Sunday, June 17, 2007
It is so nice to see how my mum touched you all, I read the comments with tears streaming down my face- this is a good thing though :)
In a few days I do hope to email you all once things begin to settle down.
Any emails you send to my mums address i will also read. My Dad, Brother and I really appreciate your messages, love and support. We will be printing all these off to keep hold of.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
It is with much sadness that I inform you all that unfortunately my Mum passed away this morning.
She has been ill throughout this week becoming increasing weak and confused by last night. Last night we had decided to get her into hospital this morning however this was too late as this morning I discovered her. My dad had been sleeping in a seperate room to enable her proper rest. We do not yet know the official cause of death. She has been taken away and most likely a post mortem will be carried out on Monday.
She spoke of her blog to me often and the friends she had made through this. I really wanted to find a way to let you all know.
If anybody would like to contact us please leave a comment and I'll give you my email address.
Lots of love
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Before I begin, my computer screen has gone a rather unpleasant pink colour, so my colour values etc are distorted, so it is fingers crossed that my text and illustrations work as I can't see the true colours until my screen is sorted Ansel Adams
On 10th June, the Celtic month changes again and this month will be the month of the Oak. A tree to me that is quintessentially English, phrases such as the Mighty Oak, Hearts of Oak and From Little Acorns Great Oak Trees Grow. The Oak has always protected England from time immemorial, it was the sacred tree of the Druids, they had their Oak Groves, and throughout history the boats that were used by the English Navy to defeat invaders to our isles were made from from slabs of the mighty Oak. The Armada was turned back by these ships crafted from English Oak. Therefore, from the 10th of June we have the 7th Moon of the Celtic Year, Duir, the Oak Tree. Duir meaning door.
The month of Duir, also contains the Summer Solstice, and of course, the symbol of the Summer Solistice is the magnificent Oak tree. Every civilisation that has had access to Oak trees seems to have realised the mystical properties of it. The Oak is one of the three most sacred trees, Oak, Ash and Thorn and is thereby known as King of the Grove. English legend believes that King Arthur's Round Table was made from a massive slab of Oak tree. The oak is allied to the element of Fire and is ruled by the Sun. It also has associations with the God of the Forest Herne and the Wild Hunt and the Oak or Green man who is a potent symbol in English folklore. It was an Oak tree that Robin Hood was supposed to gather his men round and an Oak tree in which King Charles is supposed to have hidden to avoid detection by the Roundheads. It is a very long lived tree and grows to enormous widths, therefore it is a symbol of long life. It is also associated with the Gods of Thunder and Lightning, due to its reputation as a lightning attractor. The bird connected to this Oak Month is the wren and the stone is moonstone.
The Green Man
The parts of the Oak used are the bark, wood, leaves, and acorns, which I will leave until last, as they are another interesting part of Oaklore. Oak bark tea is very astringent and is thought to be good for sinus infections. Oak can be used in spells of healing and fertilitiy, protection, strength and success. One belief is if you listen to the Oak at the Summer Solstice you can hear what the future holds by listening to the wind rustling through its leaves. Oakwood is a very powerful protection herb and are used as land boundary markers because of this. Also an Oakleaf worn next to your heart is said to protect the wearer from decption and falsehood. Try a handful of Oak leaves in your bath to cleanse you in body and spirit.
Acorns, themselves are very useful and powerful small items. Acorns are said to be able to increase fertility, not just of the body but your creative fertility too. Play with a couple in your hand to ease pain or put some in your window or on your windowsill to deflect lightning and protect you from night creatures of evil intent. You can also carry them in your pocket for basically the same reasons, to protect from storms, from getting lost and from those spirits or people intent on ill wishes towards you. Three acorns threaded together can be made into a charm to preserve youthfulness and to help you achieve in life. You must thread a piece of your hair with the three acorns, and bless them every new moon and full moon, for twelve months. Acorns can also be planted in the dark moon days to bring financial rewards. You must harvest the Oak tree by the waning moon. The acorns in daylight and the wood and leaves at night. Don't forget that part of your Summer Solistice fire should be of Oak wood.
Remember what I said about my computer at the beginning of this posting, well going round the blogs quite a few of us are having various problems with our computers at the moment. Dare I tell you, guess what it is? Yes, Mercury goes into retrograde in a few days time, so don't forget everyone be careful around items of communication. This retrograde Mercury will last from 15th June [with a build up from about ten days before that] until 10th July , but don't forget about the kickback effect that lingers on a while.
Keep having a look at my Poetry Fest Website, link near the top of my sidebar, poems are still coming in, and if you haven't participated yet there is still time for this month's Poetry We Loved as Children.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Time I put a new posting up. It seems ages since I wrote one, but I have been so busy getting the Daisy Lupin Poetry Fest Website up and running. If you haven't seen it yet click on the link in the sidebar under the little girl reading or follow this http://daisylupinpoetryfest.blogspot.com/.
It is fascinating watching the poems come in and seeing what people's favourites are around the world. So many people have had a childhood of Walter de la Mare and R. L. Stevenson poems and they are such wonderful children's poems, though I don't know what today's children would think about them. Some people have picked other favourite poems of mine and some have picked poems I don't know which is a good way to learn more. Please keep sending them in, you can post more than once, if you think of more poems or another one you wished you had chosen.
Annette Mills with Muffin the Mule
Reading the poems and watching a series of programmes last week on television has got me thinking about childhood. The BBC [public broadcasting] ran a series of programmes, every evening on one of its smaller channels about the History of Children's Television. It took every decade and showed programmes made for children and discussed them. My decade was the 1950's, as the older I got the less I had time for television. What struck me most about these early black and white programes from the BBC were two things. How class conscious they were, and on the other hand what an innocent world it was. A strange combination. The programmes were solidly aimed at 'nice' middle class children, showing them how to behave and what to think. Everyone spoke with these strange strangulated 'BBC perfect English accents' of the time. and if they interviewed children, the poor children sound so pompous, more like middle aged people of the time. Then ITV arrived, the channel funded by advertising, it was not bound by the mores of the BBC and had what was called at the time a 'commoner' approach to children's programmes. At least the kids acted and sounded like the real children you met at school or in your neighbourhood.
I think the thing that fascinates me is that at the time, I didn't get these nuances from the BBC programmes, but was often annoyed by them without knowing why and the patronising attitude of the presenters. I am afraid I was not a Blue Peter kid, but a Magpie kid, some people will know what I am talking about, as they were two opposing channel's magazine type programmes for children.
Apart from the above, I do look back with a rosy and golden glow around my childhood. I was always a bookworm, and had a father that loved reciting poetry to me. I know I played out a lot, alone in the garden, making gifts for faeries etc, or outside in my garden or neighbourhood with my friends. Yet I can never work out where in amongst all this I found the time to read as much as I did. I got four books out of the library every Monday evening and returned them the next week read. If it was rainy weather, I would go top a friend's house, or a child would come to my house to play, so where was my reading time? I feel I must have read secretly for hours after I had been put to bed.
My favourite reading time of all was on Sunday afternoons. What happened on a Sunday was at midday we would have our Sunday lunch. That is the works, every Sunday without fail, Roast joint of Beef, Roasted potatoes, Yorkshire Pudding, two or three types of vegetable and gravy. Followed on by something like apple tart and custard or rhubarb crumble and custard. Then the dishes were washed whilst I was sent to clean my self up and My Mum, Dad and I, would then go to my Grandmother's [my Mother's Mother] for tea. At 2.00pm we left our house, and this is the amazing thing. as long as it was fine we walked there, a good hour's walk. I can't imagine anyone doing that these days, but lots of families were walking to various places at that time.
Jessie Wilcox Smith
We would arrive at my Grandparents, my Aunt would already be there as she lived at home still, she married late in life, when I was about twelve. We would all sit down with a cup of tea, never coffee, and a glass of juice for me and talk about the week that had past. I was asked about school and anything else I had been doing. After about an hour of this I was allowed in the garden to play, there was a big lawn, and lots of flowerbeds, paths and a vegetable garden to be turned into wild places by my imagination. Unfortunately, the Avenue my Grandparents lived in had no children in it at all, mostly older couples whose children had left home. But I enjoyed my solitary time in the garden and would construct tents out of old blankets or make dens and generally play imaginary games. I did also have some old toys of my Mother's that I loved to play with there.
Then I would become aware of the women, my Mum, Aunt and Grandmother, moving around the kitchen, I could see them through the kitchen window, this was the beginning of getting the tea ready. The talk in the kitchen would become whispered and gossipy, but it is surprising what 'little ears' heard as I popped in and out of the kitchen. Let me tell you, children miss nothing. My father and grandfather would talk men's talk in the main room, though I don't think they had any interests in common, which every Sunday would end up with a tale from my Grandfather about the First World War. He would never tell of the horrors of the trenches, but talked about his comrades or about the time when he was a Prisoner of War. He was placed on a farm, where he was very well treated by a pair of German Farmers, and he was together with another English man and a Russian. It all seemed so very civilised, unlike the Second World War. He kept in contact with the German couple for many years and the Russian, until he disappeared into the upheavels of the time in Russia. Consequently my Grandfather could speak German and a smattering of Russian. Unfortunately his lungs were damaged by gas in the trenches and that seriously affected him as old age struck. I often wished I had been more interested in his tales, as I then thought them boring, but now I realise what a wonderful insight into history it must have been.
The table was set and we all went through for tea at 5.00pm. My Grandmother was an expert at teas and a traditional Sunday tea at my Grandparents was as follows. There would be two types of sandwiches, probably, egg mayonnaise and come type of cold meat and mustard or pickle. A cold sliced beef mince pie and a cold sliced egg and bacon pie, a plate of fruit scones, always a plate cake [ tart] with fruit in season ie apple, blackcurrant, gooseberry. a sponge cake either victoria or chocolate then something like a coconut cake or maderia. My Grandmother did all this baking herself, the only concession to Sunday was a plate of 'fancies' [ fancy cakes she had bought at the bakery]. All this was washed down with gallons of tea. Imagine though, all this was after the large Sunday dinner we had eaten at midday.
After tea, I didn't usually go back into the garden, the Sunday had left the lawn, and I was supposed to let my tea digest, so I was allowed to go into the formal sitting room, and snuggle down on one of the deep comfortable chairs that were part of an art deco three piece suite, how I wish I had these chairs and settee now! This was when I brought my book out and would spend an hour happily immersed in its story. All my Famous Five books I remember reading in this chair. At around 7.00 we would leave my Grandparents and if it was Summer and a nice night we would walk back home instead of getting two buses to go home. Probably all that walking on a Sunday helped us burn up the calories from our two huge Sunday meals. Home again, meant, for me, immediate bath, a plain biscuit and drink for supper and to bed, for a sneaky read.
I suppose when you look back in this way childhood does seem a golden time, as you probably remember the sunny days best and the mostly happy family days, not days or rain and crisis which happen occasionally in every family.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I was thinking yesterday whilst relaxing during our late Spring Public Holiday about poetry and its place in our lives. The poems we loved as children, the poems that had 'special messages' for us during our teen years, and whose subjects took upon the face of our current 'beloved' and finally the adult years the poems that have inspired us, spurred us on in the face of disaster and those so beautiful they make us weep. Then an idea struck me, yes slap bang in the middle of my forehead. a beautiful. inspirational but simple idea. This is it!
During the summer months I am going to open a blog, similar to Daisy Lupins Story Telling Circle, for those that remember that at Halloween. This time it is to be devoted to poetry and I am going to run it for three months. June will be Poetry we loved as Children, July will be Teenage Dreams and August will be Now we are Mature. I would ask you all to either post your favourite childhood poem on your blog or email me with it, you can add an illustration if you like, but don't panic, I will transfer the poems onto Daisy Lupin's Poetry Fest, I will also source illustrations for your poems if you want. I will put these on my new poetry blog which will be linked to my Cats in the Kitchen Flora in the Garden Blog.
I loved poetry as a child, mainly it has to be said due to my Father, who had been to a school where vast chunks of poetry had to be learnt by heart every week. He could spout vast amounts of rip roaring High Victorian and Edwardian poetry, and did so to me. I loved these poems. Unfortunately, in later life I turned my back on a lot of poetry, as I had a very difficult teenage and early twenties relationship with my Father and he became associated with poetry. In my later years, I have now overcome this stumbling block and delight in poetry once again.
You don't have to stop at one poem, come back with as many as you want. One proviso, so we are not constantly repeating poems, if a poem is popular, the person who posts or emails it first will have it credited as their favourite, you can still comment on it though, plus there are surely lots of different poems for us all. I'll start the ball rolling, this should be so interesting to see what poems people pick, and who knows we may find some new favourites ourselves. So for the whole of JUNE it is POETRY WE LOVED AS CHILDREN. I'm making a sidebar badge for it, so come along and join in and enjoy.
Well, that's the long weekend over, a mixed bag of weather, but at least I got out into my garden for one whole long day and was happy with what I achieved. My poppies are amazing this year and I must get them photographed, unfortunately, we have had quite heavy winds at times and some of the poor poppies are unfurling to be blown away without a chance to bloom properly. My petunias are growing really lushly, deep velverty blooms. I have one sparse looking bed where my shrubs and lilac bushes are but I have planted lots of little clumps or what will become ground cover, so by the end of the Summer all the soil should, I hope, be covered. As soon as the ground is dry enough, my other half, the Wiz, will lay this year's bark chippings around the stepping stones and in the sitting area. I then just have to put all my ceramic blue pots in their permanent summer positions.
I gave in on Friday and put all my ornaments out. So the White Rabbit is anxiously looking at his watch under the lilac bush, my Hare is moon gazing, my Green Man has been in situ all year round, so he can protect the garden. my glass orb looks beautiful popping up above the salvias and penstemons. The final flourish will be siting my oblelisk and placing my golden hare in position. I put in four solar powered lights on Friday, and went to look at them on Friday evening, they cast lovely pools of soft yellow light in the darkness. I will have to get some photographs organised.
The time I couldn't spend in the garden at the weekend gave me time to finish off some craft commitments, and I put them in the post today. I feel footloose and fancy free on the craft front, and a great weight seems to have been lifted from my shoulders. I am starting to brim over with ideas again, now I have only one swap ongoing. It's much better for creativity this way.
Caught up on some good music television over the weekend too. David Bowie's last concert as Ziggy Stardust back in the 70's. How some of those costumes he wore, like the romper suit type thing, make me cringe now. The sound started off ropey but as the concert kicked in it got better and better. Also a very long programme about LA music called from the Byrds to the Eagles, which was fascinating, especially the filmed bits of Laurel Canyon. I also started on a new book Labyrinthe by Kate Mosse, this one goes between the present day and the Cathars in Medieval France, I think the Grail comes into it as well. It's a big fat juicy book!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Following on from seven random things I realised that I had never done this meme, that I found ages ago. Sorry, but I go through stages of being addicted to these things, also they are a great way to find out what makes people tick, and if someone else wants to do this one, great. Sorry, also to whoever's blog I stole this from, I don't know whose it was, but it might have been Janet's as she loves meme's too, apologies if I have named the wrong person.
What curse words do you use the most?
Well this is revealing, I swear like a trooper in the privacy of my own home. I take the attitude that most curse and swear words were originally just good old anglo-saxon and later on Early English. The combination of having lived a hippie lifestyle and later studying Chaucer meant I felt completely differently about 'curse words'. If they were good enough for Chaucer they are good enough for me. I know from feedback I have had from people who are now good friends that when I started this blog, people imagined a prim lady sitting daintily prettily typing out a blog! Hah, nothing could be further from the truth! I have no qualms at all about swearing, and totally poo poo the idea that people only curse and swear because they have a limited vocabulary. Try a good dose of private cursing, it certainly takes away the stress.
Do you own an i-pod?
No but I am being constantly promised my daughter's old one, are you reading this Sweetpea?
What time is your alarm clock set to?
It isn’t. I just wake up, usually between seven and eight, nearer to seven if the sun is shining, nearer to eight on a dull day. Alarm clocks, are only for going on trips or holidays. Then I am too scared of sleeping in and spend the night checking the time.
Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?
I’d rather take the photograph, I love taking photographs, if you look at our holiday photos it always seems to be of a man and two children, where is the woman, behind the camera, but that suits me fine.
What was the last movie you watched?
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a double whammy, a good fun movie and Mr J Depp.
What cd is currently in your player?
A Paul Simon compliation.
Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?
Yuck, why on earth would I want to drink milk?
Has anyone told you a secret this week?
Yes, people tell me secrets most weeks and they stay secrets.
When was the last time you had Starcrack Starbucks?
Never, sixty miles to my nearest Starbucks.
Can you whistle?
No, just make an imperfect flat sound but I can sing.
What are you looking forward to?
Short-term…My daughter coming to visit after her holiday to Jamaica, so she can tell us all about it. Mid-term... The chance at some point to have a break away, a short holiday for my other half and I, time for total chill out.
Did you watch cartoons when you were little?
Yes, Yogi Bear ['What's up BooBoo?' and 'Smarter than the average bear'] and the wonderful Top Cat and his nemisis Officer Dibble.
Do you own any band t-shirts?
Have in the past, mainly Grateful Dead
What will you be doing in an hour?
Having a lovely foamy hot bath.
What was the last song you heard?
Season of the Witch Donovan, for two reasons, my fellow blogger Gemma quoted it on her blog and got me thinking about Donovan, then another fellow blogger Lila sent me a link to Donovan on You Tube and from hence I went on searching until I came across Season of the Witch.
Last time you cried?
As I have said before I often shed a tear at happy or unhappy endings, at happy events or sad events. Within the last few days is probably the truest answer.
Desktop or laptop?
Good old desktop, an old friend.
What’s the weather like?
Grey and chilly today, typical weather for May in our area which always seems to flucuate between wonderful hot sunny days, pouring rain and the aforementioned.
What were you doing an hour ago?
Placing a fish dish for dinner in the oven.
How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
I cannot at the moment sleep the night through, I have been making myself go to bed at 12.30, 1.00 at the latest, otherwise I will be up pottering around until 3.00. I go to sleep easily, the trouble is I can't sleep all night, I always wake, about one minute before the dawn chorus starts. I just realise that that is what my body wants and I go down the stairs and make a cuppa whilst listening to the birds waking up, then go back to bed until wake up time. I probably function on about six hours in total, but really probably should have about seven or eight.
Do you eat breakfast daily?
Always, it's what fuels you for the day, always either fresh juice or probiotic drink and then cereal, finishing up with a cup of coffee.
J M Whistler
What did you do last night?
Started reading a new book, Phil Rickman's The Smile of a Ghost, I love his books.
Do you use sarcasm?
At times I have been known to, and no 'sarcasm is not the lowest form of wit'. I do have at times a dark dry sense of humour.
Do you like mustard?
I love grainy mustard with cold meats and on salad adore honey and mustard dressing.
Do you sleep on your side/back/stomach?
Always sleep on one side or the other. I like to go to sleep on my right side which lets me look at the night sky outside the bedroom window.
Do you watch the news?
Very occasionally, don't really like the way news is shown on television.
This weekend is an English Public Holiday weekend, which means that Monday is a day off work for people, it is commonly known as Whit Weekend, or Whit Week. This week was always celebrated from the early 1800's in the industrial cities and towns in the North of England by Whit Marches. If you think of the long working hours and days of people of that time, you can understand how a holiday week end would be a huge celebration. People would try to achieve new clothes or at least dress up in their very very best, young girls would wear white dresses with flowers in their hair and marches would be held through out the town. Churches and chapels would march, led by brass bands, around the town to some final area where the fun would begin and there would be games and picnics and a fine time would be had by all. It was a moveable holiday happening on slightly different weekends every year, depending on when Easter and Pentecost were. It has now been regulated to the last weekend in May and is really called Spring Bank Holiday and is just a four day weekend now.
I am hoping for good weather this coming weekend, this is the weekend when I like to get all the annual work in my garden done with so it is ready to enjoy for the summer. I have got my last batch of annuals to plant in the remaining containers. I have bought an oblelisk that I am screwing together to grow clematis up and I need to bring out my collection of ornaments that I have been collecting since last year, nothing like the late summer sales in garden centres. I have also got a set of four solar lights which I will place at sporadic places around the garden to softly illuminate parts at night.
I am experimenting with my flower beds this year, I have planted lots of items over the past few years, and some are now mature, in fact, my borders are probably about as full as they can be, unless I start splitting plants and giving some away. So I have decided to try to have a sort of unkempt look in the garden this year. A type of blowsy, lush ripeness, just teetering on the verge of slipping over into dangerous wildness, but still under control. I don't like gardens where there is not a blade of grass out of place or a weed dare not raise its head. In fact, I have been known to let one or two weeds grow if they have pretty flowers, as some of these weeds are just wild flowers and sometimes of herbal use. I will have to take some photographs of how the garden looks now at the start of the summer and how it progresses through the summer.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
To achieve all the above I will need some good gardening weather, and I have a feeling that it might not be happening according to some long term forecasts. Well we will see, if there is no good weather, I'll just have to indulge in a chillout weekend doing my other favourite things, crafting, reading maybe a dvd or too and some nice wine. Won't that be hard to do?