Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Year so Far

I thought now might be a good time to look back on my New Year's wishes. Two in particular seem to be fulfilled as far as I would expect! I am not saying I am perfect in these two things but I have progressed as far, if not further than I expected. These are number one and number three and here is what I wrote:

1) To become more creative.
I currently make jewellery using a variety of techniques including a loom, stringing and bead weaving. I would like to expand my creativity in new directions but am not sure which to pursue. I like the idea of learning more about photography and drawing. I would like to sew better and learn how to use my sewing machine. I would like to crochet and make rag rugs...

3) To find a job where I can be.
I need a job as soon as possible following Christmas. I have a habit of doing temporary admin work but would be happy to move on from this. I don't care what it is that I do as long as it is in a place that doesn't make me miserable or stop me from growing...

I believe I have successfully bought creativity into my life. I may not have taken up crochet or learnt how to use my sewing machine or made any rag rugs but I have taken up journaling. I love the relaxed style of this and the way it bring sin so many skills and materials. I am content to work on this at the moment but I hope to add other skills later on... But maybe not this year.

I believe I have definitely found a job where I can be. It turned up straight after New Year and while it is still temporary it is ongoing temporary work which is fine. It certainly doesn't make me miserable or stop me growing. I like the people I work with and I can really be myself, there is no one to impress in a warehouse. In fact it in itself is helping me grow, I am having to do more and more physical work and this can be only good for my health and fitness...

As to the other wishes... I put my name down on the Landshare scheme started by Hugh Fearnley Whittingshall. The National Trust has recently pledged to open some of it's land to provide allotments via this scheme.

I am not sure how my connection to all that is, is growing right now. With F being ill, we haven't been on any walks the last two weekends and it is being out in nature that always makes me feel connected.

I guess I do have enough. I could do with some extra to pay my fuel bill though! and a new fridge / freezer to replace the dead one....

As to whether or not all around me are growing in light and love - I have absolutely no idea!


So not bad going at the moment really!

Friday, 27 February 2009

Demands and Ultimatums

It has been an odd day but not a bad day... I got to leave work earlier than normal which gave me time to do a few creative bits.

The reason I got to leave work earlier though was a little odd. It all has to do with Neanderthal. At the end of his three weeks with us, I have found him even more abhorrent than I expected on the first day I met him. He had a strange attitude to work and honesty.

Our boss is one who allows people certain privileges in return for working hard to help team spirit, such as leaving early. These are not things we expect or take advantage of and we certainly don't just disappear a little early because we have no work and it is five to. Neanderthal had different ideas.... He blatantly abused this easy going atmosphere. He was always going on little walks and making phone calls and took eery opportunity to avoid doing any work he could.

If I had to ask him to do something he very much resented it. At first he was only rude when others were absent but eventually there wasn't so much care. At first if I wanted to sow him something i would ask if he fancied.... His answer was generally no thank you. So I began to say do this rather than being more polite. He didn't like that either and took it that my getting him to do things was driven my desire to remain in my office behind my computer. He asked me directly and insultingly if I was agoraphobic. After which things were never quite so relaxed between us.... He stopped taking pains to hide his dislike of me and I am not sure how good I was at covering up my dislike of him.

He was obviously clever but just as obviously lazy. He made no effort to remember things he was shown and even when asked to look out for something, checking a couple of hours later it would be evident that he hadn't bothered. He felt the work was easy and beneath him and he didn't have enough pride to still do it well.

He was also odd, one day he would say to someone he lived in one town, the next he would tell someone he lived in a different one. One day he was single, the next he had a long-term girlfriend and a child. He was very interested in ladies and his behaviour and attitude towards some could have been considered harassment.

So as he was a temp, why did he last three weeks? Because my boss is nice and felt awkward getting rid of someone. Talking to the agency it became obvious that although he had been the best choice at the time, more amiable staff were now available. It was all agreed. He would go. Celebrations all round. He won't be that sorry either as he made it clear the only thing he would miss would be the money.

So how did he go? At 3.00 I was allowed to go and so was he. Shortly after he left he would have received a phone call from the agency. Although I am relieved he is going, i am not sure that all of how he has been removed sit well with me. As a long term temp, I have worked for employers who found it hard to talk about leaving and have had the agency have to do the telling. It hurts and leaves a whole range of awkward emotions.

In his case there were so many reasons for him to go but...

This was the theme of the day though. I finally had to start work on the necklace my future m-i-l has insisted I make, even though I am off making jewellery in a big way and am overdue several piece for my family that were due weeks ago. she also chose a very fiddly, intricate and time consuming design.... *sigh* There is no getting away from it however and also no telling her no. I don't think she would be able to take it in without my being very rude as it wouldn't fit with what she wants.

I have also been listening to the relationship difficulties of a friend where there is a lack of communication and too many demands. An ultimatum seems inevitable...

So how do I feel? Tired but fine. Neanderthal is gone. I still like all my other workmates and my job has very much grown on me. I have done several inches of the necklace and I know that it won't take me ALL weekend and I will still have some time for other fun things. My relationship is great, we communicate and sometimes we bicker and sometimes we have fun but mostly we have fun bickering.

Part of me does wonder how Neanderthal feels. Thinking all is fine. Being let out of work nice and early on a Friday. Feeling good ecause it is the weekend and getting some bonus time. Then receiving that call and instantly being one of the many unemployed.... I do feel sorry for him.



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I am in two minds whether to leave this post up here or not. It was late and it had been a long and tiring week. I never wanted to whine to much on this blog or be nasty about people but at the same time I need to own my less positive emotions. So here it is. Take it with a pinch of salt...

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Thief of Time

Sometimes life gets in the way, as I believe I have before. I haven't made time for creativity this week or much of anything else. Work obviously takes time but I have found my job has been requiring less time behind the computer and more out and about doing more manual things. Not surprisingly I am pretty tired after this...

Monday on the way home my friend and I witnessed an accident. No one else stopped. No one was hurt fortunately and as there were independent witnesses (us) the Police have been able to charge the other driver. It was late by the time I got in and F's cold was taking a turn for the worse.

F has slept badly the last few nights and has been off work. These things seem to sit on his chest and his breathing gets very, very wheezy. Thankfully he has slept in the spare room so I have been able to sleep. He has however has had me running around to the shops for him. This has not been helped by the death of our fridge / freezer. We can not keep anything much in the way of food in the house right now and nightly trips to the shop are the norm for me right now. Some nights I have been rather more than three.

Not surprisingly, with the added shopping trips and additional duties at home plus the more physical work as part of my job, I am feeling more than a little tired. One good thing about being busy and content in my lot (although a little less coughing from F would be nice! *laugh*), is that I am not minding too much the lack of time to carry out my plans...

And I have oh so many plans... But then F is working on Sunday so we shall see what I can get up to then...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Word Wednesday - Rock

Oh Dear... I chose this weeks word and yet I haven't thought about it at all. It fits nicely with the first element of Project Spectrum: Earth.

Rock conjures up two images for me. The first is obvious, for everyone thinks of the rocks beneath their feet. I intend to write a fair bit about the rocks of this beautiful part of the world in which I live. I want to write much, much more about Cornwall.

The second is less obvious and the image is of a hand rocking a cradle. I find it surprising that one word represents the most solid thing beneath our feet but also movement. Why are these two meanings linked in the same word? How bizarre!

Maybe they were reminding themselves of how the ground can be unsteady. Maybe they could feel the motion of the planet rocking gently (or actually rather quickly) as it moves around the sun. Maybe the slow steady movement of Earth, closer then further from the Sun, which alters the seasons is what they linked: the slow steady beat of the heart of our home.

Looking at an etymological dictionary online it seems that rock may well be a celtic word in origin coming from the word roch. It tended to refer to larger rock formations rather than individual pieces of rock. This is why it is seen as being a firm word as it is linked to solid foundations.

It seems the movement, to rock, comes from the Swedish word rycka which meant to pull or pluck. It seems it is not a word that started as a slow steady movement, but as a jerky sort of a movement. Maybe the influence of the rocky stone aspect of the word has influenced the type of movement with which it is also associated.

Rock has also given it's name to a type of music which is more fully known as rock 'n' roll. It seems that the roots of this phrase are a little different from the ones I imagined. Apparently it originally referred to a very specific type of movement...

Language is a thing that evolves and this word is no different. I suspect the two words originally sounded very different but as their pronounciation grew closer, their meanings started to be more closely linked. What do you think?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Faith of my Fathers

One thing about my recent spirituality kicj which has been different from past spirituality kicks is that I seem to have come to terms with Christianity. I no longer feel like I have a problem with Christian people just because I didn't feel happy with Christianity as a child. I no longer have a problem with Christianity as a whole. I can happily go into a church and have been to my first church service (except weddings etc) since my teenage rebellion.

When I was a child I went to a school that had been set up for the children of missionaries. Many of the staff were very Christian and the school was a safe place to life and practice their faith. As such Christianity was all around as I grew up. Assembly every day. Religious Studies was treated with the same seriousness as Maths or English. Organisations such as the Girls Crusader Union had a home in my school. I was a Girl Crusader and oh how that makes me cringe now I know a little more about the Crusades.

For all this religious zeal, the people seemed no better or worse than people elsewhere. Some in fact were downright unpleasant and no amount of believe in love and turning the other check ever seemed like it could change that. The history of Christianity seemed to focus only on the parts where Christians had been persecuted or the love message had suceeded. The whole bible was looked at, however I now think that the parts chosen were the nice parts, the parts that fitted with the nicey nice goody two shoes-ness of it all.

I couldn't accept it. I couldn't find a church where I felt that faith was truly the motivating force in the community. Of course I now know that I was missing the most important part of it all, community. People of no faith could quite happily be accepted in a church but sharing of faith is deemed necessary these days. When I was young, people went to church whether they believed or not, it was something they did as a community, together.

By being given a choice in our religion, we have turned away from Christianity but as a result we have lost much of our community. Obviously there are exceptions and Christian communities haven't died but the number of vicars in the UK is dwindling. Church congrgations are dwindling. Most vicars look after several churches and the childhood memory of visiting my local church each week is now an impossibility in most places.

The other thing we are slowly losing is our traditions. The political histoy of christianity shows that local communities imbued chrisitianity with their own traditions and meanings. A recent series on the BBC called 'Around the World in 80 Faiths' has shown that Christianity differswildly around the world. Much of what Christians do in some countries looks very other to me with overtones of Judaism, Paganism and a million other local traditions and variations and memories of long lost local faiths.

There seem to be two threads in the history of Christianity, the political thread and the mystical thread. The political thread is that started by Constantine's (a Roman Emperor) taking up of Christianity and using it as a political tool of unification and as a justification for the just war. This continued through Great Britain's move away from Celtic Christianity, the reformation, King Henry the Eights creation of the Church of England, the religios troubles of Ireland and it continues to this day.

Originally Christianity was a fringe faith where they really did practice being poor and loving thy neighbour. Constantine derailed all this. When the Roman empire fell, Roman Catholicism did not but it did retract it's reach for a time. Christianity remained in the British Isles, in particular in Ireland at first. The Celtic Christianity was much more mystical and reverted back to it's followers being poor and a much more basic interpretation of the Bible.

The Irish sent out missionaries to the rest of the British Isles which by this time had been invaded by the Angles and over run with paganism again. Mostly these missionaries reached the Celtic areas of Britain, such as Cornwall, Wales and Scotland. At this time the Roman Catholics reappeared in England bringing law and writing and belonging to a community of European Christian nations. This community drew Britain away from Celtic Christianity and towards Catholicism although much of the celtic areas of Britain have retained a different feel to the England.

I can't forget that my fore fathers have been Christians for generations now. They followed the traditions that I was bought up in. They bought to their faith all the things that their families taught them. The Christianity they followed contains the seeds of their earliest faiths. Christianity is mine. My community. My traditions. My religious sites since my ancestors first began to worship. Why should I have to turn my back on all these because I can not believe in the God of the Christians or condone some of the acts of Christianities history caused by it's link to politic?

It is all my heritage, every last bit of it. But my faith is my own.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Darkest Hour of the Dog

I could talk about chains of events. About the little things that placed me on a road at the right time to see a minor accident. About the emergency services. How we were the only car to stop. How I am not at my best in strange situations and I don't always like how I come across. but I shan't, at least not today. Today I want to tell a different story.

One of the many greyhounds that has lived out it's life in my parents house, there was one who i remember with a rueful smile. She had the unusual markings known as brindle, seen in some breeds of dogs, but not others. She was a beautiful rich chestnut brown with black stripes. There was only one possible name for her really.... Tiger...

She had belonged to someone and lived in their house but once she was unable to race and proved to be infertile, she was of no use and was passed on for rehoming. She had obviously been us for hunting and she would alert me to the presence of prey when we were out walking. Her loud hunting call, similar but the not the same as a howl, must have startled many people within hearing distance....

I have to say i like a wilder dog to act as a companion on walks (not as wild as my current to deviant dogs unfortunately). One of my parents greyhounds was so well behaved when out walking that it was like walking a piece of rope... Tiger was fun.

One day i set off with her on a nice walk. We set out across the field opposite. Unfortunately the crops were near to harvest and had fallen over the path. We battled on through, aiming to follow the path to a small ancient wood, well away from roads. It was hard going and we had made it maybe two thirds of the way across when her lead became entangled. I had to undo her lead in order o be able to untangle us.

Being slightly lower down than me, she could see between the stalks. If I hadn't been untangling her, I might have noticed an intent look on her face. There was no hunting howl, she has no need, she was already free to hunt as my hands fought the crops. And she was gone. I couldn't follow through the crops or even see which way she had gone. Greyhounds can cover a lot of ground....

I looked for her before returning home. I had no car so called a Vet friend for advice. They joined me to hunt for her and drove up to the farm owner to see if they had seen her. No sign. We kept looking and then we found her.

On one of the edges of the huge field there is a small scrubby wood with a field entrance by it. Inside the entrance there was a large pile of dung, specifically pig dung for the owners of this land were pig farmers. She was looking very pleased with herself. She had obviously caught and eaten her prey and then celebrated by a nice long roll... in the dung pile.

She was no longer a stripey dog but a vile smelling brown dog. My friends didn't want her in their car so we walked on home and they went their happy way.

I bathed her in the garden. I scrubbed her brown and sticky skin back to silky stripes. I shampoo'd her and rinsed her. Still the rank odour lingered. I bathed her again and shampoo'd and rinsed. No matter what I did, the smell lingered...

Despite all the bathing, she still looked pleased with herself. My parents had a good laugh at my expense on their return. I think they felt the bathing had been punishment enough for temporarily misplacing one of their dogs.... Some of her odour had not surprisingly transferred itself to me...

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Common Roots

I have been struggling a little, trying to get hold of this concept of deity. I can't seem to relate to a particular God or Goddess. I like the idea of neolithic Mother figures having no details on their faces. The figure I made has no details on her face and I am comfortable with that. Many people with similar beliefs to me choose a God or Goddess which they are drawn to. I find this idea difficult...

I have come to realise that this isn't a problem, it is all to do with how I believe things to be. My real, core belief. The one I had perhaps mislaid a little...

I believe that everything contains a spark of spirit. I believe these sparks together mount up to an incredible spirit, that is the spirit of our planet, that some might call Gaia amongst other names. I believe that this spirit is nature and you can see it most strongly when looking out on the world. To look on the beauty of the world is to worship for me.

This spirit is both good and bad, male and female. It is everything all in one and may have contradictions inherent in it. I believe that all the Gods and Goddesses ever worshipped are aspects of this spirit. My truth is not the truth of others but for me, to look for a personal deity feels wrong at this time, it is not at the root of my faith.

I was talking to F in a car park yesterday before we went into a shop. I asked him how he felt about the changes I have made to my life recently, my return to my spirituality in particular. F is a doer rather than a thinker but he has the almighty power to surprise me. F was of the opinion that my change in attitude and picking up of my life had taken me closer to his outlook on life. I guess I have to agree with him there.

He continued by explaining how when we visited the tate, he really meant it when he said the view from the window was the real art. That nature is the most beautiful thing and the best and how he was glad that I had started us going out for more walks and how much he was enjoying that and how it had made him feel happier.

It seems that my beloved was able to just see that we were the same, but sometimes we happen to use different words for things. That I have turned my belief and feelings into a faith I try and use to better myself while he has no need of faith, he just is. It seems that within the heart of my non-spiritual fiance, there actually beats a spiritual nature loving heart. For all my academic ability, I think he is the clever one.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Strange Luck

Many years ago i had a dream that i had won 25 million pounds on the lottery. Soon after I had a second dream that I had won 19 million. Connected in these dreams were forgotten elements that led me to make a promise to myself. There was a woman I knew many years ago who enjoyed causing me pain. The knife was already there but she liked to jiggle it around and twist it a little. No matter how I once felt about her, if I ever do win I shall track her down and make sure she is alright. I have no idea what exactly I would be expecting...

Last week I had another dream. Again, I had won the lottery. i had spent some time checking the numbers in the dream and when I awoke i was absolutely gutted that I could only remember one number, 12. I wasn't even sure if this number was one of the winning numbers or not.

On Friday I bought three random sets of numbers at one shop - none contained a 12. So I went to a second shop to buy three more. The man in front had wanted one not two sets so the lady at the checkout asked me if I would take his numbers. I did this and had another line. none contained a twelve. On to the next shop and another three lines and no 12. I decided to buy three more and select the numbers and make sure each contained a 12. So I had 12 sets of numbers and three of them had the number 12 in them...

This morning I checked my numbers and the number 12 had come up! Unfortunatley I was a few numbers short of a full house... I did however win £5.50.

Part of me wonders whether I would have won the jackpot if I had remembered all the numbers. Bizarely the jackpot this week was £25 million!

I remember a story I read many years ago. I have no idea of the name or the author but some of the ideas stuck with me. A lady was able to read fortunes but not in the normal way, she was able to tell people why they should do whatever it was they were meant to do. There was one man who made toys and he was supposed to do this and be successful and the reason was that in many years to come, after he had died, a child would be given some of his toys and would use them to fend off an attack.

I guess I may never know why I felt directed to buy my tickets and be where I was yesterday. Or maybe when you are told something, sometimes you are only told once and it is up to us to listen and get it right. My dreams still might come true.... *laugh*

Friday, 20 February 2009

Being Me

I have always felt a little guilty for my gifts. I have a high IQ and a good academic record. People place so much importance on this, although I am not entirely sure why. My lack of ruthessness and self confidence has not helped me to get ahead. Being contented and a good person are far, far more important I think than being clever but striving for these does not help gain a good career.

My feeling apologetic over my abilities started early with my sister and has only continued over the years. I hate that by being cleverer I am making other people feel less clever. I can see in others faces when they are forced to accept that I may be cleverer or them that generally they really don't like this.

Tonight we went to a quizz and the questions were unusually skewed towards my abilities. We were the team in the corner being a little rowdy and having the most fun. Nobody expected us to do well. Nobody expects the fat mumsy looking woman with the dirty laugh to know a thing or two about science and maths. F contributed handsomely as well as he has a mind that latches on to random trivia, particularly of the film and music variety.

To cut a bit of waffle short, we won. By one point. No one was more surprised than us as we hadn't been taking it seriously. This left me feeling guilty. I know I shouldn't but I do. I actually don't feel comfortable up there in the limelight. I don't like the way people readjust and suddenly notice you. I like sitting back and having a laugh. I don't like the limelight or to be taken too much notice of. I like to slowly get to know people first before I let them in and loosen up a little.

One thing I love about the group of people I currently work with is that they don't care about what I can do so much (they might if I couldn't do my job *laugh*). We are equals and we get on. They are comfortable in their own skins and so what i can do doesn't make them feel bad. Because of this we work well as a team as we can happily use each others strengths and work round any weaknesses. We are comfortable and happy.

Maybe it would be easier if I looked like a nerd... Instead of a plump mumsy sort... I think society still has a habit of underestimating women unless they have fought to gain a place at or near the top. I know people often understimate me. Doing the sort of work I end up doing doesn't help. Some would feel that my current job has taken me even further from my capabilities. Why then am I happier in this job than I have been in any other for quite some time?

Why does society value some skills more than others? Why is there often a divide between blue collar and white collar workers? Some of the people I work with right now are the most clever, sensible and nice people I have ever known and I don't need for them to have a piece of paper to tell me that...

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Reality

Something happened today. Just a little thing and it got me thinking. One of my colleagues in the light of a slight misjudgement is subtly reinventing events that occurred and their part in them. Because we like them we are happy to let them do it. You could see them reinventing their reality as they talked.

My Gran used to do this. She would replay events over and over again in her head. Each time she would change the words she said to better ones and the ones said to her to worse ones. By the time she had finished she was a saint who was put upon by unsaintly others whereas in everyone's else's realities it was the other way around.

Thinking about my Gran made me think of other ways that all of us do this all the time. She believed that if someone had a cold you could place a bowl of dettol (a disinfectant) in the room with them and it would kill all the germs.

Beliefs in science and religion have changed so much over the course of human history. Those that we have now will, with all certainty be superseded by those that our descendants hold. whose reality is the 'real' reality? Mine, without a doubt! But I recognise the right of everyone else to have their own reality which can interact with mine. Maybe that germ living on my pizza will have a really, really strong belief in it's ability to make me ill and actually achieve it? Who knows?

If belief and reality are connected, what does this mean for America right now? The American reality must be changing at the speed of light right now...

So back to my reality... I believe in magic, because I think the world is a better place with the ability for special things to happen. I try and believe that people are good and nice but I don't always suceed. I believe the world is a beautiful place and that I am blessed to live in such a stunning part of it.

I believe the mind has many layers, like Shrek's onion theory... What we think we need and want or our topmost most public layers may be very different from what our deepest most private layers know we need and want.

Where does this leave those poor souls with mental health issues? I have no idea. Maybe some are actually more in touch with the real reality than we are. I believe for some the pain of their issues is like their brain just hurting and hurting with no way for them to escape from inside their own heads. Do I want this sort of reality? No way! Do i know how to help those who live with sort of reality? Not a clue. I suspect everybody creates their realities in some different way.

Of course some of us are better at creating our own reality than others. Obama for instance must be very good at creating his own reality. In my reality right now, these words are beginning to come across as strange rambling, stream of cnsciousness words which may be turning into drivel... *sigh*

Bizarrely, Juniper has posted on reality today, after I had already decided i would write about it. Her post is much less rambling and far more elegant....

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Word Wednesday - Fish

Oh dear... I am fishing around for something to write about here and fish was an idea I had... oops.

I love fish in many ways. I think they are beautiful and elegant creatures. I would love to own some and I did once, for a while. I discovered how delicate they are and how hard it is to maintain their environment. I didn't have the expertise and I didn't learn quickly enough. I still have my fish tank. It sits all alone in a corner gathering dust.

I am not sure how I feel about aquariums now. How many fish are bought by ignorant owners who don't have the skill to keep them alive? Or as was possible in my case, are sold inferior goods and so their tanks just can't support them? I would love to have fish again but I fear that they would be a valueless sacrifice to my desire. Not valueless because they have no value but because their deaths would have no value.

Maybe one day I shall have a fishy friend who has the knowledge and the time to help me get set up and running...

I loved the idea of diving and seeing fish in their own environment, and I did a few times. I never saw many fish though. Bursting my ear drum put a swift end to that little hobby but the memory of the freedom I felt under the waves as stayed with me. You can move in any direction in a way you can not on the ground. Fish have the most fantastic environment in which to live.

Most of the ocean seems to be a vast desert, with life clinging on to the perilous edges and larger shoals and others like sharks and whales crossing. Vast currents carry nutrients and the creatures that live on them halfway across the world.

I love the sea. Stood on the beach though, the sea feels like a huge other world that I can only swim or paddle around the edges of. The sea is something I dabble on the edge of and look longingly at. Fish are obviously very different to me. I wonder if they look at the beach and think the same thing?

Monday, 16 February 2009

Growing Pains

This could be another post about how icky I feel and how dull work was but I suspect the headache is hanging around cos red wine really doesn't agree with me... So I shall resist... Maybe I should delve into my past... Maybe I can think of something interesting to talk about...

Maybe I should talk about how I survived school with my love of learning and books intact... I went to school like any other child but I wasn't happy. I liked adults far more than I liked other children. I didn't entirely get other children and they certainly didn't entirely get me. I was a bright happy child who would leave my parents and find people to talk to, my parents had to work very hard to stop me doing this!

I remember having one or two girl friends but not being all that close to them really. I remember that I was starting to discover that i liked playing with the boys more than I liked playing with the girls, just before I changed schools. I remember standing at the side of the playground and catching crickets with my hands from the grasses in the bank. I remember learning the word look on my first day and being so pleased. I remember playing organised games in the playground. I remember that my friend L and I would always be the two with the most stars.

My parents had already moved my sister to another school and because I was unhappy they decided to move me sooner than planned. The school I was to go to was a girls boarding school although I would not board. Unfortunately my date of birth was close to the year cut off point in state schools. My new school managed to put me up a year without even realising. They then discovered I was horrifically behind, tested me for dyslexia (I suspect i am on the spectrum as I do have some traits...) and put me in the lunch time catch up classes...

Time passed and no matter what prizes I won at Prizegiving, I never actually got over the knowledge that I was one of the less able. No one ever actually told me I had caught up or why I had been behind. Not till a lot later. My sister is less academic than I am and in order to preserve her confidence, my achievements were also seldom discussed. Not surprisingly they held little meaning to me.

I was never a girly girl and my strengths of maths and science didn't really help. Of course neither did being a day girl in boarding school. So much happened at night and at weekends that us day girls were always on the outside of things. Of course looking back I know these girls were separated from their families, often from an early age, and must have been pretty homesick. Many lived in far off countries and some did not even know English when they first arrived at the school. They must have envied me the ability to go home to my family each night.

By the time I got to my GCSE's I was a quiet, hard working girl who according to one of my teachers seldom smiled. When I received my grades, I finally realised that I was more suited to study than some others. I thought that everyone would receive the grades I had. The pain on one girls face as I asked what she had got is not something that I ever forgot.

So I left school and went to Sixth Form College to do my A-Levels and everything was different overnight.... In a place where there was over a thousand 16 and 17 year olds, it would be pretty impossible to not find some others like you. Of course I did find others like me, who studied maths and physics and liked the same music as me. For the first time I found a place where I was accepted and happy and was not seen as being a little nerdy...

Of course I now know that most people of that age have many of the same feelings as I did. I would never ever want to go back to being a teenager unless I could take all my knowledge and experience with me...

So how did I maintain my love of learning? I think that is for tomorrow now...

Sunday, 15 February 2009

What's Your Word?

You see life as an amazing mix of possibilities, ideas, and fascinations.
And sometimes you feel like you don't have enough time to take it all in.

You love learning. Whether you're in school or not, you're probably immersed in several subjects right now.
When you're not learning, you're busy reflecting. You think a lot about the people you know and the things you've experienced.

*laugh*

Fancy a go?

Today Part Two

I watched Seabiscuit (which always makes me cry) while completing Caspiana's scavenger hunt for pages 4 and 5 of my soul journal. The magazines and flyers from yesterday really helped. I then went and put a lamb joint in to boil with the duck stock from Xmas and some bay leaves and a handful or Ras el Hanout spices.

I then pretty much failed to do anything else much at all... Except I discovered another bloggy creative challenge. Project Spectrum is this year to spend two months looking at each of the directions / elements with associated colours and materials. This really appeals as I started looking at the elements earlier on this year. It feels like a good extension and will fit nicely with my Creative Every Day challenge as well.

Apart from that, I now have a stonking headache. *sigh*

Today Part One

Today is a day of deadness and lacklustre-ness. This last week has been full pelt. Full of lack of sleep hormones and detoxing releasing nastiness into my body. I seem to have been so busy and so tired. So here I am on Sunday.

F is at work. S is wherever he might be when he isn't here. I have nothing that has to be done today, although a years worth of things that I should do or could do. The house is as normal a mess. I have a zillion creative projects that were in my head this week and now I am here with time, they are nowhere to be seen.

I am feeling out of touch with my spiritual side although I think some of this is an illusion right now. I don't feel I have done anything on my Thirteen Moons work but this month seemed to be all about connecting with where you life and it's history... I certainly haven't done anything on my Hearthcraft course. I need to do a meditation / ceremony but is when you are completely depleted on the energy front the right time? I also need to make a home for a household spirit, seeing as my house just isn't going to be clutter free and tidy any time soon, I have to welcome them somehow... I need to work on my altars somewhat as they are languishing a little...

Although I find it easy to connect with nature, I am finding it hard to connect with any deities or specific aspects. last lunar moth, my thirteen moons study got stuck on looking more deeply at them.

I also want to learn more about my adopted home and to share that knowledge through the blog. I would like to start little mini-series on the geology of Cornwall and it's history to. Having the blog to write for is quite motivating when it comes to getting things done...

I have a rumbling headache. I want to hibernate in the lounge on the sofa and catch up on my TV watching with some cuddlesome hounds, my quilt and the fire. First I should put some washing on though...

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Fisherman and Fine Art

'I haven't got you a present, today will be your present' F says. 'What do you want to do?'

I thought and the place that popped into my head was the Tate St Ives. We had tried to go there on my birthday but it was closed while they changed exhibitions. F is Cornish and had never been. I have lived here some time and I have never been. So today was to be the day. With S in tow.

Perhaps an art gallery focusing on the more modern is the best place for a non-academic very kinasthetic boy. But I didn't care. It was MY day. So off we went.

The museum was smaller than I expected. Four decent sized galleries and a fifth room that will be hard to describe. The entrance to the museum is via a circular space specifically designed to capture the sounds and amplify them so that you can hear the crash of waves clearly. The galleries are on the second floor. The fifth and most special gallery has a mezannine that connects the second floor galleries. It follows the half of the curve of the entrance and has a two storey high wall of glass giving an incredible view of the bay. The frames and supports of the entrance way frame different parts of the view.

Aside from the building, the contents weren't really our thing. Although I like geometric art, that on show by Ben Nicholson just didn't speak to me. The colours were drab and somehow the shapes he chose didn't sit in a balanced way. When he painted landscapes I found his style irritating as he obviously had the skill to paint properly. I am just not enough of a modern art appreciator to really appreciate anything that doesn't tick my pretty bix I guess.

There was also some pottery on display. The final gallery contained works by an artist in residence called Luke Frost. His paintings were deceptively simple. Canvases painted all in one colour with a thin stripe of colour, down the middle, or on the edges or across the middle. Many of these lines are actually two lines of similar colour, next to each other. He has carefully selected his colours so that they really, really stand out and the lines seem unaturally bright. Canvases were arranged singly or in groups, flat on the walls or bent into corners. The effect of them was dazzling.

Given the size of the museum we had a fair bit of time left on the meter. So we decided to go for a walk and we found ourselves heading towards the island. It isn't actually an island but it is very close to being one. There is the remains of an old battery that used to contain three guns and a scientific observation post. On the very top there sits a walled terrace with a step fall from it on three sides. On this terrace there sits a tiny chapel dedicated to St Nicholas. The site of this chapel is said to be where St Ia landed when she sailed from Ireland in a corracle or ivy leaf (!). It is from her that St Ives takes it's name.
The Island was home to an ancient settlement and the chapel is dedicated to fishermen. It feels like a pagan site, sat atop this semi-island, surrounded by the sea. It would have been an obvious choice for a settlement, defended by the sea and the rocks, with a good harbour. The peak of the hill would have been where they would have gone to worship. This community would have felt very connected to the sea. If St Ia landed here and gave her name to the town, why is this chapel not named for her? because it had an earlier connection?

From St Ives you can gaze across Gwithian Bay to Godrevy Lighthouse where we went last week. It is a special place, not just to fishermen but to artists, hence the Tate choosing to place a museum there. It's narrow streets of fisherman's cottages crouch together criss crossed with alley ways and walkways and cut throughs. The shops are full of art and the town is a mecca for tourists. Surfers love it to. On one side of the island is Porthmeor Beach and on the other there is the tiny (comparitively) cove of Porthgwidden, then the harbour with it's beach and finally Porthminster.View from the Tate's balcony across the rooftops of St Ives and Gwithian Bay to the headland of Godrevy and the lighthouse.

I never go there in the summer unless I have to but out of season it is lovely....

A Place to BE

Last night I failed to write on my blog. I have a good excuse. I was out drinking the night away. I was eating good food in good company and having a laugh. Quite a lot of laughs actually. But I shall get back to that later...

Yesterday work continued in the same vein as normal. My mind floating off to far distant, beautiful places as I worked, at least when I wasn't busy singing along to some song on the radio. I realised i was actually pretty happy and this job I was doing didn't interfere with that. In fact the people I work with actually add to that. Except of course for Neanderthal...

Technically Neanderthal is the same rank as me but I know the job inside out and he doesn't but he needs to know it. I have been having issues with giving him instructions. I like to be polite and make things a request, rather than barking out an order. These requests have been generally met with no's that have left me gulping for words like a goldfish gulping for air out of water.

Yesterday I endeavoured to give a direct instruction.

'I would like you to take these here and give them to people and then go here and get this, please.'

'Why? Don't you want to do it today?'

'It's not that I just need to make sure you can do all these things. You won't need to do it again unless I am ill or on holiday.'

'But it's easy, anyone can do it'

'I know it is, but...'

'Are you one of those agoraphobics or something?'

I laughed. Of course I am but in a minor personal way that develops when i am alone in the house for weeks on end. I am not agoraphobic in work and never have been. It is a minor difficulty, not one people would ever notice. I know this all the way through my being, at work I am not agoraphobic.

I am however a fat and unfit office person working in a warehouse. They knew this when I was asked to go back. They wanted me back because of my speed on the computer and accuracy. Getting me to do warehouse duties is like trying to turn a carthorse into a racehorse (or vice versa). This is not saying I don't do things in the warehouse. I do. However if I attempted to do more than a few strenuous (to me) activities each day, I would be miserable and hurt.

Everyone knows this and understands this and is fine with it. I will get up unasked when no one is around and answer the door and take deliveries. I will monitor my absent colleagues emails and print things off for them. If they are busy I will even start on some of those things by myself as far as I am able. This is appreciated.

My desire to make sure that Neanderthal knows the warehouse duties and goes out into the warehouse stems from the fact that I am supposed to be on the computer all the time (pretty much) while he is supposed to do both jobs. As such he has to understand that as the one responsible for one of his duties, I shall be giving him instructions because I am the only one with any idea what is going on and where I am up to.

I don't think this makes me an agoraphobic. I fact I was more than a little put out that his response to me giving him an instruction was this. I was so gobsmakcked I had to tell some of my colleagues.

Later that evening we were discussing Neanderthal and it turned out I wasn't the only person who had reservations about him on day one. I like the fact that everyone has given him a chance despite gut feelings. I like the fact that everyone has been unfailingly polite and professional. I like the fact that our close knit team has taken a week to admit that he isn't going to fit quite so well. This is not to say anything much will change anytime soon, he can do the job, but he won't stay long term I expect.

As to me. Yesterday made me realise that I do belong and I like it. I am part of their team, I am one of them now. They understand I should be off somewhere else earning obscene amounts of money and using my expensive qualifications. But for now, I am part of their team and we all like each other and work well together. I may be fat and unfit, an unusual thing in my current working environment but I bring something to the team and save them from doing my boring job.

F thoroughly enjoyed meeting them all and could really see why I am strangely happy where I am, despite my lack of expectations of that... I would be foolish to leave right now.... There is talk of a temporary contract... I would probably accept a little one, a big one might be a little too scary...

This all made me think back to one of my wishes... and here it is...

3) To find a job where I can be.
I need a job as soon as possible following Christmas. I have a habit of doing temporary admin work but would be happy to move on from this. I don't care what it is that I do as long as it is in a place that doesn't make me miserable or stop me from growing...

I think recognising when you have received what you asked for is a real pleasure. It is why I firmly believe that asking for something very prescriptive in magic (or prayer) is daft. By putting your true desires out there you allow life to bring you what you need, in whatever form. When I wrote my true partner seeking spell all those years ago, did I say I wanted F by describing all his details? No. I would have gotten it wrong cos I didn't know him yet. I stated how I wanted to feel and what type of relationship I wanted. Life did the rest and bought me a person I could never have described or predicted...

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Stolen Moments

This morning, I woke against my will, far earlier than I had any desire to. Given how I had been feeling the previous evening, this was particularly unwelcome. Today has been a little bit of a struggle to be quite honest, I seemed to have achieved a little less than normal while at work today but I have been making just as much effort... *sigh*

I was sat eating my breakfast, surfing blogs, when it occurred to me that I could use this time. I pushed the thought down. Then my computer decided to switch itself off in order to install some windows updates. I took the hint... By this time I didn't have so much time left.

I decided to go the long way to work and drive up to the big hill from which I threw my seeds. This hill dominates where I live and where I work but like so many people, I find I forget it is there a lot of the time. Just driving up the track takes several minutes and so by going there I was really, really pushing my ability to get to work on time.

It was a beautiful morning. The night had been clear and cold so there was a frost steaming in the sunlight. The sky was a beautiful, gentle shade of blue. The sun golden and glowing with the promise of warmth... Little white wispy clouds sat in the sky.
(The sea is along the top left of the land)

This time as I drove up the hill, instead of robins, I saw magpies. Two of them. A good sign. On top of the hill the view was beautiful but every second felt stolen. I spent no more than five minutes there and snapped a few pictures in a hurry. As I drove back down again, I saw the same two magpies.

I was late to work by two minutes but I was able to sneak in the back so only my team were aware... I blamed the unexpected heavy frosts. I am normally early and start work when I get in. I also forget to take some of my breaks. My boss was unlikely to complain *grin* as long as I don't do it again for a good long while...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Word Wednesday: Roots

I am sat here with no desire to write anything at all. I want to curl up in bed, nice and warm. I had my session with the Mistress of Pain earlier which means I am now sore and in serious detox. My hormones have gone crazy and are doing their thing. F forgot to let me know that there was no tea tonight so I had to go shop after my massage. This meant that I got home later than I should have done. The new, and more expensive, hound food we bought at the weekend seems to inspire extra drinking. The result of all this was that Big Dog had been unable to contain himself. I discovered this after I had let them out and fed them. I was ferrying drinks and laptop into the lounge and had left F's tea on the side to put in so it would be ready when he got home. Unfortunately my being distracted by Big Dog's accident gave Little Dog the perfect opportunity to eat F's tea.

By this time I had had enough. I rang F and grumped. The end result is a box of chocolates and some flowers! *grin*

So roots... Do I have roots? I know my flowers have been completely separated from theirs and will die before long. Their current flowering is an illusion of life really. Is this what I am, a rootless being who just gives the illusion of life? How would I know? Maybe I don't need roots because I am not a plant.

Bizarely I am watching Star Trek and Jean-Luc Picard has just mentioned something about '....being connected, being rooted'. I was going to write a little of the roots of Cornwall, it's history but maybe I should write about something else instead...

Sometimes when I am out in the world, enjoying my surroundings and the weather, I feel... something... Particularly when stood at the sea with a wild wind blowing salt spray and sand into my face. Is this what it means to be connected?

Sometimes I feel so connected to F. In the little moments mostly. When I am awake and have to get up and he is still asleep as he is on a late and I lie there and watch him sleep. When he buys me flowers because I am grumpy and he wants to make me feel better. When he gives me a kiss good night and gives me that smile. When we walk in the snow and throw snowballs at each other and he helps me down slippy slopes. And when we are together in the wind, by the sea, breathing it all in....

If we were trees then we would be growing right next to each other, our roots and branches mingling. We would draw the beauty of nature up through and roots. And then what would we do with it? Trees transpire, evaporation pulls water up through the tree from the roots and out through the leaves. It is what the water carries with it that feeds the tree. So what is it that feeds us? What does nature carry? Th eonly thing that springs to mind is beauty... But then on a more practical level, nature is everything to us. Without nature, we could not eat, or drink, or anything...

We are all connected and rooted to this grand planet that rolls through space...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Lull

I am sat here with no thought as to what to say. Big Dog decided he couldn't get through the night without going out ( a sign of his advancing years? *sigh*) and I am the light sleeping one. I am also the one who needs their sleep the most. I am tired.

Although whatever was wrong last week has abated somewhat, my ankles are no longer swollen. My skin is still awful but I think this is due to hormones. A few days before I always get a real low period. Even if nothing is wrong, I always get a few hours when I feel awful for no obvious reason. Maybe it is this short term malaise about to hit... I have never ever found a way of avoiding this. I am not sure there is one.

Work saunters on at it's own pace and my new colleague is fine really, I guess, apart from being a bit of a neanderthal. Oh and the flirting with our lady boss, definitely made me smile a little. Especially as they are both single and my boss was flirting back...Definitely not my type but then it is horses for courses.

I would rather have a Quasimodo (not that I have) with a heart of gold (F definitely has one of those) than a hunk who feels I have to be defended by someone with that odd, slightly sexist attitude some physically tough men have. I want a partnership of equals in my relationship. I may moan about F sometimes but he is my partner and the best part of my life. Suddenly sex is present in my work environment, not just flirting but his very presence and interests have bought discussion of young ladies into my little sphere of existence. I don't like it, it makes me uncomfortable.

This is not his fault, it is mine. It is my fear. It is the source of it all. It is where my lack of self confidence, my agoraphobia started, with a man not so disimilar to him in attitudes. It is something that in all these years I have never been able to erase. It is not this new man's fault and I shouldn't tar him with the same brush. It is not something I actually agree with.

I have been thinking about all this today and it occured to me that this chap has many of the attributes of the Horned God. I have struggled with patriarchal religion for the longest time, probably because of my experiences growing up at a Christian school. I find it hard to revere the more blatantly masculine aspects. I have gotten better at this but maybe this man's presence here in my life right now is by way of a test of the green man sort...

Talking of Christianity, I have been watching the BBC's 'A History of Christianity' and it has made intriguing viewing. I find it odd that my Christian School which was able to make up it's own curriculum left so much out. They talked of persecution done unto them but not of the persecution they did unto others. They never mentioned the link between politics and the spread of christianity. It has helped me understand the things I have been learning about the early christianity of Cornwall within a broader picture. At some point I shall write more on this all I expect as I find this history fascinating...

Monday, 9 February 2009

Nice Things and Small Packages

My Mum always said that if you have nothing nice to say, then don't say anything at all. So I am not going to tell you about the new temp who started today, who is probably very nice but very physical manly men with a dark and slightly predatory cast don't make me feel comfortable, even if I am not anywhere near their sights. I think it is more about me than about him. I also shan't tell you about the dream I had where I had a beautiful horse all my own and saw a weasel while out riding or about the rat I saw filching food dcraps from under cars at the supermarket.

So I am going to tell you about my favourite little package, and that's one of the nice things I call her...

Once upon a time, F had a job that required him to visit people at their homes. One day he went to a house and met a little dog and fell in love with it. It just so happened that this little dog was about to become homeless as the lady owner was going to have trouble looking after her shortly.

Now F had fallen very heavily for this little lady and knew he would have to plot mightily in order to bring his new love home. He started by making sure I knew how lovely she was and how fantastic a second dog would be for big dog as company.

Then he dropped the first bombshell: She was a collie greyhound cross. Now he knew there was no problem with the greyhound bit but he knew how I would feel about the Collie bit... I love Collies but they are such clever active dogs. I have come across collie greyhound crosses before and this particular mix can be troublesome depending on how exactly they mix... Greyhound speed and reflexes with collie brains and stamina? That's one hell of a combination...

Every so often F decides he wants something and he gets this glint in his eye. I know that no matter my opinions on the matter, it is best to grit my teeth and hold on tight... So I said yes. By this time Little Dog had been sent to a home and we had to have a homecheck. This was arranged for the Saturday morning while F was working and then when he finished at lunch we would go pick her up.

So the lady comes and does the homecheck and providing Big Dog likes her, Little Dog will be coming to live with us. At this point the lady drops in that little dog is seven months old. I contain my horror and mounting fear and bite back my screams. F can't have just forgotten to mention this...

Big Dog liked Little Dog immediately. This is unusual for Big Dog who seems to have a slightly pathological hatred towards most dogs. So Little Dog came home with us. And was very, very quiet, at least for the first day...

It later emerged from F that Little Dog had had five homes in her short seven months, including the breeder and the rescue home. It became obvious to me that the lady who owned her when F met her might have been using her life alterations as a polite fiction... Little Dog was a very different rescue dog from the terrified Big Dog. I knew how to build up such dogs. What I had no experience of, was how to take overbearing, excitable, dominant dogs like Little Dog down a peg or two.

There were many times when Little Dog found herself nearly moving to her seventh home. These were times when I would be in tears and at my wits end. Little Dog remains a very physical dog, what would be pain to most dogs is an invitation for a play fight to her. no polite tap on the nose or raised voice was ever going to convince her that she wasn't the leader of the pack.

We sought advice from anyone we spoke to. We read books on dog psychology. Eventually someone put us in touch with someone who sorts out troubled dogs for the RSPCA. His advice was to exclude her whenever she was behaving in ways unacceptable to our pack. Simple, clear and easy to follow advice. And do you know what? It worked. Although our doors didn't like the way they were treated much.

To cut a long story short, she is much older now. She is still horrid in many ways. She harasses anyone she doesn't like the look of or who has a dog that walks past our house. She regularly sends our cactuses tumbling to the floor. She is so enthusiastic in her greetings that she comes close to doing people a mischief. If you can catch her at these times, excluding works, but believe me she can move fast!

She has more good points than I can list here. She is an adorable companion. I love playing games with her and she knows exactly how rough she can be before she causes me pain and I get cross and stop playing. As soon as dark comes she transforms into super sleeping hound (which she is much of the day to but always with an ear cocked for an invader). She crawls onto my lap and transforms herself into a fluffy blanket. If I wish to move some part of her for a more comfortable fit, I simply lift that part and no other part moves, they just stay comfortably drapped where they are. Sometimes I let her sneak up on the bed and she can curl up in a small enough ball that, unlike Big Dog, she can get away with it.

She is in short a wonderfuly sweet and caring dog. Did I mention her good looks? Collie coat on smaller, slightly stockier hound frame with a strange corkscrew tail, oversized ears and a fluffy beard... Did I mention her incredible intelligence? Once a ball rolled under the Tv rack and everytime she went to touch the wires to get it, we said no. She stood and thought for a moment before pulling out the newspaper the ball was on, so that it came out inbetween the wires.

This will be her last home (unless we move house). Did I ever mention our two hounds are unique dogs no one else would have had the patience to cope with, who bring us endless rewards, while also being a little embarassing?

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Toxicity and Creativity

I am about as toxic as I get right now. Something has gone wrong the last few days and my body is struggling. I am so glad my next lymphatic massage is this week. Since Wednesday i have been hungry and salads have not been cutting it... My legs have swollen and been sore, my feet are sore. My skin is awful. I have felt cold. Nodes in my throat came up. I probably had a bit of the nasty throat bug my colleagues have had. They are a lot fitter and healthier than me but I didn't come down with it fully. All the same, I havn't felt this toxic in a loooong time.

This means I have felt pretty tired today. I have had a day of housework and creativity with a little food and bathing thrown in for good measure. Either that or creativity is really quite tiring.

I have been thinking about my creativity today as well. I come from three generations of printers and it has taken me a long time to understand that some of my gifts are the things that made them good at what they did. I have realised that I know how to lay things out on a page and that this would have been vital to them as they set type. Balancing things on a page might not seem much of an art but when I produce a document, I just feel how to make it balance and sometimes doing it a different way feels wrong.

I have quite a mathematical brain, I am a scientist who started by studying Physics. I found this a little detached from the real world and switched to Environmental Science. I love geometry. I even worked as a CAD operator at one point. Form and shape appeal to me. As a teen I was fascinated by celtic knotwork which is a real geometrical treat. I never quite got on to constructing some of the really intricate spirals but I love all this. The simplicity of the forms gives such a complicated and intricate result.

I nearly became a mechanical engineer at one point. I like structure as well. As part of a course I was on, we had to construct a papier mache mask. Using a cardboard base you build up the underlying structure using anything you have on hand and lots and lots of masking tape to hold it all together before covering it with glue and paper. I really enjoyed the task but it was obvious that my mask was a little different from the others. The others were much more arty while mine was much more structural. They had felt their masks while I had built mine.

The art I create that is the best, in my mind, is that which draws on my talents of form and structure and geometry but I desire that arty creative force as well. Even my jewellery making can be seen as a logical exercise in combining stitches to make forms. I think I approach creativity as a scientist in many ways. I trained so long as one. In many ways I don't want to undo that training, I want to make my mind even more flexible.

While at college there was a particular display in the college's museum and gallery that reinforced this for me a little. It was a display of work my various members of staff. I remember the work of one very eminent scientist in particular. He has produced technically fantastic line drawings of local places. They were so precise and perfect. They could have been photographs digitally convereted into line drawings. Were they creative or technical drawings?

I guess the root of these thoughts is what exactly is creativity and how does it relate to artyness and technical skill? Is pure application of technical skill artistic? Is it creative? If a computer creates random images of circles overlapping each other of different colours, is this creative?

I guess, for now, I am just practicing and the whole question is academic. I create and therefore I am creative. Are debates such as this toxic? Do they imply that some creativity is better than others? Do they discourage people from creating for the pure enjoyment of it? Are there many more repressed scientists out their, bottling up their creativity until poisons them from within?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Godrevy

Godrevy is the name of the northern most headland of Gwithian Bay, one of the most stunning Bays in Cornwall. It is also the name of the beach that lies in it's shadow, beloved or surfers. The bay stretches from this headland past the village of Gwithian, past acres of sand dunes, past the town of Hayle hidden behind a ridge of sand, to the wide expanse of the hayle estuary and the beautiful, but expensive village of Lelant. The bay contines past Carbis Bay and it's beach to St Ives and it's many tourists.

This quiet bay has been the home to much industry. The mining operations taking sand from the dunes. The explosives factory nestled in the dunes that prevented explosions spreading from building to building. Currently rows of caravans nestle in the dunes and glisten in the sun. Hayle has a harbour and has two parts, Copperhouse and Foundry. It was a haven of industry that has left behind a dead harbour. Carbis Bay was home to mining as well, as was much of Cornwall but unusually Carbis Bay supplied Uranium from it's Pitchblende ore and radioactive rocks can still be found in the mine tunnels leading from the beach. St Ives is the home of art in Cornwall with artists such as Barbara Hepworth making their home there as well as the Tate Modern. It's harbour still supports fishing boats but now there are as many tourist boat trips leaving it's shelter.

It has links with Cornwall's religious past as well. Holy wells, so common in Cornwall are found at Gwithian, Phillack (a small village by Hayle) and Lelant. At Lelant, the old Cornish pilgrammage route to St Michael's Mount begins. Many relics are found in the churches of this area including a plethora of cornish crosses at St Uny's in Lelant wich is believed to be built on the site of a Roman hill fort. There is an inscribed stone at Phillack as well.

I have been thinking a lot today and one thing I have come to realise through writing about Cornwall on this blog, is how much I love it. I love it's history and countryside and nature. I love the sea. This may sound obvious but F and I have often contemplated moving to lessen the distance to my family and increase the distance from his. My qualifications would be of more value elsewhere as well and chances are I would be able to pick up a decent job. I have finally realised though that although i want to move, I do not wish to leave....

Today F and I spent a companionable morning doing our own things in the same room before going to the Post Office where I learnt the rules of posting to Canada (customs stickers and return address in top left corner). I then used some free vouchers from the internet to save ten pounds on some new art supplies. We failed in our quest to buy bacon bites for lunch (squares of puff pastry folded over bacon and cheese) and instead bought crusty baps of a gargantuan size. On our return home we filled them with bacon and chipolatas and tomato ketchup before setting out for Godrevy.

We sat and admired the view across the bay while eating and drinking coffee. The sky was blue with clouds scudding across occasionally blocking the sun and bringing short and light showers. The wind was cold and reduced the temperature we felt to near freezing. It is hard to believe that right now Cornwall is an island cut off by snow and a mere 30 minutes drive would find us in treachorous conditions.

Godrevy has a lighthouse and I had promised my Mum some pictures of a lighthouse. We took quite a few. The lighthouse is now automated and sits perched on it's island. Living there in times gone by must have been pretty lonely. In a busy bay but often cut off from others.

Some of the cliff is unstable and fenced off. At one place you can see a whole section is waiting to slide into the sea which the fault it is moving on exposed. Only a fool would walk across. Below this headland, on the northern side, a seal breeding colony is to be found in the Summer. The next cove round is called Fisherman's Cove. The path down to it is hard to find and hugs the cliff in a way that would discourage many from going down. As expected the fishing is supposed to be pretty good. I once had an encounter with a seal on this beach as we watched each other for several long moments.

We walked the short circular route around the headland. At one point we found a bunch of flowers left on a bench, a memorial to someone whose ashes had been scattered? Later we noticed a flake of snow. Then another. We paused and discovered that the flakes were blowing in horizontally from the sea. Which cloud had spawned them was unclear as they could have been carried for miles across the sea.

Back at the car we drank more coffee as the sun began to slide nearer to the horizon and impart a soft orange to the sky. I saw a Robin in a bramble. It came to sit by our car and I tossed out my cake crumbs for it. It seemed quite happy, the wind ruffling it's feathers even in the shelter of the car. The pied wagtails didn't come quite so close and were a little more manic in moving around while the Robin just sat their and eyeballed me.

We talked about our life a little as it is now. We are both agreed that my blog has had a positive effect on our lives, more so on mine but definitely an effect on his too. As a result of my blog and desire to reconnect with my faith, we are getting out more, no matter the weather. At first he needed a little persuading but it didn't take long for both of us to remember how much we love this landscape we live in, how could we have forgotten?

Friday, 6 February 2009

Signs

I do feel at the moment as if everything is trying to tell me that life is about to get better for me. Not only have there been robins but I have been having magpies, music and tarot to.

The magpies have been hanging around in twos, except when I am about to go to work.

There is a song, I Just Know That Something Good is Going to Happen by the Utah Saints. It was first released many years ago but never made it really big, a little ahead of its time maybe but I loved it. Then it came back last year. Thing is it has never gone away entirely since, but even so.... In the last 36 hours I have heard it 3 times on 3 different radio stations.

Then there is the tarot. Each morning I pick a card from my arthurian tarot. Sometimes it gives me a court card, mostly because it wants to be vague and it knows I hate reading the court cards. Mostly i get minor arcana cards but every so often I get a major arcana card. Major arcana cards are always a sign of things happening and recently I seem to be getting quite a few.

Twice I have had the round table - which is all about cyclic change. Then the sleeping lord has shown up as well and the wounded king. It all points to change and learning and growth. Something is building in my life, something good...

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Red Breast and Yellow Chest

When at the Imbolc celebration last weekend, I had an encounter on the way back from the well. I met a Robin. He stood and watched me from a branch. Curious, bright, intelligent and cheerful. He ignored those who walked on but when a lady stopped, he was off. I am not sure anyone else even noticed him. The lady who stopped was looking at the buds on the tree the Robin was sat in.

On my way up the hill on Imbolc to scatter my wish seeds, I was tempted to turn back as the snow started to come down. On this little track, covered in snow and very open to the elements, I came across not one but two Robins! They should have been tucked away somewhere warm and out of the way....

Today as I drove out of the supermarket feeling sad I had to go to work, I met a Robin flying in. It flew over my car, flashing it's chest at me as it did so. A smudge of red, moving up and over.

I began to feel that there was maybe something being said to me that my normal magpies couldn't quite convey... I have long read magpies and watched for them as I feel I have developed some link with them, but Robins? Hmmm.

Robins are lovely birds. Independent but friendly. One used to sit on my Dad's spade and fly down to pick over the soil as he dug it. Obviously it is not the same Robin now but he seems to have developed a relationship with the Robins that live on his land. My family does this with birds, each post has to be put in a metal tin instead of the post box because a family of blue tits nest in it. They let us look at the nest and don't mind the gate opening and closing or people walking by... My folks even have green and lesser spotted woodpeckers regularly visit their bird feeders...

So I had a little look at what Robins might mean to me and it seems they represent growth and renewal. This post on Blogickal has some interesting information. Acticvation of creative spirit.... A stimulus for growth.... A sign I should let go of the past and be free to nurture myself and others.... I can feel happy with this sign to me for I am indeed trying to grow creatively.

Robins are also symbols of Spring, having overturned the Wren at Yule. (or something like that) So they are another symbol spring is coming. And what do I want this Spring to mean for me? Warmth! and I want to be able to give up work and concentrate on all the wonderful creative and nature based things I want to do and experience... *sigh* I can't let go without feeling some sort of financial stability though, maybe the Robin is a sign that this will magically appear from somewhere *sigh*

Warmth... this is where yellow chest comes in. His name is Oswald and he has been a steady companion for around about twenty years. When I am most in need of warmth, he is there. He likes to be held and F doesn't mind him coming to bed with us AND sleeping under the covers. In fact sometimes he tries to steal Oswald... *sigh* as if he ever could!

I feel in love with him as soon as I saw him, sat on the shelf. My sister chose a cheaper one for Christmas as a pressie and was all virtuous over it. I am sure I was asked if a cheaper one would do. But no, I wanted Ossie. And Ossie I have, looking almost as good as new and worth every penny! He is a lovely plush crocodile with a yellow tummy and chest. Inside he has a hot water bottle.

Right now I am not sure if I am coming down with something or not... but I feel cold and Ossie is the one to help...

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Word Wednesday - Wood

I have been struggling with this subject. Not because I have nothing to say, but because I have spoken of trees and therefore wood, in one way or another already. I have talked of the oak tree I have watched grow and the spell that has lain in it's roots for nearly eight years. I have spoken of the the twisted tree. What else do I have to say? That might take me more than two sentences...

I went tree hugging once with a friend when I lived in the city. I got a feeling of permanence and that time had slowed down, a lot.

Let's look back further...

Childhood...

What did trees mean to me then?

Trees were my playground. My parents garden is full of them and many of them were climbed by me. The apple trees in the orchard. The plum tree. The yews at the end of the garden. The strange fruit trees who were neither cherry or plum but some self made cross.

There were also trees I didn't climb. The three giant lime trees for instance. There lowest branches were so far above my reach I had no hope. Even when my very tall Dad lifted me and placed me up in the first branches, I could not hope to reach the next rung... The pine trees were also strangely safe... Apparently my nephew has been passed the tree climbing gene and he climbs them. He is deemed to be like me. His Mum was certainly never ever a tree climber. She was a proper girl who used to make me watch old black and white films with her.

At school there was also many, many trees to climb. We had fairly large grounds to roam. There were trees that were out of bounds, the apple trees and the ones around the front of the school. There were ones we couldn't climb. The giant cedar tree that needed four of us to hold hands to reach round it. The interesting sideways growing pine type tree which was considered to rare to be climbed by the gardeners even though it's branches had grown to make lovely easy steps.

The loss of certain trees was not to much of a harship however as there were so many others to choose from. One giant tree had very interesting wood with holes all the way up which made it very easy to climb a long way up. There were other trees near the boundary from which you gaze across the fields at freedom... Many trees were too small as they grew close together in dense thickets.

At school I was considered to be a very good tree climber. I could climb trees others couldn't. I had no fear of heights at that time either. I don't know when I stopped climbing trees. Many of the trees at home were only accessible to smaller people and well, I was never short... I remember climbing trees once as an adult. I was very unhappy at the time and some friends went with me to a local park to feed the ducks and climb trees....

I wish I could climb trees now. Just sit up in their branches looking out at the world. Feeling the bark and the life of the wood beneath me. Feeling cradled and safe and cared for. I don't think it would be fair on the trees right now. I guess this is just another good reason to get thin and lose weight...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Hidden (photo for earlier post)

New Blog!

I have been thinking today, as I completed my first postcards, that a daily posting of pictures would take this blog away from it's original purpose. So I have created a new one! This will have photos and scanned images of things as well as descriptions of the methods used to create them.

The Hidden

Last night F and I went for a walk. Only a little one to get some milk but we went the long way. We walked places we don't normally walk. I guess I had known it was there. One day as I walked along the wall, the door had been open and I had had the merest glimpse inside. I guess I also knew that there had to be a public gate on the other side, tucked up an alleyway. We found that gate last night and the yew trees glistened with snow and beckoned me. By this time however, F was cold and hungry and wanted to go home. He also had no desire to visit a cemetery at night.

I guess I can understand that. Doesn't hold for me though. I like graveyards. I always have. My parents are bell ringers and I found myself left to my own devices in many a church as I was growing up. Churches themselves and churchyards are pretty awesome places. Full of history. The churchyards are little nature reserves in their own right and have many interesting nooks and crannies to explore. Of course I am not talking about bleak modern cemeteries, they are something else again. I had no idea at that age that although I would turn somewhat from Christianity, that I would revere some of these places in a different way as I remember their pagan roots.

One of the events that stayed with me was as follows. I was a fairly disgusting sort of a child. I liked to get mucky. So when I was poking around in a corner of a church and found some vases with mould in the bottom, I of course picked up the mould. The mould gently shook itself in my hand and a head appeared. We watched each other for the longest time. I stood still in awe, not wanting to scare this little beast I held. Eventually he gathered himself and flew off into the growing dusk to catch an early insect. Not surprisingly, I have always loved bats and never felt even slightly scared of them. In Summer while at my folks I love to lie on my back on the grass and watch them fly overhead.

This morning I received the happy news that work was closed for the day and I had no need to brave the icy roads. I knew straight away that I would head for this churchyard. The Cornish of old can broadly be divided into three categories, miners, farmers and fishermen. There is no shortage of granite to carve and because of the mining links, there was no shortage of skill. It is no surprise then that the stones in this graveyard are so very intricate. There is a plethora of crosses and carvings of flowers. The Cornish gravestones are so very much more intricate than those where I grew up.

I have no idea how many times I have walked and driven past the graveyards far wall. Only one or two of the nearby houses have a view into the cemetery. Only the supermarket that has caused this little oasis to become a backwater has a good view from their office windows. I was the first there, fresh snow all around. I could see the last snow shower being carried off and the sky was shining blue.

As I was walking around I was thinking about my latest e-life venture. I have joined a group called creativity every day. To be more creative was one of the wishes I made for new Year which I encased in a seed and flung to the wind last night. It was one wish I made as I planted a sunflower seed at the Imbolc ceremony I went to.

Creativity for me is something I lost and have had to regain. As a child I wrote huge long imaginative stories, often with chunks missing as my hand struggled to keep up with my head. The need for spelling and punctuation and shorter sentences intruded and I slowly lost much of the raw passion I had felt for writing. I liked art but this too eventually died in me when I became ill. Art was a superfluous subject and as my load had to be lightened it went. Somehow there never seemed time for art after that and although it lingered in my life, by the time I reached University, this to had left me. I also wrote poetry as a teenager and I guess you can figure out what happened to that to.

I studied science and this has trained my brain to be logical and rational and reasonable. There was no time for art while studying hard to achieve a first in Environmental Science. There was no time for much else at all (except partying). Creativity died in my life. It slowly became apparent to me that I had lost something I valued and wanted back. I took a jewellery class and slowly gained skill with beads. I have been expanding my craft repotoire of late and have experimented with papier mache, modelling and silk painting. I want more! I don't want to just be crafty creative, I want to be arty creative as well.

I feel like my creativity is a little like the graveyard. It is there in the midst of the community but forgotten and lost. There is a gate but it is forgotten and little used. Craft has been a gate but I hope to make holes in the wall with art and bring my graveyard back into the community. Unfortunately the little graveyard will continue to nestle behind walls, mostly forgotten...

CED seems like the perfect opportunity. It has links to a huge variety of crafty, arty, creative people and their work is inspiring. I consider this blog to be creative and as the starter of CED says creativity can be found in even more mundane things such as cooking. This sort of ethos fits in very well with that of my hearth craft course as well, where the mundane can be magical. So some days my blog may be it, particularly after work but on other days I will try and cook creatively or something...

One plan I have is to use a couple of pack of blank postcards. Being small and white they are perfect for experimenting with colour and form in a small non-threatening way. If I can complete a card a day, I may find that my skill and creativity grows. I would love to gain skill at drawing and painting et al. I intend to scan these in and post them, probably mostly without comment. I also intend to post once a week on my creative activities as a summary. Word Wednesday will be my creative activity for Wednesday!

Missing Monty!

I found this on Sue's blog. I have heard of Monty. We listen to local radio at work and they have talked about him on the radio. It seems he has become rather nervous and runs away from anyone if he is approached. He also runs quite fast! There have been numerous sightings and he is getting to be in a bit of a poor way. I hope he is found soon as the areas he has been seen in are on the backbone of Cornwall, up on the cold and open moors which are now covered in snow.


Can you help find this missing dog named "Monty"? I was sent his picture by a viewer to Cornwall CAM, who told me there have been recent sightings in Carn Brea, Portreath & Porthtowan.
"Monty's owner, Mike Watson was visiting friends on 28th December in Carnkie, Wendron - he got to their front door and let 'Monty', his dog, off the lead to go into the house when there was a lot of shooting in the area. Monty was terrified and ran off. Mike has searched to no avail and has now had to return to Devon. Monty is a beautiful Grey Bearded Collie, nine years old and will be very frightened in an area he does not know and is unlikely to approach anyone. I am sure it is not necessary, but Mike has offered a 'substantial' reward for the return of his adored pet. He has also contacted all the usual places, vets, RSPCA, police etc. Can you help? Do you know anyone that has found a Bearded Collie?"
If you have any news, please telephone Su French on 01736 850763.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Brigid on the Blogosphere

I wanted to post a few pieces by a poet called Walter Savage Landor. I reckon he would have been a songwriter if he had lived in this day and age. I find much of his poetry beautiful in a simpler and more accessible way than some of the greats of his time. He has long been forgotten by most. I discovered him in an anthology and was lucky enough to find a volume of his works. I love old books and their old book smell...

God scatters beauty as he scatters flowers
o'er the wide earth, and tells us all are ours.
A hundred lights in every temple burn,
And at each shrine I bend my knee in turn.
Wisdom of Life and Death, part xvii


It often comes into my head
That we may dream when we are dead,
But I am far from sure we do.
O that it were so! then my rest
Would be indeed among the blest;
i should ever dream of you.
Ianthe, part ix


I shall leave him there as he is much preoccupied by death and his lost loves....

And turn to Byron...

She Walks in Beauty

she walks in beauty, like the night
of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, so eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at piece with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Snow Day Spring

I have a mobile. I don't like it and I never wanted one. All the same I have one. I delight it letting the battery go dead and leaving it at home. This time it lasted a month. Alas it found itself on charge last night in order to awaken me as F was starting work earlier than I wished to wake up.

So imagine my disgust when it started humming away at 6.30, a full 30 minutes before I had even contemplated opening my eyes. I didn't recognise the number and ignored it. Ten minutes later. Again. But I must have lost signal as it stopped before I could pick it up. I listened to my messages and discovered that someone had rung me the previous week about a photography job at a London school. And they rang again while I listened to my messages, and left another message.

I knew that the whole of United Kingdom was waiting for snow and she was rather worried about whether to try and get into London or not. Apparently London had been hard hit and she wasn't sure the school would be open. Feeling a little ungracious, I texted her, sorry you have the wrong number.

By this time I was somewhat awake however and the chances of me getting back to sleep were slim. I had decided back at New Year to plant my resolution / wishes on Imbolc. I had since decided that what I wanted to do was cast them into the wind from the top of a particularly big hill that lurks ont he landscape hereabouts. It seemed to me a good idea to head up there and do this before work.

Somehow all my extra time vanished without me even trying. I found myself at work ten minutes early with wishes unscattered. As the day went on the reports of snow headed towards our little south western corner. Just after lunch we had our first shower. It went on it''s way and the sun shone from a blue sky. Then another followed by more blue sky. Then another even heavier and the snow was starting to stick. The company decided to send us all home.

Now this may seem an odd decision to those of you who live in colder parts of the world. That we should be sent hom for mere snow showers. But ability to drive in the snow decreases as you go south in the UK and panic at the sight of snow increases as you go south. By the time you get as far down as we are here, the merest sniff of snow and the roads jam up and people are distraught(maybe a slight exageration, but not much).

A few years back I was working in Truro when the famous Cornish Blizzard hit. We were sent home. I left work and started up the dual carriageway up a steep hill. And then everything stopped. For four hours I watched my office sitting serenely in the snow at the bottom of the hill, container of toilets, warmth and tea. I watched cars at the top slip gently back as they lost their grip. Nobody came down the other side except for a coach, with his driver doing little mini controled skids all the way.

I called F and told him I might not get home, which he laughed at and repeated to the whole office. They all laughed to. "Why?" he askes. Later the snow hit them and then they stopped laughing. Eventually a tractor drove down the central reservation. A short while later it went back up again with a teenage girl wearing a school uniform sat in the back. The tractor then stopped at the top and began pulling cars and vans up. Finally we began to move. It took me a very long time to get home.

So back to today. I know the snow has been very, very heavy elsewhere. i knew the blue sky as I left the office was not likely to last. I knew that although most of the snow on the roads was gone already, that it would soon be replaced. So what do I decide to do?

I decided to drive on the little tiny country roads to reach the far side of the big hill. I decided to drive up the little tiny track to the top of said big hill. As I neared the top, it started to snow again. From the top I could see the snow showers like fluffy marshmallows on the land below rolling in from the sea. Behind it was blue sky. Well at least it was for another minute or two. And then I could no longer see the marshmallow for I was stood in it. On top of a very large hill. Clutching 5 little wish seeds. there were seven but my household guardian, tiring of the mess threw them at me when I wasn't looking and ran off with two of them.

I threw them into the wind and mutteres some impromptu words. And ran off. Quickly. All the time wishing I could stay here and continue to admire this beautiful white land. The track down was already white and I crawled down to the road below. Back home took me down the sides of the hill a different way and it was an interesting drive.

I reached home as F was getting out of his car and once in the house, I told him where I had been. He gave me a long look and shook his head in despair. To be honest I am not really the most courageous of people at times. The only thing that could make me go there on day like today was a promise. Shame that life had tried to get me to go there before work to watch the sun rise, in complete safety. I also have a tendency to do things the difficult way... But at least I did it...

Oh one other little thing... There is a piece of folklore I came across. Cailleach, a Scottish and Irish Goddess who is the Mother of Winter, rules from the Samhain to Beltain while Brigid rules from Beltane to Samhain. On Imbolc, Cailleach likes to go and collect firewood for her fire so she may stay warm for the rest of the nasty hard winter she brings. Because she likes to be warm and snug, she likes to make Imbolc a fair day. Some years however, she forgets, and sleeps in. If the weather is bad on Imbolc she has overslept and forgotten to get more fire wood, as a consequence, the grip of winter will be lessen soon as she won't have enough to last... So winter should REALLY be over soon then....