Friday, November 30, 2007

the academic year is over...


Four hundred and fifty assessments to grade
takes a long

when one of them
has three components.which makes another fourhundredandfifty, and I'm not even good at numbers.

Here are some pictures to look at.

a bernard palissy plate

blue sky in glasgow

horrid boots in Russia

perhaps a decent post might get written soonish.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Friend Jane

My friend miss jane the bowerbird is a very talented little friend.

Being the Bowerbird she is, she will swoop upon and seize the smallest scrap of plastic waste. She will leap from a moving car for a bottle lid. Run bravely through lanes of traffic to secure a broken plastic toy. The eyes light up when they see the small stash of plastic I may have gleaned for her. For she is not only a bowerbird, but an artiste. One with the assemblage skills of a reconstructive surgeon, I might add.

So it was with enormous delight that, in the first leg of the Sculpture by the sea walk, that her beautiful wreath installation swung into view, lit by the sun on a grassy slope overlooking the sea. It was an absolute festival of children, who were examining each wreath with the wonderment and interest that they usually reserve for that chocolate display right next to the cash register in the supermarket: the one with the seductive sparkly rainbow colours.

Each wreath, using discarded waste materials, commemorates all the public gardens which no longer exist in sydney, due to the drought, to water restrictions, to global warming. And not only that, she has given workshops to little children AND provided a catalogue of all the pieces....which are so funny...she should write copy!

All this, and can surf too.
On her very pretty surfboard, which, I believe, matches her swimming costume, so she is quite the visual spectacle in real life too.

Bravo, Miss Jane!
Visit her via the link: This Bower My prison, at right.

(its late, and I cant find my linking code)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

fish times two

So, I am a northern/southern fish now, with head in one and tail in the other.
So clever, this duality. When the sun shines, it really is night.
When the leaves are bursting with unaccustomed rain, they are also yellowing simultaneously, falling from the trees, onto the heads of those who stand beneath them. How very kind of the weather her in the south: the heatwave took a few steps back, and ushered in eight days of rain, to keep me within the sheltering grey canopy of sky.

Such sights my eyes have witnessed. Even the world, in its state of flux, can remain fixed in some way: I can still stand in front of a Mark Rothko and feel distance falter, an embrace of something vast, the wide warm breeze of my past.

I can smile in recognition at renaissance paintings at the National Gallery. Perhaps now I read them in a different way, but all the times I have stood here occur simultaneously. I feel like a spy, taking pictures, since I am not allowed, but I do anyway.
Veronese. He liked blondes, so maybe that is why I like him. Possibly, it seems a reasonable enough excuse to like an artist.
Something which strikes me in the National Gallery is the range of people. Naturally, there are eight million tourists of all nationalities, but there are also business men in their lunchbreak, bankers walking about together discussing paintings. I spend much time looking at all the people, listening to them talk.

In the Victoria and Albert, lurking in various corners, there are other kindred madpersons, scribbling and painting. We smile in recognition. One mirror image of myself, painting a splendid little 13th century madonna in painted wood, just looked up from her work and into my eyes, saying "she has been in my head for this past eight months... I had to come and do something with her..." and of course, i knew what she meant, having just sought out Beatrice in glass, for the very same reason.

Very hard it is to attend to the small matter of grading assessments at the moment, a mountain of them, when I am so distracted by thoughts and visions of faraway places, and those who dwell there.

Monday, November 5, 2007


The world is so big I seem to have no words for it.
Having been out there in it, I feel strangely silenced.

I journeyed forth and found myself in places I would never have expected, l
it with lights I never knew were burning,
whipped by wind I never knew could blow.

To travel so far and find my own self standing on some quiet shore, to hear my own footsteps clatter along the streets of unknown places, to gaze at the universe within a Victorian glass perfume bottle in a dusty vitrine: these things need to settle in my head.

I opened my mouth, and all my words have blown away.

For the time being.

Friday, November 2, 2007

in THIS life

In a wonderful adventure, somewhat like a chapter from the magic faraway tree, this fish found itself adventuring to the real-life home of the Life family. Tis an amazing thing to do, for certain.
People have asked me what have been the highlights of my trip, and I would have to say my encounterings of people, really.
Scotland is the most wonderful place, it is like a place only ever imagined, except that it is real and all around you. the Scots folk are extraordinary, really. Ones you know, and ones you don't. Folk in the street, in homes, in places. My visit to the home of dear Isabelle was one of my highlights.
Interesting how you can tell almost exactly what a person is like: Isabelle is as sweet and lovely as I had imagined.
Sometimes too, there is a surprise that one does not expect. In this case, I encountered a person so beautiful that I have thought of her often since, and she has made me smile, this Daughter Life. She is one of those characters from literature and history who would be described as pure and good. Her face shines with the passion of her beliefs, and her pathos and kindness, it is lit with her goodness.
I know instinctively that she would shy away from attention of this sort, but I was so impressed with her that my thoughts keep returning to the lives of the cold and poor in eastern Europe, those for whom she has done much. I felt the world was a nicer place for me having discovered her in it.
Cassie and Sirius, the most loved cats in Scotland, appeared to love her almost as much as they loved Mr life and Isabelle. And so grown up they are getting. (next thing they will be off for university before you know it, clever and cute they are.)

Sometimes you read about a family so lovely they seem too perfect.
I am happy to report that everything about the Life residence is even nicer in real life: Thanks for you wonderful hospitality you gorgeous persons and catlets!

So, now to plot and plan my return. Edinburgh a fine and beautiful place by moonlight, Glasgow wild and wicked: somehow, I have to get back.

So when the water became dark enough, the fish headed right down to the bottom where it could no longer see.

I told you, said the ocean, that I would be here all along, just blacker in this form.
Its embrace was like ice.

Armed with new scales the colour of winter, the fish curved its body into an arc and shot to the surface, flew in to the sky and with an immense flick of the tail turned into a bright hard point of light which settled on the surface of the sea.

We shall love each other for ever, the water and the fish could be heard to say, wherever we are on the globe.