Lived-in Layers: Weekly Photo Challenge


Many of the two-storied, terraced houses in Sydney have a small frontage. From their front door they go long and deep.

Come in the back door and you can see all the way through the house – the studio, to the laundry, kitchen, sitting-room, along the hallway to the open front door.

The house is full of stories of the people and pets who have lived here or visited, as well as the builders and renovators who came and went – all that living and dreaming in layers of colour in stone, iron, tile and timber. 

Layered

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All text 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 also Copyright © under Australian Law. Please request permission to copy photos

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Re purpose: WPC

This week’s photo challenge is about repurposing? …”discovering an object for which you’ve discovered a clever new use.”

Like Phoebe Anna Traquair?

Painted in 1920s by Scottish Artist Phoebe Traquair for the Great Hall of Lympne Castle, Kent

Painted in 1920s by Scottish Artist Phoebe Traquair for the Great Hall of Lympne Castle, Kent ( National Museum of Scotland)

Art galleries and museums ‘repurpose’ objects all the time to engage visitors, of all ages; to make them inquisitive; puzzled; challenged to compare, and contrast; to critique and make recommendations: to appreciate differences and similarities; to remember images of what they treasured; to open up to wonder. It’s more than just labelling and classifying – they want to get people talking and reflecting on what was most memorable for them.img_1035-1Most Scottish museums and galleries are free. We visited Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum last year for a special (ticketed) Mucha Exhibition. I’d last been in the building when it was a dusty museum/storehouse last century.

fullsizerender Caught a glimpse of some refurbishment and wondered why they put these objects together – a Spitfire behind an elephant? Did you have to guess which is heaviest?

Our tour guide was very informative but I didn’t get time to ask these objects which caught my eye, so I nipped back and took this photo to look at later.

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The curators must have a sense of humour. What do you reckon? These are twice the size of tennis balls and thought to be pre-Viking.

One ‘repurpose’ – You stirred them in the cauldron to help tenderise the meat being cooked.

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PS. An adult elephant can weigh up to 4500 kg. This 1944 Spitfire’s max. weight is 3565 kg. For an image of the completed display, click here.

PPS. Yes. The Mucha Exhibition was pretty. But I got fed up looking at so many draped, ornamental women on posters … time to move on. Spent a more engrossing, enlightening time in the galleries upstairs. I’d go again any day.

All text 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.

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…

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Eye Spy: Weekly Photo Challenge

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Some mornings, this plant on my kitchen windowsill has droplets of water on it. Is there a whole world in there? What do you see?

There be dragons …

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All text 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

 

 

Vibrant light: Weekly Photo Challenge

Vibrant colours capture the light. Even on a rainy day, Poinciana blossoms shine.IMG_1089

Nature does a good job of using vibrant colours to light up this dark cassowary.

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We humans can do that too, working long hours into the night to finish a project.

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The Peruvian Arpillera, below, is a women’s traditional handicraft, a wall-hanging which tells a story using everyday fabrics appliqued onto a burlap backing . This one was in a display of thread work at the Linnwood Library, Seattle.

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One Peruvian Artist, Eleodora Salvatierra, who has made many Arpillera, said, “Every colourful thread I use transmits the reality of my community and my people.”

In 1974, in Pinochet’s Chile, an ‘Arpillera Movement‘ was begun by the mothers of missing children. They needed help and to let the outside world know what had happened. For 17 years these women created images, sometimes with an additional handwritten message, of what they knew about Human Rights abuses, and the disappearance of their children. Made by the poor, who had no electricity, they had to sew in the early dawn light. Some used the fabric from the clothes left behind. A branch of the Chilean Church, the Vicariate of Solidarity, offered to help and mailed completed works overseas in packets of 4 or 5. Amnesty International then became involved. Some mothers haven’t given up hope. They still wait for news. (For more of this story, click green highlighted words)

[See also the preceding post, reblogged from Cachando Chile with more illustrations of the Arpilleras.]

Does the creative intention of the work help make it more vibrant? Is it the emotional story behind it? Does it depend on who’s on the receiving end?

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Not only does Canadian Del Barber sing up a storm, he also tells (and sings) great stories. He blew me away when I saw him on the stage at The Woodford Folk Festival. No fancy shirt, just an entertaining solo performance – definitely an unforgettable, vibrant set.

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So we can see and hear what ‘vibrant’ is What’s it like to ‘be’ vibrant?

This solitary, early morning mushroom seems to glow against the dark ground. It came up overnight, after rain … and it’s still growing. Hmm … glowing and growing?

Click here to see others’ interpretations of the idea “Vibrant

All text 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

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/vibrant/

Gathering round: Weekly Photo Challenge

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A favourite photo taken at a friend’s son’s wedding in Edinburgh several years ago: all these handsome men gathered around the bride. The groom and his men are all in the same tartan. If you look closely, you can just see him taking the bride’s arm.

They wear the kilt with a sense of honour and tradition, tho’ this style of kilt didn’t evolve till the 1600s, when the earlier length of plaid was gathered into pleats and fastened around the waist. All the other additions like sporran, socks, brogues etc came later and reflect individual taste.

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I think Scots women have a genetic disposition to notice a man in a kilt. There’s an immediate reaction as to whether he’s wearing it too short or too long. Eyes are dawn to his hips, his good legs and that sporran … well … it’s really a purse to keep the car keys in.DSCF0912

 However, that decorative, wee sharp knife, called in the Gaelic “Sgian-dubh” (skee- an- doo), is a remnant from four centuries ago, a gesture to friends to show that the only weapon he carries is not concealed …

Of course, there was a great music and dancing at that wedding. Boy, did they make those kilts swing!

……….

Reference:

http://www.scottishdance.net/highland/MakingKilt.html.

https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Sgian-dubh

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/gathering/

…..

All text 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.

I Spy Plovers

Cyclists hate the nesting season here. One speeding past with a magpie in hot pursuit once yelled out to me in passing,” Why do they pick on me?” He was in black and white lycra at the time so the birds probably thought he was a rival. Get too near magpies, or plovers, and they’ll dive bomb you! Kids often learn this the hard way.

Plovers don’t build nests … just scrape the ground and lay their speckled eggs there. They are, however, the most protective of parents.

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A pair of Eastern Plovers live locally. I’ve been paying attention to them for a couple of years. Their territory includes a bowling green and a soccer pitch across the road from each other. When I got a better camera, I was able to follow them more closely … they always kept an eye on me.

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This green keeper goes out of his way to let the faithful plovers raise their chicks. He doesn’t cut the grass too close, leaves ramps out so the hatched chicks can get out of the sunken green, led under the fence, encouraged across the gravel road, down the slope, under another fence and out onto the large field by their careful parents.
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This past year, though, in Nov and June, two sets of chicks didn’t make it past the puffs of grey, fluff stage. Saddened, I blamed nearby cats or butcher birds. Not a sign was left of them. I thought the pair would give up … but was delighted to see this in August.

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Walking along the fence line every time,  I finally caught a glimpse of three fluffy chicks, in the early morning. As soon as the adult spotted me, she called them back, under her,  with a clicking sound. I got to know what the different calls meant  like Come back quickly / Move out slowly / Don’t go too far / Hide – danger!

Eventually I was able to stop and photograph them.11092015c

A week later, they had moved their home into the middle of  the soccer pitch.

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Though, one chick had gone, the parents were never far away. One acted as scout, the other as shepherd. Soon I could get close enough to see how much they’d grown.

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They started ranging further afield and seemed to get used to me, this strange bird with a black beak and a green cap.

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They roamed together. Now, as big as their parents, the younger birds haven’t got their yellow wattle fully developed. I wanted to get a shot of them flying to finish the story.

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Months later, I’ve been willing them to fly. Several times, they’d wait till I’d given up with my camera, was walking away, and they’d suddenly fly past me, dodging like Spitfires. I noticed that the leader /scout would give three short screeches. (“Fly!”) then the family would follow. Sometimes, they were being dive-bombed by other birds like Magpies (and here, one Noisy Miner bird.)DSCF2854

Three short screeches … and I caught them taking off as a family, following the scout parent. That’s it. They’re on their way.

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The plover, also know as the Masked Lapwing, has many names in different Aboriginal languages. There’s an ebook called Pitthirrit the Plover for 9 – 11 year olds, available as an app on iPad / iPhone. Produced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, it’s a traditional story of the Gunitjmara people, the Traditional Owners of southwest Victoria, Australia. Available for $2.99  –  Updated 22 November 2015.

  Click or more info on the plover

This Australian site is a great help – http://www.birdsinbackyards.net

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All text and photos, except where highlighted,  by Meg

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

 

Oops! I fell : Weekly Photo Challenge

MSCF2578I was walking along, minding my own business a couple of weeks ago when, at my feet a flurry of colour made me side-step. “Oops! What is that?”

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A fledging was staggering about beside me … probably got a bit too cocky looking down from a hollow, high up in that tall eucalypt nearby. My … there was a lot of squawking going up there.

Instant dilemma. (Thinks: I shouldn’t pick it up. How will it get back up to safety? It can’t fly! Is it hurt? What can I do?) While I worried, the creature took action.

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 It finally got started after two floppy, failed attempts and began to climb. I could hear my grandmother saying … If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. I shakily took photos.

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“Breathe and hold, ” I muttered to myself and the bird, then pressed the shutter.

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The fledgling was a young Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, in a punk phase, totally unfazed by my presence. Other lorikeets were making a racket from bushes on both sides of the path. It’s not for nothing that the collective noun is a “pandemonium” of parrots.

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As the fledgling gingerly climbed higher, its feathers settled when it sat. There was still a way to go to get to safety.

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This all took about 5 minutes. The bird took a breather every so often and preened. There’s the tree I think it fell from, on the left. That pandemonium of lorikeets squawked continuously until the youngster had climbed out of my reach.

I stepped out, heartened by that plucky little bird’s persistence and determination. Boy, that bird taught me a thing or two! It wanted to fly … it was learning to fly! It wasn’t going to quit.

………………

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I need to acknowledge a traditional Aboriginal story and popular children’s picture book here, called How the birds got their colours which features a Rainbow Lorikeet.  Pamela Lofts created the book of this story, which she heard from Mary Albert of the Bardi people of Western Australia. It was published, illustrated with children’s responses as paintings, in 2004 … a classic, widely used in schools and still in print,

This recent YouTube video (Don’t be put off by the 10 sec ad. at the start), directed and filmed by Teagan Spratt and Alannah Bryne retells this Aboriginal legend, as part of a Media Arts assignment in 2014. A significant feature is the explanation by Aboriginal elder Bill Buchanan, as he answers questions about the cultural significance of such stories, told to children.

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All text and photos, except where indicated, are by Meg

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

How The Birds Got Their Colours. Dir. Teagan Spratt and Alannah Byrnne. YouTube. YouTube, 1 June 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93UIsjYz75k&gt;.

Adult Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Adult Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

Updated _ Scaly-breasted Lorikeet: Basic Information from Birds in Backyards. Web. Downloaded 3 Jan 2017.<http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Trichoglossus-chlorolepidotus&gt;

Oops!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transition

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Standing, waiting for a train, I noticed what the person beside me was reading …  just had to sneak a photo with my phone.

“Good on you, mate!” I thought, as an Aussie would say, to encourage another.

Being a storyteller, I did wonder what he had on his mind …

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

 
Transition

Mohai Trio: Weekly Photo Challenge

When I was small, the photographer used to call out “Watch the birdy!”

A snazzy shot taken outside. Are these two … sisters / mothers / friends / nannies? Are they innovative? Did the kids get to pick where they sat? Did they sit in their favourite letter?  The ‘O’ kid would rather get moving.

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These figures are still looking out to the horizon, after more than a hundred years years. If only they could tell about the sights they’ve seen, about the people who carved them. Where did the museum find them? I must have read the signage but I can’t remember the name of their ships … the Honest Man … Pomona …. the Lucy Brown? Or ?

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Figureheads

What a simple pleasure to see boats, all trim and sea-worthy, all different shapes, colours, sizes, and uses: waiting to gently slip away. Who owns them? Does the young man who put the pumpkins on the prow, live on board?

What was your first boat trip like?

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I was three when my father took me out in a rowboat on a water reservoir at Glen Devon , Perthshire, Scotland.  The boat of glossy, golden wood had a little water slopping in the bottom.  The further from shore we went, the more I wanted to know how it got in. Sunlight sparkled up from the dark water.  My mother waved from the edge, and was getting smaller and smaller. It was a sunny, Spring day, they told me when we reminisced, years later. Sheep with their lambs studded the hillsides: their bleating filled the soft air. As I sat in the little seat facing my dad, I clung to one side, as he made the  oars rise and splash.  When we got into the middle of the reservoir, I started to cry for my mother, just like a lamb. The boat turned homewards.

All text and photos by Meg.

MOHAI is by Lake Union in Seattle.

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

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