Monday 31 December 2012

The turning tide

 A dramatic walk, full of incident.

 I tripped over a branch buried like a snare in the shingle,
but did not this time lose my glasses,
only my dignity.

And here you see the moment when husband and son
stood at a fairly safe distance on posts.

Followed by the moment when husband,
(as I fondly imagined), was wisely stepping down to retreat,
only to discover that in a fit of uncharacteristic bravado,
he had decided to move forward
onto the next post.
See that approaching wave?
Not pictured is the moment 
when he realised the folly of this move.

Son engineered a spectacular pratfall of his own
after attempting a controlled slide down a steep shingle bank.
( I think he did it to make us feel better.)

Joyce Carol Oates said of Saul Bellow's characters that they,
'not only survive their snarled problems and pratfalls 
but learn from their experiences
and are articulate about their learning.'

This may be a good enough aim for 2013.
I leave you with a selection of beach bouquets
and my best wishes for a Happy
and almost pratfall free,
New Year.

Thursday 27 December 2012

Christmas pinny

This Christmas, with our newly expanded family staying,
 I donned the Hercules pinny,
and plunged headlong into the recipe books.
Tassajara Bread Book.
A Year in my Kitchen - Skye Gyngell.
Sarah Raven's Garden and Friends and Family.
Delia's Winter Collection.
Hugh's Three Good Things.
Sally Clarke.
John Pawson's Living and Eating.
Nigella's How to Eat and Express.
Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries I.

Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II.

Thank you.It was.
I hope yours was too.

Saturday 22 December 2012


My Advent window was based on the carol
In the Bleak Midwinter.
In reality there is no snow.
It rains and it rains.
Meandering rivers and new lakes are upwelling
in the fields below our house.
The sea and sky have merged.
The dark spattered windows and dripping gutters,
complete the sensation of being cast out
into the stormy ocean.
But the new roof is watertight,
and the house is warm and candlelit.
We had friends and family visiting
and eating in our newly completed extension
and all was well.
The daylight hours are lengthening,
if only a minute at a time,
and these bleakest of days will recede.
Meanwhile I take heart from the promise
that there will be no hose pipe ban next year.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Memory tree

Christmas comes but once a year
and those years are beginning to blur.

It is only when I start to decorate the tree,
that the years separate and slow.

 Rosie's place setting decorations for a Christmas party.

The decorations I bought from Nice Irma's
when I worked in publishing and was feeling flush.

Monika's mother's crocheted lace angel  
sent from Poland.

Maddy's peg doll angel
when we were still running together.

 Marian's glittery cherub given to the boys
when we used to visit her on Christmas Eve.
She never put the tree up until then.

 A knitted doll from the Bonhoeffer Church Christmas Fair.

Rachael's felted decoration from the Waldorf School Fair.

The oldest decorations from home -
there before I was and miraculously survived -
the bell that really rings.

One tiny bauble which brings back the smell
of pine needles on an icy cold morning
before my father lit the fires.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Let me count the ways

 How many ways can you spell contemporary?
click 'View All' under 'Genre' in the left hand column.

It's the BBC for goodness sake.
Was someone having a laugh?
I've tried telling them about it
and had two holding emails so far.
See how grumpy I am?

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Watching brief

Today is sound check day
(one two one two one two).
We fetched O. and had our hair cuts
and feel almost human again.
Meanwhile, on this most auspicious day,
filled with the most beautiful but unphotographed
hoar-frosted trees and cobwebs,
I bring you
a madly coiffed new visitor to the garden.

There are fish in there
but a mysterious force repels the questing paw.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

The couch grouch

I should be lying on it with a mug of honey and lemon
brought to me by a caring attendant
with a cool hand for my fevered brow,
but instead I am pacing around fretfully,
coughing a little pathetically now and then
and feeling dreadfully, dreadfully, sorry for myself.

I just don't seem to have the knack of being ill graciously.
Ben Pentreath knows how to
but what I want to know is,
who is bringing him his meals in bed?

Monday 10 December 2012

Not-so pheasant dreams

We've heard them cackling in the woods,
but never seen one strolling on the garden wall before.
All I know about pheasants is that they like raisins and that
they were laced with the contents of sleeping tablets
in Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World
in order to ruin Mr Hazell's shooting party.

Following my third well-nigh sleepless night
I am giving this technique,
dubbed Sleeping Beauty, some serious consideration.*

* I should make it clear that it isn't the pheasant
that is keeping me awake and I wish it no harm.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Catch it while you can

I am not in the least distracted by Twitter, 
Facebook or an i-phone,
but there is no denying it, 
I would probably get a lot more done
if I didn't feel compelled 
to run for my camera every time 
the sun came out.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Monday 3 December 2012

On the other side of that wall

 is a new room.

 Just like that.
Or more accurately,

Like this.

No instant makeovers here.