Friday, 18 June 2010

reality and unanswerable questions

As she was drawing the other day, Iris idly asked me “why are we real?” It seemed unfair to ask a three-and-a-half year old to define reality, but I did ascertain that she meant “real” as opposed to dolls and toys. I suppose I could have explained that dolls and toys are real – real plastic and wood and so on, but the difference is that we are living sentient beings. However I didn’t think of it at the time because I accepted that her question was really the more philosophical question – why am I me? It took me straight back to my own childhood wonder at the fact that I was me rather than someone else and to my later questioning of the fact that I had been fortunate to be born in the relatively well off UK as opposed to, say, a poverty-stricken warzone. These are the questions that lead to “who made God?” or “what came before the Big Bang?” I’m afraid I ducked the discussion that we could have had by saying that I didn’t think that any of us really know the answer. Thinking about it since I think my answer was true, if maybe a little unhelpful to a child trying to make sense of her world. Indeed I’m just embarking on a book by Richard Holloway (formerly Bishop of Edinburgh – now largely faithless) Looking in the Distance which explores these very questions. Maybe I’ll be better equipped for the discussion next time!
the photo is one I took on my recent retreat in Devon

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Not long after we moved to Bristol an American friend arrived to visit us and memorably (if rather exaggeratedly) enthused "wow, I'm thinking - San Francisco!" I think she must have been treated to a switchback ride on the Bristol hills with their fleeting glimpses up the Avon Gorge to the suspension bridge. There are parts of the riverside in central Bristol which show a distinct homage to Venice. The Granary on Welshback, for example - one of my favourite buildings. (photo copyright Linda Bailey licensed under this Creative Commons License)

I was sitting with a cup of coffee on the harbourside this morning, looking across the water towards the Hotwells and Clifton slopes. I thought that the backs of the houses clinging to the side of the hill behind the new apartments reminded me (a little) of an Italian hill town.
And then I thought - why this constant need for comparison? It's Bristol - and it's great. I love it.

Friday, 11 June 2010

catch up

A bit of a catch up of finished objects, completed during the past few months.

This is a travelling sketch book set made for Ruth's birthday in March.

And this is Elijah, made for Rosa:

It was his delicious feet that made me fall for the pattern.
And his wise eyes.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


That's "finally" as in "finally I'm back", but also "finally" as in "finally I've finished my Cortona quilt. It is so called because the design is inspired by some tiles I admired in the church of Santa Margareta in Cortona when we were there on holiday five years ago. The little squares echo a rounded notch in the tiles which makes them look a little like jigsaw pieces. I drew the line at trying to cut and stitch curves! I bought the fabrics and got to work pretty soon after we came back, but putting it together was a pretty fiddly and repetititve business that I could only face in small doses. And to be fair to myself I have completed a lot of other things in the meantime. The photographs don't really do the colour justice - it's a pale sage-y green. The quilt is now in its planned home - on the bed in our spare bedroom where it looks cool and peaceful.