Windows: Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #14

Taking a good photo is a challenge. Sometimes I see things that aren’t there.

DSCF4567

Image taken Balmerino Abbey ruins, one grey day.

This abbey has been in ruins since the Reformation in the 16th Century.  First it was the English who attacked the monastery, then it was the Scottish Protestants.

 I heard  Judy Small sing her ‘Walls and Windows” in Brisbane years ago.  She wrote great songs but gave up folksinging and is now a judge in the Family Law Court.

Here’s the last verse from that song-

Oh may we live to see the day when walls of words and fear
No longer stand between the truth and dreams
When walls of windows rise into the darkness and we dare
To look into the mirror and see peace.
   from Judy Small's song "Walls and Windows"

 

All text (except quote) and photos by Meg

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

Advertisements

May Day on Mt Cootha 2018: WPC Line

 

IMG_5114

Hurdy-Gurdy Player

“Form the lines and turn together, Hear the clash of the staff as we shout and sing. The tunes all sound to the Tattercoat’s flying, We call up the light as the day comes in.” (Lyrics by John Thompson)

IMG_5116

They had gathered in the dark, above the city, to dance with bells, sticks, swords and kerchiefs.

IMG_5059 (1)

The Bellswagger, North-West, Ragged Band, and Logan groups, among others, all wearing their different kits.

IMG_5053

We all sang along, clapped and stamped our feet.

The music rises with the first light’s gleaming,

The dawn will break and the bells will ring.

                               (from The Bellswagger Anthem by John Thompson)

IMG_5112

All in together for the last dance.

IMG_5117

… spiralling our way up to the Rotunda

IMG_5123

…then with one great shout the dance and songs have done it.

IMG_5129

We’ve celebrated the year with the dawn of the sun.

IMG_5131

(A great bunch of Morris folk after the final formal photo)

                          >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Lines – This week’s Photo Challenge

All text (except John Thompson’s lyrics) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License and is also Copyright © under Australian Law.

Waiting for … ? WPC

Wishing and …

IMG_3897

Hoping and …

IMG_6902

Planning and …

CIMG5945 (1)

Dreaming … Bilbo will appear!

CIMG5951-2 (1)

Dusty Springfield and Dion Warwick used to sing Wishin’ and Hopin’. Remember singing along with those dreadful lyrics? I honestly didn’t hear the words till much later … then  I got wise!

……………………………………………………………….

This blog of images and text by Meg Philp – Story Twigs the Imagination! – is Copyright © under Australian Law.

 

Waiting

Passing Through: Weekly Photo Challenge

In,

over,

img_2700

through,

img_2697

 

(Oops! Missed some.)

and out.

Read this many years ago. Presume it’s from the Sufi tradition of teaching stories.

Years ago, a young backpacker set off travelling to new places.

Arriving in an distant city, he learned that a famous sage was speaking that night in the great hall. The young man decided to go along. An audience of over a thousand people heard the sage talk and many were as inspired as he was. They gathered outside in the square to talk late into the night about what they had heard and to plan their future.

Over the next two days, the traveller asked everyone he met how he might meet the sage in person. Three days later, he was taken to the place where the man had lived all his life. He rang the bell tentatively.

Stepping in the doorway, the young man noticed the home’s bare walls and basic furniture. The sage came forward and greeted him warmly. Together they sat by the fire to drink tea and talk.

After some hours, the traveller stood to thank his elder and bid him farewell. His host was curious to know what was had surprised him the most.

“You are so famous. People shower you with gifts. I expected you to live in grand style. ”

“You arrived with only a backpack!” retorted the sage.

“Yes, but I am only passing through,” muttered the young man.

“So am I,” replied his host.

Transient
All text and photos © Meg Philp are protected by Australian Copyright Law. If you wish to use any images. Please contact me thru Comments. Pass the story on. Thanks.

PS. And then there’s the song a Canadian teacher sang to me on the verandah of the Migrant Hostel in 1975 – the chorus is stuck in my mind.

 “Passing through, Passing through, … Glad that I ran into you, Tell the people that you saw me passing through.”

Google now tells me it was written by Richard Blakeslee and sung by Pete Seeger! … Learn something new every day!

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Edinburgh Revisited: To see ourselves as others see us

I visited Edinburgh with friends recently and have revised my knowledge of part of its history. The Old Town looked the same…

dscf5352

As ‘unofficial tour guide,’ in the Thistle Chapel of St Giles Cathedral, I pointed out the defiant, Latin motto of the chivalrous Order of the Thistle which means,  Who dares meddle with me! (Such fighting talk! I had to put such defiance into a historical and military context – See Sources at the end of this post)

dscf5370

I regularly had to explain signs or spoken expressions or customs that I have long taken for granted. Not only the Scots accent, but words themselves baffled my American friend. However, songs often work where speech fails, so I sang a favourite Burn’s song ‘John Anderson, My Jo’ and explained what it meant.

img_1102

Brought up surrounded by Lowland Scots vernacular, at school I had to be careful not to use it. The Scottish Education Board insisted that children like me, from a working-class family, had to  be taught to speak, read and write ‘Proper’ English. It wasn’t till high school that I was given my Lowland Scots dialect in print, to study.

Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) was one of the significant literary figures of 18th & 19th century Scotland. He wrote literary forms, crossing his local dialect with English – a ploughman with more education than most and a way with words. He reinvigorated our Scots’ national identity at the time and continues to do so. A contemporary of Voltaire, Goldsmith and Goethe, he wrote poems and songs which became, and are still, a expressive part of Scottish culture.

img_1287

Here’s my friend Naomi striking the pose in The National Portrait Gallery. (She too has a prodigious memory for songs from her childhood.) The success of Burns’ first compilation, Poems, Chiefly in the Scots Dialect, made him the darling of Edinburgh society in 1786. He lived here for two years before returning to his native Ayrshire.

img_1232

Before he died in 1796 aged 37, Burns had written hundreds of songs and set many to old tunes. These made him even more feted across Scotland and internationally. He was the ‘Pete Seeger’ of his day and thought, for example, ‘There is a certain something in the old Scots songs, a wild happiness of thought and expression.’ (Letter to Mrs Dunlop of Dunlop 1790)

Many of the poet’s ‘pithy’ phrases had that certain something, are still used like proverbs. I’ve heard conversations closed with a summary quote from Burns like “Aye – the best laid plans o’ mice and men …!” Auld Lang Syne is sung the world o’er.  Many think of Burns still, as ‘Everyman’: a typical Scot, working-class, humanist, lover of Nature and Freedom: a champion of common sense, astute and yet romantic: always imagining a better world.

img_1371

One of the bard’s gentle rejoinders comes from the poem To a Louse“Oh would some power, the gift to give us, to see ourselves as others see us.” (i.e. The first line of the last verse in English … for the complete poem in Lowland Scots, click here)

As a saying, it pulls me back to reality. It’s a hard phrase to beat – as is my fellow traveller’s blog post about her Edinburgh experience.  Please click “A Guid Crack” to read Naomi’s impressions of a first visit to Scotland’s capital city.

Blogs really are a good way to express different points of view and entertain readers at the same time. They are a gift that can help us see ourselves as others see us.

Thanks, Naomi. Here’s to Wild happiness and more singing!

img_1122

All text (except links) and photos by Meg

Story Twigs the Imagination! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Sources : For more info, click these links

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle ( Wikiwand)

Mull, Brett, “Construction of Culture: Robert Burns’ Contributions to Scottish National Identity” (2012). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 271. University of Colorado.

Nemo me impune lacessit ( Wikiwand)

Robert Burns“. Poetry Foundation. Chicago, 2016. Web. 14 Nov. 2016.

Scots Language (Wikiwand)

Todd J. Wilkinson, Robert Burns and Freemasonry. Alexandra Burns Club, 14 November 2016. Web

Allan Woods, Robert Burns – Man, Poet and Revolutionary . 22 January 2009. Socialist Appeal International Marxist Tendency 14 November 2016 Web.

Music in Story

IMG_3358
To me, stories have their own beat and music. When I’m learning a traditional story, I like to listen to music from that part of the world. It helps me travel to that place in my imagination, get a feel for the rhythm of the words and sense the flow of the story.

DSCF0970

Celtic fiddle music gets me in the mood for Scottish tales. I never really believed that a fiddler would be stolen awa’ to play for the fairies (and be gone for a hundred years) until I heard and saw Alasdair Fraser play his fiddle. He had the audience (me included) up dancing wildly, with him off the stage and in the middle of us all! Talk about carried away! Magic! See the video clip of Alasdair playing on his website. Hull’s Reel starts at about 2:40 http://www.alasdairfraser.com/

IMG_2196

I did a singing workshop last year with Sue Hart, who has often visited and sung with the Baka People of Cameroon. Their vocal music, meant to imitate the sounds of birds in their forest, is mesmerising. Learning to sing in their way, I’m carried off to dusk in the native forests of that part of Africa.

DSCF0999

Mark Knophler’s guitar title track for the movie “Local Hero” is very up-lifting. I recall coming in to land at my local aiport, with this being played as ‘muzak’ in the cabin. All I could think of was that I was coming home. I was ecstatic by the time I walked into the terminal!

When I’ve told my version of Parsifal and the Holy Grail, I began by playing an excerpt of The Doors classic “Riders in the Storm” sung by Creed. It’s very atmospheric.

But, to me,  the truest of all sounds comes from old instruments –  as they were played in the times when the old stories were told. In mythology, Cheiron the Centaur sang and played a golden harp. He struck it with a golden key and “sang till his eyes glittered, and filled the cave with light.” (KINGSLEY, Charles. The Heroes)

One afternoon I went along to a local church to hear American harpist Anne Heymann and was transported back through centuries.

IMG_2944

She had six harps with her. But the most treasured was a replica an early Irish harp kept in Trinity College, Dublin. It’s strings were made of Australian silver coated, depending on their length, with 9ct to 24 carat gold.

IMG_2943

This master harper has a deep knowledge and love of the Celtic harp.

Listen to Anne Heymann playing an Italian piece ‘ Lamento di Tristano’ in St Patrick’s Church, Kilkenny, Ireland 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifvXVaL-Ab4

IMG_2946

Here also is a Link to Downloads of soundtracks from Ann Heymann’s website

http://www.harpofgold.net/downloads.htm

Imagine that you are part of the gathering in King Nuada’s fort in ancient Ireland. Here is part of the story I have told this past year. Lugh is the gifted harper who transports his listeners with his music. These lyrical tales are meant to be accompanied by the harp.

IMG_2941

– Excerpt from from The Coming of Lugh From Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha De Danaan and the Fianna of Ireland by Lady Augustus Gregory (1904)

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cwt/cwt07.htm

“That is the harp of the Dagda. No one can bring music from that harp but himself. When he plays on it, the four Seasons -pring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter – pass over the earth.”

“I will play on it,” said Lugh.

The harp was given to him.

Lugh played the music of joy, and outside the dun the birds began to sing as though it were morning and wonderful crimson flowers sprang through the grass. Flowers that trembled with delight swayed and touched each other with a delicate faery ringing like silver bells. Inside the dun a subtle sweetness in the laughter filled the hearts of every one: it seemed to them that they had never known such gladness till that night.

Then Lugh played the music of sorrow. The wind moaned outside, and where the grass and flowers had been there was a dark sea of moving waters. The De Danaans within the dun bowed their heads on their hands and wept, like they had never wept for any grief before.

When Lugh played the music of peace, outside there fell silently a strange snow. Flake by flake it settled on the earth and changed to starry dew. Flake by flake, the quiet of the Land of the Silver Fleece settled in the hearts and minds of Nuada and his people: they closed their eyes and slept, each where they sat.

Lugh put the harp from him and stole out of the dun (fort). The snow was still falling outside. It settled on his dark cloak and shone like silver scales; it settled on the thick curls of his hair and shone like jewelled fire; it filled the night about him with white radiance.”

Such is the power of the harp.

HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Text, except quote, and photos © Meg Philp under Australia Law.

Story Twigs …! by Meg Philp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

 

With a Little Help from the Brownies

Before the start of the year, it’s feels good to have a clear-out, a de-clutter and give-away, recycle or dump. It was my mother’s custom to have the house spick and span for the New Year. She would even go out in the snow to clean the downstairs windows! I found myself thinking of her as I cleaned out cupboards recently.

IMG_1333

As I washed down walls, I thought of all the years of housework mum put in. At the time, I was muttering that I could do with a little help. Shame I didn’t have any Brownies in the house.

But sometimes I feel someone’s watching me as I work. Where’s that Blu-tac?IMG_1603

In Scottish folklore, it was believed that the wee folk, Brownies,
would sometimes move into a home and help with house-work. These hob-goblins were very shy and worked at night when the household was asleep, sweeping, washing dishes, keeping things clean and tidy. According to a story in Duncan Williamson’s collection The Coming of the Unicorn, they were small men, in old shabby clothes, often with a long white beard and the most arresting, blues eyes you could ever see.  The only payment they required was a bowl of porridge with milk, left out at night by the hearth.

If you forgot, the Brownie could let you know by making a mess in the house, breaking dishes and the like.  If you offered money, it was considered an insult and they quit the place.

In “The Broonie’s Farewell” Duncan tells of just such an event when the farmer’s wife leaves out a new set of clothes for the Brownie who had helped their farm to flourish. The farmer kept the clothes their Broonie left behind for years, hoping the he’d return.

IMG_1816

In English foklore, Brownies were most likely to help with animals and crops on the farm, sleep in the barn by day, and work by night. Like the Scottish Brownie, they liked to be thanked, with their bowl of porridge, but never be paid.

I wished for a Brownie in the house and remembered I had been one,  joining the local pack, like this, at the age of seven.

IMG_1826

Baden-Powell, who had founded the Scouting movement, co-opted the Scottish Brownie, to create an alternative group for girls. (Thank goodness the Rosebuds idea didn’t stick.) Their sworn promise was …  ” “to help other people at all times, especially those at home.”

Each weekly meeting, we’d all skip around a papier-mache toadstool and sing, ”We’re the Brownies here’s our aim, lend a hand and play the game.” We were taught all sorts of useful skills, like how to light a gas stove and the order to wash dishes in.  For me, the best bit about the Brownies was learning to sing lots of rounds and silly songs.

In my group of six, we also had our own song “Look out! Here we are the jolly Pixies helping others when in fixes” – which rings prophetic if you’ve read the my first post in this blog.

Multi-purpose

According to folklore, they do say some Brownies went bad and turned into boggarts – big, strong limbed, evil looking, creatures doing damage and causing mayhem wherever they lived. They were aggressive and challenged any humans they encountered to a competition, some game of strength, and if you couldn’t beat them, they’d eat you!

IMG_1830

I’ve read several  boggarts’ tales in Alan Garner’s book A Bag of Moonshine. These teach the reader how to use their wits if they should encounter such a beast. Is that a Boggart?

 I’m sure there‘s a Boggart bothering me at work –  in the computer program I have to use. I was at at my wits end with it last week. So I’m reverting to what I learned as a Brownie, not sure what to do next? Let’s sing!

Join in with  In the Brownies! on YouTube – Billy Connelly’s parody of a well-known hit in the 70s. I won’t put the link here because of Copyright but watch it and sing along –  that just might help the Boggart in my computer decide to revert to being a helpful brownie again …

With thanks to Irene for the image of her Brownie pack.

All Words and other Images by Meg Philp.

Story Twigs … ! this blog by Meg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.