Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Working on these things recently

Just some images of recent pictures I've made. The Fabric Hearts are a twist on the Union Jack, and the top one was made with the scraps of the first one beneath it. They are for sale in Thirsk in Number 8 near the cinema. As is the black one, which replaces a black one I sold there at Easter.

Saturday, 21 April 2012


Wednesday 18th April 2012
I’ve been thinking that this could be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but in planning what I wanted to say, I’ve actually laughed and smiled more than cried. I am hoping I can represent through my feelings, the thoughts and some memories about Nana from my family. I am apparently after all, the one who’s trained to speak out publically amongst us!
For someone I didn’t know well until my teens, I can say that over the last 15 years Nana was in my thoughts on a very regular basis. Once I was capable of the drive, I started visiting her alone. It was then that I really got to know the woman that was Eleanor King.
It was in getting to know Nana that I recognised some of the parts of me that came from the King/Oxley/Harrison side of the family. My hair, which apparently is the same colour that Nana’s used to be when she was younger, (well it would be if I hadn’t started dying it to cover the grey!), my flirtatious nature and my ability to grow things.
I loved hearing the stories about Nana’s youth, how she met Grandpa and dating in the war, and then much later their move to Harwich. Well, if I’m honest, the first 2 dozen times I heard them that is!  But even if Nana did repeat things, there was usually some small different detail within each version that she told me. We often laughed and giggled about her early dates with Grandpa and the nights she was fire watching in Goole and he used to pop by to visit.
Nana’s love of Grandpa was there until the end, and despite the attempts of several gentlemen in Harwich, she was not looking for anyone else. I think she became, for a time, quite a strong independent lady once she adjusted to life on her own. She continued to play her bowls, see friends, walked everywhere and was a familiar face in and around Harwich.
I looked through some of my favourite poems to find something appropriate for today, and as soon as I read The Glory of the Garden by Rudyard Kipling I knew I’d found the words I was looking for. Not only did Nana love her garden, plants and flowers, but she also had a great appetite for Kiplings Cakes and Pies J

Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.
For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You will find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all;
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung pits and the tanks:
The rollers, carts and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.
And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.
And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.
Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:--"Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.
There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick.
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.
Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!
Rudyard Kipling
I have also been looking over a book that I had inherited from Nana when we were packing things away in the house, before her move back to Yorkshire. Reading through the book of ‘Garden lovers Quotes’ I came across a couple by an American poet and gardener called Celia Thaxter her words struck me with their simplicity, love and understanding of gardens, gardening, and the plants and flowers which flourish there. Well they did if you were Eleanor King!
It is one of the precious gifts that I have definitely inherited from Nana, the delightful green fingers. No one who knew her doubted that Nana gained a lot of pleasure from plants and flowers, and she was rightly proud of her achievements in the garden at Harwich which we all have fond memories of. I also know, from her own memories and comments from Dad, that in Goole Nana not only grew flowers, but plentiful fruit and vegetables. Tomatoes are the main thing I can remember in the Greenhouse, and I am hopeful that she’ll be watching over my harvest this year and every time I pick and smell the fresh fruit I will be taken back to Harwich.
I’ve adapted this quote slightly from the original, to suit; Celia Thaxter (1835-94)
‘Like the musician, the painter, the poet, and the rest, the true lover of flowers is born, not made. And she is born to happiness in this vale of tears, to a certain amount of the purest joy that earth can give her children, joy that is tranquil, innocent, uplifting, unfailing. Given a little patch of ground, with time to take care of it, with tools to work it and seeds to plant in it, she has all she needs’
I know as I design, develop and plant my new garden I will consider the plants I choose carefully, and I’ve already plans to find a camellia and a couple of roses as a reminder of where my green fingers come from.
I’d like to thank everyone from Ryhill Country Lodge for their care of Nana over the last two years.
I can’t continue to speak without saying that Nana was loved by Andi, Charlee and I, and of course Dad and Mum, and her parting will leave a sadness in the family which will take some time to heal. But I anticipate that we’ll remember her with that love and smiles rather than sadness. She will be reunited with Grandpa and at peace, and that’s what we all wish her. Peace, love and happiness.
A final similarity I had with Nana was our sweet tooth, especially when it comes to chocolate. Therefore, I could not let today pass without chocolate, and at the end of the service, please feel free to help yourself to one of the Champagne Truffles I’ve brought for us all to celebrate Nana’s life with one of life’s little pleasures.

A Quote I didn't use, but I really like and I think sums up my Nana 
“As I work among my flowers, I find myself talking to them, reasoning and remonstrating with them, and adoring them as if they were human beings. Much laughter I provoke among my friends by so doing, but that is of no consequence. We are on such good terms, my flowers and I.”
Will miss you always xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx