Tuesday 31 March 2009

When the monitor becomes

your mirror,

it's probably time

You forgot
to order
the veg box.

Supper was late.

And you didn't plant
any seeds.

Monday 30 March 2009

Going East

Going West

Bringing the boy home for Easter.

See the heart in the soup?

Sunday 29 March 2009

Snake's Head Fritillary

is out again.

Fritillaria meleagris 'belongs to the family of lilies (Parkinson in his Paradise calls it 'the small chequered Lily', though as a wild plant it is not recorded before 1736)'.

King Penguin Book - Flowers of the Meadow.

Its stem has the unusual habit of lying prone at first, hidden in the grass.

The pot is one of my small collection of Poole Pottery jam pots.

Saturday 28 March 2009


Gosh this takes me back-
brown food in gritty brown bowls,
rolls you could use as door stops,
hefty quiches, wholesome soups, and wild fruit juice concoctions -
most especially, the extravagantly named Tiger's Milk - 
a Gaylord Hauser recipe. 
He was the author of Look Younger, Live Longer
The prospect of old age didn't trouble me then, but I must try this.
It is an improbable blend of fresh milk and orange juice (won't it curdle?)
with skimmed milk, Brewer's yeast and molasses.
Let's give it the benefit of the doubt.

Crank's opened its first restaurant in 1961 at 22 Carnaby Street, London.
The menu was mainly salads, 
but not the flaccid lettuce, cucumber and tomato combo 
that 1950s Britain was accustomed to.
These were robust, vivid and fresh.

The crockery was handthrown stoneware from Ray Finch and his team at Winchcombe Pottery,
(and frequently nicked by customers.)
I acquired this one much later, unaware of his link with Cranks.

The tables were oak, the flooring heather brown quarry tiles, 
the lampshades woven basket, 

the seat covers handwoven.
Edward Bawden's drawings illustrated the first brochure.
This is a print of his Covent Garden woodcut.

Determined that their three young children should not suffer the same ills as their parents, 
David Canter and his wife Kay, the founders of Cranks,
 committed themselves to natural unrefined foods.
This was long before organic foods were widely available.

The last remaining Cranks restaurant is in Devon, 
but as long as I have the book I can recreate the vibe for myself 
and anyone else who is interested.
We had the watercress soup for lunch today but this long neglected book has so much more to offer and Crank's Cheese Baps (awarded an Evening Standard award for the best sandwich in London) have to be next on the list.

And why was it called Cranks?
It was not because they considered themselves, as the dictionary puts 
it, 'faddists', but because
'we wanted a label to show that with strong vegetarian and wholefood priciples, we were very different from orthodox retail and catering establishments and we wanted a light-hearted, humorous approach.'

The slightly blurry photographs are an homage to the production values of the day. Truly.

Friday 27 March 2009

When in need of a moment of frivolity

make a little bag,

photograph it
and put it on your blog,

with a credit to Rae
who made the pattern.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Spring mystery

We've had some dramatic sunlit acid green foliage against pewter skies.
No rainbows, but it reminded me of this picture.

'In 1916 Laura Knight painted her large five foot by six foot canvas Spring, 
now in Tate Britain It is a beautifully evocative picture of the Cornish countryside, 
with brown moorlands in the distance shadowed by clouds. 
The tops of the trees which line the meadows are about to burst into leaf, 
tinged with pink and orange. 
The rougher fields in the foreground are divided by banks of granite boulders 
topped with ivy, yellow gorse and the dazzling white blossom of blackthorn. 
The lambs in a field, a ploughman following his horse, swifts flying across the sky. 
In front of this scene, bathed in a reddish-gold light, stand a man and a woman. 
He is wearing the soft hat and deep pocketed jacket of a fly-fisherman 
and carrying a rod. She is slender, dark-haired and graceful 
in a white blouse and long red skirt, a striking black and red shawl over her shoulder. 
Who are they, this Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?'

Ella and Charles Naper - Art and Life at Lamorna - John Branfield

Who indeed? 
In this old print I have of the painting, 
the man is replaced by a small boy, 
striking a similar pose.
 Her coquettish stance and flirtatious sidelong glance are wasted on him! 
It seems that the man was briefly painted out 
and then reinstated after it was returned damaged, 
from an exhibition in Pittsburgh.  

John Branfield goes on to explain that they are Ella and Charles Naper. 
She was a jeweller and he was an architect and painter. 
They came to Cornwall to search for a way of life that 
freed them from the conventions of society.

They had made a decision to care only about what mattered to them, 
the enjoyment of nature, 
the nurturing of friendships and the creation of beautiful things: 
a home and a garden, jewellery, ceramics and paintings. 
In the artist's colony at Lamorna they found what they were looking for.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Happy Birthday


a very good brother

and this little gift for you.

Tuesday 24 March 2009






Monday 23 March 2009

Look out post

I think

I may have been


(Enlarge to get the full effect of this woodpigeon's
piercing scrutiny.)

Sunday 22 March 2009

A Walk in the Park

I usually run past these,
so I went back to take it all in at a slower pace.

Saturday 21 March 2009

The china figurine

This figurine has stood on shelves and mantlepieces
all my life.

It is a group of three 
and to me it was obvious who the two people on the left were:

they were Daddy and Mummy
and Mummy was holding her new baby.

But who was the lady on the right?

She wore a fine dress and had a pretty drawstring purse;
perhaps she was the Grandma.
But really she was too young.

She looked rather distant and sad
as though she didn't belong there.

The Mummy looked happy and proud.

The Daddy could have looked a bit more interested
I felt,

but then one day,
it all fell into place,
she wasn't the Mummy,

she was the nursemaid.

And then I didn't know who I felt saddest for;
the nursemaid, the Mummy, 
or the baby.

The last thing, Pa hung the bracket on the wall by the front window, and Ma stood the little china shepherdess on it...That was the same smiling shepherdess, with golden hair and blue eyes and pink cheeks her little china bodice laced with china-gold ribbons and her little china apron and her little china shoes... She was not broken. She was not nicked nor even scratched. She was the same little shepherdess, smiling the same smile.
On the Banks of Plum Creek - Laura Ingalls Wilder