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


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


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.


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.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Tall Cat takes refuge

from Storm Brian.

(It's not here quite yet.)

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Lamb's (lettuce) to the slaughter?

Two beds of succulent winter salad leaves
in the ground.

Each one surrounded by grit,
with two beer traps filled with Guinness,
strategically placed.
Muddy paths jet washed.
All surrounding weed and plant cover removed.

Let battle commence.

Edited to add:
Two torch patrols tonight
 and the enemy's capabilities have not been underestimated.
Both beer traps have been dug up.
One of them moved 30cms and not a drop spilled.
Many, many little black slugs were apprehended while climbing out 
from under the boards.
The leopard slugs were patrolling the paths.
But incredibly it turns out they are the gardener's friend.
They eat other slugs! Who knew?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Training Day

Determined to get better use out of our Senior Railcards this year,

we decided on an ambitious day trip,

which necessitated a 5 a.m start,

and approximately eleven hours sitting on trains,

because that's what it takes to get to Edinburgh and back.

It was worth it.
I've been hearing so much about True to Life, British Realists in the 1920s and 30s.
No photos allowed but you can read about it here.

So now we've been pretty far west, pretty far east and pretty far north.
Pretty far south will soon get our feet wet,
so it may have to be south west next.