Geez!  I look ferocious!  Oh well, never mind - even the Queen looks ferocious a lot of the time.  It's just age.


Some of you may remember that a little while ago I wrote on this post the following:
 . . . this quotation from Thich Nhat Hanh:
“In Buddhism all views are wrong views.  When you get in touch with reality you no longer have views.”

Such an interesting and thought-provoking observation. But wait?  Is that a view?  I mean, what I just said.  Am I expressing a view about . . . er . . . his view . . . or the view of Buddhism?  I mean isn’t “When you get in touch with reality you no longer have views” what in normal parlance we call a view?  That is to say, it’s an opinion (I think) about the way things are.  Reality, surely is too large and too kind of dense for any one human being’s mind to encompass it – surely?

A Quaker friend, Bruce Arnold, who blogs here at Letters From The Street, commented on that post (very helpfully) as follows:
“That thing Thich Nhat Hanh said: it's not just an opinion, it's a description of the experience of sunyata. Here's the thing, though: it's only true while actually in that experience of samadhi or nirvana. The rest of the time, in ordinary mundane consciousness, it is a worthy cautionary tale not to take our views too seriously. Also, attachment to views prevents the experience of sunyata, so for those on that path, it is necessary to have that non-attachment, as part of the yoga of the path.”

There was too much in that comment to respond to in a comment box, so I said I’d write a separate post taking up the things it brought to my mind, which fall into two categories – about opinion and about attachment.

Thinking first about opinion – I find myself getting tied into knots about this, because when I say “Such and such a thing is true”, I believe myself to be expressing a view or opinion.  This is so (in my opinion!!) even when the assertion appears to be a matter of universal agreement.

For example, I might say, “Buttercups are yellow,” or “A jay’s colouring includes areas of vivid blue;” and I might believe myself to be not expressing opinion but stating incontrovertible fact.  Not so, it turns out.  In my early twenties when I read a lot of Rudolf Steiner, I learned from his writing that buttercups are “in fact” precisely not yellow.  They are every colour except yellow – yellow is the colour they reject.  That’s why they look yellow to me (and you).  Because they’re not.

Then, only last week I learned from reading the very interesting book by Helen Hoover, A Place In The Woods, that furthermore a blue jay isn’t blue.  That birds have no blue pigment in their feathers, only brownish-grey that looksblue to me.

When we come onto matters of spiritual philosophy and human relationship, statement of fact becomes almost an impossibility (in my opinion), because the experiential is per se subjective, even where it is a matter of common agreement. 

Some years ago a dear friend who’d been having a rotten week greeted me with the information that “the devil had been really attacking” her.  Then she paused and thought, adding the possible amendment: “Unless it’s the Lord trying to teach me something.”

A Christian of deep and experienced practise not being able to tell the difference between God and the devil suggests to me that discrimination between one spiritual state and another may be a subtlety almost beyond the human intellect, and we are rash to believe ourselves capable of statements that can be categorised as bald truth in this area, given that we can’t even tell what colour buttercups are.

In one of his books of neurological case histories (I would give full details to credit it, but I can’t remember in which book it occurs, I no longer have the books, and an online search is not tracking it down for me), Oliver Sacks wrote of a young man who joined a religious group which valued sexual abstinence, gentleness and docility, and long hours of sitting in meditation – all of which healthy young men are likely to find difficult.  This particular young man achieved spectacularly, making such apparent spiritual progress that he was revered as especially saintly.  After this went on for some time, it was discovered that in fact he had a brain tumour, and his apparent spiritual acumen was a symptom of his illness – masked by the desirability of these characteristics in his chosen milieu.

In my own life, I have been told every now and then that my preoccupation with simplicity is a manifestation or symptom of my depression, a re-routing or displacement of an unavoidable aspect of my personality – and possibly illness – into the more acceptable persona of aspiration or discipline or, at least, choice.

This reminds me in turn of a friend who served as a church officer in a congregation I pastored at one time, whose efficiency was so terrifyingly focused that I began to suspect that it was, despite its undeniable usefulness to the church, pathological.

When I read the comment Bruce had left on this blog, about Thich Nhat Hanh and sunyata, samadhi and nirvana, the first two of those terms were unfamiliar to me, so I went off to look them up so as to make sure I’d got a proper grip on what he was saying.

Sunyata, if I’ve now got this right, is a Sanskrit noun taken from the adjective śūnya, which means “zero” or “nothing”.    So sunyatais about a condition of emptiness, the nonexistence of the self.

Samadhi (again if I’ve got this right) is a higher level of consciousness achieved by long practise of meditation – a stilling and focusing of the mind to the point of being in effect one with the focus of meditation – eg, God.

And nirvana is the state of blissful union with the divine.  The word means “blown out” and therefore implies a state in which the separate individual self or ego has been annihilated or become irrelevant.

I see how, in such a condition, views of any sort would have been transcended, made meaningless, left behind.  I see how, experientially, a person immersed in religious practise might enter such an experience of transfiguration.  And I see that attachment to all things of this world – possessions, relationships, achievements, being right, status; everything – must be eliminated or left behind in order to enter this transcendent state.


I have an uneasiness here – not a mere niggle, a profound uneasiness. 

If my friend couldn’t tell the difference between God and the devil, and the religious sect couldn’t discern pathological symptoms from sanctity, and those close to me know well that the headf**k that is my constant companion is probably as responsible for my hunger and thirst for simplicity as any attraction to holiness and Reality with a capital R – well, this is a minefield, innit?

For any one of us for whom the world of the Spirit is more real and more compelling than career or wealth or relationships or anything else in life, there is a huge danger of mistaking our weaknesses for our strengths.

Those of us who can not only detach from anything or anyone but actually have trouble attaching toanything and anyone, run a much greater risk from being admired than from being pitied.  The minute we start to express and believe the opinion, the view that we are right – that we have left behind the ordinary human territory of views and opinions and moved into some exalted field (Rumi’s “field beyond right and wrong”) where we’re so transcendent that our point of view is no longer a point of view because it’s morphed into absolute truth – then we have left health behind.  In my opinion.

The safety harness of every aspirant to scaling the heights of the holy mountain is the remembrance that I might be wrong: that as long as I am human I cannot be capable of more than the view from here; everything I think is my opinion.

There is no danger in this.  There is no danger in saying that when Thich Nhat Hanh tells us “when you get in touch with reality you have no views” that is of itself a view, an opinion.  It may seem insulting to his wisdom and advanced spirituality, but even so, it is a safeguard.

There is, on the other hand, great danger in scaling the heights without that safety harness, in believing that one has reached the state when “I might be wrong about this” loses meaning.

As Bruce said in his comment: “Here's the thing, though: it's only true while actually in that experience of samadhi or nirvana. The rest of the time, in ordinary mundane consciousness, it is a worthy cautionary tale not to take our views too seriously.

But my uneasiness extends beyond the question of where views stop and samadhi begins.  I am also uneasy about making the attempt of complete detachment.  I, who find detaching easy, fascinating and compulsive, know full well how destructive it can be.  It is, as I once heard someone say, like a suicide without a body.  When God finished all that he had created, he looked upon it and pronounced it good.  That included Adam and Eve in relationship with each other and interwoven in the living tissue of creation.  It was, in part, the very business of attachment that he pronounced to be good. 

It’s a complicated thing because Thich Nhat Hanh also teaches with wonderful insight and wisdom on how “the Environment” is the wrong way to describe the Earth – we are Earth.  As he so wonderfully puts it, we “inter-are”.  There is no separation.

It is perhaps helpful to look at the whole thing as St Paul did, and think of the analogy of the body.  Though there are many organs, there is only one body – the eye cannot say to the ear, “I don’t need you”.   So we belong to one another inextricably (not just human to human but the whole of creation); we each have our individual part to play but separation implies just dead meat.  On the other hand, anyone who has suffered from adhesions knows that they are seriously bad news. 

So attachments – adhesions, are when we try to cling, to impede the movement and flow of life, to create stasis.  For our health it is imperative we learn to let go, to permit change.  Yet we do not cut loose. We do not attempt to become the world’s first free-range kidney (or whatever it might be – you may see yourself more as a pancreas).

Dears, I could go on about this all day and still not manage to make myself clear!!

In summary:

1) We are made to belong – we inter-are with all creation.

2) It is unhealthy to cling, to try to limit or possess others, or imagine ourselves as owners rather than stewards of the Earth.

3) Change happens.  We have to learn to let go.

4) Problems arise when things accumulate.  We have to learn to keep life simple to avoid trouble.

5) Pursuing any spiritual path calls us into simplicity.  Letting go is part of simplicity. 

6) Though we let go (non-attachment) we still belong (inter-being).

7) Though we come to see that a view is only a view, we remember that as we are only human, that also is a view.  So long as we are human, views R us.

8) The aspirations of religion – towards non-attachment, simplicity, self-denial, discipline etc – were made to discipline and channel our turbulent human energy in the direction of goodness and grace.  If it’s easy, get help because you’re ill.

9) An essential characteristic of health is when an organism is in balance. The wise relationship of belonging and non-attachment is found in creating balance.  Sometimes the balance (or lack of it) is more apparent to others than to ourselves.

Finally: I hope in saying all of this I have offended no-one.  If I have offended you I’m sorry.  I can hardly open my mouth without offending someone these days.  It is possible I should be wiser to keep it closed.  If you disagree with everything I have said here, I am not offended and you should feel free to say so.  It is all, after all, only my opinion.


365 366 Day 212 – Monday July 30th

Er - that's Day 212 of this.

A mirror.  The less I look at myself, the happier I am with my appearance.

365 366 Day 211 – Sunday July 29th

A ghastly little bag from a chain store.  Supposed to be a convenient accessory that would go with everything and be useful for every occasion.  It turned out to be especially useful for boosting the income of my chosen charity shop.  Now I look more closely at this photograph the bag seems to be smiling at me in a sinister fashion.  Who in their right mind would keep a purse which did that?

365 366 Day 210 – Saturday July 28th

Much harder to part with.  Really handy tongs made for handling sugar and used by me for handling incense charcoal.  But I have stick incense these days, because it needs less paraphernalia.

365 366 Day 209 – Friday July 27th

A dreary polyester skirt, bought in an attempt to look normal.  Ha.

Is it hot enough yet?

Friends, if you care about the Earth – or even if you don't care one bit for this beautiful Earth, but you do care about yourself – you’d do well to read this article by Bill McKibben.  In it he explains that the business plans of the fossil fuel industry will (not can) wreck the planet – that they’ve already got enough carbon in their reserves to drive the heat past anyone’s definition of okay.

It probably means taking a tea-break to read this, because there’s five pages of it.

I’ve read it all through, carefully. 

It confirms what I concluded a while ago – that commercial and political interest will destroy this Earth, and the spreading slime-mould of Mammon will choke the life out of us – unless we, the people, personally and individually change.

We have to stop.  We have to make a change.  We have to learn to live simply, buy locally, give up jetting around the world in aeroplanes just to sit in the sun there instead of here or admire the architecture in a foreign city.  We have to return to an altogether more primitive lifestyle.  We have to learn to be – can you believe this? – unselfish.

There is no-one else to do it, no-one to blame and no-one to help.  It’s us or nobody; our choices, our path, our call.

As Stephen Gaskin said:
You are this season’s people.
There are no other people this season.
If you blow it, it’s blown.

The future is simple, vegan, local, and wind/solar-powered.  There is no other future.  The road we’re on runs out into a quicksand.

The only hope left to us is if we, the people, are willing individually and personally to accept the sacrifice of change, and encourage each other by travelling together for the sake of hope and life.

I know how weak-willed I am, how lacking in determination, how self-indulgent and undisciplined.  I know that by myself I cannot walk the way of life - I've tried for so long and have a string of failure extending behind me trailing back decades.

You my friends, and most of all, you my family - we really need to do this now.  To give up the fuel-guzzling, water-wasting, packaging-hungry, unnecessarily international habits into which we've slid, and do this seriously now.  Please will you walk with me.   

And whoever will or will not, I ask you God my Father, for the sake of all that you blessed and called good, please will you give me the grace to take this path anyway, for the love of the green and growing things, and the miracle of life that you made.

If we don't do this, by the time the Wretched Wretch leaves college, there'll be nothing left to look at but a war in a dust-bowl.



365 366 Day 208 – Thursday July 26th

Went with the display board I posted as yesterday's item given away.

I recommend this book

This morning early, rainbows were chasing each other across our kitchen floor.

The sun was well up by the time I discovered this.   I’d been in bed reading one of my favourite books.

I have only a very few books left – less than twenty, apart from the ones I wrote myself and ones like the Bible and the hymn book, the Book of Common Prayer and the books of Steve Erspamer’s art I use for the church admin documents.  So this book is one of a treasured few.

I do believe it was remaindered.  I remember quantities coming up cheap on Amazon one time.

But if you ever have the chance to get your hands on a copy – don’t let the opportunity go by.  It’s wise, it’s funny, it’s clever, it’s profound, it’s enchanting and delightful.

David Whiteland’s Book of Pages.

He was also responsible for the hilarious Fudebakudo (the Way of the Exploding Pen). 

Right now I see on Amazon UK they have some second-hand copies of Book of Pages starting at 1p.  Don’t miss this, friends.  It’s such a wonderful book.

Amazon UK Book of Pages here.
Amazon dot com Book of Pages here.
Amazon dot com Fudebakudo here.
Amazon UK Fudebakudo here.


365 366 Day 207 – Wednesday July 25th

Oh, this was a folding display unit.  I got it for the book stand for the launch of The Hardest Thing To Do.  We had fun that evening, but I wouldn't be repeating the exercise.


Yesterday late evening, as the sun was going down, this shard of light appeared on my bedroom wall.

One of life’s random remarks.  A word from the Mystery, saying nothing the human intellect might categorise or understand, but eminently comprehensible to the soul.

So beautiful.


365 366 Day 206 – Tuesday July 24th

A large, warm, fluffy scarf made in some kind of synthetic fabric from a hippy website.  Kind if usefulish but not very.

365 366 Day 205 – Monday July 23rd

Trousers.  I have this ongoing unrealistic hopefulness about trousers.  It all goes well until I get into some place with a 360omirror and am treated top the rear view.  You see, I have short sturdy legs and ample child-bearing hips.

365 366 Day 204 – Sunday July 22nd  

Interesting book about the concept of wabi-sabi, but I think Leonard Koren’s Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers has the edge on it, so I kept that instead.  I also think non-Japanese wabi-sabi enthusiasts tend to overlook the distinction between wabi-sabi and shibui; and in reality shibui is what most of us want, rather than the rotting hovel, semi-bald brush and bucket with holes you might get lumbered with in pursuit of wabi-sabi. 

365 366 Day 203 – Saturday July 21st

Jeggings.  Ahahaha.  I lost some weight last year and got a bit over-ambitious.  Oh dear.

365 366 Day 202 – Friday July 20th

I thought I would like this but it turned out to be thin and clingy.  Er . . . no thanks.

365 366 Day 201 – Thursday July 19th

More spare glasses from the days when I used to panic about that.

Tablescaping ~ a summer look

a sophisticated term for fixin' up yer table!!
{please pardon the hick accent; it's been a long day.}

So I've had a sad-looking table for quite some time, 
but just couldn't figure out what to do about it. 
Call it a creative block: something I get fairly frequently.
But I'm learning that if I wait long enough, inspiration will come!
Thank goodness, it did.

I love my wooden tea light holders, made by my in-laws. Aren't they darling?
I found the galvanized pitcher at Michael's {and bought it with my 40% off coupon!}
It's rustic and quaint, but so cheerful when it's filled with fresh blooms.

I certainly don't have a degree in home decor,
but I've heard that decorations need to be done in odd numbers, 
and agree that it is visually more appealing.
Finding the third part of the grouping was a bit challenging.
But that's when it's fun, right?!
A vintage white candy jar was calling my name, 
and some leftover moss made itself at home there. 
Ahh, I am complete once more.
Maybe I need to invite some guests, yes?

"Not feelin' the goat, mon"

It's been almost a month since I blogged, and I feel quite guilty.  But you see, I just haven't been "feelin' the goat, mon."  (Link to delightful story below on that wonderful quote.)

Everyone who blogs (and isn't this truly just about everyone these days?) approaches his/her blog with an individualized approach.  Some blogs are specific - sewing, carpentry, knitting, etc. - sort of hobby related.  Fans tune in to read what other people are accomplishing in that chosen hobby and to perhaps get inspired.  Then there are blogs that are all about the kids or grandkids, or blogs that feature lovely photographs, or blogs that revolve around theology or philosophy discussions.  There are as many different blogs on the Internet as there are people in the world.

When I created this blog in 2005, I had one purpose:  To outdo my sister, of course.  She had been asked to learn about the art of blogging at her work, and so as a "guinea pig" endeavor, she started a blog of her own, detailing her woodworking project of building a big desk/shelves complex to fill a wall in her house.  The idea of a blog intrigued me, and so I thought, "OK, I can do that, too."   She has long since dropped out of the blogosphere (although the carpentry project turned out to be stunning), and here I am still plodding along.  I originally kept with a theme of simplifying, since at the time, we were trying to downsize and sell our Victorian grand dame of a house - the adventure of which provided much blog fodder (as well as trepidation, angst, anxiety).  As I was writing, I realized that I was taking my life experiences and trying to learn from them, putting my fears and doubts and serendipities on the screen as a way to clear my head and deal with circumstances.  The simplicity idea grew to include my response to aging, becoming a grandmother, frustration with my procrastination and perfectionist tendencies, fond memories of long ago, and a desire to appreciate my blessings.  It began to represent the whole of my life, encompassing the last year in my 89-year-old mom's stay with us in Maine.

I can't blog every day because I would have nothing to say.  I can't even seem to blog every week on a regular basis unless I feel there are words in my head that need to get put down somewhere.  Maybe a recent experience in my life or a comment from a friend or family member will plant a seed in my mind and I think, "There is something for me to learn from this" and a blog post will follow, because, I figured, maybe someone else could benefit from this insight too.   My blog involves a great deal of introspection.

Therefore, I refuse to blog when I have nothing to say.  The wonderful thing about a blog is that, unlike a newspaper or other media, there are no deadlines.  Sometimes if I'm inspired I could blog 7 posts in 7 days; other times, like now, it can be a month or more before I feel ready.

Thus I just say that "I'm just not feelin' the goat, mon."  This quote is from a wonderful story here that Ed and I read several years ago.  The story explains a lot about why food tastes better when it's cooked with love - and how when one attempts to do something simply because it's "expected" when the inspiration is just not there, the end result is lacking in some way.  There are times to push yourself and times to stay put.  The key is knowing when to do what.

By the way, if you click the link and read the story, you'll understand why homemade food cooked by someone who loves you is better for you than fast food from a burger joint.  For one thing, who do you think prepares and cooks the food at most burger joints?  Teenagers who would rather be anywhere but at work.   I can't imagine much love goes into any of those things on the menu - no matter how many hugs Ronald gives to the world.   

I assure you, my readers (who number less than the fingers on one hand), that I will never blog unless I feel I have something worth saying.  It may take a long time between posts, but when you're not feelin' the goat, you're just not feelin' the goat.

Happiness moment

Hey, you know I told you this book is out now?

Well, the first review has just come up on Amazon, and it's the most fabuloso review a person could ever wish to have!  I am just so grateful to that person, whoever they are - made my day!

Happy now.



365 366 Day 200 – Wednesday July 18th

 Charming anthology about cats in literature, bought from bookstall at church bazaar.   Useful bathroom book for a while.

Further on skirts

This is the skirt I made from an old tablecloth yesterday. I photographed it in Fi's mirror which is less weird and doesn't distort.  That's what I really look like.

Yesterday evening when I finished it I thought it was a bit of a failure – but I think I tried it on with the wrong things – and it was dark and rainy yesterday, but this is more of a sunny day skirt.  Anyway this morning when I tried it on I thought it looked okay.

When I make new-from-old things, I think it’s fun to keep the characteristics of the old – so for example in this skirt, the back shows the edging of the original tablecloth

And the pockets are different, one made from the edging and another from nearer the middle.

This morning early I was up hanging out the laundry and pulling weeds from the vegetable beds.  Hebe, looking out of her window, thought “Gosh, there’s a medieval lady in our garden!”


I do think my clothes look a little odd, but as I am always drawn to odd things and only swap one odd look for another, I can’t see the point in bothering about it now.  Must be just me.

Oh, by the way – I think this is out now:  

It says so on Amazon.  Read it and let me know what you think!  Better still, review it on Amazon and let everyone else know what you think. x


365 366 Day 199 – Tuesday July 17th

I looked really grim in this top.

365 366 Day 198 – Monday July 18th

Hard to part with.  Kept this card for ages.  It came from the Wretched Wretch and his family, for my birthday the year before last when he was just a tiny baby.  I think - but I'm not sure - the picture might originally be from Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came To Tea.  Or maybe not.

Times of Refreshing

The relentless sunshine beat down mercilessly on a parched earth.
Vibrant green grass faded to a dull brown.
Once promising fields of waving corn stood stunted, with leaves curled in hopes of a drop of rain.
As I looked at the signs of drought all around, my heart sank.
I felt helpless to do anything but pray for a miracle.
Pray for rain.

And then it came!
A downpour of beautiful water that washed away the dust and brought with a promise of life.
I watched it through the window.
I stood on the porch and just breathed in the fragrance of it.
Amazing how such an ordinary thing is a miracle when you have been without it,
and have no way to get it!

After the storm passed, I walked outside and am convinced that the earth was smiling.
The cornfields stood proudly, with open leaves.
The flowers lifted sparkling faces to their Maker.

The herbs released a new earthy fragrance, 
while rain glistened on the leaves of the rosebush.
There was new beauty all around me! 
Amazing what a little rain can do...

Sometimes my soul feels dry and parched.
I long for something, but can't seem to find what I desire.
I need the rain.
The river of Life.

This beautiful verse in Acts 3:19 has been on my heart:
"Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out,
that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
And He always honors the heart that seeks Him.
He comes with refreshing rain, truth that washes my soul and restores my mind.
Thank God, times in the desert don't last forever!

Praying that you experience His refreshing rain this weekend!

Show 'n' Tell

It’s been a good time for making things. 

I rooted out some old pieces of fabric I’d forgotten were still here – a tablecloth, a sheet and a sari – to make skirts.    I’ve done one (the sari) and will do the sheet in the next day or two – the tablecloth may not have enough length to it and also may not be soft enough.  Anyway, I’m pleased with the one I made.  I wore it to Mass this morning, and it's so soft and comfy.  I took a photo to show you, which is a little odd because our full length mirror is one of those acrylic stick-on ones, very distorting.  Anyway it is me and it is my skirt - rather wet at the time of the photo from walking back from mass a mile or so in the rain!

It was the Wretched Wretch’s father’s birthday yesterday, so we all went round there to offer greetings and felicitations.  While we were there some stories had to be read, and Buzz read this brilliant one about ferocious girl pirates, to the accompaniment of much snarling and roaring and cries of “Aaaargh!” from the Wretched Wretch, who takes to piracy like a duck to water.   Listening to the pirate story, my imagination was seized by the wonderful phrase “stealthy as shadows, quiet as mice”.

Then some of us went for a walk down by the ghyll – I should have taken some photos to show you, I will another day.  It’s a deep ravine at the top end of the park, with rocky banks rising steeply from the stream at the bottom.  It’s something like Hastings’ answer to the rainforest, with jewel green ferns and the wonderful canopy of trees rising above, so beautiful.

All the recent rains had left the paths slippery with squelching mud, so the Wretched Wretch had to be careful to hold tight to his mummy’s hand in some places where the way narrowed alongside steep drops to the stream below.  Likewise the bridges were slippery with algae.   But the temporary waterfalls cascading downward from the hills to the streambed tasted so pure and sweet.

We had to watch our footing and it reminded me of these words from the Tao Te Ching. 

The sages of the Tao and the pirates were still on my mind when we came home, and I felt a little writing on the wall seemed called for.  Hebe said she’d paint it for me if I did the lettering.  This we duly did (she tidied up my letters too, and gave them the grace they lacked).

I think we did good.  I  like the "h" in "stealthy"

and the listening wolfy ears in "quiet"

the gormless little snail "e"

and the creeping mice

Then in the evening we watched Henry IV part II in the current “Hollow Crown” Shakespeare season on the BBC – and the appellation “Cousin Silence” found a place in my heart; not the character, who is hardly inspiring, just his name.

Talking of silence, in the next few days some of us are off to Thicket Priory to take our Carmelite sisters the glass panel Alice has made for them, of St Joseph with the baby Jesus.  She has called the picture “Silence nurtures the Word”, because Joseph, as you know, passes through the gospels in silence, and Jesus is the living Word of God.

Alice has followed the tradition of depicting Joseph holding both a lily and the baby Jesus.  The lily, symbol of innocence and purity, in this depiction also represents the Virgin Mary, held in Joseph’s care as Jesus was.  So Alice has made the lily white on blue, because those are Mary’s colours.

Here is the “shadow” of the glass as the light passes through (truest depiction of the colours in this photo).

The Badger made an excellent job of making it a frame-stand, after a long internet search for something suitable proved fruitless.  We should have asked him in the first place.

Then, from the sublime to the not fair to call it ridiculous but certainly not-very-sublime-at-all, I finally got round to stitching an elastic chinstrap into my rain hat.  Here on the coast, rain or sun it’s mostly breezy – as in, wild and windy a lot of the time.  Umbrellas are a waste of time and money, and hats require a hasty clutching technique.  But it’s been such a wet summer a rain hat began to seem like a very attractive option indeed – only I never wear mine because it usually blows when it rains and the wind would take my hat, five minutes down the road.

So this morning having got exceeding wet walking home from Mass, I made myself a cheerful cup of hot nettle tea (nettles are jolly good for you – did you know?  The seeds are coming now and they are a powerful tonic.  Good for adrenal balancing.) and sat down to stitch the elastic to my hat band.  The hat is dark green.  I took a spool of dark green thread upstairs, but as my middle-aged eyesight finds threading needles challenging, I settled for the thread already in the needle for the first side – brown as it happened.  The hat band turned out to be black, as is the elastic.  I stitched the first side brown on black, the second side dark green on black, but guess what!  The hat lining is tartan – dark green, brown and black.  Now, how pleasing is that!

There.  Done.


365 366 Day 197 – Sunday July 15th
(if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here)

A sweet little lavender sachet.

365 366 Day 196 – Saturday July 14th

Not very interesting, but trousers.

365 366 Day 195 – Friday July 13th   

Ah this was precious!  I scanned it and kept an electronic copy.  Directions for finding Ince Benet, Tom Cullinan’s place.  I have kept this piece of paper safe and treasured for upwards of twenty years.   In the end, it is helpful to let go of even the precious things.  Once when my beautiful mama, having recently moved house, was feeling grumbly and disinclined to sort through her accumulated hoard, she remarked, "I don't know why I bother with this.  I don't know why I don't do what everyone else does and just leave it for someone else to do when I'm dead."   Happily she is at heart a responsible soul, so she has undertaken the clearing and sorting that all responsible people see the need to complete.  Because one day, each and every one of us has to let it all go - even the precious things - and someone has the job of picking up the detritus that remains.  Start early, say I: do it now.  Either that or just do as the gypsies or the Vikings did: in the former case, fire the vardo, in the latter case tow the whole lot out to sea and set fire to it there.  Good idea.