Saturday, November 30, 2013


This is just an experiment to wish American friends a Happy thanksgiving today.  Jacquie Lawson is a bit naif but I keep my subscription up for the grandchildren  who love them and actually enjoy some of them myself and I think it is so clever!

Well it works for me ;)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Odd bits and bobs

Collecting bits and pieces, the Cotton Patch ebrochure which looks interesting and is of course all about patchwork material, it is a 'flipping book' fascinating to play with.  Also how about this bed, all hand made, even the wooden headboard by one person called Rachel. The blue wing came via F/B loved the colours and the detail.

Wing of a Blue Roller by Albrecht Durer 1512

And to go with the oldest bog body in Ireland on TV last night there is this piece of music on 'Pete Marsh'
better known as The Lindow Man.
As you can see not much to write about, winter has set in, have uploaded all my photos on this laptop to a new memory card, so tiny it has to be kept in my jewellry box, and even managed to get the large box external hard drive to work as well which has many old photos - a triumph.....

To remind me of the trip to Germany,  a scroll neatly tied, and unrolled with a flourish at the meeting at the German museum

LS correctly using the Japanese methods of tying the knot

My Moss up on the Wiltshire Ridgeway in front of a bronze age barrow

A small Lillie with a large umbrella

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Wood

This is Blakes Wood that we went for a short walk the other day, surprisingly the lane at Paper Mill lock was flooded, heavy downpour in the night presumably.  Today the wind blows cold and nearly all the leaves that are in such splendid colour on the header now lie on the lawn, winter is here.
Apparently, according to the Daily Mail, no I don't read it but gathered the link from another forum has predictions that the Ragnarok, or the world ending is about to happen on the 22nd February 2014.  This rag of course spends most of its written news in dramatic headlines that are not very truthful, but there are several good photos on the page and tidings of a mini-ice age!
But to get back to the wood, it was very muddy with a thick mulch of leaves along the path, young foxglove plants promise their flowers next summer, and the sweet chestnut husks, so very like small hedgehogs, litter the path, we picked a bagful, and had some after roasting them in the oven, they were small but good. I suppose the taste could be called 'mealy'.  According to my book, you must soak them in water for 24 hours with a few drops of vinegar so that the light ones can float to the top, dry them properly then store layer by layer in a bucket of sand.  There were a few trees down in the wood from the storm of a few days ago.  The house down below, with its tall chimneys and blocked off windows is a curious mix must try and find out its history.

Along the muddy path

Soft greens and copper leaves

A clearing in the woods

The beige of bracken dying

Sweet chestnut

3 windows are blocked due to the 'window tax'

Tall chimneys

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

On Stones

News out today that 11 'bluestones' at Stonehenge have been pinpointed to a particular spot or outcrop of rock called Carn Goedog on the Preseli hills, probably of no interest to anyone, but one of my favourite spots on this earth... it is a bit like a nail in the coffin of all those who argued that the bluestones got to Salisbury Plain by glacial movement which I have never believed.  A moment of homesickness for a fabulous place and one of the main prehistoric settlements in this country....

Landscape and Perception

Monday, November 18, 2013


The header is the maple tree flinging out one last burst of colour before the leaves fall, so a theme of brown comes to mind, a colour enlivened by the yellows and oranges of Autumn but I do not necessarily like, my love of course does! One or two of the scrolls that hang up in the house are on a background of brown, one has evil creatures, probably 'hungry ghosts' who are terrible.  The one hanging up in the studio is on the risque side, probably due to the fact that the British Museum's 'Japanese Erotica' show is on.  We saw some of the prints when we were there a couple of months ago being prepared but we are not going to see the exhibition... I shall put two photos on of the dark scrolls but not of the other;), the old scrolls used real minerals, somewhere on this blog I have taken photos of the cases of the dyes, both mineral and insect, and apparently one case is medicinal.
The wool was a pleasure to spin as  there was silk mixed in with the merino, and I am spinning tussah silk at the moment to be plied with merino wool and then dyed.

Plovers flying against a rising sun

Mixed colour top ready for spinning


There was only 200 grams and I made gloves and a hat.

Brown bread fresh from the oven

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Heaven balanced on a grass blade"

Llanthony Priory attributed to Creative Commons photo
The following poem by Allen Ginsberg is long and he was under the influence of drugs when he wrote this, so why did it capture my attention.  The history of the poem by this American writer in the 60s is far too long to write about but when he wrote this poem he was on a visit to Llanthony Priory through the little valley that winds its way to Hay-on-Wye.  I know the area well, walking round the old ruined priory, trying to find the house/chapel of Eric Gill further down the road, who probably designed the font I am writing in at the moment and is most remembered for his sculpture work.
 Capel-y-Ffin; Attribution: Dara Jasumani Creative Commons.

Ginsberg had come down with his publisher to a weekend cottage and to 'chill out' on the way he had visited Tintern Abbey, that glorious ruin of the past that has had many a poet winding his words around the old stones that are magnificently arranged against the backdrop of a tree lined hill with the River Wye running past.
he Chancel and Crossing of Tintern Abbey, Looking towards the East Window by J. M. W. Turner, 1794

The poem is beautiful, pastoral springs to mind, his intense bonding to the natural world through the influence of drugs a revelation.  It made me sad as well, remembering my cousin who was also on LSD at the time, and sitting with him when he had been brought back from one of the squats in London where he had been traced down to by his father.  Barry had also tried to tell me the experiences he had seen whilst under the influence and I had never understood till reading this poem.
J.M.W.Turner's painting of Llanthony Priory, taken from the Tate Gallery website
Turner's romantic painting features the wild dramatic nature of Wales, the priory set about by a raging river and backed by those ''sort of'' mountains, the Black mountains, though in truth they are little more than hills.  Walking up that hill behind the priory one visit, I came across a dead sheep fallen into a stream, just skin and bones, it was a very desolate picture but sometimes this is how I see Wales, rock, water and death, that of course is the influence of the chapels ;)
All these photos I have hunted on the web, including the poem but in actual fact it was Landscapism blog that introduced me to it, for which I am very  grateful and say thank you......

Wales Visitation
White fog lifting; falling on mountain-brow
Trees moving in rivers of wind
The clouds arise
as on a wave, gigantic eddy lifting mist
above teeming ferns exquisitely swayed
along a green crag
glimpsed thru mullioned glass in valley raine—

Bardic, O Self, Visitacione, tell naught
but what seen by one man in a vale in Albion,
of the folk, whose physical sciences end in Ecology,
the wisdom of earthly relations,
of mouths; eyes interknit ten centuries visible
orchards of mind language manifest human,
of the satanic thistle that raises its horned symmetry
flowering above sister grass-daisies’ pink tiny
bloomlets angelic as lightbulbs—

Remember 160 miles from London’s symmetrical thorned tower;
network of TV pictures flashing bearded your Self
the lambs on the tree-nooked hillside this day bleating
heard in Blake’s old ear; the silent thought of Wordsworth in eld Stillness
clouds passing through skeleton arches of Tintern Abbey—
Bard Nameless as the Vast, babble to Vastness!

All the Valley quivered, one extended motion, wind
undulating on mossy hills
a giant wash that sank white fog delicately down red runnels
on the mountainside
whose leaf-branch tendrils moved a sway
in granitic undertow down—
and lifted the floating Nebulous upward, and lifted the arms of the trees
and lifted the grasses an instant in balance
and lifted the lambs to hold still
and lifted the green of the hill, in one solemn wave

A solid mass of Heaven, mist-infused, ebbs thru the vale,
a wavelet of Immensity, lapping gigantic through Llanthony Valley,
the length of all England, valley upon valley under Heaven’s ocean
tonned with cloud-hang,
—Heaven balanced on a grassblade.
Roar of the mountain wind slow, sigh of the body,
One Being on the mountainside stirring gently
Exquisite scales trembling everywhere in balance,
one motion thru the cloudy sky-floor shifting on the million feet of daisies,
one Majesty the motion that stirred wet grass quivering
to the farthest tendril of white fog poured down
through shivering flowers on the mountain’s head—

No imperfection in the budded mountain,
Valleys breathe, heaven and earth move together,
daisies push inches of yellow air, vegetables tremble,
grass shimmers green
sheep speckle the mountainside, revolving their jaws with empty eyes,
horses dance in the warm rain,
tree-lined canals network live farmland,
blueberries fringe stone walls on hawthorn’d hills,
pheasants croak on meadows haired with fern—

Out, out on the hillside, into the ocean sound, into delicate gusts of wet air,
Fall on the ground, O great Wetness, O Mother, No harm on your body!
Stare close, no imperfection in the grass,
each flower Buddha-eye, repeating the story,

Kneel before the foxglove raising green buds, mauve bells dropped
doubled down the stem trembling antennae,
 look in the eyes of the branded lambs that stare
breathing stockstill under dripping hawthorn—
I lay down mixing my beard with the wet hair of the mountainside,
smelling the brown vagina-moist ground, harmless,
tasting the violet thistle-hair, sweetness—
One being so balanced, so vast, that its softest breath
moves every floweret in the stillness on the valley floor,
trembles lamb-hair hung gossamer rain-beaded in the grass,
lifts trees on their roots, birds in the great draught
hiding their strength in the rain, bearing same weight,

Groan thru breast and neck, a great Oh! to earth heart
Calling our Presence together
The great secret is no secret
Senses fit the winds,
Visible is visible,
rain-mist curtains wave through the bearded vale,
gray atoms wet the wind’s kabbala
Cross legged on a rock in dusk rain,
rubber booted in soft grass, mind moveless,
breath trembles in white daisies by the roadside,
Heaven breath and my own symmetric
Airs wavering thru antlered green fern
drawn in my navel, same breath as breathes thru Capel-Y-Ffn,
Sounds of Aleph and Aum
through forests of gristle,
my skull and Lord Hereford’s Knob equal,
All Albion one.

What did I notice? Particulars! The
vision of the great One is myriad—
smoke curls upward from ashtray,
house fire burned low,
The night, still wet moody black heaven
upward in motion with wet wind. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I have been busy spinning silk and wool this week, knitting some gloves and a hat from one lot, so life is quiet and we have not been anywhere.  Yesterday a friend asked to be a 'Flickr friend', funny world we live in, now people can prowl through our photos from all over the world.  Anyway I decided to put some more photos from my computer on there, a job I hate but it is a permanent record.  The other week another friend asked me to join her on LinkedIn, think that is what it is called, anyway I filled in the necessary detail, and then up pops a Brazilian language student from years ago!  How, says I, did she notice me, penny dropped access to my email list but actually I can't find her on it - mystery.
All the fuss that has gone on since Edward Snowden revealing the extent of the plundering of information on the internet by the security services.  It passes most of us by, we are just caught up in the mass of useless selling in the form of advertising that flows through, our names harvested  for on a brief hope we may buy...
I spent a good hour with my daughter on the phone on friday, she seems so happy with their new house though her husband is stripping every room in the house, luckily the start of building works begin next week with the installation of heating, and then plastering can begin as apparently the wallpaper held up quite a lot of the old plaster.
She would love if we moved down there, preferably next door, but our hearts are definitely not in Todmorden, LS refuses to contemplate it and this part of the world is difficult to get close to, think it must be the dark dour nature of the stone and brick used for the houses.  But it has a train station to the big Northern cities, so the children should be able eventually to find jobs - when they grow up of course.
Some photos that made their way to Flickr, fragments of people, which I do not always post, but there are lots of stories in our lifetimes......
LS's cousin's cottage in Cornwall, we are aspiring to this!

Bucky and Loie at Pentre Ifan last year

To a burst of sunshine on my old rigid loom

The Autumn apples waiting to be juiced

To friends and wandering round stones this summer

Maldon and Essex 's creeks

Mundon church, must get coal

Frank and Margaret, she has lived in America for 40 years, but comes from Lampeter; two hours chatting in Costa Coffee in Bath

Jeannot and Annabel, my ex-sister-in-law whose birthday it is this week

Part of the family, chocolate cake and colas, or perhaps another meal in Whitby, the two boys with their tired mum.

Friday, November 8, 2013


Not mine, mine were grey and less hairy, plucking a bad tempered angora was no fun!

Browsing around in my mind for something to write I went and read other blogs, Weaver of Grass mentioned that fox hunting would soon begin in her area sadly.  It reminded me of the urban foxes we lived with in our small satellite village to Bath.  Weston, or Upper Weston as opposed to the low life of Lower Weston (okay I'm joking, but the idea of superiority always makes me giggle) in actual fact Lower Weston was called 'Chelsea Road' basically because there was a row of shops down there.  Enough of Bath history, get back to foxes!  Well we lived in a leafy part with large gardens, mostly due to the fact that it was a valley.  So foxes and badgers visited at night from the surrounding fields, but for a time I kept angora rabbits for spinning their wool, so a particular Mr Fox loved to come and visit, and would sleep in the afternoon in the flowerbed below their hutches.  Now apart from their runs on the lawn, one rabbit would always be lolloping around free when I was in the garden, so their safety was assured.  But one day Bracken (named after a Bath rugby player) with a gorgeously coloured apricot coat had hiked it up the steps to the front garden, a loud squealing said she was in trouble, and there was the fox trying to grab hold of her, hampered of course by her long coat.  She survived unscathed, a tough little rabbit and imperious to foot.
But a friend, long since gone sadly, on the other side of the valley would feed the foxes at night, and it brought back the memory of the fact that he painted, so I went and looked him up.  Henry Cliffe was apparently born in Scarborough, and you can read his biography in the above attached link.  His work was abstract as you can see from the following picture.  Lot of memories come tumbling back, his wife Valerie was also a teacher at the Bath School of Art, she had a library full of beautiful art books, even now as I write I remember seeing her for the last time  ill and alone in her flat but with a lovely smile on her face as we talked about the humdrum things that needed doing as we waited for the ambulance to take her to the private hospital her son had booked.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Whitby festival

It is Goth weekend in Whitby, fellow blogger Paula is there in all her finery and we are missing it, the cottage is of course taken for the festival right through till next weekend, so we cannot stop there.  The Abbey is lit up beautifully with blue lights according to the photos I have seen on the net.  And I can just see the busy throng of weird outfits jostling around in the  streets.  People pose at corners, children grimace with evil delight, even the town dignitaries take to the stage with solemn attire.
Beautiful, glamorous, hideous, funny, sexy, the sheer joy of dressing up in weird clothes is captured here in this video, of Paulas. Long live Dracula prowling the streets of Whitby....