Sunday, 17 February 2013

Growly days

Funds for Gretel

There is a bit of a theme developing on the desk today.  The only thing missing is a story, that is going to have to come later:
so for now a favourite poem:

The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag.
The reason you will see, no doubt,
It is to keep the lightning out.
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs. (Anon)
How the Bear lost his tail: Thanks to the BoyScoutTrail  blog for this version of an old native story.  
Back in the old days, Bear had a tail which was his proudest possession. It was long and black and glossy and Bear used to wave it around just so that people would look at it. Fox saw this. Fox, as everyone knows, is a trickster and likes nothing better than fooling others. So it was that he decided to play a trick on Bear. It was the time of year when Hatho, the Spirit of Frost, had swept across the land, covering the lakes with ice and pounding on the trees with his big hammer. Fox made a hole in the ice, right near a place where Bear liked to walk. By the time Bear came by, all around Fox, in a big circle, were big trout and fat perch. Just as Bear was about to ask Fox what he was doing, Fox twitched his tail which he had sticking through that hole in the ice and pulled out a huge trout.
'Greetings, Brother,' said Fox. 'How are you this fine day?'

'Greetings,' answered Bear, looking at the big circle of fat fish. ' I am well, Brother. But what are you doing?'

'I am fishing,' answered Fox. 'Would you like to try?'

'Oh, yes,' said Bear, as he started to lumber over to Fox's fishing hole.

But Fox stopped him. 'Wait, Brother,' he said, 'This place will not be good. As you can see, I have already caught all the fish. Let us make you a new fishing spot where you can catch many big trout.'

Bear agreed and so he followed Fox to the new place, a place where, as Fox knew very well, the lake was too shallow to catch the winter fish:which always stay in the deepest water when Hatho has covered their ponds. Bear watched as Fox made the hole in the ice, already tasting the fine fish he would soon catch. 'Now,' Fox said, 'you must do just as I tell you. Clear your mind of all thoughts of fish. Do not even think of a song or the fish will hear you. Turn your back to the hole and place your tail inside it. Soon a fish will come and grab your tail and you can pull him out.'

'But how will I know if a fish has grabbed my tail if my back is turned?' asked Bear.

'I will hide over here where the fish cannot see me,' said Fox. 'When a fish grabs your tail, I will shout. Then you must pull as hard as you can to catch your fish. But you must be very patient. Do not move at all until I tell you.'

Bear nodded, 'I will do exactly as you say.' He sat down next to the hole, placed his long beautiful black tail in the icy water and turned his back.

Fox watched for a time to make sure that Bear was doing as he was told and then, very quietly, sneaked back to his own house and went to bed. The next morning he woke up and thought of Bear. 'I wonder if he is still there,' Fox said to himself. 'I'll just go and check.'

So Fox went back to the ice covered pond and what do you think he saw? He saw what looked like a little white hill in the middle of the ice. It had snowed during the night and covered Bear, who had fallen asleep while waiting for Fox to tell him to pull his tail and catch a fish. And Bear was snoring. His snores were so loud that the ice was shaking. It was so funny that Fox rolled with laughter. But when he was through laughing, he decided the time had come to wake up poor Bear. He crept very close to Bear's ear, took a deep breath, and then shouted: 'Now, Bear!!!' Bear woke up with a start and pulled his long tail hard as he could. But his tail had been caught in the ice which had frozen over during the night and as he pulled, it broke off : Whack! : just like that. Bear turned around to look at the fish he had caught and instead saw his long lovely tail caught in the ice.

'Ohhh,' he moaned, 'ohhh, Fox. I will get you for this.' But Fox, even though he was laughing fit to kill was still faster than Bear and he leaped aside and was gone.

Bear was so embarrassed, he went back to his cave and did not come out until spring. So it is that even to this day Bears have short tails, hibernate all winter, and have no love at all for Fox. And if you ever hear a bear moaning, it is probably because he remembers the trick Fox played on him long ago and he is mourning for his lost tail.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Funds for Gretel Raffle

The campaign to help Gretel is still going strong.  Donna Flower has had a great idea:
Funds for Gretel

Click on the picture and you can see the raffle that she has organised.  Donating (buying tickets) is easy and the art and craft community has donated a some wonderful prizes.

The fund is 2/5 of the way there, There is still time to help.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

When the going gets tough, get baking....

God Fettigsdag.

Click on the pictures, they will lead you to the lovely blogs who supplied the recipes for these.


There are two recipes as the first is in UK measures and the second in US.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Dining in the company of Dragons

Can't afford a Wayne Anderson, do it yourself then. (Loving the dragons of  WA)
A small contribution (my first) to the Moveable Feast set up by Terri Windling, on her wonderful Myth and Moor blog.
Dragon inspired by, and for, Jackie Morris


A long time love affair that started with the stories of my childhood and has continued to this day.  Not surprisingly some of my favourite books contain these marvellous and magical creatures.  From the tales collected by Ruth Manning Saunders; through the joys of Smaug; from Jackie Morris' glorious paintings to the Uccello's George and the Dragon.
Uccello. George and the Dragon

 Each of these shaped my imagination.

Dragons sit on my shoulder, sing in my ears and lighten my eyes.  Without them the world is a duller place.

And the man said,  "Yes, I excuse you."
And Poo-Poo said."Excuse me, Mr McIntosh, but is this your dragon?"
And Mr McIntosh said, "Now do I look like a man who has a dragon?"
And Poo-Poo said, "I've never seen anyone who did have a dragon."
"That's a very extraordinary thing," said Mr McIntosh, "You can't have travelled very far."
                          C.S.Forester, Poo-Poo and the Dragons.

Stargazey, now in Australia
 "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him."
Tolkien: The Hobbit.

My first felted Dragon, from Tell Me a Dragon, Jackie Morris
Over the years I have collected them to me in both written and corporeal form:
The first is inherited from my Gran, he is our house guardian, as he was hers.  The second is a delicate glass dragon, who was a gift from my lovely Aunt Pam and Uncle Dick. The final is my ice Dragon, gifted to me from my Aunty Bobbie (fellow lover of dragons).

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

First felt and stitch

Made using wet felting, needle felting, more wet felting, rolling and then hand stitching.  Not entirely happy as I think it is too fussy in places.  However the appetite is whetted now and I want to make another picture in fiber.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Wish me luck...

Is there anyone who does not enjoy a story.  We all like to be spun a yarn in one form or another: reading, listening to the radio, watching a film or television.  If we are really lucky the story is given to us live, told by a story teller and woven around us second by second.

Yesterday I was lucky to be part of a workshop with the gifted story teller: Nicky Rafferty.  As part of our drive to show the children that reading is a life long pleasure, a gift, we have started a project to find ways to reach those who do not yet know this.  Part of this project is predicated on the notion that not all stories have to be read through a book, they come through the ear.  That to be able to read for enjoyment a child needs the cadence, rhythm, music and art of a good story demonstrated.  We do this through our story time reading all the time; less often do we do it through the art of oral story telling.

So, that is what I will be doing for part of the afternoon, trying out my skills as an oral storyteller.

Having watched Nicky, I have come to the conclusion that you need two core skills to be a story teller, you need to be a wordsmith who can pluck the right phrase out and place it next to another one well.  And- you need to be a performer, with a body and voice that adds in the shades to the story.  I am not bad at the words on a page bit - but I am not one of life's natural performers, neither do I have a particularly mellifluous voice.

That aside nothing ventured, nothing gained.  We have been challenged to tell a story in class and I will do just that.  I am down to either using the one that Nicky taught us yesterday (always helps to be sure of your material); or I will use another classic fairy tale with an original ending ( they are year 6 and need the more gruesome endings).

So wish me luck. I will be recording this for posterity, although I am not sure I will be able to bear listening to it afterwards.

Oh, and if you want to hear some who do it properly find an event with these guys:
We are still raising for Gretel, please help if you can.
Gretel Parker