A new word for me. It means the warmth of the winter sun, and that is what we have been enjoying here for several days now! Thank you to crossword wizard Lynne for this happy word.
Are you my robin?
A wonderful visit today to the Burrell Collection and the chabce to learn more about Chivalric Love and the Romances of the late medieval period through the fabulous collection of stained glass and tapestries.
This is Princess Cecily of York, who at a time when the daughters of the aristocracy were treated as commodities, appears to have married for love.
My grandaughter sent me this for the anniversary of Barry's death.
What a sweetheart!
Grief, I've learned, is really just love. It's the love you want to give but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners o your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with nowhere to go.'
(attr. Jamie Anderson)
If this is true then I will use up that unspent, leftover love on life..I will be in love with life. I am in love with life.
So far in my exploration of my inner romantic I have been entranced by beautiful flowers, soothed by the log fire, relaxed by romantic music, swept away by romantic films, enchanted by watching the sunrise, delighted by my daily chocolate (I kept that up for two weeks, then scoffed the rest one evening!). Thank you for the suggestions of music and films some of which were new to me. You have added to the romance of my February.
I wondered if I could find enough romance for 28 days, but there is still the romance of travel, and food, of clothes and of the home to think about...
Are you exploring your inner romantic? Or your inner poet/diva/dancer/adventurer/writer/drama queen/whayever?
You dont need to move to some la-la land, you just need to make sure you give a little time and thought each day to a part of yourself that doesn't usually get e xpressed. That can be an adventure in itself.
Happy and romantic Valentine's Day!
Here is somthing from the archive..
Buing yourself flowers can be romantic
A little act of courtship? The start of a secret love affair with yourself? (A neglected part of yourself perhaps?)
Romance, like beauty, is very much in the eye of the beholder I am sure.
Extravagance feels very romantic to me. I can remember as a child the first daffodils coming into the local shop and my Mum saying No, we would have to wait until they got cheaper before we could have some. I can remember walking away from them, feeling them calling me. I must have been six or so.
Do you buy a bunch with your weekly shop? I used to get home and before I did anything else, find the right vase, arrange the flowers and put them in the middle of the table. Then I would unpack the shopping and try to make the house live up to the flowers!
The supermarket daffs are just £1 a bunch here in uk just now. Buy three and give one to a friend.
Or order some scented narcissus from the Scilly Isles or Carnwall. I sent some as Christmas presents this year.
I am spending very little on flowers this month but I am having a bouquet for Valentine's Day. One of those ones I almost swoon over before thinking How can anyone pay that for a bunch of flowers? Well, I am paying that for a bunch of flowers this February!
So if the sky falls in that day you will know it was me ...
Will you buy yourself flowers this week?
I adore flowers. I always have them around me. I buy them for myself, gift them, am gien them, paint them and grow them and photograph them..They are the ultimate in romance for me.
They thrill me and you will find hundreds of photographs of them under Simply Beautiful, Simply Grow and Simply Home.
If thou of fortune be bereft
And in thy store there be but left
Two loaves, sell one and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
Are you kidding? said a voice in my head. The world is in crisis There is violence corruption greed malevolence dishonesty hate victimhood species extinction breaking news (no-one needs breaking news) poverty climate change hunger war strikes uncertainty and chaos!
So am I going to put my life on hold until all these crises are resolved? Maybe I'll hang that on a peg for the moment and look at what I mean by romantic. I also noticed how defensve I feel about choosing this word. My inner critic needs no nourisshing or protection - she's doing just great.
I looked up definitions of romantic. Characterised by the expression of love. No bad thing I should think. Having an idealised view of the world. No harm in seeking an ideal... what would life be like if we did not strive for an ideal? Sentimental. Well, sentiment is feeling and if the feelings are delight and joy bring it on I say.
I don't need a partner to have romance in my life. I don't want a lover, or another husband. But my soul needs some romance! I will spend February exploring , nourishing protecting, (and not apologisng for), my inner romantic.
Will you join me?
I don't think I've done it before, but it's allowed! My words for 2023 were 'Go High' but that seemed to translate into 'Try Harder' which felt more stick than carrot, and I don't do sticks.
In the comments on this post an interesting little conversation got going. MaryB mentioned her inner gardener, and Susan in Dorset reminded us of the concept of the inner child and pondered which inner passion, aspiration or identity she might choose to protect or nurture.
What comes to mind for you?
I almost missed a brilliant exhibition, and I did miss an afternoon tea!
Last Christmas I was given a voucher for afternoon tea for two at Patisserie Valerie, so a friend and I set off for Edinburgh for this lovely treat. However we decided to look foirst at this exhibition
It was so wonderful, with lots of work I had not seen before that we completely lost track of the tme and discovered we had left it too late for the afternoon tea! We will just have to go again.
Here re two of my favourites. An exquisitely balanced composition by Vuillard, and a joyous Dufy which is about 2 m x 1.5 m.
I hope you were able to read the text of the Matisse I posted on Friday and I am sorry the quality of the photographs is not very good.
Thank you to Susan in Dorset who recommended this programme on BBC Radio 3. I particularly love Music For Growing Flowers in 10 October episode, and Hana Rani's Safe Haven from 31 October - the sound of rain on the roof of the attic in her home in Poland. (The programmes are available for a limited time.)
Each episode features a different theme and has a different guest who shares their safe haven. Delightful!
I love that the blog is a two way process and that over the years you have told me about wonderful books, music, films and videos, events and places. You enrich my life and I thank you.
Here is an interesting idea
Pay attention to what you're paying atention to.
My apologies if you are having problems leaving comments just now. I am trying to sort it out!
..and make no apology for showing it again. It's beautifully crafted and I find it very moving.
But it's the music too, and I have adopted the first line of the song as a kind of motto since I first heard it - Take all your chances while you can..
Do you have a motto to inspire you?
Watching the moon rise, examining a flower, planting bulbs or sweeping leaves or having a soothing bath, I find I need to focus for a little time every day on something calming to counteract the world of the news media (which to me recently looks on the verge of hysteria).
What do you do to stay sane and calm?!
..of the pandemic lockdowns. Confined to the house for a week now, though with nothing worse than a bad cold and cough, I am feeling very isolated. Amusing myself with photographing things..
Video calls and text, TV and podcastss, radio, online shopping - of course the technology is brilliant in it's way, but nothng, nothing substitutes for being out in the rel world alert, engaged, alive!
Alert because you have to be - it can be danagerous out there.
Engaged because you are interested in how the world works, in the people you meet, in what's current.
Alive because you don't know what will happen next and you have a bit of an adventurer in your soul.
I am almost recovered - meanwhile can you recommend any good podcasts?
..in a wondrously starry sky last night was jaw-droppingly beautiful. Don't you find that looking up at the star-filled sky puts everything in a diffenernt perspective? The deep silence of it too. Spellbinding.
..for whom the bell tolls.
On the mrning after the Queen's death, Great Peter, the largest bell of York Minster tolled every thirty seconds for the whole of the morning. I found it very moving in its simplicity.
What's next for you? More of the same? Something new and different? Something better?
In answering the question What's next for you? another useful question might be Where and when do I feel mosst alive?
This month's As the Season Turns podcast got me thinking about fresh starts...
Opera and cake got me out of this morning's lethargy and dismay at yet another dull weather day. I watched all the episodes of Take Me To The Opera, and made a cake for my visitor who is coming to stay this week. I had to taste it of course to see that it is ok. (It is.)
What gets you out of a low mood?