Friday 23 July 2010

En vacances

à toute à l'heure.

Thursday 22 July 2010

Here's an idea

why don't we

completely empty the sitting room

and put all the furniture 

in here

to take our minds off washing and packing for a holiday.

Wednesday 21 July 2010

The nectar bar is open

The marjoram has flowered

and with its flowering has come a cloud of butterflies -

in bird watching parlance:

(little brown jobs)

The bees like it too.
I'm glad to see a bee.
They can't be taken for granted anymore.

Monday 19 July 2010


 I breezily assured Paul that I could tell him 
what I wanted to have done 
in the sitting room by the end of the week.

I waved a hand at the walls and said,
'Whitish matt',

then at the woodwork and said,
'Whitish eggshell.'

I glanced at the 
carpet and faltered.
Really it was time it went.

'Neutral?' I muttered.
'I'll get some samples.'

But the alcoves either side of the fireplace
have always been my personal experimental canvas.

They have been shocking pink.
At present they are teal.

And now Alice's blog has given me ideas.

I want hand painted birds,
trees and flowers
on a buttery yellow background.

This isn't something that can be rushed.
Perhaps this isn't even the right house.
 I am paralysed by indecision
and Paul wants answers.

I do what any right minded person does
when faced with too many paint charts, wallpaper books
and carpet samples :

I make raspberrry ripple icecream
( aka blood and bandages)
and in my delirious state 
believe I have created a rather splendid paint effect.

Is it time for marbling to make a comeback?

Saturday 17 July 2010

Essential maintenance

We're having a bit of decorating done.

If only our exterior had deteriorated as artistically 
as these railings at Ham House,
I'd have been tempted to leave well alone.

Now I am wondering if I can face emptying the kitchen

of pots and pans

so that Paul can get in there while we are away.

He has offered to tend the garden too

but can he be trusted with the topiary?

Friday 16 July 2010

A few raspberries

We went raspberry picking today.
Got carried away.
Picked and picked,

Needed a plan.


and redcurrants

made three 

jars of jam.

Add sugar and puree

500 grams;
some for a raspberry ripple ice cream,

some for raspberry Bellinis.

Remember the Summer Pudding option
and macerate a few with blackcurrants.

Freeze a tray for later in desperation.

Wash pots, trays, pans, blender, jug, sieve, plates, 
bowls, spoons, spatulas.

Wipe up stains on books, walls,
surfaces, floor, face.

Memo to self:
Enough is as good as a feast.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Free gifts

for the Coffee Lady,

from Pookie in Search of a Home,
by Ivy L. Wallace.

These have not quite succeeded in conjuring up 
the feelings that I remember
but now I think of it,the colours are reminiscent 
of those magic painting books 
which only needed water.
 I must see if they still make them,
to add to the gallery of childhood memory triggers:

the smell of trolls, Pez machines, raffia, plasticene,
vanilla sugar, pineapple chunk sweets,
dolls that need a post to themselves,
 Something to Do, Sunny Stories, 
Milly-Molly-Mandy, The Bobbsey twins, 
Lord of the Rushie River... 
(the books need another post too),
ships in bottles,ivory handled penknives,
brown gingham, 
violet scent and Lily of the Valley,
and most potent of all Aqua Manda soap
which I haven't smelt since I was sixteen.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Linings 2

I have a new ironing board cover.
It's white.
So far, so mundane.

But before I fitted it, I took the old beige one off.
Underneath that was a large flowery cover.
Underneath that was a small flowery cover.
Underneath that was a geometric patterned cover.

And underneath that should have been
a  secret envelope full of crackly money
like this:

because of this story.

 Linings have always held a special fascination for 
this closet exhibitionist.
(Pun not intended.)

Let's take a stroll through the coat cupboard
on a drizzly grey reversion to a typical British summer's day.

 Persephone Books had my number when they
introduced their silky grey jackets
with beautiful endpapers
taken from contemporaneous textiles.

The matching bookmarks are a
bonus hidden pleasure.

Perhaps the equivalent of a matching handkerchief
or hair ribbon.

Tuesday 13 July 2010


The phormium ,
in a neglected spot
by the fence

has quite unexpectedly,

seized centre stage.

I was transfixed.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Our favourite walk summer blockbuster

A hot Saturday filled with fretful neighbourhood noises
and the detritus of recent decorating work
prompted a late decision
to head off to our favourite walk.

It is a long drive, but the promise of skylark's song
instead of screaming children,

the honeyed scent of downland flowers
instead of barbeque fuel fumes, 

and a whispering wind,
instead of whining strimmers 
was promised.

But our favourite walk had a strange new story to tell.

As we approached,
a fine grey mist drifted across the view.

It thickened.



(We wished we'd brought jumpers.)



 Now look east.
Paragliders are hurling themselves into the blue.

Follow them.


Look back.

Look up.

Watch the light show.

Look down.

Look North.
Eat here.

Wait for

the happy ending.