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Welcome to Musings – The Loom Room Blog

17 April, 2017

Spring has sprung – with a vengeance!

Filed under: Art,Life,Nature — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:36 am

Just a week ago, if you had told me that Spring would arrive and transform our garden from winter’s silhouettes into verdant flower and leaf, I would have laughed disbelievingly!  But this is just what has happened!

Last week the trees outside our house were twigs – now they are in full leaf and all around our region cars are dressed with yellow powder, as if they don’t want to miss out on the show!

The sun has been beautifully warm and legs and arms are being bared to the breeze with scarves and thick coats being cast off in favour of lighter garments.

Then, like yesterday, the clouds gather overhead and jumpers re-appear for a short appearance.  Next week’s forecast is for warmer weather again so summer clothes will find their way to the front of the wardrobe while winter garb will cuddle up together at the back until the end of October.

The cafés now have their tables and chairs out for the tourists and the locals, and people are standing and chatting for longer whilst shopping or running errands.

Taking place in Nérac this week has been the Garenne Partie – spectacles.albret@ville-nerac.fr  The local park, the Garenne (meaning rabbit warren) runs alongside the rive Baise (with an umlaut over the i and pronounced Bay-eze – very important, as without the ‘eze’ you would be saying something very rude!!)

This Easter week, there are so many craft and nature activities for children and adults to do from music concerts to circus performers, dance, acrobatics, hands-on activities with dyeing and finger weaving, zip line across the river, canoeing and boat trips, food and wine (of course!) and walks through the park at night to spot nocturnal creatures.

We went to see one performance yesterday and were blown away by the beauty, grace, musicality and sheer spectacle!  It was a series of wonderful, graceful and slow (and therefore reaaaaaally hard to do!) acrobatics performed by Smart Compagnie, a group of around 8 performers who created their own sound effects to accompany the acrobatic performance on specially constructed platforms throughout the park.  The setting of the woodland, and the story-telling of the performers was absolutely breath-taking.  The crowd were drawn through the park by the performers with various ‘stages’ including the edge of the fountain, the ‘green theatre’ and glades within the park.  Their information says it all …  “cette balade acrobatique est un parfait mélange de tout ce qui fait la magie d’un cirque: l’humour, les prouesses et la musique.”

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The atmosphere was lively and happy.  This is the official start of Spring and the whole town seems to be partying!!

And all this is on our doorstep!!  We really have landed somewhere special!  Why don’t you come and sample it for yourself?!  We’d love to welcome you here…..

6 February, 2011

Harbingers of Spring

Filed under: Life,Nature,Psychology,Weaving — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:00 pm

Hurrah!  Spring is on the way!! Truly!! I promise!!  Especially to our friends currently immersed in piles of snow in the mid-west of America!  You may only see white out of your windows – if you can see out of your windows at all!! – but I can assure you that snowdrops are pushing their way out of the frozen earth, and the nights are getting shorter!!  I can now take Charlie out in the light after his tea!

Isn’t it funny how we have our own individual ways of measuring time?  I don’t wear a watch any more (gave it up when I finished teaching in school!) and watch the sky a lot more.  I don’t have a clock in the workshop, so if I need to finish for a certain time, I set the kitchen timer which has an hour limit.  I eat when I’m hungry and not at a certain time (except for when I have students) and finish when I’ve completed a task or get too tired.

I listen to my body more too, now, and have just re-started doing yoga.  Ah, bliss!  My body loves me again!

I like being in touch with life through responding to my body and to nature.  It feels right, somehow.  Years spent of watching clocks and timing things to within an inch of their life left me feeling permanently drained and that I was at the whim of other people and circumstances.  Now I feel as if I am more in control.

I know that’s as much a fallacy as anything, but somehow, mentally, it sets you free.  You feel able to roll with the wind to a certain extent.  I still have my tasks that I want to get done, and Sunday is the day I use to decide what I’d like to achieve during the coming week.  I was a bit too ambitious last week, and still have a few things that I haven’t achieved.  I do feel a little annoyed with myself for not completing them, but I know that half a day will clear them, and I can schedule that in this week.
Back to Spring.  It’s not here yet, and we could still be in for some hard weather, but the lighter evenings raise the spirits and let you know that the hard times are only temporary – a good reflection for more than just the seasons!

So more time for more weaving and I’ll be keeping my eyes open for the rising of the daffodils and the return of the swallows!

18 April, 2010

Spring-cleaning, gardening and weaving….

Filed under: Life,Weaving — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 2:40 pm

Spring has an incredible effect on everything, doesn’t it?  If you look around you, people are happier, more relaxed, smiling and laughing a lot more, and more willing to help each other.  It also has us putting our house in order!  I’ve been spring-cleaning this week and now my house is getting more how I like it – tidier, cleaner, more airy, more welcoming and less cluttered.  The garden, too, has been demanding attention and, whilst I’m not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination, 10 minutes here, half-an-hour there and it’s beginning to look as if somebody cares!  <G> What I love about the garden is that everything looks a total mess until you mow the lawn.  Then what a transformation!  An hour’s work (we have 4 lawns!), and the place looks so much better! 

It’s been an interesting week – no flights for several days and the sky is clear of com trails for the first time I can remember.  Uninterrupted blue – at least until an hour or so ago when it started to cloud over for the first time in a number of days. 

Work-wise, I’ve been having a lot of fun, threading up for a shibori warp but deciding to use part of the warp for a seersucker effect.  Yesterday was an amazing weaving day, and I will need to hem all the samples before finishing them to see what effects the different methods of washing will do to them.  I’m just about to rethread the shibori threads for the shibori supplementary warp that I will be playing with.  I love the explorations and experimentation!  The next thing is to get out and up close and personal to textures around my house and garden to illustrate what I’m doing….  A chance to learn how to use my camera properly.  Actually, it’s more an opportunity to investigate a camera club to seek advice from people who really know! 

I received the Memory on Cloth book by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada this last week as a late birthday present and had a wonderful time browsing through!  What a book!  Great stuff!  And then Ann Field’s Devore book arrived for me to review for the Journal of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers.  What serendipity!  So that’s this evening’s very pleasant chore…

I’ve also been investigating Facebook Fan pages and have decided it’s something that could be good fun to do, so I’ll be doing some more research before I launch headlong.  Has anyone else got fan pages, and how do they work for you? 

Spring definitely lifts my spirits and makes me feel upbeat!  I hope it has the same affect for you!

15 March, 2009

Mindfulness Take 2

Filed under: Life,Philosophy — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 10:25 am

You know how suddenly everything grows and puts on its coat of green?  Well this week in my corner of the world, spring has suddenly sprung.  Leaves are popping up all over the place, and suddenly the world looks less bare and forlorn.  It’s amazing how it happens almost overnight. 

Today on my walk, I decided to practise half an hour of mindfulness.  Boy, was that hard!  I decided to focus on listening to the sounds of nature and man around me as I walked because I thought that listening would focus my attention more powerfully than looking.  I was right about that, but had to keep metaphorically shaking myself to rein my thoughts back and just listen.  In a way, it was harder to do that than it was to spend time practising my oboe back in the day…. Practising the oboe required me to think in a disciplined way.  Listening to nature required me not to think – just to listen and appreciate the sounds I was hearing.  Not to think about them but just to note them.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but the experience made me determined that each day I must dedicate some time just to listening to sounds. 

We all listen to our minds constantly, and if you’ve the kind of job, or mind, that likes to analyse or imagine, then the time that we spend in our minds is massive.  I would say that the time I spend in my head is over 90% of the total time that I am conscious!  Yikes!  No wonder trying just to suspend thinking was hard!  It’s like being a tea-addict – it requires conscious thought not to go and put the kettle on for another cuppa.  But I would never have realised that it would require conscious thought not to think!! Hopefully practice will make it easier to do. 

On a slightly different vein, I bought my Dad a book for his birthday.  It’s called The Book of Idle Pleasures and is edited by Dan Kieran and Tom Hodgkinson.  Dad is trying his hand at this thing called retirement.  He’s a very young 79 this birthday and has been working 7 days a week in my brother’s company for the last 4 years.  It helped him tremendously when Mum died in 2007, but now is the time to rein back a little and only work for a couple of days a week so that he can begin to enjoy his time to himself.  To give him a little help and a few suggestions along the way, this book is full of short ideas such as ‘Reclining on Top Deck of the Bus’, ‘Doodling’, ‘Whittling’, ‘Lying in a Hammock’, ‘Walking Back Home Drunk’ – although I don’t think Dad will go for that last one, somehow!!  The contributors write for The Idler, a magazine ‘that celebrates freedom, fun and the fine art of doing nothing.’  Their reason for writing the book – “We want to comfort and inspire you with philosophy, satire and reflection, as well as giving practical information to help in the quest for the idle life”. 

Sounds like a great idea to me!