Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Father's Day Football

Grandma's unladylike behaviour!

We were returning on Sunday (Father's Day) from Malvern, yet again; this time from the 'Three Counties Show' - farming and the countryside, both of which are fast disappearing or becoming so sanitized as to be a joke, and an immeasurable sadness. Three days of interviewing and photography, camping in the lee of the magical Malvern Hills, wondering what it must have been like thousand of years ago to have lived under the stars and gazed at night into a dark void - England and the Severn Valley to the east and distant Wales to the west. Not a pinprick of light all those centuries ago, though that mattered less perhaps on the night of the summer solstice.

Driving home, bemused from the twelve-hour days, I take a call from our daughter on my new mobile (not lost yet!) inviting us to a father's day tea with her and our son-in-law and their three children. What was not made clear was that we were to participate in a family football (soccer) match - all except Grandpa who was to be official photographer and maintain pitch discipline.

That left six of us, two teams: I was on 7-year-old D's side and told by him that I was to be striker and to SCORE GOALS. Not a chance; this 71-year-old body creaks and groans with age. Entering into the spirit of things, as one must for one's grandchildren, I feebly kicked the ball off the pitch, or hit the goal posts. And then second wind; a GOAL! And another; five in all. I am afraid I became most unladylike, punching the air and shrieking "YES!!" with great fervour as each ball rocketed into the net. In my younger days I would have cartwheeled across the lawn, or attempted a back-flip. How mad can you get? I slept like the proverbial log but oh golly, was I stiff next morning.

Meanwhile, I again apologise for my lack of posts, and paucity of comments on the blogs of my kind followers. Such a fraught time at present, upon which I will report in due course. The football shenanigans were as a breath of fresh air. I wonder what July 5th holds in store - a village picnic to which the family are coming; we personally will celebrate 40 years of living in our beloved house which we have painstakingly renovated; though there is still so much to do. Football on the Village Green is likely, but I will leave all that to the young ones, and sit beneath the chestnut tree opposite our house, eat salad from the garden, and cheese, and sip a glass or two of cold white wine. And reminisce.

our house in June 1969, just purchased at auction

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Now where did I put my mobile phone?

oh deary me !!

We were rushing to pack the motorhome for our six days stint at the Malvern Spring Gardening Show - not just such things as clothes, bedding, food and water (including baking a cake and bread) , but notebooks, cameras, tripods, laptops, printer, photographic paper, generator, mobile phone and charger, etc. It's always manic; everything has to be checked off or we find we are missing some vital lead or connector without which 'the system' will not work.

It happened just over a month ago, Wednesday 6th May. I also had to fix meetings, make phone calls between the packing. At 9.50am I put my hand in my pocket - no phone. Had I packed it already? Unlikely. Where in my rushing around had I put it down, for it accompanies me everywhere. I had made a call at 9.10; what had I done with it in those intervening 40 minutes? First I searched the house, my mind a complete blank. I checked the greenhouse. I remembered rushing outside to say hello to a friend who was passing the house with her new baby; had I dropped it on the pavement? 

Then we started phoning the mobile number from the house phone, Raymond sat dialling continuously, thus delaying our going-away preparations, whilst I went to every part of this three-storey house, and all areas of the garden. No joy. We tried again in the evening to see if the pulsing light glowed anywhere, indicating an incoming call. We were due to leave next morning, and that phone is vital when I'm away; indeed its the one I use all the time as it has all my numbers stored in it and the house phone is inaccessible from the garden or much of indoors.

Next morning, after a somewhat fitful night wondering what had happened in those 40 minutes, I dash the twenty mile round trip into town to the 'Orange' shop. They could sell me another phone but not right there and then as they were stocktaking! Frustration. I drive home past our daughter's farm and borrow our son-in-law's mobile for the time we are to be away. End of story, or so I thought. Until yesterday, when I walked down the garden to pick salad for lunch and see on the grass the missing phone's outer trim lying on the grass. I had lost the wretched thing over a month ago and here suddenly was a part of it, staring me in the face. And then I noticed a bit of circuit board, and another, and other bits, lying in the area my husband had scythed to clear ground for a new bit of veg garden. Not only had he scythed it, he had mowed it with the mulch-mower. That was between Malvern and the Llangollen Gardening Show from which we have just returned.

How the phone had fallen into the dense undergrowth I will never know, nor what I had been doing in the missing moments when I should have been packing. I have a new mobile, now, and have become paranoid about losing it. The onset of dementia maybe; I put the teapot in the fridge the other day!

I have not been blogging for a while. For one reason and another, life here and away is more than usually hectic this year, but I will post on both my blogs whenever I can, with updates also on my website. I'm working on my online garden diary and farmhouse recipe pages in my spare time.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Italy - Look what I missed !

students from England and the USA took part in the Adventures in Italy workshop (this is Celia from the UK)

My dear friend in cyberspace and reality, Kristin Steiner from South Carolina, USA, has just sent me some fascinating photos of work undertaken by students on an ‘Adventures in Italy Workshop’ in Orvieto at the beginning of May. How I wish I had been able to join this group, but I was heavily involved in work of my own, so could not. 

Two of the incredible pages, inspired by Orvieto, that Celia made on the workshop for a concertina book. I was not there, but I am motivated to begin my own book

The workshop was entitled "A Book of Inspiration - An Italian Abecedarium"  and was taught by Lisa Engelbrecht, a lettering artist from California who inspired the students to create a 26-page  personalized fabric alphabet book on painted canvas backgrounds capturing the priceless inspirations from a week in Orvieto, Italy.

Lisa demonstrated how a page was assembled: lettering and images on a canvas background; each page was embellished and then all 26 pages were stitched onto a length of fabric to make the concertina book

Oh! what I missed:  the chance to learn from a respected artist, the opportunity to experience ‘slow travel’; a week of creation and enjoyment at being with like-minded people.

Lisa (left) with another student: Anne (right) from Michigan, USA


Two of Anne’s stunning pages – 26 in all, which she completed as soon as she reached home

Anne said: “The images for this book came from a 1920's newspaper drawing and vintage ancestor photos.  The more 'modern' ladies from about the 30's were found in a huge box of old photos a friend was throwing away.  Combined with the old children's melody, ‘Here We Go Around the Mulberry Bush’, it seemed to tell a story about our fate.”

How I would have loved to walk around that medieval hill town, have had the time to explore, to write, sketch and take photos, and to soak in all that atmosphere. It was not to be.

The 'Spring 2009' workshop group, together with partners / companions, who had their own programme of adventure and discovery

My brain is reeling from the pictures of what was produced in that workshop (I have looked at so many more that Kristin sent me). Enthralling. Had I been able to go, I think I would have made a 'Medieval Herbarium' combining my love of fabric, paper, herbs, medieval manuscripts, lettering (which I studied at school, way back), and Italy. I am already planning my a.b.c (English and Latin names) but will have to wait until Kristi comes to stay with me next month so she can explain to me 'what to do'.

What a marvellous opportunity these 'travel to learn' Italian Adventures are; exquisite scenery and food, with the added bonus to be tutored by well-known 'household names' from the art and mixed-media world. I would so love to go on one of the Autumn/Fall ‘Adventures in Italy’ workshops (September 27th – October 3rd), for mixed media artist and illustrator, Catherine Moore, is leading ‘The Journal as Reliquary': 

the cover of one of Catherine Moore’s amazing journals

Students in this workshop will "create an altered book masterpiece, which builds on your Orvieto adventure with chapters representing the city's history & culture." 

There are others Autumn/Fall workshops - and also many already on the website for 2010, but this one particularly took my fancy. See you there ??? 

My dear friends Kristin & Bill Steiner (who always come to stay when they visit England) organise these magical experiences. Check out their ‘Adventures in Italy’ website: they can explain so much better than I can exactly what it is all about.