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Mama, gardener, teacher, photographer, faffer with paint and colour

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Spring and a fluffy puppy.

Golden mornings, the sun climbing higher above the trees now, frosted lawns and glowing copper beech paths. Not yet fully awake, I am out walking already. Clean, pure air, new. Ahead of me our old dog Jessie, stiff- legged but happy to be out so early, racing with our new friend, a border collie pup called Rosie. Here she is.The first of many relentless puppy pictures. Going for a walk with a puppy is a great exercise in seeing or hearing everyday things with new awareness. A beech nut snuffled and tossed in the air. The leat bridge with water tumbling under was something to be wary of for a while, as were the chickens! This misty view is what we can see from the top of our sledging hill, 11 weeks old and what a place to explore...

The garden is blooming. It is my favourite time of year, as colours are added one by one. It has been an amazing year for primroses, there are so many in the hedgerows and the garden too. I like them, they are kind of understated and easy to ignore but they have a pretty humbleness about them. Chagford children around here like to tell their friends that you can eat them, proving it by the mouthful.

The Daffodils are a mixed bunch ( I did write that by accident but it's staying now). Some shout their colour with flounce. Other Daffodils are trippy, if a little bit overbred. 

I love the simpleness of the all white ones, they have pure, graceful lines.

In the old tennis lawn this week, (soon to be a new tennis lawn again), I had to clear away an overgrown, brambly bit of hedge by a rusting grass roller. I found a beautiful birds nest, had a quick peek to see if there were any eggs in it to see if it was in use.There was nothing there, but by the time I returned to carry another load of brambles there was this lovely blackbird sitting on it.

Today I went back to look for a tool that I had left underneath the hedge ( bad girl with no brain). Mama blackbird flew away as I picked up my tool, so I guiltily put my camera in and took a quick shot before making a fast retreat.I did look her in the eye and tell her I meant no harm so hopefully she got that message otherwise I will feel really bad and will have to work voluntarily in an RSPB shop for the rest of time. Anyway with the magic of photo shop to rectify a very dark photo, here have a peek. If she doesn't go back and sit on the eggs you have to come and work in the shop with me though.What a clever mum, an egg a day.We could have our own springwatch right here.
Well it's now very late and I have a maximum of 6 hours sleep if I go to sleep now,what with a daughter off school with earache and a puppy to get up with so I'll stop rambling and just post a few photos from this last  blissfully sunny  week. Someone said to me today,"I just hope it's not our summer that's all!" Honestly, British folk!


Friday, 9 March 2012

Into the city and other worlds....

Spring has been growing slowly around here it seems.Our village friends are getting on with life after death, with bravery and resilience created out of need. I am aware that there is great pain here and loss, real heart wrenching loss. The bright yellow daffodil trumpets, the beginnings of the tiny purple violets and strong sunny blustery days are tempered with the knowledge that someone is being missed,with a deepness that I haven't yet felt in my life.We know of three young parents that died last year and I am amazed at how humans cope with loss, particularly the children. From toddlers to teenagers, children that have lost a parent are playing, learning to talk, doing their homework, singing loudly to pop music,writing exams.....In a secular society where death is generally not talked of often and if they have no religious system to grip hold of it, how do they do it? The same way that the adults who remain in this realm, change nappies, make lunches, wipe tears, do school runs...they just do. xxx to you.

So Spring carries on growing and I ramble on, a bit more mindful.

This week we left the countryside for our Wednesday homeschooling day and went to the museum in Bristol.We wanted to see an exhibition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year that was touring and also check out the Egyptology exhibition. Daisy's school topic this half term is Africa, starting with Ancient Egypt.
The  wildlife photographs were stunning.You can see them here. Spent time looking at these incredible creatures we have on our planet.

The Egyptology exhibition was pretty small but I could have spent a long time in there. I liked it being quiet and dark and none else around so that you could really look at the objects. Daisy was a bit besotted with pressing the computer screen buttons all about the objects, (which as usual say "touch screen here", and then do nothing) rather than the 3,000 year old objects themselves but she is 8, in an age where computers are kings. That's the crazy thing about time, the older you get, the more the past seems interesting and just soooo old! These were my favourite things. I would dearly love to know what this writing says.



I love this foot piece. It was used in conjunctions with masks like on the right before whole coffins become the norm.It looks to me like the colours of a Native American moccasin but also hysterically like the single slippers you can buy from "Innovations" or other such catalogues, for the elderly to keep their feet warm while they are watching TV. I am such an academic I know.

  These are amulets that were often worn like crosses or given as gifts for protection, hope or rebirth.There were so many tiny carvings of amulets, a lot of people holding their faith with them.

"The Egyptians believed that Scarabs were associated with the Egyptian god, Khepri. It was Khepri that pushed the sun across the sky, just like a Scarab beetle would roll a ball of dung. The scarab beetle became an ancient Egyptian symbol for rebirth, the ability to be reborn. Each day the sun disappeared, always to rise again and be reborn the following day.
The scarab beetle was also a symbol of rebirth after death. When the Egyptians mummified a body they would remove the heart and put a a stone carved like the beetle in its place."

Hoodies are clearly not a modern invention. As I tend to live in my comfy hoody it felt a bit weird standing staring at a three thousand year old version.

A child's cradle for a doll and a ball made out of linen and some kind of rope. Egyptian dolls also used to have jointed limbs so they could be moved. These objects made me picture real people in a way that the dramatic ornate coffins don't. According to my minimal reading, ancient Egyptian people at this time had very little freedom in their art, subjects were strictly confined to the gods, the kings, the nile etc. Maybe this formalised art, beautiful though it is, means that you don't see the individual people so much as in their everyday objects.

Being a bit Daisy biased I couldn't resist taking photos of these tiles.

Anyway that was a quick fire tour of Bristol museum Egyptology department and you didn't even need to leave your chair. I love the fact that this museum is still free and that slightly tired mums were wandering around with their pre-schoolers looking at animals, dinosaur bones, ancient art and the toddlers were absorbing it all. Daisy spent about three hours exploring,wearing her spotted fluffy ear muffs throughout, looking at crazy stuff and saying,"Awesome".

One last thing to show you was this mural on an old police station wall in Bristol. On a grimy backstreet where betting shops were breeding and chewing gum was clearly finished with. A  streetwise ray of hope.