Sunday, 20 June 2010

My Entry for Blogger's Community Photo Challenge

It was my birthday in May and these are my birthday flowers from my daughter.
I thought I would make this bouquet a late entry in The Bloggers Community Photo Competition.  The theme is  'FLOWERS'.   It can be any kind of flower photo as long as it has flowers as the main subject.
Hurry along and take a look or make an entry at the last minute, just like me.
It's great fun and  such a pleasure to see all the other entries too.  Get your skates on!

If you click on the photo, and then again when it opens in another window, you will see the flowers in close up.

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Midnight Hour


(c)  Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:

Something else is alive

Beside the clock’s loneliness

And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:

Something more near

Though deeper within darkness

Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow,

A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf;

Two eyes serve a movement, that now

And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow

Between trees, and warily a lame

Shadow lags by stump and in hollow

Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,

A widening deepening greenness,

Brilliantly, concentratedly,

Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox

It enters the dark hole of the head.

The window is starless still; the clock ticks,

The page is printed.

I just enjoy reading Ted Hughes poetry.  It is out of this world!  It is intricate and full of depth of meaning.
This poem of his reminded me of a late night 'Fox Thought' which helped me to write a poem of my own.
I had originally intended to write my poem about Bryan my husband.  What he meant to me down the years and the things I admire about him.  I even got as far as to read some of it over the phone to my son and he liked what he heard.  Then strangely, one evening I was burning the midnight oil, trying to chisel away and improve on my original  poem,  whilst using the concept of a box and what was inside or outside it;  When I seemed to be taken over by another hand and I wrote the following poem.
Perhaps it was the fear of death through my having cancer at the time, which pushed the words out of my head and onto paper.  Who knows?  I do know that I didn't sit down intending to write it.
I suppose you could call it my 'Comfort' poem.
So here is my 'Fox Thought' poem.  No way am I classing it in the same league as Ted Hughes poem above.  I am just borrowing on the concepts and theme of his as to how mine came about.

The Box (c) Jeanie Kirkby 2006


Do not be afraid to hold this box,

Hewn by an immortal hand.

Hold it. Feel its life force

Springing from its sides.

Turn it and see your life

Before time stood still.

Be not afraid to turn it again to see how in spring

you ran laughing and playing

With your childhood friends;

In the park after dark

Climbing trees. All this you’ll see,

And more, when you hold the side

With the mirrors of infinity.

You see there is no need to be afraid.

When there, before you, on another side

Is a chimera of your family appearing,

And reappearing, throughout life’s ages.

Happily unaware of time slowing

Down, throughout your summer and autumn.

Do not be afraid to see through the leaves

Of time and look at what you had before

Time stood still.


Slide the window of the world open

On its other side, and smell the winter snows.

Bone chillingly cold as they rasp at the door

Of life and death.

See how they glow like crystal tears.

Do not be afraid to open the lid

And breathe in the scent of heavens

Warm welcome to you as a spirit of the universe.

Do not be afraid as the roots of the box

Disappear and you are revealed as a

Shimmering surge of the nuclei and atoms

Of all that you are and were to man.

You will see inside the box, as you lift the lid,

His world lays waiting for you to step into.

Do not be afraid.

All will be as you have known it.

Love Jeanie xxxxxxx

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Manchester Museum Of Science and Industry

Manchester Museum of Science & Industry

                  Was a great Easter Holiday Expedition for us ‘old bods’ and our ‘little munchkins ’.

An early rise to catch a 7.55am train had us catching a taxi at 7.30am making sure we shifted our bodies out of bed early enough.

It’s only a couple of minutes up to Windermere train station but the older we get the more we need to make sure we are on time for any appointments. What an affliction when you could really do with a longer lie in bed having run around like a blue tail fly keeping the ‘ munchkins ‘ entertained for 5 days prior to the trip.

Eyes glued almost shut we arrived in our snug station waiting room. It was surprisingly warm and its benches had umpteen, sitting huddled over each other, sleeping oriental bodies waiting for their train too. The children began making loud theatrical whispers about them, as if trying not to waken them up, when they really meant to waken them up. I know them so well!

“They might fall off the bench”. Or “will they miss their train grandma whilst they sleep?” Another question” have they slept there all night?” were a few of the questions we had to hush down to a more polite under the breath reply in answer to their questions. Sheesh! Give me strength!

I was already brain dead before the day began.

If I have to be up really early in the morning I might as well stay awake all night as I clock watch until the crack of dawn, then fall asleep half an hour before I am supposed to wake up.

We changed at Oxenholme for Preston and then onwards to Manchester Piccadilly. Instead of going that far we got off two stops before as we were told that was much closer and not far to walk to the museum. Now that’s the kind of advice I like to hear.

This was to be my third train journey since the 1960’s.

My second one was to Cornwall to visit my daughter who had moved there just five weeks previously. She was homesick and needed Mum.

Bearing in mind that my first ever journey down from Glasgow to the Lakes was on a corridor less train in the early 1960’s, it was a giant leap for me to be on a train which needed buttons to push so the doors could be opened and closed.

I managed that and duly followed my daughter’s instructions about being able to leave my bags safely. Needing the loo off I went, pushed the button, entered and did what I had to do. Imagine my surprise when someone opened the door as I was about my ablutions.

“EXCUSE ME!” I called out as I straightened up.

The door closed quickly and luckily I didn’t see his or her face and they didn’t see mine. Much to my blushes. I began internalising about how I could walk back to my seat cool calm and collected.

What the heck! If I waited long enough then they might not know if it was me or not. (I hoped).

I got to my table seat which I shared with a young couple and noticed my handbag was where I left it.

“Hmm that’s good!” (Thinks me. Samantha was right that I could leave my bag safely).

When recounting my escapade to my daughter she rolled about the floor.

“You left your handbag!”

“What were you thinking Mum?”

“You told me it was safe to leave your bags” I said.

“ S’truth! Give me strength!

“You had your **** in the air when the toilet door opened?”


“Oh well… at least I got there and back safely. How was I to know that you had to hit another button to lock the door?”

I’m not safe loose!

I guess I have been closeted in the ‘back of beyond’ for too long.  Sigh!

Anyway it cheered her up. lol

I digress…we were on a train to Manchester …
Memories were rushing back as to the fun and games the children and I could get up to this time.              Was I worried? Yup! I shadowed them everywhere

Even to the loo where I could educate them on ‘how to lock the door’.

Grandma’s know everything you know…wink! wink!

I still lost Hollie but that story is yet to be told towards the end of the trip and in another entry.

Below are some of the exhibition displays taken around The Science and Industry Museum.

What a place!

You can walk for ages around the site. In and out of buildings, which once were the homes of the various industries we were about to learn about and see. I huffed and puffed up and down the various floor levels. I didn’t mind as there was ‘treasure’ on every floor. We rode on a train passing the station in which was the venue for hands on learning of topical arts and crafts for visiting children, as well as being a museum for all sorts of things to do with trains and stations.

It was amazing to take in all the ingenuity of the Victorians and their inventiveness, as well as seeing textiles and machinery from early industry up until the present.

It is such a large place that we still hadn’t seen it all by the time it closed at 4.30 that day. We had spent six hours touring the site.

Another visit will be on the cards in the near future.

This textile screen or curtain above had glass inserts inside the net and material.

I liked this innovative idea.

This picture doesn’t truly show the ingenuity of this coat. It is made from real thistledown (the wild flower) attached to very fine threads and sheer net.

It was breathtaking!

Children’s Pottery Display In the Cabinet

A demonstration of what it was like in the cotton mills. Some children as young as five were employed to crawl in between the looms, whilst they were still running, to remove the fluff which might stop production. Occasionally a child would be killed by getting caught in the fast running machines.

The noise was horrendous!

It doesn’t bear thinking about why parents were forced to make their children work at such a young age! What dire straits they must have been living. It just beggars belief.

Towards the end of the afternoon we paid a visit to the Planetarium in the Air and Space Museum. Was that the best of places…yes!

On sitting down on the tilted sofas, so that we could look up and view the night skies, my old body heaved the biggest sigh, having been on my feet most of the day.

My near neighbour agreed with me that this was the best part of the day. She had three children with her. You don’t realise how far you travel and how long you are on your feet until you sit down at times like these.

I tried to stifle a yawn or two but eventually became engrossed in the names of all the planets above me and how they got their names.

All the children were mesmerised.

Some of them were real boffins and knew all the star names.

These textile tapestries were made by Manchester primary school children.  Out of all the exhibits I loved these the most.  The work in all of them was amazing!  When they were all put together...there were more of these photos,,, they took up a large expanse of wall in the upstairs textile area. On looking closer I noticed that they were maps of the area around their school and places of interest too.  They all interlinked with each other too.
There was the zoo and the airport.  Parks, churches and mosques. Theatres, rivers.  A wonderful depiction of what Manchester is all about.
Well done to the teachers and the pupils!

Above is an actual ceramic tile in which the inventor has embedded lacework.
What a clever idea!
Yes it is glazed over to protect the material.  How clever is that?

We had a 'tootle' along the short railway line on this little steam train.

I had to put this bicycle, see above, for Julie. 
It is made of wood and I guess if she rode one of those for a while she would want to put back on all that wonderful weight loss she has managed so far.  One needs one's comfort on a bike ride Julie.  lol
More photos to come another time.
We are off out for the day to a lovely seaside town tomorrow.
Hope the weather is as nice as it has been today.

Love Jeanie xx