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

Monday, 31 January 2011

Last Sunrise in January

Wanted to share these photographs of this last sunrise, the moon and the morning star. It came after some days of greyness and no sun, so I set off with my camera ...... and on we move, with a light tread and hope for company, towards spring,

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunday Snippet

This is the story of Edith Warner. She lived as a neighbour to the Indians of San Ildefonso Pueblo, near Los Alamos.

A beautiful book to read.

"It matters not ....... that the colour of skin be different, that language be not the same, that even the gods of our fathers be known by a different name. We are people, of the same kind of human beings who live and love and go on, and I find myself ever forgetting that my friends are known as Indians and that I am a white woman born."
Ch.8 p49

"This morning I stood on the river bank to pray. I knew then that the ancient ones were wise to pray for peace and beauty and not for specific gifts except fertility which is continued life ......... And I saw that ..... it is not necessary to ask for more."
Ch.10 p75

From 'The House at Otowi Bridge' by Peggy Pond Church

Friday, 28 January 2011

Sky Watch Friday

Almost unbelievable. Almost terrifying. I watched, mesmerised, as this avenging angel descended from the winter sky.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunday - but no snippet

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton's 'The Age of Innocence' is so well written; words cascading onto the page, tantalisingly readable, evoking a past era in New York society. I have not read Edith Wharton's work before, but already have a profound respect for her skills; using words, as a conjuror - to engage attention, to tantalise. She rewards the attention of the reader with a tale well told and wonderful cameos of some of the characters, that are full of humour and perception.

Let me offer you some excerpts:

Mrs Manson Mingott:
'.... though, when she bought a dress or a piece of furniture, she took care that it should be of the best, she could not bring herself to spend much on the transient pleasures of the table. ...... her food was as poor as Mrs Archer's, and her wines did nothing to redeem it.'
Ch.2 p.10

A part of her description -
'A flight of double chins led down to the dizzy depths of a still-snowy bosom veiled in snowy muslins that were held in place by a portrait of the late Mr. Mingott; and around and below, wave after wave of black silk surged away over the edges of a capacious armchair, with two tiny white hands poised like gulls on the surface of the billows.'
Ch.4 p.18

Newland Archer's thoughts as he looks at the guests assembled in the church for his wedding:
''How like a first night at the Opera!' he thought, recognising all the same faces in the same boxes (no, pews), and wondering if, when the Last Trump sounded, Mrs Selfridge Merry would be there with the same towering ostrich feathers in her bonnet, and Mrs. Beaufort with the same diamond earrings and the same smile - and whether suitable proscenium seats were already prepared for them in another world.'
Ch.19 p.114

And the Thanksgiving sermon:
'Dr. Ashmore, the new Rector of St. Matthew's, had been chosen because he was very 'advanced'; his sermons were considered bold in thought and novel in language. When he fulminated against fashionable society he always spoke of its 'trend'; and to Mrs Archer it was terrifying and yet fascinating to feel herself part of a community that was trending.'
Ch.26 p.162

If you have not read this book and are delighted by the snippets ... read and enjoy!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Sky Watch Friday

Dream clouds - outreaching dreams transcend earth's boundaries, float free to the vast cosmos; open; inviting both seekers and dreams

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sunday Snippet

On evil Tuesday, we take all the furniture and books out of the living room, remove everything from the walls and fireplace. We mark the center of the wall and try to visualise the expanded room. It's the imagination that carries up through the stress of these projects.Soon we will be happy! We'll have lawn chairs on that end of the front terrace and can listen to Brahms or Bird wafting out of the contadina kitchen door.

From chapter 'Sempre Pietra' page 250 of 'Under the Tuscan Sun' by Frances Mayes

I have enjoyed reading this book on and off during the winter. It is fun to dream and adventure with Frances Mayes, to bask in the Tuscan countryside, read and savour the delicious recipes .... imagine eating the resulting dishes and smell the herbs flavouring the food as it cooks!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Sky Watch Friday

Peace, serenity - what a way to enter the weekend!

These are the Giant Reeds passed on the way to the beach. Time; evening, just as the winter sun is setting.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Monday, 10 January 2011

Unicorn Sisters by Ursula Holden

In the comments on my Sunday Snippet of 2nd January, I was asked for more on Unicorn Sisters. This piece from 'Time Out' epitomises the book:

Told through the eyes of the eldest sister, Unicorn Sisters is a sensitive, bittersweet portrait of sibling loyalty, social change and innocence destroyed.

Maybe, it was not the intention of the author, but in reading both 'Tin Toys' - the book preceding 'Unicorn Sisters' and told through the eyes of the youngest sister - my thoughts did turn, from time to time, to their mother. What was her perspective in all of this? I wondered if she was as selfish and egotistical as the children find her, in her actions, or was it a combination of grief and denial, an inability to cope, alone, with her children.

The eyes of a child and the eyes of an adult view differently.

I hope that this suffices for those curious to know more.

Incidentally - I find the cover of this version, published in 1989, macabre.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Sunday Snippet

'Britons awake! Arise! oh, British lion!' cried Eugenia Malmains in thrilling tones. She stood on an overturned wash-tub on Chalford village green and harangued about a dozen aged yokels. Her straight hair, cut in a fringe, large, pale-blue eyes, dark skin, well proportioned limbs and classical features, combined with a certain fanaticism of gesture to give her the aspect of a modern Joan of Arc.
She was dressed in an ill-fitting grey woollen skirt, no stockings, a pair of threadbare plimsolls, and a jumper made apparently out of a Union Jack. Round her waist was a leather belt to which there was attached a large bright dagger.

from page 7 'Wigs on the Green' by Nancy Mitford

My reaction to 'Wigs on the Green' surprised me. It was one of shock that Nancy Mitford could be so spiteful (although I am aware that she did have this tendency). To me, it appears a childish mode of behaviour towards a sister, in particular; the behaviour of a schoolgirl rather than of an adult. In my mind it became personal, therefore subjective, in that I could never portray my own sisters in my writing, in the manner that Nancy Mitford does; if indeed at all.

These are my personal thoughts, rather than a review of 'Wigs on the Green'.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Sky Watch Friday

Coast of Northumberland, place of my birth; skies of chilhood; sands of time.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Sunday Snippet

This is from Unicorn Sisters by Ursula Holden. I have chosen this as my snippet as I love a book to end in just the right way ... and, for me, this book does just that.

The mother has promised that this daughter will be the first to know her secret and that it will be told on a journey they are taking together to London, by train.

'Close the window now, darling. Now, my secret.'
The train increased speed, louder, faster.
Too-old-to-dream. Too-old-to-dream. Too-old-to-dream.