Holidaying at home with a meal on the deck of the local hotel. 23 degrees. Just right.
Summer. I have decided, is my favourite season.
I like the light nights. This was taken at 11pm last night.
Breakfast outside iwth a little bunch of buttercups from my own tiny meadow (gives me a thrill!).
A cold paddle instead of a cold shower this morning.
I think I relax more in summer than in any other season.
Which is your favourite season?
Whichever one you are in, have a lovely weekend.
I write this on a wet, rather chilly morning in the west of Scotland. I was supposed to get the grass cut today....it's not going to happen!
British summers are notoriously fickle weatherwise, but I am still inspired to Design My Summer a lovely idea from (a very fast talking) Gretchen Rubin in this video.
I will have a think about what I love best about summer and look over some June/July/August posts to remind me. I know I want picnics and a family Midsummer Barbecue but in this climate there has to be a Plan B for such events. I want a few outings, I want to wear some summery clothes, and to nap in the hammock
I want to pay extra attention this summer to the wildlife in the garden. There have been more butterflies than usual so far, and the swallows are in the nest, and I think bees may be nesting in the wall just by the front door....and a red squirrel passes through occasionally on its way to next door's bird table.
I'm happy to holiday at home - if the weather is good there's nowhere else I'd rather be.
What do you want from your summer?
We also used the back garden as a drying greeen...
We planted a few birch trees. They were meant to be the white-barked 'Jaquemontii' but turned out to be the faster growing and taller native birch - however this did mean that they soon became strong enough to support what turned out to be my favourite thing in the garden - the hammock!
I watched a robin take a long bath in this shallow dish of water this morning. As well as bathing in it, birds drink from it, the swallows need it to make mud for their nests, it brings the sky down into the garden and reflects things in it. You can also tell at a glance if it's raining. It's an important addition to any garden however small. (I am scarifying the grass - it always looks worse before it looks better!)
When I am trying to make a decision I still find What would be simplest? my favourite helpful question but here is a good one from Gretchen Rubin -
What is the value of what I'm going to get if I...........?
Best china and linen napkin, good food and wine, real coffee, chocolates, a card of two marvellous women and a good book.
I am reading my way through all the novels by William Maxwell. This one is So Long, See You Tomorrow.
Have you been on a special date lately?
Or read a particulary good book?
..one of these trees hit the forest floor the huge CRUMP reverberated through the house.
The larch trees, some infected by phytophthora, have been felled in the last couple of weeks. They are opposite the house and it is quite a shock to see them gone from the skyline as they were 80 - 100 feet tall and I really liked them, as did the crows, red squirrels and siskins.
I'm really glad that there are a number of deciduous trees between the house and this area of the forest - beech, willow, sycamore, horse chestmut and holly screen me from the scene! More felling is planned. It is commercial forest...
We'll probably get more bluebells.
..flowers for cutting is one of my greatest pleasures. Having a garden just big enough to be able to pick from it without leaving a great gap is a joy. Currently I have daffodil Thalia, tulip Purissima, forget me nots and blue camassias and I've had several small arrangements without spoiling the effect in the garden.
I happened to move a small lamp and find the way it lights the flowers is quite dramatic...
..now and then.
Although I trained in Printed Textiles at Glasgow School of Art, in my home I like plain and simple, and pattern only on things which are brought out occasionally..and usually one at a time. William Morris, Arts and Crafts, the Bloomsbury set and Liberty? I love to visit these kinds of interiors but would not want to live in them. (Too much visual stimulus! I would find it exhausting.)
Opening all the windows in the morning makes me feel more alive.
If it's cold or wet it may just be for a few moments.
On really hot summer days (we do get them occasionally!) the doors may stay open too.
I love that.
(Taking photographs for the blog makes me feel alive!)
What makes you feel alive in the morning?
a couple of Maori words to my New Zealand book.
Kia kaha means I beleive be strong, keep going.
I am also reminding myself that the negative words don't negate all the positive words - they still stand.
Snow on and off all day meant staying at home, with coffee and a book. I am enjoying William Maxwell's writing in The Chateau. Perceptive, reminding me rather of Henry James. he evokes post war France in a way that has me reading a few pages, then doing something else (emptying a drawer of the freezer. baking Italian pastries) while thinking about the book, then going back to read some more.
Still blowing a wintry gale here! Cleaning the bathroom this morning I took down the snow picture and the red comb and towels and put up my all-time favourite card with some zingy towels and yellow bits and pieces..
Will you be making a little change somewhere in anticipation of the new season?
I did the cleaning with a little extra care and attention, mindful of all your interesting writings on yesterday's post...cherishing the space. Feeling gratitude.
A free makeover for your kitchen?
Next time you bring your shopping home put everything that is green out on display and everything else in the cupboards.
So you have green apples, green veg, green washing up liquid, green carrier bag, and if you can add a green towel or teatowel and a green plant or two and any dishes with green on them you have a new look and a colour co-ordinated kitchen for no cost....and the next time you are shopping for washing up cloths or sponges buy green, and green soap etc etc. Fun and free. If you have a pinboard a few postcards or greeting cards in green, or pictures cut from magazines will add to the gorgeous effect.
You can of course do it with any colour, and in any toom - I do it with red in the kitchen at Christmas) and am about to try it with yellow and grey in the sitting room for spring.
Colour, as Cath noted in yesterday's comments, can really lift your mood.
i'll be moving this little painting from the hall. It's by Christine McArthur and has the delightful title 'Where There's A Fish There's A Lemon.
That grey and yellow thing....A revival of 1950's styles in recent years first brought the grey and yellow combination to my notice, but not being a fan of that period I ignored it for a while. But I began to notice a rather lovely vibration between the two colours, especially if the grey was not a neutral grey - one made of adding white to black - but a grey with some colour in it, in watercolour paint Davy's Grey (yellowish) or Payne's Grey (bluish) and in fabric the colour known as French Grey (also bluish, sometimes purple-ish). With a very clear yellow as in daffodil yellow beside the pale grey kitchen tiles here it really works for me.
I went around the house today and see that I have quite a lot of grey and yellow things so I think I will gather them together and make it a new colour scheme for the sitting room for spring!
Michael Barclay's guest Sigrid Rausing brought a smile to my face and put the current political situation in a different perspective in her introduction to Ella Fitzgerald singing Anything Goes. (This week's edition of my favourite programme Private Passions, around 12 mins 47 in on BBC Radio 3 - though I found the whole one hour programme well worth listening to. Fascinating woman.)
Still very much cosy-by-the-woodburner-listening-to-the-wind here.
And there seems to be a grey and yellow theme appearing through the house...
..we had a family meal and took down the tree and decorations and as I always do, I observed how badly this room needs decorated (never do it though! Maybe this year...).
I'll still have candles - but with fresh fruit rather than tinsel.
Have you cleared away Christmas?
For yesterday's book group reading I found a passage in A C Grayling's The Challenge of Things under the heading Darkness which covered, briefly, the history of winter celebrations. This point was one I had not really considered before....
And paradoxical as it might seem, winter darkness was traditionally a time of plenty - the harvest had long been gathered and stored, the pigs slaughtered and their flesh salted - and the austerities of spring, when supplies were used up and the year's hard work had to begin were far off. The dark part of the year was therefore a welcome season of holiday.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)