Sunday, 25 December 2011

My favourite things

I'm not a very materialistic person. Apart from my computer, and my music and instruments, there are very few material things in my life that I value, and most of them are small, relatively valueless items.
Here are some of them.

This is a beautiful rosewood pot that was given to me 40 years ago by my good friend Russ, who sadly is no longer with us. The dragon carving is in deep relief, and is very beautiful.
Russ was Gay with a capital G, and outrageously camp at times, and I never look at this pot without smiling.  Thanks Russel - thinking of you.

This little oddity is something I've had for about 20 years. It's a travelling-clock case, without its clock ,and I love it. It is leather, and the detailing on it is beautiful .
and talking about detail:-

 These nail scissors once belonged to my grandfather Alec. He wasn't a man I knew very well, as he worked nights when I was a child, so he was always asleep during the day when we visited. He was a man small in stature, but deep in voice, and when he spoke it sounded like dark chocolate would sound if it could speak.
The scissors are Victorian, beautifully fine, of the best steel, and I still use them. They are far better than any modern ones I've used.  They seem to have just the right angle on the blades to cut my hard nails without sliding, which is what happens with newer types of scissors. I have great admiration for Victorian craftsmen, who it seemed reached the very pinnacle in design for so many ordinary things. There is nothing about these scissors that you could fault, and there is not a scrap of material wasted.

This next item is my favourite piece of original artwork.

 I bought it from the artist Clare Crouchman  at a craft fair nearly 10 years ago. It is a ceramic tile and is very tactile. I cannot resist touching it, and the colours and lines are just stunning to my eyes. Love it to bits. An inspirational piece of art. Thank you Clare.

 Now a piece of my own work.

I made this mobile about 35 years ago, in an idle moment while working at the telephone exchange. It is made of springy tinned copper wire, and the slightest breath will allow it to move. It's nothing special, I know, but it has been with me ever since I made it, and I really love to watch it moving.

This last item is my piece de resistance - my real treasure.
It looks like a lump of steel, fit for no purpose, but it ain't.
It is my rapping iron, or basketmaker's hammer, used to beat down the weave on baskets as they are made.
It's made of wrought Iron, which is softer than steel, and it fits in my hand perfectly. It is around 100 years old, and has been used by many basketmakers. The polish on it has just been put there by the skin of the hands of the craftsmen who have used it throughout that time. No modern rapping iron comes anywhere near this in simple beauty and practicality.
I believe it may have had an iron ring at its narrow end. This was called a commander, and was used for straightening sticks.
I'm really proud to own this tool, and I hope those that follow me are too.

If I could carry these pieces with me wherever I lived, I would want for nothing.

Wonder what I'll get for Christmas ?  ;0)

Friday, 23 December 2011

In a nutshell

It was a tedious journey
fraught with complications
several changes
and long stops.
I took my seat
on the various trains
and worried all the way
that I was on
the wrong train
at the wrong time.
I even worried
that I was on the right train
at the wrong time
I studied the time tables
of where I had been
and where I was going
trying to make
tie up.
I met new people
on every train
and worried about
their journeys
for them too.
By the time I arrived
I was a nervous wreck
and I realised
I'd forgotten
to look
out of

Thursday, 8 December 2011

You know how it is when a person becomes totally engrossed in what they are doing, to the exclusion of all else?
I've seen it time and time again, but I'm afraid I wasn't built that way. I've got an in-built Lazy gene, which tends to take over unless it's really, really important to get something done, and then I'll do it, but grudgingly. But there can be advantages to not piling in and doing stuff. Sometimes, the stuff you did wasn't worth doing, and could have been avoided, saving you a whole lot of anguish ;0)

Good job were aren't all the same isn't it?

Anyway, this poem sort of spilled out of me.


What is it that drives you?
What is it makes you tick?
That makes you single minded,
that gives you such a kick?
When you set yourself a project,
how do you set your mind
to shut out every other thing
and leave this world behind?
You forget about your breakfast
your mug of tea not drunk
and if you're asked a question
you retreat into a funk
where do you get this vision
that this thing must be done
before you will allow yourself
to go and have some fun?
I'd really like to understand
what goes on in your brain
but it's really quite unstoppable
and not unlike a train
whose course is fixed and charted
and cannot be undone
until it reaches journey's end
with nowhere else to run
I'd like to have just some of this,
this feeling that you get
the desire to see things progress
to see the deadlines met.
but I'm not sure I could cope wth it
I couldn't drive this rig
but that's OK 'cause I'm a poet
and I don't give a fig.

I do really but it's horses for courses ennit?
Carry on the good work