I recently watched a programme about wood carving, something I have never really considered previously until I had a conversation with my Dad in his garage whilst he created a new bird feeder for me out of nothing more than a few ends of unused wood that he had saved up for a rainy day. My Dad is good like that, he can make something out of nothing, I would call that a talent in itself! But he will spend hours with the door closed creating things that others would pay good money for and I’m proud to own a bird table, bird nest box and a various other hand crafted items that he has made by hand. The programme’s focused on people from a bygone era, mostly unknown to me with the exception of Thomas Chippendale, who had spent their entire lives dedicated to their passions often for very little reward or acclaim, seems history is full of poor craftsmen who never saw their works realise the dizzy prices now demanded. One particular programme focused on Grinling Gibbons, a man who poured every emotion into his work and created some of the most stunning wood carvings we see today in locations such as St Pauls Cathederal and many fine English Country Houses, only to die relatively broke as many of his rich employers failed to pay up once the work was completed. Although the carving in my photo is not that of Gibbons, it is by one of his tutors and inspirations Samuel Watson, a stunning display of his work which is so lifelike and tactile you find yourself forgetting that it is all carved out of a single piece of Limewood, by hand………talent and tenacity indeed.
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On a recent visit to a English Country House I took a wander into a very special greenhouse. I believe its actually called a hot house and boy were they right! On a cold crisp English Spring day I sought shelter in its warmth, opening the door of the hot house that has stood for over a hundred years and stepping into a subtropical world. The warmth was so welcoming, with every step further in I felt myself carried to a far away island, the scent of the plants from distant shores, oblivious to the freezing world beyond the window panes. My layers of clothing suddenly began to feel heavy and unnecessary the further in I walked, the flowers reaching up to the blue sky above yet their scent hung low and intoxicated your every breath. Through a second door and the temperature rose substantially, almost sauna like conditions prevailed here, plants resembling bananas, flowers more like aliens and exotic fruit trees bursting into bud. Within seconds my camera had completely steamed over! As I cleared the lens I looked down and below the Camelia tree was a single fallen Camelia blossom, still beautiful but in the early throws of death, petals turning a subtle shade of brown against the radiance of the creamy heart, the gold tendrils like a crown still strong and proud, lifted to the light, still hoping for attention, timeless beauty now against the clock of nature, the cycle of birth, life and death in a corner of a hot house, on the coldest of English days……
In my last post I mentioned that it is snowing yet again! So,to keep the ‘white’ theme going I am posting a photo that I took some time ago. I took a simple shot and then using PS just inverted the image and then raised the level of contrast until I got a pleasing image in black and white. I really like the effect and may just have to try this again some time!
So the weather has taken a turn for the worse again, snow snow and more snow…….Spring seems like it is frozen in time, held in a state of suspended animation. I was tempted to go out for a walk through the fields but just as I was about to leave the snow began to come down again, only this time really big wet flakes, floating earth bound on the icy wind. So, whilst wandering around the confines of my house I notes the bold shapes formed by a plant that sits in the bathroom window, acting as a temporary blind! Out came the camera and after a few different setting changes I had a really unusual bold print like image. I have put the image into PS and simply converted it to a black and white photo, and the result feels like a modern art wallpaper pattern! Something a little tropical feeling on a bitterly cold afternoon!
I am Happy, I am sad
I am here, I am glad
In a world of commotion affecting emotion
Who knows what tomorrow
Feelings you’ll borrow
How others affect you
In all that you try to
Achievement and strife in a challenging life
Make a difference to others
Your sisters your brothers
Aggression or kindness
Ignorance and blindness
To see only the best puts your faith to the test
I am happy I am sad
I am here
I am glad.
(A poem by Lucy Gutteridge)
Yesterday I witnessed first hand just how close someone came to death. I was going about my weekly shop in a different supermarket to the one I usually visit, when a very young girl tugged at my coat and in a very calm way asked me to please help her Nan. I looked at the girl and then saw a lady slumped over the chiller cabinets, grasping at the trolley and fighting to stay upright. I dropped my handbag and without a thought rushed to try to slow the fall of the lady who was now sliding towards the ground at an alarming speed. I had no chance to break her fall as she was a large lady but somehow the trolley wedged against the freezer units and she slid between the legs of the trolley to the floor. She was now fitting violently, all I could think to do was to support her head to prevent it hitting the stone floor, talking to her as calmly as I could hoping that she may know that someone was at her side. I shouted towards the people still shopping, oblivious to the situation, called for help, but people simply turned and watched on, some even turning away. I raised my voice in frustration and a note of anger and shouted again for someone to assist and call for help, whilst trying to assure the young girl that her Nan would be ok, I had no idea whether the lady would be ok, but the words just came. I asked the girl what her nan’s name was, Linda she replied. The fitting slowed and her breathing sounded like a freight train, I was simply glad that she was breathing, another lady came to my assistance and then the Manager of the supermarket arrived with a pillow and blankets. Within 5 minutes a paramedic arrived, we stood back, allowing him to do his work, the lady still unresponsive. Watching that paramedic work with such precision and speed reassured me that she was now in good hands, skilled hands, unlike my basic attempt to help, but after several minutes the lady was still unresponsive and the mood changed. The little girl was now understandably distraught, the staff keen to move her away and protect her from the scene. Onlookers gathered hoping for a view like some kind of ghoulish entertainment but the staff had used the blanket to screen her off, protecting her dignity. A second ambulance team arrived and she was placed on to the stretcher and rushed to the awaiting ambulance. The Manager thanked us for our help, took our details and we returned to our shopping, however it felt somewhat surreal to be choosing items having just been through what seemed like a near death experience for that lady. My first thought on waking this morning was for Linda, a lady who I did not know and will never in all probability meet again, a lady for who at that moment I was able to help in some small way and I dearly hope that she is recovering as I write this. I can still see that little girls eyes, pleading for help. That encounter would never have happened for me if I had gone to my usual supermarket, in some respects it feels like fate, maybe I was meant to be at that place at that moment specifically to help that lady, who knows, but I am glad that I was there. That encounter has also served to show me something else, something worrying, the fact that when I called out for help no one came, some even turned their backs and walked away. What has British society come to? When people can turn their backs and walk away? Is it fear that prevents a person from helping another in need, is it ignorance, or is it a deeper coldness that is running through our society, giving us the ability to turn a blind eye and feel no sense of guilt or shame in doing so? What if that person had been me or you? The least you would hope is that some other person came to your assistance….. or is that no longer the case?
Today I feel angry, I feel as though I want to do something, but what can I do? What makes one person help and another turn away, I cant answer that question and I feel useless, powerless to address it. I guess it shows that all people are different, how one person behaves will be the exact opposite of another, we may not understand why we behave the way we do, we are propelled by something that makes us act in a certain way and we must accept that we are all different. But what we can change we must, what is in our power to do must be done, our own fears and agendas put aside for the greater good. What we must all never forget is that we are only here for the time that is granted to us, what we do with it is down to us, for we are all mortal.
There is you, there is me,
and then there is everyone else.
I couldn't adore you less, you
bring me to tears with
your infectious laugh.
I love the silly way you act.
Your the funniest in class,
and that's a fact.
There is you, there is me,
and then there is everyone else.
They think we are reckless,
imperfect, not the best,
There are wonderful people out in the world that share their great love and care for injured wildlife. Liz Owen of Raptors Eye is one of those kind and generous people. A registered nurse who has over the years taken care of countless injured birds and animals. Holding a Department of Natural Resources permit for rehabilitation of birds and raptors, she has spent time at…
A few years ago I visited the awe inspiring city that is Rome, I was truly amazed. I have always had a passion for history but this place is something very special, its living breathing history at every turn. I spent 2 days there the first time I visited, most definitely not long enough, my second visit again was a short stay and so I have it on my list of things to do to return and spend a week there. Having visited the Vatican and St Peters basilica it was time for a spot of lunch. Remarkably my friend and I found a restaurant right on the corner of the main street that leads to the square and so took up our seats and placed our orders (In English!). Whilst waiting for the order to arrive we noticed that the surrounding streets had gone from being relatively quiet to being 5 deep at the edge of the roadside, the noise levels were increasing with anticipated chatter and police were positioning themselves on their motorbikes…..lunch arrived but before we had chance to take a bite a loud cheer made its way towards us, we stood up on the top of our chairs to see what the fuss was about and to our absolute shock and delight it was none other than the Pope himself, in his papal car surrounded by security men and accompanied by his aide driving towards us! I had no idea he was due to make a visit outside of the Vatican and to be fair I wasn’t at all sure that he was even there! This shot really was a lucky shot, it appears that he is waving directly at me, but no sooner had he arrived he was gone, the crowds disbursed and we resumed our lunch break, amazed at our luck and timing. People travel thousands of miles to catch a glimpse of the Pope, stand for hours awaiting his arrival, we simply happened to be at the right place at the right time, a wonderful day and a wonderful memory.