Monday, 21 July 2014

Something you may not know about me

Some people like shopping for clothes,
some people like shopping for shoes.
Let me loose in a specialist horticultural, arboricultural and forestry outlet
on an out of the way light industrial estate
and I'm in my element.

Admittedly I have to dust off my Blokeish,
but look what I got.

It's an extendable pole lopper with a twelve foot reach.
Just the job.

Here's where it all started.

Or perhaps it lurks even further back in the blood.
My maternal grandfather (after a stint as a teenager, opal mining in Australia)
studied forestry in Germany and then joined the Indian Forestry Service
and served at Chatrapur, Berhampore and Parlikimedia
in the north of Madras Presidency.
Me, I'm controlling brambles, ash and sycamores
in the south of England Residency.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Work in progress

Looks like you're trying to make a quilt Lucille.
Need any help?

No thank you. I have read all the blogs.
I have the rotary cutter and the special ruler and the self-healing board.
I have the fat quarters and the pins.
What can possibly go wrong?

Do not click to enlarge to see the mismatched corners.

I said don't.

Anyway, look at this.
I've washed an old tablecloth to use as 
the backing material.

It's bleaching in the sun.
It will look as though I have hand embroidered the back.

If the child asks one day,
'Granny did you embroider the back?'
I will have to say,
'My dear, it was all I could do
to make the squares line up properly.
But I did it as carefully as I could
on a very hot day in July 2014 while we were waiting
for you to arrive.'

Monday, 14 July 2014

Take your pick

It was a choice between this

or  this on the radio


on a recent long drive.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

My Teenage Diary

Prompted by Rebecca's post here
and this radio 4 programme
I have dug out a picture of me at 15
and extracted a few nuggets from the diary of that year.
It was a very small diary with not much room for heartfelt outpourings
but it is the music that ignites the memory.

I will spare you the meticulous record of homework, hair washes
and barfs (that's baths not the American thing).

Went over to Maxine's watched last Forsythe Saga. Very sad.

 Had a barf. Washed my hair.
(oops sorry)

Fantastic NME Wembley concert.
 Amen Corner, Johnny Nash, Desmond Dekker, Love Affair, Lulu, Marmalade, 
Hank Marvin, Robin and Maurice Gibb,  Move, Cliff Richard, Peter Sarstedt, 
Scaffold, Steppenwolf, Tremeloes, Clodagh Rodgers, Tony Blackburn.

Sold Monkees LP for 12/6 bought Cat Stevens LP for 7/6. Good bargain.
(That was a significant transition as well as transaction.)

Went to Carnaby Street.

Maths and geography exams diabolicale.(sic)

Killed myself in rounders tournament.

Attempted Bronze survival and failed.

Learnt to play Moonlight Sonata.
(Slow movement only like E.F Benson's Lucia.)

Moon Landing 9.18
3.56 Man on moon.
Took off from moon 6.54
Didn't go to school.

Amen Corner splitting 
(This was tragic news.)

Went to see Forty Years On. Alan Bennett, John Gielgud. 
V.G but took ages to get there.

Got called Twiggy in Oxford Street.

Emma and I got Abbey Road for 29/11.

Heard I am going on Caribbean cruise next year.
(This was on the educational cruise ship the S.S Nevasa.)

Mummy got lovely dress material for my maxi.

Entered Biba competition.

Music lesson diabolical.

He is an immature scrap who enjoys a bit of fun on Saturday nights.
He can find someone else to drag around & I'm glad it won't be me.
 I don't care if I never see that nit again. 
And I probably won't.
He's a no good drip.

Saw The Graduate and have grown up a little.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014


I don't take much notice of care labels
unless one of the plasticky ones is irritating my skin
where it is sewn into a seam.
Thus it was this morning, that I took a pair of scissors to
the labels in a new shirt, marvelling at the mine of information
contained on four of them in fifteen languages
and mentally consigning the spare buttons to the spare button drawer
holding all the other spare buttons for garments long forgotten.

Then I noticed the erratum slip - the prickliest culprit.
'Use mild detergent', it said.
They had gone to some trouble to insert this.
What must the original instruction have said?
I went back to the care label.
There were fifteen symbols on it.
My life was shortening as I tried to decipher them
but I needed to know what I might have done,
had I tried to obey the care instructions.

Cold rinse in early morning dew?
Wash only in asses' milk?
 Beat with twigs?

The shirt is grey with white polka dots.
If I had followed their injunction to use bleach
it would have been white with white polka dots.
Phew.Thank goodness I don't bother about care labels.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Blog on auto

No more fiddling around to get that perfect shot.
Just press the shutter as you pass wherever the camera happens to be resting
 and bingo, freehand photography.

Is it the silly season yet?

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Throwing open the windows

It is a rare occasion when both these windows are open.
I couldn't even find the keys.

 But if it wasn't going to be today,
then when?
There is a warm wind blowing through,
stirring the curtains
and sending papers to the floor.

The Midsummer light shade, rustles and spins
shaking off the dust.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A flowery mead

This is a circular 'meadow',
one metre in diameter
cut out of the middle of our scruffy lawn.
I'm very pleased with it.
I just sprinkled them about a bit
and up they popped.
She says it will still be flowering at the end of October.
We'll see.

Special effects

Through a lemonade glass lightly.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sissinghurst secluded

No, not a special out of hours viewing.

But a cunning plan.

 Arrive just before opening time at 11am.
Even on a fine June Saturday.

 Queue politely with the milling crowd at the entrance booth.

Walk purposefully through the gateway
as the clock strikes 11.

Then when everyone turns left to see The White Garden,
looking its best at this time of year,
but very confined,

turn sharp right

and have the rest of the garden to yourself.
They haven't even had time to climb the tower.

Of course you will soon start meeting people
as they percolate through to Delos,
the Rose Garden, the Cottage garden, the Orchard, the Nuttery, 
the Yew Walk, the Herb Garden, the Moat Walk and the Lime Walk
and then you will have to content yourself with close ups.

But you will perhaps have done everyone a small favour
by staying out of their way,
especially if they have flown thousands of miles
for a once in a lifetime visit.

Monday, 30 June 2014

The new old walks

Whenever I set off for a familiar walk

I invariably wonder aloud whether

I really want to carry my camera

because I can picture it so well

and nothing will have changed much.

I am always wrong.

I left the camera behind when I went for a short walk by the sea.
There was a beached ray on its back, smiling up from the sand
just like a Disney character.

Friday, 27 June 2014

The Lovatt jug

One of my mother's jugs, often filled with Dad's gladioli
and always seeming huge.
It is big, and I don't often have big enough flowers
to do it justice.
These came from the meadow bank where the ox-eye daisies
are tall enough to make me feel like a child again
when I walk down the path between them.