Friday, 12 January 2018

Victorious!



 All the cosseting  paid off.


A largely unmolested bed of crisp winter salad.*

My thanks to Rocket Gardens for kicking it off.
Their tomato seedlings were brilliant last year too.

*Except ironically, the rocket which vanished.
And the sacrificial Lamb's Lettuce.


Monday, 8 January 2018

All is not as it seems



Introducing


Short Cat.

We are at Stage 1-
nervous but frequent inspection.

This could take a while.


Friday, 5 January 2018

Tall Cat is patient






but understandably nonplussed.

Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year blues




Our grand daughter was thrilled to be opening presents.
Anyone's presents.
The more the merrier.
The contents? Well they were not really the point of the exercise.
It was the moment of mystery that held her in thrall.

I received many lovely gifts too,
but the sighting of this blue glass gem on a beach that normally
only yields white and green was absurdly thrilling.
I felt as though I had won the lottery.

And yet and yet.
The glass once dry and cached with all the hundreds of other pieces indoors,
has lost some of its lustre. 
The magical feeling of acquisition has faded.

Where does this pull towards possession come from?
It seems to start so early.
And the longer it lasts, the older I get, the more complicated it is 
to shuck off the weighty legacy.

I had a waking dream nightmare, where I was trying to dispose mentally
of all the items in my house, as if in readiness for an imminent move
to somewhere much smaller than my present abode.
The practical difficulties seemed overwhelming.
And yet so many people have to do just this,
perhaps at a time when they are physically least able to cope.

My parents had a large house which easily swallowed 
in its attics and outhouses
the baggage of a long lifetime, raising a family
and running a nursery school from the premises.
My mother was incorrigible.
'You'll have to deal with all this when I'm gone,' she said laughingly.

And when both parents died within five weeks of each other,
that is exactly what we had to do.
It was haphazard and brutal.
A skip was ordered and house clearance people got very lucky.
There simply wasn't time to make considered decisions.

Today I started my Kondo-ing again.







Sunday, 24 December 2017

Last minute preparations





Are you ready?

Have a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Spending Christmas


The tree -
pricey Fraser fir but it smells lovely and hasn't dropped any needles.


 Advent windows - small charge for a map.




Waldorf stars - this year with the right paper,
waxed translucent coloured squares all the way from San Diego.


Sunrise.


Sunset. 


Free gifts.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Tall Cat takes refuge



from the snow.


It must be at least 3mm deep.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Rest cure


 Nothing to read here.














What a relief.
No signs.
No instructions.
No advertisements.

I find myself incapable of ignoring any lettering
however banal.
These days we are bombarded by messages,
but the habit of reading them all started young.
I remember feeling obliged to decipher the words
mesembryanthemum criniflorum
on the back of the loo door at home.
I can't have been more than five years old.
My father had pasted up some pages torn out of Amateur Gardening to
the panels on the door.
There was another sign in his spindly writing taped
to the geyser that heated the water for our baths.
It read,
Remember. Before lighting remove paper from chimney.
We read this nightly and eventually set it, somewhat bizarrely, 
to the hard-to-scan chorus of


In a feeble attempt to stave off this madness
I peel the labels from appliances
and products that cannot be mistaken for anything else.
This may yet be my undoing but so far it offers a little merciful respite.

How do you cope?

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Fairways






Grateful as always to be able to visit this stretch of coastline.


 But delighted to discover that we have been granted access


to this vast open space,


newly liberated by the council in an otherwise urban area,
from its previous incarnation as a golf course.



Free for all.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Baggage



I am not a fan of the large tote.
It may be my undoing one day but if I can,
I leave the house with no more than a travel card,
a credit card, my phone and my keys.
Even the keys are paired down because the car key fob is so bulky.
Not for me the chatelaine's heavy belt hook.

I don't carry make up because I don't wear any.
I never mastered that skill.
I don't carry a book because I can't concentrate on trains and tubes -
the people must be watched.
I don't carry an umbrella because it never rains if I do.

The newel post is the usual home for household bags.
The threadbare Ally Capellino page is a handmedown from son 
(Happy Birthday!) to husband,
the Strand Bookstore bag is my sole souvenir from the last New York trip,
and the small felt bag is you know who's.
She chose the ribbon and the button.
If only all bags could be as minimal as this.

Of course the bag carried by her loyal retainers is huge.
Change of clothes, change of shoes, waterproofs, gloves, hat, scarf,
 wipes, toys, hair accoutrements,
drink, snacks, sunglasses, make up quite probably. . .





Thursday, 9 November 2017

Insufficient fuss?*






 I failed to note that the blog turned ten sometime in October.


I think my 3 year old guest photographer
had something to do with that.
I spend quite a bit of time at the computer,
but these days I find I am searching for
entertaining songs and clips from her present
and my past,
 to suit her very catholic tastes.

Enjoy!













And this of course.
She knows all the words.




* Barbara Skelton, socialite, noted in her diary June 26th 1952,

'My Birthday today. Insufficient fuss made.'

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Monday, 30 October 2017

Winding down at Sissinghurst



















 And some essential maintenance.
The tower is under scaffolding for the next six months.

A cold snap at last.
I have been planting tulips 
and trying to remember what my intentions were
for Spring 2018 when I ordered them.

In other news, furniture is being eyed up for reupholstering.
A new carpet is being laid.
Light bulbs have been replaced.

Autumn is the new Spring.