The Tulip Touch*

It’s The Master’s class at Spin and I’m the first person to hit four hundred and fifty, then five hundred, then six hundred calories. The Master is Really Pleased With me. Here we are:

Teach Mum’s best friend some Pilates. She’s already improved So Much in a mere four sessions: better mobility, flexibility and stamina. We do a whole forty five minutes this week: before we’d done thirty, thirty five then forty minutes. Am so pleased with her for taking it so seriously and doing her homework. Here’s her homework for this week:

She asks me about emptying her mind of intrusive thoughts so I buy her Michael King’s Pure Pilates. It will arrive in a few days. Am so happy to see how enthusiastic she has become about her Pilates. She says that as a teacher herself it’s a learning curve for me to realise what a pupil needs and that am doing really well. Am so pleased with self and her.

When we arrive home it’s sunny and I take a turn around the garden. The berberis darwinii is flowering now:

So are the purple tulips:

I chat on my phone in the garden to a friend and he promises to visit on my return.

The house is sad and quiet without Fluffball who Mum takes to the cattery this morning. Miss him.

Read and note thirty five pages of MadeByMaggie’s children’s story. It’s excellent.

Now must:

  1. Pack up ten days of meds.
  2. Clean lenses and put them in suitcase.
  3. Have bath and wash hair.
  4. Set out clothes for tomorrow as we’re leaving at 6.30am.

This time tomorrow we’ll be in beautiful Israel.

Have a lovely Easter everyone.

Happy Thursday!

*1996. By Anne Fine. Children’s novel based on the Jamie Bulger Murder case. Winner of the Whitbread Award.

Murder On Pointe*

Have a good walk with Gandalf then cuddle him in his house. He’s my Best Boy:

It’s a cold but sunny day. He’s my most precious angel boy and waits for me in the hall whilst I find the towel to rub his muddy feet, which he lifts one at a time to help. Stroke his long soft fur, kiss his face and he gives me a Flatcoat face wash.

My new soft toothbrushes arrive to day and use one. It doesn’t irritate my cancer-treatment-induced mouth ulcer. The Iglu anaesthetic gel stops mouth hurting so that is good too.

Barre is excellent. Here I am with my chum and my teacher. We do more arms, bums and tummies today:

Have lunch and a sleep. Have just woken up at 3.30pm.

MadeByMaggie has sent me some more of her children’s story to read so must crack on with it.

I’m drinking coffee, looking out of the window at the garden. The birds cheep. Mum cuts up some pineapple earlier so will eat that.

Unpack and repack case. Still need to remove a few more items of clothing as leg weights need to be packed and will add two kilograms.

Countdown to holiday: this time on Friday we’ll be in our plane ✈️.

Mum takes fluffball to the cattery for his holiday at 8.30am tomorrow, so must spend some time with him now. Also need bath.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

*2016. By C.S. McDonald. Fiona Quinn Mysteries Book 1. Set in Pittsburgh in the world of ballet. Also stars Homicide Detective Nathan Landry.

Black Dogs*

Yesterday, we arrive at the Zoo at 4.45pm and park in the Members’ car park. The Zoo closes at six o’clock.

First we see Asim:

Suzy hasn’t seen him before so she’s excited to meet him. He’s not excited: he’s sleeping. He’s such a handsome boy.

The camels are next to Tiger Territory. Sadly, Bactrian camels are severely endangered now:

Then we visit Land Of The Lions – it’s done up as an Indian hill railway station in the Gir forest and contains four very rare Asian lions. We have an excellent sighting of Bhanu:

And two of the lionesses, Heidi and Ruby:

There are no lion cubs yet but there’s no keeper to talk to about why not: this late in the day the Zoo is deserted.

We take the tunnel under the road to the other side of the site and see the tamanduas sleeping on top of a light. They like it there because it’s warm. They’re tree anteaters so the climb up is easy for them:

“Where are Marilyn and Lento?” I ask a keeper in Rainforest Life.

“Lento is in isolation because now he’s two he’s moving to another zoo, in Norfolk,” she says.

“Oh no, I’ll miss him,” I say.

“Marilyn’s just over there, hanging from a tree,” she says, pointing to a brown, hanging, furry bundle.

“I love sloths,” Suzy says, smiling as she looks at her.

We go downstairs to Moonlight World and see the potto, bushbabies, bats and a Grey Slender Loris stepping slowly and carefully along a branch, moving one long leg at a time. Can’t take photos down there because it’s dark. The Slender Lorises are some of my favourite animals: their huge liquid eyes are lamps in the darkness.

Over to Into Africa and we see the zebras and glimpses of giraffes in their house: huge patched flanks moving behind the windows.

Oni the okapi is near her fence:

She must be on heat as her boyfriend is desperate to be with her: climbing his side of the fence in an effort to scale it:

“I didn’t know about okapis till recently,” Suzy says. “They’ve only just been discovered I think and…”

“In 1901,” I say, laughing. “Quite a while ago now.”

It’s 5.55pm and we make our way out through the gift shop. Driving through Camden, we find a parking place where we can pay up to six thirty, when parking becomes free here, and walk to Mildred’s.

Dinner is lovely. Have a stir fry with tofu and tender stem broccoli and a kale salad with fried strips of lotus, which we haven’t encountered before.

“I wish you could just work part time so we could go out at four o’clock more often,” I say. Suzy is a teacher and has to work all day and then do paperwork all evening.

“That’s the dream,” she says, eating her dumplings with the chopsticks that I still haven’t mastered aged almost forty.

We have a walk along the canal and it’s not yet dark at eight o’clock – which is great:

Suzy stays the night.

Wake up at 7.11 this morning and walk to the gym. Do four sets of all my weights:

Walk home, say goodbye to Suzy and then Mum picks me up with my case. We drive to Dolly’s house. She’s in the garden when I arrive and bounds over to me: jumping up and placing her paws on my shoulders which she is not allowed to do.

“Dolly, no,” I say, turning my back to her and crossing my arms.

“She seems to have perked up,” I say to her owner’s son, as he answers the door.

“She’s been up and down,” He says, putting her harness on.

“She must think your mum has recovered and gone out somewhere,” I say. “You’ve had a haircut and…”

“I wanted to do it before Mum died,” He says, smoothing a lock of hair behind his ear. “But I’ve done it in time for the funeral which is next Wednesday so…”

“Oh that’s a shame: I’m going away for ten days on Friday,” I say.

“I’ll get you a copy of the Order Of Service,” He says.

“Thank you,” I say. “Come On Dolly.”

Dolly rushes up to Mum in the street and rests her head against Mum’s thigh in greeting.

“Is that a bear?” Mum says, stroking her soft head.

It is drizzling on our walk but we still have a good time. Dolly seems much cheered and isn’t so clingy. She always looks around for me if I lag behind though.

There is a beautiful ceanothus in her road:

The magnolia there is still flowering:

We drive back to the parentals. Fluffball is inside on his black chair as the rain is heavier now.

Have a quick bath and lunch then pick the Fraud forms up at the bank. They have had their mail van taken away so have to post forms at the Post Office which costs me £6.60 for next day signed for. It’s a cheek but can’t risk them not arriving and Barclays taking more than four hundred pounds back out of my account (the flights and insurance that the fraudster paid for using my details).

At the dentist, for the first time ever have a bit of tartar on lower teeth. This is because my mouth ulcer caused by the cancer treatment is so painful just in front of those teeth. Dentist advises me to purchase a Curaprox Ultra Soft toothbrush which is a manual one, and an anaesthetic mouthwash called Iglu. Get that in the pharmacy next door and it stops ulcer hurting. It contains Lidocaine. Order the special toothbrush from Amazon and it will arrive tomorrow.

Just watch a Mel Wells video replay of her yesterday’s webinar on Reclaiming The Feminine, which is good.

Now must take some clothes out of suitcase.

We have spaghetti for supper tonight – yay!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

*1992. By Ian McEwan. Literary fiction novel.

Tonight Will Be Fine*

Am up last night till 11.18pm finishing Fay Weldon’s Habits Of The House: Book One in the Love And Inheritance trilogy. It’s gripping: wonderful writing – and I’m desperate to find out What Happens. Meditate then sleep.

Wake up at eight o’clock this morning and watch last night’s Victoria. Last night’s episode of The Durrells is brilliant. Watching it is being enveloped in a warm hug for an hour: lost in Corfu in the early 1940s. Gerry is training a beautiful barn owl called Ulysses.

Work hard at training and trainer is pleased with me. Here’s my Lat Pulldown:

Book tickets to a Leonard Cohen tribute event on the South Bank on 24th June. Am going with a friend. It looks great. Yesterday was the Fiftieth Anniversary of the release of Songs From A Room so listen to that whilst packing this morning.

Am watching last night’s Silent Witness. Nikki has been kidnapped in Mexico by a cartel and is buried underground in a wooden box. It’s thrilling.

Suitcase is now stuffed: need to remove some clothes. Will do that once Silent Witness is finished. Also need to put a wash on and finish taking the dry clothes off the airer and put them away.

Suzy is coming to pick me up at four o’clock and take me to the Zoo – where we have a new Giant Salamander to meet – and then out to dinner in Camden. She’s on holiday for Easter now but has gone in to school today to crack on with her work.

Happy Monday everyone!

*1969. By Leonard Cohen. Song that appears on the album Songs From A Room which was released on 7th April 1969.


Tim Burton’s Dumbo is amazing. He is just adorable and the casting is great: stars Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton and the young actress Nico Parker who I reckon is going places. Don’t miss it.

My chum has never seen the cartoon original Dumbo for some reason so urge him to watch it. Have a Diet Coke and he has a beer after and we stay at the Hampstead Everyman till eleven o’clock. Meditate and fall asleep around midnight.

Am up at six thirty this morning as am Excited about meeting the Mel Wells Self Love Advent Challenge London Ladies for lunch.

Watch an episode of Murder Made Me Famous about Aaron Hernandez – the New England Patriots American footballer who becomes a violent and savage multiple murderer.

Walk to gym. Do four sets of all my weights:

Meet the London Ladies at The Flask in Hampstead for lunch: including two new ones who haven’t been before. One of them is Jewish, lives near me and gives me a lift home which is helpful. Here we are:

Love The Flask and we have excellent chats and food.

Make it home in time to watch Cambridge beat us by about a length in the Boat Race. However it’s Not Fair as they have Olympic Gold Medallist James Cracknell who’s forty six and doing an MA there now. Cambridge are heavy favourites but Oxford put up a good fight and it’s pretty close in the end.

Need to crack on with my new Fay Weldon book Habits Of The House and add photos to my Instagram. At eight o’clock the new series of The Durrells begins on ITV, followed by Victoria.

Must put a wash on before supper. Miss my sleep this afternoon so am Exhausted.

Happy Sunday everyone!

*2019. Feature film written by Ehren Kruger, adapted from the novels by Harold Pearl and Helen Aberson. Directed by Tim Burton. Stars Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Michael Keaton.

For Kicks*

Dr Stein my psychiatrist is Really Pleased With Me.

“I think we can be cautiously optimistic that the lurasidone is doing its job.” He says, his blue eyes twinkling as he smiles at me.

“The thing is,” I say, sipping my coffee. “I’m just wondering whether a massive, long depression is just round the corner and…”

“Let’s hope and pray that it isn’t.” He says, scribbling in his notes. “We have every reason to suspect that your new direction plus perhaps some activity of the cancer drugs, and the lurasidone working as it should, is keeping your mood up or…”

“I’m good at teaching Pilates,” I say. “And I really enjoy it so…”

“This is wonderful.” He says. “In my other Bipolar patients who are easier to medicate than you, I see a mood dip every three to four years. Historically, your mood drops every few months, but perhaps now the lurasidone is doing its job. Add to this the effect of your studies and I see no reason why your mood shouldn’t remain level and…”

“I have spent rather a lot of money,” I say. “All my savings and…”

“Are you sleeping?” He says, scribbling in my notes.

“Slept for twelve hours last night,” I say. “And I sleep in the afternoons and…”

“Excellent.” He says, smiling at me.

“And my mood isn’t too high,” I say. “I’ve finished noting the Pilates theory now but I was able to concentrate on it for between two to five hours a day and…”

“Wonderful.” He says. His blue eyes are soft.

So, work hard at Barre:

Walk Hina:

Start my new Fay Weldon book and read a hundred and forty pages of it. It’s wonderful:

Watch Tiger Roll win the Grand National for the second year running. He’s the first horse to do this since the great Red Rum.

Now I’m preparing to see the new Tim Burton Dumbo at the Hampstead Everyman with my chum.

Happy Saturday everyone!

*1965. By Dick Francis. Mystery novel set in the world of horse racing.

Jesus Doesn’t Want Me For A Sunbeam*

Wake up to a call from my bank. Someone has used my account to buy Wizz Air flights at more than four hundred pounds and Saga insurance. The payments are still pending so am told to check account throughout the day and to call the bank when the payments have gone through.

See my Fluffball after breakfast:

It’s The Boss’s class at Spin and it’s a Fartlek (speed play) class. Work extra hard. Here we are:

Teach Rolling Back in Pilates. Do very well and teacher is pleased with me. Here I am:

My Pilates chum has a Weimaraner and this Land Rover Defender:

A year ago today, this photo was taken:

Can’t wait to be back in Israel next Friday for ten days. Have four appointments booked with brother’s trainer.

Check bank. The payments that I didn’t make have gone through. Bank promises to refund the money. They will send a replacement debit card and a form for me to return within fourteen days. If don’t return form on time they will take the money away again so Must Remember to send form straight back to them.

Teach Mum’s best friend Pilates. She is making progress: she’s already more flexible and has more stamina after just three sessions.

Here’s her homework plan:

Have a rest but don’t sleep.

Fluffball is in for the evening now. Mum’s preparing dinner in the kitchen. My uncle is coming to see us.

Am watching last night’s programme with Emilia Fox trying to solve the case of Jack The Ripper. Fluffball is sleeping on the spotty sofa. Dad is sleeping in his chair.

Today it’s twenty five years since Kurt Cobain committed suicide aged twenty seven so am listening to Nirvana.

Happy Friday everyone!

*1994. Song by Nirvana from the album MTV Unplugged In New York.

Portrait Of A Killer*

Look how beautiful Mum’s camellia is.

It’s The Slave Driver’s class at Spin and I request Extensive Intervals and my wish is granted. Work extremely hard. Here I am with The Master:

My chum drops me in the village and have my nails done 💅🏻: No Deal Brexit Pink again:

Brexit wranglings rumble on.

Have lunch and watch new Hitler’s Most Wanted about Himmler. The presenter is ranking Nazis in order of evilness and Himmler is Number Two. Knit.

Sleep. Wake up and watch last night’s Goddess Collective live call about Goal Setting. Am smashing all my goals at the moment so that’s good.

It rains this morning but is sunny now. Fluffball is in for the evening:

We are spending the evening together as parentals are going out. There is a programme on about Jack The Ripper reopening the case at nine o’clock so will watch that after last week’s episode of Victoria.

Seeing new Tim Burton Dumbo on Saturday night at the Hampstead Everyman. Excited.

On Saturday will take new suitcase back to the flat and start packing for holiday which is on 12th April. We’re going to Haifa in Israel to visit brother. Can’t wait.

A friend from the Goddess Collective is running a Pilates Retreat at the end of August in the south of France so have booked to attend.

Happy Thursday everyone!

*2002. By Patricia Cornwall. Posits that painter Walter Sickert was Jack The Ripper.

The Happiness Of Pursuit*

Have a lovely walk with Gandalf:

Then cuddle him in his house:

See this Forsythia near Gandalf’s house:

Work extremely hard at Barre:

Have lunch with a Barre friend at the farm.

Watch Private Lives episode about Hitler whilst knitting. Have short sleep.

See a wild lion 🦁 in the garden:

Read the first hundred pages of The Happiness Of Pursuit which is this month’s book for the Goddess Collective. It’s OK but all about quests and I can’t be bothered to go on a quest.

Book my Pilates Instructor Course theory exams for 3rd August. Have to be there at 8.45am so will be staying at the Ibis Blackfriars the night before. Nervous about the exams but have four months to revise now. Hopefully that is long enough.

Feeling sad about Dolly’s owner but mood remains up. It’s been eight months now which is amazing.

Am going to have a bath.

Have a live call for the Goddess Collective at eight o’clock this evening. There are artichokes for supper.

It’s a sunny day but cold: eight degrees. Am wearing my warm pink dressing gown which has just been washed.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

*2014. By Chris Guillebeau. Self help book.

Let Loose The Dogs*

Cancel this morning’s Pilates as am sad about Dolly’s owner and MadFatRunner’s spaniel. Feel that I’ve been hit by a train. Am exhausted and tearful. Watch a Silent Witness instead.

Mum picks me up from the flat and we drive to Dolly. She seems more cheerful today now that her owner is no longer lying motionless in bed. She jumps up and is So Excited to see me. We have lots of kisses and cuddles. She’s the best, most beautiful and gentlest girl in the world. Here we are:

The rain pretty much holds off except for a light drizzle. We buy an azalea for her owner’s son and daughter in Primrose Hill. They are very sad about their Mum’s death but relieved that she’s no longer suffering. The son is staying with Dolly in the flat for about eighteen months till they sell it, so I can still see my giant fluffy chum, thank G-d. Love her so much.

Have a great long sleep from two to five o’clock this afternoon. Wake up and have coffee. Note the last little bit of Pilates Instructor Course theory. Here it is – five notebooks:

The writing is this:

So, I have a lot to learn!

Now must have bath. We have spaghetti for supper yay!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

*2012. By Maureen Jennings. Book 4 in The Murdoch Mysteries series, starring Detective Murdoch. Set in Canada.