Thursday 27 November 2008

Computer kaput!

So no pictures, except for this one.
Which may need an explanation for my friendly Canadian reader Katrina.
This is test card F used by the BBC and ITV in the late 1960s as a pattern broadcast when the transmitter is active but no program is being broadcast.It shows a colour photo of Carole Hersee playing noughts and crosses with a doll. It was used for callibration, alignment and matching cameras and camcorders.. The x marks the approximate centre of the card.

Sunday 23 November 2008

The Family Week-end Book by Beryl Irving 1941

If you are lucky with your views..., don't shut them out with net blinds.
Make the view the centrepiece of decoration as the Japanese do. 

It is lovely to put on the light in the nursery just at the time which turns 
the day fading blue by contrast.
If you open the window wide on a mild November
you can still see the colours of the garden gleaming through the blue, 
like a Hiroshige print.
Perhaps there will be a mist of twiggy treetops stretching away up the garden 

and a blackbird hopping up and down on the near ones, looking very black.

And away at the end another mist of blue smoke from a bonfire, 
making a background for the scarlet and russet apples 
still clinging to bare branches, in spite of last night's gale.
Your children will probably not appreciate the scene as you do, 

but it will lie there in the back of their minds like a heap of leaf mould, 
ripening with time until it is ready to enrich the garden.
Autumnal moon at Tawagama.

Saturday 22 November 2008

Another day flashes by


I love the illusion of a wooded horizon.

Friday 21 November 2008

The piano lesson

Tonight it was Bach and Gershwin.
It's been eleven years with Thomas now.

Here's where it all started.

Wednesday 19 November 2008

The question on so many people's lips

from a 1955 copy of Girl comic

one of a series of unique vintage comic badges being prepared for sale at the
Brighton Christmas Open Houses Festival.

Keep an eye on
this space.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

Rat not shown

Continuing yesterday's rodent theme,
I'm sorry to say we have a

rat living in our compost bin.
I can quite see that it makes a highly desirable and well provisioned home for a rat,
but I am finding it hard to think of anything useful or beautiful about
ratus ratus.

Monday 17 November 2008

Pauvre Papa Souris

This arrived today, courtesy the wonderful Abebooks.

A distant memory vividly restored, of my first lessons in French at the age of 7.
Described in the preface as a way of making learning,
' French a pleasure to children instead of the tedious task it too often is.'

All starts sweetly enough as we are introduced to Madame Souris in her petite maison with its fleurs, une, deux, trois, quatre.
We meet her children, Louis and Yvonne on page 6 and see all their toys.

But on page 8 the narrative suddenly darkens.

Ces petites souris n'ont pas de père . IL EST MORT. (my caps)
The pictures spare us none of the tragic detail.

Have you ever seen such a dead mouse? I hadn't.
Pauvre Papa Souris!
Pauvre père!
Méchant Monsieur le Chat.

Sunday 16 November 2008

carpe diem

Shook off my lethargy and was out in the garden by 8.30 a.m. with a cup of coffee
and a croissant,

ready to clear the greenhouse, empty the compost bin, take down the runner bean arcade
( a magnificent construction yielding very few beans but looking the business), and have a bonfire to burn the blighted tomato plants.
Raining by lunchtime.

I can watch Stephen Fry crossing America in a taxi now.

Saturday 15 November 2008

Inside out

This just about sums up how I feel.

The weather was warm enough for getting out and about and it only threatened to rain,
but just when you think you really should be seizing the opportunity for a walk or a bit of therapeutic leaf sweeping,

the sun sets.
And another day is over.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Cake or Death?

Chocolate pistachio cake, courtesy of Nigella.

These days photos are quite difficult to get.

So here's one I took earlier.
Happy Birthday Kaya.

17 today.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

I don't sing because I am happy...

...I am happy because I sing.

Bird to bird watcher, New Yorker cartoon, by Edward Frascino

And the day ended with Evensong at Southwark Cathedral ,
sung by the Dulwich College Chapel Choir.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

13th July 1944

Eliot Welchman with his sisters.

Flying Officer Eliot Welchman, Royal Air Force wearing the flying suit which used to hang in our attic like the ghost of a man parachuting safely to the ground.

He was Captain of a Lancaster bomber when he and all his crew were killed in action over Prez sur Marne.
'He earned the immortal gratitude and regard of the inhabitants because, rather than bale out from his blazing aircraft, he chose to save the two hundred or more people from almost certain death and destruction by sticking to his controls to direct the plane away from the village; it crashed a few hundred metres from the village.'

Eliot was 28 years old.

Eliot's daughter. A great cousin.

Saturday 8 November 2008

Back indoors

On a wet and blustery day

The original Edwardian tiled hall floor.
A rug I bought in Heal's one lunch hour back in the 1980s when feeling flush.
An old Welsh blanket.
A 1940s curtain from our first house, made into a cushion cover, 
now wearing very thin.

Lydia's bag
Silver grey Persephone books on my mother's little bookcase.
And they all have lovely secret linings,
like my favourite jackets.

Friday 7 November 2008