Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Pipped! DofE, Welldressing, gargoyles

Disaster! Did anyone hear this morning's Radio 4 news? A retired librarian has done 43 of her 60 challenges for retirement. I wish her well, but on the National News before me is such a disaster!
I spent the weekend with a silver DofE group in the Bakewell area, purely by chance it was the local well-dressing festival, all the local watering holes are decorated with elaborate flower-petal pictures, then blessed by the various local clergy, although the origins are pagan sacrifices to appease the water gods, sprites & demons. This one is from Youlgreave/Youlgrave, depending on which end you enter the village.
It is also spectacular gargoyle country, of which much more anon. One of my challenges will be a collection of 60 gargoyle, grotesque & green man pictures with some information on the intriguing pagan origins.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

19 Last of 60BTs: Any time

Thanks to Clare for the inspiration for this one.

1         The sound of fizzing champagne
2          A random text from one of the girls, so I know they think about me
3          The way ferns uncurl
4          Home-grown raspberries
5         Light coming through flower petals
6         The unexplored cavern inside a tubular flower
7         The patterns on a spider’s back
8         Pottering around rockpools to see who live there
9         The slimeyjelly feel of a sea anemone, and flower-look when submerged
10      Dylan (Bob, Thomas & hare)
11     Finding just the right top in a sale, then another reduction for a loose button
12     Any book that keeps me reading until 2am even if I have to get up early
13     The sound of tadpoles
14     Salad with grapes, cashews, blue cheese, snap-peas and home-grown leaves
15     The smooth flow of water under a canoe when it works properly
16     The carved vegetable flowers decorating Oriental food
17     Waking before it’s getting up time
18     A tiny sip of someone else’s malt whisky for my 60, so I don’t have a hangover
19     Roger bringing coffee
20     An insect photo that’s better than expected

Saturday, 18 June 2011

60BTs: Recent Past

1         All the washing up disappearing at my Birthday party
2         All the people who came to help me celebrate
3         Katie & Enjoli joining in as well
4         A “Good-Luck-in-your-new-job” card from Carmel for my retirement
5          The feel of penguin feathers
6          Amy’s leafy plant producing a small white flower
7          Real home-grown-from-seed vegetables
8         A sudden warm spell, & my grape vine coming back from dead
9          “You’re a legend Mrs Thompson” on being introduced to the team for our musical-over-a-weekend as the costume-guru
10      All the cards, chocolate & champagne from patients to celebrate retiring
11     Meeting Amanda who I’d looked after 30 years ago when she had leukaemia, and her home-made& decorated farewell cake
12     A farewell hug from a rather quite & sullen patient
13     Bumping into a “Snappie”  (our special-needs DofE student on work experience as a hospital porter
14     DofE students finding they can
15     The young-man-next-door-to-Amy lifting the empty bin over the fence as the gate was locked
16     Finding a fly orchid for the first time
17     The huge box from Hotel Chocolat from a patient I’d listened to but not really helped a great deal
18     Matt deciding to do 25fortwentyfive
19     Clare’s response to seeing her wedding cake: tears!
20     Rosey getting her PhD

Friday, 17 June 2011

Another birthday party!

Not really a challenge, but a treat to talk about. We met Michael & Ronayne at the British Museum for the Afghanistan exhibition, and had the Afghan lunch with champagne. I suspect it was a bit posher than the locals would eat. Starters:roast aubergine with sesame yoghurt, spinach-in-sauce with pitta, spicy lentils&tomato, then okra&aubergine casserole with spinach bread, then pomegranate mousse with lemon curd & poppy-seed sorbet. It's now 8pm & still no need for supper.
We also looked at Chinese jade & various other carvings. Having read a couple of books recently on gargoyles, grotesques & green men for one of my challenges (a portfolio of 60, of course) I was surprised to find so many features in common, but I suppose human faced monsters are an obvious & universal way to show power, and foliage-encrusted-creatures not just Celtic-pagan.
Watch this space for the full range of creatures, possibly not for several months as they're a bit scattered.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

60BTs: Long Past

Watching the cat having kittens when I was about 8
2         Being woken by my parents to see the aurora borealis when camping in Scotland
3         Going back to Clachtoll Bay, & feeling quite at home
4         Picking up a fearlessly young bird which hesitated in my hand before flying off
5         A baby’s first cry, specially my own
6         Having  a 10th birthday party in a new yellow dress
7         Walking up to Mayfield to run errands & the shopkeepers putting it in our account
8         The butcher delivering meat when we were all out, finding a plate & putting it in the fridge
9         The orchids in the paddock
10     Watching, fascinated as our golden retriever Cinders picked blackberries without hurting her nose
11     Trying to catch minnows in the pond and the variety of wild flowers in the enveloping fields
12     Not falling off my pony going over a jump
13     Coming top in chemistry every term
14     Finally feeling boarding was friendly&familiar
15     Making some flashy diagnoses as a medical student, and being right sometimes
16     Getting the first job I applied for
17     A colleague saying “I’m glad you were on duty when my (v elderly) Father died”
18     The size and translucent fragility of a 28 week pre-term baby
19     My first camera, a Kodak Coloursnap, which could take colour, but I never did
20     The first good photo, of trees, snow and sparkly water

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

books, poetry, inkwash (18)

I've now finished the Count of Monte Cristo, an essential expedition for anyone with the time for 870 or so pages. My next literary adventure, thanks to Susan, is all of the BBC's "Nation's Favourite Poems" some are already familiar, all probably should be. Paradise Lost will be after that. For a brief light interlude I've rad Jasper fforde's "One of our Thursdays is Missing", number 5 in the series of tangled fantasy time&book travel adventures. Essential for anyone aspiring to the zany side of eccentric.
My latest challenge is a short course on ink&wash, I've dabbled, but this is more challenging "you can get subtle colours" "you need to be bolder with colours" can't do both at the same time, but will try & experiment. No masterpieces yet, but I quite liked the reflections. The retired architect in our class would be horrified if he saw the buildings,it's also probably unfinished.
 I'll post better ones one day!

My next photographic challenge is in progress, 60 flower pictures that don't look like flowers. Watch this space!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Number 17, kitchen, azalea

Next new challenge, a sculpture workshop to produce a resin fairy. The photos show the steps, a wire frame padded with foil&masking tape is covered with fabric soaked in a water-based resin & that's really it. Quite mucky & great fun, she's now resting & waiting to  be strong enough to be highlighted & sealed.

I will add another picture when she's finished.

The kitchen worktop was a perfect fit, so just needs Amy to do the fun bits.

The pink shrubby plant on the South Shiel Ridge was a creeping azalea (Loiseleuria procumbens), the picture fits with the one in "Hostile Habitats" but the say it's found within the Arctic circle, John, are you sure about where we were?