Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...



Oak to Holly - Solstice blessings

Good morning.

Solstice blessings,
may you fall in love with life 
and the sun shine on you today xx
My garden is gently rattling
to the buzz and hum
of the bumblebees and hoverflies
A heady scent drifts down the path
and into the house,
the climbing roses have
woken up with perfect timing.
Despite the cool early morning air
I have opened the doors,
letting in the outside as much as possible. 
It will be hard concentrating today,
I know I will keep looking out of the studio windows,
keep wandering through the garden. 
In places, after yesterday's rain,
the garden is still damp with jewel-like water diamonds,
each one catching the light and reflecting back.
It is a precious time of year -
celebrating mid summer,
celebrating Litha,
watching the bees
May the sun shine for you today. 


Racing the winds

Yesterday blew old air away and brought in a fresher cooler feel.

Yesterday - I wrap my arms tightly around my bag as I am blown down the garden path. The cats run on ahead, ears flat to their heads and whiskers fly around their faces. we reach the gate, the dog pushes it open and we tumble through.
Still being buffeted about, all four of us head for the shelter of my studio. One cat submerges herself in the undergrowth - vanishing from sight, while the other looks accusingly at me as I fumble with the key - her tail flips up and over her back while her fur ripples like blown wheat across a small and furry field.

Door open we fall in - relief. Leaves and pine needles follow too - seemingly they have had enough of the wind and try to escape along with us.

I shut the door, Pepper falls upon her emergency-in-the-studio-biscuits - it has been a long 30 seconds since her last feasting. Moss seeks the sanctuary of her bed-box - relieved to be out of the wind. Pan merges with the garden and relishes being 'at one with the wind and the sky' and has become a 'wildthing'.
Brushing my hair out of my eyes as I watch the garden twist a tortured swaying dance to the tune of Storm Hector. My alliums stretching to their full length - their pompom heads acting as sails catch the wind and decide to lie horizontal. My eye is caught by the large conifer my studio hides behind. He sways a slow and ponderous movement and I wonder briefly (before I quickly push that thought out) if he fell, how much my studio would lift as his rootplate tore out of the ground. I ask him gently if he could remain windfirm, only swaying to Hector's music and not taking a tumble.
fuzzy photo - thanks Hector for bumping into me

My head is full of ideas I want to put on slate, wood or paper so arming myself with a mug of tea, a paintbrush and a cat on my lap - I start.
A border collie start to emerge off the brush, a hare is mesmerised by a golden sunset, sheep appear on the grassy fields, rustic wooden signs take on life. (and yes, I do paint several things at the same time - so at any one moment I can have up to 6 or 7 paintings waiting for the next step).
There is a constant change over of cats - they go in and out of the studio, fortified by biscuits, invigorated by the blustery air they keep themselves busy. The wind has put the birds off so I don't worry that Pepper will attempt 'a rescue' of any fledglings as they flutter around the garden.

My day flies as fast as the wind and soon it is time to round up the girls and usher them back inside, they are reluctant to go however, as soon as we are home - the cats find somewhere to nap and the dog stretches out on the carpet. We are all blustered out. Hector however is still full of energy and blows on.
Gentle reminder that you are more than welcome to join in our Scavenger Photo Hunt - the list of words is always at the top right of my blog and it will always have the posting date.
There are some equally gentle rules - the photos do not have to be current, they can be something from your archives and we try to 'look out of the box', so if the word is 'SPRING' it can mean ... for example ...

  1. A coiled rusty spring from an old tractor
  2. The season of spring - so could be lambs or daffodils
  3. A source of water - a well
  4. A movement or action - springing into action
  5. A mathematical term - a geometric surface in the shape of a helically coiled tube (don't worry - I had to look this one up!)
  6. Spring tide - as in oceanography, the maximum tide, occurring twice a month during the full and new moon
  7. As part of a name - of a book you have read, a band you like to listen to, a song you love.
So you see - one word means so much to so many different folk - we are spoilt for choice :)

You can join in each month or only when you are inspired, you can be from anywhere, any country, any county - you are more than welcome. All you have do is post your photos, a bit of a story with each one and then add your blog on the 'Link up Party' then we can all come and find you and your post.

Welcome to our little corner of the world xx


Ooh you foxy thing!

I am (ashamedly) quite into my social media. Probably a little more than I should be. However, according to the boffins, I am part of the growing raft of the more mature user while the younger (and previously thought of) more typical user - is drifting off to other more 'snappy', 'instant' and 'what on earth is up' type social networking platforms.
Any hoo - where this is leading is to the fact, I comment and chat within the various media platforms and over the years have 'met' and made friends with people far and wide. Susan - you are one good example of a 'far-away-friend' :)
I have been following a felting page which makes me smile when I see the fuzzy creatures appear, especially as I have such a soft spot for not only the fuzzy-ness of them but what is being created. Foxes, squirrels, bumblebees and rabbits. So, when I left a comment on a June post - I found I was lucky enough to have won this wonderful fellow ... 
So thank you Linda from Feltology - he is so sweet and fuzzy and I know just the coat he is going to snuggle up to and sleep on. Thank you xx


The journey to work

The daily commute ... the daily grind.
The early starts.
Rushing out of the house,
joining the rat race...
keeping to the speed limit,
no overtaking, 
Flying past the countryside, 
no time to look at anything on the way in,
rush rush rush
No time to check fresh produce,
or taste anything green and growing,
take the bypass, avoiding the main route, 
meandering through the greenbelt.
Time to slow down,
time to open the studio...
Time to switch on the kettle,
reach for a biscuit
and start the day.
My way.

Home to studio in 20 seconds. 


Life can be filled with sunshine

Thank you for your comments on my rather 'pinball type' day - not one of my finest but one that mirrors my life in general .... sigh. I am hoping this week will be a shade more organised. (But don't hold your breath..!)
I had a story to share, but in the time I had it tumbling around inside my head and me downloading images from over the last couple of days ... the story tumbled down in to a crevice so deep - I've lost it. So, I thought I might waffle gently in case it decides to reappear...
The last few days have been sultry and warm - a slow deep penetrating warmth that my bones have relished. The air has been thick and close with calescent humid top notes - I absolutely love it.
Listening to the bumble bees swim through the slow air and rattle their wings in the garden flowers while the swifts enjoy screaming parties over head has made me smile. A slow satisfied smile. 
I have spent most of my gardening bare foot - relishing in the cool damp grass between my toes. Sitting on an old mat weeding between the flowers, delighting at finding new buds opening, I am close to the soil - so good for my soul.
Today - Sunday - we ate breakfast in the garden, while the air was still cool and damp from the rain we'd had late Friday evening. The welcome wild water filled the barrels and fattened my plants. They are looking very content, shimmering and rattling with the insects visiting and feasting.
This evening, after a full and productive day doing jobs that had waited longer than they should, we walked up to recreation ground. Moss was so keen and pulled ahead. Up on the hill top there was a lovely breeze, warm and amiable it tickled the cow parsley heads making them nod and sway.
 We walked back through the lanes stopping at the river to allow a warm and huffing dog to wallow and splash.

So, despite not having much to say - I seem to have waffled on a bit. Hope your week is good and that the sun shines for you xxx


Well, how was your day?

Last night, via messenger, my son asked me what I was up to today... and I replied that I had only two things planned... the first, at 10am, was meeting up with some fellow artists to install the remaining art work on a cafe gallery wall, then, at 1.30pm, our knit and natter group get together, which required a little bit of baking. Other than that - nothing out of the ordinary, then as an afterthought, I mentioned - but usually 'something happens' along the way. My son agreed, that yes, with me, something usually happens.

And so it did...

Wave husband bye as he goes to work, set up laptop to start printing the remaining labels for the art on the walls. Search for notes sent to me from the artists concerned ... initially quite casually, then a little more determinedly when I realise I am not sure by which electronic method the notes have been sent.

Stick the kettle on and continue to search, then remember that the information came via my cell phone. Sigh of relief as I reach for the phone, make a coffee and sit down at the laptop... switch on phone .... nothing ... sigh (this time not of relief but exasperation), get back up, look for phone charger, plug in - start again.

Locate info, start typing - realise that I promised to wake other son so he could get on with his swotting (History A level exam looming on the horizon) so I call up the stairs and get a grumpy baritone grumble back confirming he'd like a coffee too.

Make him a brew, get back to the laptop, continue typing.  The laptop is being a little 'otherwise' so let it get itself together, set up printer ready for the labels, quick slurp of getting cold coffee, quick look at the time, even quicker groan when I notice that I have less than half an hour before the meeting.

Back to the laptop which, as soon as I press a key, has a melt down, turning the screen first black then that heart sinking 'blue screen' warning that makes you recoil in horror and wonder whether to call the fire brigade, the coast guard or .... even consider asking your teenager-computer techie to hurry up and get dressed and help fix the laptop. Then realise that the same aforementioned teenager was still in bed - yell again, this time with a little bit of force. Get another grumble reply in return.

Fortunately the final option was not needed, as I manage to make the laptop work. Hastily print the outstanding paperwork, shove into a bag and gallop out with minutes to spare. Stride down to the cafe, late, where other artists are already waiting, sit in a seat and gratefully have a volcanically hot caffe latte handed to me. Only to realised that half my printed notes were missing.... presumed lost at the great laptop crash from half an hour ago.

Gallop out of the cafe - leaving startled artists wondering at my sanity, wave at and get waved back by various villagers as I steam up the road back to the house, crash through the back door and turn on the laptop ... which slowly 'wakes up' while I pace up and down alternating hissing encouragement with cusses as I try to speed it up. Eventually EVENTUALLY it switches on, I hurriedly re-type and print the missing notes, notice the distinct lack of teenager, shrug and leave at high speed.

Wave at and be waved back by the same bemused villagers and arrive back at the cafe out of breath, wild eyed and wild haired but triumphant. Flump back into the seat, glug the now cooled caffe latte. Cut and stick up the labels below the now displayed art, step back and photograph the wall for the facebook page, sigh a sigh of relief and finish the coffee. Catch up quickly with arty gossip, say good bye. Head for home.
Except - see a villager I have to speak to and divert over to him. So, half an hour later - head for home (again). Notice the distinct lack of teenager, shrug and down load photos for our webpage - laptop recalcitrant but working.

Remember that I need to make scones for the knit and natter group and head into the kitchen. Suddenly teenager appears - timing seems to be linked to activity in the kitchen... make lunch for us both, start scones, wapp them with a flourish into the hot oven, feel slightly chuffty wuffty with one's self, eat lunch, wash up, get ready as first the kitchen, then the house fills with the delicious scent of warm scones.

Refresh make-up - drop mascara brush on the floor, via the kitchen counter and bouncing across Himself's mug. Wash thick black marks off the floor, mug and surfaces, then find it on hands - wash them too ... sigh.

Remove perfect looking scones from the oven, cool as quickly as possible, slather on cream cheese and raspberry jam (yes I know, I know - CREAM CHEESE), carefully put into a tub and head to the car. Suddenly remember I promised a piece of slate for a fellow artist - gallop off to my studio, select hopefully a good piece, gallop back to the house, give it a perfunctory scrub, leap back into the car and go.

Arrive at knit and natter late, gratefully have a mug of tea handed to me and equally gratefully take a nibbly bit of baking to go with the tea. Feel a little cheeky at taking one of my own scones but after being surrounded by their mouthwatering scent at home - I could not resist.
Sink back into the seat, take a large mouthful ... chew. YUCK!
Spit out a salty salty scone.
Spill a teaspoons worth of jam firstly down my dress and onto the host's carpet.
Leap up to the kitchen, clean dress, scrub carpet, wizz around to other knitters and whisk away any scones on plates whilst apologising profusely.
Note that some knitters make point of tasting the offending items, chew, nod and agree that yes the scones are rather salty.

Get home, exhausted by today's 'happenings', try to plan what to cook for supper and decide to attempt the scones for a second time today as I'd promised Himself scones and I can't give him the salty sea-dog rejects. Start baking, put on kettle just as he walks through the door - make him a brew and watch him drink from a mug still slathered in mascara.


Ps edited to add - I forgot that ..
1. I was bitten yesterday by something small with very sharp teeth and my right foot alternately glows brightly and hotly or itches like a scabby dog with a flea infestation, so finding the right footwear was difficult. I had to resort to a pair of sensible brown shoes and socks with my floral summery dress only to be met by everyone by a hello and their eyes drop to my feet and their eyebrows lift somewhat, even Himself who is almost (almost) immune to my shenanigans said something... and ...
2. My mother looking at me at knit and natter and ask ... have you had your hair cut? Yes, about 10 days ago ....


Words for June x

Firstly thank you everyone who joined in May's scavenger photo hunt - you did yourselves proud :), our next list is up and ready for you on the top right corner of my blog. Eldest and I discussed the words and he came up with most of the suggestions whilst we were out walking.

Remember to try to think 'out of the box', either a photo recently taken or one from your archives then all you have to do is waffle a few words and join in on our show and tell date, which will be Friday 29th June.

Starts with a ... T
Starts with a ... G
My own choice

But, until then ... I shall leave you with a photo from our bluebell walk - enjoy x


May's Scavenger Photo Hunt link up party!

Welcome to May's Scavenger Photo-hunt  - 
I am looking forward to seeing all your photos and reading your stories :) Let the fun begin xx

** **

May's Photo Scavenger Hunt

Amazingly, it is that time again - doesn't the month fly round!? I feel to have been particularly busy this one and not taken my usual excessive amount of photos, so today, it the quiet of the house before I head off to the studio, I thought I'd better get my images and stories out :) 

This month's words were supplied by my guest list maker Jak from Jak's Tales ...

I volunteer, well, Moss and I volunteer at the walled garden at Malham Tarn Estate.  We, along with another volunteer were up there last Monday when it was particularly warm. Now, as someone who is from Africa, I am very aware of a hot day - I just don't 'feel' it as much as other folk do.  Moss, on the other hand who is as northern as you can be ..... was feeling the heat! So - in order to stay COOL she kept wallowing in one of the water storage baths behind the greenhouse. Ignore the muddy state of the water but on the right -  can you see her tail 'floating'?
On Tuesday, I was in a meeting all morning and I kept being distracted by the view from where I was sitting. There was a gentle but steady MOVEMENT of people walking their dogs or jogging to their music. The long boats gentle pottered up and down while cyclists slid along the pathway. Workmen studiously plodded along in their heavy bright yellow hi-vis outfits in stark contrast to the lightly dressed folk using the towpath. Boat owners climbed on and off their vessels, some were just enjoying the early morning before it got warmer others were more active, washing their boats, hanging out washing, walking to the shops. All morning, gentle activities quietly happening in my view. (PS the meeting was quite pleasant too :) )
This is a definitely out of the box moment, let me explain, about ten years ago, I made a seven foot tall naked scarecrow out of FENCING wire, complete with essential manly bits of anatomy and body hair (out of wire-wool scrubbies). He was then sprayed in black paint and wore the tiniest and frilliest black apron to hide his modesty. He also held a bowl and spoon and was called 'The Naked Chef'. Why, might you ask, did this even happen?
Well, he was made as part of the village's garden festival and he was my entry into the scarecrow section. After the event, Jamie-crow (his name) was delegated to the back of the garden to live out his days in peace and as a bird perch. 
That was, until a couple of weeks ago, he was unearthed and taken off to the walled garden. I had been kindly given some suitably outdoors type clothing for him and he became the walled garden's scarecrow. However, Jamie-crow was not the easiest of fellows to dress, having spent over a decade as a naturist with barely a fig leaf to his name, it took two of us and a silly dog to man handle him into his clothes. We spent most of the morning crying with laughter. But he was worth it :)
...'fraid there have been extra photos for this story and there is one final picture... since this final image, the edges have been straightened, paths mown and Jamie-crow has herbs planted around his feet and vegetables springing up in the beds.

I will always be grateful for photography - particularly digital photography and computers, for allowing me to see up close and personal, things small and apparently insignificant. So, on seeing this SPIKY stem in macro - with all the vicious barbs and spikes, it is only when you zoom out and realise it is a delicate and gentle Aquilegia nodding her head in the dappled shade of my garden.
My own choice...
...has to be an image I took last Saturday as we walked up Oxenber Woods to revel in the bluebells. We do it every year and this year they were perfect. The air was heady with their scent and we sat on the top of the hill on a craggy cliff over looking a beautiful view. Perfect. 

I am going to blog about this lovely little micro-adventure next week.
And the more observant of you may have noticed that I missed a word out - I just could not find an image or story to go with it. So, you were all blessed with loads of Jamie-crow images instead!! Now off to see what you lovely lot got up to!



With the sublime weather filling the last few days, I seemed to have let blogging slip. The spring sunshine has woken not just the weedlings but also my mojo - both of which are keeping me occupied.
There have been times when I have drifted toward my blog and then having stared at the laptop for a while, found that my energies drag me elsewhere.
Anyhoo - today, inspired by a photographer friend who spent some time in my garden taking countless pictures of emerging spring flowers, unfurling fronds and fallen cherry blossom, I picked up my camera and took a photo or two.
The garden is in a process of transformation, from a tired space, which quietly grew rangy and unkempt, now she makes me feel inspired. A magical encompassing Eden who wraps around my summerhouse and fills my eyes and head full of beautiful and delicate flowers. 
The spring flowers are providing a source of reference for my art - and by painting them - I find I am 'seeing' them in a whole new light.
Apart from my friend who seemed to crawl around the garden capturing views I had previously not noticed, I was accompanied for most of the day by Pepper, who either slipped quietly in and out of the burgeoning plants - she very quickly becomes invisible, or languishing on the pathway, soaking up the sun and watching tiny flies zipping about through half closed eyes.

Then, this evening I returned to the garden. The sky was a thin blue black colour, a few stars had appeared and the air still had a slight hint of warmth. It was beautiful. Long may it last xxxxx