Monday, 28 January 2013

Gretel Parker 

The moon is waning; we missed the full moon as she was hiding behind her curtain of snow.  This morning,  this ball of rock has renewed the spirit.  The pull exerted on our earth is one that works on me too. Fortified I can face the day.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Reflections and silence

Once again I have put the link to the fundraising for Gretel:  I feel very strongly that the more it is promoted the more we may be able to help.

I have written, then deleted, re written this post many times:  finally I have decided that there are too many of us who find speaking of grief hard and it should not be shied away from.   The ones left behind often lose their voices for a time, then when they find them again the world has often moved on from them, no longer having the time to listen.  When it is time to break the silence we all need someone to just listen.

The news about Gretel was a shocking start to the week;  I had no idea that it would kick start a set of feelings I was not at all prepared to deal with.  I too lost someone close (my Uncle, my Dad's youngest brother and the uncle closest to my brothers and me).  He left us in similar circumstances and he left us with the same maelstrom of feelings I suspect is engulfing Gretel right now.

At the time I had no idea how to deal with the grief so it got put away inside a box of anger.  We stopped talking about him.  It was not that he had ceased to matter it was just that none of us knew how to cope.  As time went by we got used to the habit of not talking about him and as such never really dealt with his loss properly.

Twenty or so years later I have found that the grief was ready to come out of the box of anger, that had been coated in a layer of forgetfulness.  At first all I wanted to do was keep the silence, organise inside me the memories and weep awhile.  Little by little this has all risen to the surface and I have finally faced up to and spoken of the loss and grief that has been bottled up.  Blessedly, my mum has been staying with us this week and I have been able to talk with her.  Together we have had the time to reflect and respond.

Each loss of this sort is different and the rent in our personal world is different for each of us.  I cannot and will not compare my loss with Gretel's; they are too personal to each of us (the same goes for any one who has experienced similar).  But for each of us there is a need for silence, noise, sadness and eventually the ability to recapture the joys.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Please Help
What would you do if the person you loved and relied on most in all the world suddenly died?
Most of us would turn to our support systems -- parents, siblings, church groups, fraternal organizations.  But what if you didn't have those sources of support?  Then, I think, you would turn to your friends.
Gretel Parker is a talented artist, illustrator and artisan needlefelter who lives in the county of Shropshire in the United Kingdom.  She's also my friend.  Perhaps she's your friend too.  And right now she needs some financial support.
On 21 January, Andy Macauley -- Gretel's sweetheart and life partner of 21 years -- died.  The two had just moved to Shropshire and had bought their first house together, a place they christened "Bodge Cottage." Andy died without a will, and it will likely take many months for lawyers to determine what, if anything, is left for his sweetheart.  Meanwhile, life does go on and there are still bills to be paid -- funeral expenses, mortgage payments, electric bills, trips to the grocery store, and all the other costs of daily life.
Andy's job helped pay for things, but now he is gone and Gretel's situation is financially precarious. Although Andy's family is dear to her, Gretel has no living parents, no siblings, no one from the usual support system to help her get through this.
But she does have us. We can help her.
As mentioned, Gretel is very talented.  She has written and published several books, has been featured in the British craft magazine Mollie Makes, and has held several seminars to teach others the craft of needlefelting.  Her blog, "Middle of Nowhere," is a window into everyday life in rural Britain and has helped her meet and befriend many people around the world.  I have absolute faith that Gretel will get back on her feet when the time is right, and that she will be able to keep Bodge Cottage.  In the short term, she could use some financial assistance.
Any amount you could donate would be welcome -- and if you can't donate, you can still help by spreading the word about the Gretel Parker Project on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.  Tell your friends and family.  Let as many people know as possible.  Please, help us to help Gretel.
Thanks for your time.20130122122221-paintgranny
I cannot put this any more succinctly than Suzanne (Gretel's friend who started the campaign).  It can happen to anyone; my own family has been touched by similar circumstances. Please help.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

An unexpected visitor

In the depths of the snow and ice, we have been scattering a range of food for our local birds.  The result has been an influx of blackbirds, field-fares and a solitary chaffinch.  We have seen the number of sparrows, coal, great and blue tits increase and the black cap pair at now pretty much permanent residents.

This morning I was about to get the camera, with a view to photographing the field-fares.  They looked stunning against the snow and in comparison with the male blackbirds.  However,  there was huge explosion of birds, leaving the ground at speed.

Quite definitely the male, he arrived at speed but was not able to get at the birds on the ground (we have too many trees for raptors to lift off easily).  Having failed to get breakfast he sat in next doors silver birch for about 10 minutes.  

After a while he flapped off to better hunting grounds, since then we have not seen a single bird back on the feeders.  One or two are coming back to the apple tree but are not brave enough to try and feed yet.
I still hope to get some shots of the field-fares before they leave us, Sparrowhawks allowing.

Sunday, 13 January 2013