Sunday, 19 February 2017

Random stuff

be kind to strangers,
generous to the unknown,
paying it forward

This week was random act of kindness week, in fact Friday 17th was random act of kindness day, an apt day as this is the birthday of my grandfather, the kindest man I ever knew. The challenge was to think of an apt act of kindness. I gave things to the charity shop, but I never know whether this is a true act of kindness, or simply a way of decluttering. I have read about suspended coffees on many occasions, and loved the idea of paying for someone's groceries, but could not make that step to offer. I am barely able to stutter a hello to someone as they walk by, even if they say it first, so how could I get over that and offer to pay for their coffee/groceries?

I wracked my brains, thinking of my strengths which if I am going by this blog, lay in crafting and writing. Ah! A solution! I discovered a website called post pals. There are so many sick children who spend a vast amount of their time confined to a hospital bed, and a little message, a note to say hi, can truly make their day. If you would like to follow my lead, please do so but pay attention to what they say on their site, for example they have a section on things to say and more importantly, what not to say (a good example is the phrase 'get well soon'. As hard as it is, some of these children will not get well)

After choosing six children (three boys, three girls) I rooted around in my craft stash. The great thing is that the profiles of each child lists their likes, even down to their favourite colours. For example there was a girl I chose who loves animals, so I chose the Enormous Crocodile from my Roald Dahl Docraft stash for her card. A young boy likes pink, so I made sure that his card had a pink letter on the inside.

So there you have it. A random act of kindness for the cost of no more than a few stamps, and more importantly, a bit of time thinking of someone other than myself. Next week is another outing, so stay tuned.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

An outing....

a trip to Bodmin,
what will we stumble upon,
prisoner or ghost?

I've only ever been to Bodmin once, and that was due to an unexpected shift. Bodmin jail has always interested me, but relying on public transport has put me off going before this week.

This perfectly illustrates the history of this town - one of their most infamous public houses used to be the debtors prison. I half hoped they had kept one of the cells in there, just in case someone 'forgot' to pay for their drinks.

The naval prison was my favourite part. It's exactly as I pictured buildings would look after LAAC - crumbled walls studded with ivy.

I will admit the mannequins do need to be improved - especially the maniacal Hitler/Chaplin one! It's fascinating to read about the various punishments, and as illustrated above, the force feeding. They used to use a cabbage concoction, and a tube to force it down someone's throat when they had undergone a hunger strike. Of course, the practise was banned due to suffocation of various people when the food went down the wrong tube, and into the lungs.

Oh how I'd love a bath!

The sheer enormity of keys they found during excavation.

This was interesting - graffiti from prisoners in the 1850's. Of course many people have written in some of the cells in the naval prison in recent times, yet the proof that they were there doesn't have the same degree of meaning as the above pieces do. For a start, the modern graffitist's could frelly leave...

The 99 club. The jail has not always been merely an exhibition since it's use as a jail became perfunctory. In an earlier incarnation, it became a club.

This struck me as rather large but then, I am rather small.

The stocks. I didn't realise until reading the information behind this that a great deal of prisoners only lasted an hour in these things. Not because they had been let out, but because a mob had pelted things at them and basically beaten them to death. A punishment meted out without needing a hangman.

Apparently walking on this wheel for eight hours a day (not a lifestyle choice of course, but a dual purpose of punishment and preparing the grain) was the equivalent of climbing Snowden three times.

This was the chapel, and is now the restaurant (highly recommended btw). There are two separate doors; the downstairs for the men to enter by, the upstairs for the women so they remained apart.

More pictures of the naval prison. Apparently this section is to be made into a hotel.

The original locks are still on the doors.

This must have been the guards room, or at least a very important prisoner, given the fireplace.

This is where the prisoners were executed. Seeing this reminded me of a line in the Green Mile, when John Coffey sees the electric chair. 'I can hear them screaming. Pieces of them, left behind.' I'm paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

Always you find inspiration. I took a picture of this because I was thinking of the Ghost Lights book cover.

Speaking of The Ghost Lights, I decided to make a piece of art inspired by it, in the hope it would kick start the editing a little. This will be given away when I launch the book. The annoying thing is I can't explain why I did certain things on this, without giving away the plot of the book!

 I started off by painting the clock with white gesso, then adding tissue paper all over. I then used a type stencil and a bit of texture paste, before using distress crayons to colour the outside. I painted the handles, legs with brass paint. On the inside I cut a grey piece of paper out in the shape of a circle, and added a darker grey through the type stencil again. To the inside I added a boy and girl, as well as a cameo penny which I painted black before dry brushing silver, and a lantern style light. On the outside I added black and white flowers, as well as an eye, and a banner with the title of the book, as well as the date being 2017. I will release it this year!

I will say that all of the things on this have some role within the book. Unfortunately that is all I can say.

Finally, this is where I now am with the cross stitch.

Until next time,