Category: Work

Cephalopod Week 2017! (by )

Cephalopods are things like squid, octopi, cuttle fish and the nautilus or at least that is all there are today in the rock record it is quiet another matter. Ammonites with their curly shells pretty much ruled the seas at one point and were so wide spread and abundant and varied that we use them as markers in the geologic record i.e. you know what type of ammonite you've got - you know the time period the rock was formed.

Ammonite Ink Sketch

I love my fossil cephalopods (lit. head on legs) and the modern ones are pretty amazing too!

There are so many videos on youtube of them doing amazing things like escaping from jars and squeezing through very small gaps, mimicking walking and so on.

The Natural History Museum London has an entire twitter feed dedicated to cephalopods which is well worth a look and can be found here.

The Guardian has an article on Snake Stones i.e. our friends the ammonites again, which you can find here 🙂

The New York Times has an interesting article on the genetics and intelligence of squids and octopuses, which is stuff I am putting straight into one of science fiction stories as it really is quiet weird! You can find that article here.

Ever since I was a child I've loved the way cuttlefish skin changes colour, squid skin is pretty fab too 🙂

I also have one crotchet squid for my hair and one cuddly octopus for snuggling that have been given to me - surprisingly they are both purple 😉

Over at ChemKnits they happen to have collected a load of free patterns for our cephalopod friends which you can find here.

The drawing sheet still needs some work done on it but will soon be up for free down load though sadly not this week. I will also be creating two different boarders for it - one for workshops and one for the third of my adult colouring in books - Colouring Rocks!

Enjoy what's left of Cephalopod Week and I will try and do better next year 🙂

Good Solstice :) (by )

Re-reading Women in Roman Britain on the Summer Solsist

Do to the heat I am letting the chickens roam around the garden meaning that they come to see us when ever we are in the garden or stupid enough to leave the kitchen door open. Jean has declared I am an embarrassing parent for calling them Dinosaurs - especially when I do so on social media - parenting achievement UNLOCKED!

Today is the Solstice - it is also a heat wave here in the UK - my attic was getting up to the 40's when I realised that the heater I have up there is the aircon unit we got when I was pregnant with Jean and couldn't breath properly etc... so that went on complete with pipe to the outside - it got the temp down to high 20's when I switched it off this evening - cooling the attic is important as it is a) my art studio and b) it will have a knock on effect with the rest of the house.

I am warm enough - starting to get a bit too warm - mainly worried about kids, cats and chooks!

Means I get to sit in the garden and draw and read and write - re-reading Women in Roman Britain at the moment which I read nearly 20 years ago for my Classical Civilisations A'level course work. I also made myself iced coffee with decaf filter, coconut milk and sugar free dark choc syrup. It tasted pretty good to me 🙂

Writing little snippets of story ideas for The Punks Universe and a kids story and researching the Middle East via podcasts and documentaries.

Jean got to Scouts, Mary had a bath, I cut down and pulled up stinging nettles - remembered to feed everyone - so winning at life.

Refugee Week and Poetry (by )

I found this podcast which explores the refugee crisis etc... through poetry and musical expression. It contains an amazingly beautiful and sad Wade in the Water which has been cleverly adapted. For those of you who don't know the history of Wade in the Wader it was part of the Slave/Freedom Train in the US before the full abolition of slavery (and in some cases even after it). It was a sung code as were a few other songs.

This is something else that has been breaking my heart over the last few years - when we were trying to adopt (on hold now due to head injury) I felt I was doing something to help because we'd been told that refugee kids were the largest group and I don't care where a child comes from a child is a child and I just want to keep as many safe as possible weather from here or abroad. But obviously that didn't happen and now I sit in my house with spare rooms... and all any one tells me is that it would have been dangerous for my kids :/

I wonder if the households that took in the evacuees and the jewish kids in the second world war had the same sort of issues?

A few years ago Neil Gaiman made this video whilst visiting a refugee camp and highlighted the efforts that are being made and also the plight. He like many in the UK is descended in one branch of his family from refugees - pretty much anyone is going to find foriegn links if they actually bother to look and investigate and just ask. Many families have tended to keep that sort of ancestory secret but not all.

You can read his write up about here on the UN Refugee Agency website.

Currently I am putting together some more political poetry pamphlets/zines just my poetry at the moment - within which I have a few poems about refugees. This one is called The Journey and shamefully I can not even remember which group or news report it is about because there have been so many - so many little bodies and big bodies and just people - washed up along the shores - lives gone and wasted.

A Journey

The journey was across the water
And was flimsy with grief
The crowds swarmed
Desperation palatable
In the tang of stale sweat

Grey waters ebbed to black
Hiding those who could not make it
Or were Unwanted
Thrown to the cold placid stillness
Breath gone

Bodies bloated and rotting
Effluent choked to the fish
So they could no longer
Nibble the corpses
And still the people came
Fleeing, frightened
Seeking sanctuary
That so many of them
Would never reach
The waters filmed with grief

.....

Years ago now I remember sitting in the Wilson Museum and Art Gallery at an event where the guest poet was a refugee - I wish I could remember the mans name - he was seeking asylum at the time - in many places poetry is outlawed, poets especially political poets are actually risking their lives for something that gets seen as "a bit prissy" in this country.

I think that for next year I will try and get the Gloucester Poetry Society to organise an event.

For more information on Refugee Week go here.

The Gap Toothed Monster (by )

Mary would like everyone to know that her tooth fell out a while ago - well actually it was a day or so ago but to a six year old that's a long time you know!

The gap toothed monster!

The tooth was put safe and sound in the tooth pillow that Daddy went and found, this tooth pillow was made by Mum, for big sis Jean when she was young.

It's pink and blue with a giant white tooth, and a space to write letters asking for Fairy Proof. Mary put the tooth inside hoping for a coin to spend on fair ground rides.

Mary the gap tooth

But when she awoke there was no money, just the tooth so she ran to tell her mummy, "The tooth fairy had some wing trouble last night, and that slowed down how fast they could make their flight." Daddy said, "We'll try again and don't put it too far under, the tooth fairy is rather small, and doesn't like to have to crawl, all the way under a sleepy head to delivery a coin whilst your in bed!"

Mary The Gap toothed One

"Ok," said Mary, "I'm no fool, I don't want to make the poor thing crawl," and so she put the cushion tooth and all, next to her bed making sure it could not fall. And sure enough in the morn, there was a glint in the first rays of dawn.

Mary gap tooth

It was a coin where the tooth once was, a whole pound too just because... the tooth fairy was rather late and so had decided to double the rate. So now the Gap Toothed Monster is quids in, or was - there are now a lot of sweet wrappers in the bin. She'd better wash those toothy pegs well, fairies don't come for rotting teeth that smell!

The Black Fly (by )

I was working
Working hard
Educating children
For free as there is no funding
Police and officials arrived
Those who seemed to not fit
Scooped inside
Out of view
Out of sight
But we could see
The campaign bus
We could see the
VOTE US
Sign
Black limos
On the scene
And a down pour of rain
From darkened skies
A storm was coming
Would it blow over?
The rain pelted hard
Frosting my window
But I still saw
The PM there
Standing serene
Surrounded by
People from
The bus
Brought with
Not those who were there
Those who belonged there
Who's streets these were
I stood and thought
I could go out and take a photo
And I thought
Why?
I don't want to talk to this person
If I do and I speak my heart
I will be rude
If I do and am polite and nice
I wont have spoken my heart
I felt the sliver and slime
Of both of these
And so I stood a statue
Unable to move
I thought I should take a photo
It will be news...
But I could not
Would not
I wont say should not
Because maybe I should have
Maybe I should have heard the speech
Given a chance
A blue bottle
Landed on my window
Blotting out the Prime Ministers head
It's eyes were multifaceted
It's wings had been buzzing
Droning in the background
Gnawing at my mind
And it reminded me
It was a shit sucking thing
OF infection and illness
Rotting putrid thoughts
Large and bulbous
With irridescent lines
I could not look away
Staring now focused on this fly
Transfixed on the effergy
That seemed to have the PM's body
A foul wind blew
Lashing the trees...

WordPress Themes

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales