Saturday, 8 June 2013

Summers of my memory

This last week has given us the June weather we dream of but seldom see.  Day after day of sunshine and brilliant skies, and those long, crystal-clear evenings fading from primrose to palest green in the west, until at last a round moon rises and floods all the valley with light.  A day so lovely it was difficult to do anything except idle in the garden, watching the cattle, sleek and rounded with spring grass, wandering knee deep in brazen buttercups, filling a quiet world with the steady tearing noise of their grazing.  Away found the bend of the river the boys were bathing in Finch's Well.  An occasional shout echoed along the wood as a slim body flashed across the green and dived off the steep bank to vanish from one's range of vission into the dark water of the deepest pool in the river.

A few days of drought and hot sun have dimmed the varying greens of the wide sweep of wood to a minor tone.  There is a thickening of outline, a massing of shapes into solid colour, and along the lower fringe the first moonlike discs of the elder flower are starring the mass of green.  Many people dislike elder, in spite of its virtues, but I can never stand under those drooping bushes laden with great umbels of flower without the thick, warm scent taking me straight back to the summers of my childhood.  Summers which in my memory were never wet or cold, but a vista of long, warm days and purple evenings.  Days when the great scarlet poppies flamed and dropped under the drawing-room window, the turtle doves crooned interminable in the shrubbery and one lived upon the edge of undiscovered mystery, for the door between reality and make-believe stood permanently ajar.

Extract from 'A Norfolk Notebook' by Lilias Rider Haggard.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Wild Swimming

The warm rain tumbled from the gutter in one of those midsummer downpours as I hastened across the lawn behind my house in Suffolk and took shelter in the moat.  Breaststroking up and down the thirty yards of clear, green water, I nosed along, eyes just at water level.  The frog's-eye view of rain on the moat was magnificent.  Rain calms water, it freshens it, sinks all the floating pollen, dead bumblebees and other flotsam.  Each raindrop exploded in a momentary, bouncing fountain that turned into a bubble and burst.  The best moments were when the storm intensified, drowning birdsong, and a haze rose off the water as though the moat itself were rising to meet the lowering sky.  Then the rain eased and the reflected heavens were full of tiny dancers: water sprites springing up on tiptoe like bright pins over the surface.  It was raining water sprites.

Extract from Waterlog by Roger Deakin.

Monday, 20 May 2013

the bluebell wood

pictures of england - Coton Manor

Over every inch of wood, as far as and even beyond its boundaries, the bluebells are also thickening for flower, a million spikes with dark hearts of bud and here and there a breaking out of petals.  They cover the rich sodgy wood-soil like shining green reeds, everywhere.  Among them and perhaps because of them there are few primroses, fewer anemones.  The bluebells crowd out everything, drown the whole wood-floor with great pools of flower until the trees, in May, seem to be standing in deep lakes of liquid mauve.

Extract from 'Through the Woods' by H.E. Bates

Monday, 29 April 2013

the cold light of night

kirsty wither

Shards of light
Reflected from  icey ground
The air is hushed and
Silence abounds

Frosted branches shiver
As night draws on
Diamond icicles quiver
And are quickly gone

Footprints and trails
Soon covered from snow
fallen fresh
No sign of life
of friend or foe

Bright shines the moon
in a midnight sky
Casting purpled shadows
As tawnied owls fly


Thursday, 14 March 2013


spring in the country

spring in the country - grant wood 1941

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!
~Robert Browning

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Pinned Image
We are only alive once, as far as we know,
and what could be worse than getting to the end
of your life and realising
you hadn't lived it.

E. Albee

Thursday, 21 February 2013

dreaming of summer

Pinned Image

Windows wide open to catch the breeze
Warm strawberries eaten straight from the plant
Myriad flowers wafting their scent
Walking on a beach with the sun glinting on the sea
Bees buzzing and butterflies fluttering
The warmth of the sun on your skin
  A canopy of trees for shade
Sipping elderflower cordial  and the clink of ice cubes
These are the things I think of when dreaming of summer
when it is bleak and cold outside

Tulip Heaven