Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Back to Birthdays

Stepping back in time now with long awaited pics from my birthday week in November.  Seems as good a time as any when the nights start early and the days are misty and grey and I am not taking any new photos.

This will be in episodes - starting with Mum's 91st Birthay atop the wonderful Panoramic Restaurant in Liverpool.  Details of this are in my birthday post - click here.

Birthday Surprise here we come

Up where !!!

in the high speed lift
sitting on top of the world

above those fabled birds

Mum's whole life spread out below her - the Welsh Hills, the Wirral and the magnificent city of Liverpool - happy memories !!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

So why Bright Fields?

Well - I did touch on this in my first post  and included the poem 'The Bright Field' by R S Thomas but I should say that at that stage I was going to name my blog 'Bright fields and flaggy shores' to also add homage to Seamus Heaney's 'Postscript', but that was far too long!

Both phrases spring from my lifetime love of poetry and these two poems, for me, say it all about 'taking time to stop and stare' and those incredible moments that you just can't capture with a camera or even in words, unless you are a Seamus Heaney or an R S Thomas or some such other.

Don't want this to sound too deep, just that I love those fleeting moments of a certain light on a winter's afternoon or a rainbow or an incredible sky's-on-fire sunset.

The picture I originally used at the top of the blog, of a field with a bare tree and a storm brewing in the sky, was taken in an amazing area up in North Yorkshire, Stanwick Hill Fort,  which we'd never known of before, where an Brigante camp was established in AD71...... and as we were walking around the old mounds and earthworks, the sun just caught this tree in the field although the sky was all dark and brooding, ready for another downpour.   It was quite breathtaking and even mystical, knowing of the legions of souls who'd inhabited these now deserted fields so long ago.
I've since changed the pic to one of some sand dunes we came across in Galicia during our 2012 holiday there - because I wanted to incorporate my love of all things 'sea', and this is a sort of field with all the swaying maram grasses!

Anyway, back to the other poem - Postscript, by Seamus Heaney:

We've been on the Burren in County Clare, Ireland - the most amazing limestone pavement - so wild and beautiful.  I think I once read that Postscript was set on the Isle of Aran but not having been there I have the Burren in my mind when I read this and it's close by after all.

Just lIsten .... and listen right to the last beautiful lines

And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

Seamus Heaney, 1996 from The Spirit Level

and read here his wonderful description of Seamus Heaney writing about Postscript and how it was a sort of postcard to Brian and Anne Friel, remembering a drive with them in South Galway.  I just love Brian Friel's plays, having enjoyed the Crucible's Brian Friel season in 2014, so it's lovely to read this about the poem and imagine them together.

So there you have it!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Crackers and flames at Christmas

So - what did we get up to, apart from eating THE cake, which was delic, and singing out hearts out at the amazing final sessions at the Black Bull and the Top Red . . .

we had Christmas elves galore . . .

musical moments:

sparkly conundrums (thank you Margaret and Steve - still not gotten to taste my amazing birthday champers!!):

'wouldn't roll' swiss rolls:

speechless moments: 

flaming moments - when we nearly lost the turkey, the kitchen and Mike, in that order - and here are the charred remains of the hastily chucked out flaming t-towels to prove it!  See below:

retrospective moments, when we wished we'd taken photos of the flames in action - but it was all hands on deck as panic reigned for a long few minutes!!!!

but, excitement over, we got to sit down sedately and enjoy the turk

followed by frenzied gamblin' - San Francisco style Liar's Dice (thanks Chuck) and I have to say, I was pretty good at this . . .  What does that say about me!!!!

the great cutting moment:

mysterious mummies . . .

and fabulous friends