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...



I blame the fudge

Autumn has been seeping in - I am not ready for her, I am still wanting to play with Summer.
I have already 'written' this post a number of times ... in my head, as you do when you have one of 'those' nights. They are (fortunately) infrequent reminders of my previous sleep pattern of 'not sleeping'.
Any hoo - not sure what triggered it but it went something like this ...

I was awoken by the rather loud discussion going on in my head. A one sided one on an unusual topic.

I was - no, my brain was debating in great depth how a Roman toga was worn.  I lay there incredulously as my head was trying to work out if the fabric came over the shoulder forward and wrapped around the arm and wrist or if it went backwards like a cape ... my brain then shouted down that was silly and said no ... forward and over the arm.

It was at this point I actually opened my eyes and I could feel myself frowning at the ridiculousness of such a debate - of COURSE it came forward and wrapped around the arm - jeez it was never worn as a cape.... I physically jolted my head at my own duplicity - I had just allowed myself to get involved in a debate with my brain about the dress sense of a Roman Senator at .... I raised my head and squinted at the clock ... at 1.30am in the morning.


So I shifted until I was comfortable, attempted a couple of well worn mindfulness relaxation techniques to quieten my brain and send me back to sleep.  However, in the background I could hear a new conversation ... I stopped my calm breathe practice to listen in on what my brain was chattering on about now.

Qin Shi Huang.

Yup. Him.

Who? oh - let me introduce him to you, my brain knows him well and recalling the raging debate the ol' grey cells were having last night about him - not a fan, nope not a fan.

Qin Shi Huang was a Chinese emperor, he of the terracotta warrior fame, was not keen on intellectuals and chose to persecute them in all ways nasty.

Once again I was almost tricked into joining in this discussion but managed to stop myself becoming fully awake and getting all shouty with myself over the rather mean ways of this particular emperor. I squinted at the clock again.  2.40am.

Hmm. I thought I would help change my brain's over enthusiastic need to have what was now turning into a university challenge/Radio 4/the History Channel type full on rant, by nipping to the loo.

As quietly as possible, I bumbled around in the dark, kicked a shoe of mine, almost stumbled into the bathroom, did what I had to do, bumbled back and equally quietly slipped back into bed. Only to have Himself growl ... ?can't sleep then?

Apologetic squeak back, I tried again.

Quietly, almost insidiously, my brain began to write a list of jobs.  Labels, varnish, turps, tablecloth ...turps (said that one), paintings, wrapping paper, labels, varnish, turps (hang on said that), tablecloth - stop ALREADY HAVE THAT ON MY LIST... turps, labels, varnish AAAARGH. I opened my eyes and seriously considered getting up and physically writing down the six words that were spinning around in my brain which seemed to be delighting in creating a helix style list of them repeating and repeating and changing their colours and rolling them around and.and.and.and .......

... then as I was slipping into blissful unconsciousness ... a light flashed on outside. I sat up and saw through the curtains that an outside sensor light belonging to a neighbour had come on.  Without even hesitating my brain had me leap out of bed stride over to the window and peer out. Yes, the light was on ... who had triggered it??

I stared - watching for banditos or burglars only to see a...cat...trot...by. 

Hmmm - I recall this has happened before. Best get back into bed before Himself grumbles again.  This time he just sighed. I tried to avoid looking at the clock but my eyes were being as wayward as my brain and snuck a look - 3.20am ...

Quiet meditative breathing and shushing of an argumentative brain continued for a while until I finally dropped off.

Until ... Himself leapt out of bed and gave me a rather firm shove as he did - the alarm should have gone off about 20 minutes earlier - oh.

Suffice to say, my brain is now very quiet - probably having a siesta and I am dragging myself around purely fueled by coffee and bloody mindedness.

Any you?
Are you a candidate for the 'can't sleep club'?

Oh - and the title? well, I scoffed a couple of pieces of Eldest's home made fudge and as delectably delish as it was - it felt too rich and probably too late for my own good.  I suspect my brain was on a sugar bender..... sigh.


casual blather Friday

With one or two exceptions, I have been bare foot most of this week. 
(I love it.)
We have had rain. 
(happy garden.)

I have been bitten by some uninvited flying insect with enormous fangs over night. 
(Not keen on enormous fanged winged beasties.)

I'm waiting in for a parcel, 
from a company I don't recognise for something I can't remember specifically ordering... 
although this has happened before - there are four in the family and only one of us orders nice things,
 the other three order car parts and engine-y type items 
and I suspect that is what I am waiting in for. 
(An MG car fender arrived yesterday ... from California) so - it could be AnYtHiNG!!  
(I shall report back.)

I've been talked into attending a show in a couple of weekends ago. 
Had said I would go initially, then thought about it - realised don't really have sufficient stock - 
well, I have plenty of paintings however, 
they are not suitable for this kind of outing - 
so changed my mind. 
Now, against my better judgement I have stepped into a space created by another dropping out. 
Now this week and next will be filled with lots of creativity 
as I make smaller affordable pieces of art. 
Never mind - good excuse to 'play'. 
(Goes off to get glue and paper and scissors.)
I am discovering or rather being gently reminded 
that I am lucky to be part of a tribe of arty folk 
who are fierce and protective and sharing and kind. 
They are above all, teaching me that there are decent people out there 
and that they are worth searching for. 

(Have you found your 'tribe'?)


Monday Monday - so good to me

Heeey hey! Well, if that was the weekend - it went rather quickly!

Just got back from a stint at the walled garden where I volunteer. It is not just good for the garden, it is good for my soul - I always come away with my happy levels well and truly topped up.

Here in Lancashire we have had the most delicious rain and my garden has just gulped it up thirstily and probably could have more. The water barrels around the glasshouse are full and the pond beautifully topped up - now that can't be bad. I can even see the frogs smiling as their heads get splashed by the huge raindrops.

Thank you every one for joining in with July's words - once again you did yourselves proud and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them all :) - I do love how we interpret a single word to mean many things to many folk and even though sometimes we all have the same result - the stories are different.

Any hoo - no time off for the wicked and all that - here are August's words - giving you plenty of time to get your scavenger hunting juices working :)

This month's have a slight twist - I have supplied a list of the usual five plus my own choice, except this time the words are homophone.

Huh? I hear you say - well if a word is homophone it is because the word sounds the same yet has more than one meaning :) Please chose one or the other or if you are feeling rather superhuman (and a little smug :D) try them both!

This is not as hard as it initially appears and remember you can use a current image or one from your archives.

My own choice

We will reconvene on Friday the 31st August - til then fellow photo-hunters - have fun xx

Horse Chestnut and conkers - this warm weather has certainly sped things up x


July's Link up Party

***Updated to add that one of the links is not working -
to see Vivienne's post - please follow this URL -lapapillionbleu.blogspot.com ***

Welcome to July's Scavenger Hunt Link up Party !  
Are you ready? 
Then let's get started - just add your name and let the party begin :)

July's photo hunt

Wow - this has come round again rather quickly! Fortunately last weekend supplied all the images and stories and if you are sitting comfortably, I shall begin  :)

We'd huffed and puffed our way up a rather long and hot field towards the farm buildings sheltering in the trees. The difference in temperature was marked. The barn - although old and closed up - was obviously well cared for as the stonework was pointed and the roof tight. The door handle fascinated us, as Youngest commented - it looked like the body of a harp. I just had to try it out and it felt so cool and ergo-dynamically comfortable in my hand. I don't think that functional things are made as beautifully or artistically as they were before. 

As we were getting ready for our walk - somebody got herself over excited and had to be told to go and sit down on the mat and contain herself until we were ready. She watched our every move, each loading of the rucksacks, the putting on of the boots, the collecting of maps and cameras and in her mind - the best by far - collecting her lead and collar. Then she exploded and spun around several times and charged off to the car.  She was fed up with waiting!

Despite the dryness - there were pockets of moisture tucked into the deeper valley crevices, I loved the contrast of the remarkably soft feeling spiky moss against the shards of the red and grey rock.

Sunday was a relentlessly sunny day - most of our walk was on hill tops and moorland stretches and despite the essential hat and sunnies it was bliss when we found shade. I suspect Moss's favourite bit was the shade beneath this bridge - she spent a happy fifteen or so minutes wallowing around in the stream beneath the cool arch. The bridge was a wonderfully over engineered stone edifice in the middle of nowhere over a small stream - how very English!  And if you were wondering about the hanging gate, the farmers will tether a gate or pallets on chains to a bridge to prevent their stock from wandering through. As the river rises or subsides, the gate will move, thanks to the chains, to fill the space being blocked.

Our walk (which was just shy of 10km long) had good views most of the length of it. Some were long distant - like this one, others were snap shots through trees or down hidden valleys. I chose this one more for the memory of it for me. The brown hue to the grassland  was mostly caused by hundreds of thousands of Yellow Rattle seed heads. It would have been an amazing site to have seen when in flower - the hill side would have been a blanket of lime green and primrose yellow. Now, as we walked through it sounded like a thousand rattlesnakes at every step.  Youngest (ever full of odd facts) stated that this plant had been used as a 'prop' in filming and on stage for a rattlesnake warning signal. Listening to the dry raspy sound the seeds made in their pods - I could see why!


My final image was taken not far from the previous one. As we reached the crest of the hill, the wild grasslands opened up to more green and cropped. Sitting quietly was this beautifully rusted vintage hay tedder. 

There, that is my offering for July's words and images. Off to check out you lovely lot's posts - thank you for joining in xxx


Friday was a good day :)

Last Friday we raced the heavy sky.
Weeding and planting and laughing fueled by tea.
Last Friday was a good day and yes - we did still get wet.
We were as parched as the earth and it felt glorious.


A Thursday, a Saturday & Sunday then a Monday.

Plein air at a country park with friends and fellow artists.
Watching a fiery sky turn to inky black scattered with a gazillion stars.
Hot black coffee, black beef cows and calves.
Inside and ...
... Out

Now, that is a good few days if I say so myself :) and don't be fooled - there were many (and I mean many) more photos for each jolly here, just not going to inflict them on you xx


Part 2 ...

It was like watching a methodical yet lightly stepped dance.
The two of them, time served, moved as a fluid, anticipating the other's action with years of remembered performance.
A gentle monologue was proffered explaining each step - enough to inform and not swamp.
Words like molten honey and liquid toffee were dropped in - so deliciously descriptive of the tempered glass bubble.
A controlled puff, a measured swing of the blowpipe, a turn of the wrist and a gentle tap or click all making a glowing blob into a simple yet magnificent glass goblet.
The tools they used had barely changed since glass blowing started 2000 years ago, water soaked Paddles, Jacks, Blocks, Ladles, metal Tweezers and Shears, they all retained a look which appeared timeless.
Then, less than ten minutes - this dance produced a glass goblet which was both robust and delicate.
It was sent to cool down in an oven set to 400 deg c over night. It was mesmerising!


In which I fall in love ...

There are some days that stand out as being a 'good'un' and Tuesday will certainly be on of them.

Part 1....

I had a most wonderful artist's jolly out with a fellow artist and brilliant friend over in Pateley Bridge (a small town that warrants a full day in it's own right) where we stopped off at the King's Street Workshops to see the Handmade Books Exhibition - Envelop held at the Number 6 Studio.

Our day started with a beautiful drive over the moors between Skipton, Grassington and Harrogate, with a most welcome stop at a lovely farm cafe.
We chose to sit outside and admire the view - besides it was a lot cooler with a rather lazy breeze tickling around us.
The King Street workshops were a gentle hive of activity. Not all were open when we arrived but through out the day more artists opened their doors.
Stepping into Number 6 Studio was like having a light switched on - I have never seen so many gorgeous beautiful amazing fantastic intricate detailed astounding hand made little books. We were encouraged to pick up and investigate each book and believe me ... I did....each.and.every.one. And I was completely and utterly bewitched.

I was so engrossed that I only took a few photos (not like me at all!) I moved around that gallery inch by inch. My dear friend who was with me responded to this gorgeous-ness in quite a different way - she bounced from one pretty thing to another and back again - she zig-zagged around me (by this time I was sitting on the floor visually devouring a work book) until she found something that caught her and she stopped and sunk into it's magic.
Not all the books were crafted in paper, there were some beautiful fabric versions - felt and tweed and others that felt and smelt like something out of an army tank. Rusted, bolted, oiled and decorated; they had been inspired by the artist's father's workshop.
The fabric books told stories, some very emotional. One in particular was a record of the creator dealing with a personal difficult process. She explained, carefully, the underlying reason for her book and I looked at her work with new eyes.
It was a really beautiful day - I was truly inspired.

Part 2 next time xxx