The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

No frogs were harmed in the making of this blog


Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been combining work with pleasure. The Big Shiny Thing in the Sky is back, and I spent a glorious day enjoying it with friend John Wood, as we researched a walk and workshop at Cromford in Derbyshire. It’s the terminus of a very beautiful canal, with the fantastic mill buildings of Richard Arkwright still intact around it. What a nice way to make a living, I thought….


Then again, I’ve learned things I never wanted to know about guinea pig spleens. Research on our Derby Hospitals project took us there to gather memories from people who worked in the hospitals. Did you know that a pregnancy test used to be carried out by injecting a frog with the urine of a pregnant woman? If the woman was pregnant, the frog spawned – about a month later. Surely one would know by then anyway…. Don’t even ask about the guinea pigs.


Sunshine brings out the boaters like Blue Peter’s tortoises from the airing cupboard, blinking in the bright light after months of confinement. We are overdosing on Vitamin D, sprawling around the marina on blankets, and the barbecue season is officially open. Once the barbie is lit, we just keep feeding it and feeding from it until about September; but the first sausage of the year is always the best, as the actress said to the bishop.


Yesterday there was no work, just pleasure, as I took small friends (above) and larger ones to Tegg’s Nose, the local country park, to play on old quarry machinery. This morning I woke up early and walked up to White Nancy, the famous folly above the mill town of Bollington. On the way back I saw my first duckling of the year – even better than the first sausage, though not as much meat on it! Ah, the Macclesfield Canal. Earth has not anything to show more fair, as that nice Mr Wordsworth said about a different place.



This entry was posted on May 11, 2008 by in Boating life.
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