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Friday’s snapshot from the library …

October 24, 2014

I have a passion for alphabet books so when this one by Alice M Cook landed on my desk I was intrigued.  I know nothing about illustrator so I welcome any information.  Although the images are very like those of Mabel Lucie Attwell and very much of a time.  The colours are very lovely and the images do tell us a little of oriental culture at the late 19th century albeit stilted and rosy … my favourite is ‘T’ for the tea (ceremony)

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Alphabe Thursday W is for Old Woman

October 23, 2014

old woman

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,

She had so many children she didn’t know what to do;

She gave them some broth without any bread;

She whipped them all soundly and put them to bed.


The celebrated inhabitant of the shoe has been identified with several ladies for little reason other than the size of their families, for example Caroline, wife of George II had eight children, and Elizabeth Vergoose of Boston who had six of her own and ten step children.  It is surprising that no one suggested Edward Lear who had twenty-one children.

The rhyme is old and relates to the version in the Infants Institutes (1797)

There was an old woman, and she lived in shoe,

She had so many children she didn’t know what to do.

She crumm’d ‘em some porridge without any bread;

And she borrowed a beetle, and she knocked ‘em all o’ the head.

Then out went th’ old woman to bespeak ‘em a coffin,

And went she went back she found ‘em all a-loffeing.

The last word suggests that there is a Shakespearean reference.  So if the rhyme is very old then there may be a folk-lore significance.  The shoe has long been symbolic of a woman until her marriage.  Casting a shoe after a bride when she goes off on her honeymoon is possibly a relic of this, symbolising a fruitful marriage.

alphabet thursday

Wednesday’s Wood engraver

October 22, 2014

I discovered Clare Leighton early in my search for women engravers.  I still know little about her except that she was the first woman to write about wood engraving.  It was considered a new kind of book.  From then people could ‘teach themselves’ ; the process of wood-engraving is described for the ordinary reader in simple and straightforward language unlike other works such as Chatto and Jackson’s A treatise on Wood-Engraving (1839).

I have a copy of the book and it is as Patrica Jaffe suggests in Women Engravers ‘remarkable  … as it is the first 20th century technical guide which gives a running commentary, in the form of captions, upon actual contemporary prints. She provided an index to the serious aims and achievements of living engravers.

The following year. 1933, Leighton published the Farmer’s year a folio containing 12  images illustrating the agricultural labours during the year.

As a new wood engraver the for me progression of Loading is indescribable


Further reading

Women Engravers by Patricia Jaffe

Wood-engraving and woodcuts by Clare Leighton (‘How to do it’ Series)


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

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.

2014-10-18 07.42.28




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