disappearing down the rabbit hole…?

The Premium subscription to my domain taoofscrumble.com  expires soon. I have been debating the way forward for some time and have decided not to renew it ~ so it will most likely be inaccessible from next Monday, July 4th. It may revert to taoofscrumble.wordpress.com  but I’m not entirely sure how that will affect the content or my following because the communcation I’ve received the WordPress Happiness Engineer differs from the automated message that keeps popping up, now that the end date is looming. We’ll just have to wait and see ~ how exciting! 😉

I no longer have the same drive that prompted me to start this (second) blog ~ over the last couple of years life has evolved in ways I could never have predicted, causing me to abandon ‘best laid plans’ more than once. Casual daydreams have remained just that ~ entertaining diversions not destined to become reality. Even some of my long~held beliefs and opinions have been overturned by changing circumstances ~ much to my surprise!

So the title ‘Tao of Scrumble’ doesn’t feel quite as relevant as it did when I was exploring different creative avenues with abandon. Several years on I’ve  eliminated those crafts which are no longer appealing or possible ~ I can’t even ‘scrumble’ (free~flow knitting and crocheting) for long these days. But rather than mourning unfulfilled ambitions, I’m focusing on activities which work well for me and give me a joy and I would like to write about them and post photographs.

I briefly considered starting a new blog, with a more appropriate name ~ ‘Tao of Sitting On The Sofa Not Managing Much At All’ maybe? Then I remembered that I already have another one. When I took my first, faltering foray into the blogoshpere it was anonymously on Wightrabbit’s Blog. I haven’t published a post on that one for some time  ~ but I’ve checked and it’s still live!

So if Tao of Scrumble does disappear down the rabbit hole next Monday have no fear. Jump after it, like Alice, and you will find me there!



New Book: Bluebells New School

Today I’m shining the spotlight on my lovely friend: super~talented illustrator and children’s author, Jules Marriner! Tah~Dah!


Woo hoo! Bluebell has landed. After what seems like the longest labour ever, my latest book has been delivered. And keeping with the similie, it wasn’t a straightforward gestation and towards the end I needed a lot of laughing gas.

However, she’s here now and the main thing is, she is happy and healthy.

I describe Bluebell’s New School as being a bit like Harry Potter in reverse. She is a witch who wants to go to normal school but her sarcastic owl Twit is not terribly pleased with the idea. Her first day at Footleton Primary doesn’t exactly go to plan, thanks to the extraordinary actions of a small boy with legs like beansprouts.
This is the first book in a series and I have an idea that Twit will be taking a larger role in future stories. I imagine it’s a bit like writing a new character into…

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Rice Bucket Challenge ~ Done!


A couple of weeks ago I decided to participate in the Rice Bucket Challenge, by making a donation to the local food bank. I figured this would be passed on to someone in need ~ here in my own community ~ whilst saving the water that would have been poured over my head, if I’d taken part in the Ice Bucket Challenge. (Which would have made my hair go all frizzy ~ not a good look, trust me.)

Due to unforeseen problems with my debit card , happily now resolved, I was unable to fulfil my promise until yesterday.

So, finally, here’s proof that I kept my word: a photo of me adding a packet of rice and some tinned veggies to the collecting box in my local supermarket ~ fresh/frozen foods aren’t acceptable, for obvious reasons.

Even though you can’t see my face, I promise that it is me. I made Martin focus on my hands because I’d just had my head massaged with essential oils ~ not a good look, trust me.


September Giggle Bog

At the beginning of every month Susan Jane Jones posts a ‘giggle blog’ to give us all a laugh.

I’ve often wished I could join in but have never been able to think of anything amusing to relate. Then, last week a couple of things happened ~ one of which I’m never going to live down!

One morning I decided to do our monthly food shopping really early, to beat the queues. So, before I’d even eaten breakfast, I was negotiating the aisles of my local supermarket, nodding smugly to other bright sparks with the same idea.

I didn’t notice that my debit card was missing until I wanted to use it again a couple of days later. While I searched the house, Martin checked the car but it was nowhere to be found ~ not even in the fridge, nor in my husband’s pocket. Working backwards, I recalled where I’d last used it and phoned the supermarket, relieved to be told I’d left it there. Yay! It would be such a drag to have to cancel it.

The following morning, on my way to reclaim it ~ and to fulfil my Rice Bucket Challenge ~ I was alarmed to notice that, according to my speedometer, I appeared to be racing down the hill. I must have driven this way thousands of times and didn’t think I was travelling any faster than usual ~ but I braked to the legal limit anyway. Which felt ridiculously slow.

A driving school car pulled out of a side road up ahead of me and I followed it, keeping the distance between us equal. It seemed to be speeding too. Figuring that the instructor would definitely not allow his pupil to break the law, I deduced that there must be something wrong with my calibration and proceeded with extreme caution ~ especially as I passed the one traffic camera en route.

At the supermarket I enquired about my card ~ only to be told by the nice young duty manager that it wasn’t in the safe. Repeating the details of my telephone conversation yet again, I sent him back to his office to look properly ~ sadly with the same result. So, not having enough cash on me, I couldn’t make my promised donation to the food bank after all.

I drove home carefully ~ it was fine when I could follow the car in front and match it’s speed ~ but a nightmare when I became the leader and had to guess, especially going past that pesky speed trap where I slowed down to snail’s pace, to avoid the remotest possibility of incurring a fine.

When Martin came home, I regaled him with my tales of woe and he asked me if I’d tried turning the car off and on again. (At first I thought he was joking, because we’re currently watching ‘The IT Crowd’ on Netflix and that’s their catchphrase.) Of course I had ~ when I got to the shop and when I left. Muttering to himself he went out to the car, turned the key and pressed a button on the dash.

Apparently my car reads the speed in both miles per hour and kilometres.

Who knew?

One of us (I’m not pointing fingers) must have accidentally reset it to the latter, when looking for the missing debit card.

Talking of which…..

We decided not to bother looking for it any longer, so I flipped the lid back on the wheelie bin ~ which I’d been peering into, hoping to spot a small rectangle the same colour as my card amongst 13 days worth of recycling. It’s amazing how much red is used in packaging these days.

There was nothing for it, but to ring the ‘lost and stolen’ hotline. But we’d been caught out by that once in the past. So before they cancelled his card too, leaving us with no access to funds, Martin ordered a part for our vintage car from the internet, then went to a nearby ATM to draw out enough money to tide us over until the new ones arrived.

But it was empty. The cashpoint, not our bank account……although…….by now the card had been AWOL for several days and I was starting to get a bit edgy. So was Indie, it was time for her daily constitutional ~ so we all walked to the village Post Office, were a nice lady handed us our emergency dosh.

Back home I finally made the dreaded call. And listened to the menus. And pressed the appropriate buttons. And tried to understand the Northern accent of a young man who couldn’t hear me, because the background was so noisy. And struggled to recall which, of my numerous passwords I’d set up for telephone banking, back in 1993.

And, suddenly it was done. Old card stopped, no unusual transactions showing and a new one on it’s way. Whew!

Drama over, Martin and I joked about the drivers behind me muttering that I was a silly old biddy, who had clearly forgotten how to drive and shouldn’t be allowed on the road. Yep, we’ve all done that ~ but I’ll be giving old blokes and biddies the benefit of the doubt, in future.

Then I remembered something.

‘Oh, by the way,’ I laughed, ‘you can still use your bank card ~ they haven’t cancelled it after all, they don’t do that any more. I guess it causes too much inconvenience!


Having Fun with Photos

Until now The Artist has manipulated my images for me ~ he has the Digital Art qualification and the iMac, after all!

But it’s not always convenient for him to drop what he’s doing to add some text to one of my snapshots, or combine elements of three separate photographs to create the effect I’m aiming for. When I get an idea which requires photo~editing it’s frustrating that I can’t just get on with it myself ~ but there’s no way I’m touching his computer when he’s not around. So I wait patiently, hoping that the ‘moment’ doesn’t pass.

Then on Saturday my blog buddy, Lord David Prosser, posted some photos which he’d edited to look like sketches. He’d used an app called Pho.to Lab, which I downloaded onto my iPad ~ and started ‘playing’ straight away:



‘under water’ with added text.

‘bubbles in the air’ (me surrounded by my grandchildren and the dog)
And finally….

‘magic valley’ (amazing frames)

Compared with Martin’s amazing digital artwork, this is pretty juvenile, I know. But I’m having so much fun that I don’t care!

(((Hugs))) and thank you for the heads~up Lord David

Wild Surprise!

This is my newly acquired statue ~ a pixie boy playing Pan pipes. The Artist moved it for me yesterday, into this ivy~clad corner of the Kitchen Courtyard:


He didn’t notice anything unusual at the time but a short while later our friend Dee saw that Indie was sproinging up and down before it, legs rigid, all four feet leaving the ground at once and giving a little yap each time she rose. I don’t know how else to describe it but anyone who’s owned a terrier will get the picture:

It’s hilarious but I couldn’t catch her in mid air!

So we took a careful peek. And this is what we found:

We know that there are baby birds inside because we heard them tweeting in alarm. So we retreated and kept the dog indoors, hoping that the parents would come back.

I crept up to check on them this morning and an unblinking eye glared back at me. A spotted brown adult was sitting on the nest, too camouflaged to identify. Although I was raised in the country, my wild bird recognition skills are pitiful, so I’m not sure whether it was a thrush or a female blackbird. I didn’t poke about in case I frightened her away,

I’m excited and nervous all at once.

It’s thrilling that we have wild nature in our garden, Indie thinks so too. But I have to keep calling her away and telling her not to bark. Not easy for an inquisitive dog. To her credit, she does obey most times. But she’s quickly learned that she’ll be rewarded if she does, now she keeps asking to go out so she can come back inside and be tossed another treat! Luckily the nest’s too high for her to reach it and I’m wise to her crafty tricks!

Hopefully the baby birds will survive and one day fly away, leaving Indie in peace, to sunbathe beside the statue. After all, it is her favourite spot. 🙂

Programmed to Survive

In Nurturing Thursday 30 I sang the praises of Mother Nature. To prove my point, here are some photos I snapped in my garden this week:

A potted miniature rose ~ blooming out of season, despite severe north winds and lashing rain.

The red geranium and stone lion, bravely standing guard beside our front door.

A clay head, with messy ‘hair’…..

…….made from carrot tops. I planted the seeds months ago, strictly for ornamental purposes, never expecting the roots to mature into vegetables.

If casual neglect can yield these delightful surprises, imagine what bounteous crops I could produce with just a little more care and attention!

Looking forward to Spring already 🙂