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Weekly photo challenge … refraction

October 21, 2014

Oh Dear! A double whammy for me this week.  I do not know the meaning of refraction ; so therefore have no idea how to demonstrate it in a photograph. Not wanting to waste an opportunity to publish a blog post  I will give it my best stroke.

As if by magic this morning under a Indian Bean Tree near the library a ‘crop’ of toadstools appeared. They are very beautiful and attracting lot of attention from the students as they walk to and from the library.  The tree is huge and the soil below remains dark and damp most of the year.  Although it is a idea environment for fungi it is not so easily photographed.  Until this morning when the sun was high and particularly bright.  It filtered through the heavy foliage and even lit up the tiny droplets of water that hung precariously on the edge of the toadstool.

I am not sure, as previously mentioned that this has any thing to do with refraction but for me is as good as it gets this week.

2014-10-17 13.22.06

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What is a bucket list?

October 20, 2014

Where have I been? Why do I know nothing of this? I first heard the expression on Friday when I friend described the rather expensive piece of furniture  she had seen in the Conran shop was going in her ‘bucket.’ I bemused wondered ‘if I have bucket let a lone a Smoked Oak Sideboard put in it?’

Then I Saturday I heard someone say her long planned trip to Australia was in the ‘bucket’ and a cruise into Southampton docks from New York not no longer ‘on the cards’ but definitely in the bucket.

It seems even the complicated ways in which these grand desires are financed  are in the bucket ; a dark dream  … I note ‘with a desultory smile’.

Needless to say  I was unable to add to this wonder-list but have considered since and pretty much decided, first I need a bucket … a watering can won’t do.

2014-10-20 08.56.55

Silent Sunday

October 19, 2014


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Saturday …

October 18, 2014

Today I leave my post for a while and I am stuck for an explanation.  It seems important to share but the words don’t come …

The bottom line is, I am going with my siblings to the place where I was born to scatter my mother’s ashes.  It is 10 months since she died and still the wounds are tender.

I want to say it will be a happy release, or a ad goodbye or even it will be good to be with my family for while ; but my grief has been complicated.

I am told it is happening and it needs to be done ; she would have wanted it.

so I remain bereft of words

maybe that is best.

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Friday’s library snapshot

October 17, 2014

I surprised myself this week when I discovered I had not featured the work of Gwendolen Raverat (1885 – 1957). So I will amend that today.

Gwen Raverat; the wife of Jacques Raverat, a French artist, is the daughter of Sir George Darwin (Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University), and a grand-daughter of Charles Darwin.

Working for 3 years at the Slade School under Henry Tonks, she became interested in wood cuts and according to Herbert Furst writing in 1923 ‘ Raverat began to practice this craft with extraordinary … inborn dexterity.  Mrs Raverat’s work is distinguished by that rare quality, creative imagination combined with a craftsmanship of originality and unusual skill.  Whether she works with knife or graver, on a soft or on hard wood, her technique is always in deep and instinctive sympathy with the material. Her cuts are never drawings transferred to wood but seem to have been produced, as Rodin said he produced his sculpture, by merely removing irrelevant matter from the block and so revealing what was already in it.  Her imagination ranges from the representation of the beauty of light in nature to the realisation of profound emotion and soaring fantasy’.

Praise indeed …

Alphabe Thursday V is for Violante …

October 16, 2014

Oh dear I am getting near the end of the alphabet and clutching at straws.

hannah in the pantry


Hannah Bantry, in the pantry,

Gnawing at a mutton bone:

How she gnawed it,

How she clawed it,

When she found herself alone.


Frederick in Maria Edgeworth’s story the Mimic (1796) sings ‘Violante in the pantry’ and then in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera we have Iolanthe!

I know … not the greatest post but ‘V’ is a difficult one!

alphabet thursday

Wednesday’s Wood engraver …

October 15, 2014

I haven’t yet  spoken about Gwen Raverat (1885 – 1957) and her work;  but I will soon. Just to say, she was not taught to engrave at art school she was it seems self taught.  Raverat  began wood engraving after being at the Slade School for a year where she studied painting. She was inspired by Bewick;  at the time there was no one at the Slade who had any interest in the craft.  However she had the luck to obtain instruction from her cousin, Eleanor Monsell  (Mrs Bernard Darwin) who had begun to cut and engrave wood blocks as early as 1898 but had to give up due to pressure of other work.  I know nothing more  about Eleanor Monsell except that she did illustrate her husband’s books for children. I am looking out for more of her work.

But I love this little engraving called the Bath …

Eleanor M Darwin



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