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A Real Swan Lake

Winter has arrived on the Gold Coast, here in Australia. To be fair, it is hardly a winter that many from the northern hemisphere would recognise - the sun is shining from an azure sky with only a wispy cloud to be seen. The temperatures at night do drop to 11C at times but by noon we are back to 24C or 25C. There is a freshness in the air that is invigorating. A far cry indeed from my life in Scotland where winter could see us snowed in on occasion with a steel grey blanket for a sky and chilly winds having to be beaten off by blazing fires or muffling up before setting foot outside.

My husband wrote a short poem encapsulating the feeling as winter in the north approaches, which I think is rather good (but then I would, wouldn't I :) He titled it: Autumn - Winter's Herald

With sleep-blurred eyes I wake early to a darkened day

A long-forgotten summer's window still opened to the fresh air

Breathes not sun and warmth but its chilled whisper across the room

Gingerly I step out into the pre-dawn.

Cold fingers of wind brush through trees readying themselves for their winter's hibernation

And tumbling leaves shower and drift and fall, at last, to the hardened ground.

A yellow, brown, gold, umber and burnt-red carpet shuffles under my feet

And with each step I hunch up tighter against the chilling breath of winter's herald.

No birdsong.

A grey lowering sky and an ominous promise of a dreich day ahead.

Another of Autumn's dying, sighing days

Sadly signals a bleak winter yet to come.

But here! our winter days are normally a joy. We also had the thrill of a visit from the two black swans that live on our lake (Odile and Siegfried). Recently we had only seen Siegfried cruising the lake but today the pair of them turned up with their 7 grey cygnets. They arrived as if presenting their achievement for our approbation (and of course feeding!).

I used to be a ballet 'nut' when I was in my teens until injury forced me off the stage and Swan Lake is my favourite ballet, so how wonderful to have my very own black swans!

SWAN LAKE - Grand Pas de Deux - Odile & Prince Siegfried (Natalia Osipova & Matthew Golding)

Not only swans. We also had a visit at the same time from a pelican. They are magnificent birds with deep, large eyes and a ridiculously magnificent beak. They feed on the plentiful fish in the lake but are not frequent visitors. Always welcome nonetheless.

Of course, my time is not spent feeding the swans or watching the colourful bird life on and off the lake. I am currently very much engrossed in creating and finishing Queen Elizabeth II in her coronation robes, Marie Antoinette (with a ship headdress - see below), Kate and Charlotte in their coronation day outfits (a requested order from a previous customer) and readying my porcelain Marie Antoinette for shipping.

There's a lot of embroidery involved in the coronation gowns but I happily settle down at my work bench with the sun streaming in so I am snuggled up, warm and absorbed for hours on end - occasionally having my concentration broken when David brings in a cup of tea.

I also enjoy creating jewellery and shoes.

As you can see, recreating a scaled down crown for Elizabeth was a challenge, but I am very happy with the end product....

Like a lot of women, I have a thing about shoes - I'm not an Imelda Marcos hoarder but I do so enjoy creating my dolls' shoes which can be taken off and replaced of course.

Here's a sample..

Now that I am no longer making porcelain dolls, I have started making my porcelain originals for sale on my web site which is how I received an order for porcelain Marie Antoinette. I made her about 20 years ago and, while the quality of the porcelain never ages, her dress - which is primarily made from silver cloth and lace - has, to my eye - lost a little of its lustre. I am currently debating and discussing with the collector whether to create a new dress for her before she ships (no charge of course). If our mutual decision is to go ahead, I can see a busy few months ahead! But quality is everything.

Keep well. All the best


Lady of Finavon


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