Livin’ In A Bubble

Hello There Everybody!  Trust Katy Perry to bring out another catchy song just as I was beginning to get ‘Roar’ out of my head. Every time I turn the radio on, Chained To The Rhythm is playing over and over and over again. And again. And again. And again.

At first I didn’t like it. Then I started listening to the lyrics, I didn’t have much choice, it’s being blasted out of speakers wherever I go.  Then I began to see the message behind this previously annoying pop song. Just read these words:

Are we crazy?
Living our lives through a lens
Trapped in our white-picket fence
Like ornaments
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble
Aren’t you lonely
Up there in utopia
Where nothing will ever be enough?
Happily numb
So comfortable, we live in a bubble, a bubble
So comfortable, we cannot see the trouble, the trouble

Ah, so good
Your rose-colored glasses on
And party on

They got me thinking, maybe she’s right. Perhaps we all live in a bubble, thinking everything’s fine within our own little world. Maybe we don’t want to open our eyes to the rest of the planet and see what’s going on beyond our comfort zone. If we did, we’d have to do something about it, we’d see the poverty, fear and oppression that exists outside of our ‘bubble’. I guess everyone has one, though they’re all very different. Some people wear dark rose-coloured glasses and can see very little, others wear light ones, but rose-coloured all the same.

I think the challenge is to be able to pop your bubble and step out into the big, wide world. So much awaits you and you can do so much to help others.

 

I’d love to know how you feel? Your heartfelt, encouraging, kind and thoughtful comments always make my day so please don’t hesitate to leave me one. I am interested in all your opinions, comment discussions are always welcome. Thank you in advance,

Gracie,

 cropped-a-light-in-the-darkness-button.jpg 

Let The Audience Look to Their Eyes!

Image result for midsummer night's dream Shakespeare's live

Titania, queen of the fairies, in the spectacular A Midsummer Nights Dream Live from the Globe.

I’ve been watching Midsummer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare Live from the Globe on Iplayer this morning. It’s so good! It incorporates music, dance, comedy and, of course, the wonderful, enigmatic, meaningful language of Shakespeare.

The title is a quote from Nick Bottom, the comic part in this play, when he is describing how good an actor he thinks he is. He wants to play all the parts in the play, the hero, the villain, the lady and the animals. He is saying, in this quote, that when he kills himself (as the hero) he will need to produce some tears so he says: Let the audience look to their eyes! Which is silly really as you can’t exactly look to your own eyes, can you? Shakespeare’s good like that.

I love, love, love Shakespeare. I’ve already read all of his 37 plays, I can quote whole passages, translate them into modern English, I’ve written a few adaptions of many of his plays, completed in depth study guides,  I just love the language. It draws me in, makes me think.

Anyhow, A Midsummer  Nights Dream is two and a half hours long, so I’m watching it in half hour parts.

Here is a quote that I particularly like: “My soul consents not to give in to sovereignty.” Hermia. sovereignty means supreme power and authority, in my own words. I like Hermia a lot because she stands up for what she believes and she isn’t afraid of anything. She even tells the Duke of her land what she thinks is right and sticks to it even when he threatens her with death.

 

Here’s my favourite dialog from the first part, between Hermia and Helena. If you don’t know the storyline, I would go look it up now. Not only is it intriguing, it will help you understand this next passage.

Basically, this is Helena complaining about how Demetrius doesn’t love her to Hermia, who Demetrius does love.

Helena: Teach me how you look and how you sway the motion of Demetrius heart. 

Hermia: I frown upon him yet he loves me still.

Helena: Then your frowns could teach my smiles some skill! 

Hermia: I give him curses yet he gives me love.

Helena: Then my prayers could such affection move!

Hermia: The more I hate, the more he follows me.

Helena: The more I love, the more he hates me.

Hermia: His folly, Helena, is no fault of mine.

Helena: Except your beauty! I wish that were mine!

Hermia: Take comfort, he shall no longer see my face. Lysander and myself will fly this place! 

Helena: No!? 

Note: Lysander is Hermia’s love.

Dungeness Adventure

Wren

Saturday 10th of the ninth month, 2016, and it’s another windy day on Romney Marsh. Not wet or particularly cold, but bright and very blowy.

We’re at RSPB, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Dungeness, armed with binoculars and a keen enthusiasm.

I love birdwatching. My parents tell me that when I was just learning to walk, in our house, there was a Gracie height window that looked out over the garden and I would stand or sit and watch the birds for ages. Maybe that’s where it started. I’m quite good at identifying birds, I know a lot of different kinds, species and families. But my favourite bird has to be the Wren, it’s so tiny, but it has a huge voice. Once when I was playing hide and seek with some friends, I hid in a hay pile, at the time we kept goats, I completely buried myself and a little wren came and was jumping around on me, oblivious to the fact that, underneath the unusually human shaped hay stack, was me!

Anyhow, Dungeness now being our local nature reserve, we wanted to check it out. The first highlight was almost as soon as we walked through the door of the visitor centre. One of the walls was completely made of glass and looked out over a vast expanse of water  with many, many sandbanks and little islands dotted across it. The guy at reception smiled at us clutching our binos and membership cards. “Look out there,” he said “See the two white blobs on that island?” I’d guessed before he said it. “Great white egrets!”

I’d never seen a Great White, though I’d always hoped to after seeing so many little egrets when we lived on the boat last year. These Great Whites were magnificent. Looking through a magnified lens, I saw them, their big bodies covered in vanilla coloured feathers, their necks long and arching, their beaks thin, curved and the colour of sunset, their legs stick-like and a dark grey.

Great Egret Photo

 

Adult

Moving out into the reserve, past a pond of flitting dragonflies and noisy frogs, past ditches full of tall, conferring reeds, alongside the shimmering lake.  We reached the first hide. Pushing open the door the hide was jammed with serious looking birders, all sporting several pairs of binoculars round their necks and peering through huge, high power telescopes. We sat down on the bench and, putting our binoculars to our eyes, began scouring the scene for any interesting birds.

I like to watch them going about their daily life, fighting, feeding, tending to their young, mingling, flying. After a while we’d seen some ringed plovers, some curlew sandpipers, a lot of great crested grebes with young, coots, swans, cormorants, tufted ducks and shovellers. Quite good for under an hour of birding.

Ringed plover walking in shallow water

Ringed Plover. Very cute!

More and more people kept pouring into the hide. Eventually a nice lady with a European, maybe french, accent told us that everyone here was looking for a very rare bird that had been spotted on the reserve the previous day. It was called a Buff Breasted Sandpiper and lived in Canada and northern North America and was supposed to migrate to South America, but had got very lost and ended up here.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Suddenly a man gave a jubilant cry. “I’ve got it!” he said excitedly, not looking up from his telescope. “Where? Where?” asked everyone else. “On that island with a coot and lapwing. The one with a post behind it.” This is precisely what he told us.

After a while my binoculars set eye on a very small light coloured bird scuttling around the island. “I’ve seen it.” I told Dad and he directed Evan and Irys to its whereabouts.

It was hard to see against the sandy coloured pebbles, as it was much the same colour. But you easily see it because of its movement. It ran back and forth, to and fro, like it was on fast forward.

After a while of watching this lovely little unexpected visitor and all the other birds around it, we had to end our Dungeness adventure, it was back to the car for some of Gracie’s home-baked tea loaf.

Happy Days……….!

RSPB logo

Lyrics

image image image

I was writing a song recently, which was quite a new experience for me.

Anyhow, my song wasn’t really about anything, I was just rambling on about poetry and music when this line popped into my head.

I thought about it for a while and found it very interesting. I decided to put it in my song, in fact it’s the first line…….

What comes first?
The tune or the words?
There was me,
In my skinny jeans,
Begging you to teach me,
Teach me how to fly!

Fly, fly, fly, teach me how to fly!
Why, why, why, can’t my songs be like the music?
Music……

I was sitting there,
Mama always told me not to stare,
But couldn’t help it.
I was strumming my guitar,
Never knew I’d get this far.

‘Till you taught me,
taught me how to fly, fly, fly.
Taught me how to fly through the sky.

So I’d like to tell you,
How you saved my life,
Giving me the lyrics,
Teaching me to fly.

So, what does come first? The tune or the words? I think it depends if you are more wordy or musical. For me it’s definitely words, how about you? Please let me know in the comments.

image

Some of my favourite lyrics.

Four Birds

4

I hope you like this short story that I wrote. I’m working on my story writing and I do believe it’s slowly improving. This story is like a fable, it has a moral, and the moral is that your parents may make you work hard and learn lots, but they’re doing it because they want to prepare you for life. And they want the best for you, because they love you. Dad and Mum talk to us about this all the time. They are always teaching us things and it’s because they care.

FOUR BIRDS

There once was a family that lived peacefully up in the High Hills. They lived a simple life, in a simple little cottage, on a simple little farm. The children never knew anything about the outside world, but the parents did. Every evening they would sit by the crackling fire, the littlest on the Father’s knee, the other three curled up on the rug. The Father would tell stories of big cities, millions of people, great palaces, schools, brightly coloured markets, beautiful sunsets not blocked out by hills, mountains that touch the sky, majestic forests and exotic animals and oceans that stretch further than the eye can see.

The children listened in awe and one by one they decided that one day they too would see all these wonders. They spoke to their Father about this and he nodded, smiling. “My children,” he began ” I would like nothing more than for you to go out and explore the world, follow your dreams, settle down and help our world to grow.” The children’s eyes grew wide with anticipation. “But,” their Father continued, “but first you must be ready. The world is not just wonderful, it is dangerous too. You must be able to think for yourselves. At the moment you are fully reliant on your Mother and I. Before you go, you must learn and put the effort in. If you do not work hard, you will not be able to go out and adventure.”

The four children walked away, their wise Father’s words resounding in their ears ” You must be able to think for yourselves.”

That night, as the children lay asleep in their warm cosy beds, their Mother and Father sat talking. “Must we make them think for themselves?”, asked their Mother, “Can we not think for them?” ” My dear, the time has come. We cannot think for them always and forever. They must begin now otherwise they will be adults who have no idea how to live. They will always have to rely on someone else, they will never live their lives to the full. Surely that is not what you want for them?” “No,” sniffed the Mother, “I want them to spread their wings and fly.” “Good” smiled the Father “I’m just giving them a little push. That is my job as a Father, to help my children be the best they can be.”

At first the children worked extremely hard, watching and learning from their parents and trying to think for themselves at every opportunity they got. But their Father knew it wouldn’t last long. Slowly, they grew tired and less motivated. Their Father took them aside and reminded them. “Children! How many times have I told you the importance of thinking for yourselves?! You mustn’t keep relying on me and your Mother. It is my role to guide you , but I can’t do everything for you. If you want to go, you must do it for yourself.”

The children felt refreshed and inspired after their Father’s speech and they set about it once again. This time they stuck to it. They learnt more and more and they began to do things for themselves ever oftener.

Their Mother watched them with tears in her eyes, but also pride and joy. Their Father just looked on, content. He rarely had to say anything nowadays.

Eventually the time came when the children were ready to leave. Their parents stood on the hilltop, outside the little cottage, and watched them go. Four birds, flying free.

The Father put his arm around the Mother’s shoulder. “My dear,” he said “our children are off to live their lives the best they can and we have helped them the best we can. They are part of the future and, because we love them, we have made them as ready for it as they possibly could be. They will contribute to a bright and hopeful world.”

THE END

birds

Summer Harvest!

Harvest weekend is here at last!

Harvest weekend is here at last!

Imagine this:  a field of beautifully  golden wheat, it’s perfectly ripe and sways gently in the warm, humid, summer breeze.  Harvest  weekend has finally arrived!

Where I live, on a farm in Sussex, the harvest is a big deal for everyone, men, women and children alike.  Everyone  has to muck in and pull their weight.

DSCN9829

Tiger enjoying herself.

Tiger enjoying herself.

Loading up the trailer

Loading up the trailer

Long ago scythes and sickles were the only means of harvesting, but recently they have been forgotten because of modern technology such as combine harvesters.  Not only do combine harvesters do the job in a very short amount of time, they also save a vast quantity of human sweat.

Working in the early evening sun

Working in the early evening sun

Everyone helps out.

Everyone helps out.

Andy, our chief baker here on the farm, is incredibly knowledgeable about all sorts of grains, baking and the whole process from grain to loaf.  People say that he is one of the most learned people about wheat.  He specialises in something called heritage wheat.

DSCN9842

Heritage wheat is very old wheat.  Wheat that you might say is not used by any farmers anymore, except growers of this heritage grain.  It’s Andy’s passion to reintroduce these old varieties back into use.  You may wonder how he gets hold of the grains, well, that’s simple enough.  There are two different ways.  Number one is a seed bank, there are usually one each country.  For every type of grain that is ever cultivated, they save about 180g.  People can get it from the bank in tiny quantities. Number two is more romantic, but probably less used.  It’s  where you visit an old mill and with special permission, take up the floorboards and gather the ancient grains that have fallen through over hundreds of years.  The absolute maximum age that you can still grow wheat at is around 40 years old.

The main reason why types of wheat get wiped out, is because of illnesses.  Most types last 8-9 years before an illness that can take them over forms.

Once you have the grains, maybe fifty or so of them, you sow them.  Then when you harvest them, you find that each head has say fifteen grains in it.  Again you sow all of these seeds and the numbers keep multiplying.  Soon you have a whole field of heritage wheat.

Anyhow, because we were harvesting heritage wheat, it seemed only proper that we did it traditionally.  Plus we were all wanting to do it with scythes and sickles.

We must get it in before tommorrow, because it is due to rain.

We must get it in before tommorrow, because it is due to rain.

Before the harvest Andy worked extremely hard, sowing, reaping, sowing again, reaping once again, he’d been nurturing this wheat for 7 long years.  We just came to help with the cherry on the cake.

All weekend long us workers harvested, sometimes having breaks to sit in the shade and sip cool icy water or run down to the river and have a refreshing swim.  Our wide-brimmed straw hats bobbed among the long yellow stems, as we waded through, collecting the heads of the Orange Devon Blue Rough Chaff, which is dark and furry and leaving the tall, light, velvetty Old Ken Hoary.  Us kids would run up to the taps and fill jug after jug of cold water, then pour it into cups with a splash of ginger cordial for the other workers.  We’d cut sheaths of a certain type of wheat and tie it with tape, writing its name, whether Welsh Hen Gymro or Chidham Red.  We separated the weed from the wheat, all the while munching on crunchy grains.  Each tastes a little different, Old Kent Hoary is slightly spicy, ODBRC is more sweet.

Evan working hard

Evan working hard

Chewing grains of wheat

Chewing grains of wheat

where's Irys?

where’s Irys?

Ah! There she is!

Ah! There she is!

At noon we all walked down to the manor house for a delicious and totally traditional lunch of pickles, cheese and , of course, bread! We all talked pleasantly and discussed the afternoon’s work.  The puddings were all made by me, they included flapjacks and rhubarb & plum crumble. In the evening there was music, meat, a campfire and beer.

Yum!

Yum!

The grand finale of the harvest weekend was when we loaded all of the sheaths onto the tractor trailer and followed it up to the bakery were we unloaded and had a team photo taken on the trailer.  Then we all rode back to the field to do it again!

Such a wonderful photo, full of beauty

Such a wonderful photo, full of beauty

Daddy!

Daddy!

Tiger looks like a proper country girl here!

Tiger looks like a proper country girl here!

This is Andy proudly showing off his the product of his hard work

This is Andy proudly showing off his the product of his hard work

 

Lulu waiting to catch the sheaf that is about to be thrown down to her.

Lulu waiting to catch the sheaf that is about to be thrown down to her.

Well done!

Well done!

Overall I loved doing the harvest, getting a feel of how it used to be for people in the books I read, like Laura out of Little House on the Prairie, and learning so much.  This weekend has been part of my homeschool life education.

 AwesomeTeam photo!

AwesomeTeam photo!

ME!

ME!

Lulu, Evan, Tiger, Irys, Dad and Me

Lulu, Evan, Tiger, Irys, Dad and Me

Tiger and Ev on the trailer

Tiger and Ev on the trailer

 

A good view!

A good view!

Summer Sunsets

Happy smiles

Happy smiles

Everyone has dreams, ideas, things that float about in your head, but only some people have a special and unique ability to put these thoughts and daydreams into a beautifully woven web of words, music or paint.  Some of these people are poets, artists, musicians, authors, playwrights, singers and lyricists.

I hope to become a few of these things. I would lovefor my name to go down in history as an author or a singer, but I know that it is unlikely, I am happy just to have these as hobbies that I enjoy. The thing I do hope to be successful with is poetry, it is something I love, I am passionate about and  I do a lot of in my spare time. I like to share my poems and inspire people to have poetry as a pastime. It allows you to get your emotions out, capture your feelings and grasp an aspect of life and pin it onto a piece of paper

Some boys, including my Dad and Brother, might think, “I’d rather go fishing”. Well, the way I see poetry is rather like fishing. I have a theory that everyone has words swimming about in their mind, your pencil and paper are like your rod and  net, you catch the words with your pencil and put them on your peice of paper.  Some people are naturally talented at poetry, while others are more practical, really it doesn’t matter, it’s the enthusiasm that makes a difference.

So let me know, whether you already love writing poetry or you have just decided to begin, what have you written about?

Here’s my latest:

SUMMER SUNSETS

A windblown, carefree figure
silhouetted on a hill,
summer sunsets swirling,
I will love you still.

Time freezes
when I’m with you.
The sun stoops down to kiss you,
she leaves an amber burn upon your cheek.

Will you stay with me forever?
Under the skies of beauty.
Will you answer me “never”,
when I ask if you will leave me?

We’ll swim in the moon’s waters,
dance with the planet’s daughters,
sleep in the sun’s quarters.

The stones will sing us songs,
the stars will bang great golden gongs,
the bells will ring,
a hundred birds begin to sing.

Really Wild!

 

Breakfast Time

Breakfast Time

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

 

 

 

I wake to the sound of birdsong and the faint smell of wood smoke. The early morning sun shines brightly through white canvas of our bell tent. I glance at the clock, 6:30, forty five minutes to wait until I can venture out of the little tent crammed with six (well, five now) sleeping children all worn out from their previous days full of fun activities, laughter and jokes at the Really Wild Home Ed Camp. Each and every day so far has been amazing and jam packed with fun. Silently I look about me, I can see five heads on five pillows, their bodies wrapped in sleeping bags, blankets and layers of clothes, safe from the cold air. One by one the campers awake, their bed heads very noticable, I grin at them and we all start to chat. I rummage about in my clothes pile and pull out of a pocket my camp programme. We all pour over it and discuss the day’s plan. Everyone’s heading in different directions at different times, but I manage to figure it all out. Stella and I smile at each other through the confusion, us older girls are so organised, we planned it all yesterday.

 

Mornin' Spenser!!

Mornin’ Spenser!!

Evan at 7:15, day 4

Evan at 7:15am, day 4

Caedmon: some look better than others first thing in the morning!

Caedmon: some look better than others first thing in the morning!

At roughly 7:15 we all stumble out into the fresh morning air, all dressed and ready to go. It’s Thursday morning and the last day of the camp. We shovel down our muesli and Stella, Irys, Tiger and I all head off into the main meeting area ( called the village, even though it’s a fenced off section of a field with a marquee and a giant tipi in it) to gather for the animal kingdom walk. The boys, Caedmon, Spenser and Evan stay back at the fire. Steve takes us all into Grassy field and does a little talk about animal tracks, homes, food, signs, bones, fur and lastly POO! I keep watching out for my friend Benny and eventually he  joins us. We walk up the side of the field, doing a little foraging along the way. I stop with Stella, Tiger and Benny, my three best friends, for a snack of ‘bread and cheese’. In the war children were told to go out straight after breakfast and not come back until tea time. “There’s plenty of bread and cheese on the hawthorn tree”, their parents would say. What they meant by this was that the leaves are bread and the whitey yellow petals are the cheese.

We enter Little Wood and Steve walks down to the stream. All the animals come to drink here and we spot plenty of tracks in the sticky mud. A dainty deer, a slinking fox, a colourful pheasant and even maybe a lumbering badger. We creep along the edge and for some reason I feel the need to whisper it’s so peaceful and tranquil. It’s almost as if the leader of the animal kingdom has you under his spell. I wonder what sort of animal would have this real magic?

After walking a little further we discover some rabbit holes. We inspect the poo and freshly dug earth. Steve wants to show us something else, something I have seen many times before, something I have always wanted to explore, something that is a Wowo secret and a place forbidden to any of us children. It’s exciting as we walk towards it, then we see it, the gaping hole, the hole that we know if any of us fell in we would disappear. We stare down into the darkness for a while then Steve beckons to me, I go over and he starts to lower me into that deep damp abyss. I have not a trace of fear in me, only ecstatic excitement. As my feet hit the bottom I call up to Steve and the others. Now only a my head is sticking out, I look down and see that I am only standing on a narrow ledge and that the bottom is still far below me. My eyes grow accustomed to the gloom and beneath me I see a tunnel that I could easily squeeze through, that I long to explore, but Steve is already pulling me up.

The camp really was wild, we were up from 6:30am until 11:00pm running around, going from knife craft to tarpology, camp craft to stalking, tracking to search and rescue and foraging to cordage making.  We hardly saw Mum and Dad, only at breakfast, lunch and dinner and when they forced us to brush our teeth before bed. Talking of brushing I’m almost certain there’s no need for hair brushes and clean knickers on camp, but that’s another adult rule. The freedom was pretty cool, being able to decide what activities we wanted to do.  We all enjoyed ourselves loads and none of us can wait until next years Really Wild Home Ed Camp.  Meanwhile it’s lots of early nights for us!

Really Wild Photo Gallery

Where's Irys gone?

Where’s Irys gone?

Dance, dance, dance

Dance, dance, dance

Dance on Lulu

Dance on Lulu

One happy camper

One happy camper

Fun fun, yum yum

Fun fun, yum yum

Tinder bundle alight!

Tinder bundle alight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bollywood dance!

Bollywood dance!

 

Eggy bread and Ketchup!

Eggy bread and Ketchup!

 

 

 

The campfire's roaring

The campfire’s roaring

DSCN9729

Caedmon cooking us all breakfast

 

Eating bannock cooked on the wild foods, nutrition and cooking course.

Eating bannock cooked on the wild foods, nutrition and cooking course.