I came across this quote from Matthew Arnold..
Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun,
to have lived light in the spring,
to have loved,
to have thought,
to have done,
to have advanced true friends?
(I am slowly composing my own version.)
I am trying to be positive and noticing how beautiful are the raindrops on the agapanthus,
and how pretty it is on the geranium and how it sparkles on the cornus and brings out the scent of the homeysuckle, and between showers I have enjoyed sitting on the doorstep reading The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society, but truly, I am fed up with rain,
Rain is forecast for the next seven days!
A flying visit to the Edinburgh Festival - good exhibitions here and here, Sunday morning coffee in Carluccio's - I do like the friendly young staff there - and a bargain in Marks and Spencer.
I decided to have this £15 scarf and took it to the till. 'That will be £1.09 please.'
I argued (?!) but she insisted that was the price....
A special birthday with a patchwork theme.
Quilt expert Maggie (we set up Quilter's Patch in York together) hung her favourite quilts around the walls of the prettily transformed hall where the party was to be held. We took the opportunity to photograph the collection the day before.
It was such fun being part of a team again, and I also had the nice job of doing flowers and candles for the tables....
Plentiful food and drink, music, family and friends to catch up with - the party, like the birthday girl, was amazing!
Thank you Maggie and family.
Do you have a place you think of as your second home?
Regular readers will know that I feel that way about the city of York.
I love this statue by the Minster.
That hand - so expressive of power, cinfidence, arrogance even. It makes me wonder about the man and his times and want to know more. Nowhere brings history alive for me quite like this city.
I was there for a very special party.
It can be as simple as moving your chair from its usual place....
A different perspective can clarify things and make decision-making easier. I moved my chair closer to the mini-meadow in the sunshine this morning and decided yes, I could open the garden for charity in 2018 with the Scotland's Gardens Scheme, as I have done many times since 2009. (See here and here)
I thought I could not do it without Barry, but I have help with the grass cutting and hedge cutting, and some wonderful gardening friends have agreed to assist. (I may be too late to sign up - am waiting to hear!)
Decisions left alone for a while sometimes seem to make themselves I find. I just wake up one morning and the decision is made. Do you find this?
A little plate of fried potatoes and the sun on my back, watching the swallows raise their second brood, enjoying the precious early morning silence - all these things are conducive to making good decisions. And ten days without 'news' probably played a part - bliss....
This reminds me of the famous Miss Jekyll but I am not wearing a full length Victorian gown, I'm wearing jeans and clogs!
One man went to mow...and then he stopped.
And by stopping, he created a wildflower meadow.
This whole terraced area is usually kept mown short all year.
But this year the two top terraces were left uncut.
Not only do they look beautiful but they are thick with bees, moths and other insects.
I once created a small bluebell wood by the same method - ie stopping the gardener from mowing under the trees. To everyone's amazement and delight up popped a great swathe of bluebells.
I felt like a magician!
..by the abundance and beauty of Jennie's garden..
and this evening by the second half of the first night of the Proms which I hope you can see here. The astonishing talent and dedication of the musicians in John Adams' Harmonium (reminds me of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana) is truly to be celebrated. Listen out for Wild Nights about 40 minutes in!
About 8 minutes in is an entertaining short review of the BBC's involvement in broadcasting the Proms (since 1927). We are so lucky.
Half an hour in the hammock in hot sunshine was an added bonus!
What inspired you today?
Some gentle gardening to keep the flowers coming..
Literally hundreds each year from a few small clumps of Papaver ruprifragum.
I have not been gentle with the alstroemeria! I have been trying to get rid of them for years because they run wildly through everything giving barely a flower. Until now. They must have got the message...lots of flowers this year.
Crocosmia 'Lucifer' is getting thuggish too.
Would you agree you can have too much of a good thing?
..about light. Over at Cornflower Books Karen is talking about writers with a light touch, and Lotta is talking about intense light here.
My favourite light in the garden is in late afternoon/early evening. When you turn the corner of the house to the front garden on a sunny day like yesterday, you are flooded with golden light. It makes me gasp every time! The very air is golden.
With the day's work usually done I can relax and savour the beauty of it all.
When do you relax? I am assuming you do relax?!
(If not, how can you fit in some time to relax today?)
I photographed this disconsolate looking baby swallow at 10.30 this morning. I am sure it is waiting for some sunshine to fly in.
At 9.05 this evening I peeped out of the bathroom window to see exactly the same scene. I can't be sure it is the same bird - five of them have just left their nest above the studio window. They are all looking a bit bedraggled. Sunshine tomorrow guys!
At 6.20am recently..
At 9.30 pm.
I'm always looking at lighting whether natural or electric or candlelight.
It is so important to me in a home. Pools of light, shafts of light, spotlighting, romantic candlight - they create atmosphere and warmth. Gail used the word 'cosy' about my style recently - a word I wouldn't have thought to use - but it made me look around and I realised that if I do get that effect it is by the use of lighting.
Do you create different effects with the lights you choose, and with controlling how much daylight gets into your rooms? And how much do you think it affects your mood and your wellbeing?
Since I decorated the bedroom I have been savouring the simplicity of it and apart from flowers by the bed, have added no paintings, patterns or decoration of any kind.
But I fell for this.
One is enough.
(Today was good barbecue-on=the-beach weather! See yesterday's post.)
..have the family midsummer barbecue on the beach? The forecast isn't good but it's not looking too bad...
They've been wrong before so you never know.
Finish cooking the food (can't believe Jamie says this takes only 15 minutes!).
Try to get the stain out of the jacket. Should have worn an apron.
Checklist - champagne, glasses, napkins, picnic quilts, umbrella, midge cream.
Look at the weather forecast for the ninth time.
Look up the glen. Uh-oh.
We ended up indoors with a log fire and pretty decorations (thanks Jennie) and had a lovely feast then donned wellies and sweaters for a walk on the beach.
Family, friends, food and wine, laughter and good conversation.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)