Friendship · Garden · Nature · Poetry · Seasons

Starting September

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September spiders, weaving webs from window to washing line.

A new academic year, time to refresh, rethink, reconsider.

Will we look at the web we’ve built for ourselves?

This is a new beginning, brighter, warmer, sunnier than January 1st. Life is full of hope and possibilities. New opportunities.

September sun shining after a cleansing downpour and it’s time to declutter. Do I need quite so many things? Can they be recycled, reused?

It’s the same with the garden. Time to tidy up, wash out all the pots ready for next year.

Amidst these thoughts for the future, I’m going to take a moment to think of all the good things. Yes, it’s exhilarating to plan new adventures but I think the starting point must be where I celebrate all the lovely people in my life and the successes, large and small.

Wishing you a happy, sunny and successful September! What will you celebrate?

“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
–  Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885

 

Inspiration · Knitting · Poetry · stories

Writing, Weaving, Wishing

Knitting: the weaving of wool together into an intricate pattern, just as a writer combines the threads of a story.

Both have been a part of my story for as long as I can remember. The thrill of beginning a knitting or writing project is a moment full of hope.

Although, to be honest,  the final product is not often exactly as I imagined it would be!

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Three little snowmen

On examination there are usually sections I’m really proud of but also holes I know need fixed.

I’m comforted by the fact that at least I’ve given it a go.

Recently I entered a wee competition to say how I’d prepare for going to the Aberdeen Yarn Fest. This was my entry and I won a lovely totebag – which needless to say – I’m sure I’ll be filling with wool at the next Yarn Fest!

It’s Aberdeen’s Yarn Fest!

I’ve my needles counted
My patterns planned
Ready to be inspired.

I’m looking to spin a yarn
Weave a woollen tale
Hook a bag of hope.

 

I left the show inspired, I must do more knitting!

Before anything else I’m hoping to visit the Gray’s School of Art Degree Show (16th-24th June) and see the work of Laura Ukstina who is combining blocks of colourful knitting to create outfits you can change about and wear as you like. Sounds very environmentally friendly and they look amazing!

Now, if you don’t feel like knitting, how about having a wee look at Rae Cowie’s story in the Scottish Book Trust’s ‘Rebel’ series all about a lovingly crafted jumper…

 

 

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Blueberry flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration · Nature · Poetry

Nature’s Poetry

Magnolia Blooms 

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Manicured Magnolia

She stares angrily at the sky
Twisted, gnarled, old and cold.
Stark bare branches harsh
Against a winter landscape.

A slight warmth, she tingles inside.
Slowly her fingers start to unfurl
A new season, a new design.
French manicure on her fingertips.

Days of warmth, sharp, painted buds
Appear like a witch’s crimson talons.
Clawing their way free from slumber
Reaching for the sun, waving hands.

Suddenly perfect blooms burst forth,
Soft as sumptuous balls of ice cream.
She dances gently in the breeze wearing her
Meringue styled wedding dress for all to see.

We are all, she proclaims, let us be,
Old and twisted, soft and delightful. Let us
Be the old witch and the good fairy too
Let us show you, we are all, all women.

© SareenMcLay

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Magnolia Blooms
Nature · Poetry · Seasons

Springing into Life

This week we had the first day of spring so I had to take a photo of these beautiful crocuses. cropped-thumb_img_8697_1024.jpg

Last week I was asked  what I blog about  and my answer was ‘It’s a blog about well … a little bit of everything.’

I think this blog suits me, I really enjoy writing it, I’ve had some lovely responses and as a bonus, there is a use for all the photos I take of the flowers in my garden!

Over the years I’ve realised I am a ‘Jack of all trades’ – well a ‘Jill’ really.  I like to try things, I am a learner, I have many interests, I’m never bored.

However, things do not happen quickly in my world, I still think I am a bit of a tortoise and I plug away slowly trying to learn new skills, sometimes leaving them but then usually, going back to try, try again.

Recently  I heard a quote that struck a chord:

‘Nothing will come of nothing.’    Shakespeare, King Lear.

(Guess what play my daughter is studying!)

Well, isn’t that the truth? In fact I would like to add to that, ‘Something will come of little and often’. So it may be a very slow process, my writing this blog and sending it out to the world, but little by little, as the days grow longer, it is growing.

 

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Books · Poetry

Laughter and Literature in Children’s Fiction

Set the scene, the Lady of Shalott floating gracefully down the river. All is calm.

Outside the isle a shallow boat 
Beneath a willow lay afloat, 
Below the carven stern she wrote, 

       The Lady of Shalott. 

 

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The Lady of Shalott features in Anne of Green Gables

Now imagine Anne Shirley in the place of the great lady, one minute drifting along, the next her boat has sunk and she is clinging to a post in the river!

It could only happen to Anne of Green Gables. Even though I read this as a child, the thought of Anne’s escapade and its dramatic conclusion still makes me laugh today.  This was my first introduction to The Lady of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and I have remembered it ever since.

Perhaps it is one of the greatest compliments a writer can pay to another, to acknowledge and include the other’s work in their own with the hope of introducing it to a whole new audience.

 

After all isn’t it natural to want to share fiction we love?

 

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Hellebores in the spring sunshine
Inspiration · Nature · Poetry

Looking Forward (2)

Sometimes we have an experience that is a wee nugget. Something to cherish.

In one of my first blog posts, back in September, I wrote about my time attending workshops at Woodend Barn in Banchory. As part of the ‘Flourish’ project, Elaine Reid used the wild garden to help inspire our group to write poetry.

This week an exhibition, created by Elaine about the whole ‘Flourish’ project is open to the public, for free, at the Barn.

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The group poem we created in the Flourish workshop

So, yesterday I had a lovely afternoon wondering around the exhibition, reading the poem I had helped to create, walking a labyrinth and enjoying a delicious bowl of parsnip and carrot soup in Buchanan’s Bistro.

The whole experience of attending these workshops in the wild garden, meeting other writers, collaborating and sharing our work has been a joy.  I feel I have learnt so much and have certainly been inspired.

 

I am looking forward.

 

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With poems from the workshops at the Flourish exhibition

 

 

Flowers · Inspiration · Nature · Poetry

The Patchwork Plan

I have a plan. I’m setting myself a target.

One blog post a week for the next year.

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My posts will be a patchwork of ideas, inspiration, and, hopefully, a little bit of sunshine – all in the time it takes to have a cup of tea!

I am a self-confessed Jack (Jill)-of-all-trades: someone who is always happy to learn new skills. So to pin down a theme for a blog has proven too difficult for me!

So, what to expect? Well if I had to write a recipe for this blog it would include:

books, writing, poetry, wildlife, gardening, baking, crafts, travel, music, the seasons, children, dog walking and more I’m sure.

Most of all I’d like to share the things that make me smile.

I hope you like it and I’m looking forward to having fun writing!

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Last week I planted some hyacinth bulbs, getting ready for the coming winter days when there aren’t so many flowers in the garden.

As I did this I was thinking about National Poetry Day on Thursday and how one of my favourite poems for children  is Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Bed in Summer’.

For me this poem is always a reminder of the long summer nights when you just want to be outside enjoying the light. Planting hyacinths is a signal of the shortening of the hours of daylight when you are inside so much more. Hence the need for hyacinths!

 

 

(Pictured mug; ‘Machair’ by Highland Stoneware, Lochinver – and there’s always time for a flower photo!)

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