30 Sep 2011

Book Review

On this day last year I had just finished the above book and wrote
a review in my diary.
The tag line is - Was losing her memory the best thing that ever happened to her?
The story is about Alice who loses her memories of the last 10 years
after an accident.
It had quite an impact on me at the time and set me to thinking, what if?
In Alices's mind she was happily married, pregnant with her first child and had a good
relationship with her family - that was 10 years ago.
Ten years on she and her husband are separated, her sister hates her and her son in 10 years old
and she has missed all his childhood.
What happened in those intervening years that made her life so unrecognisable from what it was.

Just imagine if you lost your memories  - and woke up 10 years younger.  Would you do
everything the same way, make the same decisions.
The theme is similar to the film 'Sliding Doors' where just one action told a
completely different story,
'Shirley Valentine' where she says
"Where has she gone, the girl that was me"
Maybe a whole bunch of different decisions could have
been made with a much more satisfying outcome.
I could say that there is a whole world out there that I have never seen and
things I haven't done that I should have, but
I can't think of anything that I would rather have been doing over the last couple of decades,
 perhaps the journey could have been better, or a
different route taken to get to the same end.

This book provoked a lot of thought, like
when did I get so old and
would I really have done anything different
if I was given the choice.?
I'll never know.

28 Sep 2011

An Elephant in his Element

Is this not the happiest elephant on the planet?
Every time I look at this photo
it makes me smile
I found it on the Pinterest website
and have become an obsessive 'pinner'
You choose from a wonderful range of images and 'pin' them
to your own story boards
It is really interesting to see what other people pin
and what makes them tick
I think my boards would show that I am a complete romantic
with a love of art and beautiful things
cute animals
shabby chic interior design
It is great fun way to pass a few hours
if you don't have anything better to do - that is

27 Sep 2011

The Fascinating World of Fungi

Whilst we were visiting the Pensthorpe Nature Reserve we wandered through the woods looking for fungi.  Very quickly we found these Wood Blewitts which are edible, they can be found in pine forests or growing on decaying leaves
These little clusters of sunshine are possibly Two-toned Pholiota and grow on stumps at the base of dead trees, these are also edible, but only the caps, and common throughout Britain.
One of the most beautiful sights of autumn is a group of fiery red Fly Agaric shining in the sun, brilliant against the damp green grass and the fallen yellow leaves of the birch.  It is now considered less poisonous than was once thought.

This is a Bracket fungus possibly Betulina

Now my identification on this one is a bit hazy, possibly Artists Fungus or Razor Strop, the pictures in my reference books never quite match up sometimes - but it exciting to find so many different types.
If anyone out there can give positive identification
for any of the above I should be
interested to know.

25 Sep 2011

Holiday Heaven

Another holiday year is over
six months to wait
till I see the sea again
Just the memories of a lovely week at the coast
to keep me going over the coming winter
We arrived in time for Sunday lunch
Roast Pork and Apple Sauce
Yummy Scrummy
After lunch
strolled down to the quay
where there was a Pirate Festival
A pirate band
singing sea shanties
and the Jolly Roger
flying high
The evening was still
with a lavender sky
the tide was low
with the boats at rest
the following days
where the skies were blue and the beaches deserted
we lunched on crawfish tails
sitting out in the sunshine
saw windmills in the distance
and strange street names
there were strange animals too
a llama in residence at the end of the street
a dragonfly resting in the sun
a grey squirrel
oblivious to us digging a hole in the bank
burying food in a winter store
tranquil pools
at a bird reserve
shell decorations
around the door at a beachside cafe
and beautifully ornate
chimney pots
sea defences
to hold back the high tides
and the last meal
before our return journey
what a delicious end
to a lovely holiday

15 Sep 2011

A Nature Table

I love the idea of having an outdoor
seasonal display
a nature table like the ones you used to have at school
where the class would go on a 'nature walk'
and bring all the found booty back and place it on a table in the classroom

I hoard all sorts of interesting containers
old fashioned green bottles
stone flagons
wooden baskets
It is a bit like a mini harvest festival
This is my version
and these are the versions from the Country Living Magazine
as the season progresses
and more finds are made I will add to the table with
leaves and nuts and hedgerow fruits
I just think it is a great way to brighten up my outdoor space
Don't you agree?

14 Sep 2011

The Call of the Coast

I can hear it calling
I can feel the salt water rising in my veins
I can smell the marshes
Just a few days to go and I shall be there
The coast
I want to see big skies
and boats waiting for the tide
and the view from the heath
and to walk in the dunes
and eat brown bread crab sandwiches
with a lemonade shandy
and eat fish caught fresh that morning

and read a little
in a hideaway cottage
and if the weather
is good
may be do a little sea gazing
the coast is calling
and I can't wait ...

12 Sep 2011

The Wild Woman of Exmoor

Hope Bourne died in 2010 age 91.  She was an extraordinary lady who lived for more than 20 years on Exmoor, on her own, in an old leaky caravan.  There was no running water, no electricity and she hunted for her food with a gun.  I first came across her when I found a book she had written called 'Wild Harvest', and was fascinated by her lifestyle. 

Her income was from articles for a local newspaper, about wild life and living on Exmoor - it did not amount to much, so she had to supplement it by growing vegetables and hunting for food.  All the skins from rabbits etc. she cured and used as floor coverings, cushion covers, and bed coverings.  There was no transport where she lived so she walked everywhere, up to 20 miles a day, in a pair of old wellingtons stuffed with straw.  Water was hauled back to her caravan from a stream, wood was collected from the hedgerows for fuel for her little stove and fruit and berries that she foraged, were a regular part of her diet. 

It was a very hard life, but she depended on no-one and was proud of the fact that she took nothing from the state. Eventually she had to move out of the caravan, due to the fact that her asthma worsened, and moved into a community housing scheme.  She never used the electricity in the house or the heating, but slept in front of the fire on the floor, and gave the rest of the house over to her bantams.

Her independance meant everything to her, and the freedom of an outdoor life.  She was an incredible woman.

11 Sep 2011

Favourite Contemporary Artists

Kurt Jackson
I have been a fan of Kurts' work since I saw him on Watercolour Challenge, as a judge, in the late 90's.
In a previous life I was a watercolour painter myself, so I could appreciate his expertise in the use of watercolour paint.  He is an 'plein air' artist, famous for his Cornish sea paintings, but he also undertakes projects where all his work is of one place - like the Thames say.

Here are just a few of his works.

Mike Bernard

Mike is a mixed media artist who incorporates collage into his work

Shirley Trevena

Shirley is also a watercolour artist, painting mainly flowers and still life.

These are just three of my favourite contemporary artists

At one time I used to paint and exhibit in local exhibitions but no longer do so as it became very expensive to frame my pictures for exhibiting purposes, also I kind of lost the necessary ingredient
I have done a few commission paintings of my friends pet dogs which I loved doing
but I also love abstract and landscapes
Maybe one day I will pick it up again if the inspiration returns
if I am brave enough
will show you some of the stuff I produced
(The quality of the photos of the above artists is not very good and not a reflection of their true beauty)