watercolour morning

The idea of paintings and pictures as windows and doors into other worlds is fairly common in literature.

From MR James’ The Mezzotint to Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, pictures reveal secrets that are hidden from the real world; from Princess Rosamund in George MacDonald’s The Lost Princess to Edmund and Lucy Pevensie and their cousin Eustace Scrubb in CS Lewis’ The Dawn Treader, children step – or tumble – through into other worlds and places.
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cat litter

I’ve always been fond of felines, whatever their size and, until I was actually in a position to keep a domestic cat as a pet, I had an extensive collection of tigers.

There were book marks, tea cards, themed birthday cards and calendars, soft toys of all sizes, an Esso tiger-in-your-tank key ring from the 70s, a Russian porcelain figurine, tiger’s eye quartz jewellery…

Some were given away, broken, lost or abandoned. Others must be in a box in a lock up in Spain with so many of my other possessions. A few survive: I’m sure there’s a supermarket trolley token with a cartoon tiger’s head in the bottom of one of my handbags and a Schleich white tiger called Frankie continues to accompany me whenever I travel away from home.
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of words and wild swans

Open mike nights are a chance to discover the words of other poets, writers and musicians and I usually sit with notebook and pen ready to jot down the ideas and phrases that appeal most, that capture my imagination or that challenge me to think more.

Last night I was a reader at a fund-raising event where the theme was homelessness. One of the phrases I wrote down was from local poet John Turner: “How to compare spring flower to crack den?” It’s a question that challenged me as it relates to why I wimped out of writing new and socially relevant poems for the event, instead reaching into my files, which overflow with spring flowers and poetry of place, to create a set based around the ideas of home, belonging and alienation.
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on Christmas Day in the morning

In the beginning was the Word.

nativity scene stained glass
…but for today’s blog post, pictures are enough.

poetry & plasterwork

Yesterday, I went to a breakfast meeting at Stoneleigh Abbey.

Stoneleigh Abbey
We ate in the saloon, whose ceiling features this magnificent plaster relief depicting Hercules being welcomed by the gods after his death:
Stoneleigh Abbey Blue Saloon
I visited the Abbey a couple of years ago and went on a tour of the house; sadly, the photos I took then are currently on a computer that won’t boot, so I only have a couple of pictures I took on my phone as discreetly as possible during the meeting.
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capture that moment

 

Ellen Terry takes a selfie

Ellen Terry takes a selfie

la Inmaculada

Tiepolo: inmaculada concepción
Although I now spend most of my time in the UK, I still work with people in Spain and – due mostly to the lack of response to my phone calls – I am very conscious of the fact that today is a fiesta.

In fact it’s the fiesta de la inmaculada concepción – celebrating the immaculate conception of Mary, mother of Jesus.
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