Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Girls Weekend in Wales

Friday at 12 we braved the public rail system (rife with bomb scares of late) and met up with the 20 other women who we would be spending the weekend with. We were on the train for about 6 hours travelling through stunning scenery, grazing and drinking wine while nattering away together. We arrived got ourselves settled in our teeny dorm, before my 3 ring ins: sister in law Sharon; Italian friend Elena; and paddling mate Michelle all went for a walk on the beach. At one end of the beach was lots of boulders, and with all my pent up energy I was rock jogging - I love doing that and by then end I was sweating like I'd just done an outdoor step class. So, ran into the freezing Tremadog Bay in the Irish Sea. Woohoo, was that every invigorating!! After that we climbed up to the road and hitched a ride to the nearest pub. Then walked back to the Mountain Centre, what a great intro to our weekend!
Next morning we went for a 3 hour walk up to a bluff with brilliant views over the bay. We walked past a beautiful remote cottage, empty because apparently haunted. Past an ancient burial chamber, through mossy forests, and along babbling brooks, finishing up with a walk along the beach - it was beautiful and Sunny too!

After lunch I went Gorge Scrambling. Since there has been so much rain the river is very swollen, so we started by jumping into a pond about 15ft round and with a 13ft high water fall raging into it. Our challenge was to pull ourselves along a rope and then push ourselves behind the wall of water to sit on a little ledge and be deafened by the sound, try to catch our breath in the freezing mist before launching back through the waterfall into the pool and get out before tumbling down the rapids - it certainly got the adrenalin going - yay! We traversed along the slippery edge, swam through more pools and finally jumped into the bottom of a 30ft waterfall, sinking into the aerated water and then popping up further down. What a fun and exhausting day.
After dinner we all went to the beach, lit a ripper of a fire and then proceeded to act like 10 year girls. We perfected a 4 storey human pyramid, we had 3 legged and wheel barrow races and a load of other silly fun games. While consuming our fair share of the fruit of the vine. It was a spectacular sunset before at about 1am we stumbled back through the fields full of cow pats and 2ft deep puddles with no moon - HILARIOUS - Well, everything was by that point. We added sore stomach muscles to our growing list of sore muscles.
Next morning we were off to a beautiful place for rock climbing, we had views up the coast and then back along the river. We climbed a rock (apparently graded as difficult) and abseiled before returning for a lovely Sunday lamb roast and then getting on the train for a slightly more subdued journey home.

Can't wait till next year!

Craving the Outdoors

It has rained for all of May and all of June. So it hasn't felt like summer yet, even though it is warm, we aren't living outdoors. The weekend before last we were in London and Saturday morning the kids were at friends for the day, Jeff was working and I was craving a walk along a beach. So, Nancy & I drove 1.5hrs to Christchurch, a beautiful little village on the sea. We lunched in a boat house before going for a long walk with the dog. It was the first time either of us had donned wellies for the beach, it was raining and windy and we trapsed along the beach, smelling the salt, feeling the wet and the wind. It was brilliant! Around the corner of the headland is a spit and on it are about 80 cute little beach huts all painted lovely colours. We felt great after being filled up on the nature.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Oscar and Me

Class out the front of the Royal Academy of Art with rear end of monstrous sheet metal tyranosaurous

Oscar is home educating now. I had a talk with the head teacher on Monday. He is very supportive!! At this point, we are working towards getting Oscar confident with writing and reading, so that he doesn't feel like he is the dumbest in the class. And the plan is build his confidence so that he can rejoin the school in September - with one of the best teachers at the school. Really though, we are just going to play and play.
Playing in Green Park (right near Buckingham Palace)

Yesterday we went with the school to the Royal Academy and saw a lovely exhibition on the drawings of Monet - not those wishy washy gardens of his. But incredible illustrations, caricatures (the funnest) and seaside landscapes with pastel. It was Oscars last day at school - what a great memory of his class and teacher.


I am becoming an Ebay junkie...

Don't tell the boys, but I am bidding on hatching eggs...and incubator and hen house. Jeff approves!! Oscar talks of nothing else... I'm so excited!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Taking it Easy

This week my little ones have been away on a camp with the Woodcraft Folk - having a brilliant time, caving, kyaking, canoeing etc. It hasn't been the driest week, so I hope they have been warm...hehe typical mother worry. Late at night I think about them and hope they are OK, sleeping out under the stars in a beautiful valley 3 hours away, in Wales. O called and told me he cried one night because he needed a cuddle from Mum...awwww, that made me feel good and sad all at once.

So, I have been taking it easy this week. Really on a Gooo Slowwww, you know - getting up late, drinking tea and looking at the sky... This morning I took my beautiful dog with her amazing tail for a walk and because we have had so much rain in May, the forest is LUUUUSH. It was so nice to move my body I have been hunched over books and computer so much lately. Feels good, and headache is slowly disapting...


Did you see the blue moon last night? Wasn't it beautiful!?

aaah, I looked out my window and thought "give me strength" you beautiful symbol of woman. Is there a word for women that isn't patriarchal?
I have been deeply struggling this week. It is hard being a woman sometimes.
Why is that if a couple split up many people will blame the woman? She must not have been good to the man, or she must be too hysterical for him, or she has him on a tight leash, or whatever. And then the woman is left with their children, she struggles, she gets a break from them once every 2 weeks, she worries about how they will turn out, she works hard and then comes home and does the unpaid work. While he gets to avoid the responsibility of being a full-time father. I know so many single Mums who live like this. Why do men think they don't have to put in effort - hard work to make things work. Making sacrifices, making changes - being responsible.

Right now, I need some strength. I need to be able to be a strong woman for myself and for my children. I will do everything in my power to make things work, but I can't make him want the same. Despite my continuing nausea and throbbing migraine...Thank you beautiful Moon, for giving me this strength last night.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oh Mother...

Painting by Max Ernst

This week I have been in angst about my mothering. Ironically, I have also had to write an essay on this poem:

Everybody's Mother by Liz Lochhead

Of course
everybody's mother always and
so on...
Always never
loved you enough
or too smothering much.
Of course you were the Only One, your
a machine that shat out siblings, listen
everybody's mother
was the original Frigid-
aire Icequeen clunking out
the hardstuff in nuggets, mirror-
silvers and ice-splinters that'd stick
in your heart.
Absolutely everyone's mother
was artistic when she was young.
Everyone's mother
was a perfumed presence with pearls, remote
white shoulders when she
bent over in her ball dress
to kiss you in your crib.
Everybody's mother slept with the butcher
for sausages to stuff you with.
Everyone's mother
mythologized herself. You got mixed up
between dragon's teeth and blackmarket stockings.
she failed to give you
Positive Feelings
about your own sorry
sprouting body (it was a bloody shame)

but she did
sit up all night sewing sequins
on your carnival costume
so you would have a good time
and she spat
on the corner of her hanky and scraped
at your mouth with sour lace till your squirmed
so you would look smart

And where
was your father all this time?
at the war, or
in his office, or any-
way conspicuous for his
Absence, so
what if your mother did
float around above you
big as a barrage balloon
blocking out the light?
Nobody's mother can't not never do nothing right.

By Liz Lochhead,
Dreaming Frankenstein & Collected Poems (1984)
There is SO much to this poem, phew! I really like the frankness of this poem, its down-to-earth stream of consciousness, conversational style. Luckily, I was staying in Scotland at some friends house this past weekend and they could help me decipher the last line! Scottish people speak like this, in very negative language - talking about this poem with some Scottish women was VERY interesting. You can read more about Liz Lochhead here, she writes a lot on feminist identity and issues etc.
I hope that the auto double spacing doesn't kick in. How can I change that? How a poem is spaced is really important, especially this one.

Lovely Limerick

Speak Softly
To complain and demand is absurd,
without first considering your words.
Try courtesy first
before things get worse;
you should not have to hurt to be heard
{Tom Fonseca}
These are good words to remember...
I have just handed in 2 essays today - one of them on limericks and sonnets. Limericks are nearly always funny and crude. This one makes me laugh:
There was a young man from Peru,
Who had nothing whatever to do;
So he took out his carrot
And buggered his parrot,
And sent the result to the zoo.
The sonnet I worked on was Shakespears Sonnet 116, which I also read at my bro Paul and Sharon's wedding a couple of weeks ago:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediements, Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the wandering star to every wand'ring barque,
Whose worth's unknown although his height be taken.
Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Oh my, I DO love words. Words and colours inspire me - i'm so happy studying what i am.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Colour Crazy

Oh, I must share this with you...It would be selfish not to! Given the previous post on colour...Take a look at this Matisse painting. AND the title!!

"The Joy of Life"
I have it as my background at the moment...LOVE!

Monday, May 21, 2007


To say the magnolias were splendid this year would be a major understatement. I'm not sure if I am noticing the spring flowers so much more because I am just out and about more (not working) or if they really are more spectacular than usual.

Yesterday I read this and think it should be shared. Written by Julia Margaret Cameron about 100 years ago:

"...that consummate flower - the magnolia - a flower which is, I think, so mysterious in its beauty as if it were the only thing left unspoiled and unspoiled from the garden of Eden. A flower a blind man would mistake for a fruit too rich, too good for Human Nature's daily food. We had a standard Magnolia in our garden at Sheen, and on a still summer night the moon would beam down upon those ripe, rich vases, and they used to send forth a scent that made the soul faint with a sense of the luxury of the world of flowers".

my I do love the use of such rich and sumptuous language - delllicious!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Colour Full

I'm back, have been away being busy busy. Over to Canada, then family were all here for my bro's wedding, and thrown in at the end are end of year exams etc. Right now, I have 4 essays due in 2 weeks! arrgh...Still, I'm enjoying the quietness of now.

I have spent 5-6 hours today reading. Reading for essay due in 4 days. Reading about Vanessa Bell, sister to Virginnia Woolf (author) wife to Clive Bell (Art Historian) Lover to Roger Fry (Art Critic and catalyst in modern movement in art in Britian) also Lover to Duncan Grant (gay artist with whom she worked very closely with). Vanessa Bell was a central female figure in the Bloomsbury group and I'm writing an essay on her painting: Studland Beach (1911), a defining artwork in her career, the beginning of Post-Impressionism in the UK.

Anyway, the reason for this post...I just read this and think it should be shared:

"But the coloured canvasses would not wait until dawn. Blue stepped forward and bowed down and sand a melody with the tones from which he created the damp depths of his ploughed fields, and the stone of his rocks, the height of his skies and the glitter of his water. Then came Green, carrying the sap of his cyprus trees, the silver of his olives, and the silent wealth of his bushes and grass. Then Orange leapt forward, in her garment of fire, raising a shout as she passed through the room. Orange was not alone, Carime and Geranium Red danced with her. The moved like waves of luminous smoke from licking flames and sometimes they seemed like large winged butterflies with great patterns on their backs. The floor was covered with the red of the tiles in Arles, and in between shone sapphire and emerald. When they had all come to pay their tribute a fanfare sounded, and Yellow, his black-eyed mistress entered in her Chinese robe of state. Ten women came with her, the fairest of the Empire, garbed in gentler tones of the same yellow and stood at her side bearing sunflowers."

This is written by Julius Meier-Graefe in his biography of Van Gogh.

I have a renewed respect for the mans sense of colour! love love.