Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Papayas and Lemons

In your garden grew a beautiful lemon tree
In mine there was a papaya tree

We breakfasted on fresh papayas
sprinkled with ginger
and drizzled with lemon juice

Until one day a raging storm
blew down the papaya tree

Now we eat our breakfasts alone
and you take your lemons to market

Previously published as part of Gabrielle Bryden's Citrus Fiesta

Monday, 15 January 2018

Walking the Nile by Levison Wood

 Walking the Nile by Levison Wood

Levison Wood set out to walk the whole length of the River Nile from its beginning as a spring in the mountains of Rwanda through desert and rainforests to LakeVictoria (once thought to be the actual source of the river) and onwards to the delta at the Mediterranean Sea.

Along the way he walks through areas of Rwanda full of terrible memories of the genocide, through lush national parks, devastated forests, inhospitable deserts and through war-torn South Sudan. In some areas he is greeted with crowds singing songs in his honour, in others he is arrested, in others he has to hide from gunfire. He learns about illegal wildlife poaching and about the difficulties of balancing wildlife conservation with the needs of local farmers.

For much of the way he is accompanied by Boston, his guide who becomes a friend.

The book is very readable and offers insights in the history of the Nile and the surrounding areas and commentary on current social and environmental situations. Wood writes with an endearing honesty about his low points when endless desert and searing heat make him want to give up the trek. He is good natured about his fellow travellers and the people he meets along the way, though angry about excess bureacracy!  He is however naive, both in his insistence on walking through a war torn South Sudan and in some aspects of his expedition management.

This is a book well worth reading for anyone interested in rivers or the history of these parts of Africa.

Walking the Nile by Levison Wood published by Simon and Schuster

This journey was also made into a documentary for Channel Four TV, you can watch it here. (Some countries may not be able to view these videos).

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Lauriston Castle Gardens

Lauriston Castle is more of a stately home than a castle

The house is set in lovely walled gardens that are always worth a wander round.

You can look our over the fields of Silverknowes to the Firth of Forth and Cramond Island

Recently a bee hive has been added to the gardens

though it was too early in the year for the bees to be at work yet!

The Japanese Friendship Garden is a  lovely part of the grounds

and the witch hazel is already in bloom

 You can see photos from our previous visits to Lauriston Castle here.

Friday, 12 January 2018

New curtain tie backs in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop

I just finished making this pair of beaded curtain tie backs using various beads from my stash, some of which came from jewellery that needed to be re-threaded, some of which came from second hand shops and some which came in gift parcels of  upcycled jewellery supplies.

I enjoyed designing them and they look quite nice used with light-weight sheer curtains.

These curain tie backs are available to buy as a pair in the Crafty Green Poet Etsy shop - here.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Two Exhibitions at the City Art Centre

There are currently two excellent exhibitions at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh.

On the first floor is Songs for Winter, a joint exhibition between Pauline Burbridge
 and Charles Poulson, who share a studio in renovated farm buildings at Allanbank Mill Steading in the Scottish Borders. The exhibition includes vibrant drawings by Charles and a range of textile art by Pauline. These range from large scale quilts inspired by fields and plants to much smaller collages. Her cyanotype collages of ferns are particularly beautiful.

On the third floor is A Fine Line exhibiting the work of four women who explore the fine line between craft and art. I've always loved Lizzie Farey's willow sculptures and there are some beautiful ones in this exhibition. I was very impressed too by the work of Angie Lewin, who creates beautiful mixed media works inspired by the natural landscape. She uses beautiful palettes of colour and her prints are full of energy. She also creates work on driftwood and sea pottery. Frances Priest's work is represented by various vividly coloured items inspired by Indian crafts, that are both fascinating and uncategorisable. The show also featured work by Bronwen Sleigh, though I have to admit, her work was for me entirely overshadowed by the other artists.

Songs for Winter is showing at the City Art Centre until Sunday 4 March.

A Fine Line is showing at the City Art Centre until 18 February. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Nightdress Case Kitty

I have had this lovely kitten nightdress case since I was about 9 (when  I called her Maria Sashia - even then I liked things to rhyme!). I still use her too, though these days she stores my hankies. Anyway she'd become a bit worn

so I decided to smarten her up. I cut out pieces of dark blue and orange felt and sewed them on. Instead of trying to cut a very small piece of felt the right shape for her nose I decided to embroider her a new nose. So this is what she looks like now

She's not perfect but she looks much brighter now.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Elephant in the Room

There’s little room to breathe in here

the elephant sucks out all the air
through its massive trunk
and presses the couple to the walls.

They stare into each other,
their eyes message
what their lips cannot say:

there’s an elephant in the room.

There’s little room for elephants here
where villages expand into the plains
and poachers gun down whole herds.

Dying elephants suck air
through flattened trunks
fading eyes hold a message

there’s something we need to talk about here.

Previously published on Gnarled Oak