Thursday, July 14

A Poem for Thursday



Patricia Lightfoot
Poet



She recited two poems at the garden party.
This is the one that I liked best.


The wind roared the sea raged.
A boat held in it's icy grip.
We are lost cried out the men.
Black clouds ruled the sky.
No light shone from the silver moon.

The men fell to their knees'.
Hands clasped in prayer.
Crying out with one voice,
Forgive us our sins oh sweet lord
Only you can save us now.

Their lord and master
Stretched out his hand.
In his mercy he calmed the storm.
Black clouds rolled back.
Light from the moon shone down,
Guiding them safely into their harbour home.

Wednesday, July 13

The Story of Ballyferris..Donaghadee....reviewed...April 25th 2013

Here is a chapter in the Story of Ballyferris......reviewed, pushed around a bit and rescripted until I felt more satisfied with the rhythm of the story....I hope you enjoy... even if you had already read it the first time!


It was always just a little town. Not that much going on really, yet it was Mecca in the days when we were teenagers and needed a place of excitement away from the caravan field.
To get there depended on whoever had a car and also if you were "in" on that day with those who considered themselves our leaders!
 In the early days of our life at Ballyferris, it was upon the kindness of Mr Hope,  that we were dependent. Few buses passed along that country road.
But eventually the McClellands' had their own transport.


That's dad...and a very shy..Rosemary... standing beside him. We could really pack family and friends into this car. No seat belts then....  and so four folk seated in the back with three others on their knees was not at all unusual.
But best was when the oldest one in the gang  who had managed to pass the driving test and get a car....might say, "Anyone fancy a trip into Donaghadee for some chips?" The cars were always wrecks! but that  made it so much more interesting. It might not make it there and back, you might have to walk all the way back in the dark...but it would be with the farmers' lads.
There were two main attractions, three at the most. A fish and chip shop, a pokey little amusement arcade and an ice-cream cafe.
Fish and chips were as everywhere else in those long gone days, eaten out of a newspaper. I assume that there was some greaseproof paper in between the chips and the newspaper...but I couldn't swear to it. The smell of the lard on the chips, the vinegar they were souced with and the special smell that only comes from a harbour...of sea, diesel and ozone.... never leaves you as an eternal memory. We leaned against the harbour wall eating the dripping morsels, ignoring the chill wind coming off the waters separating the mainland from the Copeland Islands.
Now.. we go down to the coast to relive these memories, and lean and dream against the harbour wall.
It's only right and proper.


  The harbour was a great draw. Harbours are.There were always ancient fishing boats moored up alongside one another. One in particular was called, "The Brothers". Some of the older members of the Ballyferris gang knew them well enough to be invited to crew with them.  That meant that somehowyou  had a kind of a tenuous link.... and so when you went out stream fishing with them, to catch mackerel, you could almost believe you were part of the crew!
Rubbish of course!   I always had to pay!
It was and still is a way for fishermen to supplement their income during the summer months.
We fished with line strewn with vicious hooks, and we caught many, many mackerel.  I longed to take some back to the caravan and have them fried in the pan, glossy with butter and tangy with lemon.......but was  informed by mum that they were the rubbish bins of the sea and she wouldn't touch them with a barge pole!
What would she say today about my  mackerel pate? "Nice dear ...but I'll have a tomato sandwich if you don't mind"!


Further along the promenade, turn left up a little narrow street, cross to the other side, and there is the icecream shop...
.., even today  "The Cabin Ice-cream Salon".


 Dad loved good ice-cream. He would stop the car anywhere if he'd heard that the product was a winner. And the Cabin was one of the best,  still is to have endured for 50 years. In fact if you pop over to this site you may be amazed at how long it has actually  been open.
 My favourite spot to sit and eat was up the steep stairs to a seat by a little window. The big decision was always whether to have a poke or a slider! A poke was what is  called a cone now, but maybe it's still called a poke in Donaghadee. A slider is of course a sandwich of ice-cream.

The oldest pub in Ireland is in Donaghadee, Grace Neill's Bar, but I didn't get to enjoy the pleasures of this old bar...I was much too young ... much too good! ...what a missed opportunity that was! The story going around was that Mr Hope had some link with the bar and that was why his younger son was called Neil...but that may have been simply the romantic babblings of some of the locals.

Watching over the town was the Moat.



Rather shabby then and broken down. Not any more... as the rest of the town has  also has been gentrified over the years. I love the new colours, well I love colour... however I adored the grey that was then the hue of the local buildings. It was a Co. Down colour, everybody recognised it and now it could be Cork or Southwold or wherever.

The gang didn't stay together for long. Life came in and changed all of that. Jobs and college and universities beckoned. And it being Northern Ireland we all went our various ways often abroad or at the very least over the water to the mainland.


But a last little gem about Donaghadee....we loved sweets  and chips of course...
... but....I loved dulse! Seaweed with a salty, tangy, mineral kind of  flavour. Deep red and  delicious. Well my opinion. Locally gathered from the rocks around the coast.
 I always keep a  bag of dulse at the back of the food cupboard, and now and then  take it out, open up the bag...and take a long dreaming smell of it,
And I'm transported back to those heady days again.

Hot from the kiln!

These sculptures are just out of the kiln this morning. Here they are still  hot in the studio.

 As soon as they were cool enough we got them photographed and on to f.b.. I put them into flickr as well and added to the various groups.
They are all destined for distant climes! Well that is Kent and Suffolk. The Suffolk galleries are,
The Snape Maltings...which I always think is very apt for Alan!...
The Buckenham Gallery in Southwold, favourite place in England....
And The Harbour Gallery in Whitstable, Kent. This is a fairly new place for us to exhibit. If you live nearby, why not have a look at these in person.











The back drop is also the work of an artist. I got it from the Tate Liverpool a few years ago. It's by a South American artist, but I have lost track of his name. He gave away freebies of the prints of his original photographs and I took a couple. If anyone out there can recognize his work, perhaps you might let me know who you think it is.



Tuesday, July 12

...and there's more....about the garden party!

One of the things that we, that is the potter and myself, really like about these days, is how they bring together all the different parts of the local community.


So the young sit with the old...


....potters chat with painters...



....old friends find time to share their news...



... other long unseen friends turn up out of the blue...



...while new friends find a place to get to know one another....!

The stalls fill up with punters and the selling gets going.


...books....


...plants...always looked after by George, who wins the medals in the local gardening competitions...


...and Isabelle on her tombola table....


...the John Lennon in the back row of the paintings was snapped up very quickly !....


....Shannon looks after Kate's paintings and sells them all...
.... which encouraged her lots....
...behind is great friend Joan who knits in front of the "box" all winter to provide a knitty stall...
...and make lots of money!....


...even the local cat gets in on the act!....


...queues form in an orderly british line for teas, coffees and cake!...


...and the "Abba Girls" wait for their cue in the back room...


...Esther and her best friend sing "Adele"...and I'm amazed at her confidence and thrilled at another singer in the family!....


...local poet, Pat recited two very moving works...that was a first for the garden bashes....


...and  an old friend waits his turn in the music tent....


...Helen is a local professional musician who very generously gave us two sessions during the afternoon...
...great voice and writes her own stuff...


.... people gathered around to hear her perform...




...well!    guess who won the siberian tiger and cub......
..yes...it's your's!....



Everywhere Kate and friends!
Of course.

The day ended at around 5 p.m. and we counted up our takings.
From mainly cake!.....
£700 or so!

Oh and two very tired legs on your's truly!

Monday, July 11

The Francis House Childrens' Hospice Bash!

Well what a day!
The weather changed overnight from monsoon...


.... to mediterranean.
                         
                   ...only joking!

Friday was all hands on deck


as the tents arrived to be raised in place.

this one close to an electric supply for the musicians...

..this in the first garden...just in case the weather turned...
...well it is the north of England after all!


The goods were brought in for the various stalls ...

..two super hanging baskets were donated to be raffled off throughout the afternoon...


and the toys...is that what they are?...
eventually on Saturday found a relaxing spot in the sun !


Cakes came in "bucketfuls"...well no,  really in tins... oh yes and a package of painted cookies for the pop up afternoon teas from the gloroius Amelies House and Neviepie Cakes!

BUT....  it rained all day Fiday, and got increasingly heavier until by midnight I hid my head under the bedclothes and informed the potter...that I would never allow myself to be in this situation again....
...he mumbled and fell asleep...and amazingly, so did I.
....to awake to glorious sunshine..
What's that song again?..
..oh yes....
 "What a difference a day makes,
twenty-four little hours,
brought the sun and the flowers,
where there used to be rain!"

I prepared the three areas for the pop-up afternoon teas.

...the summerhouse..

..the american swing...
..sounds like a 30s dance!

..and the Indian tent... this was my favourite area...loved it!

Helpers arrived to set up stalls....

Issy had thought long and hard about her table...guessing the teddy's name was fun! 

...others lugged heavy boxes of books...


...kept the kitchen organised...


..printed  up notices...
...techie son on the job!...

...manned the cake and drinks servery...


...and set up to give us some entertainment from the music tent.



The four friends were everywhere!


At two o'clock  the gate was starting to get busy...
     ....and we were off on the 2011 garden party bash!

...to be continued....