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Organic Elements

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When humans are faced with a blank canvas, a paintbrush and paint, or a camera complete with film, what is the first thing most of us would choose to depict or photograph?
This would most likely be organic elements; Trees, bodies, animals etc...
Why? 
We are human. We are drawn to the living, organic world around us, it makes us happy. 
Most of the time, we would not automatically think to draw inorganic elements outside of the study of still life. 
Why? 
We are living and connect best with other living organisms. Inanimate objects are unrelatable to us. 

The bestselling art is bestselling because we relate to it; the subject matter is often 'alive' and organic, like us.  

File:Vincent van Gogh - Undergrowth with Two Figures (F773).jpg
Image source: File:Vincent van Gogh - Undergrowth with Two Figures (F773).jpg - Wikimedia Commons
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All Things Must Pass

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Edited by Claire Williams, Tuesday, 8 Nov 2022, 10:13

I have now settled into my new home in wonderful Wales and have (finally) set up the computer for getting back online and into university studies. The view is lovely; rolling hills and fields as far as the eye can see - much happier in a place like this rather than the hustle and bustle of town/city life. Thinking about it, I have never lived in the centre of a town or city so cannot even begin to imagine the level of noise or light pollution on a daily basis - but I can bet you anything that it is much higher than this. 

I went into Shrewsbury town centre a couple of nights ago and sat with a friend in the bar listening to some live classic rock music by an aging band and sipping back a Rekorderlig. I looked out of the window at one point to see the rain beating down and noticed the lights lit up in a flat above the shop opposite (this was late in the evening and the music was blaring down the street from this pub). A woman, around my age, was walking back and forth between frames through modern bare rooms and I thought 'how well will she sleep tonight with all this going on?' 😅   

I asked the bartender; live music was playing every Tuesday and Thursday until late. Outside, the noise of car engines echoed against the rain, and wheels splattered through puddles as the occupants drove up and down the winding streets. The glare of the streetlights, one littered outside almost every window lit up the area; I hoped she had good curtains up. I thought for a moment about my choice to move to rural Wales - not far from Shrewsbury - but far enough to be pitch black at night, quiet except for maybe the odd squeak of a mouse high in the rafters, and certainly no obnoxiously loud music! -  surely preferable to this? 

I like the thought of knowing I can simply drive into densely populated urban areas to socialise for a while - but then simply drive back out again and into rurally fresh air and natural odour, sound and light. I always take a long, deep breath to prepare for meditation in silence; something of which would be more of a task rather than a pleasure if I was that woman having to tolerate such disturbances well into the night. Saying this, people can adapt - it is remarkable how people can mould and modify to new challenges and circumstances - so who knows?

I have also acquired a wall hanging for the new place - it reads 'All Things Must Pass' - to serve as a daily reminder - not only of how fabulous George Harrison was (😉) - but of changes, of constant evolvement and adaptation. To read and repeat and understand that life goes on - whoever we are, whatever we do and however we are living. 

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Image Source: George Harrison – All Things Must Pass (2001, EMI Mfg., CD) - Discogs

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Ride On!

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Edited by Claire Williams, Monday, 17 Oct 2022, 19:25

The feeling of re-discovering a song of which you fell in love with some years ago is brilliant for upping those dopamine levels (and to heighten the mood and relax the tension when stuck on a hard TMA question!) 

This one's mine - Ride On - YouTube (Credit: Ride On · Celtic Thunder · Ryan Kelly - 2016-02-26) 

Then on to RENT (Movie) - La Vie Boheme Parts A & B combined - YouTube

Ah, go on then, I'll add this classic ... Commodores - Nightshift (Official Music Video) - YouTube 

;) 



Image source: Man Wearing Headphones · Free Stock Photo (pexels.com)

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Just Stop Oil Protests

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Edited by Claire Williams, Sunday, 16 Oct 2022, 09:42

Recently, Just Stop Oil - an activist group calling for the downright termination of new oil and gas projects, has hit the headlines again. Subsidised, in part, by rich American philanthropists; the scope and scale of protests have now ventured into many territories; from busy roads to oil terminals, a football stadium (complete with fans), New Scotland Yard headquarters, supermarkets and, yes, The National Gallery (sorry, Vincent).

Now I still remain questionable and, before I don an orange Hi-Viz and wave the banner high alongside my fellow 20-something activists, I would like to gain clearer knowledge specifically about how this is to be a completely viable option and as to what the alternative solution(s) may be? 

An online video of a documentary by *sigh* a newspaper, The Guardian, shows the presenter seemingly 'joining forces' with the activists to 'inform' the viewer as to what all the commotion is about and to what the plans of the protestors may be. Given the title alone depicts a negative vision - 'Locking on and breaking in: the climate protestors who want to Just Stop Oil' - you can already glean somewhat of how they will be represented within the visual imagery. I found that the 'answers' to questions were quite hazy and vague - with hand-held evidence serving mostly to condemn or condone actions by the activists, and to try and get the viewer to agree with this envisioned synopsis. It is simply hard to sympathise with the activists when the footage is so cut-and-paste courtesy of some Guardian editors busy whittling it down to images of activists eating in McDonalds at around 3.30am or hitching a ride in a diesel van - or highlighting the emotional reaction of an oil-truck driver whose tyres have just been deflated by protestors. 

Locking on and breaking in: the climate protesters who want to Just Stop Oil - YouTube 

One comment below this video stood out to me and this is what someone had put -     

"Just stop oil"? 
Goodbye plastics (needed for medical equipment, electronics, clothing, appliances) 
Goodbye lubricants (required to run all sorts of machinery) 
Goodbye natural gas (used for heating and cooking in many homes) 
Goodbye diesel (currently required by most trucks for transporting of essential goods) 
In short, just stopping oil will result in many deaths. Transition from fossil fuels will take decades, don't expect it 'now' 

This hit me - this person had just described the many ways and uses of oil - of which will surely only increase unless *unspeakable* action takes place pretty soon. 

I thought 'has the organisation thought about this? as demand grows for some, if not all of these (and more) due to increasing population numbers, what is the solution? Is there a solution? and, if so, could Just Stop Oil gain more insight into how to successfully win in their ongoing campaign? Will the rich American philanthropists throw their money in the direction of downright solution(s) instead of fuelling retribution (whether right or wrong)? and, ultimately, I pondered upon how deep we now seem to be in social, political and environmental unrest.   

industrial design  design Engineering  product design  product design engineering Catia bottle Packaging cap

Image source: stoppOIL: no more greasy oil bottles! on Behance

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October

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Edited by Claire Williams, Sunday, 9 Oct 2022, 16:42

I love this time of year and I especially love the thought of beginning a fantastic journey into discovering more about our environment and the changing seasons - the cycle and processes with the Open University during this October. 

The cold - I love the cold, I am strange! but I love wearing a pre-worn baggy jumper and opening the window wide to the sensation of the Autumn chill. To pull on the fingerless gloves, the hat, the fleece leggings and a warm coat and embrace the coolness and damp of the evening air, and oh! that feeling of a warm cup of hot chocolate between my hands and sipping intermittently to warm the stomach!

 My nose runs, my face is numb, but I don't care! it is glorious, glorious October! 

The colours! we all know of the autumnal complexion that nature provides at this time of year! an abundance of oranges and auburns, yellow hues and brown tones. Hibernation, celebration, renewal.   

Celebration, in human time, is, of course, Halloween, that very alluring event at the end of this month - we get to leave our formalities behind for one night and partake in an evening of fun and laughter! A community of trick-or-treaters, of ghoulish attire and sweets and cakes and all things scary and tasty! 

Have a grand October, one and all! smile 

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The Garden

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We are lucky enough, within the UK, to have green spaces in which to find the time to discover, explore, relax, socialise and geologically analyse. 

A patch of land - available for public right of way and universal access for all - can never be found too far away, and can be searched for via internet Apps, Land Ordnance Surveys and Tourist Information booths, amongst others. Fantastic organisations such as The Woodland Trust and The National Forest aim for the continuation, and preservation, of access to such areas of natural beauty and this is an appreciative comfort to know. 

For the people who have personal spaces of land - gardens, or a patch of green; this is a gift. Every now and again one can indulge in the private pleasure of looking out across a piece of natural England and know that it provides a type of sanctuary from the stresses of life. Natural land truly brings us back to earth and simplicity. 

It is interesting to observe the types of gardens, and of fields and woodlands for that matter, and see how both man and nature have moulded and shaped the design over the years. The variety of shapes and sizes and of depths and colours can be awe-inspiring and even 'vertical planting' allows a garden to grow upwards!  

The twists and turns of the branches of an old oak tree when we look upwards can impose feelings of wonder and fascination and even the sight of fields ripe with corn, wheat or wildflower can evoke moods of perpetual serenity and mesmerising imagery. 

So, remember, when you next take a wild walk - or contemplate in your personal garden space - to know that all around you, you shall always have access, somewhere, to a place that will provide for you such harmonious feelings as, and when, you need them. 


Image source: Gray Wooden Bench Surrounded by Green Grass Trees · Free Stock Photo (pexels.com)

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Books

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The current human era of instantly accessible information has provided us with a rich and varied cornucopia of things to see and hear; to read and immerse, to visualise and explore deeper into topics of interest.

We can use our minds to tell our bodies that if we click this button or that we can, almost instantaneously, buy or sell, watch or listen, teach or learn and comfortably know that we have a selection of things to do online in order to satisfy our time. Although we can fully comprehend this right here and right now, this new sense of deep immersion often makes us forget that such a revolution would have been completely unimaginable only a few decades ago; to someone having the 'task' to find a 'real' library and read a 'real' book. 

We may feel we don't need books anymore. However, a bookcase with books can still simply display the look of an 'intellectual' individual and not necessarily be used for a scholarly purpose within society nowadays. Google may be attempting a grand switch-a-roo right before our very eyes. What began as a catalogue of links to the worldwide web is now fast developing into a useful, almost necessary tool, for all areas of life and society - especially visual and resource.  

Likewise, Amazon, and their brainchild, The Kindle, have attempted to transition the visual format of books into a digital dimension. Amazon's Audible service also aims to make that process even easier by verbally reciting books, no eyes necessary. 

Due to this - and amid an abundance of other digital powerhouses - we simply now have the means to give more of our invested time into finding out about all sorts of things - but is this too much, too soon?

We still have a choice with how to fill our time - and that doesn't mean we are powerless to reach for a book on the shelf, dust it off, and begin reading - but with the current positioning of technology within the world, and comfort to hold, plug in or simply sit back and watch; this may provide a far more alluring experience for the modern Homo Sapien. 

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The Road of Shedding Possession

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Edited by Claire Williams, Thursday, 29 Sep 2022, 13:02

I was told by my friend to see a new movie. 

It was called 'Three Thousand Years of Longing' and it was ok; strange but ok. 

One thing I took from it, in a metaphorical sense, was of shedding possession (in the case of the movie; a Djinn or Genie and his bottle) and re-writing and/or rejuvenating your life anew. 

This movie was, of course, just a slightly re-worked tale of the classic making three wishes and demanding whatever you want. You want money? poof! You want knowledge? poof! You want power? poof! - Three wishes granted, goodbye. 

But in the sense of reality this would be a more physical, mindful adventure.

By the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve (as per tradition) we have often made several 'wishes' - or rather ' pacts' - to fulfil and re-write our lives by. But, alas, as the new year rolls on by, we find that, more often than not, none of these are 'fulfilling' or 'life changing' or we simply tried them for a while and gave up.  

Now I made a 'pact' with myself when I was 21, eight years ago now, in the middle of June. I started to be ruthless and, having just one goal in my mind, I started shedding my possessions.

To be honest, if I did, unbeknownst to myself, have a genie locked up in a blue striped glass bottle anywhere in my room at that time, he would have been sent straight to the charity shop. Because this is exactly what I did. I finished up with just a bed, a chair and a room - and, personally, in my little world, I had never felt more rejuvenated. 

To this day I still say that it doesn't take a Djinn in a bottle or a New Year's Eve bucket list, or even 'three wishes' to 're-write', 'rejuvenate' and 'fulfil'; it takes you - your mind and what you, physically and actively, set about doing that will achieve it. 

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Image source: sheddings | Just another WordPress.com site

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Nature

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Edited by Claire Williams, Thursday, 29 Sep 2022, 11:26

An endless love

Nature is key; 

For survival we will depend on it

For happiness we will thrive from it 

For in death, we will feed it 


To fill the mind and memories with the thoughts of nature; of green and brown, blue and white - of shoots and leaves, of branch and root, of fox and bear - of us and all who occupy it. 

A constant satisfaction we shall recieve in return. 



Image source: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=CGsWnwGj&id=2FF2D5C4A74BAE6CBB92BD1DAFEC3EE40971CD8D&thid=OIP.CGsWnwGj9lsXKGiWVk1GygHaEo&mediaurl=https%3a%2f%2fjooinn.com%2fimages%2fbeautiful-lake-5.jpg&cdnurl=https%3a%2f%2fth.bing.com%2fth%2fid%2fR.086b169f01a3f65b17286896564d46ca%3frik%3djc1xCeQ%252b7K8dvQ%26pid%3dImgRaw%26r%3d0&exph=1800&expw=2880&q=nature+stock+free&simid=607996399841988794&FORM=IRPRST&ck=1C98105C75FF62477892D6F9320B53F9&selectedIndex=5&mode=overlay

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Meditation

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Edited by Claire Williams, Thursday, 29 Sep 2022, 17:43
I have heard it be said that to start creating peace and harmony one must begin to think internally; in one's own mind and body - and the power of meditation can aid with this. 

Given the current state of oneself, and within our current environment; this is hard to do. 

'Life' is picking up speed.
'Work' is fast paced. 
'Travel' is rapid. 
'Food' is to go. 
'Nature' is abused. 

Now, how to slow this, how must I solve this? Must I sleep? Must I shed possessions, my house, sell my car, burn my money, eat more greens, plant some trees? 

We may think about these things sometimes - but then we may not, upon the reminder of how this would actually appear to solve little, or if anything at all. 

We would be missing out, we would 'fail' - plus - we would have 'nothing'.

Participating in meditation for a week; we may forget the following day to stop and calm our breathing through regular practice as advised, and then we may then forget for the rest of the week to spend one more hour divulging in self-awareness. Before we know it, the remainder of the month flies by and we still haven't found time to sit down on a floor cushion and turn on the chants of Snatnam Kaur or Sadhguru teachings. 

I know. It sounds easy. It sounds like something that we should do, the ticket to 'escape' and 'enlightenment'.

But it can only work effectively in the right circumstances, to the right sort of mind, at the right time and in the right place.

Now this sort of life - and living - of which we are experiencing here in the UK, right now, is too fast. I'm not sure how, but this is the way it has gone and continues to be. The loop is almost at a reversal whereby we cannot effectively meditate, self-harmonise and indulge simply because of the speed of life - and its lingering effects upon the mind - that does not allow us to stop and be completely calm.  

Like a heartbeat, the rhythm carries on.  

Any thoughts?

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Laver Cup

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Edited by Claire Williams, Thursday, 29 Sep 2022, 17:40

I haven't been to London for a long time, and I wasn't planning to go again any time soon - however my boyfriend wanted to go and see the Laver Cup at the O2 Arena and, as we are both good at tennis and he is an avid Roger Federer fan, we decided to go. He was, of course, devastated that his hero was due to retire from the sport and so we began the journey and headed down for a short break - feeling lucky to just be in time for last minute seats at the arena. 

Instead of reciting the whole match - I wish to mention the environmental factors I had witnessed.  

Now I live in the middle of countryside in Shropshire where there is a thick and heavy but 'fresh' type of air of which can make you drowsy and tired quite quickly - I call it the 'agricultural whiff' - but I was reawakened, quite literally, to the perceptual reminder of the other types of 'air quality' as we headed through Crewe and then on to London. 

Sharp and condensed molecules of oxygen intermingled with a whole host of other VOC's and, within the walls of the underground, it smelt like a musky barrier of heat and sweat as we made our way from station to station. Dust made me choke and plumes of exhaust by London Bridge and The Shard made me want to reach for a glass of water every time. It was an experience of which, having come from 'fresher' air out in the open countryside - to finding myself enclosed in a toxic- smelling cyclic air repetition within the city, I am trying to recover from. 

I have heard they are working on this - however, given the sheer scale of London - this certainly seems like a mammoth task to just a wee tourist (and we only hit Greenwich, London Bridge and Euston!). I have set myself a mission to investigate and discover how the Government and Local Councils are working to tackle poor air quality, in London and beyond. 


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N' CHI YA NANI

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Edited by Claire Williams, Thursday, 29 Sep 2022, 17:45

Via a YouTube vid I found out about a film called 'Roar' which came out in 1981. Although it is dated now - and had a notorious issue for lack of safety on set - a beautiful song begins playing during the opening sequence and this was called N' Chi Ya Nani (Whose Land is This?).
Now I am a complete sucker for songwriters and songs that have produced deep and thoughtful rhyme, lyric and meaning - anything by Paul Simon or Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen to Peter Sarstedt, Joni Mitchell or Bob Dylan to name but a few - but upon hearing N' Chi Ya Nani I immediately knew this was a song that was beautifully arranged and a delight to hear for the very first time. 
A hint of Ladysmith Black Mambazo style background sound and a dash of Don McLean-esque vocalization are reminiscent within this song and Robert Florczak's number can quite easily occupy that 'thinkers' spot within the mind to promote calm and consciousness regarding the beauty in the natural World around us. 

Give it a listen and see what you think ~ N' CHI YA NANI (WHOSE LAND IS THIS?) by Robert Florczak - YouTube 

Image source: Roar movie review & film summary (2015) | Roger Ebert
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