Monday, 28 July 2014

Travelling Light? Greenbelt 2014

Farewell, Amorphous Green Caterpillar?

Yes, it's that time of year again.  Nearly time to rake out the volcano kettle,  solar-powered fairy lights and all those other home comforts  needed for a week at Greenbelt Festival. (Theme this year - Travelling Light.)  So - I'm celebrating the move to a new venue at Boughton House by buying a new des-res. Yes, due to a combination of logistics, changing regulations and my wonky back, I've been forced to say a (temporary?) farewell to the famous Amorphous Green Caterpillar, (pictured above).   From what I can see in the ads, the new Maison  Greenpatch, is smaller on the porch space, roomier in the living area, and has the overall look of Darth Vadar on a good day.  Hardly travelling light. Never mind, the miserly thrifty Franciscan in me is  rather pleased at having paid exactly the same for it as I did for the AGC four years ago. I do love a good sale! 

  Of course, Darth Vadar is blissfully unaware that he's going to be wearing a large green tarp and will be liberally bedecked with twinkly lights and chintzy bunting. I've drawn the line at running up some frilly curtains. A chap has his dignity to maintain, after all. 

To return to this year's festival theme, there's been much much twittering, of the non-twittery kind on social media about some of the seeming drawbacks of what looks to be an idyllic greenfield site. No solid buildings (goodbye warmth, hot water and 'proper' toilets), hello chemical loos for all.  Worse, the prospect of a weekend with limited mobile phone signal and internet coverage. There has been weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth at the thought of not  being constantly 'connected,' and much to-ing and fro-ing between the 'How Can We Possibly Exist?'  and the 'You're all Softies...Why I Remember Back in The Good Old Days,' brigades.  Myself, I'm slightly concerned that I may miss meeting up with some of my usual contacts, but am secretly rather pleased at being on a level footing with everyone else. No tweeting with my old brick of a phone. I'll need to try out some other means of communication. What about semaphore? I knew that spare bunting would come in handy one day.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Journal 52 Week 23: Passion

Hello, I'm back again. Has it really been that long? Yes it has. Oh well, "A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone," as good old Isaac Watts once said. Since I last appeared here I've visited New York, Dorset and the South Coast, with various perambulations round the Home Counties between times. I've also -  together with GP son  - spent 12 hours lurking in a layby in the wilds of Hampshire, but that's another story.

Procrastinator that I am, I've rather too many "Roundtuits," lurking on my To Do List; I'm  rather good at not doing what I should be doing, as opposed to Doing What I Shouldn't Do. That's included my Journal 52 prompts, much dipping in and out here, with the emphasis on the 'out.' Here's Week 23: Passion. What's your passion? What really fires you up? It could be to do with a hobby, friends, family, your work...anything. I thought a long time about this and decided that for me it's Creativity...making connections....that 'spark,' (Divinely inspired?) when an idea takes off into something you'd never anticipated, often   something quite ordinary is  imbued with   a whole new meaning, a new energy. I love it too,  when I can enable   other people to discover this energy for themselves.  Watching somebody growing deeper in their faith , discovering how their story fits into God's is something so special.

If this all sounds a wee bit too airy-fairy, please note that I'm liable to come over all uneccessary and excited about the daftest things, like being able to dry the washing outside in this lovely sunny weather we've been having lately. Or, about Daydreamer's handy domestic hints: she's already saved me £££s in dry cleaning costs. Thanks!

The picture is a work in progress. I've not done any written journaling on it yet, nor will I, probably,  but as I've been blogging I've realised just what I  want  to add for the finishing touch...another of those Divine 'nudges,' do you think?

Friday, 25 April 2014


 "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."

Matthew 11

St Beunos Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales, one of my favourite retreat places has just brought out a couple of videos. Here's one: The Silence and the Light, (tech gremlins won't let me post the film for some reason) and a second, very helpful meditation on The Examen.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cycles of Circles

Good morning. Pausing to look at my stats just now, (pure procrastination here; I should be busy getting the house shipshape for a weekend guest), I noticed - not for the first time -  that my most frequently visited post seems to be 'Going Round in Circles.'Goodness knows why. I'm not flattering myself that every visitor is greedily  drinking in my words of wisdom ; I suspect that a fair proportion of readers are of the bearded men in raincoats clutching tins of pork luncheon meat variety, but I think these last were genuine.  It's quite a thought, though, isn't it ? 'Going round in Circles,' or even...Going Round in Cycles: not unlike my own spiritual state at the moment: Much wandering  hither and thither in a somewhat circuitous and wobbily manner; coming back, setting off again. As Antonia reflects in my last post, it's as if Easter tells us that we're all recycled works of art. I've no idea what the process next holds for me, (though one thing's certain, I'll not be donning lycra and helmet any time now) but it gives me hope.

GP dogs now  taking up the circles theme - time for walkies.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Recycled Art

Belated Easter Greetings to everyone. Here's the latest of my contributions to the Journal 52 project:  Week 16 -  'Recycled Art,' an opportunity to  re-use all those bits and  pieces you have lying around the house to create something...well...let's just say 'different,' in my case.  I've used  an old paper bag, gold foil from our Easter eggs,  magazine pics and designs  and some  flowery material from one of the jars of jam we bought at the weekend's food festival.  The purply starry  bit on the right hand side is from a prompt a few weeks ago that didn't work out.

The result?  Hardly in the Van Gogh league, but never mind, it was fun to do!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

To the Rescue

Just popping in to show off our two bundles of joy. GP dog II, (the fluffy one), is growing more confident by the day; she's a real comic, with a character all her own. So different from the timid little creature that came to us in December. That said - the two foster famililes she'd been with previously had worked wonders; without their hard work we'd not have been able to get nearly as far as we have  with her. We've gone down two routes with our dogs: the pedigree  route with GP dog I. We were very fortunate there - he came from a reputable, loving, dedicated breeder, who  unlike some, loved her dogs like children, had their best interests -  not commercial gain - at heart and wouldn't for a moment have let her precious charges go to anything but a good home. 

Come GP dog II, we went down the rescue path and began to learn about some of the horror stories behind the murky world of back street breeders, puppy farms and internet dealing. Fluffy dog we hope, may be one of the least damaged ones, relatively speaking. Relatively, because although we know little about her past in detail, we do know from the rescue that for the first four or five years of her life she was used for breeding. If you can imagine being taken from your mother, held down, forcibly impregnated, kept in disgusting conditions with little food, water,  medical attention, no kindly human contact and made to churn out litter after litter of puppies. Rinse and repeat for the first half of your life, only to be 'disposed of' once you're no longer in fit state to be of any more economic use. And we'd best not go into details about what exactly 'disposal' entails.  

Enter the organisations who rescue the 'lucky' ones. Fluffy dog was quite unusual, I think, in that she was discovered to be pregnant whilst she was in rescue, so was able to have her final litter in a proper, loving home environment. (Not ours, I might add - think our cat might have packed up and left home if he'd been faced with four little fluffballs!)  So far so good, she's not as yet suffered any major health niggles, as so many rescue pooches do, sadly. And, though not perfect (what dog ever is?), she seems to be remarkably free of behavioural problems. Sadly, that's not always the case. 

'Our' rescue drew our attention to another little rescue dog - Susie-Belle. She even has her own blog: Susiefoodie where you can read her story and learn more about some of the work being done to try to stamp out the puppy farm trade. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

First Day of Spring - Summer Dreaming

Ah me...just been taken back 40 years or more: Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream Overture, courtsey of 'Carsick' FM. Memories of a school production of Shakespeare's play when I was in my early teens: flowing robes (white sheets) ;  rags in my hair every night to achieve that Grecian ringlet effect (not so much fun having to walk past the nearby boys' school with Violet Elizabeth style curls!)No speaking part for me thank goodness: I was one of several Grecian ladies whose sole purpose was to glide  on at intervals and drape themselves in  tasteful manner over a flight of steps (more sheets fixed over wooden boxes). There was a mild frisson of excitement  at one point when the girl who played Puck trod on a drawing pin mid-speech yet continued - dripping blood - with one foot stuck backstage whilst we tried to unstick  her. Laughs  as always at Peter Quince,  Bottom and his cronies, Titania, Oberon and the lovers,  relief at the happy ending. Above all - that magical sense of anticipation - of long Summer days, of promise and happy times ahead; that sense of common purpose when a project comes together after so much blood, sweat and tears. I've a hazy memory on one day of us  rushing  outside - still in our costumes - straight after the curtain call to line up outside the school to cheer on a visiting dignitary: (Princess Anne? Duchess of Kent?). I can't recall who exactly, it's all part of a dreamy haze now.

Such a long time ago - but however grey the day,  it only takes the opening bars of the overture for me to know that   Summer is  on the way.