Saturday 31 October 2009

Happy Halloween!

Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?

Friday 30 October 2009


This is a tree full of Jackdaws in Corbridge in Northumberland. I love the noise they make, so unlike crows, so like monkeys. They were roosting, thinking it was getting dark I presume-it was very overcast. Corbridge is really pretty. We went into a craft and book shop for a browse and then into a cafe called Tea And Tipple (I think) for a drink. I had a latte and delicious coffee and walnut cake. The cafe had a lovely old map of England and Wales on the wall that frustratingly cut off Scotland. It had all the ferry distances to various destinations around Britain.

We were still a very long way from home but the map did not magically show our distance to there.

Thursday 29 October 2009

Satnav Envy

Views around Crieff Hydro.... I imagine fairies live here.
And here.
Horses going to work in the morning.
Acer tree on the way into Crieff. (I was, not the tree!)

Another bright tree.
Loch Earn
A horse who lives at Loch Earn-and thought I was his food bringer. As soon as he saw me he rushed through the trees with a real sense of purpose. He seemed to enjoy a little attention but not as much as he would have enjoyed some food. As we were leaving a woman with buckets was seen approaching.
The beautiful view from The Knock-a steep hill near the hotel.
The sun was rising and caught the mountain.
Wet bracken.

As we sat in traffic yesterday on the very long drive back from Scotland, I caught glimpses of people's bright and friendly satnavs on their dashboards. As we were driving around Glasgow by accident yesterday morning, (it looks lovely but I didn't want to go there at that time) instead of on the way to Edinburgh, on the route we had planned, I wanted a satnav. I have gradually been coming round to the idea of owning one, having previously taken the attitude that I can read a map and who needs all this technology? I can read a map, but not when I am driving around an unfamiliar city. Andy can read a map but it is no help when there are no signs, which I often find that there are not. I did try to investigate satnavs last week but am worried that I do not seem to have a cigarette lighter point in my car which is what I am told they need to run on. Our next long journey is not for some time so maybe by then I will have acquired one and motoring will never again have to be the potential cause of strife!
Above, to counter the slightly moany tone of this post, are some photos of beautiful things from the last few days away! We had a lovely time with Andy's family.

Friday 23 October 2009

A Mad Hatter's Tea Party!!!!

Candace of Eye Candy is hosting a tea party! Visit her to find more party people! Welcome to my tiny mad party! I have drawn some mad hats for the occasion in a most appropriate book-with Alice on the cover meeting the Queen. Maybe this is when she is talking about believing impossible things.
Before the hat parade-a mad fact and a beautiful mad poem! This book has been designated as my book of noticings and madness-and I didn't remember this until I found it again the other day-perfect! Now for the hat parade-each of the small hat wearers is interested to find out which hat is preferred-but that is only because they are quite vain and silly-so don't feel obliged to tell them.

Hope you enjoyed the hats. I am away for a few days now so will visit everyone when I get back. I am going to miss shadow shot sunday again-next week I will be there! Have a lovely weekend.

Weekword - Browse

This week Anne chose the word browse to inspire weekword participants. Visit Anne for a list of other weekworders.
First I have to confess I forgot I was a participant-busy week, going away tomorrow, etc, etc. So I had a think and decided on the supply teacher's friend-the acrostic poem. If you are a supply teacher you will know what I mean, if not you will probably be able to guess!
Anyway, I spent my coffee time when I got home composing two poems on the subject of browsing. Thank goodness poetry is not my profession. I have also included a few photos of some of my favourite types of browsing-book shops, second hand markets and interesting arty shops-this one is in Hastings. I am actually a bad browser because more often than not, I turn into a buyer!

Tomorrow is the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, hosted by Candace in Athens. If you want to join in mad hat fun there is still time-just pop over and let her know! I will be back later with my tea party post-a little early as I am off at the crack of dawn tomorrow on a short half term break. See you later!

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Arizona Rock

From London!
Thanks Debbie!

Monday 19 October 2009

Birthday Post

The title is a pun-ha ha! It is my birthday and I did get some post. Thanks to Anne and Kat for real and virtual birthday cards! This is my cake at work-I was amazed by it's beauty and had to take a photo before it was cut. Dion who made it was 'secretly' lighting the candles but I had to get into the kitchen to get my coffee as it was nearly time for the children to come in! This morning was a rush to say the least.
This is my latest sketchbook page-me on the first day of being 44. I got 88 claps at work today from the children (morning and afternoon) -we always give them 4 big or small claps as part of birthday fun-so I got mine too! Chloe sang 'How old are you now' to me and Nicole sang 'If you're happy and you know it'. I was touched!

My Mum and brother came up for the day yesterday so we had a little trip to Greenwich. This doll caught my eye-she reminded me of Maggie Thatcher. All she needs is a solid handbag and a high pitched and strident voice and she would be there. I do like her blue eyes though-her staring, scary eyes.

Scary doll bookmark!
A lovely book my friend Jessica sent me (via Amazon-so an unexpected surprise!) It is really great and very inspiring.
Just one choice page from a great book of 'Comical Signs For The Workplace'.(From Marianne at work) Sometimes these gimmicky things can be a bit naff but this is genuinely funny. I may share more at a later date. Thanks everyone who visited the party at the weekend. I ran out of time getting round and about but intend to catch up later in the week.

Friday 16 October 2009

A Halloween Dream

Today is the day of the Halloween party at A Fanciful Twist! Please come in and enjoy a little entertainment before you fly off on your visits!

Oh! You caught me just putting the finishing touches to the party post!

Pumpkin girl welcomes you to our branch of this most magical party! She hopes you enjoyedthe story of the Gypsy Girl and her dream in our little film. If you must fly away too soon we hope you will visit again to watch her story! Minerva the financial witch has come to give you her best advice should you want it. She loved last year's party and could not resist a flying visit this year. I put on my best witchy shoes and socks. It is hard work sometimes pretending to be a teacher when really you are a witch. I sometimes think the children suspect. Especially when the pumpkin time of year approaches. Please help yourself to a fiendish fancy and some magic wine. Not too much now-it is very potent and only a sip can lead to all sorts of things... Yes-just a little magic wine and you can meet my friend.... He has flowers for you... ..and would love to take a turn in the garden with you before you have to fly off. Thank you for visiting-see you soon at the next party place!

Thursday 15 October 2009


The portrayal of gender roles in this Ladybird book from the seventies is the history I have chosen to share for Anairam's weekword choice. I love Ladybird books from the sixties and seventies-the illustrations are amazingly detailed and the subject matter has a great range. This is one of the Peter and Jane books I remember from my primary school days. They are written in a very staccato way-designed to teach children to read through repetition of key vocabulary.
Sarah wrote her blog post.
Here is the blog post Sarah wrote.
I have written a blog post, Sarah said.
Here it is.
Here's my blog post.
The style just makes me think of someone reading it in a really aggressive and increasingly hysterical manner!
This book, 'Boys And Girls' is fascinating in that it can't quite make up it's mind about where it stands on roles. On the one hand Peter and Jane are shown having similar interests-flowers, trains, apples and rabbits. On the other hand there is a clear message that men do the work up ladders and women make the tea. The last page I have shown is weird-Peter gets the apple while Mother gives Jane the cakes (plural!)
I went to the annual Early Years Conference in Greenwich last Friday and gender roles was a big theme. It is a fascinating area and I have really been thinking about it a lot this week. Today I had a conversation with three boys in the nursery and they were adamant that I could not be Ben Ten (a cartoon hero type figure) because I am a girl. In the end I asked them if there was a girl super hero I could be and they did say a name (which I didn't know) so at least there is progress. I am also interested in the way that passive behaviour from girls is not necessarily challenged.

Wednesday 14 October 2009


How do you feel about clowns? I feel that they are deeply disturbing or else really sad. I wish I found them funny but I really don't. I know I am not the only one on the disturbing front-Pennywise the clown is pretty scary. This collection of clowns is less scary I hope. The pretty one above is from a great book I have of forties advertising and packaging illustration called Euro Deco.
Wooden skittle clowns from-you guessed it-Greenwich market.

16 year old me dressed as a Pierrot for a fancy dress party. My Mum made the costume-it was great. I have been to two other fancy dress parties-one was a 20s theme so I was some kind of a flapper. For the other I made a hole in a big knitted blanket I had, made it into a kind of dress and wore that. I was a blanket. I don't know what I was thinking but I don't think anyone understood that I was a blanket. They just thought I was wearing a really odd dress.
My clown doll which has been waiting around for ages to be finished. I managed to gesso him ready for painting this weekend, but now he is waiting again. I might call him Gelly Roll after the pen that is in the box with him. I like that as a name for a clown! This is the first doll I have attempted in all polymer clay. I will fix him together with wire I think. Speaking of fixing, I watched a great film last night-'Coraline'. (Based on a book by Neil Gaiman) (I think it has been out for ages but I am always a bit behind!)It is a kids film-PG but not for younger kids I would say. It is about a girl who has very busy and consequentially a bit neglectful parents. She finds another world through a tiny door, where another version of her parents awaits. All seems perfect at first but things gradually become frightening and dangerous. I loved the themes of different types of parenting, and perfection not being reality. The doll/children ideas were brilliant, creepy and scary. There is a wise cat, some ghosts and dog bats! It is a great film for this time of year too I think.

Monday 12 October 2009

Parakeets, Balloons and Halloween Excitement!

Yesterday our friends Jessica and Simon came to London and we met up with them in Greenwich Park in the afternoon. They have two lovely children-Miles and Polly. We took them to see the deer in the park. We saw deer, magpies on deer, squirrels, a fox trotting by, pigeons, crows and parakeets. I love seeing these birds, I never get over the excitement of the strange call they have and their exotic green colour as they fly past. They are all around this area and I am sure I will see one in the garden one day. I took a picture-very far away, cropped it, saturated the colour and poladroided it-and the bird came out a bit green! The balloons are from yesterday too-some sort of mini festival going on near the bandstand. The other photos are halloweeny type things-it is the Halloween party at A Fanciful Twist this weekend which is very exciting! If you like dogs you should visit Vanessa at her magical home today as she has just got the most beautiful puppy!
P.S. I don't actually know what the last photo is of but I liked its ghostly effect.