Tag Archives: art

Your Muse

If I have one regret (and if I thought long enough I am sure it is not the only regret) it is that I didn’t model for you. I know what you wanted to do.

Woman, Female, Beauty, Human, Person

When I am with you again, I will take it all very seriously. I will hold a pose without giggling and distracting you. I will stay still while you sketch my outline and shade my curves.

I don’t know when I will see you again. But whenever I do, I will do as you ask and be everything you want me to be. For I regret that I don’t have a picture that you lovingly etched.

I miss you.


A Slice Of Caramel’s Life

Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind is hosting “SHARE-YOUR-WORLD” and she has another fascinating list of questions for us:



Name two books that have influenced you and share how.  (Credit for this question goes to Teresa of The Haunted Wordsmith. She asked for TEN books, in her challenge, so the SYW folks got off a bit easy..) 

I am going to stick to the two required, because I am hoping to finish a post I started with my list off ten books that have influenced me.

When I was seven, going on eight, years old,  I had been allowed to borrow a book from the school library for the six week summer holidays.  It was Heidi.  The headmaster had told me that I must be sure not to lose it, I must bring it back at the end of the holidays or else I would not be allowed to borrow a book again.  I took his warning seriously. I read that book over and over that summer. I loved the story of Heidi so much.

Can you imagine how devastated I was when my Dad broke the news one morning….our school (which by now I had grown to love) had been burnt down by three boys? It was completely destroyed. Two were fourteen years of age and the other had just finished year 6 – he must have been eleven.  I still remember his name, but not the other two boys.  I always treasured my copy of Heidi because it was a piece of my old school. The Headmaster was touched when I showed him I had kept it safe. He asked me to look after it because it had become a very special book. When I left home at the age of twenty-five, I realized there was no way I could take my huge book collection with me. But my special copy of Heidi is a book I could not abandon. Even now it is in my bed-side table. I have been looking after it for almost thirty years.

depressionMy Dadda was utterly lost in his life.  He had made some bad decisions which had consequences that would tie him for the rest of his life.  He was intensely sad.  His father had died in childhood as well as two of his siblings.  He had many questions.  He was disillusioned with those he thought he could get help from, including religious teachers who had fobbed him off with nonsense when he asked them questions. He was dismayed by religious hypocisy. He had gambling debts. He used to get extremely stressed and was easily provoked and would become inflamed with fury.

Russian-Bible-photoMy Dadda read the scriptures for himself, they answered his questions…and motivated him to change his personality and stop his harmful habits. He became a loving husband and father.  He is one of many I know who have made changes after reading this book, however, the changes he made directly effected my life as a small child and meant that my parents would ensure I had access to the best education available. I know some people have strong feelings against this book, yet it remains the most widely distributed and translated book in all human history. Seeing the wonderful effect it had on my Dadda and our family is just one reason why I respect it immensely.

Two very special books to me….for deeply personal reasons. Whether you like them or not, you can’t doubt me for my sincere appreciation and regard for their influence on my life.

In your opinion, where is the line between art and not art? 

I am probably one of the worst people to answer this question because so much art is wasted on me, especially modern art or abstract art. I should have asked Goldfinch to help me with this one.

I do wish I knew more about art and had more ability myself. I gave up on drawing or painting myself when my art teacher at high school gave me poor marks for everything I attempted. I kind of lost interest. So I feel I am rather a dimwit when it comes to understanding art that is not plainly obvious to me.

Years after I left school, I went to an exhibition of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I took my time and looked at every single display and read the information plaque with each exhibit. I really enjoyed myself. It was the first time I had become interested in any kind of art again.

I visited other art galleries when I had the chance, but often wandered around feeling quite lost, even perplexed, because I didn’t understand why what I was looking at was in a public gallery and I was unmoved by what I was seeing.

Later, I visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. I enjoyed myself so much. There was a fascinating display about poignant journalistic photography. I can’t remember everything I saw, but it was scenes such German and English politicians sharing a cup of tea prior to the outbreak of the second world war. Each photo was extraordinary to glimpse because they captured a moment that seemed so ironic considering the historical events that followed. It was a very clever exhibition that was very provoking.

But what I really enjoyed was American landscape paintings. I finally found something that made my heart jump. I think that is when I realized that for me, the art I personally respond to is when someone can capture the majestic grandeur of nature.

What touches my heart is the art I already see in the sky as the sun rises or sets, the art I see every May when gardens here start to erupt into an exquisite cocktail of colours, the art I am rewarded with when I walk up a fell range and the view makes my heart leap. I love the art in nature. And in all honesty, my favourite art on display in galleries are paintings capturing the wonder and marvel of nature in splendid detail. The artist that can capture the wonders of nature…I am going to pay to go and see their exhibitions in galleries and buy their paintings for my little nest.

But I totally respect that art is like music – there are many different genres and some art will speak to one audience but not to another. Personally, I feel I am a bit of an ignoramus when it comes to art. Goldfinch loves art. He would probably give you a much better answer to this question than I have.

What is something that really annoys you but doesn’t bother most people? 

What annoys me? I am not easily annoyed. I think the things that would annoy me, like racism, wilful ignorance or being belligerent and dogmatic, mocking someone else’s treasured beliefs, someone who thinks they deserve “better treatment” because they are wearing designer clothes or a flashy watch, would probably annoy most people.

I guess I am annoyed by people who have little consideration for fellow humans and lack respect for those with a different culture or outlook. Poor manners and behaviour like the examples I have mentioned make me cringe, and it is a challenge for me at times to remain silent. Words come into my head at times, but, hey, who am I to go around belittling eeeeeed-yats?!!! Better just to live by principles I admire, consideration for others and respect and dignity towards a member of my human family.

Hmm…well there is one thing that I find a little annoying. There is a store here that I really like. I tend to go there to buy underwear. (No pictures for this subject!…well, a thermal sock, that will have to suffice.) Now every time I go to the counter they want me to sign up for a store card.

Now I don’t have any problem with store cards, loyalty cards etc. I have worked in retail, and I know that the little information store cards can gather about their customers can help them make effective and efficient decisions when it comes to marketing and supplying which products to which stores. I don’t have any problem with a shop or business offering store cards, loyalty cards etc.

But the store I mention, their store card is a credit card. I don’t want any kind of credit card, loan, mortgage. I want to avoid debt until my dying day. I have seen the effect it can have on people. I had a credit card when I was twenty-one (it was handy when I was travelling to have a credit card) and I decided credit cards are not for me.

Every time I go to this store, the assistants try really hard to convince me to sign up for their store credit card and I explain over and over, I don’t want any kind of credit.  It becomes a bit embarrassing because they try so hard to convince me and I don’t like being difficult. I know those assistants are just doing what they have been asked to do by management. But I am resolute, I want to live in the black, not the red. It’s a personal choice, some people are fine with juggling credit and are pleased to have a good credit score. But it’s not for me.

Instead of our usual gratitude question, I’m posing this one for this week:

What or who in your life brings you the most joy?

I have a wonderful family…really wonderful. I have a wonderful world of friends. But because I am very soon going to lose him, I will mention the man I met one year ago who has been bringing me great joy…of course, my wonderful Goldfinch!

The past few years have been turbulent for me. The excruciatingly painful situation that dragged on with my ex-flatmate wore me down and caused me deep distress. Waking up one morning finding myself in an ambulance on the way to hospital after being the victim of a crime that has turned my life upside down. I had been feeling low. I was finding it really hard to imagine being happy in love again because I was so edgy and cautious around the men who tried to date me.

Then I met Goldfinch…and everything was right. Bless him, he had a mighty nose-bleed last night at the most inopportune time! He was embarrassed. I don’t know if he has any idea how special to me memories like that are going to be for years to come. You should see how enormous my smiles become when I am with him. I am a smiler anyway…but my smiles are even bigger with him.

My View Each Morning

I apologize for the fuzzy quality of the photo below.  I just wanted to share with you my view every morning when I wake up.

This is certainly not the view when I look out of my window.  No, it is a picture that overlooks my bed now.  It is large.  Around 150cm across and 100cm in height.  I have not been able to squeeze all of the picture into the photo.


A while back I realized I did not like looking at empty walls (in my old flat) and so I looked around at pictures to buy, but they were all beyond my budget.  That’s when a friend told me I could have something made for a very small cost.  I found a photo I liked and matched with some of the colours in my room. I e-mailed the photographer and asked permission to use it within my own private home.  They said it is fine as long as it was not for commercial use.

One friend printed it onto a kind of canvas which cost around £5.  Then another friend stretched it around a frame made of wood strips (“two by one” as my Dad used to say) which cost around £2. I have fabulous friends.

So for around £7 I had something to look at on my wall.  My sister picked it up from my flat when she went up there recently and I now have it in my bedroom in the little nest.  I like looking at that view, it is much more inspiring than the abstract picture that hung there before.

I am certain it will be impossible for you to see, but there is a woman on this side of the lake.  She looks as if she is sitting down and taking in the view.  Whenever friends have seen this picture in my room, they stare at it (for you can see incredible detail in the picture on my wall) and when they see the woman they ask if it is me. She has the same colour hair as I do.

I wake up each morning looking at a rather breathtaking view.  It is a lovely way to start the day. A reminder of what a beautiful and majestic planet I live on.

One Of My Pathetic Attempts To Be Romantic

ChockiesI had been missing him intensely.  I wanted him to know how I felt, how much I loved him.  So I tried to do something romantic…and it did a backflip and blew up in my face!!!  Which is generally what happens when I try to do something romantic!

I will share with you my shameful tale of how I tried to do something relatively simple – send sweets to my sweet!  The tale of how this ended up being four times more expensive than originally planned and caused my Goldfinch both inconvenience and gave him something to laugh about.

I had been to visit him a week or so before.  It was the first time I saw the “man-cave” and met his house-mate.  He took me to an art class (I have to write a post about that day) and then we did some shopping before dining in an Iranian / Persian restaurant.  I had made him some naughty gooey chocolate brownies…which we had one or two of before the art class.

Well, when he dropped me at the railway station to catch a train back to London and I jumped on the 20,51 back to Euston…I realized I had the rest of the chocolate brownies with me.  Baking them had been my labour of love for him.  But I Chocshad them and they were on their way back to London.  I certainly could not eat them myself (ONCE ON THE LIPS…FOREVER ON THE HIPS!) so I guess I would have to take them when I met up with friends.

I came back from spending a day with Goldfinch full up on love.  My chocolate brownies had pleased him, and yet I had brought them home…typical!  So I decided I would send a foodie gift to him as a surprise to make up for it.  I would send my Sweet more sweets.  I tried to send a gift box on the Hotel Chocolate website.  However, I kept on having problems with the website.  I tried almost ten times to pay for the box of chocolates but for some reason my tablet kept on crashing.

So I gave up!

cake in jarI started looking at other options.  I was scrolling through websites with ideas for gifts when I came across these babies.  What are they?  Why, they are cake in a sweet little jar.  Hmm…I had never seen those before.  I chose the following….

Cupcake 1 Flavour: Toffee Apple / Cupcake 2 Flavour: Black Forest Gateau / Cupcake 3 Flavour: Carrot Passion / Cupcake 4 Flavour: Chocolate Nutter

I ask you…how could I possibly fail?  For some strange reason I thought I would have the cakes delivered to his work place.

There I was full of joy, skipping my way along with the happiness of giving, and the loveliness of the man who would be eating cake in a jar in front of all of his curious workmates.

Then it came…doubt, self-doubt.  Maybe he would think cake in a jar was odd.  Perhaps he would not like that I had sent it to his offices.

Hmm… what could I do now?  Then it came to me – a flash of brilliance – Goldfinch loves art.  When we were in the art class, he had a very old, bashed up paint set which he said was very cheap to begin with.  That gave me the wonderfugouachel idea that I could buy him a nice paint set as a gift.  Some men like gifts to be practical.  All I had ever given to Goldfinch was edible treats.

So I asked Google about gift paint sets.

I know nothing…truly nothing about paints and art materials – that is our Mandy’s speciality.  I should have checked with her first…but instead I relied on the reviews and the discount and went for a Caran D’ache Gouache Studio Box Set of 15.  It looked good on the screen. Everyone had lovely things to say in their reviews.  I arranged for it to be delivered to his home address in gift wrapping.

Aaaaaah….laa-dee-daa!  Off I went again skipping with a joyful gait.  Happy me, happy him.

Then the doubt thing came back.  The self-doubt thing.  I suddenly thought “What-on-earth is gouache? This nagging doubt was so powerful it moved my feet in the direction of an art shop that was on my way home.


watercolour paints

The art shop assistant seemed to be quite the expert.  She explained that if he likes water–colour then gouache is wrong.  I should not have bought gouache.  Sob sob!

She showed me water-colours.  She explained what pans were.  I had been wondering.  She recommended two particular water-colour makers. Windsor & Newton and she said even better Sennelier.

I went straight back home and I tried to cancel my Gouache order.  I asked Google about the water-colour brands she had told me about.  Now I found two water colour sets.  I liked both of them, however neither were available.  They were OUT OF STOCK.

Both websites gave me the option to “back-order”.  So I did….

A few days later…I was on my lunch break when I noticed Goldfinch had sent me a text message thanking me for the gift and saying he had just eaten the carrot cake one and it was delicious.  I was so pleased.  I asked him what the jars were like.  He replied “Jars?”

Doubts started to niggle at me.  I ignored it.  I just sent back a lovely “I love you” message.

Two days later, he texted me saying, “You didn’t try sending me a package to my work? I have a mysterious package in another office?”  Another office?  I confirmed to Goldfinch that I had.  He asked if it was a puppy in a basket with a limited oxygen supply.  I asked if he was not at work.  He explained that I had sent it to a site owned by the company he works for but on the other side of the city.  He was not going to have time to fetch it that day.  He said I had sent it to a large warehouse full of grafters.  Goldfinch is more of a pen-pusher.

The Hotel Chocolate order I thought had not been successful had gone through afterall. Goldfinch had received chocolates and then a couple of days later the cake in jars.  Only the cake in jars were sent to the wrong side of the city.

Ay ay ay!

Then there were the art sets…again another bamboozled effort to be romantic.

Ugggh!  My order for the gouache set had not been cancelled…apparently, it had already been dispatched, so it was too late to cancel the order.  Then I found an e-mail saying that one of the water-colour sets had also been dispatched.  I immediately cancelled the other back-order.  Goldfinch ended up with two paint sets.  He almost ended up with three!

He wondered what I thought he had done that was special enough to receive four gifts within a few days.  I explained to him that my internet purchases had bamboozled me.

Aaaaaah Goldfinch….Sorry he realized I am barely proficient when it comes to the internet.  Although truth be told, if my purse strings allowed for it, I would be happy to shower him with gifts forever more.  Lovely lovely man.

Lesson Learnt: Don’t try to be romantic…just bake cakes!

At The Age of 5, I Thought I Would Be Farmer Prime’s Wife When I Grew Up

Now I am not just saying it to please you…I did enjoy the art class on Sunday.  The thing is I have normally spent all my free-time from childhood onward on sports and hiking where I can push myself or just run around having fun…noisy events – karaoke, parties, dancing, live music, loud friends.  I do also like museums and historical houses and sites.  Even though I am not all that noisy in myself I am attracted to noisy, loud, energetic people.   But it was nice to sit and feel calm and concentrate and try to produce something respectable with a pencil.  I was more relaxed than I expected, and I was pleased I was starting to make a bit of progress.  Not that I have any aspirations for even attempting to accomplish something worthy of praise.  But the point is…I enjoyed it.  And I was very impressed by what you and some of the others in the class were able to produce.  I told my workmates on Monday I had been to an art class, but I was too much of a wimp to tell them what I was drawing.  In fact, when they asked me what we drew I said “oh, all sorts of things.”

I do like trying to please you Goldfinch.  I am mushy…I know…and if it annoys you I will try to reign it in.  It’s not just because I am female…I am sure you and I both know many women who are not sentimental at all.  I am sentimental I guess.  I think I am realistic too.  I am a big believer that each person is going to think and feel differently…and in some respects it is a miracle that people meet and decide they will try to build something together…except for hormones, they take the miracle out of it.  However, when it comes to love, you can’t force anything…there is no door handle on the outside of the human heart.  On a realistic (maybe pessimistic) note…I don’t believe that I “float your boat” anywhere near as much as you float mine.  I don’t think you like me saying that.

I cannot concern myself with the way every single other person thinks and feels – and trying to generalize is futile (even if most men are from Mars). But generalities aside, I do try to understand those close to me….as in where are they coming from mentally and emotionally?  Sometimes, it’s enough to try to keep an eye on my own mind and heart, and try to figure out why I am doing things.  It is ingrained in me to want to love (and be loved I guess).  So much of what I might say and do is just inclination formed by years of past experience.  I can’t see myself changing drastically unless I was changed by a major event.  To me…well, as I have mentioned, many men are from Mars…and frankly I don’t think I would have much motivation if it was hormones alone that were impelling me.  I love thinking of you in a sentimental frame of mind, maybe romantic.  My head is in a very happy place when I am trying to think of little things to please you.  It feels great to be sweet and kindly and homely and lovely and giving.  It makes me feel like my mum…and I mean that in a very good way.  But if you find you are not enjoying it, I will listen and adjust.

It is not difficult to feel fondness and affection for you…it would be difficult to try to repress it.  You do make me feel happy…and you bring me great pleasure.  Mentally I know…if you were not going to leave England, I guess I know where my thoughts would collide with yours and there would be challenges to any lasting connection.  We would probably drift apart naturally.  We would not have the desire to spend time with someone who deep down we realized was from a different planet.  Maybe it is because you are not going to be here for long that I am switching my mind off and following my feelings of happiness and pleasure and excitement.

bananaepisodeI don’t know what I am doing long term anymore.  Life has not worked out the way I expected it to.  I was thinking back to a little 5 or 6-year-old me.  This is me back then.  Please excuse the absence of front teeth.  I had eaten a banana one of my dad’s customers gave to me and by the time I finished it I had accidentally swallowed my two front teeth which had been very wobbly.  As you can see I already had an impeccable sense of style, sunglasses, leather jacket…and although I would never become a rock star, I was well on the way to becoming a karaoke queen.

One of my school mates was a boy named Ian Prime.  He was like a miniature jolly farmer.  I was too young to have a crush on Ian Prime, but I think I knew that he and I were a match.  We were on the same level.  I could see Ian Prime as the farmer, and me as the farmer’s wife.  I think that is how I thought life would turn out when I was a little girl.  I am not sure really what else it is all about.  There was never any issue about meeting parents.  I knew Ian Prime’s mum and he knew my mum.  A man and a woman start a team, they build together a home, they plant veggies and harvest them, she cooks meals and makes curtains, he carves out furniture and fixes fences, there are cows to milk and all sorts of animals to feed, then there might be children…although at the age of 5 or 6 I could not see myself having children and I still can’t imagine it now.  But that might be because I feel as if I am still a child myself and can’t take on the responsibility of a child.  But the rest I can see.  I still don’t understand how the system we live in does not seem to allow for that.  I don’t think I have goals or ambitions because the world is so shaky and unreliable and even basic human desires seem unattainable.

Each year at school our teachers would record each member of our class saying “When I grow up I want to be a…”  Our ideas changed from year to year.  My teacher’s favourite goal in my case, was when I was seven.  I claimed “When I grow up I want to be a sculpture.”  I had not realized I meant a sculptor.  But prior to that, I had stated with conviction, “When I grow up I want to be a farmer’s wife”.  My view of how my lifeconstruction would turn out all changed when I was 15 and stepped onto a construction site and enrolled as a volunteer for local charities for the first time.  I suddenly realized I had no desire to be a Mrs Prime…I wanted freedom to come and go as I pleased.  I didn’t want to be tied to anyone or anything, not even an employer.  I had to find a balance of course.  And the balance for me was first part-time employment and then self-employment so that I could be free to travel on voluntary projects all over the country and then all over the world.  As a result, I actually became a slave to the work I was doing on a voluntary basis.  A voluntary slavery that I truly loved.

It frightens me that in the summer it will be three years since I have been separated from my life, my world.  Will I be back by then?  My hope is fading.  Which makes me wonder…if I will never make it back to the life that I love…should I start thinking in terms of the way I previously thought the world worked.  Find an Ian Prime?…or wait for an Ian Prime?  I might be waiting until my dying day.

Anyway…I don’t think you see yourself as an Ian Prime type.  I don’t want to presume anything.  But you have told me things along the lines of that you just want to enjoy life and pleasures.  You seem willing to try almost any new experience.  You seem kind of fearless as if you have nothing to lose.

It does kind of scare me that if I don’t make it back to my life and my world (which I am terrified might never happen) then I have nothing to live for.  I just have to take one day at a time and appreciate everything and everyone in my life here and be open minded and adventurous about the future.  Sometimes all I want is an Ian Prime…I wouldn’t need to be swept off my feet by him.  But I do need to belong to him.  But if he could just give me a list of jobs to be getting on with, and if he could touch base with me regularly to tell me if I was doing well or if I needed to learn to do things in a better way.  I like a little pleasure.  But I crave purpose.  I need occupation, I need work, I need to have things to do for people I love, or even those I don’t love, I need activity and purpose and a lot of it.  I don’t mind how repetitive or mundane that work is.  And of course, I thrive when I feel secure and appreciated and loved.  How could I not?  Yes, it makes me try even harder.

I am waffling Darling….I don’t think you want to be bored with all this.  I am not sure even what I am trying to say…except…and please don’t take offence, I don’t think you are an Ian Prime.  But I am very grateful that you are letting me be in your life right now.  Goodness I am grateful to you.  I am loving every moment with you.  Yes, just thank you Goldfinch.  I don’t think you would have picked me off the shelf in the supermarket, but I am so grateful we both happened to be alone one October evening and had the courage to start a friendly conversation.  It has led to many months of joy.  I don’t think you want to be my Ian Prime, perhaps you don’t want to be any other woman’s Ian Prime.

Maybe you prefer the James Bond-ness of being a single footloose 40-something, fine figure of a man.  But anyway…you are doing what you want to…but you are bringing me great pleasure and happiness.

I would love to be taking you to all the amazing places my family and friends have explored in North Wales, the Lake District and Scotland.

Lots of thoughts in my head I am getting out on the page here…and I am frightened you might not like these thoughts.  I have no desire to ever hurt, offend, or annoy you.

Anyway…for now…I will just keep taking one day at a time with you…keep enjoying every moment with you…and try not to worry that I am boring to you because my head does not particularly see beyond a world where I am devoted to volunteering or else to an Ian Prime, who will be the centre of my universe.