Whiskers on roses and mittens on kittens

Oh lordy, what a week.

It’s been hard to really get into a book for long with all the sad news coverage, political propaganda, and the tangerine twonk’s antics across the pond. However, I am sporadically enjoying Dunstan, by Conn Iggulden, which I bought it hoping it would play to my Cadfael/stone floor/hanging bunches of herbs daydreams, and although it’s probably more realistic with all the beatings and fundamental beliefs, it’s still good escapism.

Dunstan (909-988) had one hell of a CV. He was the Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, Bishop of both Worcester and London, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was made a saint. He was also famous at a Catholic school I once went to, as Dunstan was one of the house names. I remember being so pleased I wasn’t in that house, as it sounded close to ‘dunce’.

The book starts in his childhood, when monks were still trying to beat the devil (his epilepsy) out of him, and seems like a very comprehensive but readable study of his life. A good well-researched novel is to me, truly the most fun way to learn about stuff. And on a purely superficial note, the inner cover is pretty, like it used to be when people marbled with ink, and books were beautiful things to own forever.


However, back to the misery of the times, to get through it I’ve been channeling The Sound of Music, and trying to think of my favourite things, and using them as daily therapy. I watched the political debates with my daughter, as she turns 18 the day before the election and has her polling card ready to go, but I did it drinking tea out of my beloved Corishware cup, made in its matching teapot. And eating a box of Toffifee.


I always used to sit up all night for a general election, make a tray of snacks and sit through it like a nightmarish version of Eurovision (which is the best night of the year), one where less interesting people read out the results and no one repeats it in French afterwards. And this election is likely to leave so many people unhappy with the outcome, no amount of balloons from the ceiling or witticisms from Graham Norton will be able to fix it. Small comforts must be embraced, from impromptu picnics, to appreciating clean bedding, and this ladybird house I have just ordered so that ladybirds can thrive in my garden, and have somewhere to hide when wasps try to eat them.


I’ve also been learning from my cat. This is her just after I explained about the things Donald Trump says on Twitter, my concerns over Boris Johnson’s Brexit-negotiating and diplomacy skills, and the cost of an MOT, and she is utterly unmoved. She is a master of detachment, and sometimes we all need to embrace letting go.


There’s also a few tups near me at the moment, which makes a nice change from flocks of ewes. It’s not every day you get a few manly looking sheep with almost muscly faces hanging out together. And they are oblivious to crows perching on their backs, let alone whether the BBC is biased or not. So while I can’t avoid the turmoil of these times, I can buy blue and white wool and knit a tea cosy for my favourite pot, and chat to bulky sheep.