BuJo for June 2018 and a reflection on May 2018

Angela Porter Bujo June 2018 CoverAngela Porter Bujo June 2018 MonthlyOverviewAngela Porter Bujo June 2018 Mood Habit TrackerIt’s that time again – starting to fill in my bullet journal (BuJo) pages for the upcoming month of June.

I’ve set up part of my bullet journal for June. I decided to go with daises again.  They’re such happy little flowers, bright spots in the green grass. They remind me of innocence and hope. Pale pink, green and flashes of gold will be the colours I use, where I use them, for this month.

May has been a very stressful, upsetting and emotional month, and my bullet journaling, along with lots of other things, went out of the window.

My little smartcar, Smartoo Deetoo, broke down. I had the stress/anxiety/panic of a very long time for the car and I to be recovered and taken home, and then organising recovery of the car to the Mercedes dealership in Cardiff for repairs. Eventually it was diagnosed with a terminally broken gearbox.

Instead of paying to have it replaced, I decided to buy a brand new Smartcar fortwo, which then had the added stress/worry/anxiety/panic of applying for finance.

Very quickly though, Binky was with me – my third Smartcar. Binky is fantastic and I can’t be happier with it.

Just after I signed all the paper work for Binky, I went to check on my cat who had been poorly for a day or two and who had rallied round that morning. I found he’d gone seriously downhill, so to the emergency vets we went.

After a night at the vets, test results and observations of my beautiful boy Cuffs, the diagnosis was brain cancer, so I had to make the decision to let him go, and went to say goodbye to him.

Cuffs was amazing. I had 16 years companionship with him.  He was with me for some of the best and the worst times of my recent life. He always greeted me when I came home and he often tried to stop me leaving for work, especially when teaching had become so very, very hard for me when my mental health was plummeting downwards.

There’s just too much to say about him here. To say I’ve been upset would be a gross understatement. I’ve grieved for him, and it’s knocked me not just for six but for 6 million I think.

I’m beginning to feel better, I still have moments when I miss the purrfurball, when a lumpy bit of the duvet will make my heart leap that he’s under it, only to remember he’s not and to feel that disappointment and sadness.

I am feeling better and getting back into my creative stride.

I’m working on the illustrations for Entangled Butterflies.

I will be working on the June colouring template for the members of the Angela Porter’s Coloring Book Fans facebook group later today.

 

Tea and musings around liminality

Yesterday I sat at a table lit by the golden light of the late spring sun, enjoying the feel of a soft breeze contradicting the warmth of sunlight on my skin while the glorious sound of birdsong gently caressing my ears in the café at the Blaenavon World Heritage Centre. On the table was a lovely pot of tea and a home-made fairy cake (small ‘cupcake’) topped with vanilla buttercream icing and my journal-sketchbook into which I would be recording my thoughts and observations. This was a treat after picking up a batch of mugs that I’ve had printed with a piece of my artwork and a short greeting for my lovely year 11 class who are leaving on Thursday. That will be a day filled with tears and joy, a liminal moment for the pupils as they stand on the threshold of the next phase of their life. The leavers’ assembly being an opportunity to mark this transition point, a liminal point, with celebration, with laughter and with the memories of experiences.

The view from the window was of the neglected graveyard attached to St Peter’s Church which falls away towards the valley bottom as the café abuts the eastern edge of the graveyard and I realised that I was sat at a liminal place, but not one of one phase of life to another. This liminal place marks the boundary between the living and those who have passed out of this earthly existence.

As I realised this, a pair of magpies flitted from tree to tree, their tails twitching as they settled on branches, and sunlight on their plumage revealing the iridescent purples, blues and greens that are so often missed. A solitary cabbage white butterfly careened from plant to plant, it’s pale colour standing out against the brown tangles of brambles and the bright greens of spring growth, signs of life surrounding the memorials of those long dead.

Magpies are associated with bad omens, and one such superstition is that if you see a single magpie on the way to church then death is close (myth-making at blogspot). Considering that many churches have a graveyard around them or close to them, then that is quite true! I love magpies and the other members of the corvidae family of fine feathery friends, despite their gloomy reputations.

As one thought bounced to another, I realised that I too, was at a liminal point in my life as I continue to work on unravelling the tangles of the past through journaling, meditation, self-hypnosis, gratitude and pennies-dropped-epiphanies as I’m becoming more aware of the inner critics and their continual sussuration of negative messages about me. I’m learning how to dis-empower them, little by little, and I may be approaching a turning point for myself in how I view myself and what my beliefs are.

The grave markers were splotched with lichen and algae, patterns reminding me of growths of penicillin on laboratory agar plates or stale and mouldy bread. Tumbled tangled brambles wrapping round them, seemingly pulling them down, down, down into the ground, the Earth reclaiming what had been taken from it, and with it the memories of those long passed. Despite the pull of time and neglect, the taller columns and headstones bravely rose above the tangles, holding their heads up high in the sunshine, proud of their leprous appearance, suggesting age and longevity, that they remember even if the living no longer do.

Others, however, seemed to be surrendering to the gradual depredations of time. Their sharp leaning stance, the first phase in laying down, showing an acceptance of their fate. No one alive who remembers them, who cares for them enough to tend to the memorial of a life once lived. The connections between the present generation and the past generations fading and weakening with time as symbolised by the tumble-down state of the gravestones. This was reflected in the laughter and chatter of the living enjoying beverages and vittles in the bright, warm, life-giving sunshine. The proximity to the necropolis and it’s visible symbols of death, funerary rites, and grief having no effect upon the high spirits of the living.

Perhaps that is because a wall, a visible boundary separates the activities of the living from the area of the dead. If we were to dine and party on their graves, perhaps we may feel differently, irreverent perhaps; an attitude maybe not unique to our own culture or time. I saw this video about dining with the dead in Georgia on the BBC news website earlier this week, and an example of how different cultures approach death and the places of the dead and how rigid and solid the boundary between us, the living, and our deceased friends and family are.

Death is, essentially, a great leveller; the great and the good lie alongside the poor and meek. Only the memorials tell us who is who,and only a skilled osteologist would be able to tell which was which were their skeletons disinterred and separated from any clothing, jewellery or other funerary offerings that they were interred with. To most of humanity they would be the remains of people, equal in death as they were not in life. Given enough time, all return to the Earth, return to what we were created from, very few leaving traces that will last for centuries, millennia or the aeons of time.

Traces remain in the bones that remain of their lives; hardship, luxury, adversity, ease all leave their marks in the bones. As the flesh decays, as memories fade, so do the individual stories of each person’s life, the stories that make each of us unique. The funeral monuments may tell us about them, there may be hints of their life in written records, but so much about them, such as whether they were kind or cruel, loving or neglectful, are lost.

Gloomy thoughts? Not at all! I like what the we can learn of our ancestors from their funerary rites, from records, from stories still held in the memories of the living, maybe experienced first hand or tales handed down through the generations. It matters not whether they are iron-topped tombs of the magnates of Blaenavon or the ring-barrows of a person from the Bronze Age, or the fossilised remains of our distant relatives. For many, we can only make educated guesses about their life and times, sometimes more educated than others when written records exist.

Of course, the choice of a place for cemeteries is a story in itself. In ancient times where a lot of effort was expended to bury a few in monuments such as cairns, ring barrows, cists, long barrows, then they weren’t just plonked in the nearest available place. The choice of place had meaning, just as the choice of place has meaning to us whether it’s where we go on holiday, where we choose to live and experience life. We choose places that give us meaningful experiences, be they linked to happy or sad times. The same is true when we choose places for funerary rites, whether we choose them ourselves before we die or whether we choose them for our loved ones who have passed away. My father’s cremains were buried beneath a sapling plum tree in a country lane where he used to collect all kinds of fruits and plants to make wine from. A friend’s father’s ashes were sprinkled from a bridge to return to the sea which he loved and sailed while serving in the Navy. Another friend’s father’s ashes are to be buried with his brother, if permission can be gained from her aunt.

If we take time and care to choose an appropriate resting place for the physical remains of our loved ones, I’m sure our ancestors did so too, even though it may not have seemed so to us as in many cases we have no ideas of their beliefs and the practices that stemmed from them. Nor do we know for sure why certain people were accorded such seemingly prestigious and important funerals, whether they were the great and the good or whether their deaths had a different meaning and the funeral a different purpose than commemoration and a reminder of our connections to the people of the past, to our ancestors, to those who have shaped the society we life in at any particular point in history.

I couldn’t help but wonder what stories the land could tell us if we could access it’s memory. I’d love to know what events the stones beneath my feet have witnessed in their long aeons of existence. What lovers’ trysts and promises. What betrayals, joys, toils, griefs. Whose feet have passed over them and what is the story of the lives. I don’t just want to know about the great and the good, people whose lives are most probably fairly well documented. I want to know about the ‘ordinary’ people as well. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone’s life experience is unique to them due to their unique perceptions, beliefs, actions, reactions and personality, and what thoughts and beliefs they had about themselves and others.

Perhaps the land, the position of the cemeteries, their relationship to the use of the land in the past and the present, the stories told about the land, it’s people all serve to keep alive the memory of the ancestors, aiding in remembering their stories and the stories previous generations and in so doing keeping the ancestors alive, in memory, and our connection to them stronger. The scape surrounding the cemetery becomes woven into the stories of the recent ancestors and the myths of the more ancient ancestors, acting as aide-memoires to the tales. Each feature in the land around the cemetery is not devoid of emotion, of meaning, and for each feature these would change as the time of day, the season of the year and the weather changes. We interact with these scapes through the feelings and meanings and the way that we make use of them and that induces a feeling of belonging to them. Ideas such as these are propounded by archaeologists such as George Nash.

I realised then, how much I’d enjoyed writing my thoughts, how going to a different place other than home allowed me the inspiration I needed. It’s also brought up links between things that are occurring in my life at present, and that will help to unravel any tangles knotted by the inner critics in the past.

Let It Grow

Let It Grow © Angela Porter

8″x 6″.  Rotring Rapidograph pen and black ink on heavy cartridge paper.

I’m not quite sure yet what I’m going to do with this outline – colour or not to colour, texture or not to texture.

Last night I had friends visiting and a look for the drawing that I did when visiting Tewkesbury Abbey a couple of years ago led they and I to looking through some of my old sketchbooks.  Suddenly, seeing all that had inspired me in the past, showed where my ‘visual vocabulary’ for my abstract art ‘doodles’ has come from.  Prehistoric art, Romanesque and Gothic architecture and sculpture, La Tene art, ammonites and other fossils, microscopic formanifera, microscopic images of cells, stained glass windows, insects, shells, flowers, ‘Celtic’ manuscripts and Anglo-Saxon art to name but a few.  I’d also picked up a copy of the BBC’s History magazine whilst out shopping as it had images of Anglo-Saxon artefacts which reminded me of patterns I use in my art.  Yesterday seems to have been a day of making links between all the work I’ve done in the past and how it flows out of me now, and a reminder of the things that inspire me as well as giving me a sense of validation with the way that I create art.

I think subtle colours for this one, with textures added in places, and just the hints of metallic highlights perhaps – after all, my inner raven demands the sparkle!

Autumn blackberries

Bramble28Aug12 © Angela Porter
Bramble © Angela Porter
5″ x 3″, pen and ink.

Plucking blackberries from hedgerows bursting with the deep purple-black fruits of the bramble are memories of childhood.

Taking care not to prick fingers on the thorns, or get clothing snagged and torn upon them either.  There were also the sticky burrs of goose-grass to avoid too.

It was all worth the hours of effort, however.  Blackberry and apple pie, blackberry crumble, bramble jelly, and the blackberry wine my father brewed (if he could steal any away).

Blackberries were frozen by the plastic gallon re-used ice-cream tub to be used for Sunday desserts through the winter months too.

All of these things created once the blackberries had been washed in salted water to bring out any maggots that had burrowed their way into the fruits.  If I caught sight of one single maggoty thing, I couldn’t eat any more of them, and eating them straight from the bramble was not an option for me.  It’s no wonder I’m a vegetarian!

A free harvest that I no longer take advantage of, but may manage to do so this year if I can pluck up the courage to go by myself in to the countryside to do this.

Yes, I do mean courage, as I’ve become a bit of a recluse once again, not going out into the world where there are other human beings to encounter me.  A long, personal story that is, but one I hope to change with time.  The gist is I’ve allowed myself to be hurt by other people over the past few years.  Things I was once involved with have gone by the by and I’ve not managed to replace these social activities with others.  Oh, I do go out.  I am involved in things, but the people I encounter are, generally, more acquaintances than anything else.  I still seek and search for a sense of belonging in this world.

Even as I think back to childhood blackberrying, I remember that I was often alone even though the rest of the family were there, all chatting and laughing and playing amongst themselves while I was generally excluded, unless it was to be the butt of someone’s joke.  Always funny for them…

Funny, the memories of blackberrying, and collecting bilberries, or whinberries as they are also called, are still ones of pleasure – the pleasure of the food produced as a result.  Bilberries are small, blueberries, native to Britain.

Folklore

There’s plenty of folklore surrounding the humble bramble and it’s fruits.

“Throughout much of Britain there was a widespread belief that blackberries should not be eaten after a certain date.” [Vickery]

This date may have be that of the first frost, as then they become the Devil’s fruit  and are not fit for humans to eat .

Michaelmas (29 September) or  Old Michaelmas (11 October)  relate to the biblical tale of  Lucifer being thrown out of heaven for his proud, covetous ways by Archangel Michael (Isaiah 14:12).  It is said that Lucifer landed in a bramble bush and cursed it, which is why people won’t eat blackberries after Michaelmas, saying variously that:

  • they have the Devil in them
  • the Devil peeps over the hedgerow and blasts them
  • so the Devil may have his share
  • the Devil spits on them

Hallowe’en (31 October) or All Saints’ Day (1st November) are also dates given as the cut off for blackberry consumption.  As well as the reasons given above, this date also relates to the following:

  • they have the witch in them
  • the witches have peed on them
  • on Hallowe’en the puca has crawled on the blackberries.

“From a scientific point of view, blackberries contain a high concentration of bitter tasting tannins which over time accumulate in the fruit. Old Michaelmas day falls late in the blackberry season making berries picked around this time very bitter. To make matters worse, as autumn arrives the weather becomes wetter meaning the fruit will contain more fungus spores. This will not improve the taste either.” [BBC Nature UK]

Brambles were sometimes planted, or placed, on graves, one belief being that they stopped the dead from walking.  Another reason is that they kept the sheep off the grave.

A superstition in Wales was “When thorns or brambles catch or cling to a girl’s dress, they say a lover is coming.” [Roud]

References:

BBC Nature UK, Nature folklore uncovered

Roud, Steve “The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland”, Penguin Reference, 2003

Vickery, RoyOxford Dictionary of Plant-lore”, Oxford Paperbacks, Oxford University Press, 1995

Seasons Musings 2011

The end of the Autumn Term is always one filled with very mixed feelings for me, if I allow myself to dwell on things or to notice the differences between myself and others.

I usually am quite different to others in the way I seem to live my life, that’s for sure. At this time of year, with all the messages from the media, retailers and society I feel the separateness even more. The materialistic nature of our society, and at this time of year the materialist selling machine kicks into overdrive.

The main message seems to be that you can’t possibly be happy and loved unless you are in a relationship, surrounded by family and friends and have spent a small fortune on gifts and food and drink and decorations, wear a particular brand of clothes or perfume or aftershave or jewellery, look a particular way (impossible unless you are air-brushed and digitally altered or starve yourself silly) or, or or…

Also, let us not forget the pressure to not disappoint others by not getting them the latest gadget or gizmo or designer clothing or accessories, whether you can afford it or not, and this is overwhelming, unless you are aware of the pressures upon you.

Another message is that if you have this or wear this or smell this way then your life will be magical and ecstatic and filled with love and you’ll be irresistible to others portrayed, others portrayed as the ultimate beautiful people.

The main selling point is that of an ideal partner, family, friends and life; a perfection we can’t possibly maintain except for fleeting moments; life is a series of good times and not so good times, even for the incredibly wealthy. Neither money nor fame bring happiness; if they did, we’d never hear of depressed and suicidal wealthy and/or famous people. No matter what things we own or how we dress or what we do or where we go, they cannot bring inner peace and contentment, not for more than a little while.

We’ve become a society, generally, which says I love you by how much we spend on someone, not by on how we treat others.

It is at this time of the year, when businesses whose business is to get you to part with your money, get you to buy into the belief that nothing says I love you more than spending a lot of money on you.

Am I cynical? Probably. Oh, I know that not everyone is like this, that there are people out there who understand what gifting is about, but the majority have been infected with the consumerism/materialism virus.

Being a long-term single person, one who has blood family that she’s not close to (which equates to having no real family) and friends who have their own families, then this time of year can be very difficult. Add to that the bad memories of the past that can surface as various events or pressures are felt related to this season, and a deep tiredness that saps me of my emotional resilience, I can find it very difficult to cope with this particular holiday.

I associate this time of year with huge childhood disappointments. This disappointment wasn’t with what gifts I had or how much money had or hadn’t been spent – I was always appreciative of the gifts given. No, the disappointment was always connected to my hope that Christmas would bring a wonderful change to my life; that there would really be peace and love and goodwill to all, including me.

It never happened.

By mid-morning the magic of waking and finding the house be-decked with fairy lights and decorations overnight by Father Christmas’ fairies that lived in the central heating system and the surprise of the presents at the end of the bed were replaced by arguments and name-calling, destruction and bullying, which only intensified as the day went on and tempers became more and more frayed by tiredness and food and drink.

By Boxing Day everything was back to normal, the only difference were the twinkling lights, tree, tinsel and trimmings.

Christmas became a season of false hopes and false promises.

That never changed as I went through adulthood. Oh the parties could be fun, but generally ended in drunken fights – verbal or physical – between other party-goers always spoiled them

The expectation of sitting and watching Christmas TV with no conversation after dinner was tedious and boring for me. Or the annoyance at the long ago ex-partner turning up drunk and late for the first Christmas dinner in our new home together. I’d spent all morning preparing and cooking the meal, and by the time he got home it was all dry and over-done. I’d nibbled my way through my food waiting for him (and got through half a bottle of very good port). He wolfed it down, dashed upstairs to be sick and then spent the rest of the day in bed sleeping it all off.

Not all have been sad or bad.

I had a good day a few years ago when I volunteered to help the chef at a half-way house run by the Salvation Army. There were lots of laughs that day.

There was also the year where I ‘rescued’ a friend from a long walk home after his fiancée had chucked him out at 10am on Christmas morning because her son had complained that my friend hadn’t shown enough enthusiasm for the son’s gifts. I ended up cooking an Indian banquet before taking him to his lodgings in the evening.

And last year, heavy snow meant it wasn’t possible to go anywhere, and so the pressure was off me. I spent the day engrossed in art and reading and music.

There’s also my acceptance that Christmas, as a religious thing, means nothing to me. It’s allowed me to be happier at this time of year than in the past. I still feel the pressures from outside.

This is a turning point in the year; Christmas more-or-less coincides with the Winter Solstice which heralds a return of the light and the possibility of growth in the coming months. The Solstice brings change and the opportunities for personal growth. The Sun is at it’s weakest at this time, though its strength is gradually reborn and grows in strength over the coming months. It’s a good time to let go of things that have ‘died’ in our life in order to make space for new things to come into our lives. My attitude towards this time of year is one of those things that needs to change, my resilience to the external pressures needs to be strengthened, and there are some things I need to let go of in order for this change to occur.

Despite all the work I’ve done on myself, on how I view things, becoming comfortable with who I am and my life, I still find this time of year difficult. All the comments like ‘Oh, it must be so lonely for you at this time of year, with no one to spend Christmas with’ (what about the rest of the year?) or the avoidance of the subject (by me as well), and seeing people in large groups eating and drinking and laughing and I’m on the outside looking in, or that’s how it feels.

It’s not the eating or drinking that can get me sad, more the lack of human company. However, that is a feeling that isn’t confined to this time of year – it’s an all year round thing.

I know I tend to keep myself distant from people; I’ve been hurt too often in the past. I do need to learn how to risk a little of myself in order to form connections with others. That is a longer term goal than just for one day of the year, however.

I think that this year I will revel in my solitary time, take the time to rest and recuperate, to do nice things for myself, learn to give to myself for a change and look at where I need to learn to accept from others too. It’s time to remind myself that I am comfortable in my own company, that I’m not lonely, that my life has meaning and purpose and it’s a good time to look at what I do have in my life and to be properly grateful for it. It’s a time to find the strength to avoid noticing what is missing according to the fairytale the media weave for us surrounding what happiness is and what we must have to be happy.

Perhaps, it would be a cathartic exercise to write my own version of A Christmas Carol – past, present and future – maybe calling it a Solstice Carol or a Yule Carol. 

Almost the end of the Summer break…

Prehistoric Fertility 2 – A work in progress

Prehistoric Fertility 2 WIP © Angela Porter 2011

Dimensions – 23x30cm, approx.  Silk fibre needle felt on a black felt background.  Embellishement with beads, metallic and Japan threads, and custom-made sequins.

Photographs never seem to do my work justice, simply because I’m not a photographer.  There is no idea of the shimmery nature of the work, the way that the gold Japan threads used to outline various parts of the needle felt define the shapes and provide a channel along which the colours seem to flow like oil on water.  There is no sense of the texture and heights/depths that the needle felt has brought to the work, nor to the patterns and textures the beads give.  The colours still look garish in the photograph, yet in the actual piece they are more subtle and muted.

I have spent many hours on this so far – around 30 I would guess.  Every moment has been a pleasure, and I’ve even caught myself looking at it and smiling at how well it is working out – unusual for me as I’m my own worst critic, and it’s a step forward that I can appreciate the beauty in my creative work.

Last day of the holidays

It’s finally arrived.  Today marks the end of my freedom to a degree.  Tomorrow I return to work, to a structured day and all the ups and downs that go with the job that teaching is.  My time for art and other pursuits will become very limited.

I had a list of things to do over the Summer, and I’ve achieved few of them, however I have achieved other things, and that is good.  What is better is I’m not beating myself up about the tasks undone.  There’ll be time to do them…

I will miss the slow starts to the day, the spontaneity of trips and visits and time with friends.  Friday afternoon I spent with a friend in a local cafe-bar, drinking, talking about art and other things, working on art, having nice food and laughing before going to take the weekly meditation class I lead.  I will miss the opportunity to do those kinds of things.

On the positive side, it won’t be long until the next school break, and there are the weekends too…

There’s definitely a coolness in the air in the mornings and evenings.  It’s a feeling I associate with the coming of autumn, the return to school, the start of the new academic year and a sense of hope of better things to come, a hope that was usually misplaced, and still is.  However, I still hope that a new school year and a new term will bring new attitudes, opportunities and good achievements.

This year, the new attitudes must be towards myself and my expectations of me and how I react to the poor attitude/behaviour of others.  The Summer break has allowed me to relax, to become who I am meant to be.  I like this person, I like the contentment within me, I like the confidence that comes with it.  What I don’t want is to lose this with the stresses and strains of teaching.  There’s a challenge!

One of the tasks left mostly undone over the Summer was too look for an alternative career/job, one that will allow me to use all my personal skills/talents/gifts in a positive manner.  I’ve been stumped as to what to do, and looking around at available jobs there is nothing that seems to fit me, well not yet.

So that’s another task for the coming weeks – to keep looking at available jobs, to seek advice, suggestions, to continue the audit of my personal skills to help me focus on what  I could do.

I have been thinking about training as a hypnotherapist.  The biggest stumbling block for me is finding the money to pay the fees.  I’m making enquiries about that…so finger’s crossed!

The incipient return to work has been causing some anxiety and worry with me.  My meditation this morning was filled with thoughts of things that need to be done, ideas as to what to do, worries about things that cause me emotional pain …

A clowder of cats and a kindle of kittens

Some Memories from Primary School

Yesterday, while looking for a particular book, I stumbled upon a copy of “A First Aid in English, Revised Edition”.  I’d forgotten that I’d bought this book several years ago simply because I stumbled upon it on Amazon and it brought back warm memories of primary school.  I remember with fondness enjoying working through it, working neatly in my English book, while left to my own devices while everyone else in my class was practising for the competitions for the Urdd Eisteddfod.  I wasn’t with them as I wasn’t deemed good enough for any of the competitions; my accent was too English, I was too clumsy and uncoordinated to dance or act, and was told I couldn’t sing either.  So, I was left with maths and English work to do in the classroom by myself.

Fond memories of being left by myself?  Yes, that is the case.  I have always enjoyed learning, working, and producing beautifully written notes/work.  I guess this was something I could excel at when everyone else thought I couldn’t excel at anything else.  Also, I had and continue to have a love of words and phrases, and the First Aid in English fed that love.

Other fond memories crop up, such as being able to choose a photograph from a huge, numbered collection to use to inspire story writing.  This could be done once the set work was completed and while others will still working on that.  I’ve occasionally remembered about this activity and thought I could use it now as a source of inspiration for creative writing.

Anyway, once I found the book, I had to sit with pen and paper and work through some of the exercises, and found great pleasure and comfort in doing so.  I realised how much I’d forgotten, and how much the book seemed to have been cut down compared to the one I used when I was in school, but that may just be the warping effect of time on the memory.

I know, it’s sad, but it’s also true!

Similes

And this is where the title of this post comes in!  Clowder is apparently derived from clutter, which would describe a pile of cats all together, very much like a furry cloud!

Kindle is more obscure, coming from Old Norse ‘kynda’ which meant ‘to kindle’.  Maybe it’s just a cute sounding word to describe a pile of cute cuddly kittens making apt use of alliteration.