Wednesday, October 20

a Poem for Thursday.

I'm a follower of Polly Vous Francais and her post today is about the riots in France.
It reminded me of "The Troubles" as they are prone to be called, in my homeland of Ulster.
I wrote this while we were on the way to a wedding in Oxford. But my thoughts and concerns were for the family still living in Belfast that day.
I didn't actually know about Omagh until we bought the paper the next morning. My poem was really just about my frustration and anger at the futility of so much that goes on in the name on politics whether France, Iraq, Afghanistan or Ireland. No prophetic knowledge of what obscene action was even then happening.

August 1998

I want to go back to Ballyferris safety.
I want that euphoric upper storey experience.
I don't care how unreal it was.
I don't care how insecure the foundation was.

I want it back.

Where can I capture it?
I need a butterfly net.
I need a bottle of fresh air.
I need sand between my toes
-and daisies.

Lots of daisies.

How could something so perfect
               go so wrong?
What did we do?
Who held the pin that burst our bubble?
How cynical!
Why did they take away our hope?
How cruel!

Here we are following the M40
Down to the milllenium,
                to the 21st century
                             behind a little red mini.

Once upon a time-
We thought every thing would last forever.
Always sunshine in the day
Soft rain at night.
Wild flowers in the grass.
Smiling faces.
Easy lives.
Forgiveness and
Fun.

I hate you Bruce Naumann.
You've let the spirits out of Pandora's box.
Nobody can ever catch them again.
Forget the butterfly net.

I despise your truthfulness.
I want to run away from your noise,
                      confusion,
                                chaos.

Stop the world !
I want to get off!

Tuesday, October 19

The Rowers - sculpture.

I like this work by Alan.
 Like is maybe the wrong word.
Sometimes we feel that no matter how hard we are rowing in the sea of life, there is someone rowing in the opposite direction and so we get nowhere.
Maybe we need to think,"well at least I'm out there trying"!

Sculpture by Alan Snape@ The Potters House Penketh.
Ceramic and driftwood. 

Monday, October 18

Guest blog for Amelie's House...First Anniversary!




I'm excited and nervous! I'm going to post a blog for Amelie's House and I know it's got to be good!
As it's a foodie blog that she does, I thought that it might be quite interesting to look at our family history of ,
  "The Importance of being Earnest about Celebration"!


Let's start at the very beginning. This is my mother presiding over tea in the garden in Belfast with the Scottish silver teapot.


This is Aunt Helen sipping tea from china cups in the garden in Belfast!

These two woman taught me all that I know about baking...well apart from the first year domestic science lessons where I learnt how to wash lettuce and stir porridge [as if I hadn't done that a lot at home!]


Of course all of this started way before she of the "Amelie's House" fame was born.
Nana Mary and Great Aunt Helen were the forerunners in the family celebration lark. Having Scottish blood, they were the creme de la creme of shortbread bakers and victoria sponges. In fact it is true that as far back as the 11thC. there was a  baker mentioned in the maternal geneology. Honestly!
When I was six or seven, Mary held a prayer meeting in the drawing room at home. I was there each month without fail. What a godly child I hear you cry.....noooo........ the supper she prepared was to die for. Was I going to miss that? I think not! So I waited through it all until at the end, out came little sandwiches, meltingly good scones with Ulster butter and home made jam, fruit cake,almond slices, melting moments, gipsy creams, german biscuits, coconut haystacks, meringues and victoria sponge. I knew that ,without a doubt, all the prayers came for the same reason. The supper. It was obvious even to my young mind. I did my duty and passed the plates around the waiting women. I hope that the prayers realised what I was up to and prayed a little prayer for me!
So you see I learnt from an early age the joys of yumminess and a godly life!
The thing about food is that it's really not much fun to be on your own, so people came to our table to share in it's abundance. Maiden aunts and elderly neighbours as well as my teenage friends.
It wasn't only Mary's side of the family who were the foodie people. No, Aunt Cis dad's sister, produced bottled fruits and exotic chutneys and offered them in exquisite sandwiches placed on silver trays with Irish lace clothes. To be invited into the pantry to view the cupboard with the regimented rows of jars with such succulent produce, was like an invitation to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party.
I've had such fun looking through all of the old family photos to find those days of celebrations. Birthdays, weddings, Easter, Christmas, picnics, barbeques and the mad parties we had just for an excuse to feast. Not that we needed much of an excuse! We had Murder Mystery Parties and when my neighbour came to one of them she couldn't believe how much we were in to the whole thing, food and dressing up.We had Star Trek parties and the daughter invented wonderful Trekkie food to go with our crazy outfits. One of the best was a Cajan party with mad hats and delicious southern states food.



But I thought that you might like to see the early Amelie's House baker in action. Yes? Well here she is beating up a storm with a wooden spoon.


Now food should be lovingly prepared and cooked, but that is not the end of the equation, not by a long chalk! Like any art it then must be presented in all it's glory. On china plates, in secret boxes,on  tables groaning under the weight of food surrounded by multicoloured cushions to rest on and enhance the whole theatrical celebration.


Table laden with christmas fare.


Baskets overflowing with picnic goodies.


So winter to summer and back again
In savoury and sweet
We will entertain.
With glass raised up high
A toast we will make.
To shortbread and scone
But especially to
CAKE!!




Sunday, October 17

Kite Festival

It was interesting that the Commonwealth Games had as it's advert, kids flying kites.
Anyone who has read The Kite Runner will remember actually how dangerous it was. Yet we think of kites as symbols of freedom and family fun. Of course they are, when dad or grandad get on the beach and give the instructions to the minions to hold that line...don't let go...did I say hold!
Every year Morecambe has a kite festival. It's big business now. There are kites to take you up in the air with them and kites to fly over water, skimming and somersaulting like mad birds in the sea foam.
I love the festival, but somewhere in the back of my mind is a niggling thought about the kite runners of Afghanistan or even India as I view the colours and shapes hanging up in the Northern air.

The beach is packed with kite flyers.


From the Midland Hotel along the West Prom.


It's a day for mum to bring the picnic and the kids to race up and down the sands while dad unravels the string for the kite, for the umpteenth time. 


A day for mad theatricals.


A day for death defying acts.


A day for queueing up to get the best icecream on the prom from Kate's van.


A time for kite surfers on The Bay.


A time for the older ones to dream of their childhood.



A time for the young to dream of a future.

                                                          And a good day had by all.