First Monday in January 2021

A friend posted photos of all the plants in flower in her garden a couple of days ago. This inspired me to walk round yesterday taking photos of all the flowers I could find; very few! I had a real sense that the garden has now sunk into its brief period of winter dormancy. Winter is short in this part of south-west France, but it … Continue reading First Monday in January 2021

My top 10 from 2020

This time last year I downloaded an app called Top 9 which selects the best (not sure by what criteria) nine photos posted on Instagram during the previous year. I’m seeing a few people posting their Top 9 so I decided I’d revisit it. Unfortunately the app doesn’t want to play ball, just hanging and displaying the message “Doing some housekeeping …”. Its been doing … Continue reading My top 10 from 2020

A Christmas Letter – Part 2 “the garden”

As the first year when I wouldn’t be distracted from the garden by work, 2020 was intended to be a year of significant garden development. We know what happened; distractions far bigger than work conspired to put a stop to those plans. However gardens and plants never stand still and here we are just a few days before the end of the year; time to … Continue reading A Christmas Letter – Part 2 “the garden”

A Christmas Letter – Part 1 “us”

I was an early adopter of the idea of writing Christmas letters. Some people call them Round Robins. Many ridicule them. But general feedback on mine is that they are welcomed and received with interest. So I shall continue to write one even at the end of this very strange year of 2020, even though I don’t necessarily feel like it. Like so many of … Continue reading A Christmas Letter – Part 1 “us”

Plus ça change plus ç’est la même chose

One of the few artefacts I have from my childhood is a composition (as they were called in those days) I wrote at primary school where I expressed the desire to live in a house in the country with roses growing over the door. I never lost that wish despite decades living in (albeit leafy) suburbia. Someone once accused me of having a romantic fantasy … Continue reading Plus ça change plus ç’est la même chose

In a vase on Monday : peonies from France to West Sussex #IAVOM

These are in a vase on our dining table today: I can understand you might look twice, trying to work out what they are. I’ll tell you: they are peonies after all the petals have fallen. What was left as the petals began to fall was so beautiful that we decided to keep them for a few more days to enjoy the architectural form. This … Continue reading In a vase on Monday : peonies from France to West Sussex #IAVOM

Six on Saturday, life in lockdown, volunteers, and self seeders

Somehow, during lockdown, I’ve been completely unable to write a blog post. I don’t really know why. Perhaps one reason is that for me to retain my sanity in these strange days, these days when I should have been building my new non-working life, I’m focusing all my efforts on the here and now, counting the blessings I have, enjoying where I am. Perhaps writing … Continue reading Six on Saturday, life in lockdown, volunteers, and self seeders

Here? There? Roadblocks in a no-man’s land …

2020 is a year that marks a new beginning for me; much more time at my disposal and a long list of things I wanted to incorporate into my days. By the end of March I would have expected to have been at the French house several times, quite worn out from heavy-duty gardening for hours on end, but oh-so-satisfied with the progress that would … Continue reading Here? There? Roadblocks in a no-man’s land …

#IAVOM – almost 5 months later!

#IAVOM – In A Vase on Monday – is a great idea which I’ve used a few times. You pick some flowers from your garden, arrange them, photograph them, and then write about them. I’ve cheated once or twice using bought flowers, mainly because the opportunity to use garden flowers for me is limited, and until recently my time has been very limited too. Its … Continue reading #IAVOM – almost 5 months later!

Chionodoxas: a sparkling thread linking my homes across the years

Just four days after my 22nd birthday I moved into my second house, one I was to stay living in for almost 39 years. 13 days before Christmas, cold and dark, life remained mostly on the inside. Christmas Eve brought the arrival of a 9-week old Irish Setter, a surprise Christmas present (not something I would either recommend or wish on anyone). The puppy arrived … Continue reading Chionodoxas: a sparkling thread linking my homes across the years