Monday, 24 December 2012

Peaceful and Merry!

Well here it is,Christmas,Yule etc. and it crept up on me this year! I have all the prep done for the dinner tomorrow and the presents are around the tree.. It is late or should I say early,midnight has passed and officially it is Christmas day.Floods have ruined so many peoples Christmas this year and my thoughts are with those whose homes have been flooded.
We need the warmth and colour of the winter festival to set us up for the last deep, dark days.
I like the drawing in  and  some time for some contemplation.
The magic of snow casting its white blanket on the cold earth stirs the deep imagination.
I find myself day dreaming about fantasy worlds ,Hobbits and their comfy kitchens , dark mysterious forests and finding homely houses in the wilderness of ice and snow.Animals who suddenly speak to me deep in the snowy woods and I am almost a child again .
Images of deep mystery invade my dreams during these dark days.
Journeys through the snow to  a warm cosy house with fires burning and the aroma of hot food.
The colour red for warmth,berries as red as blood amongst the evergreen pine and holly.
The time is right to sit and dream and forget all the getting and spending.
I breathe in the clean smell of  pine trees and hot mulled wine.
Secret and exquisite beauty is in every snow flake!
Merry Christmas  one and all!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

A little bit of Peace on Earth!

At the library we had the Christmas story. The children made the animals and people for the crib.This little girl was very proud of her donkey and sheep.
Staff and members of "Inspiring Women" a multi cultural group here in Truro got together to have some Christmas fun. 
Listening to the story of Mary and Joseph.
Here we have a wise man!
Dads too!
We had a similar day of activities and fun for Divali!
It is amazing to watch lovely kids playing together and celebrating!
We do not have to allow those who find manipulating fear ,envy and predjudice have the centre stage!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Eventful Times!

Here is my rather beautiful step daughter and best friend in character as Jane Austen at the library were I work in Truro.
This is the lovely Jacquie ,also a good friend reading over her presentation.
You may remember an earlier post when the three of us sat outside a bistro working out the structure of the performance.
An Evening with Jane Austen.
Emma in character talking to Christopher William Hill,play write and children's novelist who had spent the earlier part of the day being Writer in Residence in the library .
His first novel is called "Osbert the Avenger"
It is a dark but humorous tale not to be missed by children or adults for that matter!
The girls in action! Emma's reading of Mr Collins ghastly marriage proposal to Elizabeth Bennett   was so funny!
Jacquie who loves Jane Austen was witty and gave her unique take on the life and works of the writer.
The audience asked when would our next literary event be, so thinking caps are on. The event was a sellout !
What a week I have had,Chris staying and writing in my sewing room,rushing up to London through the floods to take my Mum to have an eye operation.  All in all a great week!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Dear Little Cups!

I love pretty china!
I found four of these bone china cups in a charity shop .I paid £3.00 for them.
They must be coffe cups or maybe for china tea  I like the delicate flowers which appear to be painted not printed and are so dainty.What an old fashioned word "dainty " is but it fits these pretty things perfectly!


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

I have come across this Russian Artist!

The colours and the sensitivity of Natasha Milaschevich attracted me!
She uses the stunning folk costumes of her country as  inspiration
This is so delicate .
Gorgeous patterns and colours.
This artist is painting today and has work in many galleries across the world.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Breathing a sigh of Relief!

As Winter begins I am able to say that I want to try to really enjoy the dark days.
The dread of darkness bringing with it depression and lack of motivation is going to be a thing of the past. I was so relieved when the U.S.A showed its heart by voting president Obama in for another term.I realise that there are terrible iniquities going on but at least he can be said to be moving in the right direction.The other candidates  were  terrible! As a woman who believes in the rights of women and equality some of the utterances were frightening.
So now I am going to settle in to a cosy winter hopefully full of bright firelight, scrumptious casseroles,mulled wine and warm woolly tights Ha Ha!
I shall look forward to the frost and snow and get out in it!
Coleridge the poet says in his poem The frost at Midnight that he had seen" the secret ministry of frost" a wonderful description of finding nature transformed over night.
Perhaps my husband will serenade me by candle light?
I shall drink in the morning light when there is a sunny morning and try hard not to be grumpy when there is a grey drizzle.I shall wear incredibly colourful socks inside my boots and maybe walk out under the winter moon and howl like a wolf!!
Then I intend to get tucked up in bed and read some great  books. These are my winter resolutions !

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Moments of Being

On Thursday evening my friends Jacquie, Emma and I went to a local cafe/bar to talk about a project we shall be doing in the Library where I work.We were sitting outside having a drink with our coats on because the weather has changed here now .As we sat under a heat lamp which kept the cold off talking.I suddenly had a rush of utter contentment and I can only say as Virginia Woolf said "I had a moment of being"
We were in a great place ,surrounded by charming old buildings in Truro Cornwall .Autumnal trees shedding red,gold leaves and the air was fresh as we sipped our drinks. We were discussing "An Evening with Jane Austen" which we are planning for the library in late November,Jacquie will give a lecture on the life and influence of Jane and Emma who is an  actor will dramatise some readings from JaneAusten's works.
The rush came and I realized how lucky I was to be living in an historic old town in a legendary part of the world talking to two amazingly intelligent women!
Here is the old main street of Truro and it has changed  very little.
This is the bandstand in Victoria Park a lovely leafy place to walk right in the city.Sometimes a brass band plays and you can picnic in the summer watching squirrels dashing up and down the large trees.
The Cathedral .
There are plenty of pubs and eating places in our City.
The streets are cobbled.
A good view of the Cathedral and the rest of the town which lays in a valley.
The trains come into Truro over this old viaduct.
The Old Ale House
The Hall For Cornwall where many exciting events take place.
One of the three rivers that run through and under Truro.  

 Inside the Cathedral it is a calm and tranquil change from  outside world. Whatever you believe you can come inside and find peace.

On e of the river boats that work the Fal.
Sometimes we need to realize the beauty in our own  home town,it is easy to dream of wonderful places and so easy to forget that your own place is equally romantic and magic to people from other places,I love those "Moments of Being" wherever they come to me. I think we need those transcendant moments. Hope you enjoyed the trip around Truro!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Fanny Stevenson,Romantic enigma,adventuress and muse

Fanny  Stevenson is  a woman described by her husband the writer Robert Louis Stevenson thus
"Trusty,dusky,vivid ,true
With eyes of gold and bramble dew,
steel true and blade straight."
Later in this poem he also describes her as
" teacher,tender,comrade,wife,
a fellow -farer true through life,heart whole and soul free"
Who then was this paragon,she was an American,barely five feet tall who had run away from her husband Sam Osbourne  and taken her children to Europe to study art. An unusual thing for a woman to do but it seem that all through her life Fanny was unusual.
While she was studying in Paris her youngest child died ,she was distraught at the loss of Hervey and it seems, guilt ridden.
She took her remaing two children Belle and Samuel Lloyd to Grez Sur Loing near Barbizon where a whole gang of young artists  had gathered to paint together.
It was here that she met Robert Louis Stevenson who was visiting his handsome cousin the artist Bob Stevenson and enjoying the bohemian life.
Robert had met his Waterloo in Fanny Osbourne ,she was 11 years his senior and he had never met a woman  like her,free spirited, brave and exotic.
This is her drawing of him,showing his romantic looks and delicate hand.
He would write wonderful adventures and travel books and it is all down to Fanny who nursed him through several illnesses that may have been tubercular that he lived long enough to write these wonderful books.
She tried to put him off at first ,returning to her husband in America .  Robert begged her not to go and when he failed to pursuade her he went on a walking tour and wrote his famous "Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes"
Treasure Island  was written for Samuel Lloyd Fanny's son.
Robert could not stay away from her  and despite her entreaties not to come travelled to America to find her.Eventually after  illness and some scrapes they went off to Silverado together and survived the cold winter there.Fanny could not live without him even though she had tried.
The Silverado winter. 
Together they sailed to the south seas ending up in Samoa,the weather would they hoped cure Roberts delicate health and they could feel free.This is their house in Samoa "Valima".
Robert wrote and Fanny gardened and cooked ,she made very good mayonnaise!
They made many local  friends .
She was an exotic dresser,she liked to wear red slippers like ballet shoes and wore her curly hair  short.
Stevenson was devoted to her and they wrote this  book together.
Sadly  Robert died  of a brain hemorrhage  and is buried in Samoa where he was known by the locals as "Tusitala " teller of tales.
Her Grave.
In later life Fanny went back to America where she scandalised her relatives with two relationships with much younger men. The last one said  she was the "Only woman to die for" and when she herself died of a stroke he and her servants were devastated.  Her ashes were taken back to Samoa.
If you would like to find out more about this fascinating woman  I recommend Alexandra Lapierre's Fanny Stevenson. It is an amazing read.
Fanny's bedroom    



I Will Make You Brooches

I will make you brooches and toys for your delight
Of bird-song at morning and star-shine at night.
I will make a palace fit for you and me
Of green days in forests and blue days at sea.

I will make my kitchen, and you shall keep your room,
Where white flows the river and bright blows the broom,
And you shall wash your linen and keep your body white
In rainfall at morning and dewfall at night.

And this shall be for music when no one else is near,
The fine song for singing, the rare song to hear!
That only I remember, that only you admire,
Of the broad road that stretches and the roadside fire.
Robert Louis Stevenson