Thursday, April 30, 2009


Well my knee is almost a normal size again. Not sure what was wrong, but anti-inflammatories helped, as did a delicious massage that N bought me for my birthday that I had put off using.

At the weekend I'm doing some photos of my friend's new wee dog. It was her fiftieth birthday recently and I offered to take some portraits as a present. I like photographing dogs and cats almost as much as people. This is a hairy beast I took a while back.

I'm also finalising the orders for the raised herb beds in the big garden. I've had to rejig some things, as the nurseries concerned have had complete crop failure on a few things, thanks to the very cold winter we had.

And trying to pull together an interpretation board for the Open Day - after that I'm going to step down, as I'm finding that I just don't have the time for personal things any more. I'm a bit sad about it, but relief is the bigger emotion, and I think I should start listening to myself now and again, as I simply don't have the energy that I used to.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Home From Writer's Retreat

I had a wonderful time, combining working through a load of drafts, making notes from things that I've been reading,starting some new work and taking some long walks.

I can thoroughly recommend the Fielding Programme and Polly Clark to anyone wanting a bit of head space to pursue a writing project.

It was so peaceful I'm having a bit of difficulty re-engaging with the speed of the world and all things I need to do now that I'm back in it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Falling Down on Blogging Duties

Sorry I've not been around much - real life is intruding somewhat just now!
The clearing of my MIL's house carries on a pace and I've been looking after her this weekend at our house to allow that to happen more quickly.

My FIL came through his hip replacement operation really well, though he is understandably sore.

So hopefully by the middle of next month we will have a bit more time to ourselves, although just where my MIL will ultimately live is still to be settled. We hope to let her move between her three children for as long as she is able. Yesterday brought home to me just how fragile she is getting when I realised she hadn't put her seat belt on and I had to pull over and do it - these are the things you forget to look out for, as they are such automatic actions in oneself.

I'm now off to do the Fielding Programme and I'm looking forward to it enormously, no least beause it will be a welcome opportunity to focus on just one thing for a change.

And what about Susan Boyle voice, isn't she just fantastic? I just hope that she has someone looking out for her as she gets processed through the celebrity mill.

It seems to me that she brings an honesty, an innocence, and above all a pure unadultered joy about the act of singing to our jaded TV dinner table.

She's the human equivalent of the first blackbird on a Spring morning. I just hope nobody robs her of these qualities.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Speaking of wild garlic

This is a path I always love in the Spring,it is used more by deer than people and I love the lush growth at this time of year. This is a carpet of wild garlic. There seem to be two forms, one with a strap leaf the other with the more usual broad leaf.

I wanted to give the shot the feel of an old hand coloured plate.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Fleeced, with apologies to RLS

Fleeced in every sense of the word. This is horticultural fleece on a tatty field to prevent frost and blight from affecting the crop. Click on the photo to get a bigger view.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


It was lovely to watch Carol King on Jools Holland last night, and then to listen to her being interviewed on Woman's Hour today. Unlike some stars with much less talent she takes the trouble to genuinely respond to the questions she is being posed, and is also humble and prepared to give due credit to those who have worked with her over many years.

My own copy of the Tapestry album has been worn smooth with too many plays in cold, damp bedsits, but for some reason I found it lovely to learn from this interview that the cat that has sat on the cover of my battered copy all these years was actually was called Telemachus after Ulysses' father.

King herself has hardly changed, she still has that gorgeous,thick curly hair that I used to so covet as a young woman. The album is being re released after thirty odd years, but a cd or mp3 download will never be able to replace the feel or the memories of old beat up vinyl.

Good old Carol and good old New York, which has incubated such incredible music over the years.

(I'm also pleased to say that I've got a wee photo poem here on the wonderful multi media magazine MungBeing. There lots of great stuff on the magazine so please have a good look around on it.)

Sunday, April 05, 2009



Pink lady’s smock lies ringed
by phallic spikes of butter burr,
as the foxy scent of fritillary,
wild garlic's bearish breath
and the rucks and Fucks
of the rugby sevens carry
on the wind.

Photo of butter burr flower spike
curtesy of Ray Purser at pbase

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rufus and Martha, I just love them

and Lhasa -I want this album when it comes out over here:

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bits and bobs

(Flip snap, low res, but I love pussy willows -that'll get the spam crawlers excited!)

A couple of good things that seemed way off on the horizon are now rapidly approaching:
  • My fellow residents at the Fielding Programme are now up on the web and I'm really looking forward to meeting them. I'm busily gathering together notebooks and computer drafts of things, in the hope that I will get peace to look at them with a fresh, unjaundiced eye.
  • My fellow blogger at A Walk Around the Lake, Pam Hart, and I are working on the choice of theme for the summer issue of qarrtsiluni, with helpful input from Managing Editors Beth Adams and Dave Bonta. (I must admit that spelling qarrsiluni plays havoc with my dyslexic, chemo'd brain, I have to cut and paste it ever time.)

A few other random things that I'm enjoying just now are:

  • BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week, The Old Boys' Network, which is the diary of the former head of Westminster School. I'm no great fan of private education, but this is really well written and full of interesting anecdotes and insights into how a man in this position exercises power and judgement.
  • Sowing seeds, I never tire of doing this, or taking pleasure in seeing a bean sprout or a lettuce stick its head above the parapet, even if a slug immediately takes it off.
  • Warmth that doesn't require central heating.
  • The prospect of dinner and a night at the theatre tonight with an old friend.