Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Inspiration X

Ernest R. Ashton-  Abend an den Pyramiden, 1897
unknown Flemish artist,  Louis II of Anjou, c. 1415, watercolour on paper, 222 x 173 mm, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
Art by Frank C. Pape (1916) from The Russian Storybook “Falcon the hunter.”
Art by Willy Pogany, 1912, from the book, “Parsifal.”
Hypnotic Seance, Sven Richard Bergh, 1887

Jean Delville - The God-man 1895

Moonlight, 1889, Henri-Joseph Harpignies. French (1819 - 1916)
"A number of ancient Armenian manuscript bindings were embellished with odd objects haphazardly attached to the covers and in some cases, the spines. Items included coins, crucifixes, stones from personal signet rings, jewellery, and small metal repouss√© objects shaped like hands, eyes, crescent moons, or human faces. Some of these objects were donated by the faithful as testimony to their Christian piety. Another reason is believed to be protection against the evil eye—these objects served as devices to avert evil, thereby protecting not only the donor but the manuscript itself."

Photos I took in my father's office
Photos I took in my father's office

Photos I took in my father's office

Photos I took in my father's office

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

To know // to understand

I made a conscious decision about a year and a half ago to not be ashamed of myself anymore. If you have been taking notes on my personal living timeline, that feeling coincided with my emergence from the haze of the first months of my firstborn's existence.

A notebook page from Eugene Morozov
I can now see that having a baby was a transformative experience for me.

That superhuman feeling of bringing a child into the world, emerging from your most vulnerable to your most powerful - the agony, the tears, the excitement and wonder gives you a new perspective on your own and everyone else's existence.

It's the difference between knowing and understanding - the power and capability that the simple, normal, indescribable act of carrying and birthing a baby requires, the skills it gives you, applies to almost every aspect of living ever after. Somehow, I can now 'own' my interests and live my life more confidently and securely.

My 'Rando's' - my new favourite non social, social app
Medieval writing implements at work
vitamin D storage
A smashed up greenhouse, an object I am always drawn to for some reason.
- 50 squats a day
- 50 crunches a day
- take all extra hours I can at work and save save save

Incidentally - if you want to follow my blog, here is my bloglovin page.

I think Google Friend Connect is leaving us shortly (am I right?) - This is annoying because I have all my blogs I follow on there. I need to do something about that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How does your garden grow?

I have been putting some time into the garden - I hope it's the start of a lifetime of learning to grow food and flowers. I want to be like my Nanny and Grandad who produced a garden full of veg year after year just by habit, they knew the names of every plant ever. 

But back to me, dithering with a watering can in my pyjamas, hoodie and wellington boots, contemplating sage flowers, flowerbed dreams, our moss filled lawn, slugs, cherry blossom and cups of fresh black mint tea. 

I am hoping my garden will produce the following things to eat this year: cherries, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans and apples as well as the rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, basil, peashoots and lemons in the conservatory. We shall see. If I can get my dwarf beans past the slugs I will be surprised. They are growing so slowly and the vile beasts have bypassed my egg shells, coffee grounds and yeasty yoghurt pot slug traps. I like all animals except slugs. The wet weather this week is not helping.

They grow so much every day, potatoes are very satisfying for a novice like me 
The wind and rain has chucked all the blossoms to the ground but I hope the bees that were floating around it when we had the sun have pollinated them enough for cherries later 

You can't imagine the smell this makes - it's just gorgeous. Lemon tree

Next doors apple tree will give us apple pies this autumn (we have permission already granted to pick them!)
My lone strawberry plant I rescued from the old flat. The black Moroccan mint grew back from nothing, I thought it was dead! - it makes perfect tea. 
Two tomatoes and some heritage sweet peas
The inherited strawberry bed which I have hardly touched seems to be happening
My poor beans

This patch of completely shaded ground will be a flower bed soon. Some things won't work here because the fence means it will get no direct sun at all.
Inspecting a slug

Indoor herbs
Indoor peashoots to eat raw or cooked - insanely easy and quick to grow - plus they are ridiculously over priced in supermarkets
As for the house - plans are coming together - a builder is sorting the leak in what will be Mostyn's bedroom this week - and then we can start decorating his room. We have plans for some building work to make more storage upstairs and we need to get damp proofing done downstairs (possibly the most expensive and boring use of hard earned money ever) and then we can sort out the living room - which is easily the ugliest room in the house. It will happen.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I have been working a lot in my new job in last two weeks, hence my poor neglected blog. I really have not done much else, except see some dear friends, grow some pea shoots, begin a freaky sourdough starter and not do as much freelance or housework as I should have.

It is, however, an utter privilege to work in such a stunning location and inside a monument with such a long and interesting history. Visitors gape when we tell them parts of the castle are almost 1000 years old. I love to look at the the little carved medieval man with his hands on his hips that looks out from one of the tiny windows of the giftshop, the stolen Roman tiles running through the huge walls of the Great Tower, the oldest surviving wooden castle doors in Europe (800 years old), the natural balcony over the wide tidal river which flows back and forth throughout the day.

I lock and unlock the giant doors to the Buttery, tidy rows of detailed plastic knights, maidens and rearing horses, sell ceramic thimbles to elderly English visitors and chat to the Americans, Germans and Australians who have, bemusingly, come in coaches to see what Wales has to offer.

I love to look out upon the virtually unchanged view of the river bend, imagining exactly who and how long ago watched over the same scenery, crows circling the high towers and seagulls wheeling and darting down to the fast water.

(Not the oldest doors.) You should see the key to this baby, it's almost as big as my forearm!

Walking down to work in the mornings when the sky is clear, bright and cool.

Proof I was out of the house at 7pm on Saturday night.

This is the dress I am going to wear every day this Summer. I just know it. I'm so ready.