Friday, 23 March 2018

Loving Vincent: A film of immersive beauty ...

I went to see this film about Vincent van Gogh at a local out-of-town 'public gathering space for arts, culture and recreation' - "The Hub" - which is being refurbished in an historic former school ...

I'm so glad I went ... it was full to the gunwales!  Anyone interested in the process of art, film, documentary, animation, murder, art history or simply van Gogh - please try to see this film - and marvel ...

... at the creative inventiveness of the Artist, Writer, Director - Dorota Kobiela - who originally conceived the film and co-Writer, co-Director and Producer - Hugh Welchman - who joined her in bringing to life this animated biographical drama film.

It is extraordinary ...

6 years of creative development

125 oil painters painted 65,000 frames

853 oil paintings on canvas appeared in the film, and

90 design paintings, made in the year before the shoot -

over 1,345 discarded paintings ...

these defined the style in which the team re-imagined van Gogh's paintings into the world of film ...

a number of these paintings were made available for sale before the film's release

Auberge Ravoux
(now known as the House of Van Gogh)

The film was made in Poland ... the Polish Film Institute is a state-run cultural institution and is highly regarded.

It was nominated at this year's Academy Awards as the best animated feature film ...' Coco' won ...(which I'll be seeing on Sunday!)

Map of the world created using van Gogh's colours
and style of painting ... 

In the link ... you can see more of their work in categories - landscape, 'noir Vincent', black and white, design paintings, characters, prints and more ...

Church of Auvers-sur-Oise
painted by van Gogh
... also about the team and crew - with their résumés - fascinating to read up ... and how they went about their work ... there are images for us to see ...

Loving Vincent tells the mysterious story of how he came to be shot and develops that theme to resolution (probably/ perhaps!) ...

Dr Gachet - by van Gogh

... we see the character actors transformed into art, then onto screen for this animated film ... as too his landscapes, and his final days after he was shot, and the interpretation as to what might have happened ... making this a murder mystery.

Adeline Ravoux - painted by van Gogh
I loved this film ... and it has taught me more about art, film, creative development ... and Vincent van Gogh ... it is a delight ... and I do hope you will get to see it ... to me it sparkles oil paint!

Lady Bird and Poldark are both in the film as characters in Vincent's life ... Saoirse Ronan as Marguerite Gachet, while Aidan Turner is a boatman.  Totally useless extra bit of information!

Directors of film, together with the actor
who voiced the part of Armand Roulin.
in the French version of the film

Here's the link to all the parts ... the cast, crew, screenings and events, news, blogs etc ... enjoy the scroll around ...

As van Gogh said "we cannot speak other than by our paintings" ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Theme Reveal ... Aspects of a British 'girl' in Canada ...

I couldn't really do anything else could I?  So I'll endeavour to make it interesting and informative ...

I am very glad to know the master list will be back ... as I find that the most satisfactory way to meet new participants ...

Cowichan Bay view from the quayside

Now for some recent pics from around here ... and some news ... I'm going to be joining a square-dancing group: 1) I don't dance ... and 2) this will be the first time the 'new' hip (circa 2014) will be put to good use!  Trial by squaring up to the caller - the grand-daughter!

Another view from where I had a delicious
'Made from Scratch' ice-cream ... so far mango,
then the next one was raspberry ... they are delicious!

I've joined a gym and swimming pool ... these are the views?!  I have to say that I'm delighted that the seagulls don't squawk and rush anyone for a stolen lunch, ice-cream or fight amongst themselves ... as they do back home in England ...

Transplanted crocuses ... now on the field
edge, rather than in the garden

Then I'm going to a book-club - never done one of those before ... but have been invited to go along - a well-travelled lady invited me, and with her husband ... they'll help me learn about birds and no doubt lots of other things ... which I'm looking forward to ... 

Pacific Silver Fir

I'm beefing up my knowledge of Canada and British Columbia - this A-Z will be general ... next year will be more local - which will show life on the beef farm, food, trips, the locality  and generally around ...

I have a couple more posts to go up before Easter Sunday ... April Fool's Day or the "we're off it's the start of the 2018 A-Z" ...

So see you all on the A-Z circuit ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Trumpeters, Trombones and Tadpoles ...

Life here is eclectic and I live in a pull-me -push-me life-style ... not at all sure what will happen next ... but it makes for interesting memoir (in due course).
Collage of sights in Victoria

I've seen a few films ... they pop up in venues I'd expect as well as well as put on by various societies or organisations.  I do recommend Three Bill Boards in Ebbing, Missouri - it kept me engaged ... yet has still got me thinking about various aspects of life - well worth seeing.  I have another I want to write about.

Thank goodness I haven't been on the freezing east coast, or for that matter over in Siberian Europe - though I suspect the vagaries of weather will catch me next year!  Spring is springing ...

Victoria waterfront by
Edward Richardson (1864)
Things are sorting themselves out - I finally have a desk ... and so can sort my life out a little ... and hope to get a better computer sometime soon - I'm surviving, but it's not that easy.  A strong compartmentalising character resides here ... and even I am battling!

Life on 'our' farm - clearing the trees
I was briefly in Victoria last week and saw the cherry trees blossoming and must get back to spend time down there: the waterfront, which we only drove past, looks stunning ... and to see an Emily Carr exhibition at the Art Gallery.  Little Smart car and I will set out next week sometime!!

I hope also to get up the island a little way purely for research purposes ... so that's on my list for next week.

Trumpeters in full flight -
winter time

So to my 'T's ... Trumpeters - these large migratory swans, re-introduced to increase the near extinct populations of the 1930s, have been trumpeting away - they love the Comox Valley here on the Island and over on the lower mainland.

Seeing various skeins of Swans trumpeting over the farm is a delight ... perhaps not so for the farmers ... though I haven't heard ours complain - I must check.

As stated!
Trombones - bet you don't know what those are?  Took me by surprise ... as I sat looking at some paperclips I'd bought ... they were labelled 'trombones' - which is the French word.  I rather like that ... and if I find more ... I'll be increasing my French a telescopic (slide mechanism) bit ...

Frogs various

Now to Tadpoles ... the swimming pool cover is full of rain-water ... which is fine ... but now I'm told and have already heard the tadpoles come out to play ... and turn into froggies ... I can see I'll be hearing a croaking cacophony for a few weeks!

...  I hope those Tailless amphibians will enjoy lots of tasty little 'itos' - in other words mosquitoes! - and I won't get too bitten: some hope!

Some of the farming family ... 

Things are starting to come to life in the garden ... the trees are being pruned - with the hope for some better fruit, as they are fairly ancient ... some of the big trees, which died, are being dug out - so there's always activity up here ...

... the cows, I hear 'talking' occasionally - but  they enjoy their farmland in the valley below.  Suppers are delicious ... and the bar-b-qs are tantalising near!

FIL to the farmer!  My 'willing' helper!

Thankfully ... the FIL from the farm is fairly handy and helps me sort some fairly irritating challenges out ... and will fix up some mosquito screens for me ... 

... actually he's a handy-man par excellence ... has spent his life working with machinery et al.  His grand-daughter is following in her father's and grandfathers' (both) footsteps.

Chowder at the Bay
Grandson has just gone off to Swaziland with the school on an educational charity volunteer trip ... so it's been good to see their itinerary ... and though he's of an age of not saying much ... I hope to get some Africa feed-back on his return!

Down the road - Cowichan Bay

Well that's me for now ... life has its moments here ... but there's lots of opportunities - so I just need to absorb when I need to, and come back to life shortly after ... so now to get on with a few things and prepare fully for the A-Z ...

Couldn't resist these guys - now I
can see why paperclips so easily
'translate' to trombones - even
plastic ones ... good practice tools

Thanks for visiting and being so supportive ... I'm away from the Tadpoling, Trumpeting Trombones ... which I won't even attempt to translate into French in this bi-lingual country ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday, 25 February 2018

We are the World Blogfest ... # 11 - People and Nature work together to 'knit' life-connecting bridges ...

My late contribution to this month's #WAWTB gives us nature allowing the Khasi peoples to 'bridge the gap', ensuring villages remain connected when monsoon flooding comes to the Khasi Hills in Eastern India ... part of what we might recognise as Assam ...

Double-decker living root bridge
These bridges have been made and kept repaired for at least a recorded (in 1844) 180 years ... the living  (aerial) roots of the Rubber Fig Tree are guided across a river or stream allowing them to attach, sometimes self-grafting, and become secured on the other side - they strengthen over time. 

Apparently as long as the trees are healthy the living root bridge will last, naturally self-renewing. 

Working a bridge

Locals maintain the bridges ... passing on their knowledge down the generations ... keeping each structure a perpetual work in progress.

The red area shows vaguely where the
Khasi Hills are situated in India
Floods could cut villages off - as these hills are one of the wettest places on our planet receiving up to 20 feet of rain (6 metres) in a month ...

The Meghalayan (living in the clouds) peoples are the architects of living root bridges in the East Khasi Hills - and who need to get across the streams and rivers to stay in touch and to get to their fields give the characteristics of these structures as:

Living tree roots which become
embedded in rock on opposite sides of river beds
Total length can be over 50 metres
Load limit ... up to 500 people
Design life ... up to 500 years

Peoples working with nature ensure that this knowledge is passed to each successive generation ...

If you would like to take part in this blogfest ... please join us - details can be found here: via Simon Falk - who participates with us

We are the World - In Darkness Be Light

Here are more details on the Khasi peoples and their bridges ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Write ... Edit ... Publish ... Bloghop: In Too Deep ...

It is time once again for the Write ... Edit ... Publish - February Bloghop:  In too Deep ....

 They had talked about this hike for weeks ... now the day was here - was she ready?  She had no choice she'd committed herself.

The chitter-chatter with friends standing in the Wynberg, Cape Town drive-way making those early plans, she listened intently, worryingly at times, but asked one final question - after the others had left - that jump or dive into the canyon, as the river plunged down ... how far would that be?

She didn't much like swimming, even less jumping into water ... the answer didn't allay her worries ... 'about from the top of that tree - a huge ancient oak' - her heart sank ... that was some height - it can't be true can it ... now was the time to find out, the day had arrived.

Pick up at 6.00 am ... a light back-pack with lunch and drinks ready  ... and off they set.  There would be 25 or so ... a few cars all met up at the designated parking area in the Hottentot Hollands Mountains.

They drove up into Elgin, the apple centre of South Africa, a lush, verdant part of the Cape, surrounded by mountains. 

The beautiful sunny South African day ... clear sunshine, beautiful views, warm but not hot - ideal for walking - it augured well.  They all gathered, introduced themselves and set off ...

Across the low veld up into the higher reaches of the Nature Reserve ... she looked around her, at the new vistas and landscapes, the different grasses and bright wild-flowers ... just loving the feel of the area.

Out onto the plateau above ... where the babbling stream was gently easing its way across its rocky base ... peaceful quietude reigned, soaring birds of prey were pointed out ... the sun beat down, a cooling wind blew ... a lovely place for a picnic stop.

She could see just landscape with the gently sprawling river bed tingling its way along its own path ... nothing to interrupt the view.

 Lunch was over, back-packs on, to now potter down the stream-side ... the lower they went, the darker it was becoming ... suddenly the stream 'fell over' a small mossy, slimy waterfall ... about twelve feet - not far ... yet she realised there was no way back.

Onwards with more small gashes as the river had started to cut back ... the trees, that had only been apparent as a dark patch in the distance as she'd look out across the landscape, came ever closer.

 Down they clambered, chatting away ... she went along listening to the babble of water, as too the voices ... down and down into a cavern of trees - the river pushing forward, faster and faster as it tumbled along.

Suddenly all was distinctly darker ... the sun shone way above - it was colder ... there was an enormous black space ahead ... the trees continued on, yet the river disappeared ...

Everyone gathered, some just jumped, she watched as others chucked their back-packs over ... the group got smaller as people disappeared ... 

 Now she was worried - this was really the situation she'd been dreading ... she edged closer - but no ways was she going to jump - yet what choice did she have ...

She did see people swimming away along the long length of the canyon ... others treading water below, having made the jump - a few like her, were standing very dubiously on the edge - plucking up courage.

One after the other they leapt off ... she watched them, and saw them come up ... yet she had to jump - or be pushed ... could she summon up courage ... because that's what it would take.

Not to be recommended ... ours was straight down:
this pool, I gather c/o Philalephia Magazine,
is exceedingly dangerous and they were recording
serious incidents in the area known as Devil's Pool
c/o Philadelphia Magazine
Horrors of jumping ... and it was 'miles down' ... she was really worried - fear abounded, her heart pumped ...

People were patient - eventually, eventually after talking and worrying, she did go or that push would have happened ...

She'd been told to keep her legs together, she plunged ... splodge, splish, splash, the chilly water encased her ... down and down she went - her lungs weren't used to this ... she was still with it - she remembered they'd said she'd come up ... but this was too much ... down and down ... chest pains ... down and down ...hurting, bursting ... in too deep ...?

For other entries see below ... and please join us!

WEP entry via Denise Covey and co-hosts: Yolanda, Nila and Olga ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

The Robin who hedges her choices ...


Susanna Hill's Valentiny contest is on:
214 words - sweet, funny, surprising and full of hope ... this tale is 213 words long
I'm not meant to be putting in pictures ... but I feel I need to ... little Robins desire to shine their lights out into the world ... be it snow time in the UK, or chestnut orange here heralding Spring on continental America ...

European Robin
My name is Robin and I am a little song bird ... but am I Robin red-breast who lives in the old country of England?

... or am I a chestnut-orange red-breasted Robin, who inhabits that huge land called America?

American Robin

Oh! and I love worms to eat ... I bet many of you go looking for worms ... do you let them wriggle and squiggle a bit ... before you eat them?

Many, many moons ago ... my present garden owner made manure pies (yugh!!) with worms ... which she really really truly wanted her brothers to eat ... but her Mummy and Daddy thought that was not a good idea ... huh?! what do you think? 

Worms for supper?
Those humans laughed and giggled at the thought ... 

... but my red red Robin friends ... be they red, or chestnut-orange ... keep bobbing along snaffling at the ground for a wriggly squiggle or two ...

Chocolate Heart
When I grow up ...I will give my love my throbbing heart, which hides under my chestnut-orange-red breast ... perhaps you will do that ... 

... or will you search for some heart-shaped chocolates for Valentine's Day ... 

Disney's Christopher Robin ...
he looks sad, perhaps he needs to
see his Robin bird ...
Then there's the wonderful stories of Christopher Robin ... now those are stories for another day ... 

Gardener's friend with dinner!

... bye bye from the Robin bird.

Links for the contest can be found here - I came in via Robyn Campbell,

but Susanna Hill runs the story entries:

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories