Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Backs



Looking back at this lovely view from O's room for the last time.


Walking back from the Senate House
after the degree ceremony.


Lying back on the grass in Nevile's Court.
(Strictly forbidden at any other time.)


The Backs seen from the Wren Library.

And he'll be back next year!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Light show


The sun will set at 311º northwest this evening at 9.22 pm.


That means that for a few short days


I get to take pictures


of my paperweights


on the bookshelf


in the darkest room in the house.

I am less inclined to find photo opportunities
at 4.43 am when the sun rises at 49º northeast.

Heather was up at 5 am and washing up.
Here's what she saw.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

The accidental bouquet




Fennel, nepeta and salvia
being given a late and rather
half-hearted Chelsea chop.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Shock horreur




Roses


and peonies


at Sissinghurst.


So far


so lovely.


We even came up with a similar rose

  
and Christophii allium combo.
Theirs above.
Mine below.




 But what I didn't expect 


was that we both had
identical Mullein moth caterpillars
chomping away on our verbascums.

 A French visitor pointed them out to us
and we had a difficult conversation because I could only
guess at papillon de nuit for moth
which she  seemed not to understand,
but which turns out to be correct.
I was however able to impress her with
'Il reste sous la terre pendant cinq ans.'
accompanied by vigorous burrowing actions.

Vita Sackville-West spoke fluent French
(handy for when she eloped to France with Violet Trefusis.)
 I don't know if any French visitors made it to Sissinghurst Castle 
when it opened for just a single weekend each year in 1938
but I do know that 3000 French prisoners
were incarcerated there during the Seven Years War from 1756 to 1763.
They called Sissinghurst 'Chateau de Sissinghurst' and the name stuck.


Friday, 12 June 2015

At last








But will it last?
Where is that Azores High when you need it?
Will I have to go back to Kondo-ing my Dry Goods?


Thursday, 11 June 2015

Kondo-ing walk of shame


As it's not warm enough to sit outside 
with a nice glass of something chilled,
I have been Kondo-ing the pantry this evening.

It goes without saying that I had many packets and jars
 of years out of date pasta,
 mystery grains, pulses,
a huge bottle of Monin ginger syrup,
stale ground rice, semolina, 
flax seeds, millet, hemp,
 Smash dried potato,
mung beans, moong dal, popping corn,
aduki beans, black eyed beans,
Horlicks,  drinking chocolate, and fancy herb teas,

but what really shocked me was the seven,
 SEVEN
different types of sugar, cluttering up the shelves.

Granulated.
Caster.
Golden caster.
Muscovado.
Icing.
Demerara.
Soft light brown.
Rainbow crystals.

No wait,
That's eight.
EIGHT 
different types of sugar, cluttering up the shelves.
The only one I haven't got is cubes.

Surely I don't need all those?
Well of course, granulated for
my brother's and builders' tea,
caster for light sponge cakes and meringues,
golden caster because Nigel Slater said so,
Muscovado for rich fruit cakes,
icing, for icing,
Demerara for putting on top of cakes
because Nigel Slater said so,
soft light brown for brownies,
and rainbow crystals for. . .
old times sake, because my parents used to put it out on the
coffee tray if we had visitors
and I wanted to amuse the children with it.


This isn't going well.
The only one that didn't spark joy was Muscovado
because it had gone rock hard.

You can tell I am a child of the fifties,
 born just as sugar came off rationing.

Must I stop eating cake?





Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Summer thyme



Or so I thought when I took this picture.

Has anyone else put the heating back on in the evening?

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Let your tension melt away



The best online relaxation video I have ever seen.
I am working it into my daily meditation routine
straight after the early morning warm lemon juice (see recipe below).




Squeeze a lemon into a mug.
Add warm, not hot, warm, filtered water.
Drink slowly.
Try not to wince,
it makes cruel wrinkles on your face
and you will not feel serene.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Garden view envy



Shall we take a closer look?


How inviting is that?


And just out of shot,


quite nice horses.



I'm not mad about horses.
My sister was and I used to join in with games
involving homemade hobby horses.
They were made from a bamboo cane and a stuffed sock
with a woollen mane.
We called them Bracken and Briar.

Real ones had a habit of either stopping and refusing to budge,
head down in a grassy verge,
or throwing me off.

 Tania loves horses.
I'm not sure that she comes here,
but just in case she does . . .

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Chilli



for June.


Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Busy day




Our first whole day with the Busy B.

We are known as Gah collectively.
Or that might be cats.
Or cars.
She likes going to sleep in the sling
while you sing My Bonny Lies over the Ocean
in your dreariest voice.
She wakes from a nap with 
a small self-congratulatory round of applause.
My glasses are not safe.
She likes watermelon, blueberries and pears.
She'll take your arm off for a ripe apricot.
She likes singing and
certain pages of all her many, many books.
She can stand up.
If she falls, she rolls like a stunt artist
in a James Bond movie.
She can rip a velcro pelican bib off with one hand.
This indicates that a meal is over.

An early night tonight I think.

We have another full day of delight tomorrow.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Backlit



This lamb, on the cusp of becoming a sheep,
is still enchanting us with its backlit ears.


As is the grass atop the old wall it shelters behind.


How strange to find someone in Portland Oregon
has arranged almost identical flowers to yours.


If you don't know Alicia Paulson already
do go and look at her lovely blog.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Looking me squarely in the eye






Alice once recommended Instagram to me.
Square pictures.

I'm thinking about it.

Did you know she has a new blog?
Go now.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

A lemon on a plate


A new plate made by Nao Nakayama.


A lemon on the new plate.


We have been outside fighting the weeds
and decommissioning the three defunct ponds.

I went on a little longer than was wise.
I was hungry but too enervated to do more than squeeze a lemon
and stir it into olive oil and grated Parmesan.
A sauce for a bowl of tagliatelle.