Sunday, May 31, 2009
Check out Shadow Shot Sunday for more shadow play.
Monday, May 25, 2009
This is a lovely warm story about a boy, his family and his favourite toy - Dogger - old and worn and loved. The illustrations are gloriously detailed and the characters are just the sort of people you would see in your neighbourhood.
The story is about how Dave loses Dogger and the desolation he feels when he realises his loss.
In the bath he was even quieter.
At bed-time he said
"I want Dogger"
But Dogger was nowhere to be found
The whole family try to help to find Dogger, but he is lost. He turns up the next day on a toy stall at the school fete, but then a little girl buys him. and then big sister Bella saves the day and it all ends happily. Phew!
We have always been Shirley Hughes fans in this house, but had not met Dogger until last Yule. He has now become a firm favourite, and James even dug out a soft toy dog, which he promptly named Dogger, and indeed Dogger was one of his early words. No bedtime is complete now, without the nightly ritual of looking for Dogger - thankfully he can always be found.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Just in the last two or three weeks, we have seen a huge changes in James - his language skills have developed significantly and in tandem with that there has been almost an explosive increase in his imaginative play. Yesterday, James played busily on the bed for almost the entire morning, making pizzas out of the pillows, and using a piece of corrugated card as his "pizza cutter". I spent the whole time just being with him, watching him play and following his lead (I also ate a massive amount of pillow pizza!). His wee face was just beaming as he played and I could see that he really was so involved in his world. I felt so connected to him and I am loving this new stage in his development.
In the evening I was reading through one of the back issues of The Mother magazine, which I have just received and came across an article by Tish Clifford about "being present" which really echoed my experience earlier on. Isn't it wondeful how these things coalesce? I feel so grateful to be present at this time.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Our choice of book this week is a very old copy of Six Tales of Brock The Badger, by Alison Uttley. This book belonged to my Father – given to him in 1942, when he was 5 years old. He remembers that he was in hospital with scarlet fever, and this book was waiting for him when he came home. He went on to read these stories to my sister and me when we were children,, and I can still recall lying in bed listening with rapt attention to these magical tales. I loved reading them to my older children, and I am so looking forward to James being old enough to appreciate them.
It was hard to choose one tale from the six to share, as they all have that wondrous otherworldly quality about them The one I have chosen, however, can still make the hairs on the back of my neck rise up with sheer wonder. It is called Magic Water, and is the story of a very rainy day at the cottage. Sam Pig loves the rain and makes up a little song, inviting the rain to stay. And Rain does stay! He comes to visit and spends the night in the cottage, disappearing into a rainbow the next morning. It is then that Brock the Badger realises in awe, the identity of their guest.
“Thank you for your hospitality,” said he, bowing low. “I’ve not stayed under a roof for many a year, but when I heard that fiddle’s music, and when I saw that cap of raindrops, I knew I should be welcome.”
There are other beautiful details in the story, like Ann Pig knitting
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Discovering a local source of raw goats' milk
My two boys playing in the garden
K's last day of formal schooling! Good luck with the exams xx
Giggling over old school photos. K and K aged 7 and 5 :)
A boy and his dog.
Chatting with Gran and Papa.
My refillable left-handed fountain pen.
What a good week! Let's have a coconut cup cake to celebrate :)
Monday, May 11, 2009
It is a gentle story about Lilly, whose grandmother tells her stories of when the whales came to visit, and what magical creatures they are. The voice of the world - in the guise of uncle Frederick dismisses the stories as nonsense, but Lilly falls under their spell.
And right enough - one night the whales do come to dance and sing for her.
and down to the shore.
Her heart was pounding as she reached the sea.
There enormous in the ocean, were the whales.
They leaped and jumped and spun across the moon.
Their singing filled up the night.
How wonderful to see such a sight. And with Gary Blythe's heartbreakingly beautiful illustrations, you could almost be there.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Molly Weir, in her wonderful biography of growing up in Glasgow between the wars, describes her delight at finding anold forgotten fruit garden in an empty property next to the office where she worked. She and her mother and brother returned later and filled bags and every container they could carry with rasps and blackcurrants to make their jam. Molly's mother scorned manufactured jam "She's the kind o' wummin that would have shop bought jam oan her table!"was how she dismisively described a woman who had a different view of homemaking from herself :)
James enjoys the skimmings on a crumpet - appropriately still wearing his jammies
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday morning is when Gran come to play with James, and my elder daughter and grandson come for lunch. It is a hectic day, but very pleasant, and we look forward to it. Gran has Alzheimer's disease - a living death by degrees. It is advancing slowly but surely and every now and then we notice with a jolt that another piece of her has gone missing. Today as we enjoyed a leek and potato tortilla, green salad with a honey dressing, she said "That was lovely - I really must start learning how to cook." This woman has inspired me to do many things in life, but one of the most important things I learned from her was how to cook. From baking jam tarts to helping with her "Greek nights" she allowed me into her kitchen and pretty much gave me free reign from an early age. When I was 14, she bought me the Reader's Digest Cookery Year, which is in constant use to this day. Her meals were delicious and quite imaginative for central Scotland in the 60s and 70s. "Oh Mum - you are the best cook!"
We still have her, though, and for that we are thankful. James has only ever known his Gran with AD - not the strong, creative, organised and capable woman my older children, niece and nephews knew. But somehow, from a tiny tot, he has had a special bond with her, and they play, draw and read books for long spells of time. My Dad remarked the other day how gentle and patient James was with her. I read on Sunnydaytodaymama's blog the other day, the famous passage from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran - Your children are not your children:
You may strive to be like them, bur seek not to make them like you
For life goes not backward, nor tarries with yesterday
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
I will strive...
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
This week I would like to share a classic book – Winnie The Pooh by A. A Milne. This is my younger daughter’s copy, although my own childhood paperbacks are around somewhere. If your only experience of Pooh Bear is the bowdlerised Disney cartoon versions, then I would strongly urge you to give the original gentle text a glance. Surprisingly, as it is seems a bit long and wordy for him, James will sit quietly and listen to stories being read to him from this book.His favourite is the first one – In which we are introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh and some Bees and the Stories begin.
Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.
I love this passage. In the hurly burly of family life I often find myself feeling the same way – for a moment – then off we go into the whirling reel again! I must try to bump more mindfully.
As the story progresses, Pooh bear spies a honey tree and tries to trick the bees into thinking he is a black cloud floating in the sky – with the help of Christopher Robin, a blue balloon and some black mud.
If only he had come to beekeeping classes with me - he might have learned that bees do not like the colour blue - Silly old Bear!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I went to my first practical bee keeping class yesterday and absolutely loved it. How amazing and wonderful bees are! And it was such a mindful and serene experience handling them - not at all frantic as you might imagine. The beekeeper has to be calm, measured and purposeful when handling the bees and show them utmost respect - for they are Zen Masters.
There is more about my bee experience on the garden blog.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Some picture of the process - started yesterday.
I'll leave it in the bin until Sunday and then transfer to the demi- johns to finish fermenting out. Can't wait to try it, but I'll do my best to be patient.
I was very kindly asked for my nettle soup recipe. It is one of those things that doesn't really have a set format. Usually I collect some nettle tips - just over half one of those bag for life carriers, or about 2 litres. I sweat 2 onions and a couple of garlic cloves until they are nice and soft - add a large diced potato and cook a little bit more - then add the nettles and some good stock ( about one and a half litres - ish) salt and pepper and simmer until the potato is soft. Blitz it well with a hand blender or liquidiser. I add a glug of cream at the end and reheat. If you happen to have a couple of leeks about you, then feel free to add them in place of one of the onions. Some chopped chives sprinkled on top look nice too.
I love this soup. No-one ever believes it is made from nettles. I served this as the first course for Easter Sunday lunch and it went down a treat - seconds all round! Do try it.