Wednesday, 26 November 2014


~Espaliered apple tree...
image from pinterest

Oh, it's good to have plans. We walked around the garden the other day talking and day-dreaming when we had one of those rare moments of clarity and a plan was hatched. A plan to plant a small potager garden, within the garden. A plan to build raised beds. A plan to grow vegetables. A plan to eat what we grow. And yes, it's good to have plans that are positive and life affirming and involve work and toil and ourselves. For so long I've wanted to grow some (at least) of our own food and for so long I've said the garden was too small, what with three boys and all. But think of all they'll learn too, if we grow our own. Think of the good food in their tummies. Oh yes, we have a plan and it's a good one.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


This evening light is fading fast. Today was one of those sunny November days, the type of day with the light at just the right level to highlight all our grubby windows. So I washed them all, inside and out, and now each glance outwards is through clean glass. I am ridiculously pleased by this. It's the little things, as Kevin says.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

winter reading

There is nothing better on a cold winter's night than hatching down by the fire and reading. It is especially good if:
a. there are no distractions i.e. all children are tucked up asleep
b. you have a (large) glass of red wine beside you
c. someone has thoughtfully filled the log basket -you merely have to stretch (a little) to throw another log on the fire
d. you have some well chosen, possibly even seasonal reading matter. Oh, I do like a book with a house plan! This one involves a country house party (tick), relatives with motives (tick), Santa Klaus (tick) and murder...
e. after a decent interval someone arrives bearing a tray laden with tea/chocolate or port/cheese

Monday, 17 November 2014

five picnic at the castle

I know a great place to have a picnic, said Kevin. We were heading to Slieve Gullion for a walk and this place happened to be on the way. Castle Roche was just amazing - a massive, ruined Norman castle built on a high rocky outcrop with views over the most beautiful drumlin landscape. We picnic-ed in the interior and the boys whooped and ran about and declared it 'the best castle ever'. It certainly was somewhere The Famous Five would have had an adventure and we wondered who would be brave enough to camp there...Then it was on to Slieve Gullion for a walk in the November sun until it began to turn chilly and we headed for home.

Friday, 14 November 2014

happy weekend

House at Night, collage by Tirzah Garwood

Oh my goodness, I wish I had the energy and the focus to write something meaningful but I am tired and frankly, uninspired. This week has passed in a flash, the usual scurry of school and work, meetings, activities and anxiety (mine). So I'm simply going to wish you a happy weekend with this lovely collage by Tirzah Garwood. I love the night sky, the lit windows, the lacy curtains, the straight path, the symmetry and the fact that it looks friendly, comfortable and safe.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

winter time

It's winter. Time to snuggle up in something woolly...
...grind the beans and make the coffee...
...make something yummy for dinner...
...and keep warm by walking the dog. Or the penguin...

Fabulous drawings by Japanese artist Yusuke Yonezu and thanks to the Jealous Creator for leading the way.

Monday, 10 November 2014

tree planter

Sometimes in the midst of busy family life you only get to read snatches of books, a paragraph or two before your attention is drawn to something else. But this weekend I revisited an old friend in its entirety. I first read The Man who Planted Trees by Jean Giono years and years ago. It's short- barely 40 pages but it sure packs a punch. It tells the story of simplicity and hope, resourcefulness, courage and patience and is beautifully illustrated throughout with wood engravings by Michael McCurdy. In this world of noise it is a joy to glimpse peace.

For a human character to reveal truly exceptional qualities, one must have the good fortune to be able to observe its performance over many years. If this performance is devoid of all egotism, if its guiding motive is unparalleled generosity, if it is absolutely certain that there is no thought of recompense and that, in addition, it has left its visible mark upon the earth, then there can be no mistake.
The Man who Planted Trees Jean Giono

Thursday, 6 November 2014


In the Garden by Sigrid Hjertén
The postman brought 'The Persephone Biannually' yesterday. Oh it's so good to sit by the fire on this dark, dank November evening and read of their Autumn/Winter books, ticking off the ones to order (gardeners have their autumn seed catalogues, I have my read catalogue) but it's also full of lovely drawings and paintings, short stories and book reviews. I love the list of events on the back cover...wouldn't it be lovely to go their showing of the 1945 film They Knew Mr Knight (on the 19th November if you're in London) or what about the Christmas Open Day...I doze in front of the fire and dream Persephone dreams

Monday, 3 November 2014




My favourite time of the day- that cobalt sky as evening falls, the moon glowing, the hustle and bustle as the birds roost. I walk the dogs a little way from home, they sniff the wintry air and the hill echoes with the sounds of the cows bellowing in the fields. It's chilly but I know that I'll go back indoors to the warmth of the log fires where the children, happily watching a birthday DVD, have tummies full of birthday cake. Not for the first time I count my blessings.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

town and country

Oh, November you can be a little dull and frankly my dear, a touch dreary. You don't have the golden leaves of October nor the sparkling promise of December. But fear not November, you do have the wonderful Emily Sutton's 'Town and Country' in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park right bang smack in the middle of this month.