Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

DSC02418

The 'tiny' Family kite flying by the 'giant' windmill

The Family went on an impromptu walk to Halnaker Windmill last weekend. Daughter of Mine and I were out shopping for costume accessories for the show we are both in this week and got a text from Husband of Mine saying that he and Son of Mine had gone up to the windmill to fly kites. So we met them up there, after stopping at home for essentials. Flasks of tea. And my camera.

So they flew the kites, whilst I wandered on Halnaker Hill, snapping away.

I was struck by how tiny everything looked when compared to the windmill – the Family, the kites they were flying, the tiny planes with their vapour trails criss-crossing the sky, the wild flowers and grasses on the hill – even how tiny the features of the coastline looked.

Yet the windmill itself looks tiny from afar. We are lucky enough to be able to see it from our house; the photo below was taken on Boxing Day last year when the snow was still on the ground.

Halnaker Windmill

Halnaker Windmill looking 'tiny' from afar

Here’s some more ‘tiny’ views taken that afternoon:

DSC02433

Laying in the grass for a few shots made everything 'tinier' still

DSC02448

Looking south to the 'tiny' features of the Sussex coast

DSC02507

The 'tiniest' of buttercups

Advertisements

Weekly Photo Challenge: Red

DSC02390

My favourite colour is red.

I have a red car. And a red front door. Red cushions. A red wall. Shoes. Bags.

And red clothes. Lots of them. And so do Children of Mine – football kit, socks, school uniform…

So in the machine the red wash goes, and out it comes again. I’ll hang it outside today,  I think to myself, it’s nice and windy, I’ll save on electricity not drying some of it in the tumble dryer and keep everywhere tidy by not having wet washing strung up.

But it was not to be. It was obviously so windy last night that part of a tree has fallen down over the washing line, so I take the basket inside again.

Just one more thing in the Groundhog Day of my life…

Son of Mine was reading to me in the car the other morning and asked me what a lament was. Here’s mine (taught to me as a song years ago by my favourite primary school teacher, Mr John Noon) to share with women (and men) everywhere who face the drudgery of yet another domestic task.

The Housewife’s Lament

One day I was walking, I heard a complaining,
I saw an old woman a picture of doom.
She gazed at the mud on her doorstep, ‘twas raining,
And this was her song as she wielded her broom.

“Oh, life is a toil and love is a trouble;
Beauty will fade and riches will flee.
Pleasures they dwindle and prices they double,
A
nd nothing is as I would wish it to be.

In March it is mud, it is slush in December.
The mid-summer breezes are loaded with dust.
In Fall the leaves litter, in muddy September,
The wallpaper rots and the candlesticks rust.

Oh, life is a toil and love is a trouble;
Beauty will fade and riches will flee.
Pleasures they dwindle and prices they double,
A
nd nothing is as I would wish it to be.

It’s sweeping at six and it’s dusting at seven,
It’s victuals at eight, and it’s dishes at nine.
It’s potting and panning from ten to eleven –
We’ve scarce finished breakfast, we’re ready to dine.

Oh, life is a toil and love is a trouble;
Beauty will fade and riches will flee.
Pleasures they dwindle and prices they double,
A
nd nothing is as I would wish it to be.

One night in my dreams I was stationed forever
On a far little rock in the midst of the sea.
My one chance in life was a ceaseless endeavour
To sweep off the waves as they swept over me.

Oh, life is a toil and love is a trouble;
Beauty will fade and riches will flee.
Pleasures they dwindle and prices they double,
A
nd nothing is as I would wish it to be.

Alas, ‘twas no dream, ahead I behold it.
I see I am hopeless my fate to avert.”
She lay down her broom and her apron she folded.
She lay down and died and was buried in dirt.

A mountain sunset?

DSC02378

Last Sunday, there was one of those sunsets where if I screwed up my eyes I could pretend that the clouds I could see in the evening sky from my garden were actually mountains.

The picture doesn’t do it justice really, but the constantly evolving patterns made by the clouds and the shift in the light were significant enough to have me popping in and out, much to the irritation of the rest of the Family, to just take ‘one more photo’.

Here’s the best of them…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Wildlife

 

DSC02283

And there it was. On the living room carpet.

The RSPCA Animal Hospital van jam-packed with injured wildlife en route to the Go Diego Go Safari Rescue station.

So jam-packed in fact that the giraffe had to sit in the front.

Don’t you just love make-believe?

Bugger Bognor?

As the crow flies, Bognor Regis is my nearest seaside resort. Whether or not King George V truly said those controversial words, the town still comes under a lot of criticism, some deserving, some not so.

But with the lovely weather that has been filling our days during April and early May, I took Children of Mine down to the beach for the afternoon during the Easter holidays where they amused themselves for hours until the tide went out, throwing stones, digging sand sculptures and making fleeting new friends with children who were down on holiday for the Easter break.

DSC00203

Children of Mine skimming stones - "lower, lower!"

Though sunny, the day wasn’t warm enough for me, so I’d gone in attire more suited for a mountain walk, complete with cuppa, paper, book and my stash of art material bought at the Cumberland Pencil Museum during my last visit to Keswick.

p_1303223964

Never go anywhere without my cuppa!

So there I was, for what ended up being five hours, sitting on the rather uncomfortable pebbles.  A friend popped along to keep me company for an hour or so, during which we had a much-needed catch up, but the rest of the time I dabbled with a bit of sketching.

And here’s the result.

On the beach

As with my other artwork on this blog, I’ve a long way to go before wowing anyone with my skills. But I had fun with my creative activity – and isn’t that what it’s all about?

So for all its faults (and there are many), the simple pleasures of an afternoon in Bognor Regis are there for the taking…

Why I love rhododendrons, sheep and tea

For all my indifference to gardening, I love rhododendrons. Why?

Because I spent a day wandering around the world-famous Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons and azaleas at Exbury Gardens on my honeymoon in a wet June in 1990.

Because the first time that I visited Cumbria in the spring, I realised that there were literally masses of wild rhododendrons, making my favourite place even more special.

Probably because they flourish in the wild, given the correct conditions, and therefore are part of a natural landscape requiring NO MAINTENANCE.

Daughter of Mine groans whenever I say, “Ooh, look at that rhododendron!” because, apparently, I say it all the time. I don’t. Even I know they are not in flower all year round.

Anyway, since visiting Nymans Gardens in Sussex over the Easter weekend and seeing their glorious displays of this beautiful family of plants, I have added ‘plant rhododendrons’ to my ever-growing list of projects.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But I’ve learnt during my research into the species that it’s not all good news for the rhododendron:

‘Its foliage prevents sunlight reaching forest floors and stops other plants, including tree saplings, from growing.’ – A big problem in Scotland apparently, but presumably in the Cumbrian landscape too?

The leaves, flowers and nectar of some species are poisonous. The domination of the plant in large areas effectively destroys the whole food chain; insects don’t eat it, bird numbers decline because there aren’t any insects to eat, and in turn larger predators such as sparrowhawks are also forced out of their natural habitats by the loss of prey to the area.

Allegedly, humans can get ‘Mad Honey Disease‘ by eating honey made from rhododendron flowers. Not that I plan on becoming a bee keeper, although the disease is short-lived and rarely fatal.

And according to Shepherd’s Blog, sheep have been known to die after eating the plants when other feed is scarce. Thankfully, a common antidote is at hand – a strong cup of tea (or more accurately a stomach tube, drenching gun or dosing bottle of tea). The premise is the tannins in the tea neutralise the poisons.

I just knew a good cuppa cures all.

Post wedding blues?

I have to confess that I didn’t get caught up in the Royal Wedding hype until the eleventh hour. Children of Mine had a street party at their school and so went into school on Thursday dressed in red, white and blue (the other theme being Prince / Princess, which they both turned their noses up at).

They came home that day with hats and flags, full of fun and excitement about the dawning Wedding Day. As Daughter of Mine put it, “I’m so excited, even more so than for my own birthday! I can’t wait to see the dress!”.

And so the preparations went on, until nearly 9.30 that evening. No commercially-produced-sold-as-BOGOFs-at-your-supermarket Royal Wedding tat for us, instead we made red, white and blue bunting with our own drawings of coaches, dresses, tiaras, cakes, rings and Royal Guards adorning some of the white paper triangles.

DSC02249

The ideas flowed; the ‘crown jewels’ were displayed, a patriotic teddy was duly despatched to sit guard over the proceedings – flag in paw, crown made at Beavers balanced on ears and Union flag scarf around his neck, and assorted crowns and tiaras from an earlier era in Daughter of Mine’s life were found and strung from light fittings in an installation that the Tate could have been proud of.

DSC02244

Mother-in-law of Mine came over to watch the wedding with us. Father-in-law of Mine dropped her off early – 9.00am – as he was off to indulge in a game of snooker, his Friday morning pleasure, that was not about to be given up just because of a Royal Wedding.

We ooh-ed and ahh-ed, drank tea and ate egg sandwiches and scones with strawberries and cream. Husband and Son of Mine declared boredom halfway through the service and went outside to play football, returning, to their credit, to watch the kiss on the balcony and the Battle of Britain flypast.

I even tweeted. Just a little. It seemed a bit rude, what with everyone else in the room, but amid the flurry of official, non-official, witty, observant and downright ridiculous tweets, I particularly liked these two for their reference to musical theatre and Time Lords:

@sondheimlyrics: Wouldn’t it be funnier to go and watch a funeral? #company

@JaneyGodley: Dr who turns up at wedding plixi.com/p/96992321

I even tried my own wedding dress on, justifying asking Husband of Mine to get it down from the loft by suggesting that the Children might like to see it.

I couldn’t be bothered to also find and scan the decent wedding photos, so here’s a low quality scan of a snapshot taken outside the church. So young! And ha! Lace was in then too, although the dress is a bit ‘fiddle-dee-dee’, influenced ever so slightly by my obsession with Gone With the Wind.

scan0008

Alas, there was no discernible interest in me in the dress from anyone. Husband of Mine did up the one button that he could, saying, ‘I won’t do any others, in case it rips.’ Mother-in-Law of Mine commented, ‘Oh, and I thought you were slimmer now. I could still get into my wedding dress on my 25th wedding anniversary.’ Oh goodie, I’ve still got four years before I need to stop eating chocolate.

As for Children of Mine, they barely noticed.

So I took it off again.

Just like after Christmas, the living room now looks bare. The decorations have been carefully packed away, along with the flags brought home from the school street party – I will almost certainly recycle these patriotic red, white and blue decorations for next year’s celebrations for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The day’s papers have been saved, and will be hoarded in the loft, with the papers from every other momentous world event from the last 20 odd years (Mother-of-Mine has papers going back in time like this too – it’s a strange family trait).

And the dress? It’s back in its box. For another four years at least.