Friday, October 2, 2015


The mist has burnt off quickly this morning and the sun is trying to come through, when I came down two rabbits by the grass mound greeted me.  Yesterday the baby hedgehog sunned itself in the afternoon for an hour or so, and the chickens roamed freely.  They enjoyed the garden, keeping close to us as we worked or wandered around amongst the flowers.  Getting them to go back is fairly easy at the moment, like me they love toast, so just wave a bowl under their beaks and they happily go back into the run.

At the moment I am reading Olive Laing's To The River, about a walk she made along the length of the River Ouse in Sussex.  She keeps as her companion in mind Virginia Woolf who was as we know was to drown herself in the river, filling her coat's pocket with stones.

Why does 'madness' haunt writers like Woolf, and earlier William Cowper, does the ceaseless ferment of the mind drive them to distraction?  There is a somewhat miffy review in the Guardian of the book in 2011, and I  agree with the idea, that a long walk over weeks will give rise to another book on  subjective nature.  Laing was trying to get over a broken relationship, Robert Macfarlane is also similar in his writing, the biographical vein, gives rise to an excessive verbiage of words, one needs a pen to cut through...

Robert Macfarlane by the way is joining with Jackie Morris (a children's illustrative artist) to redeem the words that the Junior Oxford Dictionary left out of their latest edition.  A poem mentioning the 'lost words' can be found here on an earlier blog, fancy a heron not being named!

Something else Laing mentioned, that if given a Catholic education, the ability to believe in that that is not there, is part of the make-up of the child as they grow up.  Having had at times a Catholic education, I tend to agree with this. For me as a child the worlds of dust motes were little tiny places where life could be played out, I never actually believed in god from an early age.  The moment of enlightenment was looking at a prayer book, and studying the page of 'believers' so carefully drawn, and a simple question went through my mind, so how can our god be so powerful but not have the rest of humanity believing in him?  Of course now I have grown up with a multitude of gods and they are fascinating but are of course just figments of people's imaginations.  A need to give credence to why we are born and die, humans can never quite equate their fates with a humble fly who dies without even knowing what death is....or perhaps they do?


  1. Very contemplative post today Thelma. I must say your views sound sound very close to mine -today the farmer and I were discussing burial on the farm - not in a morbid way, but we find the subject quite interesting.
    Regarding religion - if there were no religions in the world there would be far less war and yet we all purport to believe in the same God in the end.

  2. I find death quite interesting but LS does not like talking about it. I shall have my ashes scattered, hopefully down by the beck that I love. Living next to a graveyard though does make you realise how families need to come and tend the loved one's grave, and of course for historians to brood on past histories.....

  3. I think that the main problem with writers is that we do not get out much. I try to get some meaningful conversation with friends every four days or so. Humans are social creatures and things like saying "Good morning" to a neighbour does not quite do it.

  4. ); Of course Britain is renowned for small talk and the weather, other conversations, whether deep or not do not come so easily. Sometimes though the whole world is full of 'talking heads' and we have to switch off. Enjoying your latest writing by the way....

    1. The weather in Calgary is so changeable that it is the commonest topic for conversation here. Friday was one of those perfect sunny autumn days, I wore a t-shirt when I took Tristan to the dog park. On Saturday morning I woke up to rain and a cold north wind. Later in the morning it was snowing and that kept up for most of the day.

      My current blog series is the hardest topic I have tackled in my life!

    2. Well the latest is flooding in the south of France, but here it is beautiful but turning colder and colder as the days get shorter. Two favourites from the prehistoric art world are the 'swimming deer' carved from mammoth ivory and the other is the Chauvet Cave horses, movement captured forever on rock. I can quite understand your latest series being very difficult to write, it is quite difficult to grasp for people like myself!

    3. While not as fine workmanship as the swimming deer, my favorite is the Venus of Brassempouy as it seems to me to have been modeled from a real person:

      I knew that my current series would have a very small audience (virtually microscopic) but I saw a level of proof available rarely (if ever) encountered so I just had to do it and with as much detail as I could muster.

    4. She is pretty compared to the other rather plump venuses that are often found. Again artistic talent triumphs in both the deer and the heart-shaped face of the girl.