We started the week by attending Stilled, a performance that wove together dance, light, music and photography which created a meditative cross art-form event exploring time, movement and the arts of seeing and being seen. We were led into the darkened Helen Martin studio, pulsating with live, improvised music. In the middle of the room, several dancers were on the floor, doing their thing. We sat on one of the benches, placed around the ‘stage’. Behind us, were white boards with pinhole photographs. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see them.
We were there for about an hour, trying to make sense of what was going on. But we failed miserably. Stilled was performed as part of the 2012 Spring meeting of the British Crystallographic Association. Inspired by the scientific process of X-ray crystallography, it was a durational dance (performed for between 3 and 12 hours) and an exhibition of pinhole photographs. The dance was performed not only for a human audience, but also for an audience of pinhole cameras. During the performance, these cameras take long-exposure photographs of the movements taking place, which were developed and then displayed as part of the event.
In Stilled, the audience witnessed the performance taking place, and the strange, often abstract images that bear witness to earlier improvisations. It was a meditation on the nature of perception: of taking time to become visible, taking time to be present, taking time to look, and taking time to see. Audiences were free to come and go throughout the duration of the piece. I guess we didn’t stay long enough to find out what was happening. Anyway, the sound system was right behind Babe and it was giving him a throbbing headache. And the bench was really uncomfortable. :-)
Babe then went to Brandon Marsh to stretch his legs and clear his head. He managed to reach one of the hides before it started raining. I think this lovely photograph of the hailstones dancing into the lake summed up perfectly the performance that we’d seen earlier. When we arrived home in the evening, we were greeted by a delightful sight in the garden. We’d our 24th visitor and it was this handsome Jay. Oh my… We saw him checking the feeder from the tree and watched him edging closer and closer and hey presto, he was feeding. We rushed to get our cameras and was busy clicking away. We hoped he will continue to grace us with his presence.
“From bush to bush slow sweeps the screaming jay
With one harsh note of pleasure all day”
~John Care ‘Selected poems’~
Bluebells were still asleep in Tocil Woods. But there were plenty of drifts of white wood anemones bringing colour to the damp, lush undergrowth. According to Greek legends, they sprang up from Aphrodite’s tears as she cried over Adonis death.
“Where streams his blood there blushing springs a rose
And where a tear has dropped, a windflower blows”
The name Windflower comes from the belief that it will only open in the windy month of March, a bit late I think.
“Coy anemone that ne’er uncloses
Her lips until they’re blown on by the wind”
At work, I finally managed to start on the Audit Commission Collections. I was supposed to work on them last year but there was about 12 shelves of them and some were already in the Official publications collection. An executive decision was made to weed them thoroughly and I ended with only 4 shelves. The subject specialist and I decided to make them available for loan. It was a challenge to give the class numbers because of the limited range in the ‘Warwick’ schedule. I had to arrange them according to Northern England, Southern England and the Midlands. I also depended on the Cutter to make the classification numbers more unique and searchable.
On Friday, CC and I met KC for dinner. KC was in town for the weekend. It was nice seeing her again. We checked out the Italian market which was already packing up for the night. We browsed in M&S but we didn’t buy anything. We were too hungry to think straight. At first we planned to have dinner at either the Noodle Bar or Nandos. But when we walked past the Red Panda, they had a promotional dinner buffet and we decided to take advantage of the offer.
After ordering a huge pot of Chinese cha (loose-leaf) we took turns to sample the menu. I was delighted that they had Sushi and loaded my plate. Unfortunately, there was no pickled ginger and I had a very tiny drop of wasabi paste. What a mistake. It was so hot that I felt that my head was blown off and my eyes kept on watering. Phew!!! Luckily, it didn’t put me off my next course.
There was so much seafood on offer. Yummy…yummy. I had prawns, mussels, squids and fish fillet cooked in 1001 ways. Off course, I also had the stuffed mushroom, Chinese vegetables and noodles. We’d a lovely time polishing our plates, exchanging news and laughters. There was so much to talk about. I cleanse my palate with the sweet corn and crab soup. Another plate loaded with seafood and finally a small plate of fruit jelly and ice-cream. Where on earth did I put all these away??/
After 2 hours, it was time to pay the bill. As a treat, I ordered a takeaway for Babe’s dinner. We were thinking of coming again to try the hot-pot. One of our colleagues, have been asking us to accompany her to try the hot-pot which was held upstairs. I passed the food counter on my way to use the facilities and it was seafood heaven. Hmm, looks like we might make a trip back in the very near future. CC gave me a lift home and KC will be spending the night at her chateaux. It was nice seeing you again KC and we will meet again at the CIG conference in Sheffield in September. The cake and bread in the photograph wasn’t in the menu. It was Herman, the German Friendship cake that I baked in the previous entry.
I was reading a book for my next book club meeting at about 10 pm when I thought I heard something on the roof. When I looked out of the window, the ground was shining brightly. What on earth??? When I came out, I was pelted with hailstones. Ouch..ouch. They were coming down thick and fast. I quickly rushed to the back garden to cover my new plants and some had to be brought into the casa. It must have been pouring through the night because the ground was still covered the next morning. Earth Day fell on the weekend. It was our moment to look around, breathe the air in a little deeper and hug the trees a little tighter. It was a day to appreciate the unbelievable resources we have and to pledge to do our best to protect the incredible offerings that nature unfailingly provides us.
Let the beauty you love be what you do.
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.
Unfortunately we didn’t hug any trees but we did breathe deeply the air at our favourite nature reserve. Not many people about. I guess the atrocious weather was putting them off. We made a quick dash to Baldwin Hide to dodge the showers. Swallows and sand-martins were using the pontoon as a resting place after the vigorous swooping and sweeping above the lake. We could hear their chattering warble and ‘wit-wit’ call while in flight.
We also saw a lot of the waders sitting on nests. There were Oyster-catchers, Coots, Moorhens, Lapwings, Greylags, Swans and Canada Geese. One of Babe’s friend told us that the Shelducks were checking out the underground nest. Ooh…I hoped they liked it and start making a home. I have never seen Shelduck babies before. I couldn’t wait… It was also lovely to see the Little- ring Plovers skirmishing as they chase each other. Common Snipes were well camouflaged near a tree-trunk and Redshanks were busy feeding on the mudbanks.
We made it in time to East Marsh hide before the heavens opened and hailstones fell from the sky again. We were informed that we’d just missed a Nightingale!!! It would made my day if I could see one but I guess not today. One of the twitchers received a text saying that the bird was heard singing on the path towards Carlton Hide. In the pouring rain, a few of them rushed towards the scene. Dedication eh??? We stayed put and admired the gorgeous rainbow. Then not one but 3 Muntjac came into view. They were busy feeding on the bank opposite the hide. All you could hear were the cameras clicking away.
At about 7pm, we made our way to Carlton Hide to see if the Barn Owl was out and about. The twitchers were still standing along the path waiting for the Nightingale. Carlton Hide was packed. There were more people than natives. A Sparrow-hawk made a sudden appearance and caught everyone by surprise. We waited until 8 pm but nobody turned up. I even read a book. It was that quiet.
We started the week by checking out a performance titled Still. We ended the week by sitting still in Carlton Hide. It was just perfect for us. We hoped you too had a perfect, still week.
Give yourself a perfect day. Do what makes you happiest. Look upon what gives you joy. speak to those who warm your heart. Listen to that which lifts your spirit. surround yourself with sights and sounds and people who give you pleasure. For all the happiness you give to others all year long, give yourself a perfect day.