This for me is the most interesting room in Ruskin's home at Brantwood on the banks of the Coniston Water.
We were given the prompt by Geraldine Green to write about several of the curiousities in the cabinets.
I like a cabinet or shelf of curiousities...I have quite a few...the family would say.
The moths are dead and lie under a protective glass dome no danger to the carpets now a wasps nest is empty and the buzzing occupants have fled to a foreign field though the hover fly hovers no more in my mind I still hear his song of summer by the specimen chest it's closed drawers and locked cupboards invite illicit exploration or maybe the bookcase dusted and locked securely against the moths will reveal the truth truth about the Turner copy did the grand man know the artist was he thrilled to be chosen to reside in Ruskin's library where the Madonna still comforts her holy crying child now fixed in stone colour glazed Liverpool style over the fireplace at a window seat there is space enough to hide behind a long green velvet curtain instructions tell me I must not touch or horror of horrors play with the Armillary sphere or woe betide me if I use the ornate writing tray with its inks to pen my inktober poems better far to find my own curled leaf out in the gardens where freedom reigns and rain brings freedom.
A Shelf of Curiousities with the potter's ceramic clown at the front.
A Box of Vanitas....Broken Bird's Eggs found in the field
English and Scottish: habitational name from any of various places in England and southern Scotland, for example in North Yorkshire near Bedale, in the Lowlands near Biggar, and in Suffolk, so named with Old English snæp ‘area of boggy land’. In Sussex the dialect term snape is still used of boggy, uncultivable land.
More than that I started going to Suffolk and regularly visited the village of Snape and The Maltings...where Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears set up the Snape Maltings Music Festival.
Wow....that made Snape even more attractive.
It didn't end there... oh no.
Next thing I discovered was that the last queen of Henry VIII...Catherine Parr.. lived and married second time to John Neville 3rd baron Latimer...in Snape Castle in Yorkshire....well they say that's God's own county I hear.
I'm only an Irish woman so I'm believing what I'm told you understand.
Now...the potter and I have a little retreat up on the bay...that's Morecambe Bay...The Bay.
We started exploring the limestone bulge that surrounds so much of that lovely part of England.
And one day I shout at the potter.."Look...Snape Lane ...lets go up there."
I've started taking pics of this magic little secret lane regularly as the seasons change.
We went on Sunday and these are the up to date snaps of it.
No white lines here.
Very little traffic...and how I love the way the fields have been given appropriate titles.
...that's me and my shadow...Gerry Snape
...we stop at the first bend in the road to see the view over the countryside...
...the hedges have been given their autumn coiffure...ancient hedges protecting even older stone walls...I think of Robert Frost's wonderful poem about dividing and protecting neighbours...
...this was our discovery on Sunday...the naming of fields...my dad often talked about the names of the fields at his home farm in Armagh..it meant so much to him and he would recite them to us in our city lives...
...this one is "The Pond Field"...where sheep graze on the gentle hill that dips down into it...
...and Snape Top Field...at the top...
..up into the top of the lane and the road is bounded by high stone walls covered in ancient roots of
ivy....I go to see what they have twisted around this year and gather the dead branches from the fallen leaves underneath...
...looking west to the top of the hill under the yellowing canopy of late autumn trees....
...looking east back to where we have come...
...light and shade and a view through to old established trees...
...and sunlight filters through to light the ivy casting many blue shadows on the stones...
I can't write any poetry yet about this lane.
It's almost too much to think that way yet.
And I'm not giving you directions to get to it...it's secret.
It's cold today and the north wind is making it feel even colder.
The potter has lit the fire in the front room with the ash logs he bought from our young neighbour.. They burn slowly and burn with a steady heat and there are no sparks flying from them.
I'm always glad of that.
I'm wrapped up in my Donegal mohair rug to write this at the P.C.
I find it very hard to steel myself each year as I help my sister (@rosiemcclellandart) with her Donegal workshop in the summer. That's because I would buy a handwoven rug every year if I could ...they are so delicious. Can I really call a mohair rug ...delicious?...I just have.
This post is really about the cold wind today...I've been sidetracked...
We have two standard rose bushes in the small front gardens. One either side of the door.
They've been there for thirty years or more and always surprise me with the abundance of pretty little pink roses.
I suppose I bought them in memory of my dad. I loved his garden and especially loved the roses he planted there.
But today the wind threatens to finish them off by blowing the last few petals from the trees.
So a little pic to remember... when the dark days really arrive this winter.
It's always a highlight seeing the art and installation at The Lookout on the beach in Aldeburgh.
You can see the spiral stairs leading up to the tower room at the top on the post 2nd November... where each year Caroline Wiseman puts on another work combining artist and poet.
This year the art is by Issam Kourbaj. The poetry by Ruth Padel.
The combined work is called ...
Dark Water, Burning World, 80 Moons and Counting.
To mark the sixth anniversary of the uprising in Syria, poet, classicist and Hellenophile Ruth Padel, joins artist Issam Kourbaj, to present an intervention that explores the millennia-long relations between the Near East and ancient Greece. At this event, Kourbaj will launch Dark Water, Burning World - a new artwork inspired by 5th century BC Syrian vessels on display in Gallery 21; and Padel will read a new poem Lesbos 2015 - influenced by her meetings on the island of Lesbos, both with the inhabitants and with some of the thousands of Syrians who have fled there.
So you reach the top and look in and are confronted by the boats full of burnt out matches and the clear Irish voice of Ruth Padel reading her poems influenced by her visits to Lesbos and the influx of so many broken lives.
The boats cover the floor of the upper room and fill the old wooden window frames.
While we were there we noticed a family on the beach playing as families do...with dogs and children running and laughing...
...and in the icy cold waters of the North Sea a lone swimmer can just be made out fighting the waves.
Two worlds. The Work can be viewed at The Fitzwilliam Gallery and The V and A as well.