Monday, 20 June 2016

++ hill walking in Aude

 on cooler days
it's a joy to walk in the hills with my friend Suzie
the views, the sounds, the fresh air
wild flowers, cow bells, big skies
past old shepherds huts
dry stone shelter
as we climb higher
the views are breath taking
snow on the peaks of the Pyrenees
we pick wild thyme, oregano, rosemary and lavender
the smell was amazing!
we put the fresh herbs into a dehydrator
the next day they re put into a paper bag
for me to take home and use on my 
roasted vegetables, stews and soups

there's something deeply satisfying 
about provenance 
SaveSave

Thursday, 9 June 2016

** yarn travels

 on my recent trip to Aude
I was lucky enough to visit Andie & Adriaan Luijk at
Andie kindly gave us a tour of her dye house 
she shared the story of their craft
with so many tips and knowledge
each stage of process
sustainable and natural 
keeping the carbon footprint as small as can be
bottles of brew
horsetail and elderberry
weld and woad
real plant matter used to make the colours
even onion skins!
the wool is beautifully fine 
in weight and quality
couldn't resist these two skeins on the left
poll dorset & blue faced leicester 4ply
thank you Andie & Adriaan for taking time for us
*

Saturday, 21 May 2016

~~ re:treat

last weekend I stayed in the hills of Southern Portugal
a beautiful place surrounded by 
wild flowers and wildlife
waking to the sounds of chickens and birds
clean air & clear skies
less than three hours flight from our local airport
and we were enjoying the pace
relaxing in the spaces
a morning and evening walk 
up the hill to the roundhouse for
an hour of yoga
+ a time of mindfulness
colourful vegetarian food
local wines
Lagos is a 20 minute drive away
big boats small boats
cobbled streets
and restaurants with locally caught sardines
the perfect way to become refreshed and renewed

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

❖ on the line

this little wooden clothes peg
is being sent to my friend Suzie
for her wee project
I took this photo last year on my birthday
4th May
you can see the peg on the side of the peg bucket
 which was a handmade gift  
from my sister ZoĆ«
it was the last thing she made for me
as one week after this photo was taken
she decided she didn't want to be here anymore

we have to accept
there are no answers to the questions we want to ask
but we know she is at peace
somewhere

and forever in my heart

Monday, 25 April 2016

✦✧ a fractured state of independence

one day you are rushing about
dashing to the car to get something out
then BAM! 
you trip and fly and fall
and CRACK!
something is not right
right distal radius undisplaced fracture
and left elbow capitellum fracture displaced
three lovely bits of metal there after an ORIF with
3 cannulated screws holding it together

after surgery, reality strikes
double plaster casts

disturbed sleep
complete inability to dress or wash
 barely enough strength 
to even squeeze toothpaste from a tube
pull up socks
open cupboards, drawers, containers

everything you take for granted you can't do!

this is when the most amazing people step in
and you have to let them

a cousin who came every other morning
before her shift, to wash and dress me:
my bestie who taxied me to hospital appointments
took me to the shops and kept me laughing:
a fellow vegetarian who cooked an extra dinner
every day and delivered it:
friends who took me out of the house for the day
and the hundreds of texts and calls to check on me:
visitors who brushed my hair, did my housework,
my ironing and tidied up
 brought lunches and soup
and cake, lots of cake
and flowers and cards
week by week there are small victories
gradual progress, strength building:
today will be my final physio appointment 
after nearly three months of visits
the doctors, surgeons and nurses
and staff at Southend General Hospital have been 
marvellous:
I must give a special thank you to Ena,
 head of the plaster room
she listened to my distress call when I 
couldn't cope any more with two casts:
she furnished me with a bionic brace and a splint
which gave me greater mobility and really speeded
up my recovery

I walk slower, I am mindful
and truly thankful for good people

#saveourNHS

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

^^ to the hills

 mornings are the best time to make visits
the humidity is 70% and more
the temperatures soar to 35degrees
we drive 35km North to 
 Kbal Spean
The River of a Thousand Lingas
it's a 1600m climb 
through the jungle of the Kulein Hills
over tree roots and packed earth
we pass piles of stones
considered to be lucky if yours is the highest
the river beds are carved with Hindu Gods and Deities
four headed Brahma
reclining Vishnu
and linga
thousands of them
these holy phallic symbols represent the supreme
essence of the God Shiva
the lingas sanctify and fertilise the water as it flows 
downstream to the Angkor temples and settlements
lotus flower motifs
the light was beautiful
butterflies, dragonflies
and tiny fish in the river
we find calm and rest awhile
water cascades
over the sandstone
carved by hermits in the 11th century
way up here

Saturday, 23 January 2016

~~~~ lake living

we drive to the remote floating village of 
Kompong Khleang
video
dusty red roads are replaced with fresh water
teetering homes on stilts
steep steps and high balconies
with dogs, bicycles, clothes and all
manner of things precariously hanging on  
and floating boat houses
there is a class divide
those with floating homes tend to be poorer
everyone is busy
setting nets to catch many of the 200 species of fish
that swim in the waters
nearly half the fish eaten in Cambodia
come from this lake
video
at 7,400 square miles
the Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake
in Asia
green islands of morning glory 
bob and float along the waters edge
tended by their owners
picking the best stems to cook
in Khmer dishes
fishing boats whizz past
young passengers wave
it's a timeless pocket of the planet
we drive onwards to Beng Mealea 
probably the most untouched temple of all
40km east of Angkor
the sandstone walls and carvings
have been left where they fell
twisted vines and tree roots 
carvings of Vishnu being borne by the bird god Garuda
and the Hindu story 
among the many tumbled stones
that we climb over and think about 
all those people who made these temples
the work, the devotion
Cambodia leaves you feeling very humble