Monday, 29 December 2014

Whether we like it or not


Whether the weather  be fine,

Or whether the weather  be not,

Whether the weather  be cold, 

Or whether the weather  be hot, 

We'll weather the weather, 

Whatever the weather,

Whether we like it or not.
It is almost the end of the year and the weather is fine. Yesterday I overheated and today it rains. I like that inclemency of weather. Whether the weather is cold or whether the weather is hot, I will weather the weather whatever the weather whether I like it or not. There are many versions of that little nursery rhyme and I appreciate it for helping me learn the difference between wethers er whethers um weathers, whether I like it or not. The problem with this rhyme is it does not address wether a goat or sheep has been relieved of its maleness
This website is a good one for answering the weather dilemma   Whether the weather wether 
although it is American so expect a lot of missing u's and z's where an s should be. 

Nursery Rhymes
Nursery Rhymes need to be updated. There are many little rhymes about weather which were used to teach children about the world around them. Nursery rhymes are fabulous tools for parents and caregivers who use easy to remember and easily repeatable songs and chants to help their children learn their native tongue but many rhymes we still use are hundreds of years out of date.
This one for example
Blow wind Blow
Nursery rhymes dot org

Blow wind, blow
And go, mill, go
That the miller may grind his corn
That the baker may take it
And into bread make it
And bring us a loaf in the morn.


We don't use wind mills anymore for grinding our bread so how could we update this? If it is to be about weather then the focus needs to be on something more contemporary such as wind generators.
Blow wind, blow
and go, blades, go (generator does not fit the rhyme pattern)
That the power will flow
to the grid and transform
and bright will glow
all the lights until morn.

 or if the rhyme were to be about bread making then the whole focus needs to shift.
the link between wind and bread is no longer relevant to today's children.
Whether we like it or not.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Fistle Witch's Christmas

Fistle Witch’s Christmas

Fistle pushed her nose against the window. She watched the other children walking or riding past her crazy garden. None of them looked in, they never looked at the Witch’s house.
Out on the street it was bright and cheerful with all the sparkling decorations on every house but hers. The children laughed and waved to each other. 
Fistle narrowed her eyes.
 “Mother!” Fistle planted her fists firmly at her waist and stood with feet sturdily apart. “Mother! I want a Christmas tree. I want decorations and I want to have a Christmas like the other children in the street.”
“Do you now?” Fistle’s mother looked up from the huge pan she was cooking in and wiped her hands on the vast apron around her. “And how do you propose to make that happen?”
“You’re a witch, you can magic it.” Fistle lifted her chin determinedly.
“You think so do you? Well if I am a witch and can magic it for you, then you must also be a witch with magic, so if you want it then make it happen. Now off you go love I am very busy.”
Fistle frowned and stomped out into the tangled garden. There were all sorts of herbs in pots. There were fruit trees, flower beds and big trees for summer shade, a hedge for a fence and roses galore, well there would be roses except it was winter. It was not a neat and tidy garden it was a bare and intertwined garden. Fistle knew all the plants by name and what her mother used each and every one for and none of them would be any use for a Christmas tree. Fistle wandered around the paths and sheds searching until she discovered a small evergreen in a terracotta pot. It was stuck behind a wagon wheel and a potting table.
Fistle huffed and puffed, tugged and pulled, rolled and sweated and finally dragged the terracotta pot out into a little clear area of the path. She stood back and looked at it.
“Not bad but what am I going to decorate it with?”  She scratched her head and rubbed her chin and thought really hard. “I know just the thing for a witch’s tree.”
Fistle rummaged in the shed and scrummaged in the woodpile. She scrambled up a tree and scurried through the garden. She rustled in the hedgerow and raided the scarecrow and finally had everything she needed.
On the tree she let loose twelve spindly spiders who immediately ran from branch to branch. She placed eleven downy feathers from the dove hutch, ten acorns dangling from thin wire from the shed, nine dried leaves sprayed with paint, eight smooth pebbles looped in green garden ties, seven sea shells from an old mosaic, six bits of broken mirror to catch the sunlight, five shiny brass nuts from the tool box, four cicada casings from last summer, three blue egg shells, two tiny bird nests blown from a tree last spring and on the very top she places a dehydrated starfish.
She stood back and surveyed her work then dragged her mother out to see it.
“You may put it on the front porch, Fistle, but it is not coming inside.”  She helped Fistle lift the pot onto the little red barrow then returned to her cooking.
Fistle was disappointed. She liked the tree but it was not shiny and bright like the ones the other children had. After dinner Fistle hung up her stocking on the verandah post, then brushed her teeth and went to bed.
She looked through her window at a crisp clear sky and one shining star in particular caught her eye.
“I wish I wish for a Christmas tree as bright as shining as can be. Please.”
Next morning Fistle woke up feeling very excited. She wasn’t sure why. She ran to the kitchen and hugged her mother.
“Merry Christmas Mother.”
“Merry Meet Fistle. Did you make a wish last night?”
“I sure did. Do you think it came true?”
“Well you had best go see.”
Fistle flung open the door. There on the porch the tree was festooned with spider silk with the feathers, shells and acorns woven amongst it. The sunlight peeped over the hedge striking the frozen dewdrops on every thread. The tree flashed and sparkled sending out rainbows and glowing brightly.
“You were right Mother, I made my own magic.” Fistle hugged her mother and they both smiled at the sparkling tree.
 “Everything is magic this time of year, you just have to believe.”
“It’s the perfect tree for a witch’s daughter. It’s the shiniest tree ever.”

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Teapot Tales 2014

  • Creature Genus: Mermaid
  • Home: Ocean deeps
  • Personality:
  • Appears in book(s): Teapot tales, Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the sea. 
  • Link back to Kidlit creatures: Kidlit Creature Week
  • Your name. Cecilia Clark

    "Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea" Book Blast & Giveaway!

    “I'm no longer a child and I still want to be, to live with the pirates. Because I want to live forever in wonder. The difference between me as a child and me as an adult is this and only this: when I was a child, I longed to travel into, to live in wonder. Now, I know, as much as I can know anything, that to travel into wonder is to be wonder. So it matters little whether I travel by plane, by rowboat, or by book. Or, by dream. I do not see, for there is no I to see. That is what the pirates know. There is only seeing and, in order to go to see, one must be a pirate.” ~Kathy Acker

    "Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea" had its very own book blast and giveaway in honor of "Talk Like a Pirate Day"  on September 19th this year.

    About the anthology:
    In the spirit of “Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales” is this wonderful second volume of short stories to enjoy! With stories to enchant readers of all ages, this collection of pirate and mermaid stories will open your eyes to the magic that can be found under the sea. Let yourself be pulled into the magical worlds found within these stories. From pirates and sea monsters to kind-hearted mermaids and flesh-eating sirens, let these charming ocean tales sweep you away into the realm of fantasy. With twenty-six stories, including four poems, written by seventeen different authors from around the world, “Teapot Tales: Pirates, Mermaids and Monsters of the Sea” is a wonderful collection of short stories, each story just long enough to enjoy with a cup of tea.
    The proceeds from this anthology go exclusively towards providing for the Chapter Book Challenge, and the stories in this anthology were written and illustrated entirely by ChaBooCha members.

    There are two separate versions of the book, both in kindle and paperback, a version with US spellings and a UK edition with UK spellings and language.

    This is the second volume of the Teapot Tales anthologies. The first one was published in 2013, and it was called "Teapot Tales: A Collection of Unique Fairy Tales."

    “Darwin may have been quite correct in his theory that man descended from the apes of the forest, but surely woman rose from the frothy sea, as resplendent as Aphrodite on her scalloped chariot.” ~Margot Datz, "A Survival Guide for Landlocked Mermaids"

Monday, 22 December 2014

Holidays in our street at Chrstmas

advent stories

December in our street is pretty amazing, everyone puts lights up in late November and they all switch on, on December the first.

In our street we have people from all over the world and we all share our celebrations.

On December the fifth we have Krampusnacht. Our neighbour dresses up as Krampus and wanders up and down the street looking for naughty children. He dresses up in horns and a mask and we dance wildly in the light of the moon. His wife brings us pfeffernüsse and gingerbread men.

Sixth of December is Saint Nicholas day. He was a great gift giver and if we leave our shoes out on the doorstep, Saint Nicholas fills them with sweet treats.

On the eighth of December we can hear our Buddhist neighbours when they chant in celebrating the day of Enlightenment on Bodhi day. They stay up all night and then they meditate so they become very quiet. When they share food it is vegetarian.

On the thirteenth of December all the girls in the Norwegian family down the road dress in long white gowns with a circlet of leaves on their heads and they sing beautiful songs to Saint Lucy or Santa Lucia. They carry lit candles in a procession down the street to attend church. We all stand outside and watch and they give sweets to the little kids.

We have a carols night in our street and sing songs by candle light. It is usually on the weekend before Christmas and most of the neighbours join in.

On the 21st of December we all stay up late and bring out our telescopes. It is the longest night in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest night here. Some of the Christian people go to church and the pagan people dance in the street with guitars and drums. Sometimes our Jewish neighbours have Hanukkah and light candles in their menorah but the day is not always the same for them.

Lots of people come to our street to see the lights on the houses and it gets crowded but it is so much fun seeing all their happy faces.

Some people put their Christmas trees up at the beginning of the month and the lights twinkle through their windows every night but other don’t decorate until Christmas eve on December 24th.

Yuletide starts on December 25th in the cold middle of Europe a long time ago they used to bring in a big log and burn it for the 12 days of Advent or Christmas until January the 6th but in our street we have a party and everyone brings something to eat and we put bright cloths on picnic tables. Someone always makes a Yule log cake and it is delicious. If it is a hot day we all go to the beach.

December 25th has lots of celebrations. It is Christmas for the Christians and most of them give gifts to each other and have their family travel from far and near to share big feasts with them. The Newtonians in our street are some science and computer geek guys who either don’t believe in religion or are sceptical so they celebrate with pizza and philosophy and drink toasts to Newton whose birthday in the old calender would fall on this day.

Everyone waves and drops on by and many chairs are put out in the front yards so people can sit and chat about this and that. They talk about festivals old and new and children run about showing off their new toys. Christmas is my favourite time in the street. There are lots of new people; bright lights and all the food I could possible eat.

Santa quits

advent calender stories 
Santa Quits
(350 words)
I’ve had enough Mrs Claus,
Sack the elves, lock the doors
Cut up the suit and make a quilt
Put the deer all out to pasture
There isn’t any reason dear for me to keep the job this year
The news cast shows the world wide weather is too crazy for the sled.
I’ll get cosy by the fire and put my feet up here instead, once I lock it in the shed.
There’s raging blizzards all around, twisting cyclones in Australia, fire storms and broken ice, heat waves where there shouldn’t be. Frost caves forming in old glaciers, melting Arctic, rising seas, rapid floods, oozing mudslides, hot volcanoes in Hawai’i!
It’s just too much.
What’s the matter Santa dear is it really all that weather?
I’ll make a nice hot cocoa then you can sit and tell me
What it is that really has you in this dreadful bother.
It’s not like you to rant and rave about a little weather.
I can’t compete with super stores
Kids who want and want some more
It seems that no one cares for things that once were made with love
Production lines of shiny plastic, batteries and miles of wire
Blinking lights and robot voices or the latest trendy gadget
All the hungry lost and lonely people sleeping in the street
A million match girls no one sees freezing, by their feet.
No one these days even knows what a match girl is
And you dear man are working up to quite an awful tizz.
Get your suit on right this minute and strap in all the deer
You are part of the solution when troubled days are near
No matter what the weather or who sleeps upon the ground
You cannot fix in one day the big things that abound
Make a difference in little things as you walk your path
 A friendly smile, a kindly wave, a jolly cheerful laugh
Lighten the heart of a single child, or bring a family hope
That is what it’s all about. I am sure that you will cope.
Off you go Dear.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A friend for Christmas

Annabelle dressed in her favourite tartan skirt, which she borrowed from a girl who didn’t like the clothes her doll owned. The skirt came with a cropped black top and a black fake leather belt. Annabelle had to repair it to work properly since doll clothes are not usually made right for an active fairy. The doll now had a proper pale pastel gossamer fairy gown and Annabelle had clothes she liked.
Annabelle wore a pair of supple leather boots. She had found them in Cadou’s antique store. After repairing a music box the shopkeeper despaired over, she took the boots as payment. They were perfect but heavy to fly in. Annabelle didn’t care, it was so difficult to get boots in her size that were not plastic.
The other fairies were horrified. Not that she wore boots but that she had worked for them and taken a payment. It was not a fairy thing to do and they admonished her for exposing her existence to a human.
“Maybe I’m a pixie then and no one saw me okay!” Annabelle yelled, with her hands on her hips and her chin jutting forward. The other fairies had backed away from her, they just didn’t understand and were a little afraid of such a loud and assertive fairy.
Annabelle was lonely. She was not into flowers and pastel was so not her. She needed to find a friend who would accept her for herself. She flew to the city.
She perched on a ceiling beam at the antique store and watched Mr Cadou slowly polishing silver ware. His shoulders bent and he sighed repeatedly. Not much polishing happened.  The ancient telephone rang.
A girl walked in from the back of the shop.  Annabelle watched her set up a chess set in the corner then tug at Mr Cadou’s sleeve. He turned to his daughter and covered the mouthpiece of the telephone.
“I cannot play with you my darling I have too many repairs to do.” He returned to his call.
Mrs Cadou leaned through the doorway from the back. She had a large washing basket on her hip.
“Grace, please peel the vegetables for dinner. I have to deliver this basket of washing and pick up the other baskets on the way home.” Mrs Cadou footsteps moved down the hallway.
Grace moved a chess piece.
 “You have my doll’s clothes on.” Her voice was soft and she kept her eyes on the board.
“I swapped you for the other one.” The girl nodded.
“I like those boots. You took them from the store.”
“I fixed the music box, these are my pay.”
“Papa had no idea how that fixed itself.” She was panting a little. “People won’t buy things if they don’t work and Papa has lots of things that don’t work.” She glanced around the dim and dusty store. “I don’t want to leave and we have to leave if no one buys anything.” Her eyes shone bright and she looked up. “Will you help me?” Annabelle was unable to move while Grace stared at her. “You can have all my doll clothes and stay in the doll house if you want to. I promise not to tell anyone I’ve seen you. Can you play chess?”
Annabelle shook her head.
“Would you like me to teach you?”
Annabelle nodded.
“That skirt looks good on you.”
Annabelle smiled.
 “Who are you talking to my darling?”
Annabelle hid behind the art deco vase.
“The Christmas Fairy Papa, I’m making wishes.” Grace moved in front of the vase just in case.
“Aren’t you a little old for fairy tales?”
“Never too old for fairy tales, Papa.”
“That’s true, while you are on speaking terms with the Christmas fairy can you ask her or him to help you dust this old shop and give it some appeal?” he chuckled then reached for the telephone as it rang again. “Grace I have to go out and pick up an item can you please watch the store until I return.”
“Yes Papa.” Grace handed her father his car keys and wallet and waved as he drove off down the street then turned to Annabelle. “I’m Grace.”
“I’m Annabelle, let’s tidy up the place and decorate while he’s gone.”
“What do we need?” Annabelle gave Grace a list and sprinkled a little fairy dust on each item and set it to work polishing and scrubbing. Grace watched in fascination.
“You could do the vegetables while this goes on.” Grace smiled and left for the kitchen while Annabelle climbed inside an old grandfather clock. Twenty minutes later the clock let out a deep ‘clong’ and began to tick. Grace came running, wiping her hands on a too big apron.
 “Listen to that. It sure was stuck. Want to decorate now? It’s almost Christmas.”
Grace found a box of antique decorations. Annabelle flew up around the ceiling beams and attached elegant shimmering bunting. She frosted the now gleaming windows with a little magic. The shop smelled of wood polish and beeswax.
“Pity we don’t have a tree.”
The doorbell tinkled and a pine tree walked through the door.
“I had a little extra from selling the music box and wanted to surprise …” Mr Cadou’s tree muffled voice stopped as he looked around the store.  “How did..?”
“Let’s put the tree in the window.”
“Oh yes, let’s do that.”  His head swivelled this way and that.
Mrs Cadou cried with joy when she saw the shop and took a turn at hanging antique things on the tree with her husband and daughter.
Tucked up in her bed that night, Grace called softly. “Thank you for your help Annabelle. I have never seen my parents so happy. I like having you for a friend.”
Annabelle was tucked up in the biggest bed in the doll house. “I like you for a friend too Grace.” Annabelle looked at the clothes hanging in her room and grinned. “This is going to be fun.”

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Do you want to write a blog post?

and not sing the songs from frozen as you do it? Yes I want to write a blog post but why do I want to? Is it self aggrandisement, with an s not a z thank you spell check, I am Australian and I type in English English aka UK English not the mess some illiterate idiot made for...stop right there Cecilia, word rage is unacceptable, chill chill, go read your grammar mantras.

Some write blogs to advertise, some write blogs to teach, some write blogs as a train of consciousness babble about their life like a public diary so why do I write one? I do like to share my art with my dedicated followers who probably roll their eyes when they see my blog pop up in their email and wonder how they can possibly 'unfriend' my blog and I like to share my little insights, learning progress and my excitements with my beloved friends and family who occasionally skim my pages in their busy lives. Is there more to it than that? Yes I like to promote, in my small way, when I have a story in an anthology or art in something. I do like to promote other people's successes, I am better at that than promoting myself. I sent a wish off to a star for a personal organiser and personal trainer but so far I have not had them manifest. I expect they will arrive in the car I also wished for.

I shall stop babbling now and share some art. I created a LOT of art in the first few weeks of this month. A LOT of art and developed an allergic reaction to the oil pastels which adversely affected my eyesight. Very scary for an artist. I packed away the pastels and all the pastel art and my eyes were back to normal in 12 hours. Now that was an adventure. I had all the symptoms of an allergic reaction but my antihistamines were not knocking it on the head like I had expected. I had the house blacked out and wore sunglasses in the dark as the slightest light caused such intense pain in my eyes. I removed and checked for all my known allergens, was rinsing my eyes with warm salty water and using eye drops and taking anti histamines but nothing eased it for almost five days. Each morning while I was feeling somewhat better I would squint over my art making more of it and wondering what was causing such a reaction. Then my friend Mica mentioned her adverse reaction to rosin which stopped her playing violin and that statement had my brain turning cartwheels. I removed all the oil pastels, packed up all the art which was all over every spare piece of wall in my bedroom and by morning I could see, the swelling was gone and I could open the curtains and blinds. No more oil pastels for me. I realised that periodically I would have these issues with my eyes but not so severely and when I checked my art folders, each flare up had corresponded to when I was using oil pastels for the 52 week Challenge. It would settle after a few days with at least on intensely sensitive day but this time I had produced over 67 pieces predominantly in oil pastel within the space of three weeks. No wonder I reacted so badly. All is good and here is the art en masse for you.

I fib because that was just the art I made for HoHoDooDa so here are the 52 week challenge pieces so far in December. Week 49 was Sunshine

and the theme for week fifty which finishes on Wednesday, is Christmas. You may have seen some of this already but I feel like putting it here again.

And next week is silhouette. Also in December the inktober mob I am with is continuing to ink only on post it notes, so we are all doing the post it note challenge. The first week was anything goes, the second week was ENVIRONMENT and this week is babies. The person deemed the 'winner' for lack of a better term gets to chose the theme for the following week. I have no idea what criteria 'winning' is judged by but all the artists have some winning work. Here is mine.

So there you go, my prolific December so far. I am cooking a roast for dinner because we are having cool gusty wild weather and a roast seemed like a delicious idea.
I won a prize, well actually I won lots of prizes back at the beginning of the year and the last of my prizes from March arrived yesterday.
I do love it. Some prizes never show up and it makes me wonder. I also won two books in a book launch, on ebook and one soft cover. I have lots of ebooks on my kindle but I don't read them. I find reading(for pleasure as opposed to work) at the computer screen quite tedious because reading(for pleasure) and relaxing go together and reading for work and research is a different mindset so my kindle library is gathering pixel dust.

I critiqued a friend's work recently and he has threatened to give me a no holds barred retaliatory critique in return. I am looking forward to that show down. I have found too many critique partners are too nice and too scared to say 'hey this doesn't really work with all the criteria expected in a book of this ilk'. Critique partners don't have to like the story but I expect they know the building blocks of a story and if the story fits those blocks. I am really looking forward to my friend retaliating in kind. :)

I didn't stop entering competitions by the way. Just never expect to win them or to get the prize if I do. I won a computer system once but they would not give it to me because I didn't live in the right place. sigh I won a piano in a writing competition but it was burnt in a bushfire. I have won tickets to concerts, psychics, movie premiers, theatre and  I have won books, posters, clothes and gadgets all in those 25 word or less competitions. I usually give the things to friends and family because most of the time I just want to do the writing and 25 word or less competitions require a sharp and tight use of words. Usually the prizes are in a different state or 4 hours drive away, very urban centric. I wish I still had the piano.

My kitchen is wafting delicious scents my way. I made lasagna to freeze and taught my youngest lad to stud an onion for the bechamel sauce. (this means pin a bay leaf to a cut onion using whole cloves and sit it in the hot milk to imbue it with extra flavour). I have the cauliflower au gratin ready, the potatoes and pumpkin roasting, honey carrots cut and primed to go and the roast smelling awesome. Thank you little sheep for the gift of your meat.

Okay a final word before I go make gravy. In the 52 week art  challenge there have been two art swaps. I was involved in both the official ones. Earlier in the year I received some lovely art from an artist named Kelly and I sent art away to someone else on the list of participants. I hope they liked my art. This time I sent art work away and I believe they liked one of the three pieces I sent, at least they seemed enthusiastic about it. Each recipient during this art swap has been sharing their art swap parcels with joy and enthusiasm and lots of photos. I was a little wary of participating again because other people seem to have plenty of money to splash around and compete with each other to make their parcels full of extra things from pencils and paper to stickers, book marks, all sorts of little treats as well as multiple pieces of art. I don't really have that kind of budget in my household. I would love to be able to splash gifts on complete strangers but I usually restrict that kind of cash outflow to the charities I support. I am not Bill Gates that's for sure, not even JK Rowling and I don't have a partner with a second income in my household nor a wealthy benefactor, patron or fairy godparent so I simply can't do it and I felt very uncomfortable and pressured albeit from my own sense of wanting to join in like the others. I don't think I will do it again.

Wanting to belong is a huge need for us as humans and we naturally want to be accepted by the groups we join but sometimes fitting in, joining in and being part of something is simply too costly.

The highlight of this is that the art I received came on its own and it is lovely. It did not need sparkly treats and flamboyant wrapping for me to appreciate its loveliness.  On that note, the gravy is calling.

May you feel a sense of belonging that fills your love bucket. <3