Saturday, 17 October 2009

At my parents' house

THIS WEEK we have been visiting our families. We left our house parked in its Dartmoor field and hopped on a bus and then a train. The train took Tui up to the north-east where the fog horn blows out at sea and where they pronounce cake keeak and film filumm and call their mothers me-mam. And the train took me down to London (which despite being a Londoner, I find altogether alien now and horrifically busy with millions of people. I found myself like a green visitor from faraway, unaware of city customs and taboos, staring too long in fascination at
billboards and people in their closed little commuting worlds.)
...and back to the house where I lived since I was about this age...


It is strange how a place holds memories in the walls, almost as if my childhood is trapped in the folds of the brown gingham curtains. Though my parents' house is in an ordinary corner of an ordinary suburb, they have over the years made a unique artistic nook amongst pebble-dashed ex-council houses - "the odd house" - where neighbours would hook their disapproving snouts over the garden wall and not understand.
This house was home for me for the longest time in my life so far, and it has always been full to the brim with artistic inspiration and love.
In all fondness I think my mum and dad are possibly the world's most infrequent bloggers, and so I bring a report from their rustic nest instead because I think they do beautiful things here.

In the back garden my dad has built a courtyard and workshop, all by hand over the years, from wood and slate and cut-in-half bricks for cobblestones. The red autumn has begun to grasp the roofs and all my mum's hanging plants in ceramic pots are stitched together by spiders building webs in the October suns.


In the house, shelves are made beautiful with little things. My mum makes hearth and windowsill into shrines of seeds and sculpture and stones.



Books on shelves in dark corners remind me of days off sick from school when I'd lie on the sofa, the titles and fonts and colours of the spines chanting and marching through my flu-dreaming head.


Those canvas tool rolls, full of chisels, for the making of my parents' work, are still stacked on the shelves of my memory.


And the wonderful faces of my dad's carvings that have looked at me, and I at them, for many familiar years.

My mum has been creating - beautiful shapes in alabaster and soapstone, birdlike and moonlike and budlike,


and smooth and round as these pebbles.


She has also been creating in the kitchen: knobbly tasty barleycorn bread,


And there's mackerels for tea.


This little personality lives here now (though I have dear memories of a large and kindly black predecessor) - the cat with the chequerboard chops, and an I'll-do-just-what-I-like look in her eye.


The other day we walked in the woods that were wildness for young me, and which now seem so much more edged than the countryside forests we wander in these days...


On the walls there are words beautifully penned,

(calligraphy by mum's art school friend Karen O'Neill-Newman)

an alphabet drawn by my grandmother when she was a girl at school in New Zealand,


And in the garden the little apple tree is still making apples, just in time for Apple Day.



I went back to the library yesterday where as children we would hungrily borrow our weekly allotment of six books, books where I learned to lose myself in story. There is a book I remember loving back then, the cover was a black and gold chessboard and there was a chase through the forest in the tale, with knights, and a good measure of foreboding, and the word mire, but not for the life of me can I rememeber the title or anything else about the book. I wonder if you recognise it?
I love to pop into the childrens' sections of bookshops now and then and delight in the wonderful selection and visual sumptuousness of what there is on offer for kids these days.
Story is in us all: our days gone before and yet to come, the lives of others that we hear about. We are ourselves stories and we must continue to tell and be told.

On the train here I was reading a mouldy old Dylan Thomas Miscellany that I found in a box outside a house once with "please help yourself" written on it. As well as his beautifully crafted poems and stories, there are his broadcasts - delicious evocations of the sights and sounds and smells and thoughts of a childhood vividly remembered.
Here is an extract from his radio broadcast "Reminiscences of Childhood":

I was born in a large Welsh industrial town at the beginning of the Great War: an ugly, lovely town (or so it was, and is, to me), crawling, sprawling, slummed,unplanned, jerry-villa’d, and smug-suburbed by the side of a long and splendid-curving shore where truant boys and sandfield boys and old anonymous men, in the tatters and hangovers of a hundred charity suits, beachcombed, idled, and paddled, watched the dock-bound boats, threw stones into the sea for the barking, outcast dogs, and, on Saturday summer afternoons, listened to the militant music of salvation and hell-fire preached from a soap-box.

This sea town was my world; outside, a strange Wales, coal-pitted, mountained, river run, full, so far as I knew, of choirs and sheep and story-book tall hats, moved about its business which was none of mine; beyond that unknown Wales lay England, which was London, and a country called ‘The Front’ from which many of our neighbours never came back. At the beginning, the only ‘front’ I knew was the little lobby before our front door; I could not understand how so many people never returned from there; but later I grew to know more, though still without understanding, and carried a wooden rifle in Cwmdonkin Park and shot down the invisible, unknown enemy like a flock of wild birds...



~

For more of my parents' wonderful work see their website and etsy shop.

& apologies for the dubious photo quality - I am testing out a new camera!

81 comments:

Eva said...

Thank you for sharing your familiar places and the beauty that your parents have created. It is a fund to have a family with love for art.

smarcoux said...

Thanks for sharing that part of your life .. I can see where you have gotten your inspiration .. at an early age and the talent runs in the family ... I adore your work and wonderful how you live (free and with spirit)
Sandy

pRiyA said...

very very evocative and beautiful post rima. is it any wonder that you are what you are when you have been brought up amidst so much love and creativity?
the last few posts in my blog too have been all about memories. i hope you will visit, scroll down and have a look.
:-)

Ciara said...

Ah RIma, what wonders you share with us. And I do love how your descriptions of your childhood home are so evocative and so familiar to me in so many ways. They remind me very much of my own parents un-ordinary corner in ordinary suburbs.

Gorgeous musings and photos. Thanks so much for sharing!

C x

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

There is a life-sized copper frog that sits in our back garden. He is reading a book. There are two large pink chairs in our front garden, along with several stone owls, some scarlet gazing balls and a large stone frog. No doubt, we are thought of as "the odd house" as well. But the neighborhood children love to come down for tea at the glass table that sit underneath the magnolia tree.

I loved your memories of home, and the realities of what it is like now. How wonderful to have parents who are artists. So much less to try and explain.

Have a lovely visit!

Half-heard in the Stillness said...

Thank you for your wonderful word pictures, what totally 'un-ordinary' memories you have.... always the best kind. No wonder you are soooo talented Rima!

Kitty said...

After sensing your love of your home...I'm homesick now! I won't be home until Christmas - and then it will likely be the last Christmas for me in the house I grew up in; it's going to be sold.

It is an odd house, but that's never a bad thing :) What's the cat's name?

jeff said...

Quelles belles images de simplicité et de bonheur ! ! !...
J'adore à chaques fois que je reviens sur ton blog, j'adore regarder tes dessins qui sont plus que superbes ! J'ai l'impression de voyager dans le temps quand je les regarde...

Bises...
A bientôt...;-)
Peace... love...and....

Anonymous said...

Sweet! A cup of tea and a biscuit and it's like everyone on the interweb is round there! Hello Rima's mum and dad!

Anna and Justin x

femminismo said...

Thank you for the introduction to your parents' work. What a childhood you must have had. (do people always say this?) Sometimes it works for some, and sometimes not - but seems the art gene has been passed on. Wonderful glimpses of mackerels and bread. enjoy home

Anna said...

thank you for sharing that...your mum's work reminds me a little of my mum's work...
you are so lucky to have grown up in such an artistic environment. and oh, the feeling of coming back to the library where one borrowed books as a child! i went into my old hometown's library a couple of years ago and just stood there, smelling the books and having an immense childhood-flashback. more happiness in a childhood smell than all the happiness of my teenage years combined...

i sometimes hope that someday when i'll have time and money to spend a little time up there in the north again, i'll accidently meet you and your awesome car/bus/truck. truth is, i'd probably be too shy to say hello. uhm.

danielle v. said...

oh, rima... lovely post...

i doubt that this is the book you loved as a child... but, this is the book that i remembered while reading your words:

Saint George and the Dragon
Margaret Hodges (Writer)
Trina Schart Hyman (Illustrator)

since i was very small, i would climb into all the books illustrated by Trina...

i hope you remember the book... and if you do, please share it with us!

light&love...

ElvaUndine said...

I wish I could take the train to visit your parents!

Permaculture Pathways said...

Hi Rima,
Beautiful blog - what a wonderful, whimsical life you lead. It heartens me that there are people like you and Tui in the world.
Sonya

m said...

lovely. nostalgia is always like a warm bowl of porridge for me. your parents stuff is lovely too.

farmlady said...

I see a similarity of spirit in you parents art. Something that reminds me of your world of little folks.
Nice to see some of where you came from. Nice to know you have contact with your parents.

christina said...

Wonderful post...I love your writing Rima, and what lovely evocative memories. I too remember a special book from my local library, which I borrowed over and over when I was about 7, it had a yellow cloth cover (wow, I've just remembered that!), and was my introduction to the myths of ancient Greece. I have no idea what it was called or who wrote it either, but it is one of the things that has made me who I am today. Thank you for reminding me.

shimmeringways said...

I'm totally in love with your blog... And I thought I would let you know that I have nominated you for an award over at mine...

Jayne said...

I thank you and your friend for your beautiful generosity in sharing your life. I grew up in the mountains of South Wales and moved to OZ in the mid 70s. I have lived here for over 30 years now, but I still feel the pull of home. It's funny, I've spent most of my life here, but it still feels temporary. I follow you around the UK and still remember the taste of blackberries off the bush and I see the dew on a bluebell and know there is magic. I am old(ish) now and have a beautiful, 9 year old daughter. I hope to show her the gentleness and beauty of the UK one day. It is so different to here. Please keep your art and journal going forever, I love it. Don't get me wrong, the beauty,harshness and colour of this country are awe inspiring, but they are sooo different.
Again, thank you,
With much love, Jayne & Lily

Gemma Mortlock said...

I love my childhood home, it's my base and my inspiration always, i dont think you can beat the war cozy feeling of returning home.
Your family home looks idyllic, you are very lucky to have such close connections with your family, and that picture of you as a child is so cute!
I hope you had a fabulous time and thank you for sharing it with us
Hugs
Gem
x

Eva Prunella Grandiflora said...

Hi. It's a long time I follow you, reading your stories and observing your works like a child with my eyes wide open not to risk to loose a detail, a word. I dare to send you these lines, in my broken English, to thank you for that piece of magic that you share... making my days better. Thanks for being so special and for sharing your tales. Sincerely, eVa

liZZie said...

What a beautiful home you grew in and from, no wonder your wheeled home and all you produce are so lovely. I envy you, but then you give it out to us to have a wee share, so that's okay!

Julie Bouésso said...

Thanks for another sneak peek into your life! Enjoyed it! :-) Cheers, Julie

Liza said...

What wonderful roots you sprang from...no wonder you are such a creative free spirit! x

herhimnbryn said...

Such a peaceful welcoming home to grow up in. Magical too.

Terri Windling said...

What a beautiful post, Rima!

We send you much love from rainy Dartmoor.

T & H

Alice said...

Hi there Rima, just playing catch up as we have been moving 'again' ... I think we have now finally found a suitable place to rest off wheels for a while after some rubbishy times. Anyhoooooo - lovely to sit down with a coffee and catch up on your recent posts. I love how you describe your childhood memories in the folds of the curtains. Some people say a house is just bricks, and it is true, but these places of our childhood contain memories so strong that images are almost woven into the walls for all to see. I think it is wonderful that you are still able to visit the house of your childhood. Hope you enjoyed explorer all the corners of your life :-)

Ulla said...

Lovely Rima! Your parents home reminds me of yours... filled with sensitive reminders of artistic days, wonderful food and love! Any one who can serve 'mackerels' for tea - would surely be a friend of mine indeed! Safe travel back to your own cottage of joy!
Kisses
Ulla

Candace said...

Rima, just a wonderful post. I think we never really leave our homes, we just go other places in our skins...

Gorgeous work. And thank you for the Dylan Thomas.

Take care!
Candace

Melanie said...

Hi Rima, thanks for sharing such a special place. It is wonderful that you grew up with such beautiful creativity all around you. I think some of those faces turn up in your work- images we grow up with do imprint on our minds.

I was lucky enough to find copies of my childhood fairy tale book on Amazon market place and got a copy for each of my children's birthdays this year. I was amazed that I could recall each image. I do like that magic of childhood where all things are possible.

Neil Tasker said...

I have a big lump in my throat after reading your beautiful post. Thank you.

Yarrow said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful snapshots from your life. I found them very comforting :)

thedoodlegirl said...

um...WOW. I just discovered your blog and I am amazed!!!

PurestGreen said...

Your parents' work is beautiful. Many cheers for being a blog of note! Many throngs of people find you now:)

ramidonya said...

Found you through being a "blog of note" and have to say how delighted I am! Beautiful stuff! I love your work, your parents work...I am looking forward to browsing much more deeply.

atypicalheroine said...

Striking artwork; wonderfully unique.

Congratulations on a much deserved Blogger Blog of Note award!

Clare said...

Rima, first of all, your blog is fantastic! I found you on the Blogger of note and it is much deserved. I am english and moved to the USA 18 years ago. I miss my homeland. I am now a follower of yours!

Isle Dance said...

((Beautiful!))

Banco de Imágenes Gratuitas said...

Your blog it is amazing!

Now I know why Blogger has selected this website as Blog of Note.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Enjoy this special moment and please let us know how you feel.

Cheers and best regards from Canada.

Jose Luis Avila Herrera
My photoblog
Just another Blog of Note

Clint Marsh said...

Visits home are always the best, especially when you've got good memories to revive there.

Take care,
Clint

Somsara said...

The views from your windows make my toes curl. Your grandmother's hand drawn alphabet is just beautiful, talent runs strong in your genes! Such a lovely blog - keep it up.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

What a beautiful blog!

Shamoood said...

Congratulation! to be included in the Blogs of Note.

Thanks for sharing such spontaneous information with us. Such a nice blog and beautiful articles.

Anonymous said...

I have just spent my whole Saturday evening with you & Tui & your lovely whimsical and magical house on wheels! I have enjoyed the pictures, your sensitive and insightful manner & adventures. I went back to see where this blog began...I even listened to Tui's music via Myspace for the past while...inspiring, creative & lovely people you are!

Snippers said...

Hi there. first time viewer of your blog and here: found it really interesting and love how many photos you use!
Anyway, just saying keep it up x

Snippers
http://pineappleschnapps.blogspot.com

Moonshadow said...

Congrats on BoN! What a wonderful blog. I am envious of your home on wheels. Many things I would have loved to do.... but since I didn't I try to let my grandchildren live fairytale lives...

http://ksborn.blogspot.com/2009/05/adventures-in-magic-kingdom.html

http://ksborn.blogspot.com/2009/05/blog-post_9384.html

http://ksborn.blogspot.com/2009/07/princess-tea-party.html

The villager: said...

Super blog !

KP said...

ohh that is awesum dear.. grt picz & urfamily including u is realy creative... all the bst 2 u...

A Good Moroccan said...

Lovely site.

Gillian said...

You took me on a beautiful trip with this post. thanx for sharing...

Nailah Maahes said...

Weldon Rima's curiosity! I like your post about At my parents' house.
I think you are the best blogger. I found personal interest in you blog which is more attractive for all internet users.

Nia said...

Hi!

I wish my computer screen were bigger, so it'd catch the entirety of your blog. It's beautiful, love the pictures! Can't wait to read more! :)

Kat_RN said...

Lovely as always. Your writing takes me there with you. Dylan Thomas would have approved.
Kat

Kat_RN said...

Lovely as always. Your writing takes me there with you. Dylan Thomas would have approved.
Kat

Recessionista Genie said...

Wow, gorgeous! What a rich and cozy atmosphere your parents have created.

I'm please to find you on Blogs of Note today! Next month I'm participating in NaNoWriMo and plan to write a story set in medieval times. I'll wander through your blog for inspirations. :)

Astral Cat said...

Simply to say what a beautiful, heartfelt blog you have created here Rima - your blog of note mention is more than well deserved, wonderful to see your world up there shining. Look forward to much more. XX AC

sarah toa said...

Beautiful ... thankyou!

Mo said...

I enjoyed my visit to your blog. Fascinating.

Crazy People I've Worked With said...

Gorgeous blog!!

Aoife said...

Wow, I really love your blog! And congratulations on Blogs of Note - I would probably never have found this blog otherwise.
I love your artwork. As soon as the page loaded, and all I could see was the top, I knew this was a very different blog, but one that would be amazing. I certainly wasn't disappointed.
Keep on blogging please! I am excited to read what else you have to say.
I don't mean to sound gushy, but this is the only blog so far I have found that has inspired me to write such a tremendously long comment! :)
-Aoife (http://twowritersdaily.blogspot.com/)

Bookish said...

You might find the book at abe.com's Book Sleuth (www.abebooks.com/docs/Community/BookSleuth/)
I've had wonderful success with it!

Lovely blog, especially the illustration at the top!

jude said...

the apple has certainly not fallen far from the tree.

teri said...

I don't recall the book, but I'll ask the man at the bookstore in the West Village here in Manhattan.
xo-teri

Dee said...

Rima, I found your blog through 'blogs of note' and have just spent a wonderful couple of hours reading about your wonderful world of art, music, travel etc and delighting in your perspective on the world. i love your writing style, your pictures and your thought provoking comments. i have sat in my lounge with birds singing outside adn the many palms rustling in the breeze whilst reading. what a lovely sunday morning. thank you for sharing it and allowing others to find it. i will now continue to follow and wish you all the best in your continued journeys with what i imagian will be quite a few more followers. blessings, Dee

erin gergen halls said...

i check in often for a hopeful glimpse at a new posting.
lately, when i do, the image that greets me is the one of child-rima, all in blue with new teeth and wisps of hair...and i think to myself, my! how her parents must adore her! there she is, this child full of wonder and creativity that they, your parents, nurtured. here she is now, living a life of her own imagining and creation. i cant help but wonder what their conversations about you are like when you are off in your gypsy home. i am sure they are full of awe and pride.

and it is obvious you feel the same about them. what a beautiful life blessing all around.

Lorene Portugal said...

What a simple & magical life... what beautiful person you are... I dreamwhen I travel in your blog...
I always have a such life as yours...

Beautiful person is you!

Congratulations!!!

Kisses from Brazil,
Lorene Portugal (lorenygpe@gmail.com)

Becky at Abbey Style said...

Rima, you are an enchantress. Thank you for sharing your beautiful, nomadic life.

Leah Fry said...

Rima, I'm delighted to have been introduced to your family and your fantastic world. I will definitely be back.

Greetings from Texas, USA — Leah

livenomad said...

I am enchanted by your artistic blog. The pictures and words you share are amazing. Its radiating your personality and individuality. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing. :)

Banaghaisge said...

Congratulations on becoming a Blog of Note - tho I think that you always must have been!!! Glad you are tho - would never have found you otherwise. Very inspiring, my Sweetheart and I were just talking this past w/e of getting some ancient vehicle and driving around the world. You are most welcome to stay here if you make it to Oz.
Hugs,
Jasmine

Swati said...

Congratulations about the blog of note. It is so wonderful to see one blog I love to read up there!

sam hepburn said...

Hi Rima:)
Your father's sculptures are so beautiful, and this idea for a 'pilgrimage' website is really unique - I love it. Glad I chanced upon it:)

Lydia said...

Oh my! Just discovered you via Blogs of Note. Honestly, of all the blogs they have bestowed this honor upon The Hermitage is the most worthy of the award. I need to pinch myself to believe that there are people like you and your family in this world....but here is your beautiful, magical blog to prove to me that it's true.
I am an enchanted follower beginning this moment.

Tulika Verma said...

How beautiful...the emotions...the nostalgia...the memories..so clearly etched...
"We are ourselves stories and we must continue to tell and be told."
read something like that in a long time...
will keep coming back..
love this place you have created...

noteither said...

you've got an interesting blog and totally beautiful pictures! keep it up :)

BLAK BEAUTY said...

Your Blog, Your pictures are telling a story without words... I love the concept...

BT said...

Oh Rima, I have been away too long. I just steeped myself in this post, your wonderful words followed by Dylan Thomas's fabulous writing. I am swimming in beauty. Thank you.

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

Rima - your whole blog is such a sensory experience to read. The story of your childhood home and the love of your parents is beautiful to behold. You not only opened the door to the place but to the time.

Dixie

lynda Howells said...

No wonder you have grown up as an amazing artist with parents like thatx. Where do your parents live in London? I am very lucky although l live in Putney, my flat backs on to Putney Heath and the Wimbledon Common and 15 min walk from Richmond Park! You walk up a tree lined road to get to my 1930's flats as well. So after a busy dayin noisy London, a 10 min walk through trees..l am relaxed by the time l get home.xthanks for sharing your lovely words.xlynda

Miss Mouse said...

I love browsing your site, Rima! I'm flying from Colorado home to Ohio to visit my parents today. And I'm looking forward to browsing the old home town library too, for long forgotten childhood titles. I think I'm going to have to post an entry like this as well sometime soon. Thank you again for sharing your parents' peaceful home place.

Michelle Barnett said...

Your memory of the book is very interesting to me. I too have a memory of a book involving a chess board (oh, if it were the same book!) There is a tree in the centre of the board which goes missing, upsetting the game, so the chess pieces of both sides are sent to find it. In the meantime a boy (nameless to me) disobeys instructions and gets the mud from the marsh/swamp/...mire? on himself, giving him a rash on his hands. A man named Luke with six fingers on one hand (he is of course, a witch) has a remedy for this. The two of them end up searching for the missing chessboard tree and trying to keep ahead of the angry chess pieces. There is a child-ghost, a journey over an underwater lake, and one vividly remembered scene where he chess pieces attack them in a churchyard. The boy is caught by a statue brought to life, Luke is knocked unconscious trying to get to him, falling like a brick with only a moment to drive back the evil with a swish of the short willow withy he carries with him. The boy spends the next ten minutes twisting in the grip of the re-frozen statue to reach the wand and free himself. I don't remember much else, save that they meet the players of the chess game, find the tree and give it back, and it ends with the boy asking his mother to knit him a pair of gloves for a gift - one with six fingers. I have no idea if it was even a real book, or just the memory of a dream. If I could be sure it was just my imagination, I'd write it down myself!