Thursday, 31 July 2014

Mr Higgledy Garden proposed...

Centaurea 'Blue Ball'



Centaurea 'Classic Romantic'

Nope. Not a clue what this is...

Centaurea - unknown variety

and I accepted...

If I am being completely honest
I caught him at a weak moment
when he was so terrified about talking
in front of the dovegreyreader audience
that he sold me twelve packets of seeds
at an outrageously cheap price.
It is a brutal lesson
not to drink gin in public.

Now I just need a walled garden...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Notes from the Lady Gardener

Lady in the Garden
Emile Claus (1849 - 1924)

How lovely to see everyone again after my holiday. I hope that you are all refreshed and ready for some hard work. I would like to congratulate the Agapanthus alba who has achieved spectacular results while we have been away, reaching a record breaking six feet. In view of this there will be no mention of the fact that you are blue rather than white. Congratulations also to the Hosta who has maintained a pristine appearance for the second year running. The prize for hard work goes to the Iceberg rose which is flowering abundantly for the second time. I am sorry that the Fuschias feel so neglected but you must shape up or ship out - there is no mollycoddling in this garden. I am afraid that the Geraniums have had a very poor attitude this year and must expect immediate remedial treament. Also in the disappointing category, the Pelargonium who was doing so well before I went away but who appears to have been slacking, there is no excuse whatsoever for that sort of attitude. On a more positive note, I am glad to see that the Scabious which had extensive surgery in June has now recovered and can leave the sick bay in the next week. I thought you might like to know that I met Mr Higgledy Gardener while I was away and he has given me some tiny packs of seeds for the nursery so you can expect new chums next year. And finally, to the slugs who ate my blue lupins I say only this 'There is no place that you can hide. I will hunt you down. Expect no mercy'.

Friday, 25 July 2014

night blue

After dinner we went down to the beach
and walked on wet sand to the black sea.
The sky was the colour of soaked silk,
dense opaque blue beyond the horizon.
We watched the young couple run back
from the water's edge, across the rocks,
to their driftwood fire under the cliff
and then quietly turned back to the village,
fearful of intruding on their happiness.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

what the commuter saw

Guerilla Gardening

A micro garden squeezed between concrete cobbles
in the chaotically busy entry to Waterloo Station.
I wondered if the guerilla gardeners wait and watch
to see how much pleasure their intervention gives
in the grime, noise and rush of commuter land.
I hope that my squeak of excitement made them smile.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

people I work with

Gillian Ayres

Juno and the Paycock

silkscreen print (1992)
British Academy Collection
© Gillian Ayres

I walk in and out of the building where I work
conscious every day of the privilege
of being surrounded by exceptional art.
This print, hung at eye level by the lift,
is a joyous kaleidoscope of colour,
creeping in thick swirls and furrows.
Waiting for the lift you are tempted to reach out
and trace the contours to absorb the energy.

There is a wonderful article about Gillian Ayres here

Monday, 21 July 2014

*deep breath*

Blogger, you are driving me crazy. Why won't you let me load images? Only sheer determination and the ability to squash this image to a smaller file size has allowed me to post tonight. I have important images to share with my friends so do me a favour, Blogger, whatever it is that you are sulking about, get over it. I'm giving you 24 hours but if you haven't sorted yourself out by then spend a moment trying to imagine how cross I will be. No, try much harder than that because you need to understand how extremely cross I will be. Now go away and sort it out.

Plain Fare

We are back from our travels
and glad to be sleeping in our own bed,
waking to sounds we are familiar with,
eating scrambled eggs off my lovely plates.

We have promised ourselves
that August will be the month
of living slowly, simple food*, enjoying our home.

I will sit in the garden with a book,
MrM can watch the cricket (if he is strong enough),
we will make plans for picnics, beach trips, fêtes.

It feels like the best kind of holiday
and I am looking forward to it already.

* cocktails are excluded from the austerity regime.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


it's Friday night in Tanzania...

Here is a picture of
the Indian Open Air Bingo
It's a sight to behold!

Blasted prawns
Salt and Pepper chicken
Paneer samosa
Cheese naan

Main course
Lamb rogan
Chicken sookha
Garlic naan

Kilimanjaro X

(in garden, under cherry tree)
We're having fish lame is that?

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Lavender Bags

A modest tutorial

Buy half a kilo of lavender
at a little market in Provence.

Remove old lavender from bag
you bought in Portugal.

Add new lavender and reseal velcro fastening.
Slip lavender bag into white lawn pillow.

Sniff when stressed.

Monday, 14 July 2014

family history

"When I was about six I was playing with the children who lived in the house opposite. It was late afternoon and I can remember that there was a very beautiful golden light. Suddenly we saw one of the Betts boys running towards us, shouting and waving his arms. He was rather simple, he was twenty six and he hadn't been called up because he wasn't quite right. Anyway, he had been sleeping under a haystack and when he woke up he saw this great column of rats coming towards him. He was quite terrified. My dear, there were hundreds of rats, thousands of rats, all led by a King rat. They were moving to a new territory and eating everything in their way. We watched and then they turned off into a field and we didn't see them anymore. I know that you don't believe me but it's quite true."

Granny's memories of early childhood in rural Lincolnshire.