Archive | February 2016

Fifth February Blog

Fifth February Blog.

Welcoming Spring.

Oh Spring, thy glorious triumph
When winter is chased
Away, fleeing from this
Chilled place.
Spring, hatbinger of
Bright things, of gay flowers,
Of bees and Mayflies,
Of butterlies and droning
Insects. Of soughing breezes,
Of skies so blue.
We worship your return,
We sing to your beauty,
We welcone your warm comfort.
Adore the joy you bring,
Revel in your abundance,
Dance to the tune of your returning.
Spring, Spring, ch Spring.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward. February, 2016.

Last one under the wire for the month of February.

Like the rest of the winter months in my area of England, the temperatures have been cool, not really cold, though cold enough for my old body. However, it seems to have gone on for a long time. This is the fault of having a winter that is nondescript, mediocre. Neither one thing or the other! If we had had a cold winter ( comparatively speaking), then we would have noticed the differnce this recent spell of sunny days would have made. Instead, it is just another bit of sunshine that may or may not disappear later in the morning or early afternoon and the cool breeze is still blowing, so it really does not feel as though there is any change at all from what we have had for the last few months. No change or contrast. And, as prefuxte, ealy acfternoon yad brought cloud and dullnesd.

My only hope is that the sun will gradually warm up the weather, I will feel better in warmth. There will be more flowers and trees blooming and maybe my old bones will ache somewhat less. I do hate not being able to move around as I used to do. This morning, all my joints, wrists, arms legs etc. ached so much until a fise of painkillers finally gave me some surcease. I am feeling cold right now and must find something even warmer to get into for the day.

This done, I have now had a light lunch, cooked a gammon bacon joint, knitted a bit more of my latest new infinity scarf, am writin this blog. Pretty mundane stuff, you say! Yes, we all have mundane activities that have to be done. Oh, my new reel of making tape arrived this morning so now I can tap a new sheet of pastel pape onto a board, ready to start a new painting, though, as the weekend is virtually here, that might be all I will have time to accomplish. Also in the bag was a new UNISON pastel, Ocean Blue No. 2. I know I do not have this olour already as these pastels are more expensive, and I hardly own more than possibly two of them. They are one of the top names in pastels, very soft indeed. I chose this colour for work on water seas mostly. Though Zi do know one lake that is this kind of turquoise type colour.

So here is a small piece of writing, just to show that my brain is not stuffed up completely with inanities.

” Pontil gazed up at a sky streaked with red lines. An omen, for certain. Though he had no idea of its portent. Muscles on his back, shivvered in the fast waning light. It was as if an alien creature had just walked down his spine, a foot dancing on each ridge.
Uttering a uulation, he shook himself. It was an involuntary movement and he hoped it would shake away the bad feelings creeping through his soul. After all, it was just an old tale, when red lines are in the sky, capture is nigh! Pontil did not even know what it meant. The only creatures in the sky were the winged baarras, and they were small. No capture there, he thought.
Time to trot home. It was not far. His group feasted two hills away, they would soon come looking for him and, gazing up one last time, the trails were disappearing fast. Pontil decided not to tell them, unless they asked. He dug his claws into the sand and made for the first hill.”

Well, there you are!

Keep safe, have fun. Be happy.

Evelyni

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Fourth February Blog

Fourth February Blog

Whispering Sands.

Mustard yellow curved ridges,
Catching the sun’s early light,
Vie with deep purple shadows,
Left over from starry night.

Dunes, piled high by strong winds
That sweep on and on for miles,
Gigantic hills by coast ridges,
Caught with moist-laden wiles.

Sitting atop, are the beetles,
Carapaces wet from the sea,
No water inland, this is their drink,
The only respite there will be.

For some men, the desert, their mistress,
She rests, with no quarter given,
Must suffer the heat and exhaustion,
With searing dry winds they are shriven.

Camels cross deserts by caravan,
Carrying goods, seeking Oasis relief,
Men daring sandstorms and sunstroke
Dust that just beggars belief.

But onward they go to find water,
Where palm trees grow out of the sand,
Dates that are ripe for the picking
An intrepid caravan band.

And so as the dunes reach the mountains,
Replaced by pebble, then stones,
Bringing their wares to the peaple,
Then round again, back to their homes.

Cooyright Evelyn J.Steward. February, 2016.

The desert is a hard task master. Some say the Saharah region was once so fertile, trees, crops grew aplenty. I cannot say whether or not this is true. I was not around then but, I did once see a programme on television where a professor who studied water, amongst other weather related topics, was filmed in Egypt standing by The Sphinx, pointing out lines in the construction rock in the lower body. These, he indicated, were indicative of water marks. He also pointed to the sharp groove in the lower Sphinx saying that there were tombs, of a sort, certainly corridors beneath this colossus, indicating a lower ground height at one time.

I think he also pointed out that The Sphinx would not have been pbuilt this way if there wete a huge desert there at that time of building, possibly 5,000 years before the Pharoahs ( the programme aired some years aho). Now my nemory may be suspect on the dates and apparently, there is a controversy about this amongst various Egyptologists. What I am saying is this, that all that sand in the Saharah desert would have made building such an iconic edifice, a colossus AND be able to leave those special marks and grooves on the stone at the base of The Sphinx!

There are many different types of deserts all over the world. The Atacama Desert Chile, for one. This serms a more static type of desert, with rock outcroppings. The Gobi Desert in China, where many dinosaur remains and their eggs have been discovered.

The Namib! Very dry, as are most land deserts. I say land, because apparently there is a desert in either the North or South Polar Regions, possibly both. I have little to no infirmation about these icy deserts.

The USA has a few deserts. The most well known of these deserts harbours the gambling city of Las Vegas. We all know that one. It is situated in the Mojave Desert. It is a high desert and the driest in North America ( so says Wiki ). To the South lies the Sonoran Desert. north to the Great Basin and south East the Chihuahua. There is also the Colorado desert In the Mojave grow the. famous Joshua trees (or Yucca brevifolia). The joshua Tree has been widely used in various iconic Hollywood films. They grow at a fairly high elevation. I once found out that at certain elevations, these trees have a co-dependency with a small bird/ or some creature which is symbiotic with the Joshua trees. It is a while since I did that research so not sure if this information is still valid.

Then tnere are the Arabian, the Namib, the Kalahari and in Australia, the Victorian deserts and many more. What the ratio desert to normal type arable lands, forested and jungle across the central band of the world, I cannot guess. It remains to be seen, like the North African belt of Sahara Desert, how long it will take erosion to increase desert space where arable and forested lands now occur?

“Little wind eddies whipped dust from the floor of the desert, turning it into ever-rising whirlpools, choking the team as it blew across their path. The horses and camels, resting and eating, turned their backs, so that their eyes, nosed and mouths stayed clear of the dust. Some men had already donned neck scarved around their lower faces in order to keep as much dust away from their mouths and noses as they could. However, their eyes became gritty, even with hands held acrosd eyebrows as sheilds. The work had to cease whilst the wind played. Horses neighed, then shook their bodies, camels closed their long lashed eyes, sqidged nostrils tight shut, as if to say ‘desert, do your worst, I can take it’.

Well folks, that is it for this time. Who knows, I may write another episide of “Buried Treasure” next time.

So for now, ‘be careful, out among the English’. I quote. Try to stay calm in all conditions. Be good to yourself. Oh, and today is
My Daughter’s. 50 th Birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAY.

Evelyn

This entry was posted on February 22, 2016. 2 Comments

Third February Blog

Third February Blog.

Dawn of Day.

Frosty morning,
Just before dawn,
Temporal changes
As black night
Turns to simmering grey.

Comes the sun,
From its night sojourn,
Though not for a while.
Ethereal time brings
Silver streamers,
Dawn rises higher,
Enough to wake the birds,

Enough to stir insects,
Mammals, but not yet.
Lizards and snakes
Need the sun on their backs
Before they can stir.
Heat to warm cold blood.

But those with coats,
Warm, after a night
Of hunting, feasting,
Now sleeping soundly.
Silent, the roars of lions,
Snoring the only noise.

Jackels snarl over last
Portions. Hyenas yipping,
Growling. Soon the sky
Blooms lilac, then pink.
The red ball rises,
Scorching the early day.

Peeyip, peeyip,
Bat-eared foxes calling
To one another.
Mariboo storks wheel above,
Egyptian vultures circle,
Crows ride thermals,
Their turn will come.

Africa awakes. Dawn
Is over. Coolness
Is gone and the searing sun
Beats down on living things.
Hot dry air parches throats,
Hippos honk in the river.

Lazy crocodiles wait
For fat pigs on the bank.
Baboons scour the ground,
Hunting for insects, fruits.
Monitors hunt in
Rock hard termite mounds.
Dinner is first on every list.

Copyright Evelyn J. Steward, February, 2016.

AFRICA.. Game Parks, hot sun, wildebeast and zebra, still in huge herds, tramping across dry regions. Where fetid patches of the nights kills become meccas for jackels, hyenas, carrion birds of many kinds. They are Africa’s bin men. Her cleaners of the land. The killed, the dead of old age, the sickly whose lives are gone before they have tasted life. To leave this detritus means putrefaction, disease. So the cleaners go to work, glorying in what others leave behind ( like the Wombles of Wimbldon). The final sweepers are insects, making sure every last piece is carried away to some burrow, a hole to feed the smallest critters.

AFRICA. The melting pot of creatures from insects, termites, beetles, ants. Small mammals who hide from burning heat, but hunt as darkness falls, being hunted themselves in return. Small game, Dika deer, hares, rodent species and shrews, moving up to Tommies (Thompson’s Gazelles), Grant’s Gazelles, impala, kudu, to zebra and wildebeast. These latter two joining in great migration herds, following an age old path, crossing dry dusty earth, fording crocodile-infested rivers

Not forgetting the preditors like lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackels and Cape Hunting Dogs and varies species of foxes, like the bat-eared fox. Small cats, like the caracal, serval and, in forests, the golden cat

AFRICA.  We come to the larger animals like Cape buffalo, giraffe, elephants. There are some different species of zebra and giraffe, known by varying colourations. Not forgetting the great water horse, the hippopotamus who shares rivers and lakes with crocodiles, snakes and varied fish. Birds aplenty, including storks of many kinds. The mariboo stork, seen hanging around with vultures as a carrion eater. Many different species of vultures wait on dried up trees for a predator kill to be vacated by its original feasters.

Nor firgetting all the wonderful birds that both live in, and visit, the African Continent. Such myriad types of creatures, all shapes and sizes and colours, that abound within this great land belt that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Southern Atlantic Ocean, north to south,  and the Northern Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean in the east.

AFRICA.  Not fogetting the monkeys and apes. Baboons litter parts of Arica’s floor, others scour the trees. Not forgetting the great apes, chimpanzees and gorillas. Those I have named are part of the cornucopia of the great continent of Aftica, the plethora of animals, birds, insects, lizards, crocodiles and so many, many more creatures that inhabit that vast piece of Real Estate known as the African Continent. I have not even touched on its deserts, mountains, valleys, jungles, savannahs, lakes and rivers, waterfalls, rifts, nor even the parts inhabited by man.  I have nver touched foot on any part of this great void, this realm, this AFRICA.

AFRICA. It is a wonderful place to behold. Earth’s cradle, ( remembering Lucy), Egyptian Dynasties, pyramids of all kinds, great civilisations we can only guess at. Was this ever a place to be nurtured, looked after, protected? I think so!

Be careful out there people.

Evelyn.

Radiotherapy Gaga… (apologies to Freddie Mercury!)

Something to think over.

anita dawes and jaye marie

(I have been trying to keep my head above the water, just like these guys!)

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Today I had an appointment at the hospital for what they called ‘Mapping’. This is where they decide for the want of a better word, with the help of one huge space age machine; the best possible was of radiating my poor boob.

I very nearly cancelled this procedure, feeling it was possibly unnecessary, seeing as how the surgeon assured me he had successfully removed the entire tumour. The thought of three weeks, that’s 15 appointments, 15 days of being zapped by radiation strong enough to burn and possible shrivel this offending part of my anatomy.

I learned that it was wrong to think like that, for the tumour I had was ‘aggressive’ or malignant and there could still be some cells in there, on the verge of becoming nasty. By almost destroying every cell…

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James I & Joan Beaufort: A Royal Love Story

A bit more involved history”. Evelyn.

History... the interesting bits!

220px-King_James_I_of_Scotland James I

The story of King James I of Scotland and his queen, Joan Beaufort, is one of those rarities in Medieval history; a true love story. He was a King in captivity and she a beautiful young lady of the court.

The son of Robert III of Scotland, James had been on his way to France, for his safety and to continue his education, when his ship was captured by pirates in April 1406. Aged only 11, he was handed over to the English king, Henry IV, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.

Shortly after his capture, James’s father died and he was proclaimed King of Scots, but the English would not release him.

James was closely guarded and regularly moved around, but he was also well-educated while in the custody of the English king and was an accomplished musician and poet. He was held at various…

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2016. 3 Comments

First February Blog

First February Blog.

Seasoned Timbers.

Gentle waves slap slapping sides
Of salty timbers, oceanic riders,
Skipping the tides, riding the currents,
Sails billowing in tempest squalls,
Sheets flap-flapping as hull turns about.
Creaking timbers, as ocean heaves,
Pressing forces, wood yeilds,
Old ships, old ways,
Seeking gentle winds
Pushing seasoned timbers
To cieave through calm waters.
Tall masts lean-to with a Sou-wester,
Racing across a sward-like expanse,
Green, blue-grey
Snapping sails crack, as
The boat changes tack.
Oh, the ocean ships of yesteryear,
Such majesty and craftsmanship,
Hearts of Oak, our vessels past,
Timbered hulls, British fleets,
Sailing wide oceans, timbers
Straining against salted seas.
Naval riggers, climbing slippery
Rigging, setting sails in stormy weather.
Men of old, vesselslong gone,
Splicing mainbraces,
Eating hard tack in cramped conditions.
As much salty timbers as the fleet they manned.

Copyright. Evelyn J. Steward. January, 2016.

Sunday early evening, strange how the memory is jogged!

Daughter, possibly by hearing something on t.v., asked me how close the Isle of Wight and The Channel Islands were?

Nowhere near, was my reply. But surely the I. of W. is in the soutn?

Yes but the Channel Islands are very close to France. “Yes but…..!”

So I Googled a map of England and The Channel Islands, and pointed them out.

You see, back in the 1950s, I went on holiday to Weymouth, Dorset, ( that came back to me whilst thinking about what she was saying) to a Holiday Camp at the top of the hill on the left side of the town, looking out to sea. (Who knows if it is still there?). A camp for adults only. No children allowed.
Anyway, one of the trips we made was by boat to Guernsey in The Channel Islands, just for the day. It took several hours to get there, possibly 4 hours but it was too long ago to remember the time lag.

Again, my memory of the main town was lost, then it suddenly popped into my head. St Peter Port, Guernsey. Pigeon-holed somewhere in the recesses of my old brain. As the boat took so long to reach the island, we just sat in the town and then on the lead down to the beach. I remember it being rocky, and very hot. I do believe I got sunburnt

This trip was the trigger for my memory, that the Channel Islands were a heck of a lot closer to France than England. So then comes a mini debate about why they do not belong to France. There is where my information runs out. I do not know enought about their heritage, enough only to say that areas of France in the Normandy region of France have been going backwards and forwards since William Le Batard and I really have no idea when it was settled that these Islands belong irrevocably to England.

“isn’t there an island called Sark as well as Jersey and Guernsey?”

“Yes,” i tell her. “Also Alderney.” By looking at the map I discovered there is also a tiny island called Herm, I think, my eyesight is not good and Google maps are often a bit on the small side for me to be able to read names. So if I have it wrong, I apologise.

“Well, I am amazed” she says.

Not sure, why other than she has never been good at geography. Some people are not, but I put it down to the way geography was taught when she was about 12-14 years old. I went to an open evening and was appalled at the way they were then teaching geography. Totally different to the way I was taught about the world, what countries were named and where they were, what certain countries produced like cocoa beans, tin, iron ore, all kinds of things. But sadly, at her time, it was deemed that geography was taught totally differently.

However, I was tonight able to give my daughter some information regarding where the Channel Islands are situated,quite away from English shores.

Thank you for reading. Be safe, be happy.

Evelyn.

This entry was posted on February 1, 2016. 4 Comments