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‘No water, no life. No blue, no green.’ Sylvia Earle.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

No words either.  Just another sketch . . .

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Hear the birds? Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m deaf and I try to imagine what it’s like not to be able to hear them. It’s not that bad.’ Larry David.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I’ve made a rod for my own back.  Sigh.  The word is out that I have been feeding my little magpie family every day outside my college window and now everyone wants in on the act . . . 

Last week, just after I had put the usual crumbs out for my magpie friends, a single lonely little noisy miner turned up and skittered about the edges, helping himself to a few tiny crumbs.  ‘That’s okay,’ I thought, ‘there’s plenty to go around.’  I was forgetting, of course, that noisy miners are not solitary creatures  . . . 

The next day he reappeared . . . accompanied by wifey and a couple of very vocal youngsters.  Now, I happen to be very fond of noisy miners.  There is a little family that lives in my front garden and I have spent many a happy time sitting watching them as they quarrel and bicker and bomb the water out of my bird bath—(plus they all seem to possess the same ‘grumpy bird’ expression which I find hilarious)—but OMG!! 

Within a couple of days they started arriving in flocks—aunties, uncles, third cousins twice removedall shouting and pushing and shoving and squabbling at the top of their tiny lungs.  The noise was deafening.  And right outside my office window!  (I guess they are not called ‘noisy’ miners for nothing.)  And worse—there was now no sign of my little magpie family (miners are incredibly territorial and will drive away any other birds—just by force of sheer numbers I imagine!)  What to do??

Well,  it seems I don’t have to do much at all.  Turns out that the new visitors aren’t quite as smart as my maggies just yet.  The magpies have obviously been watching the proceedings from a distance (so as not to cause further affray) and have come to realise that if they come tap-tap-tapping at my window as soon as I arrive in the morning they will be able to devour their little treats long before the hungry interlopers are even awake.  The strategy seems to be working.  The miners are still arriving periodically throughout the day, but with slimmer pickings their numbers are slowly reducing.

I wonder how long it will be before they catch on  . . .

More ink-blot art.
These birdies don’t look anything like noisy miners or magpies
but they do look like they might be on the hunt for a good feed!

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.’ John A. Shedd.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

I have been really slack in my sketching over the last couple of weeks (something else always seems to take precedence) but I did manage to have a bit of a play in my brand new ‘grey toned’ sketchbook.  (The fact that I am not sketching nearly as much as I ought does seem to inhibit me in the slightest when it comes to purchasing any number of lovely new sketchbooks . . . )

This abandoned little boat looks like it has been ‘safe in harbour’ just a tad too long, don’t you think?

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘A bear teaches us that if the heart is true, it doesn’t matter much if an ear drops off.’ Helen Exley.

Last weekend I started my usual annual spring clean and clear out.  I had a plan.  I would start with the easy rooms first, the bedrooms.  They wouldn’t take long.  Just move the furniture, get into the corners that haven’t been got into over the winter, wash the curtains, clean the windows, wipe down the walls, clean the carpets, go through the wardrobes . . .

Okay.  Maybe this was going to take a little bit longer than I originally thought . . .

It doesn’t really help that I can be so easily distracted from the task at hand.  There I was, beavering happily away, when I glanced at the bed (where all three girls were comfortably ensconsed ‘supervising’ the proceedings) when I noticed that as Maudie was watching me she was also happily chewing on one of my teddy’s ears.  ‘No Maudie,’ taking it gently from her.  ‘That’s not your bear, that’s my bear.’   (Maudie looked somewhat crestfallen—he was obviously a very tasty bear.)    But as I moved that little (slightly dusty, slightly dog-chewed) teddy out of harm’s way it occurred to me that I really had no idea where this bear had come fromor even how long I had owned him (for he definitely was a he-bear—he was wearing a bow tie).

It turned out that I had eight (yes, eight) teddies living quietly in that first bedroom.  Two of them were gifts I received many many years ago—my Paddington Bear (red wellies and all) which my mum gave me and my ‘Berliner Bear’ which someone gave me for my 21st birthday—but where the other six came from I have no clue.  I can only assume I must have bought them for myself over the years.  Why I still have them in my bedroom now (i.e. how they have all managed to survive my many decluttering rampages) I am not so sure.

I don’t remember having a beloved teddy as a child—dogs and cats were always my cuddle-buddies when I was a kid—but perhaps by subconsciously collecting them now I am mourning some sort of latent childhood loss?  (I was deprived!  I never had a teddy!)  Er . . .  maybe not . . .

I do admit though there is something innately precious about a teddy bear.  Any teddy bear. There’s something about their little furry bodies and the wise little faces.  I mean—what’s not to love?

My old dog Harry was only 10 weeks old when he adopted ‘Teddy’ and his devotion was soon absolute.  For all his long life Harry would not settle to sleep without his beloved bear.  He would carry Teddy carefully into his bed, tuck him gently up underneath him and drop off to sleep with his head resting gently on Teddy’s cheek.  When Harry passed peacefully at the age of nineteen I buried Teddy with him.  How could I not?

So perhaps that is the connection for me.  Perhaps when I see any teddy now it reminds me of that patched, balding, chewed on (and exceedingly smelly) bear that brought so much joy and comfort to my lovely and still greatly missed boy.

Okay.  Maybe I can see why those teddies are still in my bedroom after all.  I reckon they can all stay a little bit longer . . .

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.’ Robert Maynard Hutchins.

Every once in a while it occurs to me that it might be time to shake up my exercise levels again.  Usually such a thought is sparked by one of those oh-no-don’t-tell-me-it’s-shrunk-again moments when I decide to try something on that I haven’t worn in a while‘Mmmmm . . . I don’t remember this being quite so snug the last time I put it on . . . and I don’t recall it showing off all those wobbly bits quite as much either . . .’  Sigh.

You might have gathered  that I am not really a fan of exercise per se.  I exercise because I ‘should’ (and obviously need to) but not because I enjoy it.  There have been periods in my life when I have done much more regular exercise than I do now (like going to the gym religiously 4-5 days a week) and periods when I have done a good deal less (like lazily lifting a glass of wine while watching exercise videos . . . ) but there have been very few times I can remember actually enjoying the exercise itself.  (I admit I have enjoyed the benefits of regular exercise but the actual bending and lifting and running—not so much.)

(Just quietly, I blame my parents.  Neither of them had the slightest interest in sports, or indeed exercise of any description at all that I noticed, and they obviously passed this apathy-gene down on to me.)

In spite of this I do force myself to be not entirely sedentary.   I walk the dogs every day (although the dogs are getting older and therefore slower and so I am too.  Getting slower I mean.  I’m definitely not getting any older).  I do a bit (a very little bit) of weight training every day (for the ol’ bingo arms) although how much I achieve often depends on whether the girls decide to ‘help’ me along with the process (lying on your back holding a barbell above your head while three little dogs lick the sweat from your eyes, ears and nose can be a tad distracting) and I also ride my (stationary) bike for around 30 minutes a day.  Granted I sometimes catch myself pedalling more slowly than perhaps I should because  the book I am reading at the same time is getting kind of interesting and I can’t read it quite as well if the pages keeping jumping up and down and . . .

. . . okay, yes, maybe I could stand to need to kick it up a notch.  I’ll sit down, make some decisions and draw up a new plan of attack.  I’ll do that.  Later.

But first I think I’ll join my Maudie for a quiet little nap.  Decisions are always so much easier after a nice little nap . . .

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘How luscious lies the pea within the pod.’ Emily Dickinson.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . . 

Perhaps not quite the ‘pod’ that Emily had in mind when she wrote those lines but nevertheless . . .

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘Reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.’ Alan Watts.

Stories from my Sketchbook . . .

Have you ever had a go at one of those inkblot tests?  You know—when you stare at an inkblot and then have to describe what you see within in it . . .  a bat . . . or two people kissing . . . or monsters devouring the earth?  After this week I really hope I am never in a position where I have to do one of these tests for any medical or psychological reason because I am pretty sure I would fail dismally . . . 

One of my homework assignments for my ‘Imagining’ course this week was working with ink-blots.  ‘Oh what fun’—you might think.  ‘Simple’—you might think.  Splash a bit of ink on your page, blow it around a bit and then use your imagination to create some fantastic image.  Sigh.

Well, I now have pages and pages of ink blots (as well as ink spray up the kitchen walls, across the sink and even on the floor—a can of compressed air rather than a straw for the ‘blowing’ seemed such a good idea at the time) but, alas, not much else to show you.   My fellow classmates produced some of the most elaborate, astounding, fanciful (and one or two slightly disturbing) images I have ever seen.  Me?  Mostly all I saw was inkblots.

This using-your-imagination lark makes my head ache . . .

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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