Well I have good intentions about blogging more regularly in the New Year, and thought I'd better get a post up now before I totally forget how to go about it....
I'm feeling relaxed almost to the point of blankness.
Catching up on sleep and rest, catching up with lovely family, catching up on a weaving project which has been going on for too many years, catching up with latest new Doctor Who Christmas special (regeneration into a new doctor approaches fast, tis very exciting), catching up with my camera.
Thinking about catching up with tidying and housework (but only marginally), thinking about going to see Avatar, thinking about the fact that I'm almost entirely successfully not thinking about work, thinking about knitting.
And thinking about you. I might even catch up with your blogs too before long. If my state of relaxation doesn't lapse into complete torpor.
We do have snow in London - I was surprised news of this had reached the USA. I guess its not just we Brits who are so interested in our weather...
Charlton, South London
Our snow clearly can not compare, however, with the vast heapy quilts of whiteness which some of you on the East coast there across the Atlantic have been endowed with.
Unusually, for London, our snow - just a couple of inches or so - is just sitting there, sparkling and crunchy. Not melting or being drizzled on, or turning slushy. Its been gleaming in the sunshine for 2 or 3 days now like a crust of sugary icing and we have a week of freezing temperatures and bright sunshine forecast.
Greenwich Park & Canary Wharf
I hope to be out and about with my sadly neglected camera.
Inside the house, Logan is intrigued by the crackling fire. He loves radiators with all his little furry heart, and is surprisingly tolerant of tinsel.
... which got me thinking about walls and the way they are marked by their history...
and so the post evolved in a way which is linked with my own history.
My photography habit started to become serious with walls quite a few years ago. Yes indeed, walls.
I took dozens of photos of walls for a design board on a textiles and design course I was doing. I was much laughed at by my family and attracted some comment from passers-by but fortunately LG was too young then to be as scandalously embarrassed by my behaviour as she would now be. And anyway, she was firmly fastened into a push-chair at the time so could do little but watch, bemused, as I scrutinised and photographed interesting bits of wall.
Here are some of the photos, scanned:
Most of these are from the walls around Charlton House, which is Jacobean - C17th. These walls have really been marked by their history.
As my interest in photography has progressed, I've found myself taking photos of all sorts of walls, the most interesting being those bearing signs of their histories.
Histories of previous attachments
Histories of habitation still inscribed, faded and peeling, merging with the repetition of the brickwork...
histories of more recent markings and erasure
and of course graffiti. And among my favourite graffiti are those scrawls on walls which hint at a history all their own
you have to remember Ray
This last picture was around the back of the Astoria, a favourite venue in London, now demolished - consigned to history.
I do have great desire, my desire is great - but also, Steve's quote resonates, the ideal of "few desires" has a powerful pull, I'd like to aspire to that.
So am I oxymoronic?
Maybe theres a distinction between desire and desires? In the sense that my great desire is not for objects or even for specific pre-defined targets, but for experience - for living life to the full and for the wonder of the world, for love and friendship most especially and for beauty.
Though that does translate into particular desires.... the desire, especially to travel.
And its important for me to be able to state these desires, having recently (and thankfully) begun to grow out of a view of the world dominated too much by duty and an out-of-kilter work ethic.
And I guess thats another part of the distinction - balance; in my case balancing duty and desire and seeking out unattained desires but not "extensively" as Steve's quote says. Or at the very least, not at the expense of other people or other values. Including duty.
So does my desire translate into "seeking to gain a lot"? does it bring with it more afflictions?
Well, I guess that partly depends on openness. Everything is experience, and the wonder of the world, love friendship and beauty are everywhere if we are open to watch and listen and feel.
Extensively seeking out desires could certainly get in the way of that.
I'd like to travel worldwide.
I hope to visit the States again before too long.
I would LOVE to visit people I love in Australia, I have a nice little itinerary mapped out in my head and frequently contemplate strategies which could help it to happen ...
I have a good friend who knows India well and has offered to take me on a tour some time.
M has a friend in Japan who has offered hospitality...
These are desires. Pretty substantial ones actually. And I would regret it if none of them are fulfilled. But I don't think it would be a regret strong enough to afflict me.
I accept that these trips might well never happen and if they don't, it will be at least partly because I am doing other things, experiencing life and wonder and love and friendship in other ways and places. So long as I'm not too wrapped up in duty to recognise it and to live it.
So, am I oxymoronic? I'm really not sure. This is more thinking than I'd planned to do today.
Its not a regular occurrence in my bit of England and it still causes quite a bit of excitement... Traffic delays. Days off school. Falling on bums. Wet gloves on radiators.
Slushy snail-greyish sludge is what we Londoners expect from time to time - its something else to moan about as we trudge, sleet in our faces, past the scarcely-moving traffic, to and from work in the mid-morning late-afternoon constant winter twilight.
Proper thick crunchy sparkling blanketing soft soft snow - now thats a different matter entirely. That particular translucent eerie quality of light which - filtering through the curtains - declares snowfall, that still evokes a childlike anticipation and delight in me and mine.
I guess rarity increases value.
It happened last February and I posted about it then so do go look if you want to here and here.
- what a perfect Theme Thursday topic for bloggers
but I'll try to keep this brief cos I could go on and on ....
I started blogging in February 2006, to my surprise, as a way to keep in touch with a best friend who'd moved out of London...
and blogging kept me well in touch with another good friend who'd moved out of England...
and, to my surprise, I developed new friendships with people here in south London and the south of England and with people in France and Australia...
and these friends (as well as more local non-blogging friends) helped me to survive an awful few years when my life seemed to be falling apart
and the circle has grown and grown and I have friends around the world - I've met quite a few blog-friends face to face now but not as many as I'd like to. I've experienced great kindness and hospitality from blogging friends.
and finally a blog-friend inspired made4aid. We found each other when my mother and her brother were both dying of cancer and blogging was one source of comfort and strength and tears. Joyce continues to be an inspiration with her almost-daily bags - if you've not visited her bags4darfur blog please please take a look at her unique, wonderful bags raising money for relief work in Darfur. And buy!
And now I am making new friends again through made4aid - and some of them are giving some of their beautiful work to be sold for Darfur
Please take a look - lots of lovely hand-made things for sale. Yes, shameless promotion. No apologies.
I wish I could show my mother what we are trying to do with made4aid and I know she would love the way the web leads to friendship and leads to love and love leads to action for those in kinds of need beyond the experience or understanding of most of us...
Thanks so much to those of you who've supported made4aid (which is now just 6 months old) - and especially if you've bought, donated an item, linked on your blog or even done a blog post about m4a.