Tuesday, 19 June 2012

from where I sit

I can smell the honeysuckle
and the heavy musk scent
of the white Boule du Neige

and I can see the Love in the Mist
which is so pretty
but always seeds in the wrong place

and the Dr van Fleet rambler
which flowers for midsummer day
and looks ravishing in this
brief patch of afternoon sunshine

and the shell pink geranium
which I bought at Kew to remember
a happy day with friends
but haven't planted out yet

I'd love to tell you
about the day at Kew
but I can't sit here a moment longer
because MasterM is on the plane home
and we are meeting him tomorrow
and I haven't even made his bed...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Dear Sarah...

Dear Sarah,

I promised that I would run
with your name on my back
and I did it today
with my lovely friend, Hilary,
and hundreds of other women,
cheered on by MrM and MissM.
We looked absolutely ridiculous
dressed up in fluffy boppers,
wings (me) and tutu (Hilary)
and I am still covered in glitter
but it doesn't matter because
everyone was entertained
and our friends and families
were incredibly generous
so that we raised £845
for cancer research.
Afterwards we stood in the sunshine
drinking pink fizz and eating cupcakes
and I thought of you and smiled.
It was a wonderful celebration
of life and of friendship.
You would have loved it.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Race for Life

"I told you there'd be pink boppers"

don't look at me like that...

it's Dr HG's gig

and if she says boppers...

that's what we are doing.

Not sure about the leg warmers

they might clash with my nails.

The wings are a given...

all the top runners use them...

the science of aerodynamics, y'know.

Team Geoggers

Thursday, 14 June 2012

today has no margins

Convex and Concave
M.C. Escher (1898-1972)

We have finished
the last of the meetings
which signal the end of
the academic year.



* title from
'Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror'
by John Ashbery

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

MrsM, logophile

There was great excitement this week when the Very Charming Scottish Academic introduced me to a new word. It is not street dialect (we all know my weakness for that) or geek talk (I also acknowledge that character flaw), prosopography is from the outer edge of specialist academic vocabulary and it rolls off the tongue impressively. I was enchanted but very regretful that I would never be able to slip it into everyday conversation.

As I lingered over the definition in wikipedia and thought sadly of the wasted years when I might have been able impress my family I was struck by a heart-stopping revelation...


Oh yes...

I give you "The Cazalet Chronicles" by Elizabeth Jane Howard, a study of an extended family in the period immediately before the declaration of war in 1939 and then observing change through the war years. It is enjoyable and undemanding reading, perfect for cold summer evenings huddled under my Donegal blanket. Now that I can present it as "analysing the changing roles in society of particular status groups and assessing social mobility through family origins" I think I might treat myself to the next book in the series.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wish You Were Here

Dear Cathy,
I want you to imagine
that you have just had lunch
in a tiny French bistro

and you set off for a stroll
in an isolated hill top village...

walk through this arch
and you have arrived
in Hollyhock land

pale pink,
sugar pink,

deep pink,
bright pink

every way you turn
there are more hollyhocks

You are in a
parallel floral universe
created just for you!

You can't stay very long
so one quick look backwards

and then back down the hill

to reality,
an isolated hill top village
and one of my favourite people.

I saved these pictures
for a special person
on a rainy day
and today is that day
and you are that person.

Love Alice x

Monday, 11 June 2012


in another part of the forest...

MasterM has passed his driving test.

I am looking forward
to being chauffeured.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Saturday Evening

Now that we have all confessed
and accepted our share of the blame

the Weather Gods are placated
and we can sit outside

eat our insalate tricolore,
herby BBQ potatoes,
and *ahem* cabbage salad,

send picture messages
to MissM and MasterM
to make them hungry

and, you know, chillax.


Thank you so much
for the comments on my last post.
They made me laugh out loud.
I thought I was the only person
who blamed herself for the weather.

Friday, 8 June 2012

mea culpa

Torrential rain?
Howling gales?

It's my fault.

I did my windowboxes
so the summer weather
was bound to change.

Don't hate me.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Five Years

We are eating strawberries again
and the paeonies are flowering
which are reminders of 7 June 2007
when I started blogging.

I can vividly remember the planning,
the excitement of the first post,
and the sensation of being overwhelmed
by a powerful torrent of words.

Blogging has brought me so much more
than I could have imagined when I started.
It has been a privilege to meet you all
and read your stories on your own blogs
and enjoy your generous comments here.

Today I would like to thank MrM
for his continuing support for this blog,
for patiently accepting his central role,
and for his hundreds of comments.
(Well...almost all of his comments)
It would be nothing without him.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Contemplations of a Runner

Panathenaic amphora
ca. 530 B.C.
Attributed to the Euphiletos Painter

© The Metropolitan Museum of Art


I don't want to do this.

It's on my training schedule.

I wish my trainers weren't pink.

Does it ever get easier?

Another wolf whistle. Sigh.

I can't do this.

Sarah did it so I can do it.

I'm running faster than a sofa.

I'm running faster than I used to.

I wish I didn't go red.

I've done it.

Same again tomorrow.


I'm 'fessing up here...

I find running hard
but I force myself to do it.
I have decided that I am in it
for the long term.

One step at a time.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

St. Andrew's, Tichborne

The Jubilee weekend is
pageants and concerts,
cathedrals and beacons
but I want to show you
what the experience is like
in a tiny country village.

It is bunting outside the pub
and the Union flag
on the church tower.

It is scones and strawberry cake
in the church porch,

red, white and blue flowers
and more bunting in the nave.

The lost key has been found
and the side door is opened
for the first time for years

and you can look out
over rows of gravestones
among meadow flowers.

In the side aisle
the Lord and his Lady
lie peacefully as they have done
for the past four hundred years.

The churchwardens want to leave
to watch the river pageant
but first they must
shepherd a swallow
out of the chancel.

As you drive away
you glimpse a street party
with yet more bunting.

These scenes will be repeated
all over the country.

It is truly a very special
and very British weekend.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Boat Party!

It was the perfect night
for an elegant party
on the River Thames.

The boat was festooned
with patriotic bunting
as we set off from Richmond

gliding past a gilded barge
ready for the Jubilee flotilla.

The river was calm
and the sun was setting
and all was peaceful...

but on board it was

!!Party Time!!

DJ Tingle was mixing it
and we had to get down
to some serious dancing...

Move aside students...
let's have a tutorial
on throwing shapes:

Don't ask about my dancing