Thursday, 31 January 2013

My little menagerie



What did I do when the sun made a brief appearance?


Why naturally I arranged my lead animals
on the side of the bath
and took some pictures of them.

R.I.P January.
We are going to hear Mozart's Requiem tonight.
I already have tuba mirum on the brain.


Monday, 28 January 2013

Unconfined



At last. 


Blue skies, the sun


(and the wind) at our backs,
and tramping about all day 
in the wide open spaces.


It's very hard to see,
but if you look carefully, bottom left in silhouette,
you will see the quiff of a pink cheeked cockatiel,
perhaps regretting its bid for freedom.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Sleep lovely sleep


She slept till very late the next morning -
a lovely sleep, all the time she felt as if
she was sliding between glass and water.

The Rising Tide Molly Keane

Here's hoping.


Thursday, 24 January 2013

A Winter's Morning


A sky like a dirty old slate. Trees untidy,
lead-coloured brushes against it. 
The air full of snow and rain and the hour full of
the absurd necessity of going out hunting.
At such a moment there is one thing impossible
and that is to see a summer's day.
White flowers in the evening seem the only terms
in which it can become remotely visible.
Say, stephanotis in darkness.

I stare at the garden and will myself to think
of strolling out there in sandals to sit on the swing seat,
(its canopy now sagging with snow),
to shelter from a blistering sun,
and worry a little about a hose pipe ban.
I cannot even picture the flowering tulips and alliums
which I know I have planted.
It isn't possible that this winter will ever end.

But every season is the same. Immutable.
I would not be able to see a winter's day
from my hammock under the apple tree.
Impossible to think of being inside 
with curtains drawn at 4 p.m.
 Molly Keane knew that too 
and that makes it seem more bearable.

The Rising Tide 1937





Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Blues





I'm looking forward to having 


some colour back again.

 Seems I've got freezing fog on the brain.

Need to get the blood flowing in my veins.



Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow trio





We came across this quite impressive
group of snow men and women
on a short foray out into the blue white evening.
They stood sentinel in a triangle
in an otherwise deserted field.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A walk on the beach



A walk on the beach is never dull. 






You never know what is going to show up. 




 This was a bit different. 
A coastguard helicopter
close enough to blow your hat off.


It was the annual training exercise 
Even on a calm day
you could see how perilous this was
as they lowered crew members into the tiny lifeboat
and winched them back up again.
And in the bitter cold,
I felt profoundly grateful to the volunteers
who gave up their Sunday
to train to save lives at sea.

Friday, 11 January 2013

If You Are Subject To Brain Fag


Headaches
Insomnia
Nervous Exhaustion
Rheumatism
Anaemia
Stomach trouble
Kidney trouble
Acidosis
Heart Diseases
Chilblains
Eczema
Debility
Skin Diseases


After the most weakening Winter on record,
are you feeling generally run down?
If only we could all benefit from Soovy Health broth.
We could be fit and ready for Spring
by taking a delicious cup daily.


The impressive list of 15 vegetables has given me an idea.
Carrot, tomato, barley, pimento, spinach
garlic, watercress, orange, chilli, Irish moss,
(may have to ask Mise to send)
 onion, parsley, celery leaves, okra.
We can all make our own Savoury Soovy.
Let me know when you've tried it.

From Housewife 1940

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tax avoidance scheme 3


I'm knitting a cowl.
110 stitches in a honeycomb pattern
in the round.
It should look like this,
but I'm using the wrong sort of wool
because I don't have a very extensive stash
(one ball actually).
I also don't have stitch markers 
so the pattern already looks a bit skew
 and it's giving me a stiff neck.
But very cold weather is forecast 
and I need to be ready.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Are memories made of this?


Even sorting and emptying the scary cupboard
is a more attractive proposition than
doing the tax return.

No pictures. Too scary.
But let's just say it includes
boxes and boxes of unsorted photographs,
going back to my parents' (black and white)
and grandparents' ( sepia'ed) youth
and covering the whole,
'Am I ready to let go of this?' territory
of my children's births, birthdays, holidays, Christmases,
and school photos.

The albums are in there too, 
because for a while I was on top of the game
and they are big and bad enough,
but so help me, I did giant framed collages too -
the sort that made it look as though I had 
more children than the Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe.

Then there are the ones of me.
Black and white or hand-tinted baby portraits by my
grandpa who was a skilled amateur photographer,
little square prints with a white border,
fuzzy Instamatic family groups,
slightly pinky-orange tinged
skinny me, in long forgotten outfits
in far away places.
Do I throw her out?

So far today I have reduced but not vanquished
the boxes, largely by dint of culling
unidentifiable scenery and people.
And duplicates.
So far, so painless.

The next stage may see me turning to the tax return
for light relief.



Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Floorentina


What shall we have for lunch?

Let's have pizza.
We could add some wilted spinach and an egg to a bought Margherita
and turn it into a nutritious Fiorentina.

Mmm. That's a brilliant idea.


And then if we're lucky the egg will fall 
through the middle of the pizza.

Yes, and while you scrape it off the floor of the oven
I will helpfully move the pizza closer to you


and flip it deftly onto the lino.

Pizza Floorentina.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil
and enjoy.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Displacement activity


Show me a woman washing candles


and I'll show you a woman
with a tax return to do.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Quiet time



Not from the garden of course, but I couldn't wait.


Delighted to see that my new knives make the perfect
fish scale impressions in mashed potato.


It might be Japanese,
or it might be YouTube.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Dim



The dimmer switch in the kitchen has broken.
The low energy light bulb was so feeble,
I have reverted to candle power.
Dazzling by comparison
and a very good use
for our shot glass
collection.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

How not to look after a poinsettia


I received two Poinsettias this Christmas.
I think they may be having a comeback.

They are not the easiest plants to care for
and can quickly start to drop their leaves.
They require a draught-free position 
but window sills are often too draughty,
especially if the plant ends up behind the curtains at night.
Avoid temperatures under 55F. 
They require good light,
but must be kept away from direct sunlight. 
Overwatering quickly kills the plant
but if the surface of the soil dries out they should be 
watered thoroughly.
Stand the pot on pebbles and keep humid.
Trying to keep the plant from year to year usually results in failure.


Chucking it out onto a beach guarantees it.