pox parties!
Anyhow, here we are yet again at the dentist, waiting for the verdict on the condemned lumps of ivory, I'm quaking in my boots (still having too much remembrance of braces past) Number 2 however, is cool as the proverbial cucumber, and insists on studying her x-rays.
The Dentist in slightly sneering tone asked her if she knew "what this was?"...he was pointing at a molar forming in her gum. As only my child can, she sighed deeply (giving the impression that he really had failed to tax her) and replied
"That's my sevens." there was a pause while the dentist looked a little rattled...he had obviously underestimated her...
"So what is this"..he quickly pointed at another tooth
"Well, that's a 4, of course" No 2 rolled her eyeballs at me - giving me the 'can you believe this chap's a dentist?' look.
He should have guessed it was time to quit...but no, "So what books do you read?"
Another deep sigh, followed by "Well at the moment I've read all my books, so I'm reading Jeremy Clarkson, it's really amusing, but the next book I want to read is Northanger Abbey". (this is the bookworm whom we found at midnight, reading the bible under the duvet because she wanted a "longer" read.)
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" (Fool, my nine year old is already thinks she is aged 50 year old)
"Well, when I was six I wanted to be a part time Dentist, and last week I pulled out my sisters tooth, but now..." she gives him a look of pity "...now, I'm not sure."
"Part time?" he queried, "Why part time?"
This time he got the despairing look "Because Dentists earn SO much, I would only NEED to work part time."
Well dear readers, I have to tell you the Dentist sat with his mouth beautifully open.
And should we wish to know how it comes to pass that Dentists scare us, we need only look at the children who became Dentists...
Since I started blogging at the end of last year, I have read soul searching blogs, self deprecating blogs, funny blogs, even funnier blogs, and lots of really touching blogs. The Internet is capable of being an awful place, but it is also a very gentle place - I have read beautifully written pieces about battling illness, about caring for others, in fact the blogs that I read are more often than not like this. I feel really privileged to 'meet' such open hearted people. Some bloggers have really impressed me with their love and kindness - whether it's blogging about a specific problem, or just commenting - it is possible to see who is compassionate, who has a kind heart!
I've also seen other awards...but these are usually for writing something cool, funny or fabulous...I felt it was time for a kind heart award!
So here, created by my own fair hand (the ones with worrying signs of age spots) is the new award!
I award this to -
Mary Alice for always seeing the positive in everything and everybody.
Minnasota Matron for saintly services to education - her patience goes well beyond her duty.
How much does it cost to feed a chicken - practically nothing, so why, oh, why would it occur to anyone to even think of making a fake egg? Apparently the fake eggs cause dementia....well obviously you don't get that from a real egg - so is that the fake egg's unique selling point? Somehow I suspect not.
How did our planet get in this state? I think the answer is greed of biblical proportions - and the Chinese can't be made to take the blame on their own - all too many Western companies have chosen to take production to China - to increase their profits and decrease their responsibilities...and I guess a bit of that blame passes on to us consumers....
Only today, whilst in a local bathroom showroom admiring some beautifully engineered German taps, I was told of a cheaper version of these desirable objects - dear readers I think you can guess where the cheap copies came from?
It's going to be tough, but I'm going ethical....I know it will be very difficult, but I am going to have a jolly good try.
Speaking of which, APOLOGIES to my lovely, 'potty' friend for my evangelical chicken lecture. She pointed out some tragic tiny £2.99 birds at her local farm shop, and thought they were free range - they jolly well weren't - but the deceitful picture of a pretty field on the wrapper had advised her otherwise. I collared the butcher and made him confess to her, that they were in fact badly brought up chickens, who had not frolicked around in a field with their mates. Sorry, I was having a 'Hugh' moment!