Tuesday, May 3, 2016

severe storm warning

There's nothing like being a third of the way home, and hearing one's cell phone go off with a kind of whooshing Ping: which means there's some kind of weather alert; which meant - picking it up at the lights - what the sky was already signifying: that there was a Severe Weather Alert for Thunderstorms.  But, so far - thunder, rain, but nothing remotely Severe.  I seriously believe that I've seen more rain in the last nine months than - than when, I can't remember.  And no, it does not "remind me of England."

Monday, May 2, 2016


Unfortunately, this just doesn't capture quite how wet it was outside my office in NC this afternoon ... this was about an inch deep, busily dimpling with heavy rain drops.  It went very dark.  For the foreseeable future, the weather forecast looks like more of the same, at least in the afternoons.  Sigh.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

may morning

May morning ... hard to come back to NC today when this is the view that I wake up to in LA, and - well, my bedroom here in Durham doesn't have a window (not something that I minded too much in the dark of winter, but it's a sad little cell now that the mornings are light).  Last stretch!  Some footnotes to hunt down; a brief Introduction to contemplate, and some reviews to write that I sidelined in the white hot heat of manuscript completion ...

Saturday, April 30, 2016

white poppies

To Theodore Payne's nursery - which specializes in native Californian plants - to buy, yes, some plants (and a blissful afternoon gardening, and clearing up some things in our front yard) - and dreaming of having spaces full of tall white poppies, like the ones that they have blooming all over the place ...

Friday, April 29, 2016


I'm back in LA for a couple of days for a couple of reasons - but one of them, I'm sure, is to admire the jacaranda trees.  Many years ago, I remember reading a pony book by Mary Treadgold called No Ponies -  set in France just after WW2 - in which there was a jacaranda tree in bloom.  I had absolutely no idea what a jacaranda tree was, but the exotic name stuck, and when I first encountered these glorious purple trees all over Los Angeles, I remembered instantly where I'd heard it first ... (and I just looked up Mary Treadgold, who had a fascinating career not just writing pony stories and other books for children, but was also a broadcaster for the BBC and, it turns out, an old girl of my school ...).  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

card index cabinet

You'll remember drawers full of little square cards, with library records in them?  Yes ... now repurposed as rather fetching sculpture, at USC ... it is very strange to think that to many, if not most of our undergraduates, this must be a historical curiosity, rather that a stack of what used to be everyday tools.

the useful tranquillity of woods

There are days - I know there have been many days - when I have railed against Trees, Trees, and More Trees surrounding me every day (no big sky of NM, no ever-seductive Los Angeles, no endless diversity of London or NYC, etc.).  But without the Trees (and hence the absence of much external distraction, apart from birds)  would I ever have Finished My First Draft?  Yes!!  Vindication for the last month of very very hard work (and the rest of the year leading up to this).  Sure, it'll need tweaking and massaging, but it's there!  It's the right shape!  Thank you, woods (and of course the NHC, sitting in them).