Friday, 27 March 2009

Something borrowed - Five Senses Friday

With StAnza now already something of a distant memory (to relive – please see last post...) I fancied something completely different. I've been reading some blogs for what seems like ages now (and some of you people really do feel like old friends in a way) but it's good to keep things changing all the time though too so (when time allows) I do still look out for interesting new blogs with different angles and attitudes and stuff to say. In the past couple of months I've found myself wandering to Philippa's blog at Green Ink now and then, for example. I don't know much about Philippa...I think she's an Australian living in London (is that right?) and I think I came to her via One Night Stanzas or something but I know that I go back because I like her take on blogging and writing – she just seems to be working away...on her own path...going her own kind of human. She seems to be one of those people with a practically-bursting-out-of-her love for life too and...well...that's nearly always appealing, isn't it? At least from a distance...

Anyway a couple of Fridays ago Philippa did this little writing task called Five Senses Friday (just as it sounds...go through the senses one by one and come up with some things you have noticed/experienced in the past week or so). Even with the hanging-on cold (and therefore fairly weakened senses all round) I thought I'd have try at it this week. So I'll blow my nose and clear my throat and then here goes...


Jamie Bell's face in 'Billy Elliot'

We watched this film earlier on in the week (I wanted Small Girl to see it...and had forgotten there were quite so many fucking swear words in it though...whoops...and see's catching...). Anyway, there are many reasons that 'BI' was such a success (great music, great dancing, Julie Walters...)
but Jamie Bell's beautiful open face was one of its many fine features. And those eyes! Whoever found that boy when they were casting the film did a stellar job because couldn't you just look at his face all day? I know it would be a bit weird...but you could, couldn't you? Here he is:

(As if by contrast) James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano

I have mentioned previously that Mark and I are watching the Sopranos TV series on DVD just now (about ten years later than everyone else). We're up to series 3 currently and my goodness it's brilliant...but my the same time... looking at the Tony Soprano character regularly is just so strange...he's so revolting! The sex in vests, the belly, the constant eating of sausage meat, the nastiest selection of shirts and (even worse) casual jerseywear ever seen on the small screen! I watch him... and watch him and am constantly appalled (and yet also fascinated). What outfit will they find for him next? What horrible testicle scratching, toilet shot will we see next? And yet it is possibly the best TV series I have ever seen. A really quite bemusing feast for the senses, this show...(music is excellent too of course). Here's a little Tony:


Out dogwalking the other day my friend and I saw a majestic grey heron, just standing quietly by a small pond. It looked so smart and collected – it made me feel very scruffy and messy in comparison.

Paint charts

I always find them quite baffling...there are so many colours and the same time...not the one you know you are looking for. Does it drive artists mad trying to find new colours? I think it would me.



This is a bit of a housewife moment but what can I tell and Carmela Soprano...we have so much in common. Anyway, I got some of these 'they last 1000 washes/they're kinder to the environment' ecoball things for doing the laundry and they do work...pretty well. The weird thing is that the laundry doesn't have any of those fake-nature smells you get from washing powder any more. I open the airing cupboard ('cos we're fancy these days and have one) and I smell...what is it exactly? A little bit school chemistry set, a bit serious, a bit Soviet's certainly not summer flowers or pine fresh or anything you might call fragrant that's for sure. It's odd. And I'm not used to it yet.


More housewifery. Doing the ironing when I was younger was one of the first jobs I remember doing and feeling really grown-up whilst doing it so the smell of ironing is a happy memory smell for me (warm, clean, comforting, in control). When I was about 10 I used to iron my older brother's shirts (and he was very fussy) and by all accounts I did it well so it made me feel clever and capable (and who doesn't like that feeling)? After that I didn't iron for years (really...years!) but I do it again now...every couple of weeks I suppose (nothing too mental). As some of you will know I really only do ironing as an excuse to listen to music but I still like the smell. Plus it looks like I'm doing something not just sitting around listening to music...

Paint – like bread?

Mark was painting the sitting room the other day and it smelt just like baking bread. I'm sure it did. Or was it because the paint was a bit bread coloured..? Mystery...


I'm always amazed how powerful smells can be! A kitchen bin that needs emptying – that can turn a happy home into somewhere altogether different, can't it? Squalor...just waiting to happen...


Strawberry cream

Like a small child, I really like the strawberry one in a box of Cadbury's Roses. It's just sugar x sugar x sugar - a real short, sharp hit. My drugtaking is not what it was I will admit...but there's still always something available to give a person a lift now and then, when required...


Oh bloody hell, am I always crying about something or what? Mothering stuff, hormone stuff, disappointment in human beings stuff...very tiresome! But at least after all this fieldwork you'd think I could focus on the true taste of tears. Salt, snot, the taste of your own failure and disappointment...what do tears really taste like? They taste...unwanted.

Potter's catarrh pastilles

The best remedy – harsh and critical and determined and often accompanied by the nagging question 'if I fall asleep with one of these in my mouth, will I choke..?'

Homemade stuffing

Onions, bread and herbs – delicious!


Small Girl's voice

When she is talking to the Winnie the Pooh characters in a computer game our daughter is completely talking to them (they are in the room...there is no hint of 'just a game'). I love listening to her but I am very aware that she is 9 soon and that things are changing every day in her world. It's necessary but a shame... all the same.

Happy dog

Our dog Zoe (who just turned one this week) makes the most amazing sound when you stroke her a lot (especially if she's been left alone for a while). It's half cat-purring and half person-trying-not-to-laugh-at-a-joke or something. It's like she's saying 'don't stop, don't stop, never stop stroking me!' Really, it is.

Joni Mitchell's voice

Her voice is so unique, isn't it? Sometimes I don't even like it but I listen to it all the same...she's very hard to say no to, I find (in some of the songs anyway). I was listening to the album 'Blue' the other day and Small Girl was quite taken with 'Carey' (she's always liked mermaids) though she did, for the first time ever, say 'this just doesn't make any sense!' I had to stop myself from replying 'since when do you care about sense?' Then also Mike Harding played Mitchell singing 'For Free' on his radio show the other day so it seemed to be Joni week. Watch these and think - does her voice match her face perfectly...or is that just me not making any sense either?

Here's Joni singing 'Carey' at Wembley in 1983:

and just to spoil you here she is singing 'For Free' for the BBC in 1970:


The crows are very noisy just now. Up near Small Girl's school there are loads of them (at least I think they're crows...they could be rooks I suppose...they're very high up...) and the other day it sounded like they were having a very heated debate ('look at you, on that branch...don't you know nobody sits on branches like that any more', 'what do you know, think you're so clever...' etc. etc.). I like to hear them carry on like that.


Just sanded

Is there anything like a smooth bit of a wall when it's just been sanded ready to paint? Soft as a baby's sole!

Little laptop keys

Also very soft – I probably touch laptop keys as much as anything these days. Strange that, when you think about it.

Paper money

Quite a distinctive feel, isn't it, the touch of paper money? Thick but thin, soft but tough, taken for granted but still totally essential...go stroke a tenner and see what's got to say for itself, why don't you...

Bedroom carpet

Well, you touch with your toes too, don't you? As there is decorating going on downstairs I've been working upstairs for a while instead so although usually when I'm in our bedroom I'm in bed this week I've been typing, reading, ironing - all upstairs. This means my toes have been saying a much longer hello to our much overlooked, but delighfully soft bedroom carpet this week too. After years in crappy rented places with filthy, bitter and no doubt miserable floorcoverings I do enjoy the feeling of something clean and soft underfoot. It's not to be sneezed at, you know...

And on that note...I'm off to blow my nose again and I'll see you all in a few days time. Make sure you have a good, sensually stimulating weekend now, won't you?


green ink said...

A very evocative tour through your senses. Love the image of tears tasting unwanted. You've motivated me to do one today :)

And tah for the lovely words too.


Rachel Fox said...

Well they're unwanted to me...I seem to have been drowning in them a little of late. Bloody drama queen...


Ken Armstrong said...

Fantastic post, really! I love the strawberry Cadbury's Roses.

Little by little, I reveal my deepest self to you and the world.


Verification word 'fannes'

Rachel Fox said...

I know...I keep waiting to grow up and move onto something more serious like the nougats or something...but it just doesn't happen.

Susan at Stony River said...

Wow what a week: I enjoyed your list.

Funny you mentioned the laundry smell, because I was just talking over this the other day with a friend: we bend over backwards to be environmentally friendly here, everything from composting to raising our own organic vegetables to avoiding plastics etc... but one thing I just can not give up is laundry powder. I tried the balls and yes they worked, but I hadn't known until then just how much I enjoy that fresh-flower or lemon scent of clean damp laundry. I was depressed without it. Funny what these five senses give us every day.

My favourite part of your post however had to be your daughter's voice. It occurred to me that I've taken thousands of photos of my kids but only rarely recorded their voices...and I think now I'm going to rectify that. They're as beautiful to me as their faces after all.

(and why is my verification word "squat"?)

Rachel Fox said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Susan. I enjoyed thinking about it all to be honest.

As for the's not very attractive is it? I'm undecided as to the future of the ecoballs altogether...

And yes, get recording those bairns!


The Solitary Walker said...

I'm with you most strongly on herons, stuffing and Joni Mitchell, but not necessarily in that order.

Rachel Fox said...

There's something for everyone, I see.

hope said...

That was fun! Well, except for the cold/tears part. The pollen has me sounding as if I have a cold and people keep taking large steps away, as if it were contagious.

My friend said the other day,"What the hell has gotten into us that we have a few birthdays and all of a sudden it seems normal to weep at greeting card commercials and the like?"

Universal, this woman thing. ;)

Rachel Fox said...

Well, apart from Margaret Thatcher and a few other selected specimens...

Dick said...

Now, that's a meme worth doing - illuminating and entertaining. I left mine in Green Girl's comments.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, Dick, though I have the feeling this is going to lead me to yet another poem about ironing (I'll have enough for a whole series soon - dammit!). Maybe I need to go and get a job outside the home or something...oh, just remembered...recession...phew, no jobs around anyway. Back to the ironing board...oh look, there's my title!

deemikay said...

Interesting idea! And lovely to read. :)

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, it was an interesting task to think about...especially after something like StAnza. I always need to just write about something simple after a literary event like that - something that's nothing to do with movements in literature or anything remotely like that! It was the perfect antidote...just look and listen and touch and so on.

Dave King said...

Superb, but I shall have to read it again, just to convince myself that it really was as good as my drooling suggests. Your posts just get better and better.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Dave! Makes it all worthwhile...

Marion McCready said...

Fun post, I love herons, they're my favorite bird.

Rachel Fox said...

Why then have you heard the Karine Polwart song - 'Follow the heron home'?

Ken Armstrong said...

Just wanted to add: My younger son has Elliot for his middle name. One reason only, we were due to go and see 'Billy Elliot' in the cinema on the night he chose to put in his appearance. :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

nice list, i love herons too, lots of them in Edinburgh. i really enjoy listening to Joni Mitchell too and yes i only iron as an excuse to listen to music and sing along, though i can't sing!

Marion McCready said...

just listened to it on youtube, lovely!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes I am quite the president of the Karine Polwart is marvellous society! Great lyrics, beautiful tunes, lovely voice...I have all her cds and can be quite boring about how brilliant she is!


Kat Mortensen said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has that bizarre bedtime notion of choking on a lozenge as I doze off.

These were wonderful sensory tours through your mind, Rachel. I could not do the eco balls. I buy organic, herbal laundry liquid and that suits me.


P.S. You make me want to start ironing again - just for the smell.

Rachel Fox said...

See if you lived closer you could just do some of ours!