Wednesday, 29 March 2017

The Isle of May.

Headline: March 29th 2019.  The Isle of May.

Despite two years of tough negotiation the nation finds itself broken, hungry, skint and scared.

The cost of our dairy and meat products have surged, the price of an average carrot is now 90p.  There has been no asparagus in the shops at all. An iceberg lettuce is a relic from 2016, never to adorn a prawn cocktail ever again. Prawns are as rare as hen's teeth anyway so maybe that's not too much of a problem.
Our cattle have suffered a catastrophe as there are no vets to inoculate them or treat them when ill. 
The fruit available is well and truly manky as the pickers went home leaving the scrumpers to raid the fruit bowl of the land.

A cheap flight to Portugal now costs an average of £999 return but no-one is going on holiday as there is no healthcare provision should they fall ill. (And the foreigners hate us)

Everyone knows someone who has had their personal data hacked- the tech industry is in technical meltdown.

Canary Wharf stands eerily silent as the bankers have fled tatty London Town.

Northern Ireland seems to be doing well though, about time that lot had a break. Black market goods are freely flowing across the soft border and they have a surplus of spuds!

The deficit which has always been huge is now humongous as Davis got bored negotiating and gave out a £50 billion bung.

There have been near riots at the school gates as parents refuse to kit their kids out in the required school uniform which has soared in price since the days of cheap imported clothes. Long gone are the days of a uniform to last a term- we are back to the days of trousers and skirts 'that will last.'

The joy of going out to dinner has gone completely, well unless a curry or a Chinese is your thing, then you are laughing.

German beer and French wine are off the shelves, priced completely out of reach but never mind. 

Cheers anyway- you got what you wanted.

Monday, 27 March 2017

In Reply To: 'Brussels chiefs ready for nasty split.' The Times. March 25 2017





I can't believe we have got ourselves into this mess. I know 'feelings' upset a lot of people on these forums which is quite ironic but blimey , why are we doing this? 

To extricate ourselves is going to be painful, expensive, chaotic and probably futile. It is like dissembling a jigsaw, scattering the pieces all over the floor of a huge warehouse and then scrambling about trying to put the pieces together again to create a pretty picture.

We are where we are in the world. A dangerous world that none of us expected to be in, whatever our age.

We are a member of the European Union, a union (as we have sadly seen) that stands together in the face of adversity. A union that brings us together, teaches our children to share, to enjoy the foibles that being a little bit different but mainly the same bring. To share culture, history and solidarity. To move forward together knowing that someone has your back.

Our leaving is going to be expensive and nasty and a long time coming. Meanwhile, the standard of living we enjoy at present will soon be a thing of the past.

I know I will be moaned at and criticised but I am beyond caring. I feel in my bones that the decision to leave the EU is wrong and I feel really sad and bad about it.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

In Reply To " Remainer Spree Leaves Economists Baffled." The Times: March 17th 2017.




It's interesting and amusing how the referendum has introduced a new form of stereotyping.
Remain voters are portrayed as young to early middle-aged, quite well off and supremely intelligent, probably slim, fit and good looking . Those who voted to leave are portrayed as being as old as Methuselah, a bit on the poor side, lacking in intelligence /decidedly thick, probably a bit tubby, unfit and frankly, ugly. 

But here in Great Britain (soon to be re-named The Isle of May) we are a diverse community, no size fits all.

I voted to remain. I am in my late forties (so I tell myself) not well off at all, quite clever in some areas but quite thick in others, slim, fit and good looking. 

I did have a bit of a spend up this week but not on a new car like a few other posters here today but on a new pair of jeans from Primark.

I think it is reasonable to forecast some very tough times ahead and after reading the interview with David Davis in the Independent earlier this week I don't think it unreasonable to describe a new stereotype: Scarily clueless politicians who are determined to walk the citizens of Great Britain over the White Cliffs and deep down into the beautiful briny sea.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds.

Persephone and the Pomegranate Seeds
Oil on paper by Celia Turner.

Autumn.... Winter and now Spring.

The trees flush red and drop their leaves, the flowers wither and the crops stop growing.
Persephone has travelled to the Underworld and Demeter roams the earth missing her daughter.
But Spring will come again and Persephone will return to her mother.
The grasses will become green, the flowers will bloom, the trees will sport blossom, then leaves and then fruit.
Demeter and Persephone will walk hand in hand, talking and singing and laughing and the evening primroses will open just to see them passing by.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

In Praise of Red Lippy

Oil on card by Celia Turner.

My beloved grandma always wore red lipstick, she would not leave the house without a full face of make-up crowned by her lush red lips. It must be in my genes because as long as I've been wearing lipstick ( which is a long time) it's been red. At the moment it's Alarm by Rimmel to walk the dog around the park and Gabrielle by Chanel for special occasions. Chanel lipsticks are an extra special treat as they come in lovely little boxes tucked into  lovely little Chanel bags. A beautiful present to yourself.

Although this doesn't apply to me, red lips have been seen for centuries as a stamp of immorality. In more God- fearing
medieval times, it was believed that creating a plump sexualised mouth would take you on a one way ticket to the devil's doorway. Several hundred years later, Parliament passed a law condemning lipstick, considering it a sign of witchcraft. Good job I wasn't alive in those times, yet another reason to pop me on the ducking stool.

Confusingly there have also been long stretches in history that were entirely pro-red lippy. The Sumerians invented the stuff, just 200 miles outside of Babylon. Egyptian women liked to deepen their lip colour, in fact they were so embraced with beautifying that they were buried with pots of rouge. Queen Elizabeth 1 was famous for her strong red lips, making them regal not sleazy.
And then to Hollywood, with its Technicolor films and beautiful studio portraits;  red lipstick proclaimed GLAMOUR. Think Jean Harlow's pointy pout in the 1930's, Veronica Lake's in the 1940's and of course the purring pouty pout of pouts, the one and only Marilyn Monroe in the 1950's.
These were women with overtly feminine power. They loved being women, they knew their allure, they celebrated their feminine strength.
Even the act of applying red lipstick is empowering. By dressing your lips in red, it draws attention to you, especially your mouth and subsequently the words that come out of it. Red lippy is a symbol of prowess. Unlike other cosmetics that correct or camouflage something we aren't keen on, red lipstick is about assertion. Red lippy is a statement.

Red lippy is a beautiful case of chicken and egg. It may require confidence to wear but confidence can actually result from the wearing of it - and no-one needs to know which came first.
Go on, treat yourself.
You are definitely worth it.

Monday, 13 March 2017

When No News is Good News.

The Tooth Fairy. Oil on canvas.  Celia Turner.

A little while ago I found myself sitting in the dentist's waiting room. I don't mind visiting the dentist, in fact I actually quite enjoy it, so different is the experience compared to when I was a child. Back then it was such a gruesome affair, brutal even, compared to modern day dentistry   I remember the waiting room of yesteryear, very uncomfortable rickety chairs, peeling paint and pictures of gnarled old trees adorned the walls. My brothers and I would make up stories about those trees, anything to keep our minds from Mr Paddyachy, he of the white coat and cruel intentions.

In the surgery of modern times there are no pictures or peeling paint. On the wall is a flat screen television. Sky News is on all the time. We, the patients, are treated to scenes of utter devastation, tiny babies being pulled from the aftermath of an earthquake, dusty faces and bewildered eyes stare at us from the ruins. We see a shot of a bedroom hanging from the side of a building, the bed has a red bedspread. Old women, bent over, wander amid the debris, headscarves askew, crinkly eyes crying. The scene is eerily silent. It is also silent in the waiting room.
Next on the screen is a big man shouting and pointing at an audience. He waves his arms about, he has weird hair and for some reason seems a bit threatening.
Next up are tanks and soldiers, BOOM and BANG and bodies under blankets.

Then, just like that, we are given the latest sports report. This has always confused me. Why IS sport so important? Why is it on the News? It seems distasteful to end a distressing news report with a downcast description of a lost football match.

The children in the waiting room look uncomfortable but there is nothing for them to do except watch the television.

Figures from the NSPCC's  Childline Service show the number of children and young people looking for help with anxiety has jumped sharply, the report states that there were 11,706 counselling sessions where anxiety was mentioned in 2015-2016,This is an increase of more than a third (35%) on the previous year. The report also states that the problem seems to be getting worse, with provisional figures showing that from April to September the service dealt with an average of more than 1000 cases of anxiety a month. Children as young as eight have called the service to discuss their fears, with girls seven times more likely to contact Childline than boys.
Childline president, Esther Rantzen said children and young people are sometimes upset by world events, " Seeing pictures of crying and bewildered toddlers being pulled from bomb damaged homes upsets all of us," she said. "Often we fail to notice the impact the stories are having on young people."

I can absolutely relate to this; I can remember seeing footage from the Vietnam war when I was a very young child and being really, really upset by it.  'The News' was then deemed to be a 'grown-up' programme and I never dared to break the serious silence my parents kept up when watching it.Therefore I didn't ask what was going on, I simply remained haunted by the terrible pictures I had seen.

We now have 24 hour news channels, often the news is just there,as background noise but it is important that we realise that all this 'news' can be overwhelming and frightening to children. We must try to educate and reassure our young people and to take care that they are not overly exposed to violent and dramatic scenes on an everyday basis and to keep 'news' in context. After all 'The News' rarely exposes its audience to 'good news.'

On my next visit to the dentist I took the painting pictured above, I told him it was a gift for the young people to look at while waiting for their appointments. He told me they have the news to watch and I replied that the news was often too grim for such a young audience. He said it was real life.
If I was a child again I think I'd rather look at a pretty painting than at a screen full of crumpled buildings and sad looking grandparents wandering around in a daze.
Real life can wait.

We'll see if he puts the painting on display. I hope he does.


@artycelia



Friday, 10 March 2017

Two Days in March

I take my dog, Billy, out for a long walk everyday and nearly every day there is an incident of some kind. Friday's incident was very unpleasant. I was happily striding along with Billy who was on his lead when a Jack Russell ran up to Billy and started to viciously snap at his face. The Jack Russell was circling Billy and launching his attack. The owner came into view and I told him to get his dog away. The man laughed at me and said, "What do expect, he's a Jack Russell." I replied that I didn't care what he was, he was being aggressive and was out of control.  I told the man to get his dog back on a lead. The dog had no collar and the man had no lead. He didn't even attempt to call his dog off Billy. I told the man I would kick his dog away if he refused to do anything. At this the man took umbrage. He raised his hands in the air and said aloud, "You are going to kick my dog, YOU are going to kick my dog.' The horrible little mutt was still yapping and biting at Billy. I was getting very annoyed and didn't really see why I shouldn't kick his dog away. The man walked on ahead and I held Billy still until finally the Jack Russell ran away. The man then turned around and attempted to take a photograph of me which he promised to put on Facebook to, in his words, 'shame me' for threatening to kick his dog.
In the distance I saw a Jack Russell circling a little Cockapoo and heard the shrill scream of a frightened child.
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I am queuing up at the checkout in Asda on a very busy Saturday afternoon. The supermarket is really busy with people doing their weekly shopping. There is a corridor of sorts which leads out of the shop, it is a really busy thoroughfare with people bustling hither and thither. A very tall black lady glides along with a square cardboard box balanced perfectly on her head. She draws glances of astonishment from all and sundry. The lady working on the checkout raises her eyebrows and mutters something disparaging under her breath. Other people shake their heads and laugh. The black lady does not move her head at all, the cardboard box and its contents remain perfectly still. No  'Bags for Life' necessary.
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I bought my dad some cockles in Marks and Spencer. I had bought some for myself the week before and they were delicious but more than that, they transported me back in time.
On tasting the salty sea flavour of the little molluscs I was immediately reminded of trips to Greatstone Beach as a very young child. My mum and dad and brothers would journey to the beach on cold Sundays with our tin buckets to collect cockles and winkles from the windswept wet shore. I remember being so small that as I crouched down the sand and seawater would ooze into the top of my wellington boots. I also remember my hair smelling of the sea for days after our trips.
We would take our booty home and mum would boil up huge (they probably were normal size) saucepans of water and we would tip in the cockles and winkles. The kitchen would be steamy with the smell of hot sea.
We would then pick the 'beauty spots' out of the winkles with a pin and stick them on our faces. We would all huddle around the formica table and eat our spoils with some bread and butter.
The yellow lino floor would be dotted with beauty spots for days afterwards.

Dad was delighted with his little pot of cockles from Marks and Spencer but remarked that they weren't quite as tasty as the 'real thing.'

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Creative Type.

Me, Myself and I  by Celia Turner.


How can one describe the excitement the artist feels at her easel? How can one describe the obscure thought processes that conjure up a picture that absolutely needs to be painted? Why, when I am feeling creative do I feel that I am living more 'fully' than during the rest of my life?

Creativity: The Work and Lives of 91 Eminent People is a study published in 1996 by Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi. (Harper Collins)

In my case I am describing an artist as in a girl standing at her easel but of course creativity is a phenomenon itself too difficult to describe easily.

The report suggests that creative people tend to have good physical energy but are also often quiet and rest.
We can be smart yet naive.
We combine playfulness and discipline.
Although we may alternate between imagination and fantasy we also have a rooted sense of reality.
We can be both introverted and extroverted.
Humble and proud.
Rebellious and conservative.
Passionate but objective about our work.
Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender. This is psychological androgyny, referring to a person's ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive.

This original report is well worth reading as although it cannot answer individual questions it does offer explanations as to how and why creative 'types' behave and feel as they do.
Can creativity be learned and will it be a much harder skill in these days of digital dominance?

My creative self was born when I was a very young girl at infant school. We were sent out onto the playing fields to find chrysalides' which we then popped into old plastic sweet jars filled with greenery.
A couple of weeks later, to my utter delight a beautiful moth emerged.
I began to perceive the world in a new way.