Hiya,it’s Tara here. I’m so excited to be speaking to you today. I love it here in my new home, 6 months here and it’s brilliant!
Here is the place outside the back door, big and green – the “garden” ! Before I came to live here, I stayed inside all the time so I’d never seen anywhere like it before – it’s brilliant!
I love being outdoors. Lovely soft green grass to lie on, flowers to smell and all kinds of places to explore. I sometimes sneak into next door’s garden too!
This is my mum’s latest addition, a greenhouse, nice plants to sniff in here and it’s good for taking shelter from showers
And, I even have my own little purple shed, brilliant!
I love running around outside, it’s great fun and I have lost loads of weight too, almost 1kg. It’s important to make the most of oneself, don’t you think, especially when one is a pretty cat lady!
I’ll be coming back here to let you know what I’m up to soon. More garden antics and slimming tips for sure, it’ll be brilliant! Bye for now x
My vintage crochet in fact; I discovered these squares in a box last week when I was having a tidy up. I must have made them when I first started crocheting, about 5 years ago. Definitely during my purple/pink period!
I think they look pretty good for a novice – I have an idea for a way to use them, better than putting them back into that box and forgetting them again.
i also found a very wonky piece of raspberry pink star stitch crochet, meant if I remember rightly, to be a cushion, but I obviously went wrong somewhere and it was more of a diamond than a square!
The star stitch pattern looks lovely but even if I blocked the piece I don’t think it’s useable, so I decided the best thing was to rip it out and start again. I’ve used this lovely wool and silk blend yarn for lots of things before, it’s a dream to work with. It makes beautiful roses, like the one at the front, with its pink sisters.
It was interesting looking at my first crochet makings. They make me realise I wasn’t so bad after all, but, delightful as pink and purple are, I have become more adventurous with colour now!
This painting by Edward Burne-Jones is another wonderful example of Pre-Raphaelite art which can be seen in the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, near Liverpool. The painting takes as its theme a classical myth. Phyllis fell in love with Demophoon but he went away adventuring, as Greek heroes did, for so long that she lost hope and killed herself. The gods took pity on her and turned her into an almond tree. When Demophoon eventually returned, he embraced the tree in a fit of remorse, and as the tree burst into flower, Phyllis, taking on human form again, emerged from the trunk of the tree; she forgave him and they were reunited. The intensity of the lovers’ facial expression and their gaze into each other’s eyes convey deep feelings of love and joy at their reconciliation, their physicality and the tree in full bloom give more than a hint of sexual longing and passion. I’ve seen it for myself, it is striking, beautiful and memorable, and is a fitting image for a grey back-to-work-after-holidays Monday!
I’ve enjoyed finding the poems I’ve featured in my Advent and Christmas posts, and have discovered some poets and poetry new to me, a great delight. I found this poem by Emily Bronte and love its sentiment; the idea of evergreen friendship is never more apt than at the passing of an old year and the beginning of a new one when one wishes one’s friends well.
Love and Friendship
Love is like the wild rose-briar,
Friendship like the holly-tree —
The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms
But which will bloom most constantly?
The wild-rose briar is sweet in the spring,
Its summer blossoms scent the air;
Yet wait till winter comes again
And who will call the wild-briar fair?
Then scorn the silly rose-wreath now
And deck thee with the holly’s sheen,
That when December blights thy brow
He may still leave thy garland green.
A beautiful painting for Boxing Day. Angels are part of Christmas legend, and I love Pre-Raphaelite art, so for me, this painting combines these two thoughts perfectly. It is called ‘Angel playing a Flageolet” and was painted by Edward Burne-Jones.
If you happen to be in Liverpool, you can go and see this painting at Sudley House, one of the city’s many art galleries. If you love Pre-Raphaelite art, then you should visit the Lady Lever Art Gallery on the Wirral, which is full of some wonderful examples of painting of this era.
I’m on a poetry roll, so for today, as the UK is battered and blown around by gale force winds and rain, another poem rejoicing in the seasons and nature by John Clare.
The holly bush, a sober lump of green,
Shines through the leafless shrubs all brown and grey,
And smiles at winter be it eer so keen
With all the leafy luxury of May.
And O it is delicious, when the day
In winter’s loaded garment keenly blows
And turns her back on sudden falling snows,
To go where gravel pathways creep between
Arches of evergreen that scarce let through
A single feather of the driving storm;
And in the bitterest day that ever blew
The walk will find some places still and warm
Where dead leaves rustle sweet and give alarm
To little birds that flirt and start away.
I took this photo a couple of years ago on a snowy winter walk and thought it was a good accompaniment to this poem.
An atmospheric Christmas picture today – this painting, called ‘Glade Jul’ dates from 1891 and is by the Danish painter Viggo Johansen, who was one of the Skagen Painters. I like the shadowy corners of the room and the way the candles on the tree illuminate the room and the dancers’ happy faces – the effective, beautiful juxtaposition of light and dark create a vivid impression of Christmas in the late nineteenth century.
Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons
Christmas is a time when music plays a particularly important and characterful part: I like this poem by William Wordsworth, with its depiction of a still Christmas night outside, filled with the sound of music and merry-making from within.
The minstrels played their Christmas tune
To-night beneath my cottage-eaves;
While, smitten by a lofty moon,
The encircling laurels, thick with leaves,
Gave back a rich and dazzling sheen,
That overpowered their natural green.
Through hill and valley every breeze
Had sunk to rest with folded wings:
Keen was the air, but could not freeze,
Nor check, the music of the strings;
So stout and hardy were the band
That scraped the chords with strenuous hand.
And who but listened?–till was paid
Respect to every inmate’s claim,
The greeting given, the music played
In honour of each household name,
Duly pronounced with lusty call,
And “Merry Christmas” wished to all.
A change of mood from the 1st excerpt from the Christmas Oratorio which I posted last week – in this music, the Pastoral Symphony, we’re transported out into the fields with the shepherds, who will soon be visited by the Angel Gabriel. The reed instruments imitate the shepherds’ pipes – those strange looking curly instruments are oboes da caccia, a baroque instrument which has a deep timbre similar to the cor anglais, and in front of them are 2 oboes d’amore, also slightly lower in timbre to the modern oboe. I love the gentle and yet uplifting character if this music; truly a masterpiece.
Another poem today, celebrating the beauty of winter. Approaching storms, the brightness of frost and fallen snow, and the juxtaposition of dark and light; wonderful imagery and celebration of the season, all contained in this special poem.
The Winter’s Spring
The winter comes; I walk alone,
I want no bird to sing;
To those who keep their hearts their own
The winter is the spring.
No flowers to please-no bees to hum-
The coming spring’s already come.
I never want the Christmas rose
To come before its time;
The seasons, each as God bestows,
Are simple and sublime.
I love to see the snowstorm hing;
‘Tis but the winter garb of spring.
I never want the grass to bloom:
The snowstorm’s best in white.
I love to see the tempest come
And love its piercing light.
The dazzled eyes that love to cling
O’er snow-white meadows sees the spring.
I love the snow, the crumpling snow
That hangs on everything,
It covers everything below
Like white dove’s brooding wing,
A landscape to the aching sight,
A vast expanse of dazzling light.
It is the foliage of the woods
That winters bring-the dress,
White Easter of the year in bud,
That makes the winter Spring.
The frost and snow his posies bring,
Nature’s white spurts of the spring.