Autumn Leaves

This week’s Photo Challenge comes from Amy. See her post at Colors Of Autumn.

My images are from Scotland during my favourite season.

Gardens of Mount Stuart House, Island of Bute, Scotland
Oak leaves turning golden
Beech Tree – European import
Berries (Haws) on a bare Hawthorn
British Magpie
Freedom!

I sit in this day’s autumn

Arms elbow deep, in leaves, in memories,

Releasing mellow fragrance like the song of birds.’

  From William J Tait’s poem, The Gift (1949)

All text (except quote) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law.

See also earlier post. Walk In Autumn Rain

One For the Road

Travelling Along Back Country Roads is the theme of this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge #158. Thank you to Beth for her post. You can visit her site here

Now here’s a story for you –

One cloudy Sunday afternoon I followed this single track road to get closer to Loch Tay (Tay in the Gaelic means “House”). Further down the road. I could see ruins down in the trees along the shore. Surely this had to be the old village of Lawers I’d heard about.

It was a fair slope down to the water. In the fields beside the track, there were a few cattle and on the other more sheep … who ran off as I approached … all except one. The dry-stane dyke has been waiting a while to be restored.

The loch is beautiful in a lovely part of Perthshire. Once part of the Breadalbane estates – the family that once held the largest landholdings in all of Scotland.

When I reached the shore, there was not a soul around. I soaked up the views, the cool air on my face and the stony earth at my feet. I couldn’t see any sign of a jetty. I’d been told steamships used to do day trips along the loch in the 1800s. Further east along the bank, I explored the ruins of the 1000-year-old village of Lawers.

Few walls stood amidst the hummocks of fallen stones and tangle of trees. The gable-end of a home still stood out. After the village church roof collapsed two hundred years ago, services were held within its walls. It’s said about a thousand people from the area would attend communion, many rowing across the loch.

It was so still, here. No birds sang. There was not a breath of wind. An occasional bleat from sheep reassured me a bit.

Just the day before, I’d heard that the village is haunted by a certain Lady of Lawers.

She lived in the late 17th century, was said to be gifted with Second Sight and when she died was buried under an Ash tree beside the kirk.

Soothsayer, Mary Campbell married and lived here in the late 17th Century, in this township on her husband’s farm. She became known as the ‘Lady of Lawyers,’ because of her wise sayings. Many of her predictions came true in time. Some caught my attention!

The feather of the goose will drive the memory from man.

Storytelling gatherings in people’s homes kept the community together. People knew their family history and the tales of their ancestors. Learning to read and write (education) meant that people lost the need to sit telling stories to others. They no longer felt that strong sense of belonging.

The mouth of the sheep will strip the land pf its people.

During the Highland Clearances of 1750 to 1860 many poor families here were evicted from their homes and the thatch roof burnt so they could not return.

The last person left this village in 1939. The land has been for sale since 2016. A real estate agent commented that they’ve had a lot of interest lately, especially from other European countries, perhaps because of CoVid…

Oh No! This reminds me of another of her prophecies!

Spend as you get, get as you spend. Save and for whom? Remember death!

Lady of Lawers

As the clouds began to darken, I had one last look at the loch. Saw the remnants of the pier for steamships in the distance and left … vowing to learn more of Mary Campbell’s times and story.

Sources

CAMPSIE, Alison in The Scotsman, September 7, 2020. The Village that stood for 1000 years and slowly slipped away.  

The Lady of Lawers. Wikipedia. accessed 27 July 2021

(PS. If interested further, search for a program with Tom Weir called ‘The Lady of Lawers’)

All text (except quotes) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law.

Calm Crossings

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #157 – Getting Away 

Thank you, Rusha & Bert for this challenge which reminded me of the feeling of a lovely holiday.

There are some timeless places, where we can escape the often harsh reality of the world. Fine weather can help. To get to the island of Mull, we caught the ferry across Loch Linnhe from Corran to Ardgour one autumn Saturday.

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I could give all to Time except – except
What I myself have held. But why declare
The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There,
And what I would not part with I have kept. (Robert Frost)

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Worth revisiting –

  • Frost’s poem I could give all to time.
  • The moving novel Wallace Stegner wrote, aged 78, his last – Crossing to Safety, reviewed on the ABC’s ‘Tuesday Bookclub.’ (Click the blue link for the 11 min segment)
  • A.B. Facey’s unforgettable autobiography, ‘A Fortunate Life‘ is a much-loved, Australian classic about hardship and loss, friendship and love. Published in 1981, when he was 87, it shows his extraordinary fortitude, despite terrible times.

Sea and sky help remind me that I lead a fortunate life, in a world where so many, millions?, cannot cross to safety.

It’s good to have time to relax and read and think about life … but of course, it’s actually what I do that makes a difference … so I better get on with it.

………….

Relax: a daily posy.wordpress.com.
All text (except quotes) and photos by Meg

© Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is Copyright under Australian Law

ANANSI TALES: CRYING FOR NOTHING!

An interesting take on how destructive envy can be in this traditional Anansi story. Reblogged here

Under the influence!

Anansi the Spider

AFRICAN FOLKTALES

Presented here is a retelling of an Anansi tale found in West African Folktales by William H. Barker and Cecilia Sinclair. Anansi the spider is a trickster who has many roles in the folklore and traditions of West Africa, Jamaica and throughout the African diaspora. He features in many roles in many tales sometimes as a hero bringing knowledge and benefits to humans or as a villain. Anansi tales explore human nature and very often by contrasting his behaviour with that of other characters or situations in the story important lessons are found as is the case in the following story.

ANANSI AND NOTHING

Anansi lived in a rundown shack and his nearest neighbor was someone called Nothing who was exceedingly rich and lived in a grand and luxurious palace. One day Anansi and Nothing decided to go into town with the purpose of both…

View original post 1,261 more words

Geometry: Lens Artist’s Photo Challenge #141

If only I’d known in Year 8 that Geometry was all about beauty in shape, line, angle and space!

Thanks to Patti P.A. Moed for this week’s photo challenge. It’s been good fun – another Treasure Hunt.

I’ve always liked looking up for possible photos.

Staircases in all buildings are constructed at a 90 degree angle to a wall! Some are fancier than others.

To get boats up to the level where two old canals meet, engineers created the Falkirk Wheel. Tourists love it.

Stairs get you to the second floor to a great, elegant Tea Shop. This Brisbane Arcade is full of angles and only one mistake (mine).

The Helm of Discovery Robert Falcon’s Scott’s ship was specially designed and built in Dundee for his first Antarctic expedition (to reach the South Pole )1901- 4. The new V&A Design Museum Dundee is in the background.

Something new – These flowers show the geometric pattern called “Six around one.”

A neighbourhood find. There’s geometry in all sorts of ordinary places.

And now for an almost unbelievable story –

Walking past the TV one day, I spied three men in wigs, elegant coats, stockings and buckled, high heels struggling through a tropical jungle. And that wasn’t the half of it! I sat down and watched.

The three met up again there and began the task of taking triangulation measurements in the high mountains, in thin air, unpredictable weather, in the wrong clothes for over a year. All in all, the expedition took them eight years to complete – but they had their triangulation measurements which confirmed Newton’s theory that the earth bulged near the Equator. The other two swiftly caught a ship back to France. Condamine got on a raft, to explore a great river instead …

Local guides abandoned them. Where were they? They carried on. There were fierce arguments in French. One contracted a fever, the others left him in the night. He recovered days later and wandered around. He had no idea where in South America he was. (It was Brazil) Charles-Marie de la Condamine walked on alone, discovered rubber, as well as which particular tree bark made the right kind of quinine to cure malaria and managed to reach Quito in Equador.

The TV program I happened upon was a re-enactment of a 1735 – 1743 French Scientific expedition to determine the shape of the earth. If you’re in the UK you might be able to see this episode here

Nothing succeeds like persistence … and accuracy. Thanks to Geometry.

For more on the life and discoveries of Charles-Marie de La Condamine see https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Charles_Marie_de_La_Condamine

hhttps://www.ozy.com/true-and-stories/the-french-expedition-that-shaped-the-earth/79734/

                           All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law.

Sight-Seeing in Tassie

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136 asks us to focus on any subject beginning with the letter “S’. Thanks to Patti, for this entertaining idea. It got me wondering.

You are invited to match these photos with the clues given in a virtual “Car Rally,” visiting various places in Tasmania’s West.

START Photo A. Scaled by Dame Nellie Melba

Tasmania Blackwood was shipped to UK, stair case built /carved then returned to be rebuilt.

1st Stop Answer –

Photo B. Child’s Bed

Early morning solitude

2nd Stop Answer –

Photo C. Doctor Livingstone, I presume?

Fishing port

3rd Stop Answer –

Photo D. Toot! Toot!

No 5 Engine shipped in pieces from England 1939 ( with no instructions). Now only operating Abt rack and pinion railway in the Southern Hemisphere

4th Stop Answer –

Photo E. Beam me up, Scotty … and it’s not ‘Strachan!’

Type of sunbeams called Jacob’s Ladders

5th Stop Answer –

Photo F. bLIMEY!

Great sign by the shore

6th Stop Answer –

Photo G. Scales for Sale

Squally rain … sometimes 4 seasons in one day

7th Stop Answer-

Clue H. bLIMEY!

Sailboats in a sheltered cove

8th Stop Answer

Clue J. Serene Bay

Absolutely still and calm in the shade

9th Stop Answer –

FINISH – Here’s where Meg’s photos were taken. The ‘word-play’ clues as well as the images link to these places. Start was The Empire Hotel, Queenstown. There are two shots taken at Lymington.

  • Strahan,
  • West Coast Wilderness Railway, Queenstown
  • Lymington
  • Randall’s Bay,
  • Cradle Mountain,
  • Salmon Farm, Huon
  • Stanley
  • Empire Hotel, Queenstown

All text and photos by Meg.

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law

2020 Favourites

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge#129. Thanks to Tina & Co. for your commitment and inspiration this year.

Looking back, 2020 was the year I started appreciating life going on quietly around me. Nature always takes me out of myself.

The angle of the early morning sun was just right .Had to return the next morning to try and capture it with my old Fuji camera.
Visited our Gallery of Modern Art February 1st. Silenced by Cai Guo-Quang’s blue waterhole.
Learned more about butterflies in March. This is an Autumn Brown that prefers to flutter about at dusk.
Turned a corner and came across a surprise! Local kids must have spent a lot of time daydreaming as they created this artwork on the footpath behind our library. Cheered me up!
Spent a lot of time looking up in May. Always fascinated by clouds. Is that a cockatoo?
Testing my new phone. Visited Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens to learn more about “Native plants for Brisbane Gardens.” This is a glorious Grevillea.
Just a reflection of a crystal on a wall.
A new kitten explores the jungle that is our herb patch. (Thinks) They can’t see me!
So little rain in September… Rainbow Lorikeets were really thirsty and made the most of blossoms.
A Spring day at the beach with fresh, clear air blowing the ozone our way.
In a tree in the garden, orchids put on a show in November. Those blooms last for months.
Taken on the last day of the year. We’d had early morning rain. Ain’t Nature grand!

All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is Copyright © under Australian Law.

Fresh Start

Two old chooks “Off to see the world” after watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the Picture House.

Happy New Year, too!

Calm Crossings

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #157 – Getting Away  Thank you, Rusha & Bert for this challenge which reminded me of the feeling of a lovely holiday. There are some timeless places, where we can escape the often harsh reality of the world. Fine weather can help. To get to the island of Mull, we caught the … Continue reading

Looking Up: stay present

As I stuck my head out the back door the other morning, I looked up and it dawned on me. Like my thoughts, the sky during the day is always changing. Light and colours and clouds shift. They connect me to our planet’s atmosphere.

My mind gets up and away. “Will it be a fine day or not? Will we get rain?” I grew up with the oft quoted “Red in the morning shepherds’ warning. Red at night, shepherds’ delight.”

Here come some Scottish rain clouds. In the Tropics, you can smell rain before it falls.

Bute shower

Not everyone heeds a warning!

Coogee, NSW.

What I see often stops me in my tracks. What made the clouds this shape? Was it wind, the temperature, or a frothy sea? I slow down and wonder.

Classic morning sky in Qld

What is that! Why is that cloud different? Is it a fishbone? A surf break in the sky?

There’s a different sky show every day and I day-dream as I see patterns in the clouds. Writer Bryce Courtney believed day-dreaming is essential … that a soaring imagination is the glue that keeps our soul from shattering under the impact of a prosaic world.

A TED talk by the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society also explains how important this kind of aimless activity is … to just be present and slow down. Check out more images of clouds there!

A elephant … a woman reading above Stradbroke Is.
How low can you go? Frosty morning, Loch Tay

Wherever you are, just look up and see what you can see.

Phoenix – an omen or a promise?

Cautionary tales about ‘the sky falling’ are often told to children in several cultures. There’s also a giant called Swallower of Clouds from the First Nations – Zuni people. This one’s for us.

Might the Sky Fall today?

One cloudy day, an elephant almost trod upon a humming-bird las it lay in the middle of the track, feet in the air.

 “Watch where you’re going!” called the tiny bird. “I’m down here!”

“Doing what?” asked the elephant, looking around.

“Haven’t you heard? Animals round here are worried that today the sky might fall in!

The elephant flapped its ears and muttered, “You can’t do much with those skinny legs!”

“True,” replied the bird. “I decided to do what I can.”

The elephant stepped back … and soon, it was lying beside the hummingbird, feet in the air, ready to hold up the sky and noticed the clouds

Adapted from a fable from China “Holding Up the Sky” in MacDonald, Margaret Read, Three Minute Tales: Stories around the world to tell or read when time is short. Little Rock, August House, 2004: 145.

Tell a story … why don’t you!

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All text and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law.

Other Sources

COURTNEY, Bryce. A Recipe for Dreaming. Ringwood, Vic., Viking/Penguin Books Australia, 1998:i-ii.

For more information on the Cloud Appreciation Society – See Founder of the society Gavin Pretor – Pinney, Gavin give a TED talk. Cloudy with a Chance of Joy. Youtube. 2013. (Downloaded 24 Dec 2020.)

Terms of Endearment

 

In these socially – distanced times, I’ve been making an effort to be friendly, when I’m out. On my regular morning walk, I make a point of wishing passers-by a “Good Morning!” as we give each other a wide berth.

Good morning, darling!” replied the taxi man, parked by the curb reading his paper. I almost tripped and fell into a day-dream about terms of endearment, all the way home.

My father used the word ‘Flower’ re the women in the family. ‘Hen’ was handy when he forgot any woman’s name or was just plain tired. ‘Darling’ was not really on his list.

Cariad’ in Welsh means ‘darling.’ I always explain this when I’m telling the story of The Salmon Cariad and show how shocked and embarrassed that angler was when he hooked her.

In an Iranian fairy tale I tell, the story begins with the main character, a female cockroach, searching for a husband. Sent out into the world by her ill father, she dresses in her best and steps out along main street. When the grocer sees her passing, he calls out

“Hello there, Miss Cockroach. Where are you going all dressed up?”

[Remember this is a folktale. It’s a “What if?” challenge to our imagination, as well as a “How is this similar to, or different from life as I know it?” Traditional stories like fairy and folk tales are worth discussing]

The cockroach takes exception to being addressed so brusquely and replies,

“Cockroach yourself! Can’t you see that I am more fragile than a flower? I could be the crown of any man’s life.”

 

The man wonders, “If I can’t call you Miss Cockroach, what shall I call you? She replies,

“Call me sweet coz (cousin). Tell me you’re glad to see me. Ask me where I am going this fine day.”

The grocer complies but answers more questions unsuccessfully. Miss Cockroach walks on and repeats the process. She demands the same courteous greeting. This time she protests to the butcher

Can’t you see I’m more tender than a rose. I could be the light in any man’s eyes.

Then, to the blacksmith,

“Can’t you see I’m more delicate than a butterfly’s wing? I could quicken the beat of any man’s heart.”

This pattern of call and response repeats when each man’s answer is unacceptable. She then explains, in rhyming couplets, how she is in dire straits and to survive must marry an uncle in Hamadam. (I won’t quote that text here.) Surprisingly, each man listens and asks her to marry him instead – only to be rejected by their response to this final hypothetical question.

 “If I should marry you and if we should quarrel and if you would hit me, what would you hit me with?” 

At last, she meets a mouse, wearing elegant silver trousers as he waits outside his door. He’s been listening all along and calls out to her 

‘Oh sweet sweet coz in dress of silk and almond slippers as white as milk. Tis a pleasure to see you dressed up so. Pray tell me where is it you go?’

All Mr Mouse’s answers satisfy her. She decides he would be a loving husband (as the story goes on to reveal in a comic way). This suitor calls her ‘Light of my eyes,’ and ‘My beloved lady,’ as he proposes. Once they are married, Mistress Cockroach calls her husband ‘His Excellency, Mr Mouse, with Silver Trousers’ … and now their tale truly begins.

In my time I’ve been called all sorts of names. I remember “My Little Cabbage” “Ace” and “Possum.” Others tell me they’ve been called ‘My Lovely,’ ‘Wondy, ‘Lovey’ and of course, good old ‘Mate.’ One friend calls me ‘Moggy” which is an Australian term for just an ordinary  cat.

Of course, your tone of voice makes all the difference when using a term of endearment. I love it when Vera uses ‘Pet’’ to people in their place in a popular TV crime series from the UK. 

What terms of endearment do you remember? In Co-Vid times we need more of them. It’s the feeling underneath those particular words that make an instant connection across the distance between us.

                            XXXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxXXXXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Check out some of the links below.

Sources

Coz http://www.finedictionary.com/Coz.html

Languages of love: 10 unusual terms of endearment in BBC News Magazine,30 May 2013.

Languages of love: Readers’ global terms of endearment, 9 June, 2013.

Mistress Cockroach in MEDEVI, Anne Sinclair. Persian Folk and Fairy Tales. Toronto, Random House, 1965. (p 81- 92)

 

The Salmon Cariad in GARNER, Alan. A Bag of Moonshine. illus P.J. Lynch. Collins. London, 1986 (p.63-67)

                                        All text (except quotes) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp Copyright © under Australian Law.