Tag Archives: royalty

Creative Interlude or a City at Play

Now that I have my wheels, and passengers, ready for the road, it’s time to resume my gallivanting; first of all with a look in the rear view mirror, so you can see some of the jaunts I took during my 17 day blogcation.

Looking back…..

In the midst of my not very busy holiday schedule, on a not very nice weather day, my friends and I had a short interlude in the centre of Christchurch; short because interludes usually are, but, also, because it was a beastly cold day, not suited to our yet to adjust, lingering-in-summer, bodies.

Cold, as it was, and we were, we did see a little of the fun side of  the city. Here is my record of the day.

The Chalice, our millennium statue, sometimes referred to as the ice cream cone.

Art work wrapping around the ruins.

 

Portrait let out to play, from the Art Gallery.

Rita Angus's Portrait of O'Donnell Moffett http://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/bulletin/175/quiet-invasion/

Rita Angus’s Portrait of O’Donnell Moffett Quiet Invasion

Rise Ballerina

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Is She amused by events?

The Queen crowned with a bicycle helmet

The Queen crowned with a bicycle helmet

Pretty tiles replicated and replaced on New Regent Street.

Oh, it is a  lovely playground we have in our city.

A scaled down braided river at the Nature Play Park

A scaled down braided river at the Nature Play Park

This post was prompted by Sally at http://lensandpensbysally.wordpress.com/  who alerted me to a New York Times article http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/06/travel/after-earthquakes-a-creative-rebirth-in-christchurch.html  ,published on April 6th, about the creative rebirth of Christchurch, post earthquakes. It is an excellent article. Thank you Sally. I only wish you had been with me to focus your camera on the intriguing sights we saw, on our city excursion, at the beginning of April.

© silkannthreades

Praise Be

The  swan plant I ordered to replenish my monarch caterpillars’ food supply came yesterday, just in the nick of time. It has been planted,

Praise be for more food

Praise be for more food

and my remaining caterpillars are now busily chomping on their fresh greens. Hopefully, the caterpillars will  have enough food to take them through their fifth  instar and into their chrysalis stage.  Most of them look big enough to be close to their final and complete metamorphosis.

Is this the 5th instar?

Is this the 5th instar?

Whilst the caterpillars are nourishing their bodies in preparation for change, I thought we might do the same. Would you care to indulge?…..

in a taste of the last of summer in this delicious, spicy rhubarb cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

Spicy Rhubarb Cake

or, perhaps, in a little something that speaks of cooler mornings and the colder days to come; a gingerbread cake.

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

Joy of Baking; Gingerbread Cake

But, if you are wanting a lighter indulgence, may I suggest a serving of the apple, instead of the cake.  Again there are two choices; Cherry Gala apples lightly cooked with a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of sugar and a handful of rose petals;

or Royal Gala and Eve  apples , sautéed gently in a sliver of butter and a sprinkle of sugar.

Mmmmm…How was that? Delectable? Are you feeling suitably indulged and ever so glad that we are not limited to one food type like the monarch caterpillar; that we are able to experience so many taste sensations; that we have such variety in our menus.

Praise be to the  butterflies  and bees that make that possible.

~

At 12.51pm today we marked the  third anniversary of the  February 22nd earthquake. At the memorial service in the Botanic Gardens, the Mayor said “Let us unite as we did after the earthquakes. For those of us who have been able to move on, let us reach out to those who are still struggling. .. For those who cannot move on, please do not be afraid to ask for our help… We can get through this together.”

In caterpillar terms, ( because I have this essential life form so much on my mind 😉 ) most of us have made it through the first instar; some of us are almost ready to be butterflies; indeed, may already be  flying freely. Some of us, such as myself, are still  ambling along in the third instar. But there’s no rush. With nourishment and nurture, we will, eventually, be transformed.

( I think I will make a good  butterfly, don’t you?  🙂   Better keep my feet clean, though. Butterflies taste through their ‘feet’! )

© silkannthreades

Survival of the fittest… ?

Since the beginning of the week I have been watching the monarch caterpillars, outside my bedroom window, slugging it out over the few remaining swan plant leaves. They have been pushing and shoving and head butting in their fight to secure their place at the food table.

Everyone temporarily in harmony.

Everyone temporarily minding their manners.

I tried to help by providing some delicate cucumber slices, as suggested by those in the know .

Tasty?

Tasty? Cucumber minus the sandwich.

Some of the larger caterpillars tested the new menu but were not enthusiastic. They preferred to continue in their old familiar ways and went back to munching every last shred of the swan plants; some of which must have been seasoned by the eggs of what was supposed to be the next generation.

Inevitably, as the food supply has dwindled, so, too, have the caterpillar numbers. One by one the caterpillars have disappeared. Some may have gone to pupate in the dense foliage of the adjacent oregano; others have simply gone.  Where, I don’t know.  Have they moved to new feeding grounds, strengthened only by their will to survive? Or have they gone off to die? The ground is not littered with caterpillar corpses. If they have disappeared to meet their death elsewhere, it is in a manner reminiscent of that noble adventurer Captain Oates; a story beautifully retold by Valerie Davies in her latest post Very gallant gentlemen.

If they have died, I am glad I have been spared the sight of their demise. Watching the caterpillars squabbling over food was hard enough, not to mention the feeling of helplessness over being unable to supply them with more swan plants. ( New plants on order but not available till tomorrow 😦 )

Last year the first of my monarch butterflies emerged on March 1st, the official first day of autumn. (What a lot of firsts 🙂 ) Maybe, come March, this year, I will be surprised and delighted all over again by the birth of  new Royal Beauties but, so far, I have not seen a single chrysalis.

To be continued……

© silkannthreades

“How do I love thee…apples….”

When the first blush of autumn tints the oak,

First tint of autumn

First tint of autumn

and one can feel that quintessential, autumnal air in the breeze,

the apple harvest comes to market.

It's a Breeze

It’s a Breeze

” Dull Russet, glossy  Quarrenden,

Green Wellington,  and scarlet-peeled  Pearmain

You apple-trees,  give up your sum-

Your time is come, your time is come.” (*Apple-time by Eleanor Farjeon)

I am Smitten

Smitten by apples

Smitten by apples

by apples. I adore them. Should I blame my love affair with the apple

I *heart* apples

I *heart* apples

on Eve,

Was it Adam or Eve?

Was it Adam or Eve?

or  Adam?

“Like Adam, I was born

To go  and seek the apple-trees…

the green, the yellow, and the red,

The streaky  pippin-stripe,

The windfall and the still unshed,

The ripe and the unripe-” (* The Favourite Fruit by Eleanor Farjeon)

Or, perhaps,  I should leave that scenario alone, clouded as it is with doubt, and attribute my love of apples to the irresistible  Beauty of  its feng shui,

A Beauty

A Beauty

which brings harmony and peace  to  hearth and home

and rosy good health, too; according to the ancient wisdom of Dae Jang Geum

The wisdom of Dae Jang Geumhttp://www.koreandrama.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/06/daejanggeum3.jpg

The wisdom of Dae Jang Geum

who, in  Episode 52    of  The Jewel in the Palace, insists that apples be placed next to the King, because the aroma of apples will improve his well-being.

And, though I am no King,  I can attest to the loveliness of falling asleep with the sweet scent of apples next to one’s pillow.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

So, when the hint of a flush colours the leaf,

Autumn in the air

Autumn in the air

feast on *”the ruddy apple of the sun” in all its variety, complexity

"Ruddy apple of the Sun" http://echodale.co.nz/apples

“Ruddy apple of the Sun”Suncrisp

and deliciousness.

Apple and raisin crepes with apricot fool, adapted from A Girl called Jackhttp://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/11/20/apple-sultana-pancakes-22p/

Apple and sultana crepes with apricot fool, adapted from  A Girl called Jack

© silkannthreades

Inspiring transformations

Ladysighs teaches herself to write Minute Poems  and  Lanterne poetry.   Mrs P  of Destination Unknown challenges herself to create Villanelles. Their willingness to play with form and words inspired me to attempt a haiku; my very first haiku, ever, emerging, as I near the completion of my fifties!

The monarchs return

when the plums ripen and fall

and  the winds blow home.

The monarchs return

The monarchs return

Plums ripen

when the plums ripen

Plum drop

and fall

There it is; short and sweet 😉

Will I write more haiku, or try my hand, and brain, at another form of poetry ? Maybe, but probably not yet. I would like to concentrate  my spare creative energy on my  chap books.  They need a massive transformation before they are ready to fly.

© silkannthreades

Exploring “Spirited Ageing”

Two weeks into the New Year and I have finished reading my first book for 2014, albeit one I started some time back, in 2013. The book, which I have been reading, at a very leisurely pace, is  Spirited Ageing ~cultivating the art of renewal   ~ by  Juliet Batten .

Juliet, in her book, tackles, with a delightful combination of grace and common sense, the subject of preparing for one’s old age. She invites the us “into the adventure of conscious ageing”  and  provides basic, easy-to-follow, strategies to help us discover our source of energy,  the “illumination” or “regenopause”, upon which  we can draw  to fuel  a ‘ vibrant’ and ‘expansive’ old age. She also invites us to, amongst other things,  care for the soul, do new things constantly, identify treasure and clutter, bring creativity into our lives, and to focus on increasing the  renewable *spirit* of our being, as our physical capacity diminishes.

Clap your hands and sing

Clap your hands and sing

With Juliet’s suggestions in mind, I have been enriching my spirit, in recent days,  by researching  a post I meant to write more than a week ago; a post to acknowledge the closure of one Christmas season on January 6th and   the beginning of  another; that of the Coptic Churches, on  January 7th. I would have gotten to this *work* sooner, if it weren’t for those mayhem-making Moments you may remember from my previous post 😉 . However, when the subject of the post is of a  millennial vintage, a delay of a moment or two, or three ,or four, is neither here nor there.

So, with research completed, here is that delayed post, which has two parts:

Part One;

a visit to  the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland  to gaze upon  the Museum’s collection of Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts and icons;

Diptych Icon with Saint George, and Mary and the Infant Christ

Diptych Icon with Saint George, and Mary and the Infant Christ : Early 15th Century, Tempera on Wood

The Walters Art Museum has “one of the largest collections of manuscripts, icons and processional crosses outside of Ethiopia. Historically, Ethiopia was a Christian kingdom with strong ties in both trade and religion to the cultures located around the Mediterranean. Ethiopia’s Christian tradition dates back to the 4th century, when the ruler of the Aksumite kingdom converted to Christianity; by the 15th century, this African nation had developed a tradition of icon painting that rivaled that of the Orthodox empires.http://art.thewalters.org/browse/category/ethiopia/

and Part Two;

an introduction to the three books I will be reading, now that I have finished “Spirited Ageing”. All three books are by  Elizabeth E Wein ~ The Winter PrinceA Coalition of Lions and The Sunbird. They are visually beautiful books and lovely to hold, as well. I am eager to stretch my imagination and  embark on the adventures they promise in ancient, mythical lands.

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But, in case, you should think, with this post, that I am already lost to  those most ancient of days, I am pleased to report  some relatively recent news, which is  that the city of Vancouver has banned doorknobs in all apartment buildings and   private homes to be built after March 2014. http://www.vancouversun.com/story.html?id=9173543  They will be required to have easier-to-use, universal design levers. That’s the spirit Vancouver City! May I come and spend my old age with you?  🙂

© silkannthreades

 

Light-hearted

My previous  post was, on the whole, written in a sombre tone. I don’t like to dwell too long in darker spaces so, today, I want to lighten the mood and switch, in a rather mercurial fashion, to a relatively light and fluffy topic….. Spanish Cream……a favourite dessert, from yester year, which is probably no more Spanish than Canadian War Cake is particularly Canadian. Or French fries, truly French.

This is Spanish Cream

Spanish Cream

Spanish Cream

I am not sure how old-fashioned a dish is Spanish Cream ( Google and Wiki are unhelpful in this regard) but I first encountered the creamy, silky-smooth, mousse-y deliciousness of this jellied  custard when I was at boarding school; decades ago!  It was one of the few items on the boarding school menu to which I looked forward.

This is the recipe  I use. It is from my very old Edmonds recipe book.

Old recipe in an old book

Old recipe in an old book

As with most of my recipes, this one is very easy to make. How easy is illustrated by the young man in the embedded video. Although  his method is slightly more carefree than mine, I love his relaxed approach!

And, there, you have it. Ready to eat , either on its own, or with any fruit of your choice. I prefer slightly sharp-flavoured fruit, like rhubarb or berries, to complement the sweetness of  the Cream.

Sweet and simple

Sweet and simple

Now, although I adore Spanish Cream, made to the original recipe, I am sure it  would work extremely well, (and would be better for me and kinder to the world), if it were made  using a vegetarian setting agent and coconut milk/cream or almond milk .  I have yet to try making a vegetarian alternative but thinking about doing so makes me realise that, in our rush to industrialize/ rationalise/commercialize food production,  we have condensed the fascinating art of jelly making to a convenience food that comes in a small packet of garishly coloured crystals . For much of history,  a banquet (think Henry VIII) was no such thing unless it came with elaborate jellies, and, in Victorian times, every well-dressed table required a jelly, to be considered properly presented. And even the more humble home table, with Northern English or Scottish origins,  may, long ago, have enjoyed  a simple type of jelly or flummery called Sowens, which was  made from strained oatmeal.  For more on the history of Jellies and Creams, take a look at this fascinating site http://www.historicfood.com/Jellies.htm

Then, come back here and enjoy a few more moments of light-hearted fluff.

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© silkannthreades