I see my mind as a tapestry woven through with memories, dreams and thoughts.

Friday, 31 December 2010

Sky Watch Friday for the new year

As the new year sweeps in, in all its glory, to each of you, in different parts of the world, as you celebrate at different times ....


Thursday, 30 December 2010

I am the Notebook of ...

This is my most amazing Christmas gift. Why? Because, it is a notebook. And, for its words; those on the cover and those just inside ....

Here is a transcript of the words on the cover:

All of these words and all of these pictures and these small scraps of purpose and intention and dreams will walk alongside of me and keep me company on this my great journey and will serve to remind me to savour all my days spent upon this earth.

What makes this cover so very special is that this is how I write letters. When I come to the bottom, I somehow do not turn the page but continue up the side and around the top and back down the other side. Don't ask me why - it just happens!

And here are these wonderful 'word bells' on the inside of the cover.

Another transcript:

This bell will ring when the leaves fall
This bell will ring when people say that we are boring
This bell will ring when from nothing something comes
This bell will ring when I am cruel to you and make you cry
This bell will ring when we touch in the dark
This bell will ring when you take me in your arms and hold me

So beautiful.

Although the notebook is mine, I offer, to you all, the sentiments of these words, on the cover and just inside, for the coming year and may it be all that it needs to be for each one of you xx

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Sunday Snippet

My grandson made a book for me for Christmas. I have chosen this as my 'snippet'

Once upon a time there was a cat. One day a christmas tree arrived at his house. He was really happy, because he could take the decorations off the tree and put them under the bed! Every day he did the same thing. He was the happiest cat in the world! Then, one day father Christmas came and said, stop scratching that beautiful Christmas tree, it's for me to put the presents under. "Here's a Blue Bear for you"
Happy Christmas Everybody!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Sky Watch Friday

PEACE ON EARTH ....... and in Cyberspace

Have a wonderful Christmas Day!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday Snippet

I am posting two snippets, from books that I read this week, as they seem to belong together. The authors' styles reflect the naivety portrayed in the characters.

From 'Tin Toys' by Ursula Holden

'I had never seen a train. It was so long I couldn't see the end. The platform was thronging with people with cases, the train windows were filled with faces.'

From 'Our Spoons came from Woolworths' by Barbara Comyns

'After about ten weeks of married life I began to feel rather sick, not of Charles and married life - just sick in myself. At first it was just a whisper of sickness and I began to think that I was imagining it, then I thought that maybe it was the strawberries; they were very cheap that year ...'

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Cyberspace ... and all it entails

Oddly, with the cyber warfare and hacking that appears to be happening, just now, I realise that 'Violet Jelly' contains this very element; very topical. So, I hope that some children decide to read it this Christmas. Meanwhile, have fun with this excerpt!

Larry and Pansy Soup have been trapped by Number Cruncher and hope to escape by what they believe to be a way out.

'The 'Staircase to Freedom' leads to Scientific Language Guru's tower. It tips them into the tower room. They are terrified. Everything moves.The floor makes waves. The walls breathe in and out. The ceiling pings up and down. But, worst of all, Scientific Language Guru is all over the place. Here - there - everywhere. There - here - not there - not anywhere. Scientific Language Guru repeats itself over and over, blazing and fading around the room.'

'Violet Jelly' by Ann Sharples


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Monday, 13 December 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Sunday Snippet - snipped with large scissors!

We freely share words, thoughts, ideas on our blog posts. But, how brave are those whose writing, even as it is penned, places them in imminent danger.

Irina's poems of the seventies were crisp, mischievous, and romantic. She certainly defied the stereotype - that of a poet who spends long hours at home, preferably in a half-lit room, searching for metaphors and being otherwise unhappy. In fact, it was awfully hard to catch her at home at all. She couldn't stand small rooms, lifts and narrow corridors. She was always outdoors....

With time her poems became more reserved. She spent longer hours writing ....

So writes Ilya Nylin of Irina Ratushinskaya.

And I undid the old shawl

And I undid the old shawl -
And at once there came to me
The four winds from all the roads,
From the clouds of the earth.

And the first wind sang me a song
About a house behind a black mountain,
And the second wind told me
About an enchanted arquebus.

And the third wind began to dance,
And the fourth gave me a ring.
But the fifth wind came laughing -
And I recognised his face.

And I asked: 'Where have you come from?
And who has sent you to me?'
But he looked into my features
And said nothing.

And I touched his shoulder -
And sent all the others away.
And this wind blew out the candle,
When night fell.

Irina Ratushinskaya

All from 'No, I'm Not Afraid' translated by David McDuff

Friday, 10 December 2010

Sky Watch Friday

Perhaps a time of reflection for those who cannot freely watch the skies.

I think of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo .... and I think back to Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya, who was sentenced to seven years hard labour for writing her book of poetry 'No, I'm not Afraid' ....

From her title poem, 'No, I'm not Afraid'

'No, I'm not afraid: after a year
of breathing these prison nights
I will survive into the sadness
To name which is escape.'

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sunday Snippet

These two extracts are from a book 'Forest of the Night' by John Rowe Townsend. It was bought for my teenage daughter, many years ago, and has somehow found its way to my bookcase.

Chapter 8 page 51:

'Asleep, all are asleep, deeply asleep. Soft through the streets, the boy moves, brushing the furry dark. Across the wide road, quiet now, marked out by lamps. The lonely lamps in line. no wheel turns now.'

Chapter 11 page 73:

'The boy says, "Hold my hand. Don't go."
"I can't come farther. You have to face it alone. You have the strength."
"I don't feel strong."
"Yes, you are strong, you have shown it."
"How can I fight such power?"
"You face it, do not fight it. Face it with questions."
"If I can face it, I shall know the questions. That I know. But can I face it?"
"Yes, you can face it. You are yourself, yourself."

The language is uncomplicated; direct. Haunting and menacing.

The story is based on William Blake's poem 'The Tyger'

Friday, 3 December 2010

Sky Watch Friday

Into the sunset

Flying towards a past experience ...... adventure ..... mind aglow with the memories .... a glorious return ... soul replenished

Thursday, 2 December 2010


The word reminds me of the
'coat of many colours'

which I envisage as having many textures, besides.
Sewn together; interwoven with patterns of thought
and custom intermingled.

Is it possible? A multicultural society.
Can each of us embrace, totally, all that is in another?
In part, perhaps?

Angora(cross), Toggenberg, Alpine
Blossom, Violet and Daisy ... multicultural goats in unseasonable snow.

Wanted to share this photo!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

As I am still reading 'Wolf Hall' (busy week and not much spare time) my snippet is from my second book 'Violet and Lavender' which I am reading to edit.

'Like a nervous creature, Miss Steak creeps forward until she is in front of the ‘MEAT MEMORY’ box.
Quickly, Violet Jelly fills a ramekin with small pieces of steak. She hands it to Pansy Soup. Pansy Soup takes it and creeps towards Miss Steak. She spoons out a portion and holds it out to her. Miss Steak looks from here to there, like a startled bird. She does not see Morton, who has crept up behind her. Miss Steak stares at the spoonful of meat and steps towards it. Greedily, she grabs the spoon and pushes it into her mouth. She chews and swallows and looks for more. Pansy Soup holds out the ramekin. Miss Steak grabs it and pushes more steak into her mouth.
Morton is behind her. He is about to leap forward, to grab Miss Steak, when a deep noise freezes him to the spot and the lid of the enormous chest in the centre of the room opens. Out steps a ram- an enormous ram.
“Who is eating in my bank?” it bellows with a voice so deep that it bangs against the boxes and comes back again, like a thundering echo. Violet Jelly hastily pops the empty ramekins into her bag. The others cover their ears. But Miss Steak keeps on chewing. She can think only of steak.'

'Violet and Lavender' by Ann Sharples

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sky Watch Friday

And I have added musings of poets contemplating the moon:

From 'The Red Fisherman' by Winthrop Mackworth Praed

'The Abbot rose, and closed his book,
and donned his sandal shoon,
and wandered forth, alone, to look
Upon the summer moon.'

From 'Night' by William Blake

'The moon, like a flower,
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.'

From 'Silver' by Walter de la Mare

'Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;'

From 'Is the Moon Tired?' by Christina Rossetti

'Is the moon tired? She seems so pale
Within her misty veil;
She scales the sky from east to west,
And takes no rest.'

From 'The Moon' by Robert Louis Stevenson

'The moon has a face like the clock in the hall;
She shines on thieves on the garden wall,
On streets and fields and harbour quays,
And birdies asleep in the forks of the trees.'

Sleep well!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

From 'Started Early, Took My Dog' by Kate Atkinson.

'He had been trying to visit all of the Betty's Tea Rooms - Ilkley, Northallerton, two in Harrogate, two in York. A genteel itinerary that would have done a coachload of elderly ladies proud. Jackson was a big fan of Betty's. You could guarantee a decent cup of coffee in Betty's, but it went beyond the decent coffee and the respectable food and the fact that the waitresses all looked as if they were nice girls (and women) who had been parcelled up some time in the 1930s and freshly unwrapped this morning. It was the way that everything was exactly right and fitting. And clean.'

Kate Atkinson - probably my favourite author. I admire her capability for depicting characters so that they appear vividly in the 'mind's eye' and her ability to weave the threads of her tale to become, with the final words, a complete garment.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Sky Watch Friday

An amazing winter sunrise - from our garden. Sometimes it is hard to believe that they are real.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Photo for One Moment

Sad ... incongrous ... and rust marks the years of abandon

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

From 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel

Page 196 and 197

He understands that the whole purpose of the evening has been to warn him: to warn him off. He will remember it, the fatal placement: if it proves fatal. That soft hiss and whisper, of stone destroying itself; that distant sound of walls sliding, of plaster crumbling, of rubble crashing onto fragile human skulls? That is the sound of the roof of Christendom, falling on the people below.

Bonvisi says, "You have a private army, Tomasso. I suppose you have to watch your back."
"You know I do." His glance sweeps the room: one last look. "Goodnight. It was a good supper. I liked the eels. Will you send your cook to mine? I have a new sauce to brighten the season. One needs mace and ginger, some dried mint leaves chopped -"
His friend says, "I beg of you. I implore you to be careful."
" - a little, but very little garlic -"
"Wherever you dine next, pray do not -"
" - and of breadcrumbs, a scant handful ..."
" - sit down with the Boleyns."

A little more than a snippet, but it gives the 'feel of the story.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Too Many Words

Odd that I should write this, BUT during this year, I have read five novels that, for me, have in them 'too many words'. This is how I would describe a novel that incorporates large portions of historical information - social, factual and sometimes both.

Currently, I am reading 'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel, which is my kind of novel in that I enjoy the style, character portrayal and the story. Hilary writes in her 'The Novelist's Arithmetic' at the back of the book:

'The (historian) wonders why you don't include all the detail' .... 'and the (literary critic) wonders why you aren't more slick.'

'The art, therefore, lies in grasping why things happened and then forgetting the reasons.'

'The (novelist) lives inside the consciousness of her characters, for whom the future is blank' ... 'agrees just to move forward with her characters, walking into the dark.'

Mmm ... yes ... I say.

The parenthesis are mine for clarification and the extracts abridged.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sunday Snippet

I have just finished reading 'The Children's Book' A.S. Byatt

In the beginning ...

'The Wellwood's Midsummer was a slightly movable feast ... Philip was assigned to help with the decoration of the garden and orchard. ... All chairs were requisitioned - wicker chairs, deckchairs, schoolroom chairs, the nursery rocking chair, cane and metal garden chairs. They were placed in arbours, in the clearing in the centre of the shrubbery, even in the orchard. Then the lanterns were swung from branches ...'

The idyllic summers of Edwardian times, when it seemed that the 'ideal life' could become a reality

... to ...

'They sat, the survivors, quietly round the dinner table, and drank to the memory of Leon. ... Philip sat at the end of the table in a wheelchair that supported his leg. ...'

... a portrayal of the ravages of war.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Library Workshops

I am back home. Today has been remarkable, very still, cloudless sky and the garden full of birdsong. A day for just thinking and basking in the lower rays of sunlight and clearly defined shadow.

I digress.

Lit. & Phil. Library, Newcastle

Libraries are amazing venues; very intimate. To be surrounded by books and those interested in books; to see the delight on the faces of children eager to create and illustrate; to speak with parents, grandparents, librarians; all wonderful experiences.

The first library is small and cosy, all of us in a corner and the browsers peering from between the rows of books. First the reading, followed by designing characters and finishing with six picture storyboards, telling the character's tale in words and pictures.

The second library, a glass edifice, a beacon for reading, research, retreat from the bustling city life reflected in its 'window-walls'. Here, we gather in a room apart and there is time for sharing thoughts on how each mind processes its writing, drawing skills and how to make use of those.

The third library, set in parkland where I played as a child, evokes memories of the original, severe and uninviting library positioned above the bus station. I forced myself to overcome the glowering librarians of that day, to be among beloved books; dreaded being singled out for making some error. But now,the parkland provides a backdrop, friendliness pervades and we chat and discuss, future opportunities here, next summer.

I leave the libraries enthused by their response and encouragement - smiling, for is that not a part of life's purpose, to encourage one another??

Lit. & Phil. Library, Newcastle

Friday, 22 October 2010

Ode to Autumn

Here is my
'Ode to Autumn'
created to wish you all a glorious autumn and to 'hold' my Post page whilst I am away in the North of England next week, doing library workshops ..... which I love to do, so it is no chore and very energising.

¡Hasta luego!

Saturday, 16 October 2010

A Discovery

I am back again, having slightly neglected posting, indulging in other writing and some painting. But I do want to share this, however odd I may appear.

Look at what I have inadvertently come across - an archaic word -


I can picture it already but, alas, it is a transitive verb; slang for to cheat or to hoax.

However, I can feel it developing a life of its own as a necessary character in 'Discovering Jasmine T' (third book in the 'Violet Jelly' trilogy). I need this wily creature to confuse and mislead. It will appear, slithery and impish, out of the ether.

I share my first tentative scribblings of the Hornswoggle .......

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Photo for One Moment

Emergent creatures

Friday, 1 October 2010

One Morning

Out of the mists of time mountain dens become dragons' lairs whilst the Indian legend sleeps on his rocky outcrop.

The sun rises

Awake, the Indian lies, face to the dawn sky and dragons' wings beat breath of fire onto the morning air

Montgo is the mountain that I see daily. The sleeping Indian is at the edge of the outcrop in the first photograph. He is in the middle in the third, with his chin, lips and nose upwards to the sky.

These are musings from photographs taken .... early one morning.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


I was thinking of webs, of gossamer and intrigue, the intricacy and precision of each finely spun thread

Web ... web ..... a web of lies and deceit - a trap - insidious entanglement; a state of languishing - fustiness; cobweb - flimsiness of texture; SPIDERMAN! .... and not forgetting THE WEB - a complete structure or connected series.

Spanish - la telaraña

Irish Gaelic - líon damháin

Webs spanning the visual, the literary, the functional and fantasy

Webs to delight, spun by night and captured very early one morning

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


Ultraviolet Butterfly

This is posted as a 'Thank You' to all who follow my posts; it is wonderful knowing that you are out there.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Short Break

Just to say that I shall be back after 14th September.

Until then, here is a Northumbrian Red Squirrel, courtesy of a friend, to keep you company -

¡Hasta luego!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Memory Bank

Continuing with memories, I shall share an excerpt from 'Violet and Lavender' .... because ... just because

“Are we going to Memory Bank?" asks Pansy Soup. She feels excited. In her mind she sees Memory Bank as a large cave echoing with memories, “but it probably isn’t like that at all,” she thinks and shivers. She turns to Larry.
“I wouldn't like to find bad memories,” she whispers to him, “especially not in a cave.”
“Then we won’t look for them,” whispers back Larry. “I think that it's a bank. If it is, the memories will be locked away.”
“I don't want to travel on another watermelon, Violet Jelly,” shudders Lavender, interrupting Pansy Soup’s thoughts about memories. “That situation was far too sticky and striped.”
“Let us see what Laptop suggests,” answers Violet Jelly. She types in ‘MEMORY BANK'’ and presses ‘RETURN’.
A soft, damp mist comes down. It is refreshing and cool. The middle of the mist turns warm and feels cosy. They each become drowsy and light - so light that they float.
“I,” thinks Pansy Soup, but she is too drowsy to begin her thought and she drifts in the mist, mind and body.
“Lull - a - bye....,” Lavender's voice sounds out softly and slowly through the mist.
“Bye,” whispers back Violet Jelly.
“Zzzzzzzz....” Larry is snoring, until...
“Oyez! Oyez!” bellows a deep voice.
‘Clang! Clang!’ clangs a large, brass hand bell.
The cacophony of noise brings Larry to his senses. He rubs his eyes and thinks, “It’s my ears that are sore. I should be rubbing those.”
“Ooh! A Town Crier! I remember those days............”
“Do you remember when market stalls had coloured awnings?..........”
“The memory of Market Square - all the exciting sounds and smells..............”
"”here are these voices coming from?” Larry puzzles and looks around.
The mist is clearing. He sees Pansy Soup stumbling sleepily towards him.
“Is it morning, Larry?” she calls out.
“I can’t answer that,” Larry tells her, “but where are these voices coming from?” he asks Pansy Soup.
“I thought I was dreaming them,” she calls back still moving towards Larry.
“I don’t think so,” says Larry. “They are all around.”
“Move along!” orders a voice that sounds as if it is coming from a megaphone. “In FILE, please!” and, “You cannot stand there!”
Larry looks around for the second time.
“Is it speaking to me?” he wonders.
“Pansy Soup!” he exclaims and grabs her arm. She is about to stumble past him.
“Two of you!” the voice remarks loudly. “FILE UP!”
“Where are Lavender and Violet Jelly, Pansy Soup?” Larry asks and then he sees them drifting in his direction, still resting in soft mist.
Pansy Soup and Larry move forward to meet them. Pansy Soup taps Lavender on the shoulder, in case she is asleep, and Larry gives Violet Jelly a gentle nudge.
“We are at Memory Bank,” says Pansy Soup.
Violet Jelly and Lavender smile and stretch. The mist dissolves and they find themselves standing beside Larry and Pansy Soup.
“Oooh!” coos Lavender. “Lemon Curd and plump, fresh strawberries.”
“For tea, when we were young,” responds Violet Jelly dreamily.
“But not together,” states Lavender.
“I was remembering,” recalls Violet Jelly, “when we were children.” She smiles broadly.
“So was I, Violet Jelly,” says Lavender. “It was cool and green in the woods, with a mist of bluebells.”
“I was there, too, in my memory, Lavender. We took cinnamon biscuits and lemonade.”

And here we leave them to the rest of their adventure.

And leave you with thoughts of daisies

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Gate of Dreams

I consider this 'my gate' with thoughts paused to gaze ... and in the distance, memories

Memories of standing watching
Memories of the warm smell of goat and donkey
Memories of soft muzzles, rough coats
Memories of evening walks, soft tread, and excitement at the rustle and rootle of hedgehogs, intent each on its own scuttling path

"Memories," speaks the gate to my mind, "to evoke time spent, long gone, but memories remain, linger on

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Harmony with Bats

Sitting, whilst evening transcends day, sipping a cool glass of white wine as birds retreat and bats swoop, flit, is special - calm and relaxing;

a time to share
a time to reflect
a time to feel joyous for all that has gone before;
the character building ups and downs of a life -

definitely a time to relax and reflect with a cool glass of white wine

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Queen of the Pixels

This was my favourite hibiscus, so flawlessly yellow.
It has since died.
Because this hibiscus is from our first days in Spain,it evokes nostalgia, excitement and the sense of adventure that beginning a 'new life' brings.
But ... there is more!
this hibiscus inspired 'The queen of the Pixels' (a character in my book Violet Jell.
A book needs a queen, or similar, and this is how my thoughts and photographs entwined to create her.

I used this photograph, which I rotated. I cut out the part I wished to use and placed it onto a transparent background in Photoshop.
I drew in her silhouette face, popped on her small shoes and pulled forward her hood to shroud her.

And here she is - returned resplendent to her hibiscus throne.

For me, that my illustrations each encompass a part of my life gives them a deeper meaning, as a part of me lies there, too.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Sheep Recipe

More fun ... a remnant from a 'woolly' life in Ireland.

Sheep recipe

Full, fat, woolly fleece
rolled to shape.
Ram in four blackthorn legs,
scooter ears,discoloured acorn face
complete with mechanical baa
in varied pitch.
Multiply by forty or fifty
and place on verdant green
smooth hummock-hill.

There leave your flock of sheep
to safely graze the
pasture opposite your eye;

to butt and race wool-wobbling
daily rituals, whilst you,
behind confining window,
perform a daily ritual;
watching them.

** And today marks an occasion - my book 'Violet Jelly' is now for sale on amazon.com - so I hope that many 8-80 years, plus, will read it ... for fun! **