Wednesday, 27 February 2019

The Twelve Ghosts by Brian Patten


Who owns the coming year?
Who will take care of it?

I stood in a Christmas garden listening
To the voices of the Twelve Ghosts arguing.

"I will take care of it" said January,
"I will anchor it to the earth with garnet and snowdrop."

" It is mine," said February.
"I will feed it the memory of all that grows.
"I will welcome it with the amethyst and the primrose"

"I will celebrate it with bloodstone and daffodil," said March.
"Like a boxer battered by winter
"I will lift myself from the crust of the earth to welcome it."

"With diamond and daisy I will seduce it.
"I'll soak it in shower upon shower," said April.
"In the yawny warm earth its seeds will riot."

"I will make it dizzy with emeralds
And the fumes of the hawthorn," said May.
"It will know of nothing but play."

"And I will adorn it with a necklace
Of honeysuckle and ruby," said June.

"I will drag it away," said July.
"I will handcuff it with briar;
"Drug it with the scent of fat rose."

August spoke from the garden's still centre:
"If so, I will weep layer upon layer of sardonyx.
I will teach it the brevity of poppies."

"When its bones begin to creak
I will cure it with asters and morning-glory,"
promised September.

"It is mine," said October.
"I will woo it with sapphires
And with  the swan-song of dahlias."

"Under the weight of the dead chrysanthemums I will bury it.
I will give it a headstone of topaz," said November.

"And I will let it sleep," said December.
"I will let it dream of narcissus and holly,
I will feed it berries the size of a sparrow's heart."

The ghosts of each month passed me;
They fluttered by like moths drenched in rain
And were hardly gone before time drew them back again.

“The Night-Swans"

'Tis silence on the enchanted lake,
And silence in the air serene,
Save for the beating of her heart,
The lovely-eyed Evangeline.
She sings across the waters clear
And dark with trees and stars between,
The notes her fairy godmother
Taught her, the child Evangeline.
As might the unrippled pool reply,
Faltering an answer far and sweet,
Three swans as white as mountain snow
Swim mantling to her feet.
And still upon the lake they stay,
Their eyes black stars in all their snow,
And softly, in the glassy pool,
Their feet beat darkly to and fro.
She rides upon her little boat,
Her swans swim through the starry sheen,
Rowing her into Fairyland--
The lovely-eyed Evangeline.
'Tis silence on the enchanted lake,
And silence in the air serene;
Voices shall call in vain again
On earth the child Evangeline.
'Evangeline! Evangeline!'
Upstairs, downstairs, all in vain.
Her room is dim; her flowers faded;
She answers not again.
― Walter de la Mare
Art Annie Stegg

Welsh Cakes



  • 225g of self-raising flour, or 225g plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 100g of butter, or margarine, plus extra for cooking
  • 50g of caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 50g of currants
  • egg, beaten with 3 tbsp milk


Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl and rub in the margarine or butter. Add the sugar and currants and stir well
Pour the egg mixture in and mix until you have a stiff dough
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured board until 5mm (1/4 inch) thickness and stamp out rounds with a pastry/biscuit cutter
Stamp out rounds with a pastry/biscuit cutter
Heat the griddle over a medium heat until hot and grease with a little butter – the baking griddle should be well-greased, and then heated until a little water sprinkled on the surface skips about in balls, evaporating. A heavy cast iron frying pan makes a good substitute. Cook the cakes for about 3 to 4 minutes each side, until they are golden brown and have risen slightly
Cook the cakes for about 3 to 4 minutes each side
Serve immediately sprinkled with a little extra caster sugar
Serve immediately sprinkled with a little extra caster sugar

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Happy Tuesday

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
~ Wayne Gretzky
"Without hustle, talent will only carry you so far."
~ Gary Vaynerchuk
Take your best shot and have a happy Tuesday

Gifts, of the Lovers

The Dru leans close, to Dryad, clasp, in arms, of love, enclosing.
Tree Spirit, he, protective, e'er, of Woods, (warrior, imposing)!
And she, (Spirit, of gentle heart), who gives, within her flowered hair,
homes, safe, secure, a verdant perch, for earth's creatures, and those, of air.
With roots, deep buried, in the earth, they sway, in dance, of gusty winds, and give forth breaths, of oxygen, on which, our very lives depend.
Donna L. Ferguson Dudley, copyright 2018 5/24/18
Art Tomasz Alen Kopera

Monday, 25 February 2019

King Of The Forest

Stillness of forest like a cathedral, tall trees
arched above boy's head, he walked lightly on a
carpet of leaves which deadened sound of his tread.
He walked slowly in cool green, no warm breeze
caressed his cheek for he had come to enjoy nature
no human contact did he seek.
A squirrel scampered up a tall Beech, chattering wildly
in his fear, something told him of boy's intrusion
treading softly on lush ground.
Silence broke, he heard a crashing of some great beast
through woodland green, there before him stood a red
stag most stately creature ever seen.
He eyed boy strangely with his dark eyes, pawed ground
beneath his hoof, his antlers raised he bellowed in
anger it echoed to leaves woven roof.
Boy stood and watched completely spellbound, shook
beneath king's hard glare, stag took one leap, a
glorious vision of powerful beauty went through the air.
Boy left forest walked into sunlight, stag continued
with his reign, boy won't forget his confrontation
with that red stag in his domain.
Grace Whyte
Art Eleanor Ludgate

Sunday, 24 February 2019

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA 'Faces' of Locksmith Street

A trough of 700 strange bronze faces runs through a narrow alley in Ljubljana's old town. 

Ključavničarska ulica, or “Locksmith Street,” is a narrow alley in the medieval old town in the Slovenian capital city. The start of the lane is marked with an image of a key, historically used to note the street name for those that couldn’t read. As you continue down the path, a mysterious sight unfolds.

Cutting through the middle of the cobblestoned street is a gully that appears to be flowing with hundreds of strange little faces. The limbless bronze casts are highly expressive, almost theatrical. Some are happy, some crying, some almost grotesquely distorted. There are 700 of these bronze faces running through the center of the alley, culminating in a drinking fountain and a couple other odd sculptures, namely a bronze hand and a skeleton trapped in a cage.
This surreal scene is the work of the renowned Slovenian sculptor Jakov Brdar, whose bizarre bronze figures can be found throughout Ljubljana. Often, his work is inspired by Greek mythology, as is the case with the sculptures on the Butchers’ Bridge in the center of the city. The faces of Locksmith Street were inspired, however, by a piece of writing by the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. It begins, “To think, for instance, that I have never been aware before how many faces there are. There are quantities of human beings, but there are many more faces, for each person has several.”
Know Before You Go
The "Faces" installation can be seen on the ground of Ključavničarska ulica in Ljubljana's medieval old town. Other bronze pieces sculpted by Jakov Brdar can be spotted throughout the city.


Some call this eerie forest of crooked trees the "Bermuda Triangle of Romania." 

Warped trees fill this forest, their skeletal figures twisting and spiraling, making it seem as though they’re contorting themselves to reach out and touch you. An eerie silence fills the air, interrupted only by the footsteps of unseen figures.

Given its eerie atmosphere, it’s no wonder the Hoia-Baciu Forest is said to be one of the most haunted forests in the world. As such, it’s a place that lends well to stories steeped with darkness. Some even call it the “Bermuda Triangle of Romania.”
According to local legends, ghosts and spirits lurk among the crooked trees. One tale tells of a young girl who disappeared into the forest, only to reappear five years later unable to remember where she had been. Another legend speaks of a shepherd who, along with his sheep, vanished within the woods. And, with most places associated with the supernatural, there are also rumors of alien encounters.
Of course, the forest has so much more to offer than just a dark thrill. It’s a perfectly pleasant recreation area, letting locals and visitors take a break from urban Cluj-Napoca. There are hiking and biking paths that wind through the unusual trees, and the woods teem with a rich variety of animal life.
Know Before You Go
Please be respectful of the environment and stick to the set trails. Local guides frequently offer both daytime and nighttime tours.

See Inside an Array of Zoo Animals With These X-Rays

They’re going to be okay.