Thursday, 29 June 2017

Surfing For The Trees

Shameless plagiarisim today!  I looked over the shoulder of my friend Aril at Gnat Bottomed Towers in our GCSE blogging exam and have copied her idea for a post.   I'll think I'll be forgiven for she wrote about an idea that I'm dying to  talk about.

There's a search engine called Ecosia.  I'm surprised that I haven't heard about it before as it's been around for seven years.  But then so has my blog and only a select bunch of people have found that!  Instead of spending its advertising revenue on chocolate and mobile phones it uses it to plant trees. There's nearly 10 million extra on the  planet as a consequence and the funding for one more gets raised every two seconds.  On average, every forty five of my searches will buy a tree.

I'm sold and so is my green friend extraordinaire Salty Dog.  I've download the app to my phone and the extension to my computer.   Ecosia is now the homepage on my laptop.  Google, which I still need for my mail, calendar and other stuff, is now a shortcut on my toolbar.   As advertised the search engine is fast and I'm very happy with it.

So  please like, share and download Ecosia you lovely peeps out there.   It really is worth a try.  With my little activism hat on I'd liked to think that Aril and I have got a few more people to get on our virtual boards and surf for the trees!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


Photo:  Men's Fellowship Network

Something rather wonderful is happening.  For the first time in months, nay years, I am consistently sleeping right through.  I put it down to being generally less anxious.  Maybe this is due to adopting a meticulously regular morning and evening meditation regime.  Sure there are still the usual challenges: work, finances, the extra juggling that comes from being a single mum to a teenager.  But they don't seem to bother me in the wee small hours of the morning like they used to.

I'm even waking late sometimes.  You have to understand that is still pretty early in most people's book.  I'm an early bird and like to be up and about before five.  Today I woke just after 5:30. I'm not going to complain.

As there's less time for blogging then this morning I thought I'd let you ponder on this diagram and I'll allow this quite wonderful Japanese concept speak for itself!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Everything In Its Place: Phew!

I think I've talked before about the symbiotic relationship between my mind and my habitat.  If there's muddle and strife in my head the places that I live and work get messy.  If it's untidy at home, say after a move or whilst redecorating a room, my mental state suffers.  It doesn't even matter if I can close a door on the carnage like the time when it wasn't possible to see the floor in the spare room.  I knew it was in a state and I fretted.  I'm a silly old sausage like that!

So the state of chaos in my craft area couldn't be more than a temporary one.  Over the last week I've grafted.  There's been much sorting, discarding and recycling and here's the result.  Serenity restored.

Gone are three drawer units precariously perched on each other where I housed my tools.  I risked life and limb every time I retrieved a screwdriver. It was like Russian Roulette as to whether it was all going to topple over.    Everything except one  filing box for my paperwork is now housed in the  desk drawers or IKEA unit.  Amazingly three of its twenty five compartments are empty. when it used to be stuffed full with  four plastic boxes on top as well.   My tools, crafting materials and business bits and pieces all now have allocated spaces.  The carpet that had suffered after an ink related accident has been disguised with a rug that I begged from my ex.  It was in our last house in Exeter and I knew he wasn't using it anymore.

The sense of order frees me.  I can put my hand on the things that I need to do a job easily as  I know where everything is.  So I set to being productive as soon as it was all done.  Here's that octopus print again, now nicely framed courtesy of good old IKEA again.   I painted the mount with some left over vinyl matt from Mr Metrosexual.   More scrounging!  I'm so pleased with the finished article which is now hanging on the wall in my kitchen diner.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Just Ignore the Sexist Knob.....

...who's doing the voiceover for this Pathe news clip from the '50s.  He's outrageously chauvinist and of his time.     This doesn't detract though from the amazing talent that these mere housewives exhibit once they'd been given  permission by their husbands to stop cleaning for a while and leave the home. I'm sure that they had to leave class on time to make sure that supper was on the table as soon as the menfolk walked through the door

Many of the designs are right up my street and will be inspiring for future work of my own.    I also like the idea of mounting the lino on board to stop it warping.  Adherence to sensible health and safety precautions seems a little thin on the ground.  I flinched as the woman was cutting the lino towards her hand.   I hope there was a first aid box handy.  Those tools can do some damage when they slip.

Back to that annoying announcer.  I'm quite puzzled by one of his remarks.  How can a cowboy possibly be better than a spaceman for bedtime?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Pictures of Pictures

I spent most of yesterday indoors sorting out my craft area.  It has come on leaps and bounds.  I'm just trawling through paperwork now.  I came across some old photos which delighted.  So I thought I'd show you some in chronological order.  First up Miss Butcher's class from 1971.  Can you guess which one is me?

University days!  I think that I might be more recognisable here.  The interesting thing is that all three of us on the right of the picture were wearing each other's dresses.  In our hall of residence we had an open house thing going on between wardrobes.

An Appalachian Trail Memory:  Still not quite grey then although a badger streak was becoming evident.  I think we're in Gatlinburg, Tennessee,  The man to my right is 'Buzzard'.  His entire camping kit consisted of stuff that he'd got by collecting tokens from Marlboro' cigarettes!

I didn't finish the trail myself as my then husband cracked a bone in his knee.  But here's the picture that my friend John sent showing him at the North terminus.  One day I'll go back and do it!

I sailed to the Scillies with Salty Dog in 2004.    This was taken on the island of  St Martins.  More salt and pepper then but the grey was coming through!

I shed a little tear when I found this.  It's a laminated shot of Louis taken at nursery on a display where the kids pointed out body parts.  Lou was allocated 'eyes'.  He was such a beautiful toddler.

Not a photo but a concert ticket.  I was really pleased that this turned up.  It's the one that was recorded for the live album where Louis is convinced that you can hear me whooping.

And here's one that made me laugh.  Near naked juggler/acrobats outside the Pump Rooms at Bath!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Musing on Art

Whenever I hear someone say 'I can't draw, paint or make sculpture.'  I feel like contradicting them.  Everyone has the potential to make art but lots of people have blocks in place so that they are denied this form of self-expression.  Maybe they were told they were no good as a child or make this judgement themselves.  I'm still having an uphill battle to convince my boy that his own art is beautiful.

For a long time my creativity was stifled.  I compared myself to my brother whose extraordinary work won him a place at art college. Thank goodness I overcame my own barriers to creativity.  My jewellery making, printing and mosaic give me intense pleasure and most of the time I'm really pleased with what I've made.

My work is always quite primitive. If I aimed for realism I think I'd experience disappointment.  But I'm  full of admiration though for clever souls who can produce art that replicates reality.  I remember at school there was a painting on the wall from an A-level student who'd completed a study of chemistry equipment.   How could someone produce a picture of glass objects to a standard where it looked like a photograph?  I'm very taken by this rather disturbing 17th century sculpture by Bernini that I came across the other day.  The way that the hand looks as if it is making an indentation into the thigh that it is touching is astounding.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Stepping Out and Up

I have sourced a picture of a crab today firstly because I want to make a print of one.  The other reason is that I'm reminded of a conversation the other day.  Mr Metrosexual and I were out on the green near my house the other day when we met a woman that he used to work with.  'Do you know Julie?' he asked.  'I see her out running.' the lady replied.  'Does she still move like a crab?' inquired my friend.  'Yes a bit.' was the reply.  The cheek!

Anyway I'm stepping up the running efforts as my Bristol half marathon attempt is less than three months away.   Since my 10K run back in March I've cut back a bit on training.  Now I've got to knuckle down in preparation for doubling that distance.  Eek!    So off out in a minute.  I did download some fancy training plans but have decided just to do things in my own way at my own pace.  I'll update you all in about a month and start begging for sponsorship then too.