Words

Some words enter the world in a straightforward manner, some struggle to get here. Words pulled reluctantly or pushed forward across the page, to the edge, over the edge. Plunging down , descending into a shiny blurry world ,the pressure and noise all enveloping, then the upward rise, up, up, breaking through the surface gasping for air. A big inhale. Bobbing and floating, paddling hands and feet. Treading water, splash. Happy words drifting up into the cloudless sky.

Responsibility

What do you want to do when you grow up ?

The time when you, overnight, are different, a fully formed adult, able to take care of yourself, be responsible for your day to day affairs and choices.

Are you still expecting to grow up? Or do you feel grown?

Taking a few moments and a few steps away from the main road into a pretty enclave, I took a stroll down Pavilion Place, on a freezing night where I alone was in the street. A miniscule exploration. It looked like a museum installation of ‘folk life’ but about how the well to do people lived. The road as an old fashioned shopping place, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Seeing where they bought their upmarket cheese, stacked monumentally , their meat, their stationary, where they lived, where they socialised as they went about their errands.

And this wander down the street taught me that there are people who know how to do things well, who work hard, who make ideas happen.. as I peered into the deserted shop windows, at the stylish shop displays, I liked what I saw. It kindled a desire in me to strive for the same : Quality, style, simplicity. To be responsible.

And also the realisation that I have limited myself to fitting in to a paradigm, a life contained by others expectations, or is it just my own expectation with the brakes on ?

What do I want to do when I grow up ?

What do you want to do when you grow up ?

This is Day 10 of my writing experiment, I hope this finds you well and you enjoy reading my words.

Burn

‘Highland Mystery’ solved the crime of the missing horse.

It was the book I put into the metal bowl and set fire to. A whiff of the time and place where I had written it, caught in the air and caught me me off guard. It didn’t burn completely through in one pass. It had a good start but the curling flames ebbed away, the paper becoming flat, smoke streaked scales. Red embers like fiery insects circled the ragged edge of the cloudy paper. I had to add fire and keep adding fire to it. I was disappointed it didn’t go up in one hit.

Occasionally I contemplate burning my journals. It’s something I consider from time to time, something I think I ‘should’ do. To make space as part of the declutter process maybe, or to lighten the load, to refresh and start again. The first consideration. I wrote about burning my words, describing my intention, fully intent on getting rid of the writing. I was sitting at the retro kitchen cabinet, leaning on the drop down table surface, describing my journals fate, when suddenly, in my minds eye, a portal opened. I was shown a drop into a dark bottomless abyss, a fearsome void, inviting the consequences of my actions. I kept on writing.

This is day nine of my writing challenge. It’s an interesting process for me. Quite a departure or interlude from the focus on quilt making. I hope you’re finding it interesting. Thank you for stopping by !

A proper place in space and time

Moving house unceremoniously from one to the next, no goodbyes, no party, no ritual or farewell as far as I can remember, nor any backward glances. I do wonder why Mum needed to move so frequently. It’s almost as if she was on the run and given my desire for escape to turquoise seas, I can relate to this and during these Covid times, I bet you might too.

I went to five different primary schools, all the way through one secondary school and lived in 18 different houses by the time I was in my early twenties. It was interesting to experience different places and spaces and they all had their merits and drawbacks. Childhood memories are defined by houses, by neatly packaged pockets of time.

I do wonder though about the lack of ‘closure’ on each house and the saying of goodbyes to friends made and how important this is actually. To acknowledge time spent in a place, with a beginning , the living in it and eventually the end. A bit like life itself. Much like life itself. And if, along the way, there are a succession of open ended endings, it creates a pattern of doing things ( Quilts ) and not finishing them, or finishing a thing and not celebrating it to give its proper place in space and time.

Two Rivers and a Sea

I haven’t left the sea behind. It’s always with me. I see it mingle with the thread of river that defines the city. A ribbon that widens and narrows, rises and falls twice daily. As a bulk of light that spreads golden like a cymbal, or like ripples, swirls and eddies as if it’s shivering in the cold, like a kaleidoscope on a bright spring day or like grey, grungy green, khaki colored soup. Flowing forward, flowing back, static at its peak when it is plump and full, neither here nor there, just being.. And when it’s gone, it leaves a scooped out basin, revealing a muddy stone strewn place.

There is a river, in another place, that literally flowed right past my door. It has big rocks and boulders that were dumped there by the ice age, still fixed in place, unmoved by time, weather or human interference. Thousands of years in one place. The stones and boulders landed in a pattern to enable you to pick your way across, carefully balancing before taking the next step. This river dipped into a trickle in the summer but when the rains had been, the thunder rush of water was strong and voluminous and noisy. It powered clearly over the biggest boulder forming a glassy smooth surface before it tumbled and crashed below.

The big river/sea is organised and controlled by walls, its flow contained and its path determined, the only variable is the water level, which can rise substantially. Even the threat of it overflowing is controlled by the barrier upstream.

The other river is lined by trees and vegetation that reach the waters edge, on a lower portion down away from the house, is a hazelnut tree. The bank on the other side rises to steep slopes with carefully trodden pathways created by sheep. This flank of river bank turns yellow and purple in summer, ferns flourish, lush like a jungle, bilberries grow underneath. At the top of the mountain side you can see the sea, where the river is headed. It doesn’t have far to go.

Safety, pins and quilts

The safety pin is a paradox. It represents the biggest hurdle in the making of a big quilt whilst simultaneously solving the problem.

The challenge is layering and securing, pinning all of the components of the quilt together. A large workable space is needed for this. The bigger the quilt, the more space is required plus space to manouvre around the edges.

A quilt is made from three layers of fabric. The backing cloth is stretched out flat on the floor , the edges taped down. The soft fluffy inter layer, called batting or wadding, is lined up and laid on top. The final layer is the ‘quilt top’ which is the designed, stitched together piece of cloth.

These three layers, the ‘quilt sandwich’ as it is commonly known, is secured with safety pins, which are pinned about a fist width apart across the whole surface and through all the layers.

Pinning the layers on the floor is an awkward process but this is where the flexible benefits of yoga practice Help.

Meeting God

Looking up to the sky, past the crown of a coconut palm on the road from Kinlass.I am walking along the pavement, on the other side of the road, just past Mrs Moss’s house. It’s early morning, the sun has already warmed the world, the smell of creosote blends into the air. I’m going to see my friend, the baby Simon. I am embraced by sunlight, the warm aroma of creosote. I feel glad to be alive.

I am walking along the pavement on our side of the road, just past Mr and Mrs Browns house. It’s a grey day. I am approaching the very tall poplar trees that stand guard on the corner. I consider the notion of a ‘Father’ in ‘Heaven’ that was introduced to me recently at primary school. I look upwards beyond the treetops to the sky, ‘an invisible man ? In a transparent sky? ‘ ‘Two dads ?’ No, I already have my father.

Clutter Confession #4. A Song and Dance

The backlog of indecision is piled up. Again.

Clearing clutter away is like being on a archeological dig, going back into history, peeling back the layers of time. I have a pretty good idea of what is physically stored and taking up space. An emotional element lays buried, dormant, holding up the process. The fear is digging too deep and too fast, ( by my time frame, that is ) to expose the emotions that caused the clutter in the first place . It is this.

To worry about making the wrong move. Putting it off ( indeterminately) then tackling a little bit of it and then delaying some more. The procrastination dance, forward, backward pause, forward, stop. Then repeat a significant time later.

There is plenty of advice out there of ways to deal with removing stuff. And plenty of before and after photos. What the books and tidy gurus don’t share is how to cope with emotional clutter. No before , during and after photos on that one. No, the secret desire is that the tidy fairy will visit overnight and do it for me and face my fears for me too.

Its always time to face the music and learn the tidy tango, one step at a time.

Reveal what needs to be revealed. Garner courage deal with the consequences.

I have followed the Marie Kondo method and it has worked beautifully for my clothes and books. And the tidying I did as a topic for the #100 day project has stayed Organised. So really it’s time to take the last step forward and no steps back. To trust that all that needs to be, will be, released and space and energy will join in. Change the Chi, change the energy. Make it like it is to be made. Create space like a piece of art, aim for beauty. Dance.

At home

After landing at the airport we ventured onto the forecourt to make the onward journey, it was like being in an extremely hot summers day on the South Coast of England.

I knew where I was in Barbados. That is to say, I knew exactly where I was on the globe. As I swam in the Caribbean turquoise water, ahead of me was South America and over my left shoulder was England, far far away.

When I travel to a new place, I look out to see if I would like to live there. Barbados was everything I had wanted seaside Llandudno to be. Still warm as the sun slid down, background music from the bar, sipping cool alcohol on the beach, relaxing back with family.

They call Barbados ‘little England’ To my mind it’s more that England is a Big Barbados, operating the inherited centuries of colonial indoctrination and ‘business systems, set in the sea. The power structure of capitalism borne from the slavery system and rolled back on the waves to England.

At no time do I feel physically reminded of being in Barbados, in the same way that I do about Jamaica. A car can roll up outside on a sunny day in London playing a reggae beat to the street. I am instantly transported to Clarkestowns surround sound music, all of the time. Music has that way about it, like the power of sense of smell, to take you back in a flash, in an instant I am in that beloved place where I am welcome and at home.

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