Literary Landscapes

I made a visit to the graveyard courtesy of an old friend. It’s a multicultural place just like Wool City of course. I tidied up, put in flowers – real ones, perused over graves of the golden oldies and tidied a few of them too.

It’s a pleasant day, cooler than the last few weeks. We took a walk amongst the stones. So many were of mighty people, with enough money to pay out for obelisks, huge Celtic crosses as befits  the once wealthiest town in the world. A section for Muslims and a small one for Jews, where there was a little synagogue. All ours are clustered together in one section too. Communities stay together through everything.

I don’t think there’s anything morose about death or discussing it – what you would like to happen, but then I was once a young Goth in the 80’s who thought it romantic to hang out by the Parsonage in Haworth, taking photos and doing rubbings of stones.

The last few days I have watched BFI films of the town I grew up in. It was once quite a slum in the centre. The number of mills present was astounding. How filthy it must have been. Now it is pleasantly green, and although it’s a busy, busy place and road pollution is high, the trees soak it all up and nature has found a way to come back.

What of the future of the old mill towns. Becoming green can only be the way, but til then, roads will be widened, houses built. Another mill burnt down in the early hours of this morning, fourteen fire engines were present. Grey smoke wafts in this direction, the main artery closed, causing chaos west of the city.

We must remember to keep writing, creating the stories, note happenings. Imagination and magic is all that is needed to breathe new life in to this old hell.

A trip to Whitby is on the cards – long time no see. That will appease more of my inner dark romantic! I wonder what it’s like to be a vampire and if there are any around here. So lucky to live in a rich literary landscape. And somewhere forever foreboding…

Whitby

From picturesofengland.com

A veggie rice pita

Filo is easy to work with and not that hard to make! But if you want to buy some, go for Greek of Turkish if you can. Failing that, there are standard varieties available. You may have noticed there’s more than one type. Experiment with them all and you will find what suits you best and for which type of filling. Also whether you roll or stack.

For this pita, because the filling is heavy, I have gone with a packet of eight large sheets, using two sheets per roll of filling, bending each roll in a circular fashion around the tevsija.

You will need:

A large oven dish, ideally round and enamel

Packet of 8 large filo sheets

For the filling:

Cooked brown rice

Half an onion, 1 courgette, half a squash, half a red pepper, half a carrot, 1 celery stick – all chopped. You could add feta if you like.

Olive oil, 1 tsp of good no-salt veggie stock, ground black pepper, fennel seeds, thyme

Put the filling ingredients on a pan on the stove top with  a lid on, low heat, until the veg have softened.

Let the filling cool a little then spoon along two sheets on top of each other then roll over, repeat until all sheets are used.

Put olive oil in the oven dish and lay the rolls on top.

Place parchment paper on top and bake slowly for 45 mins to 1 hour. Serve with Mexican bean salad!

 

 

 

Past, present, future – writing and making for here and now.

Knitting and stitching projects, story-writing and rediscovering poetry are working towards being in the here and now and creating a new tomorrow.

I think it can take quite some time to make a shift, through the generations, out of tradition and into modernity. I am reading a mix of novels at the moment, including Lacuna by Kingsolver, Bosnian Chronicle, by Andric, The Ministry of.. by Roy. All of them evolve around cultures and the shifting of humanity across time. I have also learnt to accept that it’s fine to be between times, one foot here and another over there.

Progress is often slow, with a lot of stalling. It can be frustrating when a vision seems to take forever to transpire. But knitting and writing demand pacing, giving time and trusting the imagination. Trusting that if something wants to happen it will, when it’s ready. The vision of my work in progress is constantly there and I allow it to lead me to tell the story of others.

It’s Easter this weekend, and that draws me to painting eggs, baking with filo. The tradition would have been to pick food colouring from shelves, make a gibanica loaded with cheeses. Now it’s more about the natural (modern) way. Eggs are dyed with turmeric and coffee, as I used to with yarn years ago. Gibanica has a heavy dose of spinach and eggs, with sparing use of sheets.

 

Shifting is possible, keeping some traditions is too, if they are a part of you, ingrained. But a new way of being is also essential, for all of us. We travel constantly. Be sure to document your journey, and of others too. There’s a common theme for all of us.

I enjoyed a year of reading Italy, fiction and history, language and cuisine. I haven’t done yet. The dream is to go back again, soon, if possible.