2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


I began blogging this year mainly as a means of promoting my new business. I quickly discovered that it’s a wonderful way to express myself creatively in numerous different ways. The one thing I had really not expected was just how much I’d enjoy interacting with all of the people in the blogosphere. I’ve been an online ‘lurker’ for so long, I didn’t think I’d ever enjoy the more social side! It has been a great six months. Thank you everyone who has made it such a brilliant experience. I look forward to what 2015 may bring. 😀

 

Fisherman’s Blues

Fishermans Blues

Fisherman’s Blues

Away from
everyday concerns,
from civilisation’s
stress filled
existence,
gaze out over
sun caressed waters,
and let the
current erode all
cares.


Today’s picture is a painting (acrylic on canvas, 20″x 20″) which I painted for my brother’s Christmas present. He has always loved fishing and can spend hours on end down by the river. I couldn’t resist sharing it, and the little poem I wrote to accompany it, on here. Unfortunately I took the photographs of the painting rather hurriedly before wrapping it (I finished the painting on Christmas Eve!) and only found they weren’t quite in focus once I opened them in Photoshop today – and the picture is now at my brother’s house! I’ve touched up a few edges (mainly the figure), so hopefully it looks all right. I’m hoping to get a better photograph of when I visit my brother next week.

Merry Christmas.

Midwinter Child

Midwinter Child

Midwinter Child

As winter
strengthens its
hold on the land,
the light of
the sun fades into
oblivion’s void,
endless night
draining
joy from
the world.
Hear
the solstice
bells chime
as pale rays
glimmer in a
cloud-laden sky,
a midwinter child,
new-born,
cradled in the
Mother’s arms,
a bearer of
hope for
future life.


I had a little play around with the colour of the picture for today’s post (that’s about the limits of my Photoshop ability) but I eventually settled on the more realistic shades for the main image. I thought the blues captured the winter chill and, as the poem is about nature’s rhythms, I felt that keeping a natural look was the better idea.

However, I thought you might like to see a couple of the other versions as well…

Midwinter Child coloured9 Midwinter Child coloured10 Midwinter Child coloured8

Happy Solstice!

Celebrate


snowman

Celebrate

Illuminate
the midwinter lights,
ward off the fears,
the demons
hidden in shadow,
threatening beyond
the door.

Festoon the house
with evergreen,
an undying promise of
the sun’s rebirth,
of life’s return,
with the turning of
the wheel.

Sing out with
festive melodies,
rejoice in
jubilant refrains
that spread joy
amidst hearts chilled
by long winter days.

Give gifts
to show affection,
thoughtfulness,
a sign of the love
present but unspoken
for the remainder
of the year.

Tree at night


Most people I know have decorated their trees long before now – they seem to appear earlier and earlier every year! As we always have a real tree, in order to still have needles on it for Christmas Day we have to wait until later in December. Ever since I was a child we’ve decorated our tree on the 17th of December, though the origins of this tradition are not particularly pleasant.

My Dad had a car accident when I was eleven years old. That day he had bought the tree and so, whilst my Mum and eldest brother were at the hospital waiting for news, my eldest sister had the rest of us (I’m one of 6 children!) decorate the tree to take our minds off our worries. Thankfully Dad made it through, though it was touch and go for a long while, and since then every year the tree is decorated on the 17th.

I’m not particularly happy with the photographs – they’ll probably be replaced tomorrow once I’ve taken some more – but I wanted to get this post up today. I seem to have settled into a posting pattern of Monday and Thursday evenings but I know that if I break this pattern even once I’ll find it impossible to pick up again!

Merry Christmas, Joyous Yule, Happy Hanukkah, or Season’s Greetings for whatever holiday you may be celebrating!

Liebster Award

liebster2
A very big “Thank you!” to Sky Blue Daze for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award. Its really great to know there are people out there who appreciate it. I’ve been asked to answer eleven questions about myself and to nominate eleven blogs that I think are wonderful too.

1.) Why did you decide to start to blog?

Earlier this year I quit teacher training and decided to make a career out of creativity – and The Storyteller’s Abode was born. The business I’m creating, which is storytelling and roleplay sessions for children, is all built around my stories and art work so I thought a blog would be the perfect place to showcase it. I soon realised that it would also be a perfect place for sharing all of my other creative endeavours – poetry, photography and maybe even some more grown up stories, eventually.

2.)What is your favorite memory?

I have many happy memories – most tied to family and friends – but my favourite is probably more an accumulation of memories from my primary school years. I have always loved stories and at playtime my friends and I used to become characters in our own little stories and we’d play out our adventures. Very often these were set within a forest (a recurring motif for me). We all had magic ponies that we would ride – they would be waiting for us outside the classroom door – and we would head off on various quests. You could say that I’m trying to give children now a chance to create such memories…

3.) Who inspires you?

Diana Wynne Jones. I absolutely adore her books and I actually cried when I heard that she’d died last year. I especially love the way her books appeal to both children and adults. She felt so comfortable in the varying appeal of her books that she wrote one book, Deep Secret, aimed at adults and its sequel, The Merlin Conspiracy, aimed at children!

4.) What is your current goal in life?

Currently I want to get the scenery made for the children’s roleplay sessions. As I’m still uncertain of exactly how these are going to be made, it’s a goal needing some working on. Beyond that my goals include getting the sessions up and running, creating a successful business and living a life which allows me to feel creatively fulfilled.

5.) How would you describe yourself?

Creative, laid back, a long haired hippy, a bit weird.

6.) How much wood could a Woodchuck chuck if a Woodchuck could chuck wood?

Lots and lots. And then it would all be stacked in random piles that no one else understood the organisation of.

7.) What do you do for Fun?

These days it seems that everything I do is fun! My favorite things are writing, drawing and painting. When I want a break from that I like to read, watch tv drama and good films and generally immerse myself in stories. I adore listening to music (my taste is rather eclectic) and I love to go on long walks and take lots of photographs. This often inspires me to write! For a complete change I love to bake and make sweets. In the summer I love going to festivals and dancing like a mad thing.

8.) What is your dream vacation?

Spending several months travelling around both the mainland and the islands of Greece and visiting all of the historical sites I possibly can. After that I’d like to head on to a different country…

9.) What is your favorite Quote?

“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better,” Albert Einstein.

10.) Do you enjoy running a blog?

I love it. It’s great connecting with other people with similar interests. Trying to keep it a regular blog is driving me to write a lot more often, as well.

11.) What do you plan to do now?

I’m midway through a painting for my brother’s Christmas present so my immediate plan is to go and work on that some more. After that I have several poems in my notepad I want to type up and edit and there’s a little Midwinter in The Enchanted Forest story that has been niggling at my brain, so I’d like to write that out if possible. I went out with my camera this morning so I also have several hundred photos to sort through! The light was beautiful, so I’m hoping I have some good shots.

Now I need to nominate eleven blogs with less than 500 followers that I think are great. This has been really hard – I don’t follow all that many blogs yet and many that I do have either over 500 followers or have already had the Liebster Award!

1) Carrie at The Shady Tree. This is a lovely blog with a real love of the natural world that shines through both the photography and the words.

2) Amy Sampson is playing with her first DSLR camera and producing some lovely shots.

3) Delsey Jane’s blog at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist share some wonderfully colourful photographs. Some of her pictures are just gorgeous.

4) Debra at Under the Pecan Leaves takes some lovely pictures of nature and writes fascinating articles about environmental issues.

5) lrod1726’s blog is one that I enjoy reading, with musings about family and life and some beautiful photographs.

6) Carol at Apple Hill Cottage has a wonderful blog chronicling the remodelling of a 1940s cottage and musing about countryside life.

7) Lisa at Gray Days and Coffee produces some lovely photographs and gorgeous poems.

8) The Dedicated Momster’s blog, Crisisalive, is really great, with lots of personal posts about motherhood and some great photography.

9) Susan at Krosscourt has some brilliant posts. I especially like the one of an Osprey mum teaching her fledgling to fish.

10) Norm 2.0 shares some great photographs and pieces of writing at his blog, Miscellaneous Musings of a Middle-Aged Mind

11) James’ blog, SomniVision is a brilliant mix of photography and art.

Tumbling

Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire Dales, UK

Tumbling

Your pen is
poised,
mind teetering,
balancing precariously
upon the edge.
You release
your hold and
tumble,
like water over
the fall,
words burbling
in random
dissarray
from your mind,
through your pen,
to your page.

waterfall

Aysgarth Falls, Yorkshire dales, UK


For many years I have suffered from writer’s block. This blog and the poems and children’s stories that I am working on, are all helping me overcome it. When I was younger I wrote almost constantly. I never went anywhere without a notepad and pen and the words tumbled from my brain. For a time they stopped. They’re flowing again now – sometimes far too much!

Christmas Market

train ride

Christmas Market

Excitement
frissons upon the air,
heightened
by mingled scents
of seasonal fare,
aromatic spices
and savoury smells
infusing
an anticipatory atmosphere
as winter revelries
commence.
Joyous laughter from
young and old
echoes
through hearts numbed by
the chill of dark days,
connecting
self with society,
with life
and future hope
as the past is remembered,
honoured,
in nostalgic celebration
of bygone days.

Red lady


Last Friday I visited the Lincoln Christmas Market, an event that brings visitors from all over to our usually quiet city. I had wanted to return and photograph some more at night – its quite beautiful with all the lights. Unfortunately, I was unable to do so. Anyway, I took lots of photos during the day which I thought I’d share with you here. The atmosphere of the market is wonderful, though it can get incredibly busy! Many of the stall holders dress in period costume (usually Victorian, though you do see a few others) and they come not only from across the UK but from across Europe.

If you want to know a little more about the Lincoln Christmas Market then you can read an interesting post, To Market, to Market, by Millie Thom – who happens to be my Mum.

Here’s a gallery of some of the other pictures I took:

Dash

IMG_4892

Dash

Racing through
childhood’s
wild garden,
free of cares,
free of worries,
impatient to reach
a time when
the wilderness
of the adult world
can be explored.

Don’t run too fast.
Don’t run too far.

The brave new
world you seek to
inhabit
is populated by
dangers
uncounted.

Plot the path
with care
to find the life
you wish
to call your
own.


The picture is of my nephew and was taken a few summer’s ago. He’s nearly 15 years old now and is definitely on his way into adolescence. He’s still Little Boo to me – even though I’ve not been allowed to use the ‘Little’ part of the name since he, very sternly, told me at age 5 that I’d have to stop calling him that because he wasn’t little any more.

I found this picture in a folder the day after the photo101 challenge (I think it was ‘moment’) that asked us to use blur to show movement. I knew it was in my archive somewhere! This would have been posted for that day had I found it…

 

Photography 101 – Weekend 4 Gallery 2

 Shine

Gather
up the fallen,
all those discarded
in the wake of
passage.
Judged unworthy of
pride of place,
they are the
unwanted,
the unloved.
Grant them their
moment to
shine.


When I was looking through the photography 101 pictures for my favourites for the Weekend 4 gallery I realised I had quite a few photos that, for one reason or another, I’d not actually used in the posts . Sometimes their composition wasn’t quite right; other times I just had too many for the theme – at first I was trying to put a only single picture on each post. That didn’t last! On some occasions I just wanted to use new pictures rather than ones from my archives. Anyway, I thought I’d give you a second gallery of the ‘discarded’ pictures. There are also quite a few other’s that were considered but which I’ve written poems for. You’ll be seeing those soon…

I hope you like them.