Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Liebster

 Christina from A Colourful Life has nominated me for a Liebster. For those of you that don't know, the idea is to write eleven 11 random facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions from your nominator, write eleven questions of your own and nominate people you would like to partake. I always like reading these when other bloggers partake. I am just very nosey.... 

gratuitous picture of cake


So eleven random facts about myself. Is there anything you don't already know?


  • I have the world's worst handwriting. Everyday I thank God for the computer and word processing.
  • I loathe having my photograph taken. Whenever I see a picture of myself, my immediate thought is that I can't possibly look like that! But I've been told that yes, I do.
  • I have five lamps in my living room. They are not necessarily all on at once.
  • I have decided that the tunic is to be added to my wardrobe staples, along with breton tops, skinny jeans and flip flops. The tunic is my new friend. It hides a multitude of sins, and for that I am eternally grateful.
  • Although I allow my emotions and feelings to flow here, in real life I am actually very well behaved. I rarely let anyone see that side of me. I'm more of a listener and less of a talker when it come to emotions.
  • Having said that I can and will talk the hind legs off a donkey. Try and get a word in edgeways. Go on, I dare you.
  • I am not very well travelled, but I hope to rectify that as I get older. My top three places would be New Zealand, Iceland and Scotland. I've never been further north than Newcastle.
  • When I was little I used to love colouring books. I still have a fondness for Berol felt pens. I like to sniff them too.
  • I have twelve loyalty cards in my purse. My favourite is my Cath Kidston 'St Ives Local' one, which I got when they opened a store in St Ives. I get 10% off all purchases. It's come in very handy.
  • At the moment I am watching Homeland on Netflix. He's a bit of a bugger that Nicholas Brodie.
  • I really fancy a glass of wine right now, but I am in my pjs and I can't be bothered to change and pop to the shop. I have no mixer for the gin either, so another cup of tea it is.

Christina has asked the following questions:

  • What or who inspired you to start your blog?

    Anyone who has followed my blog, will probably know that I started it as a way to record and chart the everyday stuff of my life. It was also to document my fledgling garden, and the growing love and appreciation for the wildlife that could be attracted into it. Olly was an outdoorsy baby, and being outside with him made me stop and look and really see the natural world in a way that I hadn't done since I was little myself. But it was actually Sam who suggested that I write a blog, and he was the one that came up with the name. So although there have been times that I have thought about changing 'Today's Stuff' to something else, I never have. It kind of fits, the name. And anyway what else would it be called?

  • Do you have any pet hates?

    Well, manners cost nothing. Not offering your seat to people less able than you, whether they are old or pregnant or have a toddler on their hip or are on crutches. I used to work in London and would catch the tube to work. I was always amazed at how selfish people could be, when it came to a bum on a seat. I always offered up mine. When I was heavily pregnant with Sam, no-one ever asked if I would like to sit. I hate seeing people spit. Urgh. In a tissue if you have to please. I don't like it when people talk behind their hand. And I don't like litter. No need. Put it in your pocket and take it home. And your dog's whotsits. Take that too.

  • What magazine subscriptions to you have?

    My Mum bought me a subscription to County Living magazine for my birthday. In May it featured a house near Porth Leven. My house is going to look like that one day. I have ripped it out and saved it. It is so pretty.

  • Do you avoid walking under ladders or do you have any other superstitions?

    I am not at all superstitious. I don't believe in ghosts or any of that rubbish either. Load of old clap trap!

  • Describe the art on your living room wall.

    I have several prints on my walls of art exhibitions, book covers and seaside themes. I have two charcoal drawings by Seb West, a local artist. I also have three clay tiles with pressed flower reliefs. If I had to choose a favourite it would be the framed poster of Virginia Woolf's 'To The Lighthouse.'

  • What was the last concert you went to?

    Well I went to Camp Bestival last year and jumped about to various artists, my favourite being The Proclaimers.

  • If you could invite one well known person for dinner, who would it be and why?

    This is a tough one. I think I'd like to invite the comedienne and writer Victoria Wood. I just adore her observational humour so much. I can quote whole rafts of her sketches and shows. Do you want me to?

  • What are you wearing just now?

    My pyjamas and my dressing gown. I know. What a stunner.

  • What type of holiday do you enjoy most?

    One where I don't cook or wash up. I have never been on one of those, but I would imagine that they are quite nice.

  • What is the naughtiest thing you have done as a child?

    Oh God! I really don't want to answer this. You'll think I'm really horrible. The absolute worse thing that I can remember is persuading someone to eat a chocolate digestive biscuit. The chocolate was actually wet mud. He ate it too. I did many more more naughty things as a teen and young adult, but you would definitely hate me if I told you any of those. Let's just say that I have reinvented myself over the years. Well, don't we all?

  • Do you have or did you ever have a role model? Who and why?

    I have had several role models as I have grown up. They have all been women, and they have all had a huge positive influence over the emerging me. My Mum is the main one. She is selfless and kind. She is very stoic, and always sees things from both sides. She has a great sense of humour and is able laugh at herself. She loves unconditionally, and is generous with time, money, you name it. She has great legs. I inherited her sense of humour.


    My questions are:
  • Which activities can make you lose track of time?
  • Who is the funniest person you know?
  • What small act of kindness were you shown that you will never forget?
  • What can you do today that couldn't do last year?
  • Who is your favourite literary heroine?
  • Name three things that has made you smile this week.
  • What is your favourite sound?
  • If you could be someone else for a day, who would it be and why?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What do you see when you close your eyes?
  • Who was your favourite band or singer when you were sixteen?

I'm really bad at nominating people. But it would be really cool if some of you would join in. Go on. It makes a change. It's just a bit of fun, and it's better than another sponsored post about dish cloths or the latest vacuum. Or the new must have chair...

Have a go. It would make my day. It's not a cop out*. Honest.

Leanne xx

*okay it's a cop out. Creative Academic, Countryside Tales, Notes From Delft.....how about you guys? x









Monday, 28 July 2014

Lately

Hello!

How are you? Well I hope.

Hey, thank you all so much for your lovely comments about my guest post on The Colour Collaborative. Really. Warmed the cockles of my heart. Lovely people.

































July has flashed by. I'm staring August in the face, and the long summer holiday is stretched out before me. I've written a list. Three actually. Four if you count my Camp Bestival list (we are going on Thursday). I feel a little as if the holidays started a couple of weeks ago, but it may just be that the weather has been so great that opportunities for outdoor fun has been maximised.

Olly has finished nursery. I made a giant cream tea for the teaching staff to enjoy. He bounded out on his last day with a cake and lots of crafty stuff. He said goodbye and didn't look back. I cried my eyes out on the way home. When do you start looking back or feeling nostalgic? Little ones just don't do they. Onward to new adventures. Life is just one long summer holiday for them I reckon.

We have enjoyed evenings at the beach, tea overlooking Godrevy, walks in the woods, a trip out in the fishing dingy, spotting seals in the harbour, crafting madness at home, Lilo and Stitch on Netflix, making Rhubarb and Strawberry jelly (heavenly) and general pottering and pootling about. Don't get me wrong, it's not all been plain sailing. Olly has not been sleeping well, Alfie has been an utter git and Sam is tired - and therefore teasy -  from all the pot washing at work. So it can be a drag here, to be honest. As I've said before, it's those very concentrated periods of hideousness that seem to place a weight on top of my head and push it down.

But......

Yesterday I had a quiet word with myself. I am singing that song from Frozen. I am letting it go. I am going to chill the flip out. I am going to ignore the boundary pushing behaviour. I am going to snuggle up and watch a bit of telly with Pops if we are tired. I shall blithely float past Sam's sharp responses. I am not going to go mad, feeling that I should do this or ought to do that. I have my list, but I'm focusing on relaxation for better hallway vision*

I'm going to try anyway!

Leanne xx

*The Breakfast Club. Remember it?


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Colour Collaborative: July: Sail

Hello there.

A huge thank you to Annie and the collaborators for letting me guest post for The Colour Collaborative this month. When asked I said yes immediately, without stopping to think that the post I wrote would have to actually fit the brief. No wandering off and processing on the page for me. And I have to say I rather enjoyed the challenge. I hope you enjoy my interpretation of this month's theme.

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If you follow the road that leads into town from the Tate Gallery, and keep following it left up Back Road West, you will find a small granite cottage, with a plaque above a brown front door that reads:

 Alfred Wallis
 artist and mariner
 1855-1942
 lived here


You may know about Wallace already. He was discovered by the artist Ben Nicholson, who on passing Wallace's cottage, noticed his paintings hung all over the walls. He was enthralled by the art he saw and by Wallace himself. Wallace's work was inspirational for Nicholson's own development as an artist, and the naive quality of his paintings were highly influential in the development of British Modernism.




Alfred Wallis is a bit of a hero of mine too. This is a man who after the death of his wife, started painting. He was seventy. He said he did it 'for company.' I have this mental image of him picking up a brush, dipping it into a pot of marine paint and conjuring up a boat from his memory banks. For a person such as myself who over-thinks everything, I find this remarkable. He just got on and did it. He wasn't concerned with any intellectual pursuit that often accompanies artistic endeavour. Wallace painted because it made him feel better.

He used a limited colour palette of sludgy grey, brown, pungent green, black and blue. These are not the colours that you would expect from a man living a stone's throw away from a beach that can boast the whitest sand and the bluest sea in the UK. But for me they are perfectly in tune with the colours of West Cornwall. They are muted and pared back, synonymous with it's coastline and surrounding countryside.

These are the colours that I am drawn to. They are the flat mat colours of land and sea mingling together at the water's edge, where pebbles are rolled over and over in the ebb and flow of the tide. They are the colours of seaweed and anenomes waiting to be found in rock pools. These colours reflect a natural form that encircles St Ives in the sweep of its' bay.They capture the smell and flavour of a sea that is not dotted with bright yellow surf boards or jet skis. These are the colours of St Ives when the tourists go home.

They are also the colours of St Ives in the days of Wallace, before the candy cane windbreak came along. The life of a Cornish fisherman was hard, and these colours create a sense of that too. Even though St Ives is known to be a mecca for artists and writers, it's roots lie in the toil of the sea and the land. These colours are hardworking and honest, rather like Wallace himself. They tell of a man who lived a hard life at sea, and navigated more rough waters throughout his lifetime.






Wallace's paintings are small and seemingly unassuming. But they draw you in. The grey and black of the sea as his boats set a course through it, is full of movement and mystery. It conveys the idea of adventure and danger. The boats themselves are simply drawn, but exquisite. They are going places before your eyes, as they chart a course out into the Atlantic, and set sail for new horizons.

But above all it is the colours that I love. Those earthy honest colours that I see around me as I walk the beaches and coastline of St Ives and the surrounding area. These are unpretentious colours, that don't need an explanation. They soothe me and give me another connection to a place that I have fallen in love with. The colours of an Alfred Wallace painting tell me that I am home.

Leanne xx

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If you'd like to read the sail posts by other Colour Collaborative bloggers please follow the links below:

Annie at Annie Cholewa
Sandra at Cherry Heart
Jennifer at Thistlebear

What is The Colour Collaborative? 



All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Barbara's Garden








Barbara's garden is slap bang in the centre of St Ives, halfway up a cobbled hill and hidden behind high walls. If it wasn't for the sign, you'd probably walk straight past it's entrance. It is a secret haven amid the tightly packed streets and narrow houses. To take a walk around Barbara's garden is an experience not quickly forgotten. I have wandered here many, many times. There is always something new to look at. Depending on the time of year, the sculptures either blend in or stand out in the garden. The weather and even the time of day has it's own impact on them, creating light and shade in different places.







You are enticed to reach out and touch these tactile forms. I have to carry something or thrust hands in pockets, because you. are. not. allowed. It's a shame, but I understand. Almost. I don't think Barbara would mind. I think that she created her garden not just as a showcase, but as a place where senses can come alive. So I content myself with photography, and trying to take abstracts of the abstract. I can still get close and look at the shapes and colours. And I can run my hand hand along the plants as I walk around, and listen to them rustling in the gentle breeze, casting shadows in the sun.












I peer into her workshop and see her overalls hung in a line on pegs. I look at all the tools of her trade. I think how dusty it must have been. How physical the work. How satisfying to see something emerge from a block of stone or wood or slate. How it must have felt to see the result of your hard labour sit so peacefully among the plants. I sit in her sun room, and conjure up an image of this tiny formidable woman. Busy, always busy I think. I hope that she was able to stop and pause every now and again. I hope that she was able to just be in this beautiful space.


I am very fond of Barbara.

Leanne xx

Friday, 18 July 2014

Happy

Is it Friday again?

I'm mourning the loss of my beautiful sweet peas today. They were struck down during the wild storm we had here in St Ives last night. It didn't occur to me that the garden would be affected while I was exclaiming at the fork lightning lighting up the bay. But them and about a million palm leaves have to be attended to in a moment. The storm hasn't broke the humidity either, or else my personal thermostat has gone ballistic. I think the phrase is sweating cobs.

I thought I'd share some simple pared back happy things from my week. We truck on here. Taking life as it comes. Mostly.






Fruits of one's labour
Late breakfast
Picking our own
Den building

In my fantasy life, the one where I live at Trevail Mill and spend my days in overalls and wellies wandering around my immaculate small holding, I am totally self sufficient. In my real life, the one where I struggle to get my head around having an allotment plot and quite often forget to water my tomatoes, I am amazed whenever I am able to pluck an edible form its' plant. Just some of the produce from this week. I have bounteous blueberries too, although I have decided to share them with a rather persistent Blackbird.

I treated myself to a large cappuccino with an extra shot, and a sausage sandwich with white bread, butter and HP sauce. I ate it overlooking Porthmeor beach in the shadow of the Tate. It was divine. No really, it was. I think I might have made lip smacking noises.

Pops and I have been to our local pick your own. We needed a lot of strawberries, and the slugs have laid waste to ours. For every success in the garden, there is also something that doesn't fulfill it's promise. It's good for me. I have to relinquish my need to control. I have to just go with the flow of the garden, help it as much as I can, and hope for the best. Olly would only pick the biggest strawberries that he could find. I may have eaten quite a few. They factor that in when you pay for them, right?

When I was little and it was raining, or when all other options had been explored, my Mum would get out the 'den cloth.' I think it was probably a super sized dust sheet. She would drape it over the dining room table, make me and my sister a plate of snacks, and shoo us under. It was her last resort when we were getting under her feet during the holidays. Olly likes a den too. I have been quite grateful for that this week. Excuse his slightly on show bare bottom. He is usually nude at home. I like this picture, because this is how life actually is for me. And most of you I suspect. You should have seen the mess at the other end of the room.

...................

It's all go this weekend. Olly has his nursery barbecue. I am out for a meal with lovely ladies. And we are hoping to take that trip in Betty to Godrevy, although the weatherman has told me we won't be.

Have a wonderful weekend. Be good.

Leanne xx

I've just realised that I haven't credited Gillian, who is the instigator of the weekly happy. Sorry matey xx

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Godrevy Again









Come on CT, tell me which Blue she is. Silver Studded? Or Common?




If you live here, or if you are visiting anytime soon, I urge you to go to Godrevy. Like a lot of the coastline of West Cornwall, this is an area owned and preserved by the National Trust (I think that the beach and the lighthouse are privately owned). Olly and I walked Honey there yesterday. I thought it would make a change from the dunes. And I had stared at the lighthouse from Sam's window this morning. She looked bright and welcoming in the early morning sun. And she seemed to beckon me over. It's what I told myself as I drove there anyway.

The headland overlooking the lighthouse was swathed in a violet carpet. It shimmered in the morning sunshine and contrasted beautifully with the blue sky above. You know when something is so other worldly that you find yourself catching your breath? When you have to do a double take, just to make sure that what you saw was real? No wonder Granny wanted her ashes to be scattered here. She must have known that she would always be surrounded by great beauty.

Olly bug hunted while I jumped around trying to take photos of the butterflies. I am determined to get better at it, even though I had to concede that maybe jumping was no way to score that money shot. There were hundreds of them flitting to and fro over the coastal heath land. I wondered if there had been a spate of Gatekeepers emerging from their cocoons, there were so many. I watched them chase off bigger butterflies, claiming territories as their own. Olly was fascinated by the orange beetles that were all over the plant life (CT has advised that they are probably soldier beetles. It's what we are calling them now anyway). They were "joined up" he said, as he watched them getting frisky on the flowers.

We watched a young Kestrel for the longest time. She was sat on a rocky outcrop minding her own business and preening her feathers. It was priceless. I thought for a moment that she was a baby, but then she flew up and away. You often see Kestrels here, but the joy never diminishes. There were a great many rabbits too. As I child I remember the delight at seeing the fluffy tail of a rabbit as it bounded away out of sight. I saw the same delight in Olly as he saw not one, but several running into the safety of the gorse bushes. There were Buzzards wheeling overhead and Crows walking shiftily around the top of the headland. We looked for seals, but they must have been out fishing. Olly was convinced that he saw a shark. It was a buoy. At least I hope it was....there are basking sharks spotted from time to time around here.

I was quite reluctant to go to Honey's date with the dog groomer. I could have stayed all day. I think Olly would have been quite happy to as well. I'm thinking that perhaps we will come back this weekend in Betty. The car park doesn't close until ten. We could get up to all sorts. I've always wanted to watch the sun set over Godrevy.

I wish you could join me.

Leanne xx

there are no filters on those photos. It really is that beautiful.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rolling Waves


 

On Sunday, on the spur of the moment, we went to Portreath. We went to meet family and celebrate an Uncle's birthday. Sun, sea and a barbecue. What could be better than that? The sun was glorious. There was a squally breeze, which helped to whip up the incoming tide. The boys and their cousins wasted no time. They ran to meet the foamy surf and dared the waves. They splashed and jumped and dunked themselves over and over again. 


They only left the water for their tea. Burgers and sausages. Fairy cakes and jelly babies. They sat enveloped in towels, shivering slightly. Olly's lips a rather fetching shade of blue. I wish I had thought to bring Alfie's bathing shorts. He wanted to go in the sea for the first time in a year. No matter. He waded in fully clothed, and dried out in minutes. Once full they rushed the waves once more. Olly was even more gun ho this time, and went under. He was in no danger in the shallows, but I held my breath. Up he came coughing and spluttering. He shook those wonderful wet curls and dived back into the waves. 

They don't come along very often, these magical impromptu days. This one didn't start until late afternoon. It carried on until late. It was possibly one of the loveliest days of the year so far. And a total antidote to the @%^$£ week that preceded it. I wish our trip to Portreath could be bottled. So that when the gloom descends, it can be opened up as a reminder to everyone (but mainly me) that our life here is awesome. Our trials are intense moments. But the good stuff far outweighs the bad.

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I am blessed. I really am. Lovely people visiting my blog, and leaving words of support and encouragement. One thing about me is that I find it nigh on impossible to leave it at the door. Self restraint? I wish I had some. I often wish that I could separate parts of my life from this blog. It's a hotch potch of stuff, often written on a whim. The odd planned post thrown in for good measure. It's not particularly sophisticated that's for sure. Honest? Yes. Quite often bored of the sound of my own voice? Yes. Hoping that you forgive my indulgence and ridiculousness? Yes!

Leanne xx