Friday, 28 August 2015

Daily Pleasures ...

This week I have been ~
Enjoying the last of the summer flowers

Waking early and watching the sun rise

Taking pleasure seeing the berries on the Rowan Tree ripening
Trying to capture the Thistle Down as it floats  across the field
Finding different seed heads
Looking for a break in the clouds
Watching the breeze blow the curtains

Luxuriating in eating warm ripe tomatoes fresh from the vine


Picking apples before they fall
 In spare moments reading  one of my favourite authors - Rosamunde Pilcher.  Her books are old-fashioned and charming - good, plain storytelling that draws you into the lives of her characters, and very un-put-downable.  Nothing fancy or highbrow - just a darn good read.
Delighting in evening skies
Each day brings its own pleasures, however small - some make me smile.  Like the return of the Robin whose song can be heard again in the garden.  Or watching a mother Pigeon and her almost grown chick, with a face only a mother could love, canoodling on the garden table, their heads bobbing and necks intertwining with an obvious affection. 
Lastly, the big living room make-over has begun.  The table and chairs taken away to be stripped and waxed.  Everything from cupboards boxed up, including lots of old LP's - I spent the day playing some old favourites from the 60's - Beach Boys, Bee Gee's, Beatles - bringing back memories of living at home, when my Dad would surprise us with these gifts.  We really should get rid of them as most are now duplicated in CD form - but I haven't the heart.  They are battered and scratched and jump when played - but are filled with sentiment for my teenage years. The sofa has been booked in for re-upholstering and fabric chosen.  This weekend we start stripping the walls. It's going to be a long job and the room will be upside-down for a few weeks yet - but, needs must.

As my husband retires today there is plenty to keep him occupied over the next few weeks.  It will be strange having him at home all day.  It seems that life really is all about change at the moment.
And that's just about it for this week - I'll leave you with this lovely poem about September.

Now thin mists temper the slow ripening beams
Of the September sun; his golden gleams
On gaudy flowers shine, that prank the rows
Of high-grown hollyhocks, and all tall shows.
That Autumn flaunted in his bushy bowers
Where tomtits, hanging from the drooping heads
Of giant sunflowers, peck the nutty seeds;
And in the feather aster
bees on wing
Seize and set free the honied flowers,
Til thousand stars leap with their visiting:
While ever across the path
Unpiloted by the sun,
The dreamy butterflies
With dazzling colours powdered and soft glooms,
White, black and crimson stripes, and peacock eyes
Or on chance flowers sit,
With idle effort
one by one
The nectaries of deepest-throated blooms.
The Garden in September
~ Robert Bridges

'Til next time - take care. I can't believe it will soon be September!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Still Life Late Summer

This week has been a mixture of sunshine and rain - early mornings have been beautiful.  On Sunday morning the sun streamed in through the window I snuck down to make a cup of tea and returned to bed with my book for half an hour and luxuriated in idleness and sunshine.  Here are a few still life pictures for you to enjoy.

Zinnias - my favourite summer flower
Raindrops like strings of pearls
Raindrops like diamonds
Harvest from the garden
Summer fruits
Nature's Bounty
Crab apples and cones 
Berries and seed heads
Sungold Tomatoes
This is The Snug/Breakfast Room
Where crosswords are completed, newspapers perused,
books read, and tea is drunk - oh, and breakfast is eaten 
Late summer still life pictures - just some of the delights at this time of year.  Summer is slowly changing into Autumn - cooler evenings, flowers going over, leaves beginning to fall.  How quickly the circle of the year turns - it never fails to surprise they way it creeps up stealthily with subtle hints day by day.  I'm not ready quite yet to say goodbye to Summer.  But I fear the lazy, hazy days are coming to an end.
'Til next time I leave you with this poem

"Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
    Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
    Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn."
-  Michelle L. Thieme, August's Crown

Friday, 14 August 2015

One Moment at a Time


And that is how change happens.  One gesture.  One person.
One moment at a time ~ Libba Bray
Change doesn't come easily to me - I seem to spend a lot of time resisting it.  But change still happens whether I like it or not.  It unsettles me.  Of course, some change ends up being for the better - but that doesn't help the way I feel about it initially.
Things change.  And friends leave.  Life doesn't stop for anybody.
~ Stephen Chbosky
A few things have happened that have made me ruminate about change.  The first is that we have decided that the living room needs updating/re-decorating - it is well overdue and will need major surgery - unsettling as chaos will ensue.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes.  Don't resist them;
that only creates sorrow.  Let reality be reality.  Let things
flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
~ Lao Tzu
The second thing is that my lovely neighbour is leaving.  We have been friends for thirteen years and I will miss her.  It means getting to know a new neighbour and starting all over again - unsettling.

You are always you, and that don't change, and you're always
changing, and there's nothing you can do about it.
~ Neil Gaiman
Then when I went shopping, two of the shops had changed their layout since I last went in - I couldn't find anything, unsettling.  The garden is always changing - flowers here one minute and gone the next.  The weather is always changing - one day perfect, that you wish could go on forever - the next day pouring rain, that seems to last forever. 
(flying ants)
 I wish I could embrace change, relish and enjoy the difference - get in the groove so to speak.  But not all change is for the better - it happens in every aspect of life, and I have to learn to live with it - but I don't have to like it.
Change - The Inevitable
Jake Harris
Change is to one man the death of a friend,
To another the birth of a child.
Change is the shifting of soft winds of spring,
to a hurricane deadly and wild.

Change is the moving of the hourglass sands,
It's the coming of dawn after dark.
Change is taking one step at a time,
The emotion in each persons heart.

But change in the end, will not change at all
The one constant in everyone's lives
Change is the light at the end of the tunnel
The healer who opens our eyes.
That's it for now - 'til next time - don't go changing.


Friday, 7 August 2015

Just a Simple Soul Enjoying Simple Things

I am a simple soul; I don't need much to make me happy.  A new pair of comfortable sandals that don't rub and enflame my poor old tender feet; a pre-loved dress that fits perfectly in a colour the depth of the ocean with an outrageous pattern of exotic birds - which is so not 'me' yet somehow is. Three books purchased from the second-hand bookshop.  At last some new reading material.  That's all it takes - oh and a goats cheese and onion marmalade tart for lunch at the pub - simple needs for a simple soul.

Books are like the windows of a great tower.  They let light in.  ~ Wm. Leroy Stidger

  I seem to be turning into an eccentric at this stage in my life.  Revelling in out-of-the-ordinary books by Jonathan Carroll which are totally weird and wonderful  see Neil Gaiman's essay on the author here if you are interested, certainly not to everyone's taste, but I love the strangeness of his tales. Trying different fiction that I wouldn't have thought I'd enjoy including those about magical worlds.  Discovering a passion for apocalyptic 'zombie' movies. Developing a penchant for impractical coloured shoes. (For those of you who haven't heard of the poem 'Warning' by Jenny Joseph I have put it at the end of the post).

Real happiness lies in the little things, in a bit of gardening work, in the rattle of the teacups in the next room,
in the last chapter of a book. ~ W.N.P.Barbellion

I feel less need for conversation and more need for quiet; solitude is welcomed and the urge to write everything down before it is forgotten.

I shall probably end up an old 'bag' lady, wandering the streets muttering obscenities to myself, but doing something completely out of character is kind of liberating, and I am enjoying finding a side to myself that I didn't realise existed.

Meanwhile, back to relative normality, and a stroll we took the other day.
It was a gentle, whispering breeze kind of morning filled with sunlight.  We strolled the lanes around our local lake armed with  cameras in the hopes of catching the special feel of the day.  We were not disappointed.  Just a couple of miles down the hill from our home; turn sharp right at the bottom - past fields of corn and swaying grasses, grazing sheep and cattle and you come to the water.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks ~ John Muir

A high hedged lane creates a tunnel;  you emerge into the open where the Sailing Club HQ sits,  although I have never actually seen a boat on the water.  A couple of fishermen sit on the far bank;  there is no one else about - to be honest, we hardly ever see anyone else.  The Lake was constructed in 1802 as a feed for the Grand Union Canal.  I have been visiting here since the 80's in all kinds of weather in every season - so it comes as no surprise that I think I know it like the back of my hand - but every time I visit there is always something new to see.

The earth has music for those who listen ~ George Santayana

The water level is way down at this time of year, revealing a beach of sorts, flower strewn with Silverweed and exposed Willow roots.  We see Geese settled and sleeping in the distance and Mallard on the water's edge. 

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery - air, mountains, trees, people.  I thought "This is what is means to be happy." ~ Sylvia Plath

Thistles dominate the roadside now, interspersed with beautiful Bullrush towering elegantly above.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts ~ Rachel Carson

We amble along the lane, stopping every now and then to take pictures of the Cornfield and the Butterflies on the wild Buddleia - settling, then fluttering off after warming their wings in the sun.

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth ~ Henry David Thoreau

We were only out for an hour - but in that time so many things caught our eye.  The Sloes and Blackberries forming  - slowly turning from green to purple.

Such a pleasant way to spend a morning - just ambling and taking everything in - soaking it up and storing it in our memory to bring out in the depths of winter when we need it most.

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where non intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar,
I love Man non the less,
But Nature more.
~ George Gordon Byron

The rest of the day was spent pleasantly in the garden pottering from one job to another before sitting down to a Roast Chicken dinner followed by Cherry Pie and Ice Cream.  A perfect end to the day when the evening sky was streaked with lavender and pink as the sun slipped down the horizon and out of sight.

Warning by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people's gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple

That's it for another week - 'til next time.