Category: Art

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-Four

Playing games with the camera.

I am a great supporter of the wonderful photography forum Ugly Hedgehog. I was grumbling the other day that despite me having had my Nikon D750 for some months now I was still struggling to know how to use it properly. One of the wise birds, JD750, on the Forum said (in part):

“Sit down and read the manual, from page 1 to the end, with the camera in your lap.”

That’s what I have been doing and, oh my goodness, has it helped. Here are just a few photographs taken in the last week as a result of me reading the manual.

Firstly, some from outside around the house all with a bit of an autumnal feel to them.

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Then a pic of Ben out in the paddock early on a rather brisk last Friday morning.

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Experimenting with aperture-priority shot when sitting more-or-less in front of the wood stove one afternoon last week.

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Plus some photographs from August of this year. Still using the Nikon but relying much more of the ‘automatic’ settings. Still neat photos in my opinion.

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What’s that saying about when all else fails read the manual!

Happy Birthday, my darling Jeannie.

Philosophising about this ageing lark!

A few days ago Jean and I listened to an episode from the BBC Radio 4 series The Art of Living. Or as the home page of the programme’s website explains, The Art of Living is a …

Documentary series revealing how engagement with art has transformed people’s lives.

Anyway, the episode that we listened to was a delightful 30-minute discussion between Marie-Louise Muir and the Belfast-born poet Frank Ormsby. The reason we selected this episode to listen to in particular is revealed by republishing how the BBC introduced the programme. (For Jean was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in December, 2015.)

Frank Ormsby’s Parkinson’s

The Art of Living

When the poet Frank Ormsby was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, his response was unexpected. He embarked on a newly fertile creative period, documenting his experiences and finding a voice in his poetry that he was beginning to lose in his daily communications.
His first act was to search Google – for jokes. “Which would you rather have, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Obviously Parkinson’s! I’d rather spill half my pint than forget where I left it.”

As he discusses with Marie-Louise Muir, the illness has changed him. It’s mellowed him. After a career as a school teacher, his daily life is now quieter and more solitary. There’s a poetry, almost, in his pauses and silences.
Frank belongs to the generation of Northern Irish writers that has followed in the footsteps of Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley. His medication, he believes, has aided his creativity. But it has also induced hallucinations. He finds himself sitting on his own in his study but surrounded by people, by the ghosts of his mother-in-law and unidentified visitors. And he’s also haunted by a fear that the earth will open up and swallow him.
But if you ask how he’s doing, he writes, “I’ll tell you the one about ‘parking zones disease’.
I’ll assure you that the pills seem to be working”.

Photo credit: Malachi O’Doherty, With readings by Frank himself and Ciaran McMenamin from The Darkness of Snow. Produced by Alan Hall. A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4.

That wonderful joke offered by Frank, this one: “Which would you rather have, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Obviously Parkinson’s! I’d rather spill half my pint than forget where I left it.” comes a little after the 5-minute point in the interview. I strongly encourage you to listen to the full interview. Here’s the link to the radio programme.   

Jean and I were sitting up in bed a couple of mornings ago reflecting on how recent it has been since we ‘got it’ in terms of what becoming old really means. For me and Jean, for different reasons, it is only in the last twelve months that ageing, the process of becoming older, the decline in one’s faculties, and more and more, has been truly understood. Yes, before then of course one understood that we were getting old. But it was an intellectual understanding not the living it on a daily basis understanding we now experience.

Back to Frank Ormsby. Or rather to a feature in the Belfast Telegraph published in 2015.

Frank Ormsby: Life at Inst was very different from my upbringing

Leading Belfast poet and former Inst. Head of English Frank Ormsby on his tough Fermanagh upbringing, losing his father when he was 12 and how humour has helped him cope with a Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Write stuff: Frank Ormsby at his home in north Belfast

March 23, 2015

As Frank Ormsby sits in the study of his beautifully-appointed 1930s home in north Belfast there is no hint of his much more austere upbringing. As befits the workspace of a poet and long-time English teacher at one of Belfast’s leading schools, the bookcases that line the walls are crammed with a wide range of literature.
It could not be a more different environment from the rural home where he grew up just after the Second World War.

When Frank was born in 1947, his father Patrick was already in his 60s. “I remember him as an old, grey-haired man”.

It was Patrick’s second marriage. His first had produced 10-12 children. “I was never totally sure of the exact number”, Frank recalls.

“I never met them as they had dispersed to Scotland and other places by the time my father, by then a widower, had married my mother. As far as I know the last one of them died last year.”

Frank’s home was about a mile and half outside Irvinestown. His mother Anne had worked on a relative’s farm – “she could build hay or cut turf as well as any man” – and his father as a farm labourer who occasionally sought work in the factories in Scotland.

“The conditions in which we lived were lacking in luxury. We had no running water. We had to carry it in buckets from a well half a mile away. There was no electricity and it was a long time before we even had a radio, or wireless as it was called then,” Frank says.

You may read the rest of that article here.

Here’s one of Frank’s poems that was published by The New Yorker in March, 2013.

BOG COTTON

By Frank Ormsby

They have the look
of being born old.
Thinning elders among the heather,
trembling in every wind.
My father turns eighty
the spring before my thirteenth birthday.
When I feed him porridge he takes his cap off. His hair,
as it has been all my life, is white, pure white.

Maybe that’s how it is. Having the look of being born old!

But there’s one thing that I treasure beyond gold itself. Having the fortune to be living out my final days, however many there are, in the company of my beautiful Jeannie and all the loving dogs around me.

Puppy Cleo coming home – April 6th, 2012

 

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-Two

Of dogs, and birds, and darlings!

More of Ingo and Friends 3 plus two pics from our anniversary dinner.

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And that last photograph seems so perfect a lead-in to my final two for today. Both taken at The Schoolhaus Brewhaus restaurant in Jacksonville, Oregon where we had our anniversary dinner on the 20th.

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A beautiful lady looking down on very beautiful wife!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty-One

More from Tanja Brandt (but not entirely!)

As with last week first seen here.

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More from Tanja in a week’s time. (I presume you spotted the interloper!! Brandy having a love-in with Jean one evening a week ago just before the bedside lights were turned out.)

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Twenty

Returning to Tanja Brandt’s fabulous photographs.

Specifically sharing, with her very kind permission, more of her photographs from here.

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Another seven of these glorious photographs in a week’s time.

Meantime you all take care of you, your families and your pets!

The Echoes Within

This is so fabulous!

Republished from here with Sue’s very kind permission.

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Listening to The Echoes Within

Nov 2nd, 2017 by Sue Dreamwalker

Can you hear the echo of Silence Within?

Is it shattering through this chaotic din?

Of political missiles of control and power

What kind of thoughts do you launch within an hour

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Do you wonder where those thoughts might land

As you create ‘Matter’ from the ‘Force’ at hand

Projected missiles each moment we send

As out into the Universe our thoughts do blend.

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Creating our future, we constantly weave

Each thought born, with intent conceived

Which side of the pendulum do your thoughts swing?

Is it positive or negative energy you bring?

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What noises are you sending out?

Is it Peace and Calm or do you want to shout

Remember the Echo rebounds to bounce back

What thoughts are you sending, is it Love or Lack?

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Have you felt the change, or don’t you care?

Are you breathing in deep, Natures air?

Are you listening to the echoes of your heart?

If you are then you’ve perhaps made a start.

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Are you listening to your Inner Chatter?

What you are focused upon really matters

The power of your thoughts is what we create

Take a moment, to Pause, and Meditate.

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What outcomes to you wish for this world?

Is it Peace or War you wish to unfurl

Now is the time we Humans Must Unite

To envisage Peace, we must reach for the light.

~~

© Sue Dreamwalker 2017

Within today’s world, we are seeing many truths now being exposed, as those whom we are supposed to look up to, are now finding their own Lies, echoing back to find them out.

We  all of us at times join in the gossip train, that travels out, gaining momentum and speed, stopping at various destinations, it gathers on board more passengers, who add their own little flourish to the journey.

I caught myself on this journey only the other week, which led me to stop my inner chatter, for our thoughts, like our words, are also powerful, and travel out, to create their vibration.. Which is why I wrote 

Are you listening to your Inner Chatter?

What you are focused upon really matters

The power of your thoughts is what we create

Take a moment, to Pause, and Meditate.

I hope you pause, and take a moment to see what thoughts are being sent out.. For believe me.. They Echo right back to the source of their creation, it may not be straight away.. As the train timetables vary.. So Listen to the Echoes of your  Heart..  I hope we have all made a start…  Hold your vision for the World.. 

Love and Blessings

~Sue~

The Photo I took  At Whitby Abbey in 2010.

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Profoundly beautiful!

Thank you, Sue.

Book Two!

November is book-writing month for me.

Thus, good people, I shall be distracted for much of the month because despite the fact that book number two is a non-fiction book, as was my first, I am still using National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) as my motivational tool to achieve 50,000 words before the 1st December. Ergo, November’s focus is on writing an average of 1,666 words a day, not blogging.

Last time, with my book Learning from Dogs, I did share much of what I was writing each day both in 2014 and 2015. This time I will not.

However, I would like to share the draft Introduction to this second book that I wrote yesterday.

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Introduction

It was a beautiful late-October evening. Not a breath of wind stirred the branches of the tall pines that soared up into the night sky around our house. Even a half-moon high in that sky out to the South didn’t diminish the mystery and magic of the stars that seemed to go on forever. It never ceased to fascinate me how wonderful it was to lose one’s mind in a dark night sky and ponder on the fact that in that instant, in that moment of my life, I was seeing the light from a star that had been travelling for hundreds or thousands of years.

Thus it was this evening around 9:30pm when I had gone outside with all our dogs for their nightly leg-stretch before bedtime. Our six most beautiful dogs: Ruby; Cleo; Sweeny; Pedy; Oliver; and Brandy. There I was utterly oblivious to the sniffing and rustling in the piles of newly fallen Autumn leaves that were everywhere because so quickly once outside the house I had looked up above my head to that night sky and become lost.

But to be returned to this very sweet present moment when ever so gently I felt Brandy’s soft shoulder touch my lower left thigh and then lean into me in what was so characteristic of him.

I lent forward and placed the side of my face alongside Brandy’s warm, furry face and became as lost as I was in that starry sky. Now, however, it was as real and tangible a loss, if one could describe it as such, as that night sky above was as unreal and mysterious. For it was me being lost in the love that Brandy was sending me, in his breathing, in his posture, in his closeness to me, in his whole demeanour and in my own deep emotional loving reply to Brandy.

Then it clicked. A philosophical click that was as bright and clear as that fabulous half-moon.

This is how I would introduce my book. The book that I had committed to write in the month of November. The book that I was going to start writing the next day but hitherto hadn’t a clue as to how I was going to set the scene.

For my next book was an exploration into the relationships that dogs and humans form with each other.

Brandy’s story since he had been part of my life, and the life of my sweet, dear Jean, was a story of just how incredible, glorious and special the love between a human and a dog can be. How the weeks and months since that fateful day on the 9th April, 2016 when we first met Brandy had given me the inspiration to go as far as I could in describing and understanding what having a dog in one’s life truly meant.
Welcome to The Dog And I.

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So hope all you good people will understand if my blogging activity is varied and replies to responses likewise a bit ‘up and down’. It is likely I will be re-posting quite frequently items that have previously been shown on Learning from Dogs.

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Eighteen

Another Sunday, another Picture Parade, another Tanja Brandt collection.

Moving on to Tanja’s photographs from her Ingo and Friends 3 collection.

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Another seven of these most incredible photographs in a week’s time.

You all take care out there and give your dogs a big squeeze from Jeannie and me.