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.