Wishing you all a wonderful year and hoping you will enjoy
I think I may have found my word for 2016..
Wishing you all a wonderful year and hoping you will enjoy
I think I may have found my word for 2016..
My friend Andy (who confesses to gardening in his wetsuit on his way back from canoeing!) has inspired me to get off the couch where I have been sitting for two whole days now, and get out into the soggy muddy garden and do something, anything, as long as it involves moving....
I cut back the herbs and enjoyed the scents of curry plant, lavender, dill (still growing) and mint.
I trimmed some edges and ran the hoe over the soil.
It looked better for it and I felt better for it.
Might even do some more tomorrow!
PS this replaces a long-winded post which I realized could be put more simply -
My blog brings me joy
You bring me joy
Thank you all so much!
There is the joy of living near the beach, and of having someone special to share it with. I mentioned my love of eating out of doors yesterday. Lotta put the idea of a winter picnic into my head - I am just waiting for the right moment....
The joy of having plans and something to look forward to....
September joys included late flowers
and coffees outside knowing that the season was changing and treasuring the experience all the more.
The sometimes breathtaking joys of the beauty of nature and the abundance of good things..
I know how fortunate I am to have the joy of this view every day..
The joy of making things is universal I think whether it is something simple and easy, or complex and challenging.
The joy of entertaining friends - something I should do more often. Being entertained by friends and family is another great joy - we were feted and fed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the day after. No cooking! No dishes! Lucky us (very, very full though).
How long is your 2015 Joylist?
PS Thank you Julia for reminding me of this post.
The joy of growing things figures high on my joylist, and the joy of friends who send such lovely cards. Picking flowers for the house never fails to give me a thrill.
..as does a greenhouse full of plants and seedlings!
The joy of being trusted by a wild creature (though there was sorrow when our little robin died, and we miss him still).
Solar lights in June. The joy of still having a little romance in our souls!
..and of flowers flowers flowers.
And family, and laughter.
and eating out of doors, I love eating out of doors.
Does your joylist include these things?
Joy was my word for 2015 and as I look through the year's photographs I am so grateful when I see how much of it there was in my year.
I hope you'll indulge me as I post some of my favourites over the next few days....perhaps they will remind you of moments of joy that you experienced too.
In January the joy of rainbows and snow, and of learning to answer the question 'Does it spark joy?' which I was to ask so often in 2015 - year of the Great Declutter thanks to Marie Kondo!
In February, my writing month, and possibly my favourite month, I had time in the most wonderful writing retreat location (thank you Lynne!) The joy of interesting work, friendship, and the beautiful English countryside.
In March came the joy of a little ambition fulfilled - the winter gardens at Anglesey Abbey which I had wanted to see for years
And one of a thousand unexpected little joys that touch your heart - the way the evening light strikes a room for example, and your clever camera captures it for you to enjoy again later!
The joy of April and of having work I love, and clothes I love! (And happy occasions to wear them - a christening, a wedding and a 50th birthday party this year, with slight variations on the same outfit.)
Tomorrow the joys of summer....
....above about 800 feet! Snow all around on a Christmas Day drive over the Rest and Be Thankful pass.
Our day started with this enchanting (two hour) piece of film of a sleigh ride in a barren landscape above the Arctic circle as background to our present opening. Our gifts included some wonderful food from a fertile farm Fattoria La Vialla in Tuscany and I marveled at the utterly different lifestyles our small planet supports....as well as the fact that Christmas is celebrated over so much of it!
I hope you too have had an enjoyable mid-winter break.
Well I didn't sing, but I felt the joy! We heard The Ebor Singers perform Benjamin Britten's Ceremony of Carols in the lovely medieval setting of The National Centre for Early Music in York.
You can hear them here (5 mins) singing some modern choral works including Hail Gladdening Light which feels appropriate, as the days are getting longer, starting now!
Isn't it amazing how much you can fit in to a couple of days? Seeing good friends, galleries museums and churches, a concert, window shopping and a few last minute presents, eating out and coffee stops, evening drinks (we forgot it was office-party season!) Sometimes the city gives me energy that surprises me.
Does this happen to you too?
Have you been singing this Christmas?
Or been to hear someone else sing?
Or simply felt the joy!
York City Art Gallery has had a makeover!
So has their website. It is very good. There are interesting videos
It now costs £7.95 to visit (children under 16 free), but their yearly pass at £22 is good value It includes entry to the Castle Museum and the York Museum. We got its value in just two days....
CoCa, Centre of Ceramic Art, is world class, attracting new visitors from all over, and artist Mark Hearld's collection from the storerooms reflects his enthusiasm and the fun he must have had curating this vibrant display.
I was very disappointed in Edmund de Waal's contribution - he is getting much much too precious in my opinion! Two or three dark vases in a small dark box on the wall over a void about 5 feet away from the nearest viewing point.
An overwhelming amount to take in (thus the season ticket!)
Part of the Anthony Shaw collection set up in a domestic styled space........
Really worth seeing should you be near York or planning to visit. And Melanie Paris (ex-garden design student of mine) has a lovely place to rent should you be looking - see here.
Can you manage to fit in something just for yourself this busy week?
..visiting York at Christmas time!
It's like being in a Christmas card.
Adopting my habit of treating the commercial world like a museum I wandered around with my eyes on stalks even though I know the city so well. I love the patina on the old buildings, the old and new juxtaposed, the glimpses into lit windows - old roof trusses, elegant plaster work, chandeliers...
For the price of a cup of coffee you can sit in elegant old places among beautiful antiques (Grey's Court), or even find yourself in a new stylish little coffee shop (Croque Monsieur at Bootham Bar) gazing in wonder at the newly discovered remains of a Roman wall under the floor, wondering how old it is (1700 years) when..
..in walk two Roman legionaries for their afternoon lattes and a little readjustment to the gladius....
Only in York!
How I love it.
Tomorrow museums, art galleries and music.....my slow Christmas has speeded up!
I like to bring in wintry twigs and cones, logs and bits of greenery come December, and gradually add a bit of glow and shine, working up to the glitter and sparkle by Christmas Eve....
Then I add a touch of red....
With a little help from my friends - thank you so much!
Back soon. Meanwhile you might enjoy this....
Millions of people, lots of them young, around the world are peacefully campaigning about climate change, Canada and the Isle of Bute are giving a warm welcome to Syrian refugees, and 95% of people admitted to Accident and Emergency units in our NHS are seen within 4 hours, which given the very nature of accident and emergency is quite impressive, don't you think?
Where did I see this?
'Beyond the Wild Wood comes the Wide World', said the Rat, 'And that's something that doesn't matter, either to you or to me. I've never been there, and I'm never going, nor you either, if you've got any sense at all. Don't ever refer to it again, please'.
I'm with Rat.
At least for a day or two.
Thank you to Elaine who quoted a lovely passage from Wind In The Willows and drew my attention to the charm of the writing. I had never read this classic, but ordered a copy straight away....and look forward to a few more 'escapes'.
I did venture into the Wide World to buy this box of clementines from Aldi for £1.99....
We had been out looking at the sky one night at Christmas when Ross, aged four, found a fallen tinsel star on the hall carpet and quietly went out the door and standing at the top of the steps, threw it up into the starry heavens.
He didn't say anything, and I don't think he knew I had seen him.
That's partly what made it so lovely.
.... with Sibelius as composer of the week on Radio 3 and a gale blowing
Can you escape for nine minutes of breathtaking beauty?
(I recommend full screen and a nice drink to hand)
Winter has its attractions
..or should be!
Mine has been wandering too far and wide....
I am going to make the blog my quiet calm space over the next few hectic weeks.
Simple posts. Simple thoughts.
The pressures of the season - to do the right thing, to buy the right thing, the vagaries of the stormy weather making planning impossible, flooded roads and landslides, cancelled appointments, the dodgy phone calls and scams, the crowds and noise - all will be set aside from this space, where for a few precious moments each day I will contemplate something simple, beautiful, peaceful and serene.
I hope you will have time to join me.
PS Look who won the Turner Prize.
Heartsore, heartbroken, hardhearted, coldhearted or even heartless.
Warm hearted, big hearted, goodhearted, softhearted, kindhearted, a sweetheart, or just plain hearty.
Things can be heartrending, heartwrenching or heartmeltingly beautiful.
You can wear it on your sleeve (what a strange expression!)
You can change it, or lose it, or pour it out.
Your heart can go out to people. Mine went out to all the refugees.
The mistake I made was to forget to bring it back!
Christmas gifts this year will include aid for the homeless facing winter in unknown lands.
Please note that posts will very probably be like the Scottish weather for a while - erratic and unpredictable!! But I will try for two or three a week....
Can I suggest you take a moment to answer that question before you read on?
Without thinking about it too much!
The first word which sprang to mind when I asked myself this question was 'wrung'.
Not a very healthy condition for a heart I thought!
What was your answer?
Almost as good a question as this one.
I thought that bark wrapped around a jam jar with a tea light in it would make a glowing little lamp, but the bark is too thick and not enough light shines through..
But then I saw that it can still be used for wrapping gifts, including (unlit) candles, and bottles of wine....
Instead of looking for wrapping to fit the presents, I'll be looking for presents that fit the wrapping!
A little blog break coming up - have a lovely week-end and take a look here if you have time at a most unusual entry for this year's Turner Prize....
I am looking for a nice deep wooden box or crate to store kindling in, and to make an art work of the wood pile.
(Wish I'd scrubbed out the bottom of the plastic box - but hey - the real countryside is a mucky messy place at this time of year.)
I also have ideas for those nice pieces of bark.
A token gesture in the face of woodpile/artworks like these I know, but it stopped raining today and the sun came out and it was fun.
You can have various degrees of distress.
There are ripped, distressed, destroyed, destructed, slashed, shredded, ripped and repaired and with crinkle whiskering and authentic holes. Yay for authentic holes!
You can choose from 144 pairs here, and pay only £179.32 (40% off, limited time only).
An edgy scuff for contemporary distressed vibe says one site.
Ooze off-duty cool says another.
There are sites that show you how to rip them, and sites that show you how to repair them. (As 90% are made in Asia I do wonder at the thoughts of those who construct/deconstruct them for us...)
I don't get it.
That's not quite true. I do get it, up to a point. What I don't get is that people pay for them!
Read more here, here and here, yawn yawn....
Or go and do something interesting..
Think I'm getting a bit cabin-feverish, but I'm sure it will stop raining any day now :-)
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)