Thursday, 16 August 2018


I'd like a chaise longue covered in
moorhen's foot green velvet.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

In the detail

We hotfooted it up to the Lake District for two days
in search of mizzle, lowering clouds and cool temperatures,
reliably on offer on previous occasions as I remembered.

Instead, we found a fair facsimile of the weather 
we've been having down South.

Normally so very welcome.

Fortunately we also found the holiday home of one man's dreams:

Blackwell overlooking Windermere,
an Arts & Crafts house,
designed by MH Baillie Scott
for Sir Edward Holt and his family.

Every detail was exquisitely crafted,

and preserved intact thanks to years used as a girl's school,
with boards put up to protect the original features.

Tiles by William de Morgan.

As much as I marvelled at the
skill and workmanship on display throughout a house
where no expense was spared

I was also bowled over by the precision
of the dry stone wall builders
seen everywhere on our walks.

Saturday, 4 August 2018


Just as I no longer believe that we will ever emerge from under the scaffolding,
our roofers having abandoned us for unfathomable reasons of their own,
I also no longer believe that there will be an end to blue skies and stifling heat.

In reality there can only be the briefest interlude of 'perfect' summer weather.
It is forecast and eagerly anticipated.
It arrives and is greeted with joy, and plans for a picnic,
then the doubts set in.
Will it last?
Will it last until important outdoor event x?
Then it does last and the heat builds.
New doubts perturb us.
It is too dry. Reservoirs will empty.
Farmers are worried.
What are those sheep eating
down there on the brown marshes?
My fig tree has lost its leaves.
How do they survive in Greece?
A hose pipe ban is inevitable.
It is too hot to sleep at night.
People behave oddly in the street outside at 2am.
It is too hot to go walking at midday.
I fall asleep instead.
I haven't put enough factor 50 on.
The new baby will overheat.
Linen is scratchy and doesn't look good corrugated around my waist.

Somehow the perfect endless summer of our winter dreams
has played a trick on us.
Two weeks is quite enough as long as it covers
important outdoor event x.
22C is just nice as long as there isn't a brisk NE wind.

This. This is just taking a good thing too far.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

One thing and another

My headmistress had no suggestions to offer me for my future 
apart from occupational therapy.
I looked it up in the dusty Careers Room and saw that it meant basket making.
This may be why it has taken me 47 years 
to get around to making a basket.

I went on a one day course at Charleston Farmhouse
and came out with a willow  basket that now has pride of place
on the table, but I don't think I'll be making another one.

A visit to Eastbourne, 
the first place in the country to have an average age of over 70,
has persuaded me to buck up my ideas about the rest of my future.

Meanwhile gardens continue to delight.

My day lilies

and Sissinghurst's - 

only a tower and a flagpole missing from mine.

Seeking shade I lingered between high yew hedges

and sheltered in the gazebo,
away from those pesky strolling tourists.

I leave you with this three year old's depiction
of a sad fox howling at the moon.

Time to get the crayons out again I think.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Monday, 25 June 2018

Running away

First to Greenwich Park where we took in a photographic exhibition
at The National Maritime Museum -
The Great British Seaside.

I have never known the lime blossom to be more
blissful and poignant.
There was a whole avenue of it to drink in.

That along with privet blossom is the scent of childhood summers.

And then today when the kerfuffle and cacophony reached its apogee
with the arrival of more scaffolding and men with nail guns,
we went to Igtham Mote.
But even that was too noisy for comfort so we set off
(at midday) on one of the estate trails.

Unfortunately we timed our arrival back home with the work still in full swing,
and the music on the roof had increased in volume with our absence.
Someone had brought along their own playlist.
Bobby Darin was an improvement on talk radio but

my first choice for the scaffolders would have been

I think it was the first pop song I ever heard.