Wednesday 30 July 2014

Peace restored

The flowery mead in late July.
The rest of the garden is virtually flowerless
now that I have pulled up all the sprawling geraniums.
I'm minded to extend this patch next year,
it has been such good value.

'Terra' has just told me that this is Coreopsis
and it means 'always cheerful'.
It links in rather well with this post too.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

The Bill 2

Just came home from Waitrose*
to find an armed police raid in full swing next door.
Not what one expects.

And to think, only hours earlier
I had been sitting on the swing seat with a Magnum.
By which I mean one of these

lest there be any confusion in your minds.

I was reminded of the joke about the Peter Jones*
department store being where you should go in the event
of a nuclear attack, as nothing bad can ever happen there.

Surely I couldn't be expected to unpack Waitrose hummus
with plain clothes officers swarming about the place.

This must qualify me for inclusion here.

* Peter Jones and Waitrose are operated by the John Lewis Partnership

Monday 28 July 2014

The cook is (briefly) back in town

Andalusian soup salad,
artichokes and aioli,
tomato bruschetta

Thursday 24 July 2014

Returning to the nest

Hot news.
The seagull has landed.
O. is home from his year in Japan.
Just got to get through baggage reclaim.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Weather event

This metallic blue plant
was ripped out of the ground by an unholy storm last Friday night.
 Cauliflower clouds built and swirled and involuted
as if on a sped up film just a little way off and so low
they seemed scarcely higher than the fence.
I called to people to come inside.
Then from nowhere; from  a standing start;
a hot wind rushed across the garden from the south.
The trees twisted and convulsed, flowers were trampelled 
as if by invisible hooves.
There was no rain, some sheet lightning,
but the wind was the main event.
It was like being in the path of a monstrous steam engine.
It roared and churned and battered the earth.
Then it passed and all was quiet again.
I have never seen anything like it.

The thunderstorm that followed in the night
was a non-event by comparison.

Monday 21 July 2014

Something you may not know about me

Some people like shopping for clothes,
some people like shopping for shoes.
Let me loose in a specialist horticultural, arboricultural and forestry outlet
on an out of the way light industrial estate
and I'm in my element.

Admittedly I have to dust off my Blokeish,
but look what I got.

It's an extendable pole lopper with a twelve foot reach.
Just the job.

Here's where it all started.

Or perhaps it lurks even further back in the blood.
My maternal grandfather (after a stint as a teenager, opal mining in Australia)
studied forestry in Germany and then joined the Indian Forestry Service
and served at Chatrapur, Berhampore and Parlikimedia
in the north of Madras Presidency.
Me, I'm controlling brambles, ash and sycamores
in the south of England Residency.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Work in progress

Looks like you're trying to make a quilt Lucille.
Need any help?

No thank you. I have read all the blogs.
I have the rotary cutter and the special ruler and the self-healing board.
I have the fat quarters and the pins.
What can possibly go wrong?

Do not click to enlarge to see the mismatched corners.

I said don't.

Anyway, look at this.
I've washed an old tablecloth to use as 
the backing material.

It's bleaching in the sun.
It will look as though I have hand embroidered the back.

If the child asks one day,
'Granny did you embroider the back?'
I will have to say,
'My dear, it was all I could do
to make the squares line up properly.
But I did it as carefully as I could
on a very hot day in July 2014 while we were waiting
for you to arrive.'

Monday 14 July 2014

Take your pick

It was a choice between this

or  this on the radio


on a recent long drive.

Thursday 10 July 2014

My Teenage Diary

Prompted by Rebecca's post here
and this radio 4 programme
I have dug out a picture of me at 15
and extracted a few nuggets from the diary of that year.
It was a very small diary with not much room for heartfelt outpourings
but it is the music that ignites the memory.

I will spare you the meticulous record of homework, hair washes
and barfs (that's baths not the American thing).

Went over to Maxine's watched last Forsythe Saga. Very sad.

 Had a barf. Washed my hair.
(oops sorry)

Fantastic NME Wembley concert.
 Amen Corner, Johnny Nash, Desmond Dekker, Love Affair, Lulu, Marmalade, 
Hank Marvin, Robin and Maurice Gibb,  Move, Cliff Richard, Peter Sarstedt, 
Scaffold, Steppenwolf, Tremeloes, Clodagh Rodgers, Tony Blackburn.

Sold Monkees LP for 12/6 bought Cat Stevens LP for 7/6. Good bargain.
(That was a significant transition as well as transaction.)

Went to Carnaby Street.

Maths and geography exams diabolicale.(sic)

Killed myself in rounders tournament.

Attempted Bronze survival and failed.

Learnt to play Moonlight Sonata.
(Slow movement only like E.F Benson's Lucia.)

Moon Landing 9.18
3.56 Man on moon.
Took off from moon 6.54
Didn't go to school.

Amen Corner splitting 
(This was tragic news.)

Went to see Forty Years On. Alan Bennett, John Gielgud. 
V.G but took ages to get there.

Got called Twiggy in Oxford Street.

Emma and I got Abbey Road for 29/11.

Heard I am going on Caribbean cruise next year.
(This was on the educational cruise ship the S.S Nevasa.)

Mummy got lovely dress material for my maxi.

Entered Biba competition.

Music lesson diabolical.

He is an immature scrap who enjoys a bit of fun on Saturday nights.
He can find someone else to drag around & I'm glad it won't be me.
 I don't care if I never see that nit again. 
And I probably won't.
He's a no good drip.

Saw The Graduate and have grown up a little.

Tuesday 8 July 2014


I don't take much notice of care labels
unless one of the plasticky ones is irritating my skin
where it is sewn into a seam.
Thus it was this morning, that I took a pair of scissors to
the labels in a new shirt, marvelling at the mine of information
contained on four of them in fifteen languages
and mentally consigning the spare buttons to the spare button drawer
holding all the other spare buttons for garments long forgotten.

Then I noticed the erratum slip - the prickliest culprit.
'Use mild detergent', it said.
They had gone to some trouble to insert this.
What must the original instruction have said?
I went back to the care label.
There were fifteen symbols on it.
My life was shortening as I tried to decipher them
but I needed to know what I might have done,
had I tried to obey the care instructions.

Cold rinse in early morning dew?
Wash only in asses' milk?
 Beat with twigs?

The shirt is grey with white polka dots.
If I had followed their injunction to use bleach
it would have been white with white polka dots.
Phew.Thank goodness I don't bother about care labels.

Friday 4 July 2014

Blog on auto

No more fiddling around to get that perfect shot.
Just press the shutter as you pass wherever the camera happens to be resting
 and bingo, freehand photography.

Is it the silly season yet?

Thursday 3 July 2014

Throwing open the windows

It is a rare occasion when both these windows are open.
I couldn't even find the keys.

 But if it wasn't going to be today,
then when?
There is a warm wind blowing through,
stirring the curtains
and sending papers to the floor.

The Midsummer light shade, rustles and spins
shaking off the dust.

Wednesday 2 July 2014

A flowery mead

This is a circular 'meadow',
one metre in diameter
cut out of the middle of our scruffy lawn.
I'm very pleased with it.
I just sprinkled them about a bit
and up they popped.
She says it will still be flowering at the end of October.
We'll see.

Special effects

Through a lemonade glass lightly.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Sissinghurst secluded

No, not a special out of hours viewing.

But a cunning plan.

 Arrive just before opening time at 11am.
Even on a fine June Saturday.

 Queue politely with the milling crowd at the entrance booth.

Walk purposefully through the gateway
as the clock strikes 11.

Then when everyone turns left to see The White Garden,
looking its best at this time of year,
but very confined,

turn sharp right

and have the rest of the garden to yourself.
They haven't even had time to climb the tower.

Of course you will soon start meeting people
as they percolate through to Delos,
the Rose Garden, the Cottage garden, the Orchard, the Nuttery, 
the Yew Walk, the Herb Garden, the Moat Walk and the Lime Walk
and then you will have to content yourself with close ups.

But you will perhaps have done everyone a small favour
by staying out of their way,
especially if they have flown thousands of miles
for a once in a lifetime visit.