Tag Archives: pearls

Unboxed

Spring opens like a long-lost jewellery box.
From its musty, darkened depths, spill
gems of every hue: sunshine topaz; dewy pearls;
sapphires, sunrise pink or celestial blue; amethyst
of heartsease.

In the lingering light, my smile returns,
my soul stretches from the shadows, warm
again.

I choose pearl strands.
Gentle blossoms to bejewel old bark.

 

© silkannthreades

She’s taking the world by storm…..

The wind changed; the storm roared in, from the deep, antarctic South and, undeterred, like Mary Poppins, she, the Grand Emissary of Sophia Stuart, came; sans umbrella, but rosy-cheeked and just what we were expecting

Only she didn’t land quite as tidily as Mary Poppins, because you can’t without an umbrella, and if you are being delivered by a postman, into a bucket that is posing as a mailbox.

Will this start a new trend?

Will this start a new trend?

Very undignified, especially when the bucket, inverted or not, is being true to form, by behaving as all buckets should during a once in a century  deluge.

Luckily my neighbour saw Sophia’s Emissary floundering; her brown coat, courtesy of Mr Amazon, slowly dragging her down as it soaked up the icy water collected in the depths of the bucket, and he brought her to my door.  She was a pitiful sight; utterly bedraggled. But I helped her out of her coat, gave her a warm hug, a fluffy towel, a cup of tea, and a change of clothes, (and pearls), and she soon revived. Emissaries and world travellers have to be resilient, like that 🙂

A quick chat, and a note dashed off to  teamgloria (*tg*) to let her know that the Envoy of Who-She-is-In-Real-Life had reached her destination, and it was time for the voyager to take to her bed, to recover from jet lag and the general ordeal of arriving on the crest of a storm.

"It's time to rest"

“It’s time to rest” How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World”

Isn’t she lovely?  Nestled next to my welcome sprig of  bay leaves, for sweet dreams and good health.

Sweet dreams and good health

Sweet dreams and good health and victory in all things

Ssshh; softly, softly, we won’t disturb her now, but, maybe, I will come back later when she is fully recovered and we can discuss the dispatches, the  laureate letters, she has brought to me, from Sophia.

What’s that? Someone is not being quiet. You heard a stifled giggle.  Oh dear; it can’t be helped.  It’s *tg*’s fault; for reminding me that being dunked in a bucket has boarding school overtones. We know a lot about boarding school, *tg* and Sophia and I. Sophia has even written a book about it, called  Emerald.  There was no Emerald at my school, (or was there?), but I seem to recall buckets, full of muck, that were used to terrorize the naughty third formers on initiation day, at the end of year. ( Yes, at end of the year, came the dreaded day of Rangi Tangi! ) We all got horribly wet, bucket-dunked or otherwise, and, after the seniors had done their worst, ( which sometimes wasn’t very bad), they got to feast and we got naught. It sounds more ghastly than it was..but I am still very glad we have all grown up to offer the world a kinder experience of life.

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

© silkannthreades

Gorgeousness, plain and simple or Epiphanies, real and imagined, continued.

In my previous post on  Epiphanies I touched upon the theme of how we feel about the way we are dressed and how we imagine we are dressed, as opposed to the reality of how we are dressed. (So that’s what she was on about, you say 😉 ) Implicit in this theme, ( well,  implicit as I see it ), is the idea of how we feel about our body image.

Over the years of my lengthening life, I have led myself to believe that I am comfortable and happy in my own skin, but it occurred to me, after reading House of Bethan’s recent post on Gorgeousness  (aka this year my body will be gorgeous) that, perhaps, I was fooling myself about my relationship with my body image. After all, I don’t particularly like having my photo taken; I don’t particularly like looking in the mirror at myself; and I don’t like shopping for clothes, at all, and I don’t like wearing make-up or having my hair styled and fancified. I do  LIKE buying jewellery though; no worries there.

So I decided to *test* and *challenge* my body image feelings/confidence…..just a little…..by daring to display, to the  wide world, my style, or what passes for style in my wardrobe. And I discovered that even to do this was incredibly scary.

Glad Rags or Ordinaries

Glad Rags or Ordinaries

Incredibly scary because I come from a puritanical, Protestant tradition  that considered too much interest in physical appearance as  improper for a well brought up young lady. Feeling/being gorgeous , it was subtlely and quietly  implied,  was vainglorious, prideful and inappropriate for ordinary, every day persons… ( but perfectly okay for movie stars, princesses and Mother Mary, but not the plebs ). The ideal was to be modest, tidy, neat and plain, and to those standards I have been faithful most of my life….which probably explains why I have rarely, if ever, been complimented on gorgeousness. 😦  About the closest I have come to such compliments was during the years of  a very sweet and dear friendship with an elderly Italian gentleman; a professor of ophthalmology whom I met at Queen Elizabeth House at Oxford in 1979. Every time we met, no matter if it were the first or the third time in a day, the Professor would open wide his arms, bring one hand to his heart and exclaim with delight ” Cara, cara,  A……, Bella, bella A…..” and, then, take my hand and proclaim to anyone  within hearing distance how wonderful I was….the only person in Oxford whose English he could actually understand 🙂  Then we would sit, side by side, in the Common Room, sometimes discussing English words from his dictionary and, sometimes, just sitting, in the silent contentment of friends who need no words. It was gorgeous.

The Prof and I

The Prof and I

To honour that  long-ago time of  gorgeousness, and to acknowledge Bethan’s current day call to encourage us to live gorgeously in our bodies, ( and not merely comfortably and just so-so), here are some more  of my *being brave * photos of what  I will wear today:

the clothing, ( most of it gifted to me);

the accessories: the necklace;

the rings, the earrings and jewels for the wrists 🙂

Phew….so there you have it. Now I am off to flaunt (not)  my neat, tidy, plain and simple  gorgeousness at the supermarket; *ttfn* otherwise known as ta ta for now 🙂

© silkannthreades

Epiphanies, real and imagined

Monday, 6th January,  was the celebration of  Epiphany   for those people, churches, cultures, countries that follow the Gregorian calendar for feast days.

The sky was heavenly blue

Heavenly blue sky for Epiphany

Heavenly blue sky for Epiphany

and, nearer to me, the flowers were blue-hued too.

And,  every which way  I turned,  I saw more manifestations  of blue,

until I felt as though I were swathed in  the most precious of  precious-blue fabrics, in much the same way as Mary, the Madonna, is often depicted, cloaked in a mantle of Mary-blue,

Federico Barocci, The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph and the Infant Baptist ('La Madonna del Gatto'), probably about 1575 © The National Gallery, London

Federico Barocci, The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph and the Infant Baptist (‘La Madonna del Gatto’), probably about 1575 © The National Gallery, London

or  ultramarine , as it is more properly called.

And it felt good; it felt blissful to be luxuriating in an aura of ‘divine’ blue-ness, as I went about my small tasks and errands, dressed, in reality, not like an artistically rendered Madonna but like this…

Glad Rags or Ordinaries

Glad Rags /Ordinaries

Epiphany Dressing

Epiphany Dressing

in very ordinary, cotton garments that are showing their age, and mine. Yet, oddly, they are garments that might be considered, by some, as slightly more glamorous than what Mary was actually wearing in Bethlehem, and thereafter 🙂 . I wonder about that. I wonder what Mary thought about her clothes;  or if she thought about them at all.  I wonder,  if on the day the Magi came with their gifts, Mary felt as if she were wearing the plainest robes, or as if she were wrapped in  the ‘richest’ cloth her world had to offer?  And I wonder if she would  be surprised at how we have dressed her through the centuries; would she say, ‘But you are dreaming..”, or would she say, ” Yes, it was so; exactly so.  I was beautiful.”

To be continued….possibly

© silkannthreades

No caterpillars, no computer, no butterflies, no earrings; just Swans!

My faithful five-year old laptop decided to have a tantrum last week, followed by a meltdown. Ditto for me when it happened. I am hapless and brainless without my technology. My son kindly agreed to lend me his laptop until mine is repaired ( hopefully it  is repairable ). It is  wonderful to have a laptop again but my son’s is so  much newer than mine that I hardly know what to do with it. It makes me feel as though I am back in school struggling with long division.

However, in the spirit of having a go, here is my first attempt at a post from a strange (to me) laptop.

The caterpillars on my swan plants are no more. They are all in their cocoon stage. One of the cocoons looks almost ready to be a butterfly  The others are still cogitating and storing up memories. The swan plants are putting out new leaves and, at the same time, they are producing the swans that give them their name.

Here are the swans; not sure if they get any more swan like  when the seed balloons open. Apparently the seeds have silky tufts.Little green swan

Closer swanSwan

The swans and the cocoons make me think of pretty earrings which is, perhaps, why I almost bought a pair of pearl drop earrings this afternoon.  Almost; they weren’t very expensive, for pearl earrings, but I thought, “No, that money will pay for a laptop assessment. Restrain your impulse shopping!” So, I came home, minus new earrings, to write this post.

All done; time for dinner 🙂

© silkannthreades

South Sea Island Pearl of a Recipe

Yesterday afternoon I made a banana cake because: a)  I had too many ripe bananas in the fruit bowl; b)  banana cake reminds me of my younger years in my long ago home; c) it’s easy to make; d) most importantly of all, I love banana cake.

We didn’t eat much cake as youngsters but, if we had a staple cake in our home, banana cake was it. The same could probably be said for many other homes in Fiji in those colonial and early post colonial years.The reason for its popularity was the plentiful supply of the main ingredient; namely ripe to over ripe bananas. The recipe we used then, and which I use now, is based upon one in the South Sea Island Recipes cookery book, first produced in 1934 by the Girl Guides’ Association of Fiji.   I say based upon because making our South Sea Island banana cake is not an exact science. It simply happens, as you put in some of this and some of that and mix it all up till you know that it is exactly how you want it to be. And even then, it will turn out in its own different and delicious way  each time.

My mother was always slightly vexated that every time she made a banana cake, no matter how it looked when it came out of the oven, it would eventually sink in the middle. I thought the sinking made the cake extra good since the centre of the cake then became dense and moist and fulsome with the banana-eriness that only genuine Pacific bananas can impart to a cake. (Apologies to supermarket bananas; I do appreciate you, and would be lost without you, but your flavour is so meagre compared to your Pacific cousins that it is hard to believe you belong to the same family.)

So here is some of the cake I made, with supermarket bananas 😦  Note the texture, if you can see it clearly enough. It is quite different from that of the richer banana cakes I make from my American recipe books.Banana Cake

And here is the recipe, in a completely disreputable state, which should appal the former neat and diligent Girl Guide in me but doesn’t at all.  Instead, I consider the spots and blotches, badges of honour, love and affection. Banana cake recipe The recipe amuses me in its brevity and its assumptions. The instruction is simple, “Mix in the usual way..” with the implication that, if you don’t know what that is, you shouldn’t be looking at a cookery book! No baking times or temperature settings are given; those should be obvious to the cookbook reader too, apparently.

Other wonderful gems in the cookbook include Turtle Soup and how to polish shoes with a red hibiscus.

Lastly, here is the cover of the book looking like the flotsam or jetsam of a castaway’s life, rather than the precious pearl of the Pacific it is to me.

South Sea Island Recipes