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Posts Tagged ‘weekword’

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: Box

This week’s word, courtesy of Katy, was inspired by her choosing on Boxing Day.

Source: <a style='text-decoration:underline;font-size:10px;color:#76838b;' via >Elle on Pinterest

When I was growing up, the TV was known as ‘the box’, as in ‘Is there anything on the box?’ (or, inexplicably, the cod-French ‘Est-ce qu’il y a quelque chose sur le boite ce soir?’). One of the things that surprises people about our house is that we don’t have a TV. Well, we have a TV, but it’s not connected to receive broadcast. We can watch DVDs, but if we want to watch broadcast TV we have to go to someone’s house, or, for BBC programmes, use the iPlayer and watch them on the computer. Which means that we don’t watch much broadcast TV at all.

We didn’t make this decision deliberately, in an attempt to be ascetic – we moved into a house with bad reception and didn’t get round to fixing the dish. For months. After which, we realised we didn’t really miss it, and decided not to bother. By this time, not having a TV had become normal, so we weren’t prepared for how odd people would find it. We frequently get asked if we miss it. (No, or we’d have a TV). What do we do in the evenings? (We talk or read or knit or sew or play games or have a bath or… um, put a film on). Don’t we feel we’re missing out on the good stuff on TV? (Not really – we spend our TV licence money on DVDs, so we invariably catch up on the good stuff eventually, even if we’re a year or so behind.) Don’t our kids miss out? (I hope not. They do have DVDs, so we can choose their viewing, and as well as the contemporary stuff, they love Bagpuss, Ivor the Engine, Willo the Wisp and the Clangers. They watch some TV at their grandparents’ house, but thankfully they stick to CBeebies so they don’t see too many adverts!.) Several people assume that we think we’re terribly intellectual, or somehow superior, which we don’t – we’ve had TV for most of our lives and I can readily imagine that we may well have it again, but it’s interesting that this perception surfaces.

We get our news from the radio – Radio 4 is on almost all day if we’re not working – which means that I’m quite well informed but sometimes I don’t know what a key player in current affairs looks like until I see a picture on a news website, which is quite disconcerting. We both work from home so we don’t have the issue of the ‘water cooler’ conversations about what was on TV last night, but on internet forums and at social occasions I notice – in a way I never had before – how much people talk about the television. I also notice that when people complain about something (an election, the football, the Olympics) being ‘everywhere’, they might not know it, but they don’t really mean ‘everywhere’, they mean the TV – I’ve never felt that sense of something being ubiquitous since I stopped having one.

When I watch TV at other people’s houses I’m always taken aback by how strident adverts are – I have definitely become more sensitive in 5 years without a telly. It took a year to convince TV Licensing that we don’t have a TV – they are incredibly reluctant to believe that anyone without a licence could be that way because they don’t have a TV. But we’ve heard nothing from them for nearly 4 years, so they have probably put us on a list of dangerous subversives.

Go and see Katy to check out the other Weekworders!

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Weekword: Sunshine

Ah, ‘sunshine’, says John. What a lovely word for November.

I’ve not been feeling very sunshiney lately. The cough that started to annoy me back in September hung on… and on… and then got worse… and by the time I finally gave in and took it to the doctor (I always worry doctors will think I’m overreacting so I tend to put off going until I’m unequivocally ill) it was a ‘fairly severe’ lung infection that required antibiotics and inhalers and all sorts lest it become pneumonia, which I am assured (both by the doctor and by a friend who was unfortunate enough to have it) that I do not want. Thanks to the various drugs, it’s on the mend… but I now have a cold and a touch of … residual unpleasantness from the antibiotics. It’s not been great fun being me lately. I’ve had to focus most of my scant energy at my work and my kids, so there’s not been much time for fun or creativity. Or indeed, housework. And most of November, so far, has been cold and wet. Bits of our lawn are mud and some things I left outside and forgot to bring in are probably in a sad state. Lots of grey skies overhead and wet leaves underfoot.

But sometimes there is sunshine in November (in fact my very first post on this blog was about winter sunshine). And there is such a lovely quality to autumn sunshine – it’s almost liquid, in that it seems to flow over things rather than ‘shine’ on them. And it’s the fleetingness, the unreliability of sunshine in November that makes it so lovely – a wash of syrupy light on the hill after a day of wet grey. And a small girl bringing me a blanket and announcing that she is ‘looking after Mummy’. The local supermarket having Mozartkugeln in on special – because if there’s one thing nicer than almond marzipan it’s almond marzipan *and* pistachio marzipan. Together. With chocolate. Our ‘outdoor’ cat deciding that it’s the time of year she becomes an ‘indoor’ cat – and that she has several months of cuddles to make up for. Little splashes of sunshine in November.

Don’t forget to pop over to John’s blog for some more splashes of sunshine.

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