Saturday, 27 November 2010


My paws are tired. I've had a great day, but a very tiring one.

She of the stories went to a Knitting and Stitching Show today, so I tagged along. Getting lost in Harrogate on a snowy day is quite pleasant for a while, but my legs are much shorter than hers, and I am very close to the ground. However, the exhibitions of work were simply spine-quivering. There was Miss Havisham's wedding dress, and the stopped clock, and the wedding shoe. The Narnia wardrobe and the lamppost. A felted swallow's nest with three little chicks. The beading, the felting, the embroidery, the...

oh, all right, if you're a man or a very annoying otter, go away. I know you're not interested.

I bought some beautiful yarns and beads for the Threadings, and learned a new way of making braids for the edges. She bought a bead loom for Lady Sunshine who has already made half a mile of beaded cord and is now making bracelets for the nation.

She bought a lot of stuff for herself, too. It's the old story. She'll start off with her yarn or her beads or whatever it is, get in a tangle, and need me to sort it out for her. But before anything else, I need to soak my paws. It's been a long day. Fingal, I told you to go away...

oh, bless him. He's brought me sea water to soak my paws in. Just the thing.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Padra, Much and me


First real frost last night. I went to look in on Margi of the Stories, as her home seems to slip in and out of Mistmantle. I don't want her losing her footing on a frozen patch whens he goes down to gather the holly for the Advent wreaths, she's still not right yet. The berries are still on the holly trees, so the birds aren't that desperate yet. Nice crisp cold swim before breakfast, and a good roll on the grass to get warm and dry again.


Nice chap, that otter. Stopped for a chat after 'is swim. Swim! You wouldn't get me in there, nor me snail neither. Looks grand from 'ere, frost on the rooftops, and I don't feel the cold, being stone. I said to that otter, 'er can put some salt on them steps if 'er wants to break up the frost. So long as she don't get no salt near me snail. All right, e's a stone snail, it won't do 'im no harm, but that ain't the point. It's not polite, is it?


Just back from two days in Cardiff with Daughter. We went to a very happy Shoebox service at her church (people handing in their Christmas Child boxes for children living in extreme poverty. I think these ones were destined for Romania.) We spent a happy evening with Daughter's Cardiff family including the adorable dogs and an unusually affectionate cat. (One day I will kidnap that wee dog and keep him as a footwarmer.)

In the afternoon we went with Daughter's young man to St Fagan's Museum of Welsh Life, one of those outdoor museums with reconstructed houses from different periods of history. It's a wonderful place and well worth a visit. Enlightening. Those houses are lovely from the outside, but they're dark, cramped and cold. Have no illusions about the good old days!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

busy busy busy busy busy busy

First I did lots of work on Monday because I was going away on Tuesday and I got the train and went to my parents and then went to see our old friend John and in the morning popped in on a friend and came back to my parents to meet some cousins who I hadn't seen for years and then slipped into town to buy a present and a hat and get my hair done and got the train home

and did toddler group today

and caught up with e-mails and what I'm writing

and was supposed to be in York tonight but the trains were running late so I'm home, so I have time now to

get on with the next book, do the washing and ironing, play the piano, do the sums, tidy a bit

and then I'm going to see Daughter,

and when I come home, I will

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz all day.


Saturday, 13 November 2010


Ooh, what a surprise we had, me and Filbert, what a lovely party, ooh, we 'ad no idea, nobody told us a thing, it were all secret. Needle and Thripple comes to find me and Filbert, and they say, we've got some new cloaks we think might look good on you, and some ribbons for your hat, do you want to come and try on? So there we were in the tower workrooms, trying on these very nice cloaks, made us look right important, and Needle says,

'I don't know. Let's see what Urchin thinks, he's in 'ere', and she takes us down the hall to this room, and ooh, it were like stepping into the sky! All blue and clouds and stars and music, ooh, I thought, this is what it must feel like to fly on them swans, ooh it were lovely, and Filbert's turning round gazing about - we had music and ooh, the food were just perfect, and we danced, it were like dancing in the sky.

They'd invited our friends from the wood, and of course our Urchin and all his friends were their, Fingal, ooh, Fingal makes me laugh, and Captain Padra turned up, and, ooh, even royalty.

Afterwards I asked Urchin why they'd done it, and he just said, ''cos we love you'. They'd even got us a comfy bedroom in the Tower, with flowers in there and everything. Just as well, we was too tired to go home, but mind, I like our little home in the woods better than anywhere.

I've got my home, and my Filbert, and I never thought I'd be so happy and have someone like him beside the fire with me. And I've seen our Urchin do well. I wouldn't change places with the Queen of Mistmantle. Come to think of it, it aint easy being the Queen of Mistmantle, is it?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

back to school

Yesterday, while Much sat on his snail and told the gardener how to do his gardening, I went out to do a school visit. I arrived at last, after getting lost twice and nearly being blown away like Mary Poppins by the scouring wind howling round the town. Two classes of delightful children asked me questions about writing, and how to make stories. and - what everyone asks - where the ideas come from. Great kids, lovely school.

I had few odds and ends to do in town after that. I finally got home later than I'd meant to, tired, wet, and cold.

And what was waiting for me on the doormat?

Not Much, and certainly not the gardener.

Not a squirrel, a hamster, a Viking, a football playing dog, Hawk Jankin, or anyone else from my books.

It was my new passport. And I am looking forward so much to using it.

More soon!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Fireworks Night

Or, Fireworks Weekend, as there are still lots of Bonfire Parties going on tonight. We saw beautiful sparkly things exploding in the sky just by standing in the street or at a window. Lovely older son did jacket potatoes for us all and he and Lady Sunshine have been playing with sparklers in the garden.

Much loves Fireworks Night. He calls it a bloomin' racket, and says 'couldn't them idiots find a faster way of wasting money?' but he loves it really. Leans back on his snail all night watching the sky.

This has got me thinking. Would the animals of Mistmantle have the means to make fireworks? If so, they'd keep them for very special occasions, but they'd have a great time with them. You know how they love to party.

What do you think?

Monday, 1 November 2010

urchin 2

Sorry about that. I've mopped it up (I think it's rotting the mop) and opened the shutters to let out the smell of vinegar. We're laying on a surprise party for Apple and Filbert. Sepia now has a Music Chamber in the tower and we all decorated it with blue draperies left over from the Threadings. We painted the floorboards dark blue (Fingal likes painting), and some little hedgehogs have been cutting out stars and putting them on the floor, too, and we've put tables together in a more or less moon shape so it looks as if we're having a party in the sky.

Needle found silver and gold cloaks for Apple and Filbert, and a sort of starry thing for Apple to put on her head. We're having all their favourite things - roasted hazelnuts, walnuts with sunflower seeds, and apple and berry tart - and they can drink their cordial if they like, so long as the rest of us don't have to.

There will be music from the choir, of course, and dancing. And we've arranged a room in the tower for them that night, as I think they'll be too tired to trundle off back home to Anemone Wood. Now, how do you get blue paint off an otter?


Every squirrel on the island is buzzing about collecting nuts, up and down trees, over the forest floor. Apple is sitting on a rock by the beach telling her her tales to the youngsters and holding her hat on. Every now and again she takes her paws off her hat and a gust of wind whisks it away, pursued by every young squirrel on the island.

Really, they're keeping her out of the way because Sepia and I are planning a surprise. More very soon. I just have to - oh, plague! I've just knocked over a bottle of her cordial and my eyes are watering already.