Tuesday 26 March 2013

Clematis armandii

I saw a tiny bright patch open in the cloud
and rejoiced.

Monday 25 March 2013

Dressing gowns

I was not cut out for a life in academe.
My pathetic clutch of 'O' and 'A' levels saw to that.
And neither was I suited to a career in haute couture,
as my present wardrobe will testify,
but in the programme for the degree awards' ceremony
I found a perfect collision of the two worlds:
a description of the academical gowns
for each of the degrees.
So should I wish to,
I could imagine a  collection of jackets
and dresses
fashioned from some of these
delightful combinations.

Scarlet cloth lined with dove-coloured silk,
that is silk of a turquoise-blue shot with rose pink.
Doctor of Divinity

Scarlet cloth lined with light cherry silk.
Doctor of Law

Scarlet cloth lined with pink silk shot with light blue.
Doctor of Science

Cream damask, lined with dark cherry satin.
Doctor of Music

Black corded silk lined with bronze silk,
the hood part-lined with scarlet cloth.
Doctor of Engineering

Black cloth lined with scarlet silk.
Master of Letters

Black cloth lined with slate blue silk.
Master of Mathematics

Black cloth lined with dark plum silk.
Master of Research

Black corded silk lined with yellow silk.
Master of Studies

Black cloth lined with blue silk.
Master of Philosophy

Black cloth lined with dark green silk.

Black cloth lined with light green silk.
Master of Finance

Sunday 24 March 2013

Watery light

It has come to something when even this 
pale shadow
stirred a little feeling of cheer.

I wish there was a way to store the happy optimism
and can-do energy
that sustained sunshine promotes.
The bright chard in the sink worked
momentarily, but really. . .

it is almost impossible to believe in spring,
let alone summer.

One happy event was our trip to
see our son collect his MA this weekend.
Nothing could cast a pall over that.

Te etiam admitto ad eundum gradum.

Friday 22 March 2013


The frogs have not been deterred by the cold.
There is spawn in the ponds.
I hope it doesn't freeze.

Green seen

It's trying to snow again.

Wednesday 20 March 2013


I took a unilateral decision and increased 
indoor and outdoor staffing levels 
to unprecedented heights today.
Four people laboured manfully and womanfully 
around the premises
while I watched them and smiled encouragingly.
These two men are called 
The Considerate Plumbers
and they really were.

The gardening folk weeded and pruned and cleared 
for six hours straight.
I made tea and coffee of course
and fielded enquiries, but beyond that I did nothing.
Husband is home with a nasty virus
so a little light nursing was required.
O. was here and needed some sustenance
before disappearing again.
I gave him a lift because his case was heavy.

The milk was not delivered
(atrocious timing for that Fail)
so I popped out to the supermarket
and brought home the weekly provisions
as well as the milk.
But really apart from that, 
I was completely at leisure.

The washing largely took care of itself
as did the dishwasher.
Bread and fruit loaf are made
in a jiffy.
Soup for lunch only needed defrosting.
Ironing is almost therapeutic when it
only involves flat things.
But as I say, I really was having a lovely rest.

While the plumbers were hard at work with the new tap
 I couldn't help noticing that 
the under sink cupboard was in need of a little tidy up.
A couple of rather tricky phone calls had to be made
and bills always need paying,
but I was sitting down for those.

It was Pilates today.
So I expect that is why I am feeling a little weary.

Or is it because, 
although this is the first day of Spring,
I have used up all my springiness
and am running on empty?

Monday 18 March 2013

The smoothie

With hail hammering at the window
Lucille sought solace
in an uncanny ability to co-ordinate her clothing
with her lunch.*

* A frozen banana, blueberry, raspberry and soya milk smoothie
since you ask.

Disclaimer: this may  not be all she ate
but it gives the impression of admirable restraint.

Sunday 17 March 2013

High tide

We are not a large clan.
The normal crew these days is 2 people,
so it is lovely to have the tide bringing 
a veritable flood of family and friends to the kitchen table.

A birthday is always an excuse for chocolate cake.
This one is Chocolate cake with lime from
Sarah Raven's Friends and Family.

As usual I cooked too much.
We are awash with leftovers.

It is still raining.
Is it time to build an ark?

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Just for the record

The sun definitely came out today.
I have proof.

Piano practice

I found this while clearing out my emails.
Flex your fingers while the ad is on,
it's worth the wait.

Monday 11 March 2013


There have been visitors,




and games of Bananagrams.

Now everyone has scattered,
some as far as Hong Kong,
and it has snowed again.

Supper on a tray tonight.

Thursday 7 March 2013

A fish out of water

Do you ever feel like one?

The drizzle and grey have returned
and more Arctic blasting is confidently predicted
for the weekend.
I was working in the garden without a jumper on Monday,
batteries charging nicely.
Suffice it to say,
I am not in my element.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

360 º

I won't take a camera I thought,
it'll just be in the way and
I don't want to carry a heavy bag.

So what did I decide to do on the spur of the moment
on this sunniest and clearest of Spring days?
I went up the Shard.
Probably the best blogortunity in London.
Well I looked with my eyes and not a lens
and it was just as you'd hope
a view from the 72nd level would be,
800 giddy feet in the air.

Little white trains slithered in and out of stations;
slipped past each other across bridges, 
curled away and converged with immaculate timing.
Boats large and small chugged up and down the river.
A police launch nosed importantly between the slower vessels.

Big Ben was tiny.
So was St. Paul's. 

The Thames takes a deeply sinuous route into the far distance
glinting upstream in the low sun,
broadening downstream towards Greenwich and the open sea.

But most beautiful of all was to see all around 
the rim of hills that hold London 
in their hazy and distant embrace.

The only jarring note was the quite unnecessary New Age muzak,
intended I suppose to heighten your wonderment.
At that height, with a slight breeze on my face,
blissfully removed from 
the blare of mobile phones and traffic,
it was silence I craved.
That would have made the Shard sublime.

Monday 4 March 2013

Drawing back the curtain

People actually cheered.

It had to be this.