Monday, 28 July 2008

A bevy of beauties.

I've been having such fun lately, corresponding with Gwen, about fog and asparagus. Have a look at her blog and you'll see what I mean.
Anyway, you see, there is a connection between that and this post because I sent Gwen a picture of Mike's Grandfather's asparagus knife and it got me thinking about dear old granddad.
He was such an interesting man, Ernest Parriss, born in 1896 and he died in 1979.. He was an educated, country gentleman and he lived through an age of war and great changes.

Ernest fought in the first war, on the Somme in France and then in Northern Italy. Whilst he travelled he kept a diary and collected postcards, photographs ,maps and all sorts of things.

This collection is in my care, and when I am feeling in the right frame of mind ( please bear in mind that this is pretty heart rending stuff) I take a peep, back in time.

There are folded maps of where the front line fighting was, details of the weather, food enjoyed and friends lost.

There are also piles of pictures of lovely ladies! I thought you might like to see some of them.

Who were these ladies, and I wonder, what were their lives like?
My particular favourite is the beauty, above left with the laced bodice and stripes of ribbon on her skirt.
Can you see the pin-hole in the top of the picture? I like to imagine that Ernest pinned this picture to the wall, beside his bunk.
From the costume I think she may be Austrian, I want to imagine her a name, can anyone help me?
I have used this image several times in my artwork and I feel it would be good to introduce her properly and then I'm sure I will find a story for her.

Those little asterisks are to celebrate my receiving this award today!
It's called the Wylde Woman Award, which I thought was a real hoot as I have been called something similar on more than one occasion.
I'd like to say thank you to Carol who gave me the award, bless you.
The award is given to women who brighten your day!
The rules are - It can be passed on to as many people as you wish.
- Link to the Wylde woman who started this!
So here goes, the lady who always makes me laugh, a truly Wylde Woman is Paula at The Beauty of Life.

Friday, 25 July 2008

A pot of tea and King Arthur.(A Walk around Glastonbury part 2)

Sorry about the delay, I was enjoying my tea so much. . . We'll get going again now, on down the hill into the town of Glastonbury.
I had to smile at this door knocker on a little cottage at the bottom of Wick Hollow.

As we walk down the main street, the church is on the right, it's well worth a visit but I think it's going to rain so we'd better press on.

There are lots of unusual shops here, one called 'The Goddess and the Green Man', another where the modern day witch can find all that she needs. It's such a vibrant place with lots of colourful characters milling around and the book shops are unlike any you ever saw!

Glastonbury has to be one of the most dog friendly places I've ever been.(Which is good, because I think we've got at least five dogs with us now!) Most of the shops, cafes and the Abbey welcome them.
The Abbey is set in lovely grounds, right in the centre of town. There's a small museum where we can see a model of what the Abbey looked like .There has been a church on this site since the 7th. century.

We can wander leisurely through and around the ruins .
This is part of the Holy Thorn tree, which legend says was brought here by Joseph of Arimathea, when he visited Glastonbury with the boy Jesus.

We'll have a look at the statue of Sigeric, a monk at the Abbey in the 10th. century.

The shapes and patterns are intriguing.
I love the way nature reclaims old buildings.

On my bookshelf, I have an old, old book called 'The Romance of our Ancient Churches', published in 1898. There's a passage in it about how these buildings age .

'Externally, dove-coloured tones were given to the masonry by the winds and rains, velvety mosses and discs of lichens, orange coloured, sea gray and pale green appeared upon it and spread themselves; edges and angles softened and rounded; thresholds became worn with footsteps and tiny wildings sowed themselves in interstices out of reach. .'

I love those words and doesn't 'wildings' sound so much more charming than 'weeds'?
Here in the centre of the buildings we find a sign telling of King Arthur and his Queen.

I am fascinated by the Arthurian legends, the mixture of romance, chivalry, intrigue; and history weaving its way through them all. Deep sighs. . .

Time, I think for a pot of tea. Please join me, Mike and Mistress Alice; scones anyone?

Mistress Alice is a living history presenter, a thespian and a lady of great humour. She had us in hysterics as she told us about the strange 'goings on' she encountered whilst going about her business; all told in the lovely Somerset accent and with the sweetest smile on her dear face.

It's been quite a long day, so we'll stroll down to the other end of the Abbey grounds, to have a last peep at the tor.
It's definately going to rain, so the tor and the Chalice Well will have to wait for another day.
Hope you enjoyed the walk.
Sleep tight.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

A walk around Glastonbury.

I wonder, would you like to come with me on a walk around Glastonbury? It's not too far and all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes, I've got a flask of tea and some apples to share. . .

To tempt you, here is a glimpse of Glastonbury Tor.

To set the scene, I must tell you that this is a special place. The landscape itself is full of mystery, the tor is believed by many to be sacred, the entrance to the 'otherworld'. It is certainly a powerful place, with a quite unique atmosphere.
This is the legendary Isle of Avalon, last resting place of King Arthur and his Queen, Guinevere.

It is also 'A Christian sanctuary, so ancient that only legend can record it's origin'.(In the words of the Pitkin guide)

Well, we'd better make a start. The countryside is wearing it's very best clothes at the moment, must be all the rain we've had. Hope you don't mind , but Rowan's coming too.
I think it would be nice to start our walk at Wick, a hamlet ,just over the hill from the town.

Here we find Gog and Magog, known locally as 'The Old Oaks'. They are centuries old and wrapped in myths and tradition.
In the legend, these are the last remaining trees of the great avenue which lined the ceremonial path the priestesses of Avalon would take up , over the hill, to the tor

I've been visiting here for years and now I'm sad to see that Gog (above) is quite dead. Magog is still surviving, but only just.

We have to climb the fence here, to get a closer look and talk to the trees. There are always bits of pretty ribbon and thread tied about the branches and treasures, such as shiny stones or shells hidden in the crevices of the trunks.

We might be lucky and get serenaded by someone with a flute or drums.

I met a young man here,a few years ago who told me of his life as a charcoal burner and whittler of dreams. He pointed down the lane to his home, a funny little van, with a chimney coming out of the roof. Apparently, he travelled the countryside finding work when he could, and whittling wood into things from his dreams when life was quiet.I wonder what became of him?

With our backs to the old trees, we head off, up the hill. This path is called Paradise Lane.So I can truly say I walked in Paradise.

Rowan loves it and the views are wonderful

That's the Cheddar Gorge you can see in the far distance.

Now we get another peep at the tor, then it's downhill through a sunken lane called Wick Hollow, where the tree roots are a bit spooky.

Shall we stop now and have a cup of tea before we go into the town to see the Abbey and King Arthur's grave? Let's rest and think a while. . . .

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Fogs and Logs.

I was reading Gwen's lovely blog, 'Desideratum', where she has been talking about fog, the kind that drifts in off the sea.
It made me think of some strange fog we had here a few years ago.
I took the pictures below in November, standing on the top of Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham. If you have ever seen Cheltenham Races on the t.v., these hills are the ones you see behind the racecourse.
In the distance you can see the line of the Malvern Hills.
The thickest fog settled all over the lower ground for two days, while up on the hill the sun shone beautifully, turning the fog into an ocean of waves and ripples.

It was the most surreal experience, even though my brain knew it was fog, my eyes saw the ocean.
I managed to catch the sun, about to set and if you look carefully at the picture, just above the foreground, that spec in the fog to the left, is the top of a high rise office block.

And now for something completely different. . . . a log pile, discovered by Rowan.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Yesterday, Sue and I had a 'jolly' in Chipping Campden, a very pretty Cotswold town, a few miles from my home. We mooched about, peering in windows and trying to resist buying things.

There was a small antique fair in the town hall , where we saw these lovely little cups.
I bet you can't guess what the strange things in the next picture are?
Just what every girl needs, some silver contraptions for holding quail's legs so that you don't get your fingers dirty while you eat the poor little beasties.

This is the Market Hall, where wool was traded.

The Campden Gallery. Next, we went to the Fleece Inn at Bretforton, for our lunch. This place has been a pub since the 17th. century. I looked for the healthy choice on the menu, but well, it was very dark in there. For pudding I meant to order fresh fruit salad but the words that came out of my mouth were 'plum and grenadine crumble with ice cream please'. Never mind, I ate it anyway.

Here's Sue trying to ignore her embarrassing friend,who's hopping around with a camera.

That's it for now, Mike and I are going to Glastonbury for a few days, so , back in a while.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Lilies in the walled garden at Colby, Pembrokeshire.

My real reason for this post is I confess, nothing to do with Lilies, beautiful though they are.
I feel really thick, yesterday evening I worked on a post about using my embellishing machine.
I published it, then couldn't find it, just when I thought I was getting the hang of this technology.
Oh dear, found it! Because I had used some pictures saved as a draft on 9th July, that's where it was.. . Oops!
I'll soon have you all as confused as I am.

Friday, 11 July 2008

I seem to spend an awful lot of time loitering in churchyards, on this occasion I've been collecting angels.
The first is in the churchyard at Cleeve Prior, the village in Worcestershire where my daughter lives.This frosty girl is in the municipal cemetry in my home town of Evesham, the photo is courtesy of the local paper.
I love this grumpy angel with her mossy hairdo, she hangs out in the pretty churchyard at South Cerney in Gloucestershire.
Something really nice happened today.
I can't quite believe it, but I've been given the Brilliante Weblog award, by two people on the same day, how's that!

I really do feel most undeserving of this award as I'm new to all this, that said, I am completely chuffed and would like to say a big thank you to the two very talented artists who gave it to me., Jo Horswill and Robyn
If you don't already know their blogs, do have a look, you are in for a big treat.

The nice thing is that I get to pass the award on to some other blogs that I enjoy.
The rules are as follows

Put the Logo on your blog.

Add a link to the person who nominated you.

Nominate up to 7 other blogs.

Add a link to those blogs on your blog.

Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

There are so many fascinating blogs out there, I spent ages thinking about who to pass this award to and here's my list.

Chrissy at 'The Primitive Cornish Hovel'

Val at 'Vals Musings'.

Paula at 'The Beauty of Life'.

Nellie at 'Early Morning Thoughts'

Lynda at 'Purplemissus'.

If you have a chance ,do look at these blogs, they are all very different.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


My poor embellishing machine has been not been used much since I bought it about a year ago, but I've been playing lately and I've realised that it has potential.

I am experimenting, which is fun of course, but as usual I keep going off at a tangent, thinking could I use this?, what will that do?Then I guess that is the nature of an experiment.

The two pictures above are book covers, one for my Skillywidden book and the other for a new sketch book.
Both are made by felting torn strips of cloth into a velvet background. I've also done some hand and machine stitching.
The sketch book cover was made with fabric from an old and much loved Indian cotton skirt.
It had lots of panels, each in a different pattern. I nearly couldn't bring myself to rip it up, but it was old and nearly threadbare in places.
Me and that skirt have been together for a long time, it was hard to do, but I love the colours and it will travel with me again , in the form of a sketch book, which feels O.K.
The mermaid piece is for a book I'm making for Phoebe(my granddaughter), so that we can write down all the songs we like to sing together and our favourite stories.

.I'm not sure what I will do with the last piece. I think I'll just say it's a work in progress, until inspiration strikes.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Martin's Haven and Wizo the Fleming.

This pretty spot is called Martin's Haven , it lies about 10 miles or so to the west of Haverfordwest. Now, to really get the atmosphere, indulge me please, you need to close your eyes and imagine the strong salty breeze blowing through your hair and bringing the sound of many thousands of sea birds from the island of Skomer, just off shore.
This is a treacherous coastline and in times past, pilgrims who had travelled by sea would land here before continuing their journey by land to St. David's.
Not far from the beach is this stone, mounted in the wall by the National Trust. I don't know if you can make out the cross with a circle around it, the picture isn't too good.

It could have been a marker for a place of prayer, to give thanks for a safe voyage or perhaps to show the safe way overland. Either way, I think it's beautiful, it felt smooth and warm to touch, quite 'otherworldly'.(Did I just make up a new word?)

Don't know what the people coming out of the nearby public toilets thought of strange woman stroking stone.

To the east of Haverfordwest is the village of Wiston, which is on an ancient pilgrim route .The church was founded in the 12th. century by (I haven't made this up, honest.) Wizo the Fleming.

What an amazing name, he was obviously a very busy man though, because not only did he build the church and do lots of good deeds, he must have upset some people because he had to build a castle , just a few yards away, to defend his lands. Good old Wizo.

I love the odd shape of the porch entrance.
I am sorry if this is turning into some sort of weird history blog, I'll get back to textiles next time.( I think.) Here's all that's left of Wizo's pad, worth climbing the steps though, for the views across Pembrokeshire. I collected a huge amount of 'stuff' whilst on my Welsh foray, loads of leaflets, 3 books about Welsh churches, 200 photos,of church doors ,strange stone beasties, grass growing out of walls etc., normal holiday souvenirs. . .

The problem I now have is, well, organising it all. I thought I was being clever and bought Photoshop to help me. Ho ho. It's made my brain hurt and now I feel obliged to learn how to use it when what I want to do is hide it and pretend it isn't there. Ah well, perhaps I'll do some sewing instead.