Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

I have a passion for blossom. Every year I watch for the first buds to break

Blackthorn is the first and this year it has been particularly sumptuous.

But today I'm talking of the apple, the plum and the cherry blossoms that froth and spill over the trees in such abundance that it makes me gasp with delight every Spring.

I love blossom so much that I decided to spend a whole day looking at and photographing all the varying hues, from pink so dark it's nearly purple-

Through the beloved (and slightly kitch) double pink cherry of my childhood-

One grew in our road in front of our house. I watched the tree through all the seasons.

This slightly more elegant pink cherry is so fluffy it that makes me think of a ballerina's tutu-

Whereas this one is delicate and ethereal

I have always wanted to own an orchard, so apple blossom is a particular favourite-

Maria " went on to the door in the east wall, unlocked it, and went through into the orchard. She had not been there for some while, and she gasped with delight when she saw the pink-and-white blossom that made a canopy fit for a queen over her head"
 ('The Little White Horse' Elizabeth Goudge)

A. E. Houseman's famous poem speaks for many in finding perfection in the single white cherry

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

I have very happy memories of playing with the fallen cherry blossoms at my primary school.
Two tall, beautiful trees shed their flowers on the bank at the edge of the playground. All springtime we would collect these and make nests in the grass full of the choicest petals and blooms and then thread these onto long blades of grass making necklaces that were much treasured.

Perhaps the double white cherries are a little over-the-top in comparison

But I love them too!

As I walked through the orchard

I have tried through my photographs to capture the abundance of blossom-

 the individual beauty of a single bud-

and the subtle patterns and grace of the flowers

What fascinated me was the subtle variation of colour from pure white to deepest pink.
I decided to try to create a piece of art from my photographs to show this.
It has turned out far to big for me to be able to photograph it successfully...

I added the words " Fifty years are little room" spread out throughout the piece.

It nearly works, I think!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

It's a question of posies, top hats and the written word...

Back in March Bonnie kindly invited me to play questions and answers.
I've been a little late but here they are!

I do seem to keep talking about books...

1.  What is your passion?  Do you have more than one?

My passion is words and their power; I love to read a perfect line of poetry or battle with words to express exactly what I mean to say.

Dylan Thomas above my bath

I also love noticing things, whether it is the lone white bluebell, or watching the subtle ways people react towards each other.

2.  If a movie were to be made about your life, who would be cast to play you?
If I was feeling rather big headed I would choose Kate Winslet... when she was plumper!

3.  You've won a vacation sweepstakes, do you choose a mountain resort or a beachside cottage?  Where in the world would we find you?

For me it would be a beachside cottage. I love Devon, so if it was a small sweepstake I’d be there. If it was a magnificent win I’ve always wanted to visit the Polynesian Islands, which look so beautiful yet so different from anything I’ve ever experienced.
4.  Describe what makes a great book.  Is it prefect writing, a great story, good character development, a popular author, or just a great escape?  Or all of the above?
I think it is always the quality of the writing with me. That is why I love Jane Austen. Her beautifully balanced prose never disappoints. Otherwise, I do like novels to give me a real sense of place, with detailed descriptions, so when I re-read it I feel as if I’m returning to a well loved home.

5.  When you need to leave stress behind, how do you decompress?

I pick a posy of flowers from my garden, taking my time, looking at all my plants, smelling the air and listening to the birds.

A hot bath with Lavender oil, reading a favourite book
A glass of wine and a chat with friends

6.  What is your style. classic, sporty, bohemian, or trendy?  What one item can you not live without?
Definitely bohemian. I don’t think I have a particular item I can’t live without. The days of wearing my beloved tail-coat and top hat sadly have passed…

Luckily, some things are passed down...

7.  Tell me about the teacher who had the most profound influence on the person you are today.  Not all teachers are in the classroom.
I'm lucky to have been guided by many amazing people. If it has to be one, I would probably chose my dearest family friend Bob Cardona, because he was such a help and inspiration when I was putting my life back together after my husband left me.

8.  What was your favorite book as a child or teenager?  How did it affect what you read today?  Is it still a favorite?
I loved and still love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The passionate, brave voice of the narrator Jane was so different from most ‘old fashioned’ books I had read. It awakened my interest in the Victorians and in the Social History of Women.
As a child I also loved ‘Little White Horse’ by Elizabeth Goudge- She has a gentle spirituality and a wonderful ability to describe somebody's home. I still gain comfort from her books today.

9.  Here in the south there is the old rule of not wearing linen before Easter.  We have about two weeks before Easter.  Are you a traditionalist or do you throw the rules out the window?
I don’t like rules at all. I’m much more rebellious now than ever I was as a teenager!

10.  You are hosting a small dinner party.  Do you allow your guest in the kitchen and make preparation part of the party, or is it all your show?  How about the clean up?

I have such a tiny kitchen; it only really fits one person! Anyway, I like to do all the preparations beforehand, so I can enjoy the evening. As to clearing up- NEVER until the next day, if anybody is still there… then they can help!

11.  Why did you begin your blog?  Has it turned out as you had hoped?  Have you discovered anything about yourself?
I have always wanted to be a writer but realise that I don’t have the qualities within me to create decent fiction. I love to capture life (by words or photographs) so a blog allows me to do this. I like the discipline of it and I am amazed and so grateful to readers and followers who from their support and comments now feel like friends. It has brought me such pleasure and comfort in this last year.

Please visit  Bonnie's blog and all the other wonderful and eclectic sites.  They each have a story to tell and they do it beautifully.
 Thank you Bonnie, I have enjoyed myself!