Monday, 27 June 2011

A rose, good friends and wine...

Finally a Sunday dawned hot and sunny. With no work it seemed the perfect opportunity to have a little gathering....The wine was chilled, the heat and light started to fade and my friends began to arrive. It was soon decided that this party was to be in honour of my favourite rose and that we would choose a name for her.

There was much discussion, some serious, some silly and my lovely rose was sniffed, twirled and looked at from every angle!

 We  wanted to capture the idea of the multitude of frilly petals and our fondness for her.
So we drank some more wine, did a little research...

And finally came up with
We liked the idea of  Mille Fleur, my daughter's childhood name was Millie and perhaps after all the wine we were feeling a little sentimental. A fine name in the true tradition of English Rose Names we
decided proudly!

Altogether, it was a lovely mid-summer's evening and one to remember.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Birds.....

I realise that this sounds overly dramatic but we are being driven to distraction by two pairs of manic Blackbirds!
They are always brave birds and in past years it is not unusual to find the parents of a new nest or offspring swooping on and scolding a cat or person who goes too close for comfort. This year however, in early Spring, they started make their loud 'chinking' cries as soon as anybody ventured outside. No matter where you are in the garden, they come and find you and keep up a deafening chorus of scolding disapproval. It's earsplitting!
My cat is so terrified she won't go outside...

Can you see the Blackbird in the bush to the left?
 And now.... they've started swooping and scolding even when she's INSIDE!

Yesterday their fury woke me at 5.00 am. My cat was on the bed and the Blackbird was on my windowsill...

 They continued to yell and swoop until dark and today when she was near the window in my bedroom..

One came nearly into the room...

And told my cat exactly what he thought of her...

And she ran off!

What a brave, furious bird.
I do respect their courage and I love Blackbirds but they are driving us mad!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Two poems for a rainy day

I had planned to light the fire and watch a Jane Austen dvd ( I still want to say 'video') but the urchins, on leaving for their Father's have turned the telly over to its PlayStation mode, which means I can't make the darn thing work!
I can't settle to reading, so I have returned to one of my favourite past-times, following a thread of an idea through my books of poetry.
 A remembered phrase from Thomas Hardy

' The stirless depths of the yews
  Are vague with misty blues'

turned out to be from a poem about winter, not rain.

The line from W.B Yeats 'The Lake at Innsifree' feels right for this quiet afternoon-

' And peace comes dropping slow'

 Now, finally, I have found two poems that have suited my search today. I had a feeling that my favourite Edward Thomas had written a poem about rain that I'd liked and (at the risk of sounding very UN-poetical) it's like scratching an itch to have found it!

Before I copy these two, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't mention a poem that came immediately to my mind when thinking about this damp subject. It's called

'Night Rain after Summer Drought'

and contains such phrases as

' Shivering trees whisper, in lisping patters'
' I return to my cocoon of civilisation
where Natures Forces
are no longer law!'

Yes.... it is a much loved but truly dreadful poem I wrote when I was about sixteen....

But moving swiftly on

It Rains- Edward Thomas

It rains, and nothing stirs within the fence
Anywhere through the orchard's untrodden, dense
Forest of parsley. The great diamonds
Of rain on the grassblades there is none to break,
Or the fallen petals further down to shake.

And I am nearly as happy as possible
To search through the wilderness in vain though well,
To think of two walking, kissing there,
Drenched, yet forgetting the kisses of the rain:
Sad, to, to think that never, never again,

Unless alone, so happy shall I walk
In the rain. When I turn away, on its fine stalk
Twilight has fined to naught, the parsley flower
Figures, suspended still and ghostly white,
The past hovering as it revisits the light

Happiness A.A. Milne

 John Had
Great Big
Boots on;
John had a
Great Big
John had a
Great Big
Mackintosh --
And that
(Said John)

I've spent a very happy hour.....

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Name of the Rose?

The sunshine and rain has brought out the blossoms on one of my favourite roses. It grows in the raggedy hedge between two of our gardens and we agree to share it! We don't know how long it has lived here and we haven't been able to identify it. I have looked through countless books and even took it to the famous rose gardens at Mottisfont but with no luck. I have only seen it growing on one other occasion. I was visiting an old manor house at a nearby village on an 'open garden day'... and there was my rose! I asked the gardener but she couldn't name it and just said it had always grown there.

As you can see from my photographs it grows up from straggly 'suckers' ( for years I cut these back!) and up into the hedge. It only flowers once and HATES the rain! It has this unusual purple/ pink tinge and a gentle sweet smell. The stems are long and elegant and a little floppy.

Are there any brilliant rose sleuths out there?

Monday, 6 June 2011

A series of damp disasters....

1) If you buy a secondhand eiderdown and wish to wash it in your machine, check that it doesn't have any    
holes in it
2) Scooping out masses of feathers from the washing machine and even hoovering it out will not save you from disaster
3) Putting rinse only setting will only result in machine vomiting water from all areas
4) Emptying machine with a plastic jug, locating bunged up filter, unblocking filter is a long, messy and soggy business
and finally -
6)With a still ill machine, how do I wash the dozens of dirty, feathery, wet towels I used to stem the torrent...?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Hidden corners from the Arts Trail

Over the last few days I have been slipping away from daily tasks and following a local arts trail with one of my friends. We have found perfect country cottages, visited studios and workshops, explored gardens and found ourselves down some very small winding lanes!. We've enjoyed tea and cakes in people's kitchens and discovered some extraordinary works of art. I love the whole idea of arts trails, where people can open up their homes and studios and exhibit such a wide selection of work. Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves. I haven't photographed any whole works for art for this blog (as that seems rude, to say the least) but here are a few pictures to give a hint of our explorations...