Friday, 29 July 2011

Project Spectrum - July

July was blue.  Which was a bit challenging because the only blue I could think of was the sky and there are already the most spectacular blue skies on the web site and I couldn't think of any blue food.  There are blueberries but I believe, technically, they are purple.  I could have made blue icing to put on a cake  but blue food doesn't really appeal.  Also blue is not very high on my list of favourite colours.   Having said that I do seem to have a lot of blue jewellery

I made this card for MG as she is interested in the colours for the months.  Not sure if she is going to actually  do anything with the colours though because when I asked her if she was going to make something she replied 'Um, might do' - she is a very busy 8 year old.

And then it's back to the trusty camera to discover the blue bits of life out and about

Saw this boat in Whitstable harbour looking rather blue as it doesn't look like it will be going anywhere soon....

I liked this as it brings together all the colours of the past 3 months. Red/orange, green and blue.

I looked after a stall for Mrs Pao at the Whitstable Oyster Festival  and on one of the other stalls were these gorgeous corsets. They are made by racheljanecrighton and are so beautifully made - and she takes commissions.

Pretty blue flowers from The Secret Garden in Sandwich, no idea what they are called though

These funny prickly things have got blue stems!!

I did try to leave blue sky out of this  but I looked up and decided to try and be artistic again.  Blue sky as seen through the roof of a pagoda in the middle of the gardens. 

Back at MO's garden.  Blue plant pots.  Such a place of discovery, that garden.  I wonder if I will be able to find all the colours there?

Then I spotted a big blue tent being erected in a car park

I saw these berries while out walking.  I don't know what they are but they definitely look blue to me

One of my favourite places to go and watch the world go by (or rather - come in).  See the sailor in the  blue jumper just behind - clever huh!!

My favourite place to go when I feel blue and am in need of good food

Well, I found more blue in the world than I thought I would which is one of the reasons I like Project Spectrum.  It encourages observation and creativity.  Nice.

And so to August which is pink!!!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Another Sunday

Not all Sundays are bad (most, but not all) and last Sunday was one of the good ones.

It was a lovely sunny day, hot but not too hot, and my dear friend MO collected me at 12.30 for a day with her and her family.

We firstly went for a mooch round the supermarket - I don't usually get a chance to mooch and I am one of those weird people who like supermarket shopping so I love a good mooch - and I bought far too much fruit.  I'll never get through it all before it goes off.  I shall have to google 'too much fruit' and see what comes up.

Then we had a sandwich and cherries at MO's before going to The Secret Garden at the Salutation Gardens in Sandwich.  The only time I had been there was to have lunch in the cafe.  It was the most delicious and generous Ploughmans I have ever had, but I didn't visit the garden. 

Well, it's hard to know what to say.  I could string together a whole list of superlatives in an attempt to describe this wonderful place but none of them would do it justice.  So I will let some photo's showcase it for  you.  But then there is the difficulty  of  choosing which of the 235 I took to show.  Yes, I took 235 photos in one and a half hours and we didn't get all the way round.  So we are going again - I am so excited. Anyway here are a few photos of The Secret Garden (and considering how many I took - these are only a few)

Look - blue stems - never seen that before!

 The Secret Garden is one of my all time favourite books and this is  how I imagined Polly, Digory and Colin's secret garden to be

Here is where I finally worked out how to use the macro on the camera and was able to take a photo of a bee gathering pollen

 There are a lot of copper sculptures around the garden

This photo was an accident but I quite like it

Another copper sculpture

A Monet moment

The same Monet moment - different position

Another macro moment with buzzy insect

Someone is lucky enough to live here

When my soul is in need of healing I go to the sea.  Should it need just a little soothing I will definitely come here.  Suffice to say it is a place  that is  very good for  the soul.

Also good for the soul was the family dinner that followed.

MO's partner JT and his son OT had been to a WW2 thingy at the Hop Farm and came back with sunburn and tales of the vintage vehicles seen and the battle enactments witnessed. It was nice to see their enthusiasm. MO's daughters, MLO and KO were having an end of term, back from uni clear out and washing session.  Sensible girls talked me out of nabbing the huge, very pink cardboard box they were throwing out -  vaguely regret that. 

I also helped MLO with her washing.  She was loading about 3million socks onto the airer and none of them matched.  I was surprised to discover that I had a desperate desire to match them up. I managed 2 pairs.  I had to try very hard not to scream when MO said to me 'you do know she never wears matching socks don't you'.  Should I worry about this formerly latent case of OCD I wonder?  I once worked with a woman who, as soon as her washing was dry, would put a bra, a pair of knickers and a pair of tights into individual plastic bags so that she didn't have to go scrabbling around in draws  for any of it when she was getting dressed.  I admired that.  I was always going to do that one of these days.  I have known about this practise for 23 years and still haven't got round to doing it yet.   I do have matching underwear and occasionally when I get undressed I find to my surprise that I actually matched that day.  I do try to be tidy.  It's just that it never seems to happen somehow.  Therefore  perhaps I just have a hitherto unknown case of matching sock fetish which, as I don't wear socks will probably never bother me again. 

Dinner was a wonderfully informal and relaxed affair.  I chopped and grated and MO stirred, mixed and created  and we all sat down to a delicious meal of two types of sauce (meat and vegetarian) with pasta, salad and bread.  MLO and KO had us in fits of laughter with tales of their visits to MO's family in the States complete with bonkers dogs, relatives with shotguns, meatballs for breakfast and really, really bad thunderstorms.  I felt so welcome and included.  Lovely people.

I went home happy that night.   Nice Sunday.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Waiting for inspiration - JK and me

A few moons ago I stated that I wanted writing to be my new career.  I then put it into my list of '60 things'.  So, I thought, perhaps I had better try and do something about it rather than just " 'a wishin' and a dreamin' and a hopin''. That might be a misquote by the way.

Legend has it that JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter sitting in a cafe with a cup of tea at a time of personal hardship i.e. unemployed, broke and single parent.  Hmmm, two out of three - not bad - so, I took myself off to a cafe for a cup of tea with a pen and lots of paper to see if I could get some creative juices flowing. 

As I excitedly stumbled up the stairs to the cafe in Waterstones bookshop (an attempt to gain inspiration and ability by the osmosis effect) I pictured myself sitting by the window in the grip of inspiration;  scribbling away like Jo in Little Women in a frenzy of creativity. The end result being a novel which my very own Professor Bhaer would get published for me (I had best go and find my Professor Bhaer as a matter of urgency!). Said novel would,  of course, then lend itself to a series of novels followed by a series of blockbusting films - Oscar acceptance speech already written etc etc etc. 

To my disappointment the window seat was taken by a trio of women 'doing' coffee who looked like they weren't about to leave anytime soon.  One corner comfy sofa was taken  by two elderly ladies who looked like they were taking a mid-shopping break (lots of carrier bags but arm room enough left for more).  A corner table was taken by three persons of retired looking age who were holding some sort of meeting, the table being spread with a myriad of papers and folders.  At a side table sat a middle aged  couple engaged in earnest conversation so they didn't look as though they would be leaving soon either.  So, I chose a sort of off centre table, ordered my tea and teacake (was JK able to afford a teacake I wonder?), got out my pen and much paper and settled down.  To wait.  For the inspiration to come.

Unfortunately the AGM people were loud of voice and  spending an awful lot of time talking about computer technology.  Well, that is one of them was holding forth with his experiences to the other two, who were out of necessity silent as he didn't pause for breath once.  I could hear, but not see, the three women by the window as they were giggling quite hysterically and the earnest couple were droning on in the background.  My head was buzzing with the sounds of all those voices.  How did JK do it?

That was twenty minutes ago.  Since then opposite me sit five children around the elevenish age group playing computer games. Their minders are sitting at a table next to them - ignoring them.  Behind me sit two more elderly women, to the left of me three more elderly women. Behind the five children  a man is studiously ignoring a small girl who looks about five and has a whiny, high pitched voice with which she is is carrying on a loud monologue whilst banging the table.  An elderly man is reading the paper at another table.  A middle aged couple are sitting not talking to each other.  Two women  have colonised the other sofa and are looking at photos on a laptop and a couple possibly in their forties appear to have dragged an unwilling teenage boy out with them.  They talk - he stares into  space.  Two people dressed as ramblers complete with walking boots, backpacks and  those green anoraks are having coffee at another table.  The coffee machines are whooshing away like mad.  And it's great.  All the voices have merged into a general hum and apart from the frequent  admonishments of  'Henry' to one of the five by a minder I can't distinguish any of the voices. I can't hear individual sounds.  It's like white noise and it's strangely peaceful.

So, here I sit, waiting.  For Inspiration.  And nothing is coming.  But, I am having a nice time.  If legend is true I can see why JK (we are on initial terms now you know, us  both being writers) did it.  It is nice to actually be out of the flat, to be among people.  It's not like going to work obviously and it isn't a social occasion - I am not interacting with any of these people but it isn't like being isolated either.

The people are begining to thin out a bit now.  The five children plus minders have departed.  Unfortunately monologue girl is still going strong accompanied by the occasional adult male grunt.  Is she like this because she is being ignored or is she being ignored because she is like this?  Either way adult male needs to help her out a bit I feel.  Retired not speaking to each other couple are still not speaking to each other. He is still staring into space  but she  is now speaking to another woman at the next table who's male companion is engrossed in his newspaper.  A single young male has arrived and is eating a croissant while reading a very large paperback book the title of which I can't see.  The ramblers are now munching away on pastries whilst gazing up at the ceiling - there is nothing up there that I can see - they haven't even divested themselves of their anoraks and it is  a very hot day. They actually look a little out of place, as though they should really be sitting in a rustic pub at the top  of a mountain after a major yomp instead of taking morning coffee in a city tearoom.  I wouldn't have thought there was much call for hiking boots in the city centre but perhaps they have walked a long way - and been at it since dawn.  Two women who look very much like sisters have arrived and are carrying on a very animated coversation.  They have a zillion carrier bags with them but not from the posh shops. 

This is the sort of scenario that Alexander McCall Smith would turn into a book.  He would write back stories for each of these people, somehow connect them to each other and although there wouldn't be a plot as such, no murder or espionage, it would be an observation of other people's lives that the reader could relate to.  I have read some of his Scotland Street series and although I like to read them now and again I tend to like exposure to something different, something out of the ordinary,  a sense of mystery, a surprise at the end or along the way.

Is someone in this ordinary looking scenario out of the ordinary?  Is an event going to take place shortly in this very cafe that is going to change the course of one or more  of these lives forever?  Is one of these people harouring a secret or carrying a burden that will alter everything for them.  The newly  arrived older couple with younger child think it is such a notable enough event they are taking photos of her.  Perhaps they are kidnappers and are taking photos to build up a history with her should they be questioned at any time.

Alexander McCall Smith aside I tend to not want to read every day life. I live every day life.  I read to escape, to experience something outside my sphere of life.  When I read I want to be transported elsewhere and I think that is probably the sort of thing I would like to write.  But I am not sure I have that sort of imagination.  But if I don't try I won't know so, which of these people in this cafe are aliens in disguise on the run from a dark and malevolent force?........................

ok here should be a picture of a dear little
green alien.  Having surprised myself by
using clipart before I was going to do it
again - but - I can't remember how I did
it - it would seem to have been a fluke as
I just can't seem to work out how to do it
again.  I have been trying for ages and
for the sake of my sanity am now giving
up so if you would be so kind as to
imagine a little green creature with
a rugby ball shaped head, no hair,
big eyes, long fingers with knobbly bits
on the end and looking in need of a
friend I would be most grateful.


Monday, 18 July 2011

The answer to Sunday

Sunday.  Sundays are bad.  I don't like Sundays.  Generally none are good but  some are less worse than others and some are just positively dire.  Today is Sunday.  And it's not good.

Today I needed comfort.  Badly.  I wasn't sure what sort of comfort I needed although I have an idea it  was comfort of the male kind as I was sorely tempted to phone the significant ex.  That would have been a pointless exercise as he doesn't do comfort in any way (another reason why he is an ex) and besides he lives some miles away which is generally a blessing.  I really needed the keeping you safe and warm and making you feel good with big cuddles  kind of comfort. 

Failing that I decided to phone a friend.   Everyone was out.  I was the only one in on a Sunday.  The need for comfort was growing.  I rang round  again.  Then a friend answered.  Oh that was a big mistake.  I was feeling vulnerable and wasn't being very good at hiding it, she was busy and didn't have time and so the conversation ended with me tearfully apologising profusely for being such a difficult person.  The need for comfort was close to going off the scale here.

So I made a cake.  A chocolate cake.  A great big, gooey, comforting, chocolate cake.  My chocolate cake doesn't care if I'm difficult, or  needy and show it, or can't keep up socially because I don't have money.  My cake just wants to be eaten.  By me.  My chocolate cake wants to comfort me in any way it can.  No questions asked.  No judgements made.  No payment needed.  I just have to eat it.

For my part I love my chocolate cake unconditionally.  I don't care that its top slid off its bottom and it's flat one side because I cut off a burnt bit and it  looks like this

I love my chocolate cake for all it's idiosyncrasies.  I love my chocolate cake for its comfort.

And this is me - ready to be comforted.

Mmmmmmm................ all better now.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Project Spectrum - June

June was green

But, because I had so much trouble with my computer and actually didn't have access to it for most of June, I never posted anything on the website.  I did however dabble in the greenness of life and thought I would share with you some of my greenery (I am quite nice like that............)

I started June off with the good intention of being as creative as I could be.  I wanted to try all sorts of things and so I started with card making - one for Fathers Day and one for MG because she likes to get things through the post

I don't know if it's noticeable but I used different materials for the leaves.  It made me feel artistic.

Unfortunately, that was it.  June was a little fraught for a variety of reasons and so I took to my camera and MO's back garden for most of the rest of my attempts to be creative.

Creatively titled 'Little Green Apples' for those of you of an age to remember the song.  This photo makes me feel a little younger - if I sing the song while looking at it..... go on give it a go 'God didn't make little green apples and it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summer time'

I love the contrast of the colours and the fact that MO and JT really do have a white picket fence and it is lovely.  This photo feels like summer.

I seem to be fond of ivy.  This photo feels like there are secrets waiting to be discovered.  It just does.

This is me trying to be artistic (again) with an 'arrangement' in shades of green.  This feels pretentious - but I did it anyway.

For my birthday LC and I took a short trip to Whitstable Harbour which is one of my favourite places to go.  I saw these nets and being a change from MO's garden I took a photo of them.  This photo feels happy and carefree.

And so to the food.  I have to have food. It's my thing.  Green food.  Hmmm.  Summer before last, which was when I started making chutney as therapy, I made some green grape chutney which is not only delicious but  also a very pretty green colour so I decided to open my last jar and take a photo before consuming.  The jar however had other ideas.  I have tried everything I can think of but I can't get the lid off this jar here

The contraption to the side is a jar opener given to me for Christmas many, many years ago by my then and now ex sister-in-law because 'you don't have a man to open jars for you'.  Blunt and tactless but you knew where you stood with S.  I liked her.  Anyway even the man stand in can't get the lid off.  This photo feels frustrating.  Well the contents will keep for another year so I had better set about finding me a man within the next 12 months!!!

July is blue.  I'm a bit concerned about that one.