Saturday, 26 January 2008

A film review or two

SBS recently showed a series of Japanese anime by the director Hayayo Miyazuki. We started watching Nausicaa: Valley of the Winds and got strangely hooked by its storyline and production. In the following weeks we watched Howl's Moving Castle, Laputa, Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service and Porco Rosso. Drew remembered Porco Rosso for some years before but the other films were a revelation. I especially loved Laputa, Castle in the sky and Howl's Moving Castle. The stories were fascinating and the animation fantastic. Although the stories are set some time in an imaginary past, the machines and contraptions are just delightful and believable. Who can not be impressed by the moving castle?

The week after that series ended they showed Isho Takahata's Grave of the Fireflies. Takahata is an assistant of Miyazaki's but he made Grave of the Fireflies by himself. It's based on a Japanese story set at the end of WW2. The city (I believe it is Kobe) is continually fire-bombed by the Americans, the two children's mother is killed and they are left to fend for themselves. Seita looks after his little sister Setsuko and they live in an abandoned bomb shelter until Setsuko dies of malnutrition. Seito has nothing to live for and he dies just as the Americans land.

It sounds so depressing but there is such a joy in the love between the siblings and a happiness in most things they do together. It is a profoundly moving and unforgettable film, and because it is anime, it seems to have more impact than if it was made with real actors. I don't think I've been so affected by a film in a long time.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

To the garden ...

There are a couple of nice moments happening in my garden just now. After all the hard winter and spring work it is nice to see some rewards, whether planned or serendipitous. The show above resulted from the placement of the wooden obelisk that Tara and Ranier gave me, training the roses Mme Pierre Oger and Reine des Violettes across it and planting Clematis texensis "Gravetye Beauty" inside. but then these wonderful Cleomes have self-seeded in such a place to complement them so beautifully ...

The second part is this lovely sunny section that has matured enough to give me the arrangement I have been planning. Of course the bits on either side are not so good - yet...!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Miki has her feet up whilst The Stig has been busy.

Well, it's been a funny old week. We start off with a nice social barbeque and then it is change from there in.

First an old friend and teaching colleague died. She was one of those energetic, make-things-happen type people who, although 85 years old, had seemed indestructable until her stroke late last year. So , when she died, it was a release for her as she would never be the woman she had been, the way everyone remembered her. She had planned her own funeral, down to the last word, and when the hearse rolled away, no-one was allowed to accompany her to the crematorium, but instead everyone, family included, had to repair to the Parish Hall for a good, old-fashioned afternoon tea and chin wag! What a way to go. Happy journey, Betty.

Next, my uncle rang to say that my uncle in Sydney was dying. This was a sadness as everyone loved Uncle Bill. And the next day he died, and, as I have no address, I can't send my commiserations. I know he did not need to suffer, but I will miss him.

In the midst of all this it is time to remember that Miki has been with us for one whole year, endearing and enlivening our lives and shaking up the cat world forever! it is sad that she's ended up being Tabasco's replacement rather than his companion and torment, but she's certainly changed the dynamics of house and garden.

And to everything there is a season indeed. After a week of extreme discomfort and Jabba the Hutt-like profile, the Easter guinea pig has finally given birth to the Stig's first offspring. There were four babies, though one was born dead, and they're desperately cute! We're so used to the harlequin colours of Twistie's children that these new solid -coloured piglets are quite a novelty. Two are chocolate and one is dark grey. One of the chocolates has a little dribble of cream down his nose!

Monday, 7 January 2008

Is this any better, Fer?

Actually, the black was very heavy so I'll go subtle this time. Thank you for your constructive comments.

Today I finished and packed up 6 butterflies and posted them off. That's a weight off my mind. Got a sheep picture to do next. I sat out in the sun at lunch time to stitch butterflies and pink up my legs. First the cats descended on me and then the little flies! Drew says they breed in the pig sheds. I persevered till the brooch was finished and then beat a hasty retreat. Tonight at sundown I notice that there is a pink tinge down my shins. Yay!! (And you're right Shan, you do use a lot of exclamation marks in these blogs!)

Sunday, 6 January 2008

New Year Resolutions

So I've made some New Year Resolutions:

1. To create a blog! It might help the ageing memory a little and stave off dementia! Who knows? Hopefully I'll have something to write about!

2. To create enough work to be able to hold a solo exhibition. (I've not made a start on this yet!)

3. To finish digging and landscaping my Japanese pool. I think I'll wait for the cooler weather!

(So I'm feeling my way at the moment. I fell asleep planning my first entry last night and now that I've started writing, I can't remember a single word I planned! Yesterday was a big day. I pulped all this pre-soaked scrap paper and card and made some 38 sheets of heavy paper for my butterfly boxes. I ran out of cloths in the end and had to leave the rest of the pulp for this morning. I was able to squeeze out another 12 sheets. No wonder my memory is shaky!)

4. To expose my legs to the world!
Now you all may know that my legs are always decently hidden - and with good reason! But there's my nephew's wedding next month and the thought of a hot day and having to wear pants or tights is too much. So I took a deep breath and brought out the shorts. What a sight! My arms are tanned to a soft butterscotch but my legs are more like nougat! They are a translucent white crossed with blue veins, with the red cherries of Miki and branch scratches and with brownish bruises to knees and shins.

After two days of daylight exposure I'd like to pretend that there is a little colour on them but the reality is that there is a little
patch of red sunburn on the back of each calf!

27 days to go!