Saturday, 24 March 2012

HELLO Award


Thank you so much for this award.


I received this award from Victoria over at Writ of Whimsy


The Liebster Rules:

1. Give to a blogger with less than 200 followers.
2. That blogger will pass it on to 5 followers.
3. According to Babelfish, Liebster means Dearest.

In no particular order - apart from alphabetical - here are my dominated ladies. I enjoy all your blogs and you all have memorable stories to post.

Keep writing. x

Kit Courteney Writes
Little  Girl Big Glasses

 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

HELLO How Does Your Garden Grow?

It's great to be out without a jumper or coat. It's a pleasant, sunny 13 degrees in Yorkshire today, and I've been gardening.


THE LITTLE FELLOW IS WILF

AND THIS IS HIS WIFE WILMA
The pots had been neglected over winter. There was vegetation that needed my attention, but whenever I pegged the washing out back, I ignored it. The cold was my excuse. When it's a little warmer, I thought, I'd be out there, with my green fingers, ready to tackle all sorts. That day arrived.

I enjoyed the time spent getting rid of the dry stalks, leaves and stray weeds; sweeping up and emptying collection bags of dirt. Then it was time to open the wormery.


EVERY GNOME SHOULD HAVE ONE
When I bought it, I loved the fact that this was the ultimate recycler. The worms in their house (wormery), waiting for my discarded raw vegetables, egg shells and kitchen paper to feast on. In return I would be rewarded with compost and bio-feed. I just had to maintain equilibrium of moisture, temperature, acidity, and food. I'm sorry to say, that as the food mounted up, they too were forgotten in the winter months.

SORRY 

It's not bad news though: us worms stick together. I looked in on the chaps, and the food store has gone down, they aren't water logged, and I'm glad to say my lovely worms live. Hoorah!


THANKS FOR YOUR GIFT
Around April/May last year, I decided to grow some vegetables and I will be doing the same this year. I successfully grew them all from seed, tended to them regularly and produced crops to supplement the summer meals.


MY LITTLE CROP IN POTS


CARROTS AND SPRING ONIONS


COURGETTE WITH EDIBLE FLOWER


CHERRY TOMS

COURGETTE, SPRING ONIONS, CARROT, 
BEETROOT, LETTUCE


RADISHES

TODAY'S LABOUR: TOMORROW'S FRUIT
GREEN FINGERS CROSSED
Do you have my enthusiasm for gardening? Or does the feel of slugs, snails and worms put you off? If you do grow food, what prompted you? What successes have you had? 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

HELLO A Classics Challenge

The prompt for March is the setting. I have been reading Dracula by Bram Stoker, which has a number of settings from Eastern Europe to North Yorkshire. I have chosen to look at the first major setting-Castle Dracula. 

The story of Dracula is told through the journal entries, telegrams and letters made by  Jonathan Harker (solicitor); Mina Murray (Harker's fiancee); Lucy Westenra (Mina's friend); Dr Seward, Quincey Morris and Hon. Arthur Holmwood (Lucy's suitors), and Professor Van Helsing. It begins from Jonathan Harker's journal, a solicitor sent to deal with Count Dracula's purchase of an estate in England. He journeys from Vienna to Budapest by train, coach, and then by caleche through the Carpathians to Bukovina, Romania.


CALECHE (source)
I'm not sure that I'd want to be travelling in the Carpathian mountains in this, but it was the mode of transport at the time-late Victorian.

BRAN CASTLE (source)
This picture shows the castle commonly known as Castle Dracula, but there is no proof that Stoker actually went there. To get to the castle, they have to climb up steep hills:

 'everywhere a bewildering mass of fruit blossom-apple, 
 plum, pear, cherry. And as we drove by I could see the 
   green grass under the trees spangled with the fallen petals.' 

This description seems to foreshadows the fate of the women.

In the beginning of the book we are led on sensual journey: this continues throughout the book. Initially, Harker writes happily about the food he has eaten, the friendly people he has met, which mirrors the pleasant May weather, and visual description of his surrounds. As he nears his destination, the locals behave with suspicion, making him anxious, he leaves the company of his travellers to go on ahead with just his driver. The night draws in, the wolves make their presence known, and the castle looms over him. By the time he reaches the castle it is dark. Harker is left alone, in the cold, to gain entry into Castle Dracula.

'I stood close to a great door, old and studded with large iron nails,
and set in a projecting doorway of massive stone.'
The morning after his arrival, Jonathan eats breakfast alone and notices the oddities in the house. There is evidence of wealth: gold wrought table service, expensive fabrics that upholster the furniture, and made into curtains, but there are no servants.

CASTLE DRACULA-TUDOR STYLE (source)
Harker likens the look to Hampton Court.
Castle Dracula is cold, remote, and  built in the Carpathian mountains on the edge of a precipice. It is a superior, unobtainable fortress, that is viewed with mystery and suspicion. This more or less describes Dracula. The Gothic, medieval house represents Dracula. He states he is from an old family and that a new house would kill him. This leads me to believe that the house and the man are akin. 

The tension builds as the once welcoming Count abandons Harker in the house (during the day), leaving him cut off from the world. He has become a solitary man in a large, empty house. It is Dracula's lair: his rat trap. 

    'Doors, doors, doors everywhere, and all bolted...
    ...The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!

The setting and mood changes again as the story moves to England. I will leave it up to you to find out how this effects the story. Having read the book I was surprised at how involved I became with the characters, as I was compelled to continue with them, on their journey of discovery. And I'm glad I did.