Tag Archives: Samunnat

Wednesday…back in the saddle!

This is an unashamedly Samunnat flavoured post.

photo 3There was no rest for the wicked after arriving in Kathmandu. After a surprisingly short wait in the visa queue and throwing my bags into my room, Kopila and I met for some serious shopping.  We had three goals:

1. purchase a lot of silver findings from Abdul and Shokira at Fozia to cope with our steadily growing orders for completed jewellery;

photo 12. search every inch of the Bead Bajar in Indra Chowk for the elusive turquoise coloured pote bead (you can see from the photo that turquoise is not the top colour!  Gimme GREEN and RED baby!); and

3. look at big ovens (Kopila had no idea such a thing existed. Totally blown away!)

Neither of us are huge fans of KTM so the plan was to shop fast and go. And we did. Fortified by lovingly made dal bhat courtesy of our dear bhai Bishnu and Bil, we spent more money in two and half days than in a long time.  But we got the silver, found the beads (despite nearly every bloke in the market telling us Paundaina- not available – with a remorseful shake of his head) cleaned the cupboard sized shop of the aforementioned turquoise beads and…no….we didn’t look at ovens.  Well, we didn’t just look atphoto 4 ovens. WE BOUGHT ONE!!!!

Personally, I will really, really miss the ear splitting, conversation stopping, relentless, head ache inducing noise of the generator we have to use with our current electric toaster ovens.  But I think I will get over it.  Our gas oven will be quieter, cleaner, cheaper to run, more efficient and the biggest single purchase (apart from the building) that we have ever made.

So now I sit here in my other home, a rising red sun hovering above misty fields of grain, my beloved Sigur Ros triumphantly soaring* in my ears thanks to my new hearing aid suitable headphones (an indulgence in Singapore).  Life is complex. Not all good, not all bad. But it is life and I am so grateful for every minute.

PS Also managed to squeeze in shopping for chappals so our feet don’t get cold inside.  For more about Samunnat activities, keep reading that blog too!

PPS The weather was so much warmer than the clothing worn in the last photo would suggest. Very pleasant. Ana bahini, I was not wearing my cardie or beanie. Go figure.

*Possibly painfully loudly but gee….sounds good to me!

Rise to the Challenge!

There is nothing like a design challenge to kickstart your creativity, especially when your creative get up and go feels like it got up and went.  The magnificent Paulette Walther of Kazuri Beads has issued such a challenge on her Many Hands Marketplace website and there are so many wins for those who enter.

sammunat-polymer-bead-leather-braceletFirstly, the sale of Samunnat beads provides an income for my beloved Samunnat ladies.  Secondly, this is a way to spread the word about their beautiful loose beads. (Please send the links about the competition FAR AND WIDE!!) Thirdly, winners can win wonderful prizes and fourthly, it helps to strengthen and nurture this amazing creative connection that exists in our community.  One of the judges, Pearl Blay, is a talented, generous, inspiring lady who has written about the ladies on her fabulous Beading Gem blog and made it possible for them to own a Modahaus Table Top Studio after I loved mine so much.

DSCN5353She has created several designs like the one above to inspire people entering the competition and you can see them here.  Because every bead the ladies make gets sent to Paulette, I don’t have many here in Australia to play with but that is about to change as I am giving myself the challenge of creating one piece a month using Samunnat or Kazuri beads.  Here’s one which does not use our sliders but does use the Bindu beads in Black/ White combined with black ceramic beads from an exotic bead market in Rockdale. I was inspired by the shape of those seeds that have a tail to carry them across vast distances.  You will also see the influence of ethnic and tribal jewellery because that’s what I love!!  Stay tuned as I grow in my role as part of the Kazuri West-Many Hands Marketplace with several other designers. Over the next few weeks, I will introduceDSCN5357 you to them!

La, back to packing a box of Samunnat goodies to take to Canberra. More piccies soon!  Why don’t you respond to Paulette’s call to make a piece of jewellery using Samunnat or Kazuri slider beads? Or tell others who might.

Cross Paulination

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In this post I wrote about when Samunnat was contacted by Paulette Walther of Kazuri West about selling loose beads.  We were hesitant, to say the least, but were totally won over by Paulette’s patience, transparency, clarity, and commitment to the well being of the ladies.

The reality was…I was terrified.  We’d had our fingers well and truly burnt in the past and I did not feel anywhere near up to the step that was looming ahead. Paulette’s compassion, coupled with our experience that courage wasn’t not feeling scared but about feeling scared and still doing what needed to be done, meant that we did take that next step.  Albeit falteringly.  And the rest, as they say, is history.  Nearly two years later, the bulk of the ladies’ income, and our capacity to provide legal services, counselling, emergency support and income generation training comes from the money we make from the sale of loose beads.  We love her.

And now, Paulette has established her presence on Facebook!  To celebrate, she’s running a wonderful contest where all you have to do is LIKE the new page andct_paulette_helen make a comment. For this, you are in the running to win one of three prizes:

Helen Breil’s new e-book;

Cynthia Tinapple’s Extruder Disc set; or

5 Samunnat Nepal beads!!!

Hope over to the Facebook page and LIKE and comment and we will have our fingers crossed for you.  Doing this means you are helping us. Tell your friends about the new Facebook page and check in regularly to learn about projects to use our beads, new products, exciting contests and lots more!

The bottom line is that the more beads we sell, the more we can do at Samunnat Nepal.

Creating art, being art, wearing art

I am reading and listening to the thoughts of Parker J. Palmer.  Good stuff. Here, he recently wrote:

“Artistry” is not confined to folks who create verbal, visual, or musical forms of beauty. I know people who are artists at parenting, friendship, gardening, manual labor, teaching, leadership, problem-solving, care-giving, peace-making, or just plain living!

(Hear, hear!!!  It’s always nice to read something you have thought so well expressed!)

Therefore ALL of us can heed, he said, these wise words from the wonderful Wendell Berry about the value of obstacles in the creative process:

“There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say, ‘It is yet more difficult than you thought.’ This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

 DSCF0403Oscar Wilde apparently said, and I have regularly quoted him saying, One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art. I took this to heart for my daughter’s wedding. (Yes, funny how that wedding comes up regularly now.  Don’t worry, it will be the baby soon enough.) Until a couple of weeks before the wedding I had not really had a chance to think about my dress.  As luck would have it, on my travels I came across Aventures des Toiles. Each season, they choose seven pieces of art to inspire seven lines of clothing. They talk about the concept for inspiring young designers here. The dress I wore to the wedding was inspired by a painting called Les Almandiers by Isabelle Merlet. And I love wearing it. Thank you Isabelle. Thank you ADT.

Somewhat uncharacteristically, I didn’t decide on jewellery until theExif_JPEG_PICTURE night before (I know…what was I thinking) and at the very last minute selected a piece I made over five years ago in my little studio corner overlooking the jungle in Nepal.  I was inspired by the magnificent colours of the sunsets in the Terai that I witnessed so many times on the bus home from Birtamod.  Intense peaches, Exif_JPEG_PICTUREoranges, pomegranate tones. A dramatic and beautiful sunset gift followed by a magnificent ultramarine night sky.  This necklace was an early outing of the beads that subsequently became the sari beads made by the Samunnat ladies. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. But I guess it wasn’t all about me.

Tomorrow, we start our long drive home.  Aaaaaah. Home.

It was VERY REMISS of me, especially in light of all the gorgeous comments, not  to credit darling Tony Byrt for the great family photo. He gets a proper thank you here! The crappy topper photo was by me!

 

An authentic and colourful life….Katwise

It’s hot here now.  When I was struggling to learn Nepali in the early days*, I got confused between pasina ayo (I’m sweating-lit. sweat came) and asina ayo (snow came). Now I remember P for perspiration and P for pasina and boy, oh boy….pasina ayo!  I realise this may be too much information here but I am not telling you the half of it.  I could go into details about my eye…but I won’t. No selfies though.

images-2Instead of doing Samunnat’s Eurosynergy activities (an inventory and preparing our presentation) I did some …research (sounds so much better than browsing online!). Productive procrastination.  Mum encouraged it. You can always blame the mother.  I found the website of Kat O’Sullivan who describes herself as a free spirited girl who makes funny patchwork coats out of old sweaters.

She is magnificent**!  Kat lives in a wonderfully colourful house and travels the world, often in a images-4psychedelic bus.  In her blog she talks about a lot of things relating to creativity…the value of not following every whim; of working with constraints.  She discovered how much style and whimsy you can spin on your business. I am looking forward to that!

house_079She makes some fabulous observations about copying.  People began to blatantly copy her and she felt very vulnerable. A friend talked to her about weaving her art into the narrative of her life.  Her sweaters ceased to be just objects to wear and became little fragments of her charmed lifeauthentic manifestations of her whimsical world…souvenirs of this whole crazy life …[she has] been gifted with.  She realised that her work was imbued with her magic- unique to her.  She realised that by sharing more of her world, the sweaters became like bouquets from her garden. What a fabulous metaphor.  I connected with this because I consciously try to imbue everything I make with a kind of generous, positive energy.  We know that at Samunnat too, what we make is part of a much bigger and profoundly special story.

Infused through it all was her commitment to authenticity and living and creating wholeheartedly.  She writes:

I never take myself too seriously – and I think that keeps my work flowing freelyimages-5 and my expression genuine. A lot of times when people are trying to make art a living they end up trying to meet others expectations, or getting so self-reflective that they lose perspective. I think I have a healthy sense of humor and detachment about what I do and the ability to embrace my many shortcomings as an artist. It is my hope that when people look at what I do they can feel that it came from a genuine place. I want the intentions I put into things to resonate with people, so they aren’t just buying an object, but a little chunk of happy energy.

Brighten your day by reading about Kat.  She would LOVE it here at Birtamod where a riot of colour is almost a mundane everyday event!

*I eventually stopped struggling- my still pathetic Nepali is a source of great amusement here!  I am pretty exceptional with colour, food and jewellery related terms and almost useless in daily conversation!  I can tell you when I am sweating though.

**She even answers emails! All photos and quotes used with kind and personally emailed permission. Howzat!?

 

Doing what you love

photoIt’s interesting how something can be on your mind and then you find that others have been thinking about it too. I’m not the only one who has been reflecting on work!  In the early days at Samunnat I’d often ask the ladies if they were enjoying their work.  Always, they said. It was new and exciting and we were learning, chatting while we worked, playing with new ideas.  Then as things progressed and we were making hundreds of the same kind of bead, bowing to market choices, working to deadlines, discussing overtime rates, I worried that it would seem repetitive, boring…work like.  I wanted them to be ablephoto to Do What They Loved.

But my initial enthusiasm about notions like Do what you love didn’t fit with my experience of reality.  When I was in paid employment, I loved my job, but there were days when it was tough…busy, draining, boring, repetitive, frustrating and stressful.  I had to accept that there would be days a bit like that for us at Samunnat too.  I knew that the people breaking rocks on the side of the road, or porters carrying loads on a trek photodid not find creative fulfilment in their work.  Being terrifically creatively fulfilled at work is a luxury reserved for a select few.  If everyone was to Do What They Loved it means there should be people who LOVE stacking shelves, cleaning toilets, doing crap jobs to keep the wheels of society turning.  As James Shelley says You can only do what you love as long as someone else makes sure the toilet isn’t backing up. 

I also realised that sometimes, emphasising to people that they love their work makes them very vulnerable to exploitation.  Early on, the ladies would offer tophoto work extras days because they loved what they did.  We said that loving what you do doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect a fair day’s pay.  You work and you get paid fairly. Loving what you do is a bonus and does not mean you get paid less or should do more than you are paid for or is reasonable to expect.  The ladies love that they have a job they can do with dignity.  They love that they can create something beautiful and earn an income from it.  For them, work is work.  It is fulfilling and creative but essentially, and this is the priority for them, it feeds their families and educates their kids.

For  a while when we returned from Nepal I felt like a failure that I wasn’t earning a living from my art. Perhaps I wasn’t loving it enough? It is almost embarrassing how much of a relief it was when James Dillehay suggested that my income did not have to derive from my art. I wish I had read this earlier too:

Do what you love is great advice if we interpret it as, “Make sure you make time for the things that matter to you.” If you love writing, make time to write. But please: Do what you love regardless of whether it’s your career.

photoBecause writers [or creators of any kind], it’s okay to make art that doesn’t contribute to your bottom line. And it’s okay to pay the bills via work that just pays the bills. Meanwhile, make sure you’re also doing what you love.

(At first glance the accompanying photos of my latest discovery for the Colourful Journey might seem totally unrelated to the content of the post but the people working here at a nearby Nepali lokta paper making business were happy to show me around. Slightly surprised by my interest but happy enough.  Some of these people make 600 sheets of paper a day each and I doubt that this is particularly creatively fulfilling. They are relieved when the sheet of paper turns out well, they were pleased that I like it and proud, but most of all, they were glad they had a job where they had a steady income, where a husband and wife could both be employed and where their kids could potter around nearby. They had a job where they worked decent hours and were able to do the other stuff that keeps a Nepali family chugging along.  The observant reader will notice a fire in the background.  The entire village ran to the scene, one man carrying bucket of water.  Eventually, a good 20 minutes later, a fire truck arrived.  The first I’d seen in the country.  By then the fire was basically out but it was good to know they existed.)

 

 

Finding the Sweet Spot

imageSo…about 20 seconds after the last epistle, the time to read abruptly stopped and it has been a sustained, intense, not much time for reading, making notes in the evenings, utterly exhausting time! Fantastic, rewarding, meaningful, energising and fun as well as exhausting, frustrating, confounding, perplexing and tough. I was reminded of my friend Deb’s post here about happiness.

I have one more full day of work here. Members of my beloved family arrive tomorrow and I feel like a school girl wanting to excitedly rush them around my class room. This is such a massive part of my life and I am so thrilled to have them here. They have been supportive from day one so they too, are excited. The ladies are thrilled and fascinated to meet them! Much felicitation has been planned.  They have heard lots of stories over the years and are particularly impressed that my dad is heading off to do a trek that is actually a pilgrimage they would all love to do. They ko aid that the fact that a bloke in his late 70’s is doing it is pretty good! And they said imagethat…bloke... Well, not bloke then.

There has been a long strike in the run up to the election. My dad can climb huge hills with ease, but is less thrilled about strikes so we hope that our contingency plans to get them from the airport work out well. It is easier for some people to walk 20 kms through rugged terrain than jump on the back of a motor bike! (Only joking dad! Sort of)

imageAs I descended into a deep wallow of my exhaustion for a nanosecond last night, I realised it was more about wondering why I can’t be more balanced. There you have it people, a confession of sorts. A moment of searingly honest insight. Then I decided that really balance is not all it is cracked up to be. Like my friend Deb sort of said. I don’t have a balanced life. Never have really. But I love this funny old life. Everyone knows that.

I am going to finish this with a quote from Marianne Elliott which I re read often. She says, way more eloquently than I ever could, some of the things I think. The struggle I have regarding a lot of the search for in inner happiness and look after yourself first stuff. I agree, this is an area where we do need balance. Marianne says:

Let me make this declaration upfront: I’m extremely wary of ‘self-improvement’, as a goal or a genre. I’m always a little horrified when anyone suggests my book, Zen Under Fire, falls into the category of self-improvement. It’s a memoir, a story of impotence and despair and the path I found from there back to service, through faith and action. It’s not about self-improvement.

But it is about self-care. At least in part. It’s partly a story of what happens when we try to serve others without taking care of ourselves, and the toll that can end up taking on our health, our work and our relationships.

It seems so obvious as to be trite – each of us is responsible for taking care of our own basic needs. But it seems to bear repeating, over and over again. I certainly need to be reminded of it, regularly.

In life, unlike on a plane, it is not always as simple as putting on your own oxygen mask first.

There will be times when the needs of your community require that you sacrifice something of your own comfort, perhaps even your own well-being; times of crisis, emergencies that call on all of us to assess honestly what we are willing to give up, and how far we are ready to go to serve and protect the people we love.

In so many ways, this willingness to put ourselves out for others, because we know that the benefit to them – or to our collective – will outweigh the inconvenience to us, lies at the heart of what it means to be part of a community.

Our impulse to build community through these small (and sometimes not so small) acts of sacrifice is both the glue that connects us to each other and, sometimes, the greatest challenge to our ability to take good care of ourselves.

Because we want to connect, because we are wired for connection, we agree to do more than we can really afford to do – we commit more time, more energy, more resources than we really have to spare. The scales tip out of balance very quickly, too, when the willingness to make sacrifice, to build trust and connection, is not reciprocal.

My personal path is a hunt for the sweet spot – the place where I take care of myself, know my limits and set up some boundaries that keep me from overstretching myself repeatedly, but without switching off my impulse to serve, to help and to create community and connection through personal sacrifice for the good of the whole.

Because – just as there will be times when the overall health of our community calls on us to give a little more than is comfortable – there will be times in our lives, inevitably, when we can’t take care of our own needs and will have to rely on others to help us. (love this bit! Ed)

So our long-term well being as individuals relies on the health of our community.

And although the health of any community obviously relies on the health of it’s individual members, there will be times when we are each called on to go a little further, give a little more than is comfortable and stretch a little beyond what feels possible, to ensure that community – without which we cannot survive and certainly cannot achieve any meaningful social change in the world – is preserved.

Back to the search for the sweet spot, and the madness….

Jungle Queens

I love the squashed rondelle shape in a bead and use it a lot. I must prefer them to round beads at some deep unconscious level because I rarely use the latter.

imageAt Samunnat, we are working on new designs for the wonderful Paulette Of Kazuri Beads. We are very lucky to have this relationship with her.  In the After the Monsoon cone of silence, I can say that I think Paulette and I share certain characteristics. Like…neither of us are at all driven.  You wouldn’t say that. Not at all.  But we both have pretty busy brains and are the kind of women who like to maximise the moment. I used this romantic phrase with my dear MM when we skyped and I told him I was maximising a spare moment.  How we laughed.

But back to Rondelles.  At Samunnat, we are making some beads for leather and had some small scraps left over. Too small for the slides but enough to play around with on Rondelles. We all loved them and could imagine them as a long necklace on black or chocolate leather cord. I will post more photos of other colours we played with. They might get back to our Galleries in Australia or they might be snaffled up by the Colourful Journeyimage trippers if they get in first!

As well as playing around a bit with some off duty beads, we treated ourselves to some sweets…mithai…very sweet milk based treats sold by the nice young men at the Calacutta Sweet Shop on the main drag. I love these places. This one reminds me of the Blue Bird Cafe at Leeton or the Niagara at Goulburn. But maybe that suggests I have been away too long!

And finally for now, a big Namaste to Mattie in Geelong, my long distance IT guru who taught me, via his cousin, how to get my photos the right way up and how to make more room for photos on my iPad. Mattie, your blood’s worth bottling! Dherai dhanyabad!

Thoughts on a creative life

Creativity is how you choose to respond to what happens in your life:  Your choices generate – Happy Shobhacreate – what happens next in your life….creativity is a process that we are engaged in every minute of our lives.

I can still remember the quiet thrill of excitement I felt reading those words by Tory Hughes in her Creative Development Manual.  These words seemed to confirm a discovery I was (somewhat slowly!) making for myself.  Creativity was not just what happened when I sat down in my little room and mixed colours and made something.  Creativity was how I responded to everything – joys, obstacles, challenges, unpredictable events in all of my life.  Creativity was really seeing, questioning, adapting, changing, recognising and DSCN0861avoiding default responses and useless habitual behaviours, learning, playing. In ALL sorts of situations.

Creativity didn’t just happen when I had polymer in my hands.  It was a very liberating thought.

That same liberating realisation had a profound impact on my journey with the ladies at Samunnat which was starting at around the same DSCN0849time.   As Cynthia Tinapple said in a recent Studio Mojo:

Jumping into another culture, country, climate is a good way to rediscover what’s in front of your nose.

When I first started working with the ladies (but not for long I’ve got to say) I had very clear ideas about what WOULD NOT happen.  There were a whole heap of WOULD NOTS which really came from my preference for (perceived!) certainty and feeling in control all those years ago.  There would not be risks taken, that was for sure. We would be doing all we could to NOT MAKE MISTAKES. We would not look like we were stuffing up. We would only do the stuff where we knew what we were doing.  We would be taking THE SAFE PATH, my wordy me yes.  And where did that get us? Just the same place as that approach does when you areExif_JPEG_PICTURE making art, it got us big fat nowhere.

Luckily for us, being told that the SAFE, SUSTAINABLE items we’d made were not going to sell, coincided with what we were learning from playing with polymer.

Quite separate to our SAFE STUFF, we’d decided that it would not be a disaster if we just had some fun – played around with some of my polymer as respite from pretty awful situations that many of the ladies were in.  This would be OK we bravely thought!  It seems incredible to me now, years down the track to think I did not recognise the profound value of that fun.  Of that play, of that respite. Of how that playing would come to shape these ladies’ sense of self!  How it re-awakened their capacity for joy!  How it created a powerful and dynamic sisterhood that has changed my life.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREAs a result of that playing we re-connected with our innate knowledge that play was valuable; we discovered that we learnt more from our mistakes than from playing it safe; and that sometimes our mistakes looked beautiful.  The ladies learnt that pulling on their earlobes, bobbing up and down and repeating I am stupid (a standard Nepali educational strategy) was not the way we were going to respond to mistakes here.  Instead, we asked what worked; what didn’t; what we’d do differently next time (thank you precious Mark Ylvisaker!).  We saw mistakes in a new light.  We became less afraid of exploration, of asking questions, of trying things out.

For me, and this is the moment I was totally hooked I think, the most amazing moment was when one of the ladies looked up and, with a voice filled with wonder and joy, shared that she no longer saw herself as a victim because she had a new identity.  She had claimed a new identity. From that point on, she was an artist.

Our shared passion about the power of that creative energy that we all possess infuses the retreat that Tory and I are running in September.  We know we can know that energy and use it effectively, or that we can inadvertently smother it, block it. My dream is that tapping into the power of creative energy can be just as profound for the people who join us there as it was for me those amazing bahini haru* in Birtamod. As it still is, every day as we respond to what happens in our lives.

(NB: The photos show the *little sisters with some of their creations.  The photo of Shobha at the top, smiling with delight at HER necklace which she owned and would be wearing home, is a favourite. The lady to the right had just been referred to Samunnat. She is now one of our core artists!  She smiles with joy, fulfilment and pride rather than cowers with fear.)

Going Global

Well, I am going to Nepal and Cynthia Tinapple is going global!

Cynthia has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things polymer.  (And of many other fascinating things by the IMG_0173way.) This means she is the ideal person to write a book about global perspectives in polymer clay. In Polymer Clay Daily, she explores polymer art internationally and has created the basis for a fabulously supportive network of people. Her next post will be her 2000th!!  Congratulations Cynthia.  And thank you!  Cynthia visited the ladies of Samunnat in 2011 and taught them to make one of their best selling designs.

I am very excited about Cynthia’s book. Primarily because it features some really interesting people-artists I’m getting to know better, to my great delight. Artists Manifesto necklaceGWlike Genevieve Williamson who made a favourite necklace.  Her art has a wonderfully organic quality. Her quote to accompany this necklace is a great one: Never grow a wishbone daughter, where your backbone ought to be by Clementine Paddleford.  She is about to head off to St. Helena’s island, a British Overseas Territory you reach only by sea after a long boat trip. She’s got backbone!  We have shared our expat living experiences and her blog is one I love to read.

Rebecca Watkins is another artist featured in the book who makes gorgeous beads with a sense of playfulness and celebration.  Then there’s Claire Maunsell whose work is so subtle and organic, Fabi with her fabulDSCN0240ous sense of colour, Natalia Garcia de Leaniz joyful, spirited art and so many others.  Thirteen artists have each contributed a project to the book and Cynthia showcases the work of over 150 other artists.

I’m also there and just between you and me I kept half expecting a kindly worded email from Cynthia telling me that she’d decided to only include proper artists. It turns out others were sharing that thrilled but am I good enough? feeling!  I am excited that the story of theDesert Dash 2013 Samunnat ladies is being told in the book.  For all sorts of reasons I encourage you to bloody well buy it.  (I think Australians can use this phrase in a totally non- pressuring, friendly way!)

On Sunday I ran DSCN3582in one of the hardest fun runs I have ever completed-the Living Desert Dash-not so much fun as a sense of acheivement. I felt like the number on my chest was my core body temperature on completion of the event. In Celsius of course.  And, against the odds, I have uploaded the photos for my April FlickR 12 Projects 2013 entry.  Driven? Moi? Must stop. Getting into the car now.