A Still Life For The Queen - The July Beagle

Greetings friends,

I'm so sorry for the delay in getting the Beagle out this month, I'm a little wooly headed as we Brits say as I continue to work through post-Covid symptoms. It's been quite the plague ship in our house the past few weeks with hubby bringing the dreaded lurgy back from a business trip in France and despite our best efforts to sequester him I succumbed first followed two days later by our daughter. I feel very fortunate to have avoided it for two years and also having had both vaccines and booster. I'm coming out the other side but it's quite the slow ride, my heart goes out to anyone who's had it or is currently struggling, it's no joke. I tested negative on Day 10 but still have strong cold-like symptoms, brain fog and fatigue, trying to concentrate or get anything significant done is a task. But I'm pacing myself while swinging between push and pause.


Please excuse any typos or strange anomalies this issue, it's not as polished as I'd like but blame the wool!


Here are a few thoughts I've been pondering this month.

 

I made my first meme to describe my spiritual trauma journey:


 

I met a man today, my shopping delivery driver. He’s been in the same job for ten years. He likes, it, he said he enjoys a challenge. He’s worked for various large supermarkets over the years, he has much experience, career capitol as Cal Newport would say. He was early today, he liked it that way, he knows he might meet with delays later so likes to get a head start and also leave time to not rush. He lamented the posture his employers took towards him, how they hire the new young guy with no experience and know that if he were to leave there‘d be a host of new young guys lined up to take his place. He knew he wouldn’t be missed. That made him sad. He reflected that once upon a time you needed to go through three stages to get on the road, now it seemed anyone with a new license could quickly take the wheel, some hot-heads

he called them, ready to speed and cut corners. We talked for about ten minutes as I ferried my crates in and out. It was so lovely to connect, to make him feel seen and heard. I said I hoped our porch chat didn’t make him fall behind schedule to which he smiled and said, “No, this is the way I like it, you have a good day”. And I did. I think it's a good thing to honour those who serve without glitter, without 'likes' and limelight.

 

The unforced rhythms of grace’ (Mt 11 Msg) can be found in an unhurried home.

I sat in the sunny garden yesterday and one after the other my grown children were drawn outside to sit with me. In turns in our little corner they unburdened their hearts, sharing doubts and worries and the things they’re pondering. This summer corner was transformed into a pocket of delight amidst a struggling world. A lightness came as we shared hearts.

I couldn’t help but wonder if this opportunity to be friends might not have happened if I hadn’t have been available, if I hadn’t have been at ease and totally there for them. Of course we can’t sit in a sunny corner 24/7 or wait for opportunities to arise while neglecting our daily responsibilities, but unhurriedness is more than a clear schedule, it’s a posture of the heart. My children know they can interrupt me because they’re not an interruption, they’re my highest concern. Whether I’m taking tea with the Queen or working a job for a client - I am available.

 

TikTok kills time. I'm not active on the Tok but have an account for if ever I want to post some small films of my photography, hasn't happened. But, over this period of infirmity and bed ridden affliction one of my children has been sending me hilarious cat compilations to cheer my soul, after all 'a merry heart does good like a medicine' right? A couple of times my hubby had left the room to go make some food and it seemed in the blink of an eye he was back. These often quiet non-moments were a time I might reach for the phone and see if any new kitty cuteness had been shared. Twice after I'd been laughing and browsing this strange Tok world hubby appears with food in hand, "That was quick!" I said, to which he replied, "I've been gone at least twenty minutes". It dawned on me afresh that stepping into the world of social media and especially TikTok for some reason is akin to stepping through some form of inverted wardrobe to Narnia! Time was literally swallowed up for me. I was shook.

 

I'm relieved I got to create my Jubilee inspired piece early in the month otherwise you'd be looking at a blank canvas. I was highly honoured and shocked to see Paul Burrel, former butler to the Queen and Princess Di even commented on it, I was a little star struck!


There is so much symbolism on the Queen's reign in this composition, I hope you enjoy it as you ponder the various aspects, I'd love to hear your thoughts.



Still Life

A Train of Royal Roses


 

We enjoyed our own little Platinum Jubilee afternoon tea complete with crustless sandwiches, bubbles and trifle. I hope you like my little 'film'.

My son and I caught the tube into the city the day of the military flyover to see all the planes, it was so crowded but the atmosphere was fun.

We took up a good spot at Trafalgar Square which is just off from the The Mall, the road leading down to Buckingham Palace.


Two little videos which were our favourites; The formation of the '70' and the Red Arrows.


My local crafters were busy decorating all the letterboxes with Jubilee themed crotchet toppers. These are so clever, I love the little Queens with her handbag, one even has a string of pearls and the other a little broach.

 

Reading

Laddie by Gene Stratton-Porter. After reading Freckles last year and thoroughly enjoying it a friend recommended this next tile by GSP. Laddie is a deeply beautiful depiction of family relationships and loosely based on GSP's own childhood. I wasn't expecting the prominent role home education took in shaping the home's values and philosophy and also their appreciation of beauty. Laddie paints a detailed and rich picture of a family with vision, committed to each other, to their home and their community and God. The Stanton family are pioneers and culture shapers. They’re firmly rooted and planted in their little patch of the world, a world they dig for, seed and see flourish with each passing year. They embody the nature of Christ to each other and their neighbours and how lovely it would be to build in such a way in our own lives. I almost thoroughly fell in-love with this story, I think you will too with a little caveat*


Some favourite quotes and moments:


”I don’t remember that I ever passed that house,” He said, “without hearing someone singing. Does it go on all the time?” ”Yes, unless mother is sick.” ”And what is it all about?” ”Oh just joy! Gladness that we are alive, that we have things to do that we like, and praising the Lord.” ”Umph!” said Mr Pryor. ”It’s just letting out what our hearts are full of,” I told him.


* * * * * * * * * *

”She isn’t cut out for a seamstress or a housewife, Paul. Tell Ruth not to try to force those things on her. Turn her loose out of doors ; give her good books, and leave her alone. You won’t be disappointed in the woman who evolves.”


* * * * * * * * * *

“I don’t know how my boys will come out,” said mother ”But work, pray, hope, and hang to them ; that’s all I know how to do."


* * * * * * * * * *

"Many's the hour, all told, that I stopped my horse on one of these hilltops and studied how to make the place beautiful, as well as productive. That was the task you set me, my girl. You always considered beauty as well as use about the house and garden, and wherever you worked. I had to hold my part in line."


* * * * * * * * * *

"I am going to quit praying about little things I can manage myself."


* * * * * * * * * *

"If a woman is going to live with a man, there are times when she's got to put her foot down--flat--most unmercifully flat!"


* * * * * * * * * *

"Of course he will go on being educated every day of his life, same as father. He says it is all rot about 'finishing' your education. You never do. You learn more important things each day, and by the time you are old enough to die, you have almost enough sense to know how to live comfortably."


* * * * * * * * * *

"I used to sit on the top rail of that orchard fence and look down at them (flowers), and try to figure out what God was thinking when He created them, and I wished that I might have been where I could watch His face as He worked."


* * * * * * * * * *


* This is a book I wanted to love thoroughly but found at times it to be one of contradictions. As with most older books there were underlying themes of racist and gender stereotypes. For a storyline that has themes of love and unity those stereotypes are out of alignment with what I think should have been the general messsage. GSP also contradicts herself many times within these stereotypes by giving voice to female characters, and empowering their character arcs. The same can be said for the POC character. Whether this a result of the author’s mindset being out of alignment with their heart values and the stereotypes of the time or an inconsistency within the story, I think it is worth bearing in mind as you read,. Within these biases there are some segments which seem positively feminist which further adds to the confusion and conflict.



I've just completed my Janet Morely collection with the addition of Our Last Awakening: poems for living in the face of death.

 

Recipe

Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Muffins.

I made these muffins for our Sunday afternoon teatime from one of my favourite sites Sally's Baking Addiction. I had some left over maple sugar from Easter so switched out the raw/Demerara sugar and used that instead. They were deeee-liscious!


 

Watching

Season 4 of The Durrells on Amazon Prime. Based on the books by Gerald Durrell , The Durrells continues to unfold the adventures of a British family who uprooted themselves around 1933 to a Greek island. It’s funny, whimsical, and the scenery will have you dreaming of far away escapes of your own. I didn't enjoy this series as much as previous ones as it seemed a little more sex-orientated and focused heavily on the affair between Mrs Durrell and Spiro especially. That aside it is still an enjoyable escape but I can think of better such as The Enchanted April to name just one.

 

Poetry


Atlas

by U.A.Fanthorpe


There is a kind of love called maintenance Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it

Which checks the insurance, and doesnt forget The milkman; which remembers to plant bulbs;

Which answers letters; which knows the way The money goes; which deals with dentists

And Road Fund Tax and meeting trains, And postcards to the lonely; which upholds


The permanently rickety elaborate Structures of living, which is Atlas.

And maintenance is the sensible side of love, Which knows what time and weather are doing To my brickwork; insulates my faulty wiring; Laughs at my dryrotten jokes; remembers My need for gloss and grouting; which keeps My suspect edifice upright in air, As Atlas did the sky.


There is a facet of love you come into, grow into, after decades of commitment. A love that's not sexy but stable. A love which collects up your pile of tissues as you lay limp. Which tiptoes during your afternoon nap and buys fresh lemons for the later needed medicinal hot drinks. A love which tag teams each other's needs and weaknesses and carries the crew through the stormy patch. A love that shares a knowing look that 'this too shall pass' as you order pizza yet again because you're all just so tired and life is just overwhelming right now. These are the small things which go into the steely construct of relationships that endure. I appreciated this poem this month as I experienced the often overlooked but invaluable quality of commitment of loved ones through the storms of life and the way love is expressed in the humdrum of mundane tasks.

 

Artist

I am smitten with artist Alison Friend's work. Whimsical, adorable, innocent and so endearing, her images of animals have a vintage feel and take me back to my childhood.

 

Listening

I've been enjoying the Bible Project podcasts and short, brilliantly animated videos. I've been working through the series on Elohim which is part of the Ancient Cosmology series. You can download the app for free and also take part in their online Bible Classes which are very extensive.


Musically I have a smaller playlist this month but some lovely tracks featured. A favourite for me is Not While I'm Around by Amanda Holden.

 

Snaps from home

Before Covid hit I had some more adventures with my friend who came with her family over from the Sates. We got to see Hamilton (second time for me) and I am so obsessed with it I'm gong back a third time next month for our anniversary!

I was also fortunate to take my friend to my favourite Museum, The Wallace Collection. Just look at this writing desk, and isn't that the perfect image in the front haha!

We had fun playing 'caption this' with a few of the parental paintings.

Mine, "Great, now I'm stuck here for two hours".


How exquisite is this carving of the Annunciation on a chair panel, c1510

And of course I took her to share my beloved Jan van Huysum paintings.

And we finally got to celebrate Zoe's short film premiere and loved reuniting with cast and crew.

 

Farewell for now,

I hope this has found you well, I hope this brings you a little ray of delight this week.


With love,

Jacqui x