Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Notable by her absence

That phrase sums up rather well the relationship between me and blogging for the past couple of weeks or more, ever since I was finally able to get back to full activity. Everyday life has taken over and it’s been good for me to get away from the computer for a while. The last three months have been very sedentary and I can feel the impact this has had on my general fitness, so it’s great to be busy and active again.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t missed you all, but I’ve been making up for lost time, particularly with music practice, plus a multitude of jobs around the house. The advent of some real spring weather has been another distraction, though that seems to be on hold again, with frost and wintry showers being the order of the day over the past few days. 

Dawn on a frosty Sunday morning

A sign of spring pushing through the debris of a long wet winter

Now DH and I are busy getting ready to be on the move again. The very small campervan has just returned from the garage with a new speedometer cable and a spruced-up gearbox and is raring to go. DH has even given its exterior a reluctant wash and brush-up, a great concession from one who firmly believes that road dirt has a protective function where vehicle bodywork is concerned.

On Friday we will travel to Southport, where we will be celebrating my dear mother-in-law’s 90th birthday this weekend. From there we will head north on our spring migration to the north coast of Scotland and the glories of the North-West Highlands. Having only managed a two-week visit there in the whole of last year, we can’t wait to arrive and settle in for a good long stay. We have no TV there and I’m looking forward to catching up with you all in the quiet evenings which are one of our great pleasures when we’re away. See you then….

Friday, March 07, 2014

Starting all over again

Towards the end of January the nice nurse who discharged me from hospital after my emergency hernia operation issued dire warnings of what might happen if I didn't avoid all strain to my newly-repaired stomach muscles for the next six weeks. Being a biddable sort of person when it really matters, I've obeyed her instructions, despite chafing at the restriction, so this is how I've been filling my time apart from blogging.

Rather too much of this

And quite a lot of these

A pair of these for me

And another for DD

Some of this - sermons and Lent talk

Now, finally, the six weeks are up and I’m looking forward to my new-found freedom. OK, it comes with some disadvantages, such as no longer having any excuse for not giving the vacuum cleaner its accustomed exercise, but it does mean I can finally get back into the swing of things and do something more physically demanding than knitting or desk work.

One of the casualties of this enforced period of rest has, of course, been clarinet practice. Playing a clarinet is very hard on the stomach muscles, which means that, after only a month of learning, I've had six weeks when I've not been allowed to blow a note. This afternoon I waved DH off for another visit to his mother, so this weekend I can practise to my heart’s content. What’s the betting that when I dust the cobwebs off the clarinet tomorrow, I’ll be back to my initial squeaks and odd notes? Ah well, I'd better take a lesson from Fred and Ginger...

Some images via Google

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Budding talent

One of the many pleasures of blogging is the discoveries to which it can give rise. Last November, just before I went for my cataract surgery, I did a post about Bonfire Night as I remembered it from childhood.

In her comment, my next-to-youngest sister, who comments under the name of PolkaDot, promised to send me a scan of some sketches she had made one Bonfire Night when I was at university. This she soon did and I so enjoyed them that she sent me other drawings she had done as homework while studying art for O-Level.

Now one of the things I’ve never been able to hide is that the gene for artistic talent, handed down from our mother in particular, completely passed me by. My three younger sisters all showed considerable artistic talent, two of them studying it for A-Level and one (my next sister) at degree level. PolkaDot’s talent and inclination was particularly for architecture, which she went on to study at university.

I can’t draw a straight line without a ruler, and, sketched by my hand, a cow looks very like a dog, and vice-versa. I've been told many times that, with time and patience, most people can be taught to draw, but I still maintain I have the drawing equivalent of tone-deafness, which means I've always been filled with admiration for those who can draw and paint.

Apart from the two Bonfire Night sketches, the drawings my sister sent me are mainly of our childhood home and its setting on the edge of the Lancashire moors and I’m sure they will give you as much pleasure as they have given me. Remember when you look at them that she was 15 or 16 years old at the time she drew them and captured so well the people and places I knew and loved. 

My mother watching the bonfire flames

Looking down past the farm towards our cottage

Our kitchen - the heart of the home

Bury Fold, Darwen - 17th century farmhouse

The quiet little village where I grew up