Science, Literature, Art and that is just the start (by )

At the weekend I found myself in Birmingham using puppets I'd designed and my mother had made and drawings I'd done and a game Alaric had designed and I'd made and some basic DNA extraction with household chemicals... to teach very young children about science, or more over to show them what a fun and interesting world it can be.

It was over whelming and amazing and I need a PA system due to noise levels. I wished I could have stayed for the whole of the British Science Festival. I want to take Cuddly Science further - it was a project I created initially for my Science Communication course at UWE last year/this year - it needs to be so much more.

I am going to be spending this weekend at the Battersea Literature Festival, I will be reading a poem or two but mainly listening to some amazing poets who I admire very much. I have a list of things that need to happen to take the writing stuff further and I am excitedly awaiting the next writing challenge. There are box for the selling and I want to get out there and perform a bit more next year - I already have some bookings.

Art wise I have been pushing myself and submitting for stuff I really want to get but probably wont and that doesn't matter as it has helped me up my skill level allowing me to start producing manga style science colouring sheets for things like Cuddly Science... It's all looping around - all those different skills are interbreeding and producing... well stuff.

I still hope I get those projects.

The comic book is well into being created - it is sci-fi/fantasy and is part of what I call The Punks World. It will be lunched in Feb.

There are Christmas Presents to be knitted, preserved, painted, folded, harvested, papier mached and sewn before then. And Cheltenham Literature Festival where I will be doing fun writing games and activities and crafts with the kids.

This is all scarily starting to look like a career! There is more to come. At the weekend someone asked if I came from a Science or an Art background - I said Both. I was also asked what my career was and I was as always kind of stumped but they said that I'd reached the holy grail of "various" and yeah I think that is a pretty accurate description.

Art, science, craft, tech, singing, acting, improvising, working with kids, cooking, growing, explaining, knowing... all these things are becoming interconnected webs that I use to make workshops or books or a piece of art or to explain something in a way that will inspire or help. Sometimes it's hard to hold the shape of it all in my head at one time.

At the moment I tend to stuff like Artist and writer or the slightly longer... Artist, Writer, Science Communicator and Workshop Leader. I would love to say Creative but people think unemployed flake if you say that :/

Not really sure where any of this is gong but it's all exciting and should be interesting!

Cherry Trees and Memories (by )

Mary's Cherry Tree

Today I said goodbye to a lovely lady called Mary who ran the shop and stuff at Thriftwood when I was on service crew. On the way home tonight looking at the moon I found myself with the image of the "Great Scout Campsite in the Sky" were Mary and Barbara are making tea and eating cake and my friend Alex is trying to get everyone to have a go at stuff they think they can not do whilst wearing the most eye watering dodgy trousers ever and Chill is putting plasters on everyones bumps and bruises. It made me smile and I know that the image will live in my heart if not my mind and that the people mentioned above were so full of love and caring and touched so many lives that if I have one tenth of that compassion I will leave this world a better place than I found it. They filled mine and so many others hearts with love.

Thriftwood Lake

It was strange to be back at the wood - it was different but the same giving me a kind of vertigo, there were new buildings and my climbing wall that I helped build was out of commission behind barbed wire. The coral I always wanted for the archery range was an actuality and there were new toilet blocks.

Thriftwood Lake island

I walked past the area where me and Mary had set out planters full of plants to make the office/reception area look nice. I'd done a similar thing in Cranham with Barbara and the Beavers when we first moved here to Gloucester. With both ladies gone the memory of planting flowers cut deep.

But there was also a lot of joy - I recall the cupcakes Mary had made for exam results day, to celebrate or comisserate, depending and helping her in the shop, sorting teddy bears and little archery statues and putting ice lollies in the freezer.

The squirrel statue that was being made when I had morning sickness that was Jean, was still there, I helped build that complex - the "new shop" - the statue which was chain sawed out of a tree trunk had been stained and vanished, it looked wrong to me as I recalled the blonde splintered wood.

Jean loved the place and was very excited, she wanted to know when she could work there but then she wants to work at the climbing wall in Gloucester too. She played with my friends little girl and I got to meet everyones children. What!!!!? We all have children? It was only "old crew" who had children... oh.

Jean walking around Thriftwood Lake

I had not been there for almost 9 yrs - we'd gone there on the way home from the hospital so that I could show baby Jean the campsite. A lot of the people who were crew with me then are still there now - with their kids and it was great to catch up.

It was interesting to note that those without kids do look pretty much exactly the same where as the rest of us looked a bit chunkier and tired!

Seeing Bill (Mary's husband and the old Warden) being his old hyper cheerfully gruff self whilst occasionally wiping a tear from his eye, put a poinancy in my heart. It was a happy and sad day.

And I miss it all, I miss the crewing and the climbing and the archery and I miss the people. I miss Mary and Barbara being kind and practical and efficient.

Thriftwood was may plain of passage, I worked summers and holidays and weekends there, alot of it volunteer and some of it paid, I made life long friends and introduced my brother and husband to the place. I learnt many many skills that have been more than useful. Before we moved to Cranham me and Al toyed with the idea of wanting to run a campsite - we scrapped the idea when the Drs said they couldn't do anything for my back and that I would just get worse.

Ten years ago we had our wedding reception and fire ceromony there. It has always been a place of high energy of laughter and tears and when you are there for any amount of time you find the quiet places. It is easy to slip into those places once you know them, even when the campsite is brimming with kids and jobs that need doing. They are the still places where you can think and just be.

Tree stump and wooden pilings in Thriftwood Lake

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