Tuesday, 26 July 2011


Margaret thought she was a mermaid,
A Siren of the Ocean.
Her womanly curves and flashing smile,
Many a heart had broken.

A mermaids charm lies in her laugh,
A flirting girlish Giggle.
In Margaret's  case this was replaced 
By a deep and salty chuckle.

Margaret Thought she was a Mermaid,
As she strolled along the beach.
The sultry sounds of a mermaids song,
Did not compare to her piercing screech.

Her piercing voice so highly tuned,            
That only dogs could hear it.
Rang long and strong in a tuneless song,
As along the sand she tripped.

Margaret thought she was a mermaid,
A woman of the sea.
Her eyes where bright, her hair was long,
but alas had feet where her tail should be.

She wanted pearly glittering scales,
And a bra made of crustaceans.
And Glistening, sparkly, shiny gems,
That had been polished by the jetsam.

Margaret had no tail to flap about,
It really was a sin.
But what a waste one would have been,
she'd never learnt to swim.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Today I am Going to be an Artist?

Well staycation over now, back to work. Just in case anyone is interested Beach Art, My final holiday project went well. I will need time to write it up but here is a little Taster.

Scrapbook - Tide, Time and living in the now. 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Chicken Pie.

On Thursday, as part of my staycation experience week I decided to be a Baker. Nothing very unusual there, this is something I do regularly and although I enjoyed the experience I didn't think there was very much to share with you all, so decided not to write about it.
The next day I went out with Doug and Monty for a walk and got to discussing my earlier post from The Turner Gallery. We talked about how you can look at something and not really see what is in front of you unless you look more deeply and take moment to think.
Oak Leaf
A leaf on the pavement is just another leaf until you really look, See the veins that run through it and as you look closer more tinier veins that carry nutrients to its tip. What wondrous symmetry natures programming has put in place to repeat this form over and over again and the texture and colour as you gently rub your thumb over its surface is not fully acknowledged untill you make a conscious effort to see it. We talked of how the simplest of things give you pleasure but often experiences and opportunity are taken for granted. So I am going to share my baking with you.
10 oz of self-raising flour,I sieve this vigorously into a bowl, gentle clouds billowing above and covering the kitchen worktop, hands, in fact anything within its range with a fine dusting, getting finer towards the edges like a soft powdery illustration of a nuclear fallout pattern. Quite appropriate really as hubby always says the kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it after I have been there.
5 oz of margarine straight from the fridge cold and tacky in my hand. I cut it into pieces which create little craters as they plop into the flour, forming their own little cloudburst of wheaten smoke.Girl sieving flour
The salt hard and crystalline, sparkling in the sun that shines through the kitchen window  goes in next, 1 tsp. Then in with the hands, the flour cold and soft at the same time on the backs of my finger as they plunge into and under, reminding me of  the soft down on my Mothers cheek as I gently stroked it to say my last goodbyes. Cold and Hard usually go together like Ice, cold and soft i find unusual.  I select the first pieces of fat to be gently squeezed and rubbed between my fingers and thumbs, Like Fagin testing the quality of a silk Handkerchief newly picked from a rich mans pocket. The flakes that flutter gently down from between my fingers getting smaller and smaller as I plunge my hands again and again into the now warming flour, repeating this motion until only small fine crumbs are present in my shiny metal bowl. I am unable to complete this task without making a chewing motion with my jaw, like a cow chewing the cud. Why I do this is a complete mystery but I always have, a reflex, like opening you mouth as you try to spoon feed a child, irresistible. Luckily baking is usually a solo pastime so there are not to many witnesses to my Kitchen Gurning.
Water is then trickled in like little rivers in a barren white sanded desert. I do not know how much, just how much is enough. My favorite tool for this next bit is my grey handled knife which I swizzle around the bowl, enjoying its scraping metallic tune, until no water can be seen and the crumbs are all clumped together in moist little boulders in the bowl, a cratered, free form lunar landscape. Back in with the hand, only one this time. my Fingers swizzle the same way my knife did I hate the way that the dough attaches itself to my fingers. I use only one hand for this as I need to have one clean hand to turn on the tap to wash it off. Gently I gather the clumps into one soft but not wet ball and use it to mop up any stray bits of dough that are left in the bow,l slightly turning the forming pastry until the bowl is clean and the dough is smooth. As I pick up the bowl to make way for the rolling I notice an un-floured void where my bowl had stood. perfectly round and unnoticed until this moment, it cries out for a smiley face to be drawn inside but i resist the urge. Were I to walk away with my bowl and desert the kitchen like the Mary Celeste it would be clear what homely task had been taking place here.
The first 2/3 of the dough I roll out to line the pie plate, my favourite Pie plate, a tin plate, Black enamel speckled with white the kind you might find on a camping expedition. Mine is quite deep with a small rim so as not to make to bigger crust, the same Tin Plate i have used for twenty years or more to bake pies for my Family. it is like an old friend its familiarity cheers me as I hang the rolled pastry over the rolling-pin and place it gently over the plate allowing it to settle into the dish and over hang the edges. I  flour the worktop again flinging the flour around with free abandon, there's nobody here to witness the disaster zone that my kitchen has become, before rolling the pie lid. Succulent chunks of chicken and white sauce are placed in the pie the light catching it like a sunlit milky pool. Two rashers of Bacon snipped into pieces are added like little pink fishes to the pool while lily pad slices of Mushroom float upon the top. Right, ready for the lid now, softened in the warmth of my Kitchen, it resists being placed and crimped atop my sumptuous filling.
Fresh from the Coop a big Brown egg. I crack it sharply on the side of the cup before prising the now broken shell apart and emptying it in. it sits there in the bottom of the cup, golden-yellow yolk plump and proud floating in its thick viscous snotty egg white. This I beat with a fork ,watch the sunny yolk leak out into the albumen before combining into a honey coloured liquid which will turn my paisty looking pastry into a Bronzed sun-kissed creation that will tease the senses before being gobbled up with pleasure.
Baked to perfection My Chicken Pie emerges from my decrepid old cooker as proud and hansom as its pre baked aroma has promised. wrapped in a familiar red and white tea towel I carry it down the street before presenting  it to my son and his family for Dinner.
A dinner we sit and share together, this is a special time as they have just brought home their new baby, our grandson. My old Pie plate, beautiful Baby Max and Chicken Pie. Simple pleasures not taken for granted by this Nanny.
(isn't he adorable? I can't take my eyes off him)


Well this is turning into a very interesting week. Unfortunately I am finding that typing on the computer blocks my creativity! Pen in hand my thoughts can freely transfer them selves to paper while the act of typing, requiring so much concentration, interrupts my thoughts but here we go.IMG_2676|Ian Bottle|62366252@N08
This week I am having a staycation, Hubby is working so I am indulging my fantasy life and am embracing a new mission each day, things that interest me but I seldom do.
Yesterday was an Art day. When I was a child I always enjoyed painting and drawing, I still do to some extent although bound by time I indulge more in sticking and Gluing. At 11 years old My Dad wanted me to go to art college when I finished school, this was not to be, I lack staying power and am far to easily distracted by anything that happens to stray into my peripheral vision. In this case the distraction was my parents divorce and a new, very jealous Stepmother, but that is a tale of cruelty, manipulation and betrayal to be told another day.
To indulge my creative side,which I still have, I cook. The process of starting with some very plain-looking ingredients and creating Yummy meals and cakes gives me great satisfaction.I plan how they will look, carefully placed and displayed on a particular plate and view the food from many angles to ensure that every aspect feeds the eye before presenting the goody's to friends and family to eat. I always hope that before they tuck in they will appreciate the creativity and heart that has gone into what they are about to devour and that the taste lives up to the promise of the eye.
I deeply regret not pursuing an artistic/creative life with more determination but we all play the hand we are dealt don't we? So yesterday I played "Art Critic"
I visited the Turner contemporary Gallery Margate  on an extremely blustery Tuesday,The Sun creating Shafts of piercingly bright light as is fought its way between the deep heavy rain clouds that plagued the morning. These must be the kind of sky's that inspired Turner in his day with their contrasting moods and depth. As we drove into Margate one of these shafts of light broke through and captured the new gallery that stood proud and tall on the seafront, as the light played on its sharp smooth surface it was reminiscent of the white cliffs of Dover as seen on many occasions by cross-channel booze cruisers. Not sure whether this is deliberate but highly appropriate for the Kent coast, enter Dame Vera Lynn!   http://www.bbc.co.uk/schoolradio/subjects/history/ww2clips/songs/white_cliffs
I am sure there was a guide available but I have decided to share my own views and interpretations of the exhibits. Not knowing a thing about art this is perhaps foolish but more honest?
First, Turners painting of a volcano. The Eruption of the Souffrier Mountains. This is not a particularly staggering painting untill you realise that Turner did not actually witness this eruption. His depiction has been created from his personal knowledge of landscapes and geography, coupled with a description of the eruption given by another. The darkness created by volcanic plumes of ash and smoke, the red yellow heat created by the spewing Lava and the searing red globules of exploding rock that sizzle as they plummet to the sea are a glowing, menacing backdrop to the terrified boat people fleeing in the gloomy foreground of this painting.
Conrad Shawcross's installation surrounded by a subtle constant humming note was at first puzzling, I could make no connection to it but found it soothing and strangely hypnotic. As the jointed arms on his windmill like light machine turned their synchronous fingers eventually met and created a burst of light that in my mind's eye represented the birth of the universe and the moving light creating multiple ever-changing shadows of the physical representation of his sound. Was this the sound of creation? I think a second viewing of this may be needed now I have had time to think on it.
Russle Crottys Globes where tantalizingly attractive. His soft but vibrant natural colours where haunting, showing landscapes as if seen through a fish eyed lens.It was a little frustrating as an art novice that the curator in this room was able to explain little about the artists choice of materials for these,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouache which would have increased my appreciation of the skill involved. Upon closer examination the texture on these large suspended pieces was provided by script detailing the artists thoughts and views of the places depicted on the Spheres. Tantalizing? well I had an overwhelming desire to stroke these almost sexual  pieces as they floated in the room, resembling giant fish eggs gently floating in a pale clear ocean of light, an urge I obviously resisted but none the less made it an uncomfortable experience. Three words, quiet, desirable, ethereal.
Ellen Harveys Arcadia was a delight. Her use of the dark and Mirrors in this exibit where exciting to the senses and created a stillness that is often found by the sea, The backlighting strongly reminiscent of the sunlight glinting on breaking waves. Upon closer examination, the clean linework mimicking the strokes from the older illustrations subtly posted around the shed, transferred happily from the old to the new. The Mirrors placed around the room when viewed from certain angled provided an illuminated vista of sea and coast reflecting images from the aposing walls giving a continuous surrounding experience.I do not know whether this was the artists intention but you became completely absorbed into the experience. Dazzling.
On Monday I visited Folkestone's triennial and some of its many Artworks, These I found imaginative and thought-provoking, during my visit I stumbled into a small exhibition which was a delight and on a "take home with you" scale, well worth a visit
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGUjGjXicPU&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL Adored the Doggy pieces by Clive Soord  definitely captured essence of dog. A very accessible collection of sculptures and a very knowledgeable currator who animatedly talked us through the exhibition.
Today I think I may be a Baker.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


Today I took a walk where my Father walked,
Shared the moments as we talked and talked.
I Felt the Sun warm sweet memories
 as the smells and sounds of a long spent day roused inside my head.

Today My Father walked hand in hand with me
 as I spent the day down by the sea.
The sights that tear my aged eyes
 and flood my senses with salty smells that I remember with such clarity.

Today I shared the memory of a childhood spent
 by briny waves and gentle seaside sounds and yet,
These secret offerings of mellow ripened times
 are torn and shared like a freshly baked aromatic Bread.

Today he did not walk with me, I walked,
 but not alone, for by my side a friend walked in his sted.
 simple pleasures of being and breathing by the sea,
 easy company, as the gentle harbour tides sparkled, shadowing that knowing sea bed.