The Fox and the Penguin

No, this is not a new Aesop’s Fable that has been discovered, but rather the two most recent pieces of zentangling that have reached their destinations.

The Rockhopper Penguin fairly flew to his new home – I posted it “economy class” (or, 2nd class post, as I believe it’s more commonly known) on Wednesday, and it arrived Chez Chomeuse the next day. As she is better than I am at taking photos, I direct you to her site to admire the Rockhopper Penguin, or Gorfou Sauteur as it is known in French. I was really quite pleased with how he turned out – and he was quite quick to complete, as penguins have a lovely white front.

Here is a photo of a Rockhopper:

The Fox found his way to Switzerland. He must have trotted fairly quickly, as he arrived the day after Rocky had found his home.

Again, as Bev is better at photos, I direct you to her post, Foxy,Foxy where you can see him in all his glory. I haveto admit that I borrowed his pose from a drawing on t’internet – I’m not actually very talented at drawing, you see – but the zentangling is all my own.

Kezzie, if you’re reading this, you need to let me know your new address. I tried emailing you via your profile page, but I don’t know if that was successful. A copy of Mr Foxy is waiting for you.

I have two zentangles on my list to do, but if you’d like one, please let me know. My list is more organised, and is now written down, so if you’ve previously requested, but not received, a zentangle then ask me again. I have forgotten about it. The speed of production may slow down once chemotherapy starts, as I have no idea how it will affect me, but it might well be good to have something non-energetic but creative to concentrate on.

And here’s a totally unrelated Lol Cat Dog:


Happy New Year

Hello dear ones.

This is just to wish you a Happy and peaceful 2018. I hope that your year is full of blessings and good things, and that even when the bad things happen, you can find the grace and strength to deal with them. On a post on Ship of Fools about the power of prayer, one poster wrote to another

May I pray for you and your wife – for strength, for courage, and that your home would be filled with love, with laughter and joy, with good wine and great friends and family. For relief from pain and fear.

This is what I wish you all, dear ones. Thank you for your support, your messagres, your comments and for your sharing of this journey with me.

May 2018 be good for all of us!

Here’s a photo Mr FD took of me on Christmazs Day. It’s not often I like a photo of me, but I really like this one, so I thought I’d show it to you. Click on it for an even better view!

3 Things – Christmas Version

Here’s a post shamelessly stolen from Confuzzledom who stole it from someone else…

3 Things I Love about Christmas

  • First and foremost, The “reason for the season” – the fact that we are celebrating the birth of God in human form, Emmanuel, God with us.
  • The presents – both the giving and the receiving. Yes, sometimes those gifts I receive show little knowledge about me, or are a tad disappointing…but equally I love trying to choose presents that I think people will like.
  • The food – here in France, things like mince pies are not easy to come by, so those traditional goodies are all the more special when we find them. Huzzah for Le Comptoir Irlandaise, selling boxes of mince pies and jars of mincemeat!

3 Things I Dislike about Christmas

  • There’s very little really, but I suppose the early-onset of Christmas in the shops is something I don’t like. It isn’t so bad here in France, but it is creeping in…Late November was when I saw my first “Shop for Christmas!” sign.
  • On a similar vein, the adverts on TV that encourage everyone to buy those “must-have” items – be they food, electronics, toys, sofas…whatever. And that brand you a failure if you don’t get them.
  • Features in magazines that give ideas for  “stocking fillers” that cost more than I’d dream of paying for a super-duper “main” present! I saw something in one feature that was branded a “stocking filler” and cost over £100! That’s practically my entire Christmas present budget!

3 Favourite Christmas Movies

  • Love Actually – it’s schmaltzy, and a bit over-sweet in places, and the creepy signs-outside-a-newly-married-woman-that-I-fancy scene makes me cringe. But…Alan Rickman! Emma Thompson! Alan Rickman (again!)! Hugh Grant dancing! Alan Rickman! It still makes me cry every time I see it.
  • Elf. Great fun, and fast becoming a tradition in our house
  • The Princess Bride. No, not a Christmas movie, but it needs to be included at every opportunity.

3 Favourite Christmas Treats

  • Mince pies (already mentioned)
  • Lindor balls.
  • Foie gras. Yes, I know it’s not at all ethical, and I shouldn’t enjoy it, or buy it. But I do. I love it! We don’t buy it very often, so it is a treat.

3 Favourite Christmas Traditions

I’m not sure these are “favourite” traditions, but they are traditions:

  • Decorating the house on the second Sunday of Advent. Usually, the same things go in the same place, although I do tweak things occasionally. We don’t have a Christmas Tree, because we can’t trust the Very Bad Cats not to climb it, but I bought a small wooden pine-coney tree this year which I have wrapped in tiny lights which is very acceptable.
  • Our “spread out” Christmas meal. We really only eat one meal on Christmas Day, which is timed thus:

10.30-ish: smoked salmon and champagne

13.00-ish: foie gras and an appropriate wine (Muscat is good)

17.00-ish: main course (this year it’s roti de pintard (guinea fowl), roast potatoes, spiced red cabbage & green beans

19.00 + cheese and dessert. Dessert can be Pannetone pudding, but this year is going to be mince pies and ice cream.

With this, one never feels full. Between courses there are walks, present opening, listening to music, reading, watching TV, preparing the next course, etc.

Actually this year we may be skipping the foie gras part as we’ve been invited to a friends for drinks. We’re taking peach juice and champagne, so we can have bellinis.

  • The Church Carol Service – a slightly informal Nine Lessons & Carols – which is always nice. Mr FD comes to this service as well, which pleases me.

3 Favourite Christmas Songs

This one’s a bit tricky, as there are new ones being added, but if we are on secular songs I think I have to go for…

3 Favourite Christmas Carols

Confuzzledom didn’t include in her list, but this is an important one for me:

  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  • Hark, the Herald Angels Sing – which I didn’t use to like, but after reading the words carefully, and thinking about them suddenly became one of my favourite carols ever!
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel – which is strictly speaking, an Advent song, but which speaks so eloquently of the world yearning for its saviour.

3 Favourite Christmas Gifts Received

I’m not really sure – I have been lucky enough to receive some beautiful things. Mr FD is great at choosing just the right piece of jewellery – be it earrings, bangles, Pandora beads. When we lived in Milton Keynes there was a jeweller who came to the Christmas Market every year, and Mr FD would choose something from his stand for me! Now, he will often buy me a Pandora bead.

I don’t think I can choose to be honest.

Let’s just say the gift of salvation through the Nativity. That’s fairly good (!!)

3  FOUR Gifts I Want to Give the World

  • Stealing Confuzzledom’s first answer: Empathy. I’m stealing Jana’s answer again, but it’s a good one. If people would just consider other people’s feelings occasionally the world would be a much better place!
  • Stealing Confuzzledom’s second answer: An end to climate change… or at least to slow it down to how it would have been if humans hadn’t come along to destroy the planet. I would like there to actually be a planet by the time my (future) children and grandchildren grow up! – except I don’t have children, but I have nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces, Godchildren…so it’s just as important
  • Stealing Confuzzledom’s third answer: Laughter. Bad things are always going to happen… and without sorrow we wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate happiness. But I would love to give everybody out there at least one reason to laugh or smile even when things are at their very worst.
  • But, most of all, Peace. Peace in the world, peace in communities, peace in family relationships, peace in one’s heart. Peace brought through the Prince of Peace, who came to call us to take his easy yoke and rest in Him.


And so,with that in mind…


Over on Kezzie’s blog she passed on the
The Sisterhood of the World Awards Tag to anyone with an A in their name!

That’s me (either in Fat Dormouse, or in my RL name) so I thought I would play along.

The questions to answer were quite tricky, but also rather interesting…

1. What is your favourite gemstone?
Actually, having said they were tricky questions, this one is easy! It is the opal.  Some people believe it is an unlucky stone, unless it is your birth stone – the month of October. I was born on 24th October, so it’s not unlucky for me! It has been in 2 of my three engagement rings (all to the same man. I’ll tell you that story another time!) and if I was choosing jewellery with a stone – which rarely happens! – I would choose opals. Or amber.
2. If you had to spend the day as any historical figure, who would it be and why?
That is a much harder question! Maybe I’d choose Mary Magdalene, or Mary, the sister of Martha (It certainly wouldn’t be Martha who was obsessed by housework!) It would be fascinating to meet Jesus, and to have the chance to listen to him talking and explaining. And to see the real human Jesus, instead of seeing him through the spectacdles of time, and deity.
3. Do you have a favourite genre of film, and if so, why?
I do like a nice romantic comedy…I have enjoyed all the Richard Curtis films I have seen. Just because I like the thought of being romanced. Mr FD isn’t romantic; practical, loving, but not really romantic. Just once I’d like to be swept off my feet. But in a humourous way!
4. What was your favourite toy as a child?
I didn’t have one favourite toy, but a collection of “Bears” – Jeremy the Panda, Barrington Bear, Fluffy the bear, Pooh-Bear, Monty & Marty the mice, Angus the dog. Et al. Monty, Marty and Angus were small, so they were allowed to be taken on holiday with us. I remember Aunty Cyn making them dance for me, while singing in a high pitched squeak “Hello, hello, who’s your lady friend?”

(Chorus at about 43 seconds in)

5. What was the last book you read that you’d recommend to everyone?
Again, difficult to say – people like different books. But I really enjoyed “The Last Runaway” by Tracy Chevalier (although it’s not the last book I read that I’d recommend…!) or “The Girl You Left Behind” by Jojo Moyles.
6. What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given
Absolutely no idea!
7. Who would be your dream dinner guests and why?
My dad. I’d love to see him again – he died, too young, in 1990 and I can’t remember that much about him now. From time to time I dream about him, but it’s usually only fleeting. TBH, if I could have him back for a dinner, then that’s all the people I’d want.  But maybe I’d have Mum too!!!
8. Do you prefer day or night?
Day.  I’ve never been a night owl.
9. If space travel became a possibility overnight, where would you go?
I’m not sure I’d want to go anywhere really. Maybe the moon, to see Earth from a different perspective, but I’ve never been very adventurous, so I would probably just stay here on earth.
10. And because I’m always interested to know this, if time travel were real, what time would you go to? I’m not really sure – possibly back to Jesus’ time, for the reasons stated above. But when I think about this question, I can’t really imagine a time I’d like to experience. Everything was more dangerous in the past – plague, war, heresy – and women didn’t get a very good deal out of things. And who knows what’s in the futrure – I don’t think I’d like to find out, really! I think I’ll stay where I am, thank you!

So there you go. I won’t tag you, but let me know if you answer the questions…I’d like to read your answers (and probably say “Oh, yes! That’s what I should have said!!”)

The King of Rome

I left a comment on Ang’s blog today – she had posted about an Unthanks song – and I wanted to point her in the direction of another Unthanks song which I really love. And as I listened to it again, having found the YouTube video to link to for Angela, I thought I should share it with a wider audience.

It is a song that never fails to move me – partly the beautiful sound of the colliery band that plays along, but also the story of a working man who never lost faith in his pigeon.

Here is the Unthanks performing “The King of Rome” at the 2012 Folk Music awards.

Apparently, the bird is stuffed, and in Derby museum, and there’s also a Wikipedia article about the pigeon:

Some of the words are beautiful…

In the West End of Derby lives a working man
He says “I can’t fly but me pigeons can
And when I set them free
It’s just like part of me
Gets lifted up on shining wings”


A man can crawl around or he can learn to fly
And if you live ’round here
The ground seems awful near
Sometimes I need a lift from victory


Goats Cheese crisps? Really?!

Inspired by Kezzie’s post on crisps I thought I’d write my own post – on the wierd and (maybe not so wonderful) crisp flavours that seem to be on offer in French supermarkets:

Goats cheese and chilli. Really?

Perhaps these flavours float your boat: salsa…chilli…or “Parisian sandwich” – which appear, from the illustration, to be ham sandwich flavour crisps!

Or would you prefer mustard-and-gherkin? Chicken curry? Grilled-peppers-and-chorizo?

Bolognaise flavour?

These seem slightly less wierd:

cheese-and-onion (though not just any old onion, these are from Roscoff!), cheese, Garlic mayonnaise (well, okay, that one’s still a bit odd!) and grilled beef.

Luckily I can still get my ultimate favourite, which are these:

And, when I see them, and feel rich, I sometimes treat myself to a bag of Tyrrell’s crisps:

Actually, I’ve not tried these. TBH, they sound a bit odd too!

One of these two go down very nicely with a glass of chilled rosé.

Cheers, Kezzie! Thanks for the inspiration!!

Letter writing!

I recently joined in a Hand Written Letter writing Exchange. The idea being that you are linked with two people, one to write to you, one to write to, thus ending up (if you click with them) with two pen friends.

I procrastinated for ages about writing – all the pictures I’d seen of letters sent to other people were beautiful, or witty, or erudite…I hesitated about what to write, what to send, how to present it…Particularly as Kirsten runs a wedding planning company, and creates such beautiful things. I thought she would be woefully disappointed by anything I could send!!

Finally I persuaded myself to just get down to it, so over the weekend I wrote to my correspondent. I sent her a recipe (for Pat’s Chilli jam), a tiny zentangle of a sunflower, a few postcards of Saint Just (yesteryear) and a copy of one of my favourite poems, as well as a letter.

Here is the envelope, ready to go:


Yesterday I got home from Roanne, rather tired after an exhausting hour-and-a-half’s dancing and a slippy, snowy drive home through the mountains, and found an envelope waiting for me! In it there was a lovely chatty letter from Tracy, with a postcard of the town where she loves and a bar of chocklit!!!


What beautiful writing paper! I look forward to writing back to Tracy – but not for a few weeks. The next couple of weeks is going to be a bit busy here in the Dormousehold. I’m off to Liverpool tomorrow, so there won’t be any 40 Acts updates (after today’s) until Tuesday. Then I am desperately trying to finish a scrapbook to be filled in at a friend’s 70th birthday “houseparty” before we go away for 5 days with the Cycle Club. And I have to do some work too!!

But letter writing! What fun!