Monday 28 February 2022

We are the World Blogfest # 56 – Compassion, Peace and Ukraine …


We have to hope for the future of Ukraine, especially that peace can come very soon and with it compassion from all sides …

St Sofia's Cathedral, Kiev

I have been wondering what to post for a week now – but need to do a penultimate #WATWB post … the regular postings will discontinue after March, but I may well carry on in some format …

I'm posting on positive aspects of Ukraine – its literature, music and art, culinary traditions … to give an overview of parts of their culture – encouraging you to look further.

Years ago I first came across “A Short History of Tractors in Ukraine” - the hilarious and award winning debut novel by Marina Lewycka …

I love the cover image where the title is set out using depictions of gear wheels, nuts, bolts, spanners, etc … my first, and so far, only Ukrainian novel.

A friend mentioned Mussorgsky's “Great Gate of Kiev” … a wonderful resonating composition inspired by folklore – an amazing listen.

Hartmann's design for the entrance to
the Ukrainian city of Kiev

Mussorgsky was inspired to compose his suite 'Pictures at an Exhibition' after touring the exhibition of 400 works by the artist Victor Hartmann. Hartmann's early death at 39 shocked Mussorgsky along with others in Russia's art world.

Cossack Mamay,
playing a kobza

Cossack Mamay is encountered in legends, folk stories and proverbs … and is today one of the most enduring characters in Ukrainian folk painting.

As you might expect I have to include culinary arts … I heard an interview with the London-based Ukrainian chef, food writer and food stylist, Olia Hercules … which sent me to find out more.

She had commented that Kiev was a beautiful bustling European city full of young inspirational and energetic peoples … and if she'd been there at the weekend … she'd have been going to Kanapa restaurant where they serve modern Ukrainian-European dishes … she mentioned one: Bortscht made with smoked pears from the Poltava region in central Ukraine.

Ukrainian Bortscht

She was so concerned saying that the people suffering were just regular people: like us …

The humanitarian needs are enormous … the bordering countries have immediately set up way-stations for food and water on arrival, tents, then warehouses providing essentials … ranging from medical assistance, care packages, day-to- day items … even to offering jobs, accommodation, car transport …

The Kind Angel of Peace,
Ukraine, located in 

even a midwife and psychologist have made themselves available …

The cities in Ukraine are taking a battering – poor, poor people … I cannot imagine what their lives must be like.

Their President and government are being extraordinarily thoughtful and inspirational – an example for many.

One of their symbols ... great
fields of them grow in their
central region

The Ukrainians do not deserve this – their normal outlook of happiness, optimism, honesty, desiring peace is being sorely tried …

I just wanted this post to have some positivity in it – and now I want to find out more about the country, which I'm doing and will continue to do …

However, I thought posting a copy of this image was appropriate for today's post …

The Reconciliation

Josefina De Vasconcellos said:

"The sculpture was originally conceived in the aftermath of the War. Europe was in shock, people were stunned. I read in a newspaper about a woman who crossed Europe on foot to find her husband, and I was so moved that I made the sculpture. Then I thought that it wasn't only about the reunion of two people but hopefully a reunion of nations which had been fighting."

We are the World Blogfest

In Darkness, Be Light

Peace and Compassion for Ukraine

Links:  The Great Gate of Kiev - magnificent to hear (6 mins)

Pictures at an Exhibition (36 minutes)

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday 19 February 2022

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop / IWSG hop: All You Need Is Love …

 Do you – yes, perhaps as a teenager, love or have a belief in love, as so important – we married young … and over the years I've come to realise 'what is love'?

It's something that I've been thinking about for a few years – the kids are grown up, I've been able to work and learn more about life in the world.

I have a natural curiosity, whereas my husband is more 'stuck in the mud' … I find it frustrating being married to someone whose mind isn't very open to new ideas and who seems to live vicariously.

A globe to see where in the world, with
books to open our eyes ... 

The time has perhaps come for me to move on … my husband will be fine – it'll be a shock initially, but our families are around, his friends are there, and the kids will adjust … 

I may be travelling and living independently – but I need a life.

African Daisy - perhaps see
Africa in all its glory

The break has to be made … over 20 years is a good run, isn't it … I've been itching to have a break from family and husband-life … so now I must make it happen … Music May Be the Food of Love … but my Boots are Made for Walking …

I think hiking boots would be
a better choice!

Catch Me When You Can … I won't be far away … just a-travelling to places, seeing life, expanding my horizons … and who knows giving me that chance of love once again … yet independent people can manage being in love with life … love would be wonderful, but so is peace of mind and independent living …

Perhaps this book will inspire my travels ... 

If Music Be the Food of Love ... 

"Journey through time to relive the passion and romance of three ailing women whose lives were forever altered through the powerful presence of music, opening gateways to true love."

WEP/IWSG – see here for entry parameters and contributors … everyone welcome!

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Sunday 13 February 2022

Crags and Splinters of Life, including Panoramic Maps …


Nothing wrong … just life jiggers ups and downs … and though getting lighter, still is dark and glum – but perhaps I need to look beyond what's in front of me – deal with that – and check in on nature and its beauty.

Amsterdam in 1538 - depicted by Cornelis
Anthonisz -a bird's-eye view

The art of creating Panoramic Maps, or scenic representations, came into my brain-line via Heinrich C Berann, as I'd always been 'bemused' by the birds-eye views dating back to those of the 1500s – especially for someone like me, who cannot visualise a landscape.

A depiction of Cape Town, with 
its Table Mountain standing proud and tall

Travelling – the touristy maps were often coloured, prettied up, sketchy clever outlines of a pictorial route – that could be driven, hiked or wandered along.

Denali National Park and Preserve (1994)

Berann's depictions of the American national parks is that they look fairly realistic, while enhancing the landscapes. He made sure all the important features of each park were visible, sometimes this required creative distortion.

Cape Town's hinterland

Other aspects of cartography also entered into the realms of this brain … but had better be suppressed here … otherwise there will not be a post.

For more on Berann please see here

Those enjoying themselves celebrating
being together ... have fun

Wishing everyone a happy week ahead … I hope to continue blogging, though I'm very tempted to retire and read … but that won't be happening … I need to blog – it opens my eyes to so much, and I'd miss you all …

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories