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“Pick up the battle and make it a better world”

A few weeks ago, my nephew Mitchel was walking their small family dog, Barney (pictured here in all his cuteness).

They took their normal route around the village, which included walking through fields and woodland. Plenty of other dog walkers do the same in this beautiful part of England. Unfortunately, one of those walkers did not keep their dog properly under control and it attacked poor Barney, resulting in the need for a trip to the vet, who prescribed antibiotics to ward off infection. Perhaps more significantly, the episode traumatised Mitchel, causing him great distress and undermining his confidence in going out for a walk.

My sister posted a concerned message on Facebook, warning friends and family about this aggressive dog. She received lots of sympathy and a few suggestions about possible next steps. What none of us expected, however, was the following reply:

“I am so sorry Rachel. It was our dog who went after your little dog with no provocation at all. I still don’t know why and I can’t apologise enough. Your son was crying and so was I. All dogs are off the leads in the woods so they can have a good run. Please let us have your vet’s bill. We live in [X] and everyone knows us. Please forgive us. We were at the School sports last week and you were wonderful. XXX”

How very brave of the owner to come forward like this. How easy it would have been for them simply to stay silent. Instead, Rachel was able to thank them very much for speaking up, and very importantly was able to help Mitchel to recover from the incident.

The owner’s actions reminded me of the following short but powerful video, full of wise advice from Dr Maya Angelou. (This is part of a series filmed for the Oprah Winfrey Network, another edition of which I featured in this post.)

In just three words, Dr Angelou gives us an unbeatable way to assess how we should behave in life. I have watched this video a few times now, and I love the way in which Dr Angelou articulates a potentially complex philosphy in such straightforward and undeniable terms.

I think most of us know, in our gut, how to act in a way which chimes with our core values. Of course, for myriad reasons, we don’t always take the decision to follow through on that action. But we often know in our heart that we should/could have chosen differently. How much better, then, to take the ‘right’ course in the first place. As Dr Angelou says, such action will ‘satisfy your soul’; it will enable you to engage with the world on your terms and make it better.

The dog owner in my sister’s case has done exactly that. Bravo to her for doing so, and for setting us all an excellent example.

 

 

 

Edinburgh Rhythms Old and New

Our wonderful city of Edinburgh has a clear and regular pulse.  It is known as ‘the festival city’ for good reason.  Throughout the year, you attend find major events of interest, covering everything from science to food and drink.

The summer is the busiest period, and it is around this time of year that Hub and I start gearing up for full entertainment immersion.

Continue reading “Edinburgh Rhythms Old and New”

‘Are You Interesting?’ – Painting on Paper Towels

‘Village People’ ©Ken Delmar

Here’s a charming addition to my recent collection of posts featuring paper artistry.

In this short film, artist Ken Delmar reflects on his life in the shadow of his father, Kenny Delmar, a famous 1950s stage and radio performer.

Continue reading “‘Are You Interesting?’ – Painting on Paper Towels”

A Fishy Tale (or is it?….)

A snapper of a story for you all today.  One that cod put a smile on your face.  I certainly haddock good laugh with it.

This is a film-maker Charlie Lyne’s attempt to plaice on record the truth about the historic opening of a Welsh ‘marina’.  To quote the film’s blurb:

“Sometime in the 1980s, Caspar Salmon’s grandmother was invited to a gathering on the Welsh island of Anglesey, attended exclusively by people with fish surnames. Or so he says. Thirty years later, filmmaker Charlie Lyne attempts to sort myth from reality as he searches for the truth behind this fishy tale.”

Apart from being a wonderfully nostalgic look at British life 40 years ago, it is a charming and amusing john-dory.

I hake you like it as mullet I did! 😃🐡🐠🐟

 

 

Tennis Lessons: the benefits of failure

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

~ Samuel Beckett

I wrote in my last post about my latest knitting project.  A week on and it looks like this:

I am pleased with the handling of the yarn and the interesting but easy to knit pattern.  There is a problem, however.  It is coming up too small, and the ribbing is too tight for the main part of the knit.  Hmmmm.

Continue reading “Tennis Lessons: the benefits of failure”

On and off the needles: I’ve got the knitting – bring on the tennis

The British summer is well and truly with us.  In the UK we have been in the throws of a heatwave.  But however warm it may be, it is never too hot to knit.

One particularly welcome aspect of the summer is the arrival of the tennis grass court season.  I love to watch tennis at any time of year, but there is nothing to challenge the supremacy of Wimbledon and the grass court tournaments which lead up to it.

I am a very happy bunny when I can knit in front of the tennis, as I was doing with the Aegon Championship last week at London’s Queen’s Club.

I took this opportunity to start a new knitting project.  I seem to have been working on scarves/shawls/wraps forever.  So I decided to cast on a little cotton bolero in this beautiful cornflower-blue yarn, which I bought from WoolWarehouse – I love the fact that the yarn arrives in this handy organza project bag (and yes, I know, I am easily pleased!).

Continue reading “On and off the needles: I’ve got the knitting – bring on the tennis”

The Musical Beauty of Paper: celebrating the work of Oskar Fischinger, the ‘father of visual music’

“Music is not limited to the world of sound. There exists a music of the visual world.”

~ Oskar Fischinger

Is there no end to the versatility of paper in the pursuit of creative endeavour?  I am indebted to Gallivanta for sending me a link to this incredible, ground-breaking film called ‘Optical Poem, made in 1937/8 by Oskar Fischinger.

As the film explains, ‘Fischinger manipulated hundreds of paper cutouts hung on invisible wires and shot a frame at a time in close synchronization with Liszt’s [Hungarian] rhapsody’.  One can only guess at how long this must have taken.

This is highly reminiscent of the Disney film Fantasia.  Interestingly, Fischinger was originally part of the design team for that project, but he quit without credit because Walt Disney changed his original submissions.  It was thought they were too abstract and Disney wanted material that was more representational.

Nevertheless, Fischinger is sometimes referred to as the father of visual music.  When we compare his work with that of modern artists who paint pictures with sound you can certainly see why.  Check out this post, for example, which I wrote for my other blog LeapingTracks some time ago.  What a coincidence that this post featured a visual rendition of Listz’s Hungarian Rhapsody so that we might now compare the two.  There are similarities, of course.  But they are also miles apart in terms of production methods.

We have just recently passed the date of Fischinger’s 117th birthday.  To celebrate, Google Doodles have produced an amazing interactive music-maker, which allows the user to re-create the essence of Fischinger’s films.  You can find it here – I defy you not to get immediately addicted.  I’m sure Fischinger would be amazed and delighted if he could see the ease with which we can today produce the type of work he painstakingly put together nearly 100 years ago. 🙂

The Joy and Beauty of Paper Sculptures: Celebrating the work of Diana Beltrán Herrera

In an addition to my occasional series highlighting the wonder of paper artistry, and in the interests of promulgating some seriously beautiful creations to savour, let me share with you the incredible work of Diana Beltrán Herrera, a Columbian designer currently living in Bristol, UK.

I adore her ‘bird postage stamps’ series:

© Diana Beltrán Herrera

You can see the rest of this series, including some detailed close-ups here.

Continue reading “The Joy and Beauty of Paper Sculptures: Celebrating the work of Diana Beltrán Herrera”

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