Sunday 28 February 2010


A mouse sauntered across the kitchen floor
while we were having lunch today.

Possibly related to this one
found in the garden last year
and uncannily tame.

Saturday 27 February 2010

Happily Bird Hits (anag.)

With the aid of rhubarb Bellinis,

the cards




birthday present anagram.
(Not quite there yet).

This evening we're off to hear our eldest singing in this
and to see these little birds...

Friday 26 February 2010


This post brought to mind two moments from my day
and a hugely important chunk of my past.
I was talking with my friend Maddy about significant items of clothing -
things I wished I had kept, indeed, thought I had kept
and this jumper was one of them,

preserved only in this unfinished
oil on gesso painting from my art student days in Bristol.

The jumper was a brave purchase by my mother.
She laid it out on my bed as a surprise for me 
when I came home from school.
On first sight I hated it.
It was too loud, too brash, too different.
But I tried it on and it grew on me,
probably because people admired it
and then I wore it a lot...
Jane's post reminded me about 
all the Georgian windows that appeared
in my etchings and paintings and in my final year dissertation.
This one was in the freezing bathroom 
and the pink blobs
are part of an indestructible Bizzy Lizzy 
which I carted around with me from house to house.

The clogs were from Olaf's Daughters.
I longed to have some long green lace up boots like my friend Charlotte,
but could only afford these.

The mirror came from a skip,

and  still hangs in a bathroom.

And just to complete the circle,
the woodcut in the reflection
who started at  Art college with me
and became a very Fine Artist indeed.

Thursday 25 February 2010

The other side of the fence 2

I cleared this patch last year.

I'm so glad I did.
I had forgotten about the snowdrops.
Beauty among the weeds.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Potting up

Have you given any thought to your outdoor plant pots and troughs lately?

No, neither have I.

But my correspondent in India has.
Forget boring old terracotta pots
and tired hanging baskets,
what you need on your roof terrace,

is a canoe.

About 5 metres long should do it,
and you will need some willing and able-bodied men

to devise a system of winches and pulleys

to get it up there

and manoeuvre it into the perfect spot
for planting.

Re-purposing at its acme.
I think Bob Flowerdew would approve.

Monday 22 February 2010

Getting it right

In my collection of books on modern manners
I have one called  Etiquette for Everyone
by Arthur Groom, published 1946.
I have often wondered about the original purchasers
and what it was they were hoping to find guidance about.
This one offers clues by way of pencil underlinings
and it seems that correct modes of dress 
were of the most pressing concern.

When in the country a woman should endeavour to wear tweeds as much as possible. Above all, the woman in the country should try to steer clear of the temptation to 'startle the natives'. 
If she dons her fox furs, her saucy hat with the cheeky veil, 
her high heeled shoes, her sheerest silk stockings, and that ultra smart afternoon frock she bought in town, then she must not be hurt or surprised if the country folk turn to look at her - and to laugh!



At the sea it is in the worst possible taste for a girl to wear very abbreviated shorts except when on the beach itself. The best plan is to have a button-on linen skirt she can put on quickly for walking along the front, on the pier, or for shopping trips into town. For bathing- well I don't care WHAT the designers of so-called
 bathing costumes for women turn out,
 there is nothing nicer, neater or 
more suitable for swimming than the ordinary, 
regulation woollen swim-suit as worn by 
professional and good amateur swimmers.



So, so wrong.

Sunday 21 February 2010


There was a time, 
when the sight of one of these,
would have been cause for great jubilation.

A processional path had been marked out  
with blue spray paint

and red and white bunting 
added a jaunty welcoming touch to the beach
for the monster.

Saturday 20 February 2010

A breath of fresh air

Despite a less than encouraging weather forecast
we decided to go for our favourite walk

and as we drove away from town, 
the sun began to break through the cloud.

 As so often, offshore winds cleared the sky
as we reached the South Downs.

We hardly ever see the Seven Sisters
without a blue backdrop
whatever the time of year.

Fresh water meeting salt where the Cuckmere
runs into the sea.

Bone on chalk.

When you need a little cloud

it obligingly builds for the grand finale,

and ushers us back to the car

with a breathtaking panorama

every time.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Jolly jumper

From Running a House Without Help (1949)


When the house is looking shabby, it is time to give a party.
When everyone is madly overworked, it is time to relax.
When the children are cross and ungrateful, 
it is time to take their temperature.
When you order the same dish five days running,
it is time you went away for a visit.
When you cannot hear the telephone bell without your heart thumping,
it is time to take a bromide;
When life is black and skies are grey,
it is time to buy a new hat.

So I bought a jolly jumper and a bunch of tulips.

'When God shuts a door, He opens a window.'

Italian Proverb.

Just waiting for that window to open.

Tuesday 16 February 2010

Monday 15 February 2010


I've had quite enough
of sloshing about in sleety rain in my sabots.
I've had it with 
scurrying from car fug to shop warmth,
low energy lightbulbs,
peering out a grimy grey skies,
emptying gritty ash from grates,
shivering in the shower,
hunching my shoulders,
scarfing my neck,
hatting my head,
gloving my hands.

The Toast spring catalogue has arrived.
Cue sunshine
and weather girls
forecasting sensible centigrades
in double digits.

Sixteen would suffice.

Sunday 14 February 2010

Topical tarmac

I spotted this one frosty morning and saved it for today.

Saturday 13 February 2010

The Cure



lemon and ginger

lemon and ginger tea

lemon and ginger tea for two.
One with jet lag,
one with 'flu.

Friday 12 February 2010

Daylight robbery


have to

catch the rays


you can
so you don't fade away.