Saturday, 30 August 2014

early autumn garden

The garden in the early morning. Autumnal colours and clouded skies. A slight, though welcome, breeze is eddying fallen leaves and flapping the silk scarf drying on the gate. We are preparing for school- slowing down those last few precious days of holidays, running around less and having early nights. The brightness of summer is being replaced by something altogether more subtle, a drift of wood scented air, the stain of blackberries on fingers, the slower rising of the sun and darkening evening skies. I think it's a good time of year to take stock and think about those colder months when we're more house-bound...I'm wondering about a new craft or about you?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

be kind to yourself

'bathers' by Sickert, image from here
Sometimes when there's a lot going on in your life which is out of your control, when that curved ball has been thrown, when the thing that has been creeping alongside you for so long suddenly becomes a permanent companion, then it pays to be kind to yourself. Some simple ideas for times like this:

 :: Make meal time simpler, this is not the time for fancy ingredients or trying new recipes. 
 :: The housekeeping will wait, this is not the time to wash windows or organise linen cupboards. 
 :: Wrap yourself in your most comfortable favourite clothes, soft cottons, well worn jumpers, slippers.
 :: Light the fire. Then sit and watch the flames and toast your toes.
 :: Pull out a board game, shared laughter goes along way to help you forget anxious feelings.
 :: Re-read a book which brought you peace. Or read something soothing and gentle.
 :: Walk, especially on a blustery negative ion charged beach. 
 :: And tightly hug those you love. 

My soothing and gentle read is The fortnight in Septemberpublished in the 1930s and described as 'a little masterpiece'. It is the account of a family going to the seaside on their holidays in September, perfect for this time of year and simplicity itself with normal people doing normal things, a relief to be honest.

Monday, 25 August 2014

autumn mists

The last few days of August. The weather has taken a turn, bringing us away from summer and towards autumn. The lake this morning was misted, damp and cool with water pushed by the wind, rippling to the shore. I like autumn in all its russet glory and in fact the trees are already starting to turn. I can't say I mind. We lit the fire last night and snuggled in, reading and chatting while outside darkness fell that bit earlier and faster.
We are galloping through books. I've just finished The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett, she of The Secret Garden. It was wonderful- a tale in two parts where a poor but lovely gal unexpectedly marries a Marquis in the first half of the book and then in the second half there's murder in mind with foul plots and dark goings on...all quite thrilling stuff!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

summer reading

Recently I finished A Monster Calls, a children's book (children's books are fantastic - my favourite, perhaps, being Skellig by David Almond) which deals with a boy's recurring nightmare and is set against the backdrop of his mother's illness. The monster in question is looking for the truth, a truth which is painful to admit and hard to tell. It is beautifully illustrated by Jim Kay whose atmospheric work adds hugely to the reading - his powerful monster has such force, a mixture of nature and malevolence. I won't give away the ending but it is a powerful and sad book, one that should be shared.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

on friendship

There might not be an obvious link between fossilised shells and shark teeth, a spoonful of honey and friendship, but there is. We were fortunate enough to spend a few days catching up with old friends. Old friendships are to be treasured. It doesn't matter that ten or more years have passed since you last saw your friend, or that babies have grown into teenagers, or that there are more grey hairs than before-the friendship has stayed the same. We slotted back together, her and me, husbands and children and parents doing the same and it was just so nice to spend evenings chatting and laughing and re-connecting after such a long time. And what of the fossils? Well, they were a gift from our beach-combing friends, one which fired the imaginations of the boys, especially Mide. And the honey arrived by post yesterday, sent as a thank-you, made by the bees of Kent, and what a lovely, useful gift it is too.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

rest easy

kenne paintings


Kenne paintings

Today I need something to unblock a feeling. A feeling that bubbles and troubles me. One that has nestled deep inside and seems to have taken root. I always feel better after I have looked at something beautiful, a mix of colours that pleases, a sense of symmetry and order, something restful. My mind focuses on these things and ignores everything else and I manage to come away feeling rested. The work of Kenne Gregoire is beautifully detailed but also a little melancholic, his world is slightly frayed at the edges, like all of ours.

voor meer schilderijen >>> klik op SCHILDERIJEN   >> for more paintings  >> click on schilderijen-button
For more on his work go here

Monday, 11 August 2014


A climb up the Mountain of the Witch soon brings us among the burial stones of the past. The landscape of undulating hills and colliding clouds watch over this most ancient of places. Our feet walked where others had walked, our hands touched stones which others had carved, meanings now long forgotten. The wind that blew around us must surely have blown around those who built the cairns. We are the same, separated only by time. What will be the remnants of our culture, for future others to find?

Thursday, 7 August 2014


Image of fern leaf & champagne diamond necklace

Image of 18ct gold, opaque diamond ring {No.48 SOLD}
There's no harm in dreaming is there? Getting caught up in lovely things and thinking "I wish..." and yes, I am a deeply shallow person and yes, I dream of sparkly golden diamondy things...
Image of 18ct rose gold, black diamond ring (No.10)

Image of double fern leaf & champagne diamond necklace

Image of small oak leaf and pearl necklace
All the jewellery made by Rust is produced in the UK and is ethically sourced and it's just the stuff of dreams. I follow Artemis's fantastic blog Junkaholique - you can see her and her husband's creativity fizzing away in all things they do!

Monday, 4 August 2014


 Question: What is better than an Ulster fry on a damp Sunday?

 Answer: An Ulster fry on a damp Sunday up a mountain.
Well, to be honest, not quite up a mountain. More like at base camp. Then full of sausage, egg and tea we wound our way through mossy woods, coming out onto the mountain road and up, up we climbed among the most perfect of cone-decorated Christmas trees until we were overlooking glorious farmscapes with ancient collapsed volcanoes. Co. Armagh's Slieve Gullion is 'the mountain of the steep slope' although Hugo, who is half way through his Four Peaks Challenge with Scouts, laughed at its height (about 1800 ft).

There are cairns on the top to be discovered but not on this trip, we made for home as the weather turned from damp to drizzle and the little one's legs were running out of steam. But we will be back for more.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

early morning peace

Do you have a preferred season? I know in my heart of hearts that, despite enjoying the summer sun and the long evenings, I prefer autumn and don't really mind winter at all. The month of August is usually a good time to still enjoy summery goings-on before the slow but steady turning of the earth leads to shorter days. Soon the garden greenness will start to change and reds and oranges and russets will get their turn. In fact there's already a slight shift and today's rain is hanging like a wet veil between summer and autumn - we can still see both but we know there's movement.
Being away from home always tears at me a little, even when I am enjoying myself. I am a home-bird for sure. But coming back from holidays always gives me a renewed sense of gratitude for our life here. And this time I realised how much I missed the wind- the movement of fresh air from one place to another, the swishing of the sycamores in the garden, the cooling effect of open windows while we sleep. I think that's why I love the sea, there's always a breeze at the coast.

The photos were taken on different mornings, early, before our usual rising time and when there's such peace it's hard to believe there are other people in the world. One while the mists and moon were hanging, suspended, and the other while the rising sun barely gilded the cut field in front of the house.