Thursday, January 20, 2011

Walking the Hoad Footpath in Winter Sunshine

A sunny day in January and what better activity than to go for a walk? Since I have been having knee trouble for quite a while now, I have gradually avoided rough and hilly walks. But for whatever reason, yesterday I was determined I would do the circular walk around the Hoad Monument and take a look at the renovation work that has been done. Actually, it is not far to go. Years ago, I took our dog a walk up there most mornings. We set off complete with camera. I took a photograph each side of the walled path — seaward and inland. Further up, the Monument and then out over the bay. Near the top of the hill, we photographed the mountains beyond the fells and also looking down over the Smith-Kline-Glaxo works and canal. The path down the other side is a bit rough to start with, that is for anyone with knee problems, but it soon becomes smooth and the rest is easy. We diverted to have a pot of tea at Booth’s Supermarket, where we sat by the huge window and looked up at the path we had taken. We took the town uphill roads to walk home. Nothing like fresh air and nature to heal the heart and mind! Soon after arriving home, a heartwarming sunset!
I think it is true that a lot of people suffer mild depression at this time of the year (SAD). The usual dark, cold, wet days often cause a feeling of weariness. How lucky we are to have footpaths almost from our doorstep! But in Cumbria, few homes can be far from places to walk. Okay, we don't have the bright city lights but I know which we prefer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1949 Fashion Sketches — an Awakening to Fashion

1949 Fashion Sketches — an Awakening to Fashion

A short while ago I looked through an old art folder of designs I did in 1949. (I was just sixteen at the time) I had forgotten that I sketched quite well considering I only had one and a half terms at the Nottingham College of Art. I left the Dress Design Diploma course early because my dad had been seriously disabled for quite a while, and I needed to earn more than the little I managed to get from sewing. I wanted to be able to contribute to the running of the home. My poor old mum was going out cleaning, looking after my dad, coping with all the household chores, as well as having to bear the brunt of my dad’s temper. (It was hard for any hard-working man to realise he was no longer the bread winner. Hardly any benefits in those days and, from his chair in the kitchen he tried his hand at many things — leatherwork, vacuum cleaner repair, pram upholstery and so on. What with that and terrible night cramps her suffered, his nerves were worn thin) It also has to be realised that we had not a single electric gadget and all cleaning and washing had to be done by hand. Such was the lot of most working-class families. In those days, men went out to work and wives looked after the home and family. Being wife, mother, and domestic was a full time job. I got a job in a shop before I told the college I was leaving. The tutor said I could get help with materials but there was no way of meeting the thirty shillings a week pay I was to get working.
But I still wanted to be a designer. Through a friend of a lady who paid my mum to clean, I had an interview with the manager of the outerwear department of a large Nottingham clothing manufacturer. So started my career as a dress designer. It was quite thrilling to see my designs in shop windows, even more to meet someone in the street wearing one.
When I started writing about ten years ago, I used some of my own experiences to provide an authentic setting for my first book, Awakening Love. I broadened the story out and gradually developed strong characters that were to carry the tale onwards to a new emerging generation. So the Love By Design trilogy was born.
The whole history of dress design is reflected in the pages of the Love By Design trilogy.

For more info on the trilogy go to my author blog
To buy eBook versions of the trilogy go to the Dare Empire bookstore
For printed books go to Magpies Nest Publishing and read chapters and reviews. PalPal purchasing. Free delivery in UK.
Printed handcrafted books AGPress — free delivery in USA (Awakening Love - USA title is DESIRE)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

January afternoon — gold that cannot be bought.

Last week I just had to take a photograph of the wonderful colours in the NE sky and gold cast upon the slopes beyond the house.
A magical painting could not have lifted me more than this Divine art.
Yesterday a fall of snow stopped us going to a funeral. I found that sad. But this is an emotional time of the year and things are happening in our lives far beyond our control. Last night we received news of the death of one of our nieces. More sadness, as much for their parents as for their child. She was born with Downs Syndrome but no one could have received more love and care. And so the cycle of life goes on throughout the world. Tragically, life is far shorter in some parts of the world. We easily forget how blessed we. We don't need material riches when beauty is showered upon us. Yes, snow stopped us going where we really wanted to be but later that day the sun came out and spread its glory to warm the earth.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

As Time Goes By — the Christmas Cake

I debated whether or not to make a Christmas cake. We usually give most of it away to family but they all seemed to be going on a weight reduction plan. And plenty of other cakes were in the tins anyway. What’s more, at the time we were not expecting visitors. My youngest son who lives with us doesn’t eat fruit cake except the marzipan and icing. But hubby said Christmas would not be Christmas without a Christmas cake. So it was made, rich with fruit and spirits. The decorations, which have been in use for very many years came out of the drawer and those added the important traditional trimmings.
Ah but this year, the cake was much in demand. We have had more family members arrive, some staying, than ever before. Sadly, this is partly because of the death of four of our grandchildren’s other granny. And much to our delight a grandson staying five nights with his wife of nearly six months.
So a batch of baking is needed. But first other household chores need doing, including undressing the tree, washing, ironing, cleaning, shopping. Well, maybe I’ll sneak in a bit of pastry and a Victorian sandwich cake.
The Christmas cake? Just saved a piece for the guy who insisted on my making it!