Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Keeping Things at Bay

Dearest Em,

It was lovely to see you last weekend. Florence's Christening was fun, and it was lovely to see everybody.
Thank-you for using your magic wand to turn me into a mouse, and then back to my normal self, and then into a secret fire breathing dragon- which you promised to turn me back out of, right after the Christening.
Unfortunately, you forgot to turn me back- so, I'm condemned to knowing I have a secret fire-breathing power, that I can't tell anyone about- until I see you next time.
Not to worry, I'm sure there are worse things to have to keep secret.
However, my fire-breathing thing, seems to have consumed itself over the last week, into utterly un-politically correct anti-the idiot president of the United States venom.
Goodness me, it's outrageous Em, I'm unstoppable, breathing fire about an elected politician, a long-long way away from here, in lands I have no further aspirations to re-visit. I've even banned his name from being spoken in our shops!
I don't expect my incredulity at the incredulous politician can last forever, it'd be quite exhausting over four years.
But, each day, when I wake up and listen to Radio 4, it seems I can only count seconds before I hear his name, once again enter my home, over the airwaves with yet another ridiculous news story that he is embroiling. Today, we went back to American Women facing back-street abortions akin to the 1960's, oh, and how he irritated yet another swathe of commonsensical society with the excuse he is creating jobs to please the masses.
And, with an edict out of the White House, he decided to re-write the amount of people attending his inauguration, and the amount of people attending Women's protest marches against equality- by offering Alternative Facts.
King Canute, did the same thing historically, in believing he could turn back the tide...

Fortunately, Em, he couldn't.
You asked me on Sunday, what I was painting. It's Freshwater Bay, as visited last friday, with some milky January sunshine, at about two-thirty in the afternoon, where a calm scene in the distance, still showed spray from waves kicking up onto the pavement from the tide.
My secret dragon, until at least you turn me back into your mild-mannered Grandmother, must be consoled once more by nature.
Nature, managed to create such a misogynistic, narcissistic, psycho who now holds power of office in a country that dominates the 'free world'. He can't even string an articulate sentence together, and I doubt he chose his own bookshelves.
Nature, didn't vote him into power, and nature allows us to stop (being secret fire-breathing dragons) and have faith in our individual selves, our powers of discrimination, and look at the Bigger Picture.
This secret dragon, smells a phoney, loves the integrity of the women roused to march against any 'Trumpish' attitude in their community, and takes succour from Nature, who renews a veritable cycle of truth year upon year, season upon season, and takes no prisoners.
This, secret fire-breathing dragon, until you turn her back, next time she visits, takes comfort in humanity.
There's always a plus, and this billionaire psycho who thinks he represents the masses, has galvanised some into reactive thought and action.
The Idiot is a symptom of a dis-ease of course.
And we are all a part of that.
But, some good stuff is happening, Em, and King Canute proved, you can't hold back the tide.
Interesting times ahead for the World you and the girls will inherit.
P.S-Please turn me back into your Grand-Mother soon,
Your Ever-Loving Grand-Mother,

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Beauty and the Fog.

Dearest Emily,
Here we are in January, a hiatus in the cycle of Nature's seasons. A cavity, a breach. Of course we know and are acutely aware at this time of the year- to expect to get stuff like; drizzly rain, blustery days, milky sunshine, bitter cold- and sometimes all of these together.
But, for me, the true stagnation of the mood of these January days for me, is the sometimes imperceptible and perceptively protracted (though for nature necessary) plod towards Spring, when it all happens a-zingingly once more in the awakening of the beginning of the growth cycle of nature's year.
Or, sometimes we get fog...

And then, hereabouts, it's like someone put out the lights over the West-Wight.
A different vista, certainly, here on a 'Sunny Isle', clamped by Winter, and shorter days, which though growing steadily longer towards what we relish in its visceral abundance, throughout the glory days of the growing season, casts a shadow right now of deep repost.
Somehow, we mourn the last year's passing, and somewhat ridiculously we feel somewhere that the glory days shouldn't abate and would be better going on for ever.
But dear Em, they do!
They beckon us each New Year, coaxing us to look forwards. Small shoots of Daffodil and Crocus emerge, maybe to stop for a while throughout frost, but beckon they do, and if we too, stop and stand still for a while, there's much to feed our souls.
I remember some years ago now, when Grumpa and I were considering moving here to the Island, that 'a-Wintering' became a part of a trial for us to see how our dream fitted in real life.
We deliberately set out in the midst of Winter in London, to sample how it felt to be here, sans summer, sans the tourist season, with shops and restaurants often closed, and the worst of the elements presided.
What we found, was that we loved it, embraced it, and became enveloped in it. Grumpa and I shared accordance on this one- we came, we saw, we ventured out on the most weathery of days, he in black Russian hat (now worn by Uncle Joe) and we tramped regularly up and down stark hills in blustery weather across the West Wight.
I remember us both, noting a fond similarity to perceiving our landscape experience to one akin to that described in E.Annie Proux's 'The Shipping News', and the bleak quality of the now lonesome (without tourist) landscape to being one we both embraced and were delighted by.
I suppose it set the scene for deciding that the Island was for us a love that enveloped all the seasons, and assisted in making a decision to move here become real.
And so, a couple of weeks ago (finding that my current landscape views merely transgress between two shops, two doors away from each other and looking out over School Green) I found myself staring out over a vista, accompanied by the sound of a fog horn, that was momentarily transformed.
The seasonally bare Trees, became a part of a spectacular chromatic view opposite me.
Light shone from the distance of the football pitch beyond the Green, and threw my daily beauties- the Trees, into black and white tracery.
The fog transformed my scene into a 'Sleepy Hollow' one, and this transformation by fog, and the beauty of the scene, momentarily surprised me, and delighted me in the differing chromatic landscape  it offered me to view.
This reflection, Em, and painting it, allowed me to revel in the beauty and treasure of every single moment of the changing parts of the year.
Transformation, particularly whether it snow or fog, creates a jolt in every-day perception.
How beautiful.
So, now we are preparing to set forth to com and see you all for Florence's Christening! 
Uncle Joe is to be 'The God-Father'.
Looking forwards to it, and seeing you all again, mes petites,
Your ever-loving Grand-Mother,