Friday, 24 January 2020

Weekend Post

Hi Everybody!

We've had some very cold and grey days here, with frost and mist, one day with sun and the others just grey and grey and....grey. So I'm waiting for the sun to show itself again. I know our 1° C is nothing compared to the temps some of you have to put up with in other lands, but it still feels cold!
I try to walk very quickly when I'm out, and of course, a hot coffee now and then to warm up helps, too!

Today I have I tag for Michele's challenge at Tag Tuesday, winter scenes. I used an image from the Graphics Fairy as background, and the other elements are from Serif and me:

You still have a couple of days to join in! (Hope keeps me going!!)

I love taking frosty pics in the early morning:

The frosty fields by the Rhine and no one out and about:

The pollard willows are being capped:

Rust and frost is a beautiful combination:

Sunshine makes everything look better:

Today we walked most of the way into town along the Rhine and were thankful for hot cappuccino:

Although it was just 1°C, this chap was out walking in shorts and no socks....
Nathalie took the photo: 

And on the way home we saw this huge head by the Rhine. Although I often walk along here I've never noticed it before.... 

My post is a bit shorter than usual, my fingers are playing up again Big Time.

Have a great weekend, take care,
and thanks a lot for coming by!

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Rains Thursday Art Date - The Year of the Rat

Hi Everybody!

Today Rain's  theme is 'Chinese New Year', which is the year of the rat, so I made  a page for all who celebrate:

I love the Chinese decorations and fireworks:

Rats always have a very bad reputation as animals and most people are afraid of rats and the diseases many of them carry. From ancient time rats - and mice - have been feared and hated by humans. They breed extremely quickly, and help themselves to supplies which people regard as their right to have. And the word 'rat' is often used very derogatorily. But on the other hand, they are very intelligent creatures who have an enormous talent for survival. When my daughter was at school they had white rats in a cage in her classroom, and she always brought them home at weekends and holidays to look after them. Or rather for me to look after them, as she didn't do it. I loved watching them, and playing with them, and they got on well with our dog, Struppi, and even with out cat, Kitty, and it was good to see them all playing peacefully together and not attacking or hunting each other. The rats, Ernie and Bert, respected that Kitty was Queen of the house, and it was a fun time for us all! People could learn a lot from animals! And a 'bookworm' in English is a 'Leseratte' (reading rat) in German. I love devouring books!

Some rat photos from Pexels:

And of course, rats are always popular in liteRATure:

Nineteen Eighty-four by  George Orwell-No book has more effectively demonised our rodent neighbours. "The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world." For Winston Smith, this can mean only one thing: rats! At the very thought, he is a broken man.
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers by Beatrix Potter Another ratty nightmare, in which the inquisitive Tom Kitten goes exploring up a chimney and blunders into the apartment of a huge old rat and his baleful spouse. They tie him up and cover him with dough, as a prelude to feasting on him. At the last minute he is rescued by a dog.
The Rats by James Herbert. A very gruesome bestseller, which opens with a tramp being eaten alive by giant rats and continues in this vein. Throughout London, more and more people fall victims to the ravenous rodents (whose bites also cause deadly disease). Even worse, the rats communicate with each other and have a leader with two heads. Herbert wrote two ratty sequels.
(I am re-reading this trilogy just now, and can warmly recommend it to those who like a bit of horror....)

"God's Judgement on a Wicked Bishop" by Robert Southey. Nasty Bishop Hatto herds the starving poor into a barn and sets fire to it. But vengeance will come. An army of rats pursues him and corners him in his tower. "And in at the windows, and in at the door, / And through the walls by thousands they pour; / And down from the ceiling and up through the floor, / From the right and the left, from behind and before, / From within and without, from above and below, / And all at once to the Bishop they go." Soon, only his bones are left.
"The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" by Arthur Conan Doyle .The scariest rat of all? This domestic mystery, involving a jealous sibling and a supply of poisoned darts, has one of the most tantalising rat references in literature. Holmes mentions "the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared". Several novelists have written the tale that Doyle never penned.
"The Pied Piper" by Robert Browning "Rats! / They fought the dogs, and killed the cats, / And bit the babies in the cradles, / And ate the cheeses out of the vats, / And licked the soup from the cook's own ladles, / Split open the kegs of salted sprats, / Made nests inside men's Sunday hats, / And even spoiled the women's chats, / By drowning their speaking / With shrieking and squeaking / In fifty different sharps and flats. . ."
"The Rats in the Walls" by HP Lovecraft In this classic horror tale, the rats lead the narrator to horrific discoveries. Investigating the noises that they are making in the walls of his ancestral home, he finds an underground city whose denizens are cannibals. The narrator is driven mad and ends up in an asylum, still hearing rats in the walls.
La Peste by  Albert Camus. Rats are victims too. One day, in the Algerian port of Oran, Dr Bernard Rieux sees a dead rat. Soon the city's inhabitants begin to notice the increasing number of dead or dying rats, and their fears turn to panic. The authorities organise the collection and burning of the rats, which merely helps spread the disease. It is an allegory, but of what?
"William the Rat Lover" by Richmal Crompton Our hero sets out to vindicate the reputation of rats, innocent victims of malicious rat-catchers. William feeds the local rats so generously that they become attached to him and follow him around, allowing him inadvertently to win a children's fancy dress competition as the Pied Piper.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Funny that one of the best-loved characters in children's fiction should be called "Ratty". But is the jovial animal who befriends shy Mole and introduces him to Toad actually a rat? Or is he a vole? The debate rages. 

( Article by JM, Printed by 'The Guardian' Newspaper, 2009)

And here's a photo of the nasty  'Samuel Whiskers' as painted by Beatrix Potter.

And to take your minds off rats, here some photos from Sunday's walk:

Huge fungi:

Catkins along the path:

 I sometimes think that horses can't read, as there are always horses walking along this path:

And last but not least, a greeting to David:

Have  great day, take care,
and thanks a lot for coming by!

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Midweek Post

Hi Everybody!

Hope your week is going well! The weather has been very changeable here. Yesterday we had fog all day, today it was very cold and frosty but sunny, and great for walking. But in our region there's still no sign of a 'real' winter, at least not yet! Thanks to those who asked about my fingers. It's getting better, but too slowly for my taste, and some days it's a question of 2 steps forward and one back. I know, I'm impatient!

Today I am sharing the second piece I started last week at art group. (50 cm x 36 cm) I cut up a calendar picture of one of Willie Baumeister's pop-art pieces. You can see more images of his work here. I love his colourful and varied work.
I cut the image into strips of various thicknesses with the cutting machine -  I still can't use scissors, and then made a loose weave of them. I tried to let some strips stand out more than others. I added some blue cord which I threaded through the weaving and some red triangles which were flying about in my bit box. Nathalie was visiting me as I finished it and she chose the 2 words. Perhaps someday there will a story to it! Anyway, I am happy that I managed something!

This is the original calendar page:

I am linking to Art Journal Journey, Jo's theme of 'something new', and to
TIOT, white space or colourful grunge and Cathy's Wednesday challenge.

Last Thursday the sheep were on our side of the Rhine here, so I enjoyed visiting them on my way to art group:

I went for an evening walk along the Rhine after  the group and enjoyed the beautiful colours:

This little group was enjoying some beer sitting round the fire:

The restaurant at the Old Ferry looked inviting:

Even the main road looked nice well lit up:

Have a great day, take care,
and thanks a lot for coming by!