Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Raising Ebenezers

I have blogged about this little sculpture before. It is "Community" by Sonja Landweer, and it is my very favourite piece in the whole of the wonderfully wonderful Ulster Museum. I have always loved the diverse mounds and pillars and surfaces, all of us in all our shapes and sizes, how we look and how we feel.

 We spent an evening in the Museum one Friday night last month. Such a hoot. It was open for one of Belfast's Real Sketchy events, where you roll in and wander, with a drink in your hand, live music in your ears, and sketching any of their treasures as you go!
 It was planned to coincide with the Museum's hosting of the Lines of Thought exhibition- sketches of masters from Michaelangelo (in whose fat belly this middle-aged and spreading woman found much solace) to Picasso. The Barbara Hepworth is all ours, but it was gorgeously intimate to be there after hours, able to look and consider, though still not touch!
 Some people took it very seriously. This is Colin Murphy, a Northern Irish comedian we laugh over when we watch the Blame Game on BBC1. He really didn't want to be disturbed. I'm afraid I did. Couldn't resist. I don't get out much.



This is our friend, the prof, who doesn't wear shoes inside. Ever. Anywhere. When we first met him, and his fabulous wife, in church, we presumed it was a standing on holy ground thing. It's not. He just doesn't do shoes unless absolutely necessary. Darlings! It was just his sort of night.

Other people didn't take it quite so seriously. However, what I have since appreciated about Prince Charming's artistic output has become something very significant. PC downloaded an app that allows you to photograph something, and then turn it into your own piece of art. Very David Hockney. Very now. Darlings.
And so here is Landweer's community re-imagined a la PC. (That's a very PC word- apparently re-imagined is an old hymn given a modern twist.) And what I keep thinking about now, is how perfectly it illustrates what is increasingly for me a very, very fundamental truth. I Samuel 7:12. "Thus far has the Lord helped us." It's the story of Samuel experiencing the loud thunder of the Lord's deliverance, and setting up a stone, raising an Ebenezer, as a visual reminder that time and time again God deals with the details of our lives, the fights, the struggles, the worries, the times. I know that we know this, but I am not good at remembering this. I love the notion of having visual reminders in the landscape that say to this generation and the next- thus far has the Lord helped us.

So, until I can get some big rocks into the garden, I'm sticking with PC's Landweer!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Spring into summer, and then just back to Spring

 In terms of blog posts written since then, it wasn't very long ago at all that I was wondering about "autumn" as a verb, and you cleverly pointed out that "fall" and "spring" were indeed verbs.
 It is nonetheless two whole seasons ago. Must do better! And here are some photos from the last few weeks in Northern Ireland, the few weeks in the year when we wake up one unexpected morning to vast blue skies, temperatures warm enough to merit dragging out the suitcase with the barely worn summer clothes, and the firm belief that it could never rain again.
 You see, Spring in Northern Ireland springs straight into summer for a few weeks in May. Every year. Just at exactly the time when you need outdoor-craving boys to be indoor-revising boys. Not sure if Jo is smiling or begging in this shot. Five minutes more, and you oblige, because you don't really want to be an indoor-boy-curtailing-mother.
 So you wander round marvelling at all the colour, and all the heat, and all the sun. Rejoicing in the fact that the people who built the house were gardeners! Real gardeners, with a scheme and a plan and everything. We don't really have a plan. We just try to weed it all out as best we can, which doesn't admittedly amount to much effort on my part at all...
 Look at that sky. Blue. Ireland is mostly green, because of all the rain. But when it's not green, and therefore grey, it is very, very blue.
 So here we all are at the table. Inside. Books and files and pens and mind-maps. And tea. Door wide open for air! My sanity lies in the basket of small ends of things. Crocheting lots of little flowers to join lots of other people's little flowers to be joined into a little flower thing for our Knit in Public day at the start of June.
 Lots to look forward to- boys' exams start tomorrow, so obviously it has rained again, as revision season draws to an end, but at least the revision pain will end! A morning at Mossley Mill with Hookery for KIP, where we'll sit outside if the sun shines, and inside in the coffee shop if it doesn't! And maybe we'll still get glimpses of vast blue skies before the traditional downpours of July. The speck in this picture was a para-glider who had thrown himself from Knockagh Hill, just behind the tree. He served as a needed reminder that day that the feeling of falling off a hill can possibly be followed by the feeling of actually surviving and landing safe on the other side!

ps Thank you to everyone who did leave comments re Outside Tea in Lent. I have a little sachet of tea wending its way to  you all x