Friday, 2 June 2017

Chimney pots

'If there's more than one crow they are rooks, if there is only one rook it's a crow.'

An idle moment looking out of the window, rooftop staring. There's always some drama being played out on the tiles or by the terracotta chimney pots. Today there is a crow on lookout, shiny black, a look of slight annoyance like his feathered chum is late for their meeting. Check the time again. That's 15 minutes now. Late.
crow on the rooftop Sat on top of the louvred pot, the tallest one for the best view up the road, across the terraced houses and up to the hedgerows filled with chattering sparrows who are far too busy to notice a crow and whose constant traffic only annoys the corvid even more. No sign of the crow's mate. Check the other direction where the traffic lights change yet again. No sign. Late. 

Beak open, caw some obscenity, another glance and then off with black, yet a shimmer of purple wings. 
crow on chimney pots

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Family changes

Family life is fluid, we all change and grow. As we raise our children, our ideas change and life events change the direction of the family. I'm very grateful to have a family, although not big or exciting, it's a little unit that I'm nurturing and my son (Little Bird) is my best friend. 

This year sees him start school, later than most as he's 7 so this will be a big change for all. Now it's June it feels a little like it will be our last summer of freedom before having to go along with the routine and holidays of the school which is a little sad but I'm hoping that school will bring great things and it will be an exciting adventure for him. Whilst he is at school I will be able to focus a little more on my post grad studies and look at what happens next for me. It's easy to lose sight of yourself when you have children and this in itself is a change that can cause friction and issues within the family. I was interested to see in an infographic (see below) from Slater Gordon just how many marriages end in divorce, 42%! A good Family Law solicitor is an important contact to have for modern life. 

Me and my son

Family is important to me and it's great how diverse the family unit is, LB has two half brothers and they get along fine and we have bits and bobs of help from the rest of the family. LB's aunty now lives around the corner and his grandparents are not too far away which is a blessing for when life gets tricky. 

The #FamilyMadeSimple infographic surprised in with the fact that 1 in 30 grandparents provide full time care for their grandchildren. I certainly see many a gran or grandad walking past my house pushing a buggy in the daytime. 

So we shall see come September just how much life changes, after 7 years I could go back to work, having opted to stay at home full time and home educate LB. Both of us stepping into new territory and I'm sure we will encounter new issues to work through along the way. I'm expecting that I will spend a lot of time helping LB adjust and settle into school, he can get quite emotional so there will be many tears and uncertainty - and the same goes for me. But that's what family is all about, you go with the flow and support each other and communicate, life always changes but it's good to have each other.

*Collaborative post

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Graveyard gift

Standing in the churchyard, local quarried stone
Keeper of lost souls, the guardian of bone,
Seasons of people passing through lych-gate to this acre
A remembrance of life, a trustworthy caretaker.

No longer in mortal memory of freshly wiped tears
Generations have long forgotten over many years,
Through times of hardship and wars with skies so leaden
Vandals, neglect and weathering spelt graveyard Armageddon.
But still the stones remain although edges decay
The words that were inscribed oft have little left to say.
 primroses in a churchyard
Now it is the nature that speaks in volumes with such might
From those that crawl and slither, scuttle or fly at night.
An angel full of lichen and a skull that's topped with moss
An ecosystem of memento mori on every arch and every cross.

Winding paths cutting meadow grass welcome dainty wing
Summer ox-eyed daises, buttercups and snowdrops every spring.
Tussocks of Yorkshire-fog with plumes of purple florets
A food source for the Speckled Wood and where beetles rest in showers.
Amidst a sea of flowers with waves of buzz and pollen golden
Centuries of graves to which wildlife is beholden.

 shaded gravestone
Ferns in damp shaded corners, a steady drip of blessed dew
The avenue of limes and the mysterious ancient yew,
Hiding places for woven nests, the robin and the wren
Tangles of ivy and prickling bramble, a dashing foxes den.

A hunting and foraging site for creatures of all sizes
The nocturnal and crepuscular and songbirds at sun rises,
A figure of eight loop-the-loop from a pipistrelle
Catching flies, dancing high above where granite tombstones dwell.

Moonlight brings the badger on his familiar trail
Trodden path with humbug grunts and wiry tufts of tail,
And as he stops to snuffle for worms and droplets of elder berries
Peace abounds; consecrated ground, tranquil cemeteries.

Open the gate to these sacred spaces in countryside or town
Take some time to sit there and really look around.
Whether your journey is spiritual or somewhere to find ease
Celebrate the gift of the natural world underneath the trees,
A place for green enrichment and replenishing the mind
A rich mosaic of living and departed intertwined.
 grasses and graves

Five Reasons to Buy a Fake Bonsai Tree

Artificial trees, whether for the home or the office, bring a touch of beauty and nature indoors. And they are, of course, trouble-free, whereas real plants are time-consuming, dirty, wet, prone to dying, and generally more expensive to boot. In terms of dressing up a space, artificial trees are great value, and fake bonsai trees deserve special attention. They are excellent for decorating a smaller space, but they make a large impact. While many artificial plants are designed to provide a relatively subtle, casual shift in mood, bonsai trees are attention-grabbers. The create a focused, powerful statement, while also softening an interior space.

Bonsai trees are great. But let's face it: you don't need a reason to buy a fake bonsai tree. If someone asks, though, here are five:

Fake Bonsai Trees Are Portable

Going to the vacation home for the summer? Moving to a larger office? Sleeping on your friends couch during a painful divorce? These are the moments when you might regret buying a fake palm tree. A bonsai tree is tiny—that's the whole point—and you can pack it up and take it with you. You can enjoy your ersatz miniature tree experience wherever you go. Some bonsais are small enough to take as carry-on luggage, and all of them will fit easily in the footwell of a car. Let your ex keep the fake palm.

Fake Bonsai Trees Will Protect You From Intruders

No, really. Because the guy who breaks into your place at 2AM isn't a botany expert. He can't tell that your ancient gnarled cedar tree is fake. All he knows is that bonsai trees means Mr. Miyagi. If you own a bonsai tree, what are the odds that you also have a blackbelt? Decent, right? So he will be heading back out the way he came in, before the bonsai owner shows up in a bathrobe to rearrange his spine. Better than a guard dog, and much cheaper.

Fake Bonsai Trees Will Inspire You to Write Fake Haiku

There is a long-standing association between bonsai and haiku poetry. Unfortunately for English-speakers, actual Japanese haiku relies on the “on”, a phono-linguistic unit that is not quite the same the English syllable. So English haiku (in the 5-7-5 format) are necessarily fake, and it is more appropriate to write them while contemplating a fake bonsai tree than a real one:

Counting syllables
The tree never needs water
What is illusion?

Fake Bonsai Trees Will Add Years to Your Life

This is true in a relative sense. If you get into (real) bonsai trees as a hobby, you are going to spend years of your life trimming branches the size of nose hairs, and using little splints and wires to tweak the growth of tiny tree limbs. You will spend ages staring at dead branches out the window, wondering how they got to be the shape they are. So, by comparison, fake bonsai trees are going to save you years of life.

Bonsai Tree Pots Are Too Small to Collect Litter

If there is a down-side to fake plants, it is the pots or planters themselves. If they are outside, smokers see them as elaborate ashtrays. If they are inside, they seem to magnetically attract plastic wrappers, coffee cup lids, and so forth. Soon you have a small landfill with a tree in the middle. But not with bonsai trees! Real or fake, bonsai trees are too small (and maybe a little too intimidating) for people to use them as absent-minded cup-holders or trash cans.
*collaborative post

British Summertime home

The British Summertime is nearly here and my thoughts switch to sunny days in the garden, hanging washing on the line, windows open, gentle breezes and balmy evenings with a glass of wine. Inside the home I like to capture the essence of our summers from the British coast to the buzz of the city on a warm evening. 

I was excited to find a wonderful United Kingdom cushion from George at Asda with a cheery map showing some characteristic landmarks and cliched but cute elements such as the bagpiper. A couple of these on the sofa will be lovely for my front room. Add to this one of their contemporary bug print cushions for English country garden charm. 

Time to inject that lighter and brighter feel into the bedroom too with new accessories and furnishings, perhaps new throws and duvets such as yet another great find for my love of maps with this colourful offering from Ben de Lisi. Summer is a great time to redress those window with some new curtains to brighten your room. My trickiest windows are in the loft and with all the light flooding in early in the morning need some VELUX blinds such as their blackout blinds for a decent nights sleep.British Summer Home British Isles Cushion, George £5 // British Isles Duvet, Debenhams £28 for a double// Bug Cushion, George at Asda, £5// Blue Stripe Mugs, Matalan £1.40// Vintage Train wall art, M&S £55// Garden birds cake tins, Dotcomgiftshop £12.95// Cottage Tea Light Holder, George at Asda, £7// Deckchair, eBay, £26.95// Rose cottage candle, Candles Direct £4.95

I love a feeling of calm in the house and a candle of two with a summer scent is my treat whilst I read in the evening. Floral fragrances such as roses or lavender give a delicate aroma to the room. Some fairy lights or a lantern add to the look or a simple tealight in a pretty holder such as the country cottage, again from George at Asda. 

It doesn't have to cost a lot to add some summer into your interior design, a few pieces from the high street, the supermarket or online can perk a room up. What could be more summery than a stripy deckchair, pop into a corner  by a window for a cheerful reading area, or on the patio on a sunny day. 

In the kitchen, a new set of mugs or some cake tins for your summer bakes - lemon drizzle please, can liven up open shelving, adding pops of colour. I need a new teapot and would love one with a coastal look, seaside gift shops are always so good for summery purchases so I will be looking out for one on our day trips. 

Personal items make me happy, wall art of seaside trips, train journeys and city breaks and vintage style posters of the Tube line. After my recent holiday on the Yorkshire coast I'd like frame a retro Scarborough poster, the National Railway Museum sells these for all over Britain and they are such a great way to remember your summer holiday.