Our walk was short and brisk dodging hailstorms. The sky over Carn Brea was threatening of more to come.
The lovely Mr S is very fond of Eccles Cakes as was my Dad, a Lancashire man. Dad liked them with a hunk of Lancashire cheese. I have never made them before and am delighted with today’s efforts!
While I was baking, I was listening to Poetry Please on BBC radio 4. The final poem by Murray Lachlan Young, ‘Negative Thoughts’ feels just perfect for these times as many people are struggling with their mental health. As the poet says, this poem is “An antidote to allowing things to spiral in the wrong direction.” The whole programme is worth listening to but you can find the poem at about 27 minutes using the link above. I found it very useful.
I promised you a poem that I was sent recently. Here it is, another by Mary Oliver. Kindness is so very important, at all times, but especially now in these very uncertain times. I send love and peace to you all along with this lovely poem.
Why I Wake Early – Mary Oliver
Hello sun in my face, Hello you who make the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety –
best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light
good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.
There was a wonderful interview on the Today programme on Radio 4 this morning with a 100 year old man, Eddie Jaku, who had kindness in his soul, who had been in concentration camps and come out with the thought that he must counteract all cruelty with kindness. If you would like to listen to the whole interview , here is the link https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08y82p9
There were words of his that I scribbled down at the point of listening, that I wanted to keep for ever.
“One flower is my garden
One good friend is my world”
“Three H – hope, health and happiness – happiness is the only thing that doubles when you share it. ”
What a wonderful man! Do listen if you can.
I’ve been ‘resting’ all day as I was allowed to have the steroid injection in my hip yesterday and was told to rest for 48 hours to get the best benefit. I have spent the whole glorious day embroidering the panels that I am making for two of our LiveWires for Christmas. I don’t understand why I can have multiple injections. in my hip and only three in my ankles but I am not going to question it! I can’t show you the panels yet so here is a lovely photo of one of our planters in the Spring to give us all hope for the next Spring to come.
It’s been another quiet, stay-at-home, curl-up-with-a-good-book sort of a day today too as Storm Brian blows a hoolie outside. Today, however, we have had the best treat, two hours of having a story read to us! Not just any old story either but the first of Philip Pullman’s brilliant new trilogy, The Book of Dust, read by Simon Russell Beale on BBC Radio 4 this afternoon – two and a half hours of entrancement.
Philip Pullman’s new novel
I promised you more of the Onondaga Nation’s Greetings and Thanks to the Natural World. Here are the next two panels.
and from the four directions…..
and now the sun
Tomorrow, the Moon….
Just found this photo which demonstrates the hoolie very well! Thanks to Adam Sprague for this amazing photograph.
1 A friend’s Mum has been knitting for the babies of Tanzania, having been inspired by my post about KnitZTanzania and the need for little sweaters and beanie hats to stop the babies dying of hypothermia. Here are what she describes as her ‘first’ batch! Thank you so much for joining me in this venture. If you, too, would like to join us in this project, the pattern can be found here. The address to send them to can be found in the comments on the same page.
Baby hats and sweaters from Hils’ Mum
2 I was reminded of a beautiful piece of music, Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata, 2nd Movement, this evening as it was part of BBC Radio 4’s programme Pick of the Week, this week’s items being chosen by Antonia Quirke. Just listen to Daniel Barenboim playing and feel the calm come over you……..
1 Yesterday on BBC Radio 4 there was a programme called Soul Music. It is a series where they take a song and examine how it has touched various people very deeply. One of the people interviewed was Chris Ferguson, Astronaut, who described watching from the space shuttle, Endeavour, when the 40 minute night becomes day and how the colours are heart wrenchingly beautiful. He told how each of the families at home made recordings of two or three favourite songs which the astronauts used in turn as their ‘wake-up’ music. One of his was the soul music of the day – ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’. Click here for the programme in case you would like to listen and here is the song. The whole programme is full of touching stories. I really hope you can listen.
2 Our Clematis Montana is flowering beautifully over the roof of the shed.
3 One to amuse – and perhaps set you thinking…….
— To Whom It May Concern —
This poem about ice cream has nothing to do with government, with riot, with any political scheme.It is a poem about ice cream. You see ? About how you might stroll into a shop and ask; One Strawberry Split. One Mivvi.What did I tell you ? No one will die. No licking tongues will melt like candle wax. This is a poem about ice cream. Do not cry.
— Andrew Motion
For Alex who I think will especially appreciate my first beautiful thing tonight.
1 BBC Radio 4 brought more delights today. The guest on Desert Island Discs was the nurse and humanitarian, Dame Claire Bertschinger, about whom I knew very little. She was fascinating and if you can find the time, I think you would enjoy it too. Here’s the link to the programme.
Apart from hearing about her inspirational life, her choices were very touching for me. There was a verse from Hiawatha, the very verse I learned at primary school and then there was ‘The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God’ which my Dad used to recite to us having learned it at his primary school. I found it so touching because I spent the last seventeen days of my lovely Father’s life in the hospice with him and one day, though very, very ill, he said, “I wonder if I can remember this,’ and went on to recite the whole thing to his and my delight. You can listen to the poem here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUoZAvwvUQA
Dame Claire Bertschinger – BBC photo
2 Sometimes only Jelly Babies will do and the lovely Mr S went down to the corner shop to get me some.
3 When Mr S came home he found a big cardboard box on the doorstep and inside it were the most beautiful flowers, a present from our youngest daughter for Mothers’ Day, from a Cornish flower grower. I have put them into our lovely amber glass vase that was a wedding present for my Mum and Dad in 1939!
1 I loved my piano lesson today! Between us, my teacher and I have come up with a trick that is really helping me to learn. G started me on some simple duets and they were fun in the lessons but hard to practise as my part sounded odd on its own so I started to record her part and to play along to it. Hey presto! My timing improved and things sounded good! So, now I record G playing each new piece three times, firstly at the right speed so I know what I’m aiming for, then each hand at a learning speed so I can pick it up, getting the timing and the notes right. Then I can play each hand, with the recording playing the other hand, then I can move to both hands together and then play along with the right speed and, finally, I hope, play the whole thing independently! They are all simple tunes but I am having such fun learning!
2 BBC Radio 4 has all week had a fabulous series running called Just So Science. It is excerpts from Rudyard Kipling’s delightful ‘Just So Stories’ interspersed with scientific information about the animal in question. Today it was ‘The Cat Who Walked By Himself’, one of my many favourites. Just read this and feel the beautiful language, the alliteration, the rhythm, the repetition and the humour. I just love it. My Dad used to read all these stories to me so I hear his voice when I read the words. Now that is truly beautiful.
“One evening Bat said, ‘There is a Baby in the Cave. He is new and pink and fat and small, and the Woman is very fond of him.’
‘Ah,’ said the Cat, listening, ‘but what is the Baby fond of?’
‘He is fond of things that are soft and tickle,’ said the Bat. ‘He is fond of warm things to hold in his arms when he goes to sleep. He is fond of being played with. He is fond of all those things.’
‘Ah,’ said the Cat, listening, ‘then my time has come.’
Next night Cat walked through the Wet Wild Woods and hid very near the Cave till morning-time, and Man and Dog and Horse went hunting. The Woman was busy cooking that morning, and the Baby cried and interrupted. So she carried him outside the Cave and gave him a handful of pebbles to play with. But still the Baby cried.
Then the Cat put out his paddy paw and patted the Baby on the cheek, and it cooed; and the Cat rubbed against its fat knees and tickled it under its fat chin with his tail. And the Baby laughed; and the Woman heard him and smiled.”
The Cat Who Walked By Himself
Do click on the link and give yourself a treat!
3 Don wrote about Agapanthus recently and reminded me of this beautiful picture taken in St Mawes last July when we had our brilliant family reunion. Look beyond the Agapanthus to see the St Mawes Regatta on the water and beyond that to St Anthony Head which is on our favourite coastal walk.
Look beyond the Agapanthus from St Mawesand beyond again across the water to St Anthony’s Head
1 My Three Wise Monkeys sculpture, made in copper especially for me by the artist, Jeremy Beswick, some years ago, has today been put up on the wall by Mr S. I grew up with three carved wooden monkeys but they didn’t end up with me so I had some made! The Three Wise Monkeys “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”
‘Three Wise Monkeys’ by Jeremy Beswick, Artist
2 What a treat! Shakespeare’s Othello has been on BBC Radio 4 this afternoon and I’ve been planting up my monkey sculpture with the radio close by. Lenny Henry was brilliant as Othello in this Northern Broadsides production.
3 Beautiful bubbles have been blowing over the fence from next door’s 5 year old having fun. 🙂 Click on the photo to enlarge and see the bubbles clearly.
1 A bumble bee has been hanging around the kitchen door for the last few days. I’m thinking I should give her a little honey.
2 BBC Radio 4 are dramatising Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” as the afternoon play all this week and it’s brilliant – 45mins of uninterrupted listening heaven!
3 Mr S has harvested lots of our leeks today, washed all the little slugs and snails out and chopped them up (the leeks, not the slugs!) I’ve blanched and frozen lots of them and we’ve had a delicious leek and chicken risotto for supper tonight. More to do tomorrow.