This week I looked at an alphabet book for adults … although the book not for adult use only it does have one or two images that we might not expect in a child’s book for instance there is ‘E’ for executioner and scantily clad ladies and men looking like letters in the alphabet. Nonetheless it is a beautiful book ; my grandsons would enjoy it! I would like a copy but it is very expensive! There are works by Annie Newnham, Eileen Clarke, Ben Sands, Wendy Darnell and others I had not heard of, but will look out for soon.
Little Nancy Etticoat,
With a white petticoat,
And a red nose;
She has no feet or hands,
The longer she stands
The shorter she grows.
The answer to this riddle which has been posed for at least three centuries, is a ‘lighted candle’. Nancy Etticoat has been called Old Nancy Netty Cote, Netty Cote, Nanny Goat, and little Hetty Cote.
‘I have a little boy in a white cote the biger he is the leser he goes, is also known.
Coming back to work at Special Collections yetsterday I uncovered a book ; I had left to one side before my holiday. Entitled the Adults alphabets : examples of English press alphabet books from the last hundred years, with an alphabetical description, copious illustrations and a checklist of press alphabet books by David Blamires, I thought it might be worth a look.
I simply adore these wood cuts by Edwina Ellis of whom I know nothing. I will look out for more of her work …
I am not a technical photographer in fact I don’t consider myself as a photographer. I take pictures ; what I see. A snapshot that is often a happy accident. A silhouette for me is often a result of me taking a snap into the sun; and then deleted.
So I thought this week’s challenge might thwart me; until I remembered some photographs I took last week at Ipanema as the sun went down behind Sugar Loaf. This is of course a daily event but nonetheless the last glimpses of the sun at about 5pm on a winter’s afternoon in Rio de Janeiro still brings crowds to watch and celebrate.
Last week I learned a new swear word. ‘Abaixo’ means ‘from below’ used like ‘today the temperature fell below freezing.’ However for my purpose, I enjoy a swear word when ‘oopsy daisy’ seems not quite right, it can be used to to express disapproval or protest.
Something supporters might call out at a football match or a political activist on a march.
Yesterday, I returned from my holiday in Rio de Janeiro where I stay 5 minutes from Copacabana beach, the play ground of the rich and famous; while I have no pictures of them, I do have plenty of the palm trees, golden sands and the famous black and white boulevard. However, I stayed in a favela, the home of the not so rich and famous, the so called ‘low life,’ a place like many others that has been carefully airbrushed from the holiday brochures. I will not discuss here how ‘airbrushing’ is also a synonym for bulldozing and flattening, and to those responsible I say ‘abaixo.’
While I am not pleased to say I only learned one word of Portuguese while in Rio, I am proud to say ,I stayed in very beautiful Babilona and cannot wait to go back!’
Today I return to my home in UK. I leave my beloved daughter once more. We are practiced and prepared for the comings and subsequent goings but they do not become less tortuous.
Our holiday has been as we hoped and in many ways much better. The Brazilian winter has been kind. Sightseeing has been a joy; learning more about my daughter’s adopted home is a lifeline to distance.
It has been a delight to see my daughter’s recovery and how she has embraced the initial difficulties and how she has gone on the make her home comfortable and warm (cool) and then become carer of her partner whose injuries have taken longer to repair. All this, and maintain full time employment, even while she was recovering from a badly broken leg.
I go home happy (ish) and content (ish) that I will not forget her home and will continue to foster connection via wireless and the internet; in many ways we not be apart.
Nonetheless, my heart is heavy; my injuries from the accident and other tragedies in the last 6 months are unseen and no less painful. Except my hair loss, since coming to Brazil I have taken off my scarves and hats; in 25 degrees they were uncomfortable and quite frankly less attractive than a bald head. I have almost become used to the situation until I see my reflection.
However, being in a strange city surrounded by supportive family who love me with or without my crowning glory is one thing. Going back to work and among people who might not be so sensitive to my grief; not just my separation but also my hair loss which seems to be so unjust.
So while I give thanks to the providers of my recent joys above listed ; I ask not that my hair grows back but I celebrate my homecoming with good grace.