Sunday, 5 August 2012

Swanly Grace

There is something so graceful & regale about a swan, to me.
 I just love the way that they glide & their dignity.
People don't write stories about swans or paint them quite so much anymore, but back in a time, not so long ago, when sentiment was firmly woven into the very fabric of life, swans were painted & esteemed in most homes around the nation; in the same way that daffodils & ballet dancers graced the walls by mirror picture or framed print, coaster or breakfast tray.
Vernon Ward knew a thing or two about swans & lakes & willow trees.
 It was a very nice thing to add a swan or so to a birthday card, along with blossoms & tranquil streams & perhaps a horse shoe for good luck & good measure.
 This past week has been dismal & just a tad strange.
A solid week of persistent rain is not so common in our parts...shame, since Rob had an extra couple of days off. I am not used to being "caged" by damp & dimness. Sometimes though, out of the unpredictable & unexpected comes something space for the growing of other things.
Have you ever noticed how fast a week disappears, yet how so much can happen in that same week?
We had decided to have ourselves a "staycation" (staying at home on holiday & doing vacation kind of things) that we did decide to stay home with the rain, but it didn't overly feel like a fabulous holiday much of the time. Rob's uncle died early in the week (which was sad) & that catapulted us into the why is our family sooo dysfunctional dance..
by Friday we drove the 30 minutes to Waipawa past winter flooded wetlands..  
 & grey (it was about here that I found a single, lone onion growing in the grass on the road side!)
 & waterlogged
 & startling
 & witnessed the harbingers of spring at last.
We fossicked around in second hand shops & stopped at the Paper Mulberry Cafe for some superb Earl Grey tea. 
 People are crafty & clever all over the world aren't they?
 Aren't these adorable?!
Unfortunately, my wee florist toadstools didn't fair so well in the rain, but look what I found in the Waipawa community craft shop. I'm sure this concrete chap won't melt any time soon.
 One morning, I was amazed to see the rain had stopped for just a moment.
Not to be deterred, I discovered that the garden had forged on regardless..

 Unable to be outside I continued with my internal gardening activities & managed to finish my crocheted wreath. I am so pleased with it!!

I am also so very glad that such sweet & generous women like Lucy from Attic 24 have invested their time & passion to make such clear & inspirational tutorials as this one.
I am coming back to you on the pattern for the jam jar covers..won't be long, promise!

 Last week I mentioned some books I'd picked up on the discard table at the library. I can't say that I have ever heard of them before.."The Lord of the Rushie River" is the first of the pair, written & illustrated by Mary Cicely Barker & was printed in 1938. 
I love this heartfelt story about a small girl called Susan.
When her Dad goes away leaving her with an elderly care giver Susan never imagines that she will be so mistreated & abused by the old lady she's left with.
Her father is a kind man who helped & nursed a young swan with a broken leg at one time. This now grown swan "John", comes to Susan's aid when all seems lost & looks after her & cares for her until her father's eventual return. 

 Feeding her with gathered scraps foraged from around the village & giving her a little down bed amidst the rushes to lie on, he devises a plan to find Susan a new dress before her father's arrival, as her clothes are by now all torn & raggedy. So sweetly, Susan explains to him & his mother, that he cannot just go & unpeg one of the Baker's daughters dresses off the washing line, even if she has many more than she needs, as in the human world that's called stealing.
Hearing that Susan's father has arrived back by boat John Swan flies off to ensure that it is indeed him & sees the most beautiful child's dress flapping in the breeze..
 "And indeed it was a wonderful sight as the setting sun lit up it's glowing colours. Around the hem was embroidered a border of leaves & flowers of every lovely hue. All over the dress butterflies & little birds & falling blossoms were worked with delicate skill; except where, on the breast, was a golden sun, with long rays that went glinting down between the birds & flowers. At the neck & wrists, on a narrow edge of deep blue, were many tiny silver stars.
The oldest sailor, a little wrinkly man, looked at the dress closely.
"That's fairy stitchery" he said..."
A story of forgiveness & kindness & restoration & of swans with the finest grace & good character.
On the day of her father's return little Susan makes a garland of Old Man's Beard for her hair, also known as Traveller's Joy..
also by Mary Cicely Barker.
 The dedication in the front.
I found this little swan on trade me just recently...also full of grace.
Some very interesting new shoots are thrusting themselves up through the soil of our lives just now..out of the moist fertile darkness..surprise!!
I'll tell you about them next time as I need your help with one or two things & you're just the person to ask. Meantime, take care & thanks so much for coming to visit.


  1. Sweet story. I have the swans in my gallery:

  2. The toadstool joy here is very peaceful and uplifting, GK!
    I'll have to stay on the look out for swans. My sister and I bought my mom a little swan boat when we were little and my brother loved the swan candy dish that my mom brought out for "special" and has it at his house now. So, there DID used to be more swans gliding about our lives. Maybe I'll have the kids at school read about swans.
    Bill and I are planning our next year's back garden. It's so scruffy this year, begging for change.
    You are just beginning your gardening year and I shall enjoy your outdoor doings very much when our leaves are changing.
    You have such a earthy eye, seeing that onion.

  3. Catherine, I LOVE this post; it's so beautiful, calm, serene, peaceful. A balm in Gilead to my soul today.
    I also love that wreath...I hope I remember where I saw it so when I go to the library, I can download the tutorial.

  4. Hello Catherine, So sorry your week has been dismal - the wet weather can certainly do that. So Sorry to hear about Robs Uncle also.
    But I do SO love your pics of the wet fields, your swans etc And as for that wreath you made . . . it is sooo beautiful & amazing - I am in love with all the flowers you have made on it. Oh to be able to crochet like that ! ! ! I can dream :-)
    Still have my Mum here so blogging has had to take a back seat but always love to read your posts - do hope this week brings you some sunshine dear heart. Luv/hugs/thoughts Julie Xoxo

  5. Beautiful crochet wreath Catherine, a work of art.

  6. Dearest Catherine
    Like you I have a fascination for swans as well.
    The day before I left France we visited a chateau and there was a family of swans on the grace mum, dad and their four babies - photos soon!!

    LOVE those books - you have such a knack for finding gorjus stuff!
    Your crochet wreath is beautiful - I'm tempted to make one too, thank you for the link!

    My computer wouldn't work in France - so disappointing as I fully intended staying in touch....

    lovely to be back and reading your magical posts again!

    love and warm hugs
    Shane xox

  7. Sweet story.
    I love crochet.

  8. I found your blog through Fading Grace, I just enjoyed this post so much, love that photo of the two trees especially. And all your rose pictures are so yummy!
    My condolences for your loss, its so difficult and hurts so to say goodbye to the ones we love
    all the best

  9. Hello,
    I found you once again through Sophie @ Fading Grace,I have been before and just forgot too quickly about your beautiful blog,alas just through the business of life...
    A beautiful post and Mirriam Stockly 'Perfect Day' means soo much to me!! A haunting beautiful song...
    Wishing you a day full of inspiration, LoVe Maria x


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