Tag Archives: nursery rhymes

Christmas is coming

Christmas is coming

The geese are getting fat,

Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you have no penny, a ha’penny will do,

If you have no ha’penny,

then God bless you. *

 

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is Coming

 

I am in the  ‘God bless you’ category.  How about you? 😉   But I am rich in blessings so the lack of pennies is really of no account ~ but, sigh, I would like that world trip.

The Christmas is Coming nursery rhyme/carol has several versions. * The one I give is my memory of the rhyme I sang as a child.  For more information, you may like to read one account of its origins here https://treasuryislands.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/origins-christmas-is-coming/

 

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

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In other news….of caterpillars and kindnesses

In other news …

of caterpillars….

this is my first ‘ever’ photo of a monarch caterpillar beginning to pupate, (taken on Tuesday 18 February) .

Preparing to Pupate

Preparing to Pupate

I was looking forward to taking another photo, the next day, of the chrysalis but there was a wild wind storm in the night and, when the next day came, I couldn’t see a chrysalis anywhere. 😦

In other news…

of kindnesses……

A while back, on a whim, I sent a ceramic cat to blogger  Megan , to add to her cat collection.  Megan, as some of you may know, blogs about her life with Chester Cat and K, and her personal journey  with OCD. As a thank you for my gift of a little kitty, Megan sent me  two of her special crochet  blooms from her new venture, the Etsy Store,  Peony Crochet.

Blooms from Bloomington

Rose Blooms from Bloomington

Megan is a staunch advocate for Mental Health wellness, and has recently had success in her efforts to bring more sense and kindness and understanding to the media’s portrayal of mental health. She called it   One Small Victory.

To celebrate, Megan’s victory, I thought I would put a rose in my hair,

Bloomin' Beautiful

Bloomin’ Beautiful  (Have you any idea how difficult it is to take a selfie of the back of your head ? !)

and a rose on my hat,

Rose in my hat and ready to pick up my skirt and dance

Rose in my hat and ready to pick up my skirt and dance

and, with a flick of my skirt, dance out the door…..to… ?

But not before acknowledging other kindnesses:

from the friend who gave me the skirt to swish through the swan song of summer;

and the friends who lent me books about travel and gardens,

Going Somewhere?

Going Somewhere?

and what to grow in them;

A Modern Herbal edited by Violet Stevenson

A Modern Herbal edited by Violet Stevenson

and from friend, Sharifah Hamzah, global citizen of  Building Bridges, who sent me a signed copy of her Kampung Memories, as a Book-Giveaway prize.

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzah

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzah

Sharifah’s story “takes you on a trail of getting to know the kampungs of Singapore; its history, and the people who grew up there and lived the life. She also includes her own memories and reflections of kampung life and how it has been a part of her foundation as she navigates her life in other parts of the world.”   I can’t wait to get started, especially after reading this appreciative  review.

In other news…

for all those ‘haters’ of blogs who claim that we obsessively record too much trivia…here’s news for you….

sometimes we don’t record EVERYTHING; sometimes, when kindness arrives on the doorstep, in the guise of a  friend with bowls of delicious, warm apple pie-cake, we are in such a hurry to gobble it down, we forget the photo opportunities, until the plate is empty.

Making the Moments Count….”One, two, buckle my shoe…”

I try to make the Moments count; each and every one of them.

Tick Tock from the Gifted Clock

Tick Tock from the Gifted Clock

but, oftentimes, they are an unruly lot, skilled in mayhem and the art of  teasing me most mercilessly.

If you will step in to my parlour … I promise not to be mean like the Spider to the Fly

Will you come in to my parlour?

Will you step in to my parlour?

…and I will instruct  you in the shenanigans of my misbehaving Moments.

Let’s begin…pay close attention!

One, two….

three, four…

Five, six….

Seven, eight….

Nine, ten….

Ten, nine, what’s your line?

It’s Play-

Time to play!

Time to play!

Time

Play time?

Play time, fun time?

Do you get the picture? Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is that I should LET the Moments count. Much more fun, all round,  than trying to MAKE them count : ).

If you would like to read the  true story  of this rhyme ,”One, two, buckle my shoe “, that my Moments and I have toyed with, take some time and enjoy a look through one of my very first books, a Collins Rainbow Colour Book,  dated about 1950, illustrated by E.W.B, author unknown.

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[E.W.B appears to have done quite a lot of work for Collins but I don’t know who E.W.B is. If anyone has any information on the illustrator E.W.B. I would love to hear it :).]

© silkannthreades

First footing

So, perhaps, you have heard of the old tradition of   “First Footing at New Year’s, but have you heard of ‘First Mailing’. It’s unlikely that you have since I just invented it, in the excitement of receiving my first mail of 2014. It was hand-delivered to my door at 10.30 a.m. by our  postie on his eco-friendly bicycle . He doesn’t usually deliver mail to my door, unless the post needs a special signature and this mail did need my autograph…..because…..  it was a VIP package all the way from BERLIN and the wonderful Nath of  BEAUTYCALYPSE.

Nath had her first ever ‘ethical’ giveaway last year and I was the winner. 🙂  🙂  🙂  Nath tried her best to get the prize to me by Christmas but, obviously, the postal services thought it better for me to have it for New Year, and I don’t mind a bit.

First post from Berlin, first prize, first mailing

First parcel  from Berlin, first prize, first mailing

I am not going to show you what is in the parcel today, ( that will be another post ), but, if you are eager and curious to know, you can have a  search on Nath’s blog  for the giveaway post 🙂  Have fun! I always do, and I learn something interesting every time I visit her blog.

Yesterday, for example, I learned that we are both Tuesday’s children;  remember the old nursery rhyme ~~~~

Monday’s child is fair of face,

Tuesday’s child is full of grace,

Wednesday’s child is full of woe,

Thursday’s child has far to go,

Friday’s child is loving and giving,

Saturday’s child works hard for a living,

But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day

Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

This was one of my favourite rhymes when I was very young. I loved to think I was full of grace because surely this  meant I would eventually dance across  the stage as a beautiful, elegant ballerina….along the lines of my idol  Margot Fonteyn.  Not even being cast as the boy, Hansel, in our little ballet school’s production of  Hansel and Gretel,

The only male role and it's mine :(

The only male role and it’s mine 😦

or being cast as clumsy Badger in The  Wind in the Willows,

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could permanently deflate my belief in my essential physical grace-full-ness. It didn’t occur to me, as a child, that ‘full of grace” could have any other meaning than graceful ballet or walking or swimming (and I did swim very gracefully 🙂 ).

As an adult, getting creakier in the body with each passing year, I have come to understand other concepts of grace. I would love my life to be full of those other, *spiritual* concepts, as, I am sure, does Nath. She is already on her way to “grace- full- ness” in her choice to live beautifully and ethically.

In her  manifesto, Nath says, “I believe that you can only make better choices by being aware and having access to knowledge. I believe that there’s no beauty without kindness, intelligence, freedom or community.

Nath’s feet are set firmly on the path of ‘grace-full’, and, because of her choices, a  parcel of goodness has made its way from one Tuesday’s child to another; makes me want to dance with joy 🙂 and maybe a little imagined grace as well. Thank You Nath.

© silkannthreades

Meal of the Moment minus the Moose

Laila, on  tableofcolors , prepares the most beautiful food for her family and friends ( and others besides, as part of her work). In late November, despite the difficulties presented by a  blackout ,  Laila, ( with help from her husband, I think )  made a meal of roast moose and roast vegetables  with spinach crepes.     It looked delicious on her blog post but, not having access to a supply of moose,  the only part that I could try to copy was the spinach crepe. So try  I did,  and then I tried  more  and more….. until I was quite *roly poly gammon no meat and some spinach* and very well satisfied.

Since then we have had several meals ( hot, cold, warm ) of delectable spinach crepes and I am pleased to report that they are my new favourite  meal of the moment, food.

Thank you Laila. Your recipes are inspirational, but so practical, and, whenever I make them, I feel as though I have brought a little bit of your lovely home, and a little bit of Finland, into my world.

Spinach Crepes for Lunch

Spinach Crepes for Lunch

© silkannthreades

“Ring the Bells”

In a recent post, I featured  Leonard Cohen’s  Anthem. The opening lines of the song call on us to “Ring the bells that still can ring….”  I find these words exceedingly poignant because the only  “ringing” bells we have left to ring are at   St Paul’s ,in the Christchurch suburb of Papanui.

St Paul's Papanui

St Paul’s Papanui

Our city’s main peal of 13 bells used to be in our old Christ Church Cathedral.

Our once upon a time Cathedral

Our once upon a time Cathedral

In the earthquake of  22nd February 2011, the bells came tumbling down, along with much of the rest of the Cathedral. As far as I know, all 13 of the bells are currently  back, where they were cast, at the  John Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough, Leicestershire, undergoing extensive and expensive repairs.

When they will be heard again, in Christchurch, is anybody’s guess, considering the length of time it takes to rebuild a city, but it is conceivable that I will not hear these bells again in my lifetime. Fortunately, there are sensible people who thought to record the Cathedral Bells when they were still ours to hear.     But, sadly,  even a recording is not quite the same as the real deal.

At St Paul’s there is a peal of 8 bells and there is a  history of bell ringing at this church that dates to 1880.  These bells, and the wooden structure of St Paul’s, came through the earthquakes relatively unscathed, but some earthquake repairs were required and the church was closed for a while as a result.

All the work has been completed now and St Paul’s is looking fresh  and  revitalised.

And the bells continue to ring out, strong and true, on Wednesdays and Sundays.  It’s a good feeling, knowing that this church building, that has been on this site since 1877, has life and strength in it to last for many years to come; thanks to careful workmanship and the beauty and resilience of the kauri wood from which it was built.

For some of our citizens, who were anti-campanology, in a NIMBY sort of way, the lack of bells in the city must be a blessed relief. But, for me, an erstwhile British subject and  child of the Colonies, reared on the sounds of London’s bells, as formulated in that old nursery rhyme, “Oranges and Lemons”, a city is incomplete without the ringing of bells.

Ring the Bells of London Town

Ring the Bells of London Town

Some of my readers may remember the silence of the bells in the United Kingdom for the duration of the Second World War; they may remember that such silence leaves a hollow, a void in our sensory space, that is, somehow, deafening.

So, here I sit, trying to ‘ring the bells that still can ring’

Here I sit

Here I sit..perhaps with” rings on my fingers and bells on my toes”

Featured Books:

Early Churches in and around Christchurch by Derek and Judith Hamilton http://www.whitcoulls.co.nz/book/early-churches-in-and-around-christchurch/2741647/

The Mother Goose Treasury  by Raymond Briggs http://www.amazon.com/Mother-Goose-Treasury-Raymond-Briggs/dp/0241908000

The Children’s Bells by Eleanor Farjeon http://www.amazon.com/The-Childrens-Bells-Selection-Eleanor/dp/B000I0PP70

© silkannthreades

Despond and a piece of humble pie

The other night, when I was putting the house to bed, (locking the doors, closing the windows, turning off lights, drawing the curtains), the curtain, plus rail, in the living room came galumphing down and nearly took out my shoulder. After a few  of these  #@!%@#*! , I galumphed in to a chair myself and thought, “Well, that just about sums up my week; broken and broke!”  And I went from being in a funk to floundering in the  Slough of Despond.

This miry Slough is such a place as cannot be mended; it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run, and therefore is it called the Slough of Despond: for still as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there ariseth in his soul many fears, and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place; and this is the reason of the badness of this ground.’

Isn’t that such a great description of despondency?  It made me feel better just by reading it and wallowing, for a while, in its awful miry  scumminess.

Most of my funk came from the outcome of 4 month-long pension review/battle with  our government pension department. It’s too vexing and complicated to explain in this post but, basically, the outcome was not in our favour. As a result, our pension income is, now, several thousands of dollars  lower per annum than we expected it to be. The review results were delivered, this week, in a pleasant letter, and came with the offer of taking the matter through to further reviews and committees; and was signed, yours sincerely, ( by a sincere young man whom I have come to know well, mostly through an exchange of  very annoyed letters on my part 😦 )

Yes, well, harumph and grump; I am not entirely sure I can be bothered with continuing my pension crusade. Whilst all this was going on, Vickie Lester at  Beguiling Hollywood   posted this quote, from Franklin D Roosevelt, which entirely suited my mood

Let us not be afraid to help each other—let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and Senators and Congressmen and Government officials but the voters of this country.

She was, of course, using the quote in relation to the shutdown of the US Government but, in my dealings with Government bureaucracies and officials and official forms, over the years, I have often felt that there is a complete lack of understanding by Government, (and its officials) , of its purpose and role; that is, it is OUR service and its workers are OUR servants whom we ask to use OUR money wisely and for OUR benefit. Democratic governments were never intended to be our rulers, our disempowerers,  forever telling us what to do, and not to do, and which part of form WXB para. 8 c, sub-clause 24  we forgot to complete or completed incorrectly, and, and, and………….oh, and, by the way, does anyone remember when they last received a letter from a Government official signed, ” Your most humble and obedient servant.” ?

Thought not! That practice went out the window a long time ago. The Queen is about the only one who still remembers to use those words 🙂

Well, rant, rant……enough of it. To cheer myself, I made, and ate, my humble pie, otherwise known as  Crostata. The recipe I use is based on thisone  by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.

I am relatively new to the art of Crostata-making but I love its easy, rustic free-form style. And it is very forgiving of mistakes and carelessness. My Crostata, this week, had a filling of rhubarb and apple, spiced with orange peel and ginger.  I used up some pastry I had leftover from a potato pie I had made earlier in the week .  Until quite recently,  I was afraid of pastry making, worried that it was too complicated for my culinary  skill levels. But, in a moment of epiphany one fine day, it occurred to me that pies were once the most commonplace of foods and, therefore, should be as easy as pie to make. And so they are;  with the help of a kitchen whizz,  a good helping of nonchalance, and a light touch with the rolling-pin and a good hot oven.

Free-Form Pie

Free-Form Pie; rough as….

Perhaps it’s not the best looking pie you’ve ever seen but it tasted absolutely delicious.

And to cheer myself even more, I challenged myself to make a sound recording. It’s as rough and ready as my Crostata but, hey, I did it.  🙂 Perhaps there’s still a little filling left in the old girl yet!

© silkannthreades