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Archive for the ‘Weekword’ Category

John chose this week’s word and here I am a bit late, due to a slight technical hitch. I have no camera. It went walkies a few weeks ago and despite me turning the house upside down, it hasn’t turned up. I bought a cheapy in the meantime, but the colour balance is iffy and it doesn’t focus, so it’s going back. I hate not having a camera, so I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy another one. Gah. Anyway, I’ve been trying to take photographs to illustrate this post but no luck.

I have recently succumbed to a fit of nostalgia, and bought a big box of Crayola crayons, like the one I had as a child. 96 colours! (Although the colour names have changed a bit since I was wee.) I have had great fun picking the colours that appeal to me – that resonate, if you will – and looking at the names. The first out of the box was, predictably, my old favourite, periwinkle. (But sadly, two of my other old faves, blue-gray and thistle, have been discontinued). I remember, as a child, pulling the crayons out and being fascinated by names like ‘sepia’, ‘raw umber’ (also sadly no more) and ‘burnt sienna’. When I studied art history at university, those childhood memories came back to me. There are lots of new names to replace the old – including ‘purple mountain’s majesty’. How’s that for resonant?

Go to visit John to see the other Weekworders this week.

Source: amazon.co.uk via Sally on Pinterest

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Emma chose ‘Space’ as this week’s word. I love words with a lot of potential interpretations. I’ve been thinking about this word since Emma picked it and there are so many ideas that come to mind. I confess, I am sitting down to write this post with no idea of where I’m going to go – I’m hoping that the pressure of a deadline will work its magic and I’ll have a coherent post by the end. This is fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants blogging, people!

I suppose one of the first ideas that I had was the ‘outer space’ connection. There was the brave chap who jumped from the ‘edge of space’ recently. ‘Outer space’ is a rich source of stories – usually stories about its inhabitants. I wonder if we people the ‘space’ of our imagination with all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures because we genuinely accept the rational view that logically, we can’t be the only living things in an infinite universe, or because the idea of being alone in infinite space is somehow scarier? I find reading about the vastness of space actually hurts my mind. I’ve posted this video before, because it’s amazing – if you haven’t seen it before, do watch it. It’s a marvellous testament to human curiosity as well as being pretty fascinating.

And then of course, at the opposite extreme, there’s the idea of having our ‘own space’, carving out a small part of the world that’s ours. Our ‘room of one’s own with a lock on the door’ that V Woolf argued was essential for creativity. This, as I mentioned in my last post, is a bit of a preoccupation Chez S&S at the moment. We’re trying to create spaces in our home that work for us as a family, and we’re having a bit of a rearrange so the youngest member of the family can have her own space. And my office will be moving to the attic, which is going to be a bit novel – I’m a bit apprehensive about making a creative space up there. It’s exhausting and expensive, but also exciting – it’ll be good to have this place as we need it to be. We live here and work here so it’s very important that our little corner is a happy and comfortable place to be.

And part of that process has involved the creating of spaces – of emptiness – where once there were none. Things have been moved, rearranged, given away and thrown out to create empty spaces in which we can realise our ideas. It’s wonderfully cathartic, and the empty spaces are quite exciting. The overgrown flowerbeds we’ve emptied now seem to overflow with potential. The once crowded storeroom is now empty and is going to be a lovely space for laundry, which means the rest of the house won’t have racks and baskets of washing all over it. This process is making me realise even more strongly that I’d like to simplify. I’d like to have less stuff and more space. More room to breathe, to create. Space can mean emptiness, but a space is a possibility, a potential. In a space, anything can happen. And that’s pretty cool.

Go and see Emma to see what other people have done with their spaces!

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When I choose a word for Weekword, my choice is often based on what I’d like to see other people interpret; I rarely choose something because I’ve already had an idea for a post. This means I often find myself scrabbling around at the last moment trying to think of a post for my own word. But this choice was a bit different, because it came out of a thought I had on Monday.

We’ve been having pretty grotty weather here lately. It’s been chilly without that lovely autumn crispness. Drizzly rain that goes on and on, rather than downpours which fade into pale sunshine. Wet mist that doesn’t lift, just hangs around like a bad mood all day. When the weather’s like this, it’s easy to think that the outdoors is ‘nothingy’. It seems to be lacking – the temptation is to stay inside and ignore it. But sometimes that’s not possible (when one has a dog who needs walking and small people to get to school) and the outdoors must be faced.

I walked the Little Girl to the school bus on Monday, and turned to walk back to the house. My first instinct was to put my head down and get back through the grey drizzle as fast as I could, but something stopped me. Even on the greyest, most unprepossessing day, our little valley has something going for it.

The river wasn’t a low, clear trickle, singing its way over the stones as it is in summer, nor a thundering torrent as it is in winter. It flowed gently along, quietly, a thin brown like petrol station hot chocolate. The ground beneath my feet had gone to mud – in some places balletic leaps were required as I hadn’t worn wellies. There were no pleasant breezes or high winds, just a gentle buffeting which made leaves flump wetly from the trees. And the autumn leaves, without the sunshine to illuminate them, didn’t glow with that bright, joyous flame immortalised on all those photos of fall foliage. They glowed gently through the murk, like a fire banked down until the family return.

The elements – water, earth, air and fire – not in their pure, flamboyant state, but there nonetheless. Subdued and muted, perhaps, but not gone. Not nothingy.

I enjoyed the rest of my walk back to the house.

Why not go and see what the other Weekworders have come up with this week?

Margot

Natalie

Katy

Emma

John

Genskie

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New Weekword…

I was tagged for weekword this week, and the word is:

ELEMENT

Do with it as you will. Post a comment here if you’re playing and then do your elemental post on Friday.

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John chose this happy word this week – what a nice word to have as my first Weekword in a long, long time!

I am late posting this because I’ve been trying for days to get a photo to illustrate the post, but the adage about children and animals goes double for 7 month old babies. Littlest S&S is not a co-operative model.

And she’s the subject of this post because… she’s teething. Not something that instinctively leads to ‘smile’, perhaps. ‘Yowl’, maybe. ‘Bonjela?’ ‘Drool?’ ‘Aaaagh, you little bugger! No biting!?’

But the first tooth is now well through and clearly visible on her bottom gum, and as she’s quite a happy little thing, it’s when she smiles at me that I most notice it. And I am now in that bittersweet phase I have had with all my babies when their teeth start coming.

I have been with this little person nearly 24 hours a day for the last 7 months. (Longer, if you include the time she spent trampolining on my internal organs, but I digress). I know her, every inch of her. I’ve watched her unfold from a crumpled scrap of humanity who did nothing but eat, sleep, cry and poo, to a little person with strong desires and preferences and a sense of humour. I have spent ages gazing at her little sleeping face. And her face looks complete – it’s what she looks like. And then the teeth start to come and I realise that I can’t imagine what she’s going to look like with teeth. Where will they go? There doesn’t seem to be room in her face. Will her jaw change shape? Her cheeks? What will her smile look like when she’s got teeth instead of just gums?

Of course, the teeth come in and somehow they fit in the baby’s head and they still look like the baby and I realise I’ve been ridiculous. Of course she’s going to have teeth and of course they won’t look silly. She’d look much sillier without them, after all. But that little pearly bump on her gum is a milestone on her journey out of babyhood. Although it sometimes seems like it – when the nights are broken and the days are filled with nappy changes, drool and yelling – this phase doesn’t last forever. It is really ever so short, and before long she’ll be running around, and talking and doing all that stuff they do when they’re not babies any more.

It’s bittersweet, I suppose, but then, I imagine the things she’ll get up to and the curiosity overwhelms the tinge of sadness. And I smile.

Check out John’s blog to see the other Weekworders!

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Weekword: Scent

After a bit of a blogging hiatus (baby with growth spurt, husband with tonsilitis, me with family stresses) I am back. Emma chose ‘Scent’ as this week’s word and I couldn’t resist so I’ve snuck in unannounced with a wee post.

The garden is looking a bit ragged at the moment as my months of neglect are compounded with wind and rain. But gardens after rain are especially sweet smelling (the scent I wore on my wedding day was called ‘Wet Garden’) so I trotted round with my camera.

Here’s the beautiful Gertrude Jekyll, a rose with a rich, deep scent:

There are wild roses growing up through the trees – they look amazing. The scent is quite subtle, but it’s there.

Then there’s my very leggy lavender. The lavenders really need to come out but I’ve decided that until I have plants ready to take their place, they’re staying put. I know that if I take them out there’ll be dandelions and couch and worse in there before my back’s turned.

The honeysuckle is going mad here at the moment – every hedge seems to be full of it. Here’s some climbing through a willow:

Pop by to see Emma for more scented wonders!

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Weekword: Bird

I chose this one on the spur of the moment, as I hadn’t realised I’d been tagged until Emma kindly gave me a boot up the bum.

I love birds – obviously we have our share of domestic fowl, with chickens and ducks – and we enjoy watching the antics on the birdtable during the winter. I’m also a bit of a sucker for bird motifs (especially owls). Birds do seem to be pretty ubiquitous these days (if in doubt, stick a bird on it) and I’m happily buying birdy things so that I can enjoy them when they’ve gone out of fashion, which I’m sure they will.

Anyway, it’s been a long time since I did any drawing – I’m not a natural artist by any means but I do like doing little cartoon-style pictures from time to time. My preferred drawing implement is the Sharpie marker, probably because thick lines are very forgiving when you’re slightly inept.

Anyway, here’s today’s little bird doodle – my attempt at a bluebird of happiness!

Check out the other Weekword posts this week:

Emma
Jeneveve
Sally

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New Weekword!

Thanks to Emma for letting me know I’d been tagged for Weekword – I’ve been a bit dozy about keeping up lately.

Anyway, for no particular reason bar I’d be interested to see what you do with it, this week’s word is…

BIRD

Words, picture, photo… whatever you like.

Comment if you’re playing!

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Weekword: Boundaries

I had a plan for this, and was waiting for my new camera to arrive (the old one died after noble service) so I could take the pictures.

It didn’t come. Poxy HDNL decided that my address was ‘incorrect’ and took it back to their depot, where, despite the company I ordered it from contacting them with my phone number so they could get directions and instructions to send my camera out pronto, it has languished since Thursday afternoon. This makes me annoyed. There are so many things I want to take pictures of and I can’t as I have no camera. This is hugely frustrating. A pox on HDNL. A pox on them, I say.

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Weekword: Travel

Sally chose this week’s word, and it’s a belter – I only wish I had more time to do it justice.

I don’t travel much these days – I’m pretty firmly centred on my home – plus three small children require a lot of organising to get out of the house for a day, let alone further afield. The last time I left the UK was in April 2008, on a trip to Venice, when my eldest was five months old, and despite there being four adults in the party, it was a palaver. Getting all the baby kit through airport security, not to mention transporting all that baby stuff when the baby has no baggage allowance. Trying to find unscented baby wipes in Italy (they smelled, as my dad would put it, like ‘a whore’s handbag’). Trying to find somewhere that repaired buggies when the wheel came off – mind you, the cliches about Italians and babies are completely true – nobody knew of a buggy repairer, so in the end the buggy was fixed by no fewer than three men from a hardware store behind the Frari. They were not especially helpful when Mr B asked for the required part, as they didn’t have it, but when they saw that it was for a baby – a little blonde baby at that, then amid cooing and ‘bella’-ing, and long and involved debate about the necessary bits, the three of them decanted to the pavement and effected a repair to the wheel, for which they didn’t charge us…

My passport expired early last year and I haven’t renewed it – I’m not sure when we’re going to be holidaying abroad next, and I’m hardly likely to be whisked off to Paris on a whim (never mind the children, who would let the chickens out?) so I’m waiting until the family becomes more portable.

This means that my travelling is more localised – camping in Pembrokeshire (an hour and a half away), the occasional trip to Edinburgh (the last was almost two years ago, which is unbelievable), and a week in Cornwall last September. I actually really enjoy holidaying in the UK – OK, the weather’s not exactly predictable, but there’s a lot of lovely places within a few hours’ drive. I’d like to explore more of Wales, as despite living here nearly five years, there’s a lot I haven’t seen. I’m sure I’ll get back into foreign travel in years to come, but for now, my adventures will be much closer to home. And that’s OK.

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