Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Renewed greetings!

Hi Celtic Year Projectors!

I've been engaged in mighty distractions, so only reading and looking at the awesome Lughnasah creations now - you've been busy bees.

Me and Kay have some contributions that have been sown and are growing but not quite ready for harvesting ... so, to follow at some ripened time in the near future.

btw, the afore-mentioned contributions not organic in the gorgeous wild meadow garden sort of way, but in the multi-media way ... if they finish growing properly that is :-)

Loved reading the blog this evening

Have missed ye all


A story for Lammas


The lake’s ferry boat slid easily up to the jetty at Glenridding, barely disturbing the rhythmic slap of water against wood as the crewman jumped to terra firma, a heavy rope looped over his shoulder.
I pulled my fleece closer as a gust of wind bit sharply against my back. The light changed again and the previously jewelled trees softened, forming an unremarkable dull streak against the lake edge. Sparkling water turned to darkness.
My eyes shifted to the wooden boat, now moored safely against the jetty. Cold, tired passengers hurried to the café, eager for the comfort of hot coffee and bacon sandwiches after a long day walking the steep hills.
For a moment I forgot why I was here; lost in memory. That day, there had been a swan cruising the shore line; aloof and alone amongst the tiny ducks. An arrogant sense of its own beauty had prevented the bird from begging for bread, preferring instead to coax tourists into presenting him personally with the tastiest morsels. We had laughed at the visitors who were ignorant of the swan’s regular game and were hushed by the toddler whose eyes widened in awe at the size and brilliance of the elegant creature.
You pointed out the memorial to Donald Campbell erected by his granddaughter and teased me with your imagined plan to beat his 1955 record of 215mph across the lake. I knew then you were probably serious.
I smiled to myself, but the sight of the grey stone with its plaque stole my laughter. The pain of a more recent memory ripped through my heart and I quickly looked away.
“Are you getting on board love? We’re about to cast off and there isn’t another boat until tomorrow” a cheery voice on deck interrupted my musing.
“Oh yeah, sorry, I was just…..” my voice dried.
“Looking at the view,” finished the man, “it’s beautiful. I’ve worked the boats here for twenty years and I never tire of it.”
I smiled at him in reply, picked up my rucksack and climbed the gangway. I passed the greying boatman my ticket and noted his seasoned leather complexion and layers of muted coloured jumpers; both were comfortable and reassuring. Walking briskly along the deck, adjusting my step to the gentle swaying of the boat, I descended the three short steps into the cabin and sat down at our favourite window seat.
Darkening mounds towered high above the lake edges, resembling mud pies dropped carelessly by a giant’s child a millennia ago. Now covered in a patchwork of chocolate brown and muted mossy greens; some were capped with plantations of trees, orderly as they tickled the sky.
The boat chugged steadily across the lake on its journey to Howtown and Pooley Bridge, the shoreline a rolling animation, revealing hidden beaches and tree kissed water. The warmer lower slopes were quilted by soft green grass, sprinkled with leafy trees and flowering shrubs. The grand homes of 19th century industrialists, now hotels, retained their rich, almost sanitised aloofness. Your rant about ‘the exploitation of the countryside by rich tourists’ had only been silenced by the whiskey fuelled hot chocolate in my flask.
That last time had been early March. Jack Frost was regularly sprinkling the countryside with lace overnight. On the boat it had been even colder, forcing us to sit inside as our ears burned with hot-aches. The hamlet Bennet Head and scattered farm cottages had beckoned with implied warmth and sanctuary.
The bare wintry view had been enchanting. The trees held their breath through the chill, reserving energy for the spring burst, a promise of the future. Maybe that’s what had inspired you to talk about weddings and my heart to skip a beat.
The boat turned and copses gave way to wrinkled dumpling folds of rich peat. Burnt orange gorse bushes clumped in small crowds as the slopes steepened, thinning as rocks became blue-purple near the summits.
The smell of moving water and freshly stirred air drew my attention to the spray, sparkling in the sun light, denying the chill. I stared across the stern as the steady wake of the boat created self repeating turbulence; the order amongst the chaos. Water sprites played as the waves broke; spitting spray into the air, tempting the sky bound spirits to a duel.
As the boat reached the centre of the lake, I stood decisively and climbed the steps leading to the breezy deck. You held my hand last time, making sure I didn’t stumble as the sway rocked us against each other. My memory of that day is warm and sunny although it had been cold; we’d wrapped up like children ready for snowball fights and you’d laughed at my fluffy hat. Strange, I clearly recall the warmth and strength of your hand that day, yet I can’t remember where we went after the boat trip.
On deck the steady thrum of the engines and the quiet chatter of an elderly couple seemed odd, almost out of place. As I willed them to go below deck, the white haired lady met my eyes for a moment. Her expression showed concern. Suddenly embarrassed by my comprehension, she looked away. Her watery blue eyes settled on her husband as he gently took her hand and pointed to the brood of ducks battling the wake.
The boat bucked as I escaped their completeness and I stumbled against the guard rail. I paused, steadying myself. Reaching into my rucksack I pulled out the thick, opaque plastic bag I’d collected four days ago and walked to the stern with the wind swirling freshly behind me. The bag’s weight had been a surprise; heavy, but without substance.
As the sun came out beams touched the spray and refracted blue flashes danced across my eyes. I tipped the bag and watched as the ash danced in the air, before descending to play with the water sprites below.
My task complete, I stood alone.


Thursday, 20 August 2009


This is what happened to the stones with holes in that Sally gathered at Dungeness and generously donated to me to make something for the CY project, some bits from the slate in our bathroom, some garden twine and another holey stone I've had for years.
I loved making this in our garden in glorious sunshine , the juxtaposition of the natural and man-made pieces facinates me, I like that the stones speak to each other and that it's all natural materials although they will biodegrade/wear away in extremely differing timescales!
The mobile is on loan (from CYP) in our bathroom and has improved the view from the loo, visitors always have a play (well OK so do we!) and enjoy the somehow stately swinging and gentle tapping. Another bathroom distraction!
Presently this is called "HoleyStoneyMobile" which is hardly original so I'd appreciate any ideas for a more appropriate title.


Severn Bore

"The Severn Bore is one of Britain's few truly spectacular natural phenomena. It is a large surge wave that can be seen in the estuary of the River Severn, where the tidal range is the 2nd highest in the world, being as much as 50 feet (approx. 15.4m)."

Words and image from The Severn Bore website (hope they don't mind )

The the incoming tides around equinoxes are the best time to see the really is worth seeing...and hearing. Time table is here


Thursday, 13 August 2009

more printing....

Not much painting happening here...printing is the new obsession...
here is the latest...lino block prints on canvas....collaborative work with Ian....these pieces destined for a 'watch the birdie' exhibition to be held locally.

The whole idea of combining words and images is of course an on going Celtic Year theme so more to follow soon....I'm particularly exited about something we are working on using braille....I didn't realise it could be so visual!

a warm spring
tribes converge,
the forest welcomes
sowing the seeds with love and chanting
flowers bloom with individuality
where's the summer gone
the chamomile and the poppy don't wait
lughnasadh harvest,
missing friends remembered
the wheel turns
when will we all meet again


a poem written for absent friends down under....and printed by us with the aid of a glass or two of local cider.


In Sallie’s Garden

By the joyful hands goddess energy flows flags clapping in draping rows

The wild meadow grows seeds of life sowed returning life to air and land

The trees musically stand Gaia’s own percussive band

Whispering secrets no man knows sunshine comes then goes

Light bending colour bows spectrum spreading brightly framed

Ferns and foxgloves in concert crammed campion and brambles round

Sacred birch with oak dance about Sallie’s garden the shining heart shows

Lindsey Starborn

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Holding on and letting go


And it rains

And it rains

Down the valleys waters gather becks filling fields flooding crops flattening
Biliously boisterous winds orchestrate frantic leaves manic dancing
Sheep for familiar shelter scatter faithfully follow flocking habits
And it rains

On the hill water takes the road cars slow nature decreeing dominion
Bumptious bending winds collect toss then tear man’s plastic indiscretions
We bow pull coats closer rush to cover fragility perspective sized
And it rains

In the sky clouds are darkly driving spilling colliding shipping oceans
Bombastic bulging winds roughly arrange impressive panorama
Birds battle whirlpool eddies feeding focused song silent survival mode
And it rains

Round the drooping garden flowers dripping stems snapping petals pulverised
Booming belligerent winds rip riotous order through all borders
Flora weeping fauna sanctuary seeking eloquent subsistence
And it rains

And it rains

And it rains

Lindsey Starborn

Lammas 2009 (or is it?)

Lammas 2009 (or is it?)

And laughing I ran into the garden to harvest for the Lammas feast, remembering my father I smiled further, for childhood years I had believed his theory, to run faster so as to run between the drops of rain, now an adult, weighed by years, I know the space between the drops, I know it well and seek it often. But there was no escaping this deluge which commanded me to take delight in the elemental force, to embrace the wind whipping through my hair and to be cleansed by air filtered water, all preparation for the celebration ahead. A day of gathering, cooking, drinking and eating and a fire in the family hearth to cheer, warm and comfort. The pink quartz carefully placed to amplify the heart of our home and candles lit against the gloom.
Busy now and giving thanks for the garden’s bounty, making loganberry jam, blueberry and apple cakes, chopping cabbage and washing muddy potatoes, turnip, fennel and peas that pop themselves from their rain swollen pods. The men prepare their meat with herbs and spices chatting in between companionable pauses. I think of my mother and her years spent nurturing and how the cycle continues, of her parents and back further to ancestors who crossed the border and came back with mutton for the harvest feasts and against the winter ahead. I think, as in a flash, of older times, the smoke filled roundhouse, my daughters singing and my men folk boasting and testing their prowess and skill, of cooking and preserving and then I think again of life’s cycle, how the basics are the same, how the things that give me joy remain, my family, my friends, caring and sharing, loving unconditionally and music, loud, wild, soft, calming, joyful, simple or complex, all touches my heart or lifts my soul.

Then my thoughts widen and I consciously send on ethereal waves my heartfelt blessings full of light and love to all my friends, old new and yet to be.

I thank the earth, the gods and guardians for the cyclical nature of life, for their disregard of mankind’s concept of linear time. And more, for the glimpses of wisdom this gives to those who choose to look between the gaps in the rain.

Lindsey Starborn