Saturday 28 April 2012


Yours fitfully,
The Sun.

Friday 27 April 2012

All to no avail

The frantic activity ceased.
The nest fell silent.
I don't know what befell them,
but I don't think they fledged as
that takes about 14 days from hatching.
Only about 57% of eggs result in fledged youngsters.

Maybe they will have another brood.
I will keep you posted.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Shall I wear purple?

Shades of grey. 
Waiting for the wisteria to flower.

I've decided to stop colouring my hair.
But I might try a violet streak when it has all grown out.
Can you still get a blue rinse at the hairdressing salon?

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Dream giveaway

I have described my dream garden here,
and my mind has not changed much since then.
I would make sure that there were plenty of bird feeders
and bee pleasers.
 I'd like to commission Celia Smith to make me
some of her scrap metal and wire birds

and I'd add a grove of silver birches

 underplanted with whatever these are.

I mention it because Cornflower
is hosting a giveaway here
in exchange for a description of your dream garden.

Monday 23 April 2012

Bird's eye view.

My view.

A satisfactory compromise, with thanks
to Toffeeapple for her sensible suggestion.

The robins are unperturbed.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Some flowers

and some gentle music,
in a darkened room,

while I feel my way round Blogger's
latest redesign.

Friday 20 April 2012


Robins have built their nest
in the tangle of ivy and clematis

behind the washing line

 which is right outside

the utility room window.

If the robins see me,

they take diverting action 
even as they arrive with a beak full of worms.
They drop straight to the ground
so that attention is not drawn to the nest.

This makes me feel dreadful,
as I can hear the expectant wheezing
rise in a shaky crescendo and ebb away in disappointment.
I have put up an extra feeder
in their line of approach
as compensation.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Split asunder

So glad I wasn't passing at the time,
but what a wonderful creature appeared.
It reminded me of Louise Bourgeois'
spider Maman.

Monday 16 April 2012


Walking through a field of lambs in springtime.
I think that could be added to the list of things
children should do before the age of 12.

Things not to do would include
standing on a rake in your own hallway.
Yep that would be me.
Luckily my glasses took the worst of the impact
and are still intact.

Friday 13 April 2012

50 things

The National Trust has compiled a list of
50 outdoor activities children should try
before they reach 11¾ years.
I asked my son to check the list honestly
and he found 42.
He probably didn't achieved this score 
in the allotted timespan but I was happy with that.

Then I wondered how much of the list I could tick off
and found 38.
Swimming under the Pont du Gard at night
into a cloud of white moths rising from the surface,
is one of my more surprising memories.

Swimming in a Welsh tarn 
was certainly the iciest.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Audrey Weber

One of my favourite old travel guides is
Hills of the South by S.P.B.Mais,
chiefly because of the paintings by Audrey Weber.
She worked as an illustrator for the Southern Railway Company,
but I can find very little about her life.*
The Natural History Museum say she was associated with their
Palaeontology department and illustrated several of their publications.

This marine turtle painting in oil painted in 1955
is the only one I can find.

 A site called Unsung Heroines
provides this rather charming picture,
 thought to depict her working in her studio, 
dated to around 1927.
The address is 37 Queen's Gate which would have been very
conveniently situated for the Kensington Museums.

She appears to be selecting paints and
is dressed for work in an artist's smock.

I think she deserves a wider audience.
I could see her using the Brushes app
on her ipad, to good effect.
My attempts so far only bear out the findings
in this post.

*Edited to add this very helpful comment from reader Jan:

I never could resist a challenge, but you're right - she's elusive! I've tried my family history sources, and they confirm Audrey Muriel Weber was living at 37 Queens Gate in 1924. In May 1928 she had just returned from Gibraltar to London on the Rawalpindi; she was living at the same address and her profession was "artist". Later she moved to 76 Fulham Road, SW3, and from 1938-1978 she was at 44 Shrewsbury House, Cheyne Walk. There was an obituary in the Times in February 1982 when she died, aged 90, but I haven't tracked down the full text yet. I believe she was born 29 Oct 1891 at Hendon, and died 2 Feb 1982 in Salisbury. 

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Light play

 A dramatic backlit day.

A day for seeing ghosts

 and banishing them with candles.

Sixteen new candles for the shop, made from 
posh yogurt pots covered with 
old Ordnance survey maps and
dustjackets from vintage travel books.

Even the parakeets were silenced.

Monday 9 April 2012

Easter round up*

'Not our cat' took up almost permanent residence
while his owners were away.
P weakened and bought a box of cat food.

The wisteria has survived my merciless pruning.

The cherry blossom could not have looked lovelier.

There were scenic walks.

Flowers from the garden.

Excellent birthday cards.

The 'children' laid on the Easter egg hunt.
I think we'll be finding them until next Christmas
they were so well camouflaged.

Even though the weather had deteriorated 
 this visiting Greater Spotted Woodpecker
brightened the final day.

* And speaking of Round Up,
I have always gardened organically,
but unless anyone has any better suggestions,
I think I may have to resort to a systemic weedkiller;
the newly exposed garden is carpeted
with ground elder.
I have started trying to dig it out...