Having been involved in advertising and print for more than 30 years*, old typography and print often catches my eye.
Over the last few months, as part of her volunteering her her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, my youngest has recently been doing some digital archiving of old print publications for the Girlguiding organisation.
These ads in ‘The Girl Guides Gazette’ from as far back as the 1920s caught my eye.
My how things have changed. Or have they?
*In the days before desktop publishing, I served my time in a design studio in the South West; here. Happy daze.
I have also just finished the much acclaimed ‘The Midnight Library’ by Matt Haig. I’m gonna let that one ruminate for a few days.
In my experience, often certain books come along at the right time. I wrote about my Steinbeck encounters before. Of course it only seems like this. If a book’s not resonating with you, then you put it down. Conversely, if a book’s hitting the right notes then you lap it up. But, when the experiences in a book really do ring true it’s invigorating. I’m not a great reader but I’ve had a few good reads over ‘lockdown’. Reading’s good.
Of course you really do need to read it to get the experience, but here’s some of the quotes that struck me from Mike Carter’s book:
“finishing lines are good, but their most important role is to get you over the start line in the first place.’”
“… there was no end, only process, and that ultimately, this was just fine.” .
“The miracles are always found in the stuff of daily life if you have your eyes open.”
“‘happiness is the acceptance of the journey as it is now, not the promise of the other shore’ “
As mentioned, I’ve had a few good reads over so far this year:
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
One Man and His Bike by Mike Carter
Away with The Penguins byHazel Prior
The Decent Of Man by Grayson Perry
My Abandonment by Peter Rock
Human kind by Rutger Bregman
The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
The Demon Club by Scott Mariani
A Pocketful of Crows by Joanne Harris
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
I enjoyed all of these very much – for different reasons. What anyone might make from this selection, I wonder?
Residents of a couple of streets inWolverhampton were invited to add a heart to a frame set out in the street, to say “thank you” to everyone who’s work and contribution has been helping people through the pandemic. Despite lousy weather, a love-filled selection was collected from neighbours.
I have to say what makes this project is the wonderful hearts that people have created by people in he community, and given, to say thank you.
I have always struggled with the cultural concept of our ‘hearts’. Our culture flippantly uses the heart symbol daily, and the heart can have a saccharine sentimental significance.
But the notion of our hearts being ‘the core of us’, is a definition that holds true with me. We cannot deny that we have ‘a core’, an essence. That thing that brings a tear, a chill, a smile. We do have hearts.
The A5 cards I’ve designed using photos of the gifted hearts, will be sent out to local schools, shops, GPs, care homes and the like to say ‘thank you’.
The cards read: “Thank you to everyone keeping us healthy, safe, supplied, connected, educated and cared for. To say thank you for all you have done and are doing to help us through this pandemic. We made these hearts for you.”
This project was created and organised by Rachel Parkinson, as part of a wider initiative by the Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District of the Methodist Church, encouraging people to bless their communities around Valentine’s Day. You can see more about this project here: God is With Us: Valentines Project
Last spring (2020) I took a lot of photos of nature in our garden and on walks. So we thought we’d celebrate this spring by sending a quick printed* message to some friends – A celebration of spring and all that this time of year freely gives us. #print*
Alongside the sickness that the media have relayed recently, I’m reminded of John Steinbeck’s words ‘a sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ’. Thankfully positive energy is contagious also!
Infused with metaphor, folk tales, and traditions our springtime is full of energy. Whether it’s Creme Eggs, cake, and daffs on the window sill, or seasonal TV drama, religious reflection, and recollections of a horrific old rugged cross, it’s a season full of spirit; new things, awakenings, warmth, light and yes revitalisation.
Hopefully our springtime allows us to reconnect. We can feel the warmth of the light coming through the kitchen window, and see verdant velvet buds shooting from the grey-brown dormancy of a passing winter. You can really feel it. There’s an energy, some might say spirit, that brightens the shadows and eases the strains. A new realisation of our humanity, our breath, our connection.
There ARE flowers everywhere, for those that want to see them. Happy springtime.
In 1947 Henri Matisse published ‘Jazz’, which included the words ‘… Il y a des fleurs partout pour qui veut bien les voir.’ This has been popularly translated as ‘Happy are those who sing with all their heart, in the forthrightness of their heart. Find joy in the sky, in the trees, in the flowers. There are always flowers for those who want to see them.’ A more literal translation ‘…there are flowers everywhere…’.
Argh!!!!!!!!!* I woke up this morning with a Boyzone song in my head!? “No matter what they tell us…“ What!? Where did that come from? I don’t even know who Boyzone are! Sensing an intoxicating earworm, after six words, my wife said “No! Stop!”… it was too late we were both infected.
Alas here’s another one for you. This post has nothing to do with Babs Dickson but it’s titled January February which, if you are of a certain age, is probably enough to trigger another earworm… You’re welcome.
As you know I create images, it’s what I do. Recent morning exercise before work has seen me passing the local allotments at sunrise. and this quick post is just to share two of the unplanned encounters.
As I have mentioned before, I often find the vibrancy and intensity of the world around me so strong I have to stop and acknowledge it… Stop. Pause… breathe… to quote Ezra Bayda “What happens when we slow down and pay attention? Everything! Innumerable delights are right at hand.”
This is so simple it’s silly. We tried this a few months ago – trying to vary from the lock down staples. It’s become a regular favourite for me and the boss, though the kids are still at an “ick, fish” stage.
You do really need to be a chilli fan but do it to your liking. Again, it’s so simple – initially you think basic/bland – but, if you get the mix just right it’s delightful and filling.
Enough pasta for two: we use linguine.
Lazy garlic, or finely chopped fresh if you have it
Lazy chilli, or finely chopped fresh if you have it
200ml dry white wine
cherry toms whole
white fish like cod, and cooked large prawns or anything you fancy.
parsley if you have it.
Pasta: A pasta of your choice – make your own if you can, it’s so much more tasty – there’s some nice ones if you just look above the basic pasta, and I think it’s worth having a nice one. For this dish try a nice linguine. (Digression: I do keep looking for Orzo, not tried it yet, but once we’re out of lock down I intend to track it down)
Cook you pasta accordingly…
While the pasta’s cooking, in a large pan heat up a dash of olive oil and add lazy garlic and chilli (you decide quantity!) and heat for no more than 1 minute – just until it starts to colour. Then pour add the white wine, and bubble until it’s reduced by half.
Once reduced by half, add the cherry tomatoes and heat for cook for 2 mins. We like keeping cherry toms whole, as when you eat them they are really juicy – boom!
Then add your white fish and cook for ~2 mins – Your white fish should break up in a few mins. Use the pan lid to retain heat and moisture if needed.
When fish is breaking up, add your drained cooked pasta to the fish and toms – you may want a bit of pasta water if you’ve over reduced the mixture too much. Also add your precooked prawns (things like precooked prawns just need to warm through, not too long or they’ll be chewy)
Mix it well, and serve with parsley and a good squeeze of lemon.
Again, it’s so simple, but if you get the mix right it’s delightful and a small amount can be filling.