Sherpa and the disappearing trick…

Digital StillCameraSherpa likes to help in the garden. Even as a kitten she showed a keen interest in trees (no, the birds have flown, Sherpa)IMG_0018. She was very keen to help rethatch the African hut – checking out that it was all done to a proper standard! BuIMG_0020t… when Peter climbed up the apple tree last week, to do some high level pruning… Sherpa was NOWHERE to be seen!IMG_2904Hmmmmmmmm!

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First signs of spring?

So, the sun came out after lunch today and lingered over a deliciously apricot sunset – until nearly six o’clock. As one friend commented ‘spring is on the way’. Well, it might be, but there is plenty of scope for the return of winter while temperatures remain low and the jet stream, which has wandered north, still has scope to dip south, dragging polar weather with it.

Coughs, colds and flu still seem hold our neighbours in their grip. The sound of coughing punctuates every gathering. We could all do with some warm dry weather to help us recover. But let’s not rush things – many of our snowdrops have yet to bloom and the daffodils have not progressed beyond leaves. Our ‘host of golden daffodils’ has yet to be revealed.

I love sprongtime, but this ‘on the cusp’ period is, if anything, more special. It is an indrawn breath, a leaning forward and then pausing… nothing fully begun, but instead a brief time to take stock before surging forward with the flow of new life.

So, let us spend a moment more cacooned in winter’s dormancy. Let’s stay a little longer by the hearth and wrap ourselves round with the contemplation of winter, remembering times past and last year’s bounty. This coming year’s demamds will all too soon be upon us – so let’s not meet them before we are ready.


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Greetings, 2015!

Welcome to a new year – full of good intentions. May at least some of them survive the first week!

I have written a very short list this year – if one item can be called a list. I have simply promised (myself) to write to my friends and family – on real old-fashioned paper, put in a real old-fashioned envelope and stamped with a real o-f stamp and popped in the post.  Letter number 1 is already on its way – so at least week 1 has some positive evidence. I’m not doing this in order to prompt a reply – rather, just to do something joyful and more lasting than an email. (I can’t tweet – don’t ask me…)317

All this makes me wonder what other ‘resolutions’ have set people off on a mission (so to speak). There are the old ones – like giving up cigarettes (I don’t smoke) giving up being nasty (hope I don’t ever need to confess to that one) or ‘being a better person’ (whatever that entails) – most of which are forgotten as soon as the Christmas decorations are down. But a positive resolution (just as long as it doesn’t involve a gym) is probably more achievable. I’d like to write one letter a week – say, 50 before next Christmas (and I’m not counting post cards) so I will be supporting the post office if nothing else.

My mother used to write to her mother every week, receiving a letter by return. In the days before email and cheap phone calls, when a visit entailed two long bus rides and a train journey, and Norfolk seemed to be as far away as the moon, this was a practical and rewarding habit – which, to my benefit, she continued with me – writing to me when I left home for college and never stopping a fairly regular correspondence right up to the age of about 80. I came across some of her letters the other day. They weren’t exactly the stuff of memoirs, but a relationship shone from the page – she clearly knew what I was doing and was wishing me well. Looking back, I’m not sure I realised what that meant when I was in my twenties – but now, waving my own children off after the Christmas holidays, wishing them well, enjoying seeing their lives – from one remove, perhaps, but with genuine love and appreciation of who they are, I see a little better that long ago relationship, written out on small sheets of paper and folded in an envelope – a capsule of something very important, now confined to memory. Here is one of her very early efforts, written when she was about 9, to her grandmother :)S4300336 (Please note: in those days one could bank on a post card reaching home before you!)

So, here is a plea for the old-fashioned letter. Why not pick up your pen and write one yourself. You never know what that might mean to the recipient(s). Send a little light out into the January darkness. Go on. Do it.

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A retrospective meme

(Pinched from “This lovely annual meme is all over the place again, and I can’t resist. Essentially, it means copying the first line from the first post of each month, as a nice (if perhaps aleatory) overview of the year… Go ahead; do it yourself! “… ALEATORY…? Goodness me!
Anyway, here goes:


The British are good at weather.


As the rain continues to fall, interspersed with the odd few hours of sunshine, indoor tasks become the focus of my attention.


Not a chess term – just a few lovely days checking out Welsh castles.


There are some days which stand out in memory as ‘perfect’.


Now, where did you two pop up from?


Back in the days of storm and tempest, when trees were falling like nine-pins, a massive oak keeled over in the village, bringing down fences and destroying a wall.


A fortnight’s silence on this blog = lots of activities which have kept blogging well and truly pruned.


Last week, on one of the hottest days of the year, OV and I were to be found climbing up to the Bath ‘skyline walk’, pausing every few metres to enjoy the views (and get our breath back!)


I note, with shame, that a whole month has passed with ne’er a squeak from me on this blog.




What happened to October?


I can’t recall months flying past with quite such abandon, for several years – but here we are, nearly a month after my last post and already in the throes of celebrating Christmas.

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November into December

I can’t recall months flying past with quite such abandon, for several years – but here we are, nearly a month after my last post and already in the throes of celebrating Christmas. Mind you, Advent got a look in – lots of stars everywhere this year:

IMG_2656IMG_2649Last Sunday we filled a village hall with busy families – all cutting, sticking, weaving and colouring stars, with which to descorate their homes.

This year we hope that as many people as possible will put a star in their window, or in their garden – to give our villages a wonderful unity of sparkling stars.

Speaking of which – the skies have been wonderful this week – superb colours at sunrise and sunset, and today, a huge full moon accompanying us as we drove home towards sunset.

The garden is full of birds, too – falling into their winter habits of searching for food close to the house. A heron appears to have moved into the field behind the house, standing, watching the stream, and then stretching its neck and wings and, apparently growing twice its motionless size, flapping off in clumsy flight across the meadow.

‘Christmas Crackers’ is back in Chiselborough this year – next week. The scenery and props are almost ready ahead of our annual family sketch. Just the costumes to go… and making an attempt at learning my lines (or writing them on the props!)

Ah, exciting days….

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Long time no see…

What happened to October?

Secret Garden 2014Open garden Week 2 …

… a trip to Dublin …


IMG_2516..and to Westminster Abbey … IMG_2493

in London Town.

It was a busy month.

Next post: what happened in November… so far…

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Ravens, writing desks and lamp posts?

IMG_2162So, now you know how a sewer pipe is like a gas lamp! Welcome to the Narnia section of the ‘Secret Story Garden’ – and just to tempt you to come along, here are a couple more images:IMG_2154






IMG_2153Oh, and don’t forget that we have books for sale, Fairtrade chocolate, scrummy refreshments (home-made cake an ‘all) and a fun painting project for all the family.

So cram some spare cash in your pocket and come on over to Chiselborough, Somerset TA14 – and follow the signs to ‘Honey Pot Books’ at the Rectory –  follow the link:

And don’t forget to look in all the Somerset Arts Weeks galleries and studios while you are in the area – they are fantastic!


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