DAY 13

It’s not something I’ve ever spent a lot of time on. Shampoo it then leave it to do its own thing. Lucky, I suppose, to have well-behaved hair inherited from who-knows-whom. When you’re adopted no-one ever says You’ve got your mother’s eyes, nose, colouring. Nor has anyone said You’ve got your granddaughter’s laugh or Your grandson’s smile.

During lockdown I grew it. The lifting of lockdown meant I could return to my previous short style but hey, I’ve always been tempted by Let’s see what happens if… 

DO SOMETHING WITH HAIR could have been exciting. It grew just 0.35mm more.


DAY 10

Using a chimney-less oil-lamp as a hairdryer stand – tick.

Using my late husband’s work-bench as a plant stand – tick.

Using some curtain tape to fashion a lampshade for an old standard lamp – possible but I need to give this some more thought. Oh. Recycle a thought – yes!




Mending electricity with string? Impossible, of course. However, it is possible to fix the two together in order to prevent toe stubbing or even falling over in the night.

First, stand on the bed. Try to unentangle the knot in the pull cord high above your head. If the knot’s too tight, loop a piece a string through the cord and let it dangle at the perfect height for on-and-offing the light when sitting up in bed. 

Detach it on the last day of your stay.



The first petrol station has no fuel at all. The second has queues
and pleas:  Take only what you need.

Narrow lanes have passing places, much too small for the driver
of a very tiny car. He pokes a finger at me, Back, go back. I reverse.

Lastingham and Hutton-le-Hole have visitors galore. Locals
are hardly ever seen.




I picked out notes, could name them, but a tune was out of the question. The room’s air muffled the piano’s dampers and stifled my fingers.  Floor-to-ceiling windows caught and threw back hills, trees and sky but kept beaks, heads, breasts, tails and wingtips in pale grey impressions.  To stop further collisions I closed the windows’ shutters. Locking the door behind me, stillness was kept in.

Do Something In An Empty Room 



I walked beside them, on them, admired them – and photographed a few. I wanted to upload a couple of photos but in this lovely place it’s too much to ask of my phone’s intermittent signal.

The photos show a limestone path beside a river, sheep grazing below rocky outcrops and a couple of leaning gate posts…

Do Something Near Ancient Stones



A beautiful day for walking. Green hillsides, bracken, heather and a vociferous sheep calling the rest of her flock. Obediently, they follow in single file.

Late afternoon in the garden and the midges are curious. One lands on my sketch of the landscape. I brush it away with the side of my hand, catching it too heavily. Stuck to the top of the page it could be a buzzard stopped in mid-circle above the sheep, the heather, the grass.

DO SOMETHING with a sketchbook.



What do you do when you’re travelling to a writing retreat and are obliged to do something with chains?  You find a swing, clutch the chains and soar into the air. That was my intention when I pulled the activity out of the vase. Except when I got to my destination the chains had gone and now there were ropes with a couple of links fixing them to the frame. Deconstructed chain, then. With rope.



And it came to pass that on the third day of her self-infliction Roberta considered cheating. Thus, George Fox and the mirror came to mind. Not at the same time. Roberta is fairly certain that GF and mirrors were things of rare coincidence unless mentioned in conjunction with clanging cymbals.

George Fox journalled, ‘I was under great temptations sometimes, and my inward sufferings were heavy’.  Doing sums isn’t Roberta’s forte but even she can manage this one. Cheating = Heavy Inward Sufferings.

And Roberta said unto herself, look about you. And her eyes lighted on a mirror, a mirror that has caused her many times to wish it elsewhere except for the beauty of its walnut and usefulness of its two small drawers wherein tooth floss and matches dwell.  But its capacity for catching and throwing back images she could do without.  

And thus, she sacrificed a scarf. The one she bought from a charity shop for a reason she can’t remember. Its pink clashes with the room’s lilac curtains and red towels but its drape is opaque and doesn’t interfere with the drawers’ usefulness.

Verily, nobody needs a mirror opposite the bath.



‘Do you want anything doing with a hammer?’

The dog-walker in the lane looked surprised, ‘No thanks, I’ve got a new fridge freezer coming this afternoon.’

Fair enough, not everyone’s comfortable with a hammer-happy granny. When I got home, I couldn’t find the sledgehammer so had to use a toffee-hammer to tap the plastic drainpipes back over their grids. It was probably the better option.


David is a brilliant gardener. He turns up when he feels the garden is ready for him and wields his strimmer and mower with terrifying speed and efficiency. If I catch him in time, I indicate with a sweep of my arm that the primroses planted under the apple tree need a gentle mow. To somebody as profoundly deaf as David a sweeping arm also means, ‘Please strim under the apple tree until the earth flies.’

This afternoon I hammered holes into the building rubble left by the house’s previous owner (he’d covered it in grass and called it a ‘lawn’). Then I slotted canes into the holes and leant them against the apple tree in a teepee kind of arrangement. Finishing off my anti-strim defence is a dangling sign – ‘Primroses sleeping’.  David might pause long enough to read it.