The Winding Path

To the top of the hill leads to my little house. Along the way is the greengrocer, the baker, the butcher and the fishmonger. Every Friday the library man wheels his trolley all the way up, so we old folk don’t have to carry our books.

It gets very blowy up here in winter, but never mind, the views of the river running towards the sea and the town with it’s church spires are beautiful. In summer lots of visitors come for the day. They puff and pant, and many of them give up along the way. I don’t mind when they knock on the door to ask for water, because I can always sell them a bag of my special hill town fudge. The cobbler does well, he hires out sensible shoes for the day, He has a sign saying ‘Ladies, rent my shoes or break your ankles’. City women can be so foolish, how do they think pointy heels will fare on the cobbles?

When the snows comes at Christmas, hundreds come and pay a shilling a time to toboggan down. We decorate with lights and holly, the whole place looks magical. Old Wilf dresses up as Santa and there’s mince pies and mulled wine for the grown ups.

Maybe you’ll come to visit one day? We’ll make you very welcome, as long as you spend lots of money and go away again. But be warned, villains and scrooges will be fed to the wolves in the forest.

Paula has a Thursday Special photo challenge and this week the theme is ‘Winding’. My head is scrambled after a manic week, so I thought I’d share my madness with you.

 

Paula said she would like to visit and asked for directions, so here they are.

Get off the train at Exeter St Davids, next cross to platform 5 for the Tarka line. After an hour and 3769 seconds get ready to jump from the train. Don’t be frightened of the crone in the hedge, and whichever way she directs you choose the opposite. After a nod and 3 blinks you will see a white gate, it’s easy from there as long as you sprinkle coins!

Spring plants in the rain

I walked down my road from work today , with my neighbour Katie and she admired the euphorbia draping itself over my garden wall. I thanked her because it had self seeded from hers! We decided it was at it’s best, even better than her mother plant and that I should take a photo.

So as I’d got the camera out, I decided to see what else was happening.

I must say it’s nice to get home in daylight and next week will be even better. The weather’s been squally again, bright sunshine, then short, sharp showers and some very heavy rain and wind. I think the plants enjoyed the freshness.

 

Castelling, a human tower

Castelling is an ancient Catalan tradition, first documented in the early 1800’s, it began in Tarragona, but has since spread throughout Catalonia. I first saw it courtesy of the pink trousered one, Michael Portillo, in one of his tv programmes, to which I am addicted. As I was in Barcelona for ‘The Dia’ last September, I knew there was a fair chance of seeing it.

The Centre for Cultura i Memoria in El Born was one of the places it could be seen, the one that was easy to find, and close to a favourite little café!

After a croissant filled with coffee flavoured mascarpone, it was time to go out into the Placa Comercial,

Where preparations were underway.

And then it began.

In the background, you can see the first layer climb on the shoulders of the base level, or Pinya as it’s known. The Pinya is wide and formed by the strongest of the group, to make a base that can support the weight of the rest and be a safety net should anyone fall.

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Several more layers are added, the Tronc, and finally, the littlest one scrambles atop, zoom in to see her nearly there, but I didn’t capture her with the camera, I was too entranced!

Once there, she gives a very quick wave, the crowd cheer and she’s back down the six layers beneath her, in just a few moments. Three troups performed that day, in competition, and each time I saw the wave, but my camera didn’t.

Rani Sati

October 2005, I find myself in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. It’s early evening and I’ve just had one of the most moving experiences of my life. The elderly lady in the photo below has hugged me, put a red bindi on my forehead, and entered the temple I’ve just left.

I’d seen an Aarti ceremony in the Rani Sati temple, after  the congregation offered puja. The temple is at least four hundred years old and was built in memory of Narayani Bai who self emolliated and became Sati Ji.

The ceremony was incredibly loud, with drums and bells reverberating through every cell in my body. Water was sprinkled around, some of the crowd ran heir hands through flames, before circling the central shrine. We were welcome to take part but there were no expectations. Caught up in the atmosphere and the heady incense, I followed, with thoughts of Rani Sati, who was beloved to be an incarnation of the goddess Durga, running through my mind.

I have no words to describe the feelings, my journal that day had a line, ‘if I have to go home tomorrow, then it’s okay because I’ve had the experience of a lifetime’.

This post is for Paula’s Traces of the Past.

 

In Hope, a poem for Thursday

This Thursday instead of Lazy Poet, I’m re-posting a poem I wrote a few years ago, for International Women’s Day. Yes I know that was yesterday, but you know me by now, the other week that I got the day wrong for wordless Wednesday, and the syllable count wrong for LP!

In Hope

Cast aside your veil

Turn your face to the sun

Gather round the hearth

Your work today is done

Your sisters draw near

Feet planted to earth

They no longer fear

The lone walk on the trail

Your children breathe free

The mountains clear air

Well nourished with plenty

And wind blown away care

Your abundance is here

Take love in your stride

Future perfect and clear

Go forward with pride

Cast aside your veil

And no longer hide

Black and White Sunday, Countryside

The Otter estuary in the East Devon AONB has long been a favourite place of mine. If you park at Budleigh Salterton you can walk along the river up to Otterton, grab a pub lunch, visit a gallery and mill, then walk back down again. The last time I was there, I was too ill to walk very far at all, just far enough to snap a couple of photos.

The clouds performed rather well for a monochrome image, so I hope Paula will like it.

A hedge or a fence

If you’re not sure, it maybe a fedge, rather like the one growing at RHS Rosemoor. It was born around four years ago, when around fifteen varieties and mixed colours were planted. The willow is harvested each year and the stems have been used to create the fedge.

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The fedge will be clipped as it grows,  to maintain the geometric design.

The colours are planted in groups.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

See how the fedge blends with the background, creating strong vertical lines?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was at Rosemoor for the sculpture in the garden, my first visit for several years. Each winter they have the sculpture exhibition, it blends beautifully with naked trees, the curves of the valley, hard landscaping and excellent design like the fedge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd of course there is the hobbit house!