Saturday, 15 October 2016

After Eight?

It started with a backlit Cotinus coggygria leaf
eight years ago.
I observe that my postings have declined in number year on year.
At this rate of attrition
(and I admit that my O-level maths is struggling here)
it looks as if there will be a biannual offering in 2017,
of, say, a shadow on the sand at low tide and a backlit autumn leaf,
and then a solitary smokebush leaf in 2018.

This calls for drastic action.
I must search further afield for exciting new material.

Friday, 14 October 2016

The last of the ha-ha-harvest

Red cabbage - mostly snail and caterpillar.
Carrots - mostly carrot fly.
Beetroot - mostly too big and woody.

Nevertheless I have managed to extract a borscht
from these flawed ingredients.
The snails and caterpillars were spared.

I have decided to give that bed over to tulips for cutting next spring.
It's too warm to plant them yet so I must hold off
otherwise they will be mostly - Tulip fire fungus.
Even Sarah Raven has suffered from this.

Friday, 7 October 2016


We are a starved society living in the midst of plenty.
Our possessions are many, our serenities few.

Laurie Lee.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Autumn delight

I mean, look at these.
Multicoloured berries,
like necklace beads,

or sugared almonds,

or tiny speckled blue eggs.

They were growing on some kind of vine
on a wire fence surrounding the tables
at a café in Kew Gardens.

I have never seen anything like them.
Nobody was taking any notice of them.
They weren't flagged up as seasonal highlights 
on the board at the entrance.

Finding them was a moment of pure delight.

If I can find out what they are
I'm going to grow them everywhere.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Summer's End

It was a perfect day to tackle a section of the 1066 Country Walk.

 And then this:
the sight of House Martins congregating on telephone wires and roofs.

We stopped half way for lunch in a pub,

turned back to retrace our footsteps,

and every last one of them had gone.

Today I pulled up the spent squash and runner bean plants
and started to think about -

you might want to look away now - 

my Advent window.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Harvesting lavender

What lovelier job is there in the garden.
It was so hot, I sat in the shade and stripped the stems
in a kind of stupor.

The humming bird moth was the liveliest creature
out there that day - too quick for my camera.
Even the bees were languorous.

These exceptional September days of 30º C plus
are forecast to end tonight with storms.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Letters from Abroad

When I was a child we never travelled further than Cornwall
(by steam train!).
We had no car and I took my first flight aged 16 when I went on a school cruise.
Nevertheless I was set a holiday project at primary school
entitled Letters From Abroad.

I had to write and illustrate letters from imaginary friends
in six foreign countries.
This was a great trial to me and my mother that summer.
I remember sitting for hours at the dining room table surrounded by
piles of travel brochures brought home from the travel agents,
snipping out pictures of exotic locations
and laboriously writing stilted descriptions of the
wonders to be seen in (amongst other places) the USA and India.

This morning I am having an entertaining exchange
with JofIndia about this,
and am salivating over a picture of his breakfast of 
masala dosa, tuna fish curry, vegetable sambar and hot lime pickle.

I have also just uploaded a picture of grand-daughter 
sitting on the steps to her New York apartment.
Son One has been for a run in a Brooklyn park and met the Mayor of London.
Son Two (also in New York) has attended a Pilates class 
and been for an Indian vegan curry.
Daughter-in-law has unpacked a gazillion suitcases and got everyone 
settled in nicely.

Through this blog and others I enjoy letters from
families at Home and Abroad every morning.

My mother would have loved the internet.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Sunday, 21 August 2016

A little idea

that I'm pleased with.

I have a lot of toys left over from my own childhood,
my mother's nursery school
and my own children.

Some of them have seen better days, 
and are mostly without their original packing.
I have a goodly supply of small boxes and so until recently
was happy enough just to decant and store into those.

But with lids on, these were not very helpful to little B 
who likes to choose toys and put them away herself on the shelf.

So I photocopied the contents

directly on the photocopier bed

and stuck the startlingly 3D image

onto each of the lids.

I'm going to do the same with Lego.
I sorted that years before I knew there'd be anyone else
playing with it, so it's all complete with instructions 
but there are hardly any original boxes.

It was such fun that I am casting round for other things to photocopy.
Food perhaps?
Art equipment?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


 A Dead Mole - Andrew Young

Strong - shouldered mole,
That so much lived below the ground,
Dug, fought and loved, hunted and fed,
For you to raise a mound
Was as for us to make a hole;
What wonder now that being dead
Your body lies here stout and square
Buried within the blue vault of the air?

On a happier and more topical note for August, 
Mole's thoughts on returning home after travelling Abroad:

He saw clearly how plain and simple - how narrow, even - it all was;
but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him,
and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence.
He did not at all want to abandon the new life
and its splendid spaces,
to turn his back on the sun and air
and all they offered him and creep home and stay there;
the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still,
even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage.
But it was good to think he had this to come back to,
this place which was all his own,
these things which were so glad to see him again
and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.

From the chapter Dulce Domum - Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame