Sunday 30 September 2012

Low ebb

 It was about here that I realised
that I had lost my glasses.
An expletive was uttered.

They are rimless
with translucent greeny browny arms.

 This is the second time I have done this.

 I take them off to use the camera

 and hook them carefully into a buttonhole

 and then perhaps I bend down to roll my trousers up
to cross a puddle

 so that must be when they drop out.

You'd think I'd be wise to this mistake.

Thankfully my husband
has found them both times
on shingle!
He of the laser corrected eye
and a finely honed search technique.

Friday 28 September 2012

Sweet and sour

The build is going badly.
They left an unfinished roof unprotected
and the rain poured into the sitting room.
The build manager is a cad and a bounder.

The wedding is ever closer.
I have nice new red shoes
and a rose covered umbrella.
My hair looks terrible.

O. and I had a great day out on the town yesterday.
Lunch at Carluccio's, tea at The National Gallery,
free hand and arm massages at Jo Malone, supper at Mildred's.
Someone texted me just before we went into the film* to say
they thought they might have left the iron on
and just thought I ought to know.

I made cucumber pickles today.
Sweet and sour.

* To Rome with Love

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Dashing away with the smoothing iron

In this un-retouched photo
you see the truth behind my useful or beautiful facade.

I am indebted to Mise for her exposé
on clothes airing, which has gone global.
Even at this late stage in my domestic career
I am refining my approach to drying, airing and ironing clothes
by collating the advice of her worldwide readers.

I now have damp shirts hanging on hangers 
from the original Edwardian airer, 
which we moved from the kitchen
where it previously hung over the stove.
The boiler, lacking much of its carapace,
wastes most of its useful heat in the downstairs loo
(not shown - I know where to draw the line)
 and is smothered with wet towels.
The fancy iron is held together with parcel tape,
because I dropped it when trying to descale it
at the Belfast sink, also not seen.
It is ready for action if the creases do not drop out.
The sun is not shining, but it might at any minute
as we are experience scattered showers.
The washing line outside the window
is still supporting luxuriant creepers
and so is of no practical use in this process.

I haven't tried drying clothes on lavender bushes,
so might for the sake of completeness,
dash out with a sock or two
in the next sunny spell.

As a final option to consider,
The Other Son came back from Japan
with shirts individually laundered, folded, wrapped
and labelled like this:

Hakuyosha clean living,
for a cleaner, more comfortable living,
Hakuyosha is extending its
'Clean Living' circle
over the world.

Contact details on request.

Monday 24 September 2012

Comings and goings

Here is the Other Other One,
safely back from Japan.
We took some therapeutic stone hurling time
 down on the beach.

He dashes off again in three days.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

dolce fa niente*

'It is sweet to do nothing',
is not the motto I'd choose for the Pre-Raphaelites.
Would it be churlish of me to admit that their industry exhausts me?
Tiles, embroideries, bed hangings and counterpanes, screens, 
huge tapestries, sculptures, painted furniture, book illustrations,
wallpaper and fabric design, poetry, calligraphy,
stained glass, paintings full of shimmering,
glowing, painstaking detail.
Nothing escaped their attentions.

Yes, I've just come back from the Tate exhibition
and feel quite feeble.
How did they do it all?
And have time for affairs?
And die young?

For a more mature appraisal of all things
Pre-Raph do look here.

* William Holman Hunt

Monday 17 September 2012


I think it close to miraculous 

that I walked along a beach

as empty as this,

scattered with shells, 

 sculpted by the outflowing tide,

 lit by the daily drama

of a westward slipping sun,

 less than two hours' drive from London.


Thursday 13 September 2012

(Pull) The Other One

Here we are with The Other One on a rare day out together.

 Hurling large rocks never loses its appeal.

Improvising a game of clay pebble shooting,
shouting, 'Pull!'
and flinging stones simultaneously to collide in mid air,
is amusing for longer than you would have thought.

Turning back the tide,
well - we know that's not possible.
And anyway, there's a daughter-in-law
on the near horizon now 
and we're looking forward to that.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Skype portrait

The video link wasn't working properly,
but I very much liked this impressionistic image
of our man in Japan, sitting on his  畳 tatami mat
in front of the 障子shoji screen.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Monday 10 September 2012


a walk and a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Hark, hearer, hear what I do; lend a thought now, make believe
We are leafwhelmed somewhere with the hood
Of some branchy bunchy bushybowered wood,
Southern dene or Lancashire clough or Devon cleave,
That leans along the loins of hills, where a candycoloured, where a gluegold-brown
Marbled river, boisterously beautiful, between
Roots and rocks is danced and dandled, all in froth and waterblowballs, down.
We are there, when we hear a shout
That the hanging honeysuck, the dogeared hazels in the cover
Makes dither, makes hover
And the riot of a rout
Of, it must be, boys from the town
Bathing: it is summer’s sovereign good.

By there comes a listless stranger: beckoned by the noise
He drops towards the river: unseen
Sees the bevy of them, how the boys
With dare and with downdolphinry and bellbright bodies huddling out,
Are earthworld, airworld, waterworld thorough hurled, all by turn and turn about.

This garland of their gambols flashes in his breast
Into such a sudden zest
Of summertime joys
That he hies to a pool neighbouring; sees it is the best
There; sweetest, freshest, shadowiest;
Fairyland; silk-beech, scrolled ash, packed sycamore, wild wychelm, hornbeam fretty overstood
By. Rafts and rafts of flake-leaves light, dealt so, painted on the air,
Hang as still as hawk or hawkmoth, as the stars or as the angels there,
Like the thing that never knew the earth, never off roots
Rose. Here he feasts: lovely all is! No more: off with—down he dings
His bleachèd both and woolwoven wear:
Careless these in coloured wisp
All lie tumbled-to; then with loop-locks
Forward falling, forehead frowning, lips crisp
Over finger-teasing task, his twiny boots
Fast he opens, last he offwrings
Till walk the world he can with bare his feet
And come where lies a coffer, burly all of blocks
Built of chancequarrièd, selfquainèd rocks
And the water warbles over into, filleted with glassy grassy quicksilvery shivès and shoots
And with heavenfallen freshness down from moorland still brims,
Dark or daylight on and on. Here he will then, here he will the fleet
Flinty kindcold element let break across his limbs
Long. Where we leave him, froliclavish while he looks about him, laughs, swims.
Enough now; since the sacred matter that I mean
I should be wronging longer leaving it to float
Upon this only gambolling and echoing-of-earth note—
What is … the delightful dene?
Wedlock. What the water? Spousal love.
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
Father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends
Into fairy trees, wild flowers, wood ferns
Rankèd round the bower

If you click to enlarge,
you will see that the air was filled with dragonflies.

13:09 from Epithalamion

Thursday 6 September 2012


Plum tomato blight.

Plum delight.

And a treat for the weekend:
a documentary about Pelham Grenville Wodehouse,
often known as Plum.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Quietly at Stratford

Not another visit to an English country garden.

It's the Olympic Park.

 For the Paralympic 7-a-side football
played under a sky as blue as the pitch.

And amazing goal ball, played in complete silence 
so that the blind and blindfolded players
 can hear the bells ringing in the ball.
After the ball went out of play
they played just the first few bars of this
to quieten the spectators.