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The Beagle For Beauty Monthly - Sept/Oct 2021



“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains” - Anne Frank


Updates

Firstly: I’ve moved the release date of the Beagle to the first week on the month rather than the last. It will always land on a Friday. I can then point you to events or seasonal ideas beforehand. Secondly: my shop is coming soon. My hubby and I have been choosing samples, sourcing the right supplier. I want to be 100% satisfied with the end result so that you get the very best quality pieces. Thirdly: I’ve designed a free downloadable calendar page just for you. Print at home if you have a good printer or take it to a shop where they make prints. Simply click HERE or on the image to receive your page. This pdf is password protected and you need to be a Beagle Monthly member to access. Join up via the link on the home page and the code will be sent to you. You can leave at any time.

Lastly: next month will be the Beagle's 1 year anniversary! I am going to be giving a special giveaway to celebrate so keep a look out for that.


Really lastly: If you enjoy the Beagle would you please consider sharing about it any which way you can? Whether that's social media, email, word of mouth or carrier pigeon. I offer this for free as an encouragement to others but really want to reach as many people as possible. If you were to help me that would mean a lot : )


This month

  • Artists: The ‘new’ Vemeer. Comic artist Lunarbaboon. Austin Kleon and his pandemic prayers.

  • Giveaway: October calendar page.

  • Dallas Jenkins; destiny from disaster.

  • Watching: Larkrise To Candleford. Tokyo Story.

  • Poetry: The Darkling Thrush, Thomas Hardy

  • Books: Sarah Clarkson. Help, I’m Drowning. Digital Minimalism. The Castle On The Hill.

  • Music: Bejamin Gordon. Andy Squyres. BFB monthly Playlist.

  • Recipe: Chicken Parmigiana.

  • Adventuring: Lindisfarne, The Holy Island.

  • Photographer: The water lily harvest in Vietnam, by Trung Huy Pham.

  • What’s on my iPhone? Did you know I link every book, film, recipe etc in the Beagle? Where you see words highlighted, simply click the link.

A big warm welcome around a steaming pot of tea to my new Beagle friends. Many of you landed here via my giveaway with dear friend Sally Clarkson. I’ve known Sally for almost seven years and have been involved with encouraging mum’s with her in the UK. I recorded a fun podcast with Sally before she went back to the States for hip surgery: Beauty: A Profound Anchor In The Storms of Life. You’ll hear more about our friendship as we giggle, and also talk about the importance of initiating in friendships. I’m no Pollyanna but you’ll find me seeking beauty, truth, goodness while grasping the nettle at the same time. We wrestle with life and sometimes with God but I think we can learn to wrestle well, like the Psalmist. There’s hope in the hurting. I hope you find this a place of kindred spirits. I’ve shared previously about why I create the Beagle before if you’d like to know more. This is my death-defying work!

The pathway which leads to our front door is currently strewn with windfall apples. I really must gather them in for compost but the fragrance of ‘apple cider’ as I walk it each day is quite comforting. We also have a hazelnut tree which has been enthusiastically sharing its seed pods, they resemble something you’d find in a rock-pool with their many curving tentacles. The squirrels will be sad to discover that the street sweeper came this morning and happily gobbled them all up though. Well, here we are friends, entering autumn. There’s so much to love about this time of year, though I feel a little crest fallen. The summer seemed too short, lockdown so long, I find myself longing for length of days and sun-kissed walks a little longer. I know this is natural, I can’t be the only one? Like the natural seasons we’re in a time of transition in our home. I’m a recently graduated Home Educator, my sixteen year old once about the house is now off to college each week. I’m like a teenager again with a world of opportunity before me. This in-between, is in itself a season tucked amongst the folds of seasons. At times I’ve felt a little suspended, adrift in space like the Apollo mission entering the dark side of the moon. Transitions can feel like that, yet transitions are hallways, and in and of themselves a space we inhabit. We do come out the other side. Beyond the seeing of the eye or the hearing of the ear we are tethered and being carried along in a greater ongoing story. It’s natural in the unknown to cry, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”. For the moment we are in the middle, we are the caterpillar soup that precedes the emerging butterfly. If anyone were to look inside a chrysalis midway they’d wonder if there was anything of worth in there. There’s a lot of creative work going on in the mess! What we think looks untidy, like loose ends, could actually be the midpoint between death and resurrection.


“In winter I believe you, in springtime I see you . . . my hope has come” Cherry Blossom, Andy Squyres


I was away in Northumberland last week and one of the delights of being in such an agricultural area was watching the farmers plough the land.


I envy the farmer. I understand it’s a hard life but they have a connection to the earth and calendar year which anchors them in the present yet with an eye on the horizon. I watched one tractor systematically moving back and forth as a weaver’s tool. The seagulls flew up before him as he approached and settled behind me after he passed, it was so rhythmical, mesmerising, I could have watched for a long time. So much about our daily living unhinges us from a sense of the here and now, the internet and social media being chief to unpick the hours. I think it’s a high and holy habit to cultivate slow living, to lean into the in-betweens and down days, to create beauty and bring a sense of lived-inness (I created a word) in the ploughed furrows of everyday living.



Still Life

My Sweets

The colours in this month’s shoot reminded me of the sweets I loved growing up, Rhubarb & Custards. That mellow mix of creams and pinks with a hint of purple work so well together. The snapdragons are very photogenic with their curved waist and reaching limbs and the dahlias seem to blaze with radiant petals like a floral sun.


It was common to use sea shells in still life compositions. Often arrangements would feature man-made or natural objects such as flowers, fruit, bottles, bread, taxidermy creatures. They would typically reflect a celebration of life or, serve as a reminder of the brevity of it.



Which is the show-stopper Dahlia here, the blushing pink or the dreamy cream? I’m leaning towards cream.

All my blooms were purchased from Caroline at Where Inspiration Blooms. If you’re local check them out, they also run some fantastic courses.

Adventures - Lindisfarne, The Holy Island: Let There be Light!


Oh dear, I really do have so many delightful and soul-filling treasures to share with you this month, in fact too many! At the risk of oversharing I'm going to spread them out over the next few months.


But for this edition - Lindisfarne. It’s been so long that I’ve wanted to visit this historic and iconic location. I worked it out, twenty three years or so. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is just off the extreme Northeast corner of England near Berwick-upon-Tweed.

An island that isn’t really an island. After checking the tide timetables my daughter and I drove across when the causeway exposed by the receding tide. Those who fail to do so might find themselves in a bit of a wet pickle! The thought of getting stranded made it a more thrilling drive (although there was no real threat) but it did add to the excitement! Spot the ‘refuge’ hut in that footage.

From Wiki: Holy Island has a recorded history from the 6th century AD; it was an important centre of Celtic Christianity under SaintsAidan of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert, Eadfrith of Lindisfarne and Eadberht of Lindisfarne. After the Viking invasions and the Norman conquest of England, a priory was reestablished. A small castle was built on the island in 1550. (below) Priory ruins.

There is some debate over the exact date and by whom, the Gospel first came to the British Isles. What we do know is that here in Northumberland St. Aidan was sent from Ireland, via Iona in Scotland around 635 AD and established a Christian work. This is the birthplace of the Lindisfarne Gospels, long acclaimed as the greatest masterpiece of Anglo-Saxon book art. It survived the Viking raids of the time and contains the four Gospels depicting the life of Christ. You can see stunning images from the book HERE on the British Library website as well as read more about this important work. I hopped on the tube this morning and took myself to have a look at it up close. It was pretty special. To think, Eadfrith around 698 AD put his hand to these very pages and set his heart to such a grand and glorious work, and now my eyes see it. I was a little sad it wasn't open to one of the carpet pages but left grateful none-the-less.


Here are a couple of the carpet pages to give you an idea of their intricate design but the British Library link before shows so much more in detail.

(below) Looking through the Priory ruins across to Lindisfarne Castle.



(below) St Mary’s Church, founded by St Aidan in 635 AD.

(below) An instillation depicting the monks fleeing Lindisfarne with the relics of St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels.


Please do watch this short but informative piece about these beautiful and important creations.

(below) The interior of St. Mary’s. The light and subsequent tones were beautiful.

(below) Looking across to Lindisfarne Castle.

(below) Heading to the castle now, looking back on the priory ruins and some of the village.

(below) The castle was originally a fort but was converted into a holiday home by Edward Hudson, founder of Country Living Magazine.

(below) The entrance to the castle home. This interior didn’t feel like a luxurious space or a cosy haven laden with soft cushions and furnishings, but it was a dramatic and probably theatric setting for it’s owner. I think it provoked the social scene buzz Howard had hoped for. The front could definitely benefit from a few flower pots don’t you think!


Lindisfarne Castle - A Place of Light


My breath was taken away several times by the natural light flooding the rooms and corridors of Lindisfarne Castle. One room in particular, the bedroom, looked like a painting in-camera. This was a modestly furnished residence but what it lacked in touches it makes up for in ambience. That said, the kitchen area was most welcoming with its ‘Brown Betty’ teapot, rocking chair and hearth. The seating is arranged so as to invite small parties for conversation and refreshment. All the best parties end up in the kitchen anyway. See what you think.