Monthly Archives: December 2014

Mess and magic…

My last post was a carefully selected group of photos;  a cropped, enhanced and arranged collage of happy holiday moments. My friend Roz commented that for her it showed a “close to perfect” Christmas.

But of course it was “cherry picked”, it was not the whole story, it was unbalanced even. So here are a few more photos to complete the picture.

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Family times together generate mess as well as magic. Preparations included buying toilet paper as well as wrapping paper; paracetamol as well as sweets. On a quick trip to the shops we picked up more cat litter as well as milk . (Visiting cat, confined to the house for a week gave us some smelly moments as well as furry fun.)

Yes, we laughed together, played games, watched TV and ate. But there was still the washing up, rubbish to collect, spills to clean and general messy aftermath. It was lovely to have several uninterrupted days of togetherness, but there was the sadness of missing absent family, away or now gone, and our traditions have to change as we all grow older and circumstances are different. There was frustration, irritation and disappointment too, misunderstanding and muddle. Sometimes quite upsetting and far from “perfect” in the usual “as good as possible” understanding of the word.

However, the dictionary definition of “perfect” does include such concepts as “complete” “accurate” and “real”. So perhaps the disharmony, the mess, rubbish and stinky moments are all part of the perfect whole.

Wishing you a “close to perfect” New Year!

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Holiday moments

Happy moments of eating, exchanging presents, playing games  and lazing around with family.
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And when everyone had gone Steve and I enjoyed bright sunshine and calm sea on an afternoon walk along the beach.

Finding my voice…

In August 2013 I reflected here on my feelings about being questioned whether I sing. For decades I attended concerts and events where my husband or sons were singing, and I organised school concerts for many years. But not since my own school days have I sung in a choir. Not until this year that is.

Those musings nearly 18 months ago, plus a timely reminder and photo from an old friend about our days in the school choir, challenged me to look for a place to sing with others.

20141215-215646.jpgSo when a new choir started up near us in January 2014 I knew it was for me.

The “Just Sing” choir has given me a wonderful opportunity to find my voice again, learn new songs, make new friends and have fun. The leader of the choir, Kelly, is amazingly patient and wonderfully affirming, building our competence and confidence.

This weekend we gave a Christmas concert to raise money for the local hospice. It was a squeeze to fit us all on the stage (about 70 of us in all) and the tickets sold out virtually overnight, raising over £1500 for such a good cause. So here is a photo of me in a choir again, nearly 50 years on since the school one, (yes I am there, middle row, third from left, just behind the purple tinsel!) and I love it!

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In print…

A couple of weeks ago I spent a day making colograph printing blocks with printing artist Robin Moorcroft. It was huge fun using all sorts of methods, cutting, tearing and sticking different materials to create a variety of textured plates. 1-IMG_21141-IMG_2116Then today I returned to print! It was exciting to see the blocks again, looking quite different, now dried and varnished, and ready to be inked up.

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1-IMG_2163Next came the messy bit, as we started inking up the plates and then fed them through the press onto dampened paper.

123___12It was an exciting moment when we peeled back the paper to reveal the prints, and even better when we added a second colour to highlight details. First results…1-IMG_2176

After lunch (we were ready for it!) we inked and printed further blocks. My final block was my favourite but the most difficult because I made it from dried grasses, and it was hard to ink it without breaking off delicate bits! But I was pleased with the way it turned out. Here is the inked block….1-IMG_2182And the prints…

1-IMG_2184-001Thank you for a great two days, Robin. I learned so much!

Advent countdown

Early December, the countdown begins, and inevitably I find this time of year memories of childhood are close. 20141206-112358.jpgI remember the excitement of opening the first little doors on glitter encrusted cardboard advent calendars – no chocolate treats concealed when I was small, just pictures… Or sometimes, less frivolously, Bible texts – to make sure I didn’t forget the “true” meaning of Christmas.

These days I can download an animated interactive advent calendar if I want to, and for most children today an actual door to open without a sweet treat behind it would be a bit disappointing! However I must not become an old cynic, and I confess I enjoy the animated advent calendar on my computer!

IMG_2133But one recurring delight for me this week is opening the curtains to a light dusting of blossom.

Our winter flowering cherry is like an advent calendar in that it faithfully begins its flowering at the start of December. As in previous years its delicate, un-glittered flowers are a reminder to me of hope as we enter winter, and the special promise of new birth and new beginnings when the year is at its darkest.

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Keep counting…