Clouds in Wales

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Bars of clouds ascend on high.

Coloured lights paint the sky

How I wish I could return,

to that land of woods and fern.

Mountains high

and valleys deep,

Singers from the Mines and Steel.

Workers with their hands and feet

Love their land through wake and sleep.

I can only look from far

Wishing always to be there.

Welsh by ancestors alone,

Looking cross the border land

Perhaps one day I will lie

Between the earth and cloud barred sky.

 

 

Horses

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I have only ever ridden a horse on two occasions. Once on holiday in the lake district and the first time at a nearby village where we were visiting a friend.

I used to cycle a lot, so the first ride (well sitting on a small horse being led on a halter round a feild) didn’t feel too scary, except when the horse lowered its head to crop the grass. I felt like I would slide down its neck. I still felt safe because it was under supervision.

The second time was a few years ago, before I got creaky and was still able to climb up onto a mounting block. First we had a little amble around a fenced in square of concrete. Then after being showed how to hold the reigns, we went for a short walk on some flat land between the rolling green hills of the south lake district (near Barrow I think).

I tried kicking and clicking my heels to get the horse to walk on, but it would only go when the other horses were moving. We gradually wended our way up an overgrown lane. High on either side with tall grasses and nettles. I regretted wearing ordinary shoes as some of the nettles were tall enough to sting my ankles!

Luckily the horse had thicker skin so as it was in the middle of the bunch it continued its stately waddling walk up the lane.

We finally got to a gate that led onto the main road, but thankfully we turned round and started off again. I realised we were heading slightly down hill and had the familiar vertiginous feeling as the horse dropped its head to nibble at some juicy flowers.

I was glad to dismount, which was a bit of a struggle! I was not used to riding horses and found it quite uncomfortable.

I’ve never been out on a horse again. I doubt I could climb aboard now. I still have much respect for horses, they are beautiful animals, and all the ones I have seen have been friendly. I really respect anyone who can horseride. That must be a wonderful skill. How they can stay on while the horse gallops along underneath them is beyond me.

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Looking two ways

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Remember the future

Wait for the past

How do we know

Times arrows flow past ?

Broken to mended.,

Crumbled to fixed…

I know its happened

Days before this.

Weather makes patterns

Time takes your mind

Going to sleep

And wake up past this.

Go forward and backwards

Through times tangled forest,

Caught in the branches, twigs and boughs,

Only returning slowly to now.

You’re never far from a cat

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I don’t know who else is a cat lover but I have two beautiful cats. In this house you are never far from either them because they don’t go out. They are happy and they have lots of toys. One of their favourite things is to chase each other from room to room, almost like they are playing a children’s game of tag.

I was thinking back to when they first arrived. They are adult cats and they were very scared. I did not know how they would react. They hid. Very well. It took us a couple of hours to find them. One was under a cupboard and the other one hid behind a large plant pot. Eventually they emerged and from then on they have been happy. They both come and sit on us and love being stroked and groomed. I’m glad we got them.

 

Weeping Window

 

We visited Middleport pottery in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent today to see “weeping window” a memorial made of 11,000 ceramic poppies placed on a bottle oven in the pottery. The poppies are some of the ones that were on display previously at the Tower of London and have been travelling around the country for the last couple of years. You are supposed to book a visit but as the number of people going to see the display has reduced we were allowed in without booking. We had to park on a designated car park as the local streets have parking restrictions at the moment and you could get fined.

The poppies commemorate the worth anniversary of the 1st world war,”the war to end all wars” which sadly did not stop humans fighting over and over again as they have since our ancestors first fought many thousands of years ago. Many if the poppies were made in Stoke-on-Trent so its good to see them come home although there was a fight to get them.

The display of poppies cascade down the oven, spreading out on the ground, representing blood and the fallen soldiers that were killed in the war.

I drew the scene but had to slightly shorten the bottle kiln to fit it on the page. I also struggled to represent so many poppies. We then visited the rest of the pottery, including the steam engine although it was not working today. There was quite a crowd so I only sketched it briefly.

On our return to the car park there was a large poster with the poem by John McCrae written in 1915. I decided to draw my own version of a poppy to go along with it.

Middleport pottery is very interesting, there is a museum on site, plus artists and ceramicists with their own studios. The tea shop was very busy but we managed to get a table. There was also a display by students from clay college who are doing a two year full time course to learn the skills of pottery making before they are forgotten.

Although the weeping window display ends in mid September the pottery is well worth a visit. It’s surprising how much goes on round here!

Casey

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If ever there was a strange cat it was Casey. He would jump in to any box, and kite! Black and white, with golden eyes, white paws, weighing in at around 5 kilos.

Casey was a stray, he kept going into a local shop and walking along the shelves, knocking things down. I was asked if we would take him in as no one else had claimed him. So he became our cat for a while.

But Casey was not clever. Every day he would sit on the white line on the centre of our road, every day, just after 5, when cars were driving down the street. Every day risking his life. I would drive round the corner, get out of the car, and call him in. I never knew why he did it, but as the evenings got darker I became more worried.

Then one night he limped in through the back door. We took him to the vets and they said he must have been hit by a car. The head of his femur had been broken, where it fits into the hip socket. We had to let them operate to remove it, the hip would recover if he was kept quiet and not allowed to move around much. We got a small cage and he had to stay in it for 3 months…..

Eventually he was allowed out. He was fit and healthy again, but I doubted his ability to stay safe. It was winter so Casey was given luminous, sparkling collars so that if he did go onto the road he would be visible to cars.

Nothing happened for a while. I took  a photo of him playing in the kite and decided to paint it.

Then one night he went out and when I looked for him in the morning he was nowhere to be found.

Worried, I put up posters, I rang a local cat charity, and then as it was the weekend, I had to wait for Monday to ring the council to see if their waste trucks had picked up a black and white cat. But there was no news.

Finally I rang another charity, yes they had collected a badly injured cat, they told me which vet he had gone to. It was on the other side of the city, it was the emergency vet that they used.

I rang in hope and fear. Yes they had received the cat, but it was badly injured when they got it so they had put it to sleep….. I was shocked. I asked why, and they said it was because no owner could be found! I asked what would have happened if I had found out where he was earlier? They would have operated to remove his leg! I could not get over the fact that he had been euthenised because I had not contacted them….I was so upset. His life was taken because there was no one available to pay a large bill….I was totally broken, felt so guilty. But there was no way I could have known where he was. It was before microchipping came in. My cats are both microchipped.

I still miss that mad, weird cat…..