Wednesday, 27 February 2013

More B than G.

After my 3GOWTs, I think I should outnumber them with BTs by at least 2:1, here are the first 1/2 of the BTs
1) Deciding to be more B than G, hoping it will spill into everyday life.
2) Seeing people pushing little people in buggies and chatting to them, I used to regard it as a wonderful time to tell stories, or point out flowers of ducklings.
3) Seeing catkins open, just waiting for a warm puff to send their pollen off to the nearby sea-anemone-flowers.
4) I always love to see the first flowers creeping out of the ground, one of them is Puschkinia libanotica, the striped squill. The name tickled a 30 month old Amy, giggling and asking each time we passed what it was called. Several months later she astounded a group of old (probably the age I am now) ladies by squatting down to some other little blue ground hugger "That's a libanotica!", now a bit of a family phrase, and the reason it's my very favourite spring gem.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


My niece Clare has written threebeautifulthings for each day almost without fail since 2004, many people have followed her idea, most recently laura has added 3BT ideas to her art blog. I thought it would be cathartic to do an occasional "3 Grumpy Old Woman Things", not too often, life really isn't that bad! I have also posted my own 3BTs at times, I'll make sure they outnumber the 3GOWTs.
1) People who put dog poo in a bag, then hang it on a tree like a Christmas bauble.
2) Unwanted recorded messages telling me about the PPI or recent accident I could make some money. from, not even a person on whom to vent sarcasm.
3) Falling off my bike, breaking a collar bone, and a blameless record of no broken bones in 60+ years.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Morocco: Geology

The last of my Morocco photos are on my other blog here, with notes. R's OU geology degree makes him a mine of useful information, and makes us all much more aware and interested in what's around and underfoot. I've always been fascinated by rocks & how the world works. One of my favourite books as a child was a large (expensive) illustrated book on volcanoes, along with the fairy tales and poetry..

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Art in Grey

I've started drawing classes again, charcoal last week, I love it, having only used it for life drawing in the past, that was traumatic and put me off a bit! The sort of things I can draw, like trees, work much better.

A Rackhamesque holly in the New Forest.

My friend Ganesh, I love his story and tactile shapes, he's a perfect study for drawing with his variety of textures and various attributes. He often rides on a rat and carries a pineapple or sweets. This was a simple wooden one from Nepal.

With no effort on my part, another work of art, a grey wagtail by the canal.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


I've just got in from Matthew Bourne's sleeping beauty and had to write about it. An almost traditional start, with a wonderful puppet for the baby, evolving through the Gothic to a FairyDreamWorld with a brief excursion into 2013. See it if you can!

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Last week was really busy, retirement is not restful thank goodness! A new drawing class, more soon, and an extremely good lecture on Lalique, just for Thursday. On Wednesday the girls took me to Kew, A had planned a day off ages ago, there was a wind from Siberia & L had a streaming cold but we had a wonderful day finding little treasures in the "jungle houses". The orchid exhibition was on, but there are so many other wonderful things to look at. I'm always fascinated by the shapes and patterns to be found in plants, often on the micro scale.


A fresh Lords&Ladies type of flower, then the dried remains of one from the same family, and below a related velvet one, and the spiral tendrils of a jungly climber.

 This weird little fish lives in a burrow, growing like grass, hiding on any sudden predator movement.

This monster is a little more fishy, behaving as expected.

                                       The organic shapes aren't just in the plants.

In spite of the cold weather, this isn't snow on autumn grass, but fur on a cactus,

and the feathery friend just needs snow and a couple of berries to be ready for next Chrsttmas.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Morocco: Birds

Birds are so much harder to photograph, they must be accustomed to being eaten bysomething from their twitchy shyness. here are some attempts. Never enough time to track them as we have large distances to cover each day, but siesta time is sometimes rewarding,

Morocco: creepycrawlies

Who says I'm obsessed with creepycrawlies? I probably am, but for good reason, they're wonderful!

Morocco: Plants

One of the best bits about going on holiday is the chance to find lots of new Flowers and plants. They're easier to load on my other blog.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Morocco: Desert

Where does time go? here's the next lot of photos from Morocco, from the desert. I'll add little things like flowers and the inevitable creepy-crawlies in time. In the bread making towards the end, Haj played the Magician, a lump of dough buried in sand and glowing charcoal until it humped up in a small earthquake, scraped to remove sand then soft&fragrant to go with the soup.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

More BTs

Occasionally, following my niece's inspiration I add my own 3BTs to my blog.
1. The huge number of people, 300 at a guess, coming to Chris's funeral, a comfort at a terrible time.
2. His daughter's and son's courageous speeches, and the celebrate-how-much-we-all-loved-him approach.
3.The support from old School and Uni friends which will see them through.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

46: Glass fusing

Another New Skill, although I'm not sure it counts as a "skill" yet, I did a taster day at the local adult education centre. The idea is so simple, you cut shapes from glass, add glass spaghetti or crumbs, maybe season with various oxide powders, sandwich in another layer and when the tutor's baked it at 790-850*C it's turned into something brilliant!

I haven't quite got the feel for how opaque it is, or how the colours behave. I have a 3 session course later in the year so watch this space!

More Morocco, Jebel Sahro

The first part of our trek was in the Jebel Sahro, geological Paradise, and I suspect pretty exciting botanically a bit later in the year. The light early and late in the day enhanced the shapes, but the sun was too harsh for the best pictures when at it's height.

PPI Pestilence!

I was delighted to hear on the news that various bankers are not getting their bonuses, I din't really have anything against them, but any medic making such a b****** of a job would be jobless. The PPI nonsense has been a particular pain to me, not because I was diddled, I never had any, but 3-4 times a week I get texts or phonecalls telling me how urgent it is to claim. I've even been accosted in the local shopping centre by people with stalls telling all&sundry to claim. Any individual hassling to that extent could be accused of harassment!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


We're all back from our Morocco trek. It's a brilliant place, the walking varied & not too hard, a pleasant change! We started with a day in Marrakesh, then a short trek in the Jebel Sahro, the southern mountains no-one visits. A days bump in a minibus, then off along the margin of the Sahara with well-tempered camels, notorious for their various bubbly and musical conversations! The first lot of photos, Marrakesh, is on my  other blog.