Monday, 30 May 2011


Sometimes in this multi media age of ours it would be so easy to become jaded and cynical about life, the universe and everything in general. To be inured to war and poverty by an unending flow of negative images. To read every word with a jaundiced eye, having been told so many lies before. To become a voyeur, the lives of people we neither know or care about spread out for our delectation, to feast on their fame or misfortune.

So when I helped out yesterday at the annual Fun Day in Moffat I can't begin to tell you how good it made me feel to see people enjoying the simple pleasure that was 'The Duck Race'. For those of you that don't know a duck race involves an abundance of individually numbered ducks, a stretch of flowing water and a finishing line. You put your name against a number and if that's the duck that crosses the line first, you win. It's as simple as that!

People both young and old picked their duck and then lined up patiently along the river, waiting to cheer them on. At 3 o'clock the ducks were released.

Did I point out these are plastic ducks? With no ability to paddle, fly, or respond in any way to the vocal encouragement of the crowd on the river bank. Did that stop the crowd from cheering them on? No it didn't.

And that's what gives me hope. It's not possible to feel world weary in the face of such optimism and enthusiasm. Disenchantment flows away with the current. Watching everyone smiling and laughing at something as unpretentious as a few plastic ducks left me feeling content and uplifted. 

Although I'm not sure that's what Colin was feeling as he stood in the freezing water corralling the little yellow darlings!

Friday, 27 May 2011

A bit tardy

The white rabbit could have learned a thing or two from me this month. I know the saying is 'better late than never' but such platitudes do nothing to assuage my guilt at leaving things to the last minute.

I took part in another fabric swap organised by Ali at Very Berry Handmade last month. I was to send my parcel to Colette over at Colette Moscrop to arrive on her doorstep by the 27th May. Well, if it weren't for the fact that I recently had my birth certificate in my hand, I would be almost certain that 'procrastination' was my middle name because I didn't actually get around to posting it until yesterday. At this juncture I would happily point out all the events that have taken place in the past few weeks that have hindered me and prevented me from entering the post office ...... but I would be lying! Anything I attributed my tardiness to would just be a poor excuse, not a real reason.

What makes my delayed action more difficult to bear is that my swap bundle from Teresa at a time for stitching arrived almost 3 weeks ago!

My bundle from Teresa

A fantastic selection of fabrics 

And to rub salt in to the now gaping guilt wound I didn't get myself together enough to blog about it when it arrived.

I always have a bit of down time after a craft fair but I usually have another event lined up so can't take too much time out. Since I don't have another fair until mid July there is no sense of urgency to start making again. I think I may have relaxed just a bit too much.

My time management has disappeared down the rabbit hole! What do I need to eat or drink to get out of Wonderland?

Monday, 16 May 2011

A moment in time

The craft fair on the 1st of May went well ( thanks for all your well wishes) but I was right when I said I would no doubt forget something. I turned up without drawing pins, milk, and my camera. The first two items could be worked round but without my camera I was unable to take any photographs of the event.

There was a time when I had my camera on me almost constantly. Perhaps not as often as Eryl( The Kitchen Bitch Ponders), who will find every opportunity, including lunchtime, to take photographs, using them as tools for her writing.
I would take my camera with me when I was out walking with Deefer, looking for inspiration for new paintings. He always seemed to manage to get in to the shot, which peeved me at the time but I'm glad of it now. 

Deefer on Gallow Hill

I would pop it in my pocket whenever we went on day trips, 

Spring at Threave Gardens

or to the beach, 

windsurfing on the Solway

and it was always with me when we went on holiday

a break from building sand castles, Lanzarote

trying to capture every memorable moment
Fishing with their Papa in Dumfries

I don't go on walks any more and as the boys get older the day trips have diminished. I've got out of the habit of carrying my camera, it only comes out on high days and holidays, or when taking picture of my latest make. But I need to get back in to that habit, and the last two weeks have highlighted why.

It was my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary celebration last weekend ( as it was for a time for stitching parents) and the first thing I thought of as a surprise for them was to hire a photographer for the event. It deserved to be documented by somebody with a better eye than me. My sister-in-law, who now lives in Canada, then asked if I would be able to put together an album for them, using family photographs taken over the last 65 years. After a  bit of pilfering and subterfuge I obtained a case full of images that I ploughed my way through. It took a bit longer than I expected, not knowing which pictures would mean the most to everyone, but the excited faces and exclamations of 'do you remember' as they all gathered around the album made the time spent worth while.

Then, while visiting my mum for her birthday on Friday, we ended up going through photograph albums. From moments that I couldn't possibly remember, like my very Scottish christening whilst living in Canada, 


to some I remember vividly. 

Taken in my first year at Bantaskine Primary wearing my favourite dress, orange with a brown bunny on the front. I wore it with brown tights, the ones with an open circular pattern down the side, that my mum was always having to darn because I kept tripping and putting holes through them. When it became too small to wear as a dress I wore it as a tunic over brown trousers. A relief I suppose for my mum's darning needle. My earrings ( Yes I had my ears pierced at the age of 5 but you have to remember I was the last of four girls and wanted to be like my sisters, and I'm told I used to be very persuasive! ) are small gold flowers with a pearl centre, a gift from my dad, and the very earrings I wore on my wedding day.
In one of those odd, conversational tangents I once remarked to a friend that if I was ever unfortunate enough to have a house fire one of the things I would be most tempted to try and save, after family of course,  would be the photograph albums. I'm not sure that she quite understood why I would reach for them rather than insurance documents or such like.

For me photographs are keys to unlock precious memories. They are not just a captured moment in time but a way for me to relive it. To hear the voices, experience the emotions, to reminisce. In a world where we are bombarded with information and expected to retain it I rely on photographs to help with my unreliable recall.  I want to be sitting round a dinner table in years to come, pointing at pictures saying 'do you remember?'   

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