Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Magic in May -- Disappearances can be deceptive

 Now you see her
Now you don't

 So, time always seems to fly when Esme comes for her annual holiday!  And we always seem to do so much in the short time she's here I end up quite exhausted -- even though it has to be said that year on year we do less and less but that is inevitable! This year Alnwick Gardens was kind to us -- no thunder storms. And the cherry orchard, although the blossom was past, had the addition of some nice swing seats. I was the only member of our party to indulge (big bairn) but they are great fun.
Now you see me --

Now you don't       The fountains as always played photographic-hard-to-get Now you see them and of course then you don't But you still get the picture and you get to play hide and seek amongst the fountains just like a small child or a figurine on a giant's wedding cake and sometimes the disappearances are so strange they're a bit worrying! But we all managed to keep our heads and left in one piece. Thanks to the magic of Alnwick and    where'd that there wizard go?? Ah! There he is -- under the oldest tree in the gardens
                                        They've been friends for years!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

To me nothing is more beautiful than the British countryside in Spring

Belsay House and Gardens is well known to be one of my favourite spots but you see it's different every time we go there and each new week seasonal treasures emerge -- so why not keep going back? This walk sustains me even when I am not there. I take a walk sometimes in my imagination and when the world seems a dark place, I think of all that's bright and good in this garden. Everyone needs such a place. What's yours? Today there were frogs (or toads) (hard to tell when they are in the water)
cavorting around. And bog lilies which look just like plastic or wax and have a most unpleasant scent. and then through the quarry arch that used to carry stone for building, a blaze of colour as summery as the weather was today. Down by the castle, daffodils, Beyond, the English countryside. Northumberland is not the greenest part of England -- or these isles. Ireland is of course the greenest place on Earth ('cos it rains so much.) But I don't mind a bit of rain in exchange for such as this. I was saying to Noel as we stood by this gate that I would not like to live anywhere less green.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Spring 2017

Photos from Wallington 
on St David's Day

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Three Pounds of Cells -- Availble on Amazon

I am happy to announce that Three Pounds of Cells is Poetry Kit's Book of the Month. And to celebrate I'll probably open a bottle of wine. Forgive me if I uncharacteristically go WHOOPEE! (just this once)…/poetry-kit-book-of-the-month-f…

Three Pounds of Cells is the weight of a human brain -- but not its capacity. Oh no! That's a whole different bag of cats...
Buy via this LINK
and I would appreciate some reviews on Amazon too. Please spread the word.

Thanks Marie Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Mickelson, John Stocks and Don Webb, Dave Morehouse, Pippa Little, Geraldine Green, James Graham, 
Noel, my sister Esme and everyone who believed in me.  I hope you enjoy the poetry.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Sunday Pipe 3 -- x 3 Meerschaums

This trio of handsome Meerschaums are just lovely to look at. The two 'tea' coloured ones are not 'aged' as such though they are between 15 and 20 years old. They are Manz Meerschaums. The clay from which they are made is still block meerscahum but it comes fro Africa and is that colour naturally. You can just see on the stem of the pipe on the left, a little mark -- that is the maker's mark and it's actually Isle of Man legs -- hence Manx Meerscahum. The stems are standard vulcanite and the bands are stainless steel (we think). You can see that the one on the left has a bigger and rounder bowl than that on the right. Both of these pipes were purchased in the Tobacconist's at the corner of Pink Lane. Sadly that shop no longer exists. Like so many other tobacconists it has fallen foul of a healthier lifestyle but

To me the pipe is an ancient art, 
entirely unlike the quick fix addictive brain-rush of the cigarette. 
It's more a hobby than a smoke! 
It's a leisurely 
of peace 
a drift 
of cloud, 
 a pipedream, 
 an aromatic room-note 
prairie prayers 
a mini hearth 
winter warmth 

By comparison the middle pipe is white as white, with it could be said a cadger's bowl. It has a faux amber stem made of resin. Durham Market has a rather fine tobacconist still and this came from there about 5 years ago. It has no maker's mark but it is pure turkish block meerscahum and apparently a very nice smoke. Wisps upward like a ghost of winter!

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Sunday Pipe -- 2 The Meerschaum

Meerschaum (the word mean seafoam) pipes have been made since the 1720's as a substitute for lower grade clay pipes. 
The material is a naturally occurring soft clay mineral called sepiolite which was sometimes found floating on the Black Sea. The clay is truned, carved, smoothed with glass paper, heated and then polished. It's the porous material that makes the pipe cool-smoking. It's also lightweight and pure white which makes these pipes rather beautiful and also makes it viable to carve huge ones! Some of the bigger Turkish pipes are really more like tourist souvenirs (in common with our Calumet of last week) 
But the true beauty of the Meerschaum is in its unique character -- the faces themselves and the fact that they take on years of patina with smoking and turn through yellow to dark amber with use. It's not a pipe that stays the same! It's a pipe with personality.

This one was bought 30 years ago in Uff's Tobacconist's in Canton Cardiff as a present for Noel's birthday. And he's ageing beautifully -- well -- they both are! :)

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The Sunday Pipe -- 1 Peace and Long Life

Okay so this is a special treat for anybody who likes pipes. I don't smoke a pipe (you do get lady's pipes but I gave up smoking years ago) but my grandfather always smoked a pipe. He started age 13 and continued into his nineties. I always wanted to marry a pipe-smoking man -- love the smell of good tobacco! Now my husband Noel has a very fine selection to view and I just adore them so I am going to show you some of the them -- to educate :)

The Calumet
Pipe smoking began long, long ago in the mid west with pipes smoked on the prairies to seal deals between tribes. Dear knows what was in those pipes! I'll bet it was herbal ;) 
And that is also where this pipe came from. It is a traditional hand-carved calumet from Pipestone National Park MN and that's where we bought it four years ago. So it's the oldest pipe in the world in one way but new. It has been smoked but it's mostly display cum souvenir. 
The walnut wall rack was made by friend of ours from an old clock base and I just love the way it looks like a walk through a quarry! The stem is wood with leather trim but the bowl is carved from the soft red stone of a sacred quarry where only hand tools are allowed. And here is the man who carved it. It's a dying art unfortunately.

One day (probably not long from now) nobody will smoke pipes any more. Oh I know smoking isn't good for you but I am not going to be politically correct here in this section of my blog. I am going to celebrate the noble art of pipe-smoking 
and long live Gandalf!