Mud On the Road

we're about to go shopping in Salisbury...

All Change

Donald Rumsfeld & The Little Mermaid 

     Thanks to the publishers Taschen who sent me their lovely book to review, I gave myself an early Christmas present yesterday: I stopped. I switched off the pre-Christmas To Do list. I lay down in the middle of Sunday and I read The Little Mermaid, The Nightingale, The Princess & The Pea, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina  and The Ugly Duckling. All fairy tales by Hans Christian
Josef Paleček © 1981 NordSüd Verlag AG, CH-8005 Zurich, Switzerland
Anderson, all gathered with several others such as The Little Match Girl, in Taschen's ravishingly illustrated new book, edited by Noel Daniel (see below).

     You'd think fairy tales in the afternoon should be read to a child, to a Small But Mighty Nephew or a Little Niece. And I will share the lovely book with them when they come to stay the night. I really will. If their fingers are not too sticky.
     But yesterday I read the book alone and the charm of the stories combined with the gorgeous pictures, reminded me of  the pleasures of a magical December weekend in Prague: Christmas markets, sleigh rides, live music in the Old Town Square; sparkling ice and pillowy white snow; cinnamon biscuits and mulled wine, hot and deliciously spicy.

In-Car Karma

     We're looking after our neighbours' cat while they are on holiday. We just got back from our own trip to a sun-drenched island and while we were away the neighbours with the cat took care of our bantam hens – feeding and watering them, letting them out into the garden each morning,  making sure they were tucked up safely in their hen house every evening; generally enabling me to sleep easy in my bed in Malta, over 1,000 miles away.
A Luzzu fishing boat in a blue, blue sea
Holiday Bliss in Malta

     When another neighbour heard about the mutuality of our pet care arrangements she exclaimed, in an emphatic,  Spirit of the Blitz voice:

      'Ah! Reciprocity. Marvellous. That's how it should be.'

     This morning, while clearing broken boughs and branches and twigs and leaves from the drive of a third set of neighbours, I thought about this whole reciprocity thing.