Saturday, 19 August 2017

home after a week away

books I bought in the UK


Imagine this: I'm still wearing my pyjama's, a grey mismatch, covered in stains from having cut fresh turmeric yesterday for a courgette soup, and what I think is a coffee stain on my left leg; I say 'still' as it's 1:30 pm and I am gradually starting to feel in a true holiday mood, letting self relax into what are to be, one hopes, two weeks of TIME to do whatever I like. I am finally sitting in the studio with yet another mug of strong tea and a desk full of books, receipts, feathers, cards, the usual bits and bobs reminding me of where we have been.
'Cos we have been away on a holiday.
We spent the first of my 3 week holiday mostly in Cornwall, and when I say we, I mean the husband and I. We motored through Belgium and in France to Calais, through the Channel Tunnel to Folkestone. Then a long drive through West Sussex (I think) Dorset and Devon, all of which we adore and love, we really like being in England together. The landscape, the scale of it, the language, the people, the cream teas, the gardens the bookshops and so on and so forth.....

I buy so many books for many reasons, the book shops close to home don't have nearly enough English titles in English in store, one has to order and wait a week and drive back and forth into town, the parking malarky etc, the library is much the same, so I often resort to amazon, which is okay I guess, but not for the independant bookshops; hence the 2 stacks of books bought at several small, independent book shops and Monk's House museum in the UK
The Cook Book in St. Just
The Book Ferret in Arundel
Kim's Bookshop in Arundel
oh yes, I also bought one on our last day's shhopping at a tesco's supermarket in Ashford, because of the title 'the trouble with goats and sheep' reminding me of Grace

I notice several things about the books I have bought:
some were intentional buys, I had read reviews and written authors' names and booktitles so I knew what to look for in the shops.
Most of the others have either animals in the title or are about the Bloomsbury group, add a couple of Agatha Christies and I am a very happy customer.
Over the years I have managed to assemble quite a nice collection of books about this group, image 2b, the stack on the right includes all my  Bloomsbury-related books.  This year we managed to visit yet another one of their homes: Monk's House Rodmell, Lewes as it happend to be on our way to Cornwall.
Don't even think for a moment that we are organised or anything like that; we kind of knew we wanted to go to Cornwall, but had nothing booked except the ticket through the tunnel on Thursday 10 August at a very early hour....I tried booking a place to stay the weekend just before we were meant to leave, no luck there as Cornwall is a very popular holiday destination and this being the high season, I couldn't find a vacancy in our price range.  I was getting a bit nervous. 'Not to worry' the man said (which could also be his middle name as far as I'm concerned) Monday evening saw us drifting through all airb&b has to offer and we managed to book several b&b's for most nights and payments went well, so he was proven right (as per usual, I suppose I should listen to him more often)
There was a slight hiccup the following morning as our reservation for 3 nights was cancelled by the owner due to family business, so yet again, after a long day in the office for both of us, we spent another evening searching for an airb&b somewhere we thought we might want to stay, we moved about quite abit I can tell you. Finally we did manage to find an even better place down in St. Just's at the tip of Cornwall*, a very romantic little holiday retreat for 2 as it turned out. Boy, was I ready to be off!

* Poldark country as it is now known, after a recent BBC series, which we will of course have to watch as we have now hiked all over the Poldark landscape!
back home: at last a bit of sunshine at the end of the day

the infamous soup, suddenly looking at the table through Dana's eyes: it is set!

baking almond flour cake (no longer tolerate gluten) lime zest, black sesame and poppy seeds, soon to come out of the oven

at last something for the dye pot: very thin cotton strip wrapped 'round avocado and onion peels, rolled and bound into copper pot, hoping this will also improve markings and colourations

Back home I get to read the news, it comes in waves and circular movements as I browse the week's old newspapers; we did not listen to the radio, watch tv or buy a paper, wifi reception was lousy so saw nothing on the laptop, the occasional glance on our phones in towns and museums to check on family apps if all was well back home.

I am horrified by what has been happening in the US, such sad news

to be continued

Friday, 4 August 2017

3 graces

it started off with me picking up acorns, quite absentmindedly on the walks in the nearby woods and once back home looking at them again and noticing how they kind of reminded me of tiny breasts, all very shiny and new; anyway, forgetting them for a bit and then a couple of days later seeing those beautifully rounded fresh green acorns had withered away and become small, brown and not nearly as attractive as before, as if they had, how to put it delicately imploded, deflated - maybe not so delicate then - a bit like how my own body is evolving, despite my efforts to keep in shape, practicing yoga, going for long walks and eating the right foods, along with of course coffee, chocolate, the occasional glass of wine (honest) and many mugs of tea, both herbal infusions as well as the dark stuff topped up with full fat milk!  a balanced diet so to speak

 this led to me wanting to use the acorns into making small dolls, with tiny beads for eyes, a mouth and a cunt (as it so happens I was not the only person with cunts on her mind, I refer of course to Grace's post 'how It is, or, appears to be', where she in turn points us towards the podcast The C-word in Kaizen's post  'words' ) and as I had 3 table-leg-stumps with which to make the type of doll I had in mind, I made 3 dolls, which of course led to them being nick-named The Three Graces, goddesses representing beauty, charm and creativity

they not only have each other for company, the long-fingered toad and the dashing Garden Tiger Moth immediately latched on, quite literally, realising something groovy could happen if they did their best tickling the Graces' fancies; who knows what could come (out) of this?

added bonus: dear friend J returned from Sweden bearing exquisite wicker work gifts: a picnic basket and the rug beater, which immediately set their excited minds racing.....

p.s. I have added a new page SHOP, which is a shop

Sunday, 30 July 2017

and the winner is.......

me wearing the Hat

the names in the Hat
the list

the winner

congratulations Fanny
please email me your address and The Philosopher will be on his way to you, all that remains for us here is to bid him farewell, a safe journey and lots of adventures in France

to all the rest of you: rest assured another gift-round will occur, in the mean time the shop is open (ha)

could not resist sharing this: we encountered the Arctia caja otherwise known as Garden Tiger moth/Grote Beervlinder on our Sunday morning walk and he decided to come with us; what a sight to behold!
a story is in the making...... 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

the philosopher agrees to travel

have been busy in the garden, amongst many other chores have tackled the hazel shrubs out back and end up  with a useful collection of hazelwood sticks, I love their smooth, shiny bark; they also look very sophisticated as they stand so straight, proud almost

solidago, bullet thistle, soapwort and hibiscus

I felt it was time for a present to you, my dear followers, whether you comment regularly or not doesn't matter, as long as you do so now, then we'll know you want to participate in the tombola; entries open till next Sunday 30 July; I will then write down your names on snippets of paper, throw them all into one of my hats, shuffle and shake, close my eyes & pick one at random....

'the philosopher' contemplating the world as it unfolds before him, before us all, withholding judgement, eating a fresh plum from time to time; after careful deliberations, weighing the pros & cons , he has agreed to be given away, he feels it's a great opportunity to see more of the world and perhaps even experience it more hands-on; he is quite the cerebral type and not one for getting his hands dirty, so maybe now he might do just that. 'If nothing else, it'll be my adventure' he explains to me

He won't take up too much of your space, he's reasonably clean, not a picky eater, has a tendancy to wander off on his walk-about-musings, a lousy sense of direction so it might take him a while to arrive...other than that, important to know he likes his sleep and will only wake up to coffee; a friendly character who enjoys intelligent conversation, he will be missed, however we will be happy once we know he's going somewhere he's welcome

my poster for the nearby campsite, inviting folks over to come and visit the studio

the eldest is experimenting with smoking wood pigeon breasts in this contraption, he's using the old plum tree wood, from  the one we had to chop down earlier this year as it was dying, useful now; much like the hazelsticks in the picture below: support for the dahlia that had survived the snail onslaught and barely managed to stay upright after the bindweed had been dragging it earthwards

happy Django in the water a couple of days ago when the weather was really hot and sunny

there they were again 
these orange insects enjoying their annual orgy on the common hogweed, they were at it all over these plants in particular, fascinating

our niece recently gave birth to a second son, time for a small gift for the young family

dogs, a hare, dreaming bird and a tree-of-life, on it's way to Texas

Sunday, 2 July 2017

birds & beasts in the garden

a dead shrew; picked him up yesterday, a rainy Saturday morning, that's why he's all wet; notice the tiny hands and feet, those tiny nails! all so absolutely perfect

there are many dead shrews these days, on our regular Sunday morning* walk we saw 4 dead ones lying on the path into the woods; I have not carried them all back home, hoping they will serve as food for others.

Is it the rain I wonder, do they wander to far from their homes and get caught off guard in the rain, cooling so fast they die from hypothermia? Who would know the answers to these questions?

Once we returned with the poor critter the Dwelling inhabitants soon organised a small wake was organised in an old lantern, he doesn't have to be alone on his journey to wherever it is shrews go once their hearts stop beating
 * D and I always go for a walk together with Django on Sunday mornings

the Sun decided to show it's face this afternoon, so I pottered about for a bit in the front garden, pulling 'weeds' and moving back and forth in quite the disorganised way I seem to do most of my gardening.

I heard a voice, more of a croak in fact :
"hey, you, gardening person, could you do me a favour please?"

I looked around, up and down but couldn't figure out where the croak came from

"Over here, to your left, I mean right, yes here"
Aha, now that I looked up and then to my right a bit I did see the meditating frog half hidden in his green sanctuary

"I'm sorry, what was that? " I asked

"Whilst you are so busy with your shears, could you cut away some of the foliage that's blocking my view and keeping the sun from shining on my good friend the garden gnome here?"

"Ah, yes I see what you mean" I replied

"Thank goodness for that! Now hurry along then, snip snip....quick as you like then"

And so I cut back all of the offending foliage, letting sun and light in once more; the meditating frog and his good friend, the garden gnome are now able to bask in the sun and enjoy the view of the garden

Sunday, 25 June 2017

a bit of fun on a summer sunday's afternoon

 we have been enjoying gloriously hot weather, although if I'm honest some have enjoyed it more than others; I for one love the heat and Django does not seem to mind, we go swimming together in the river the Linge, not pictured here; I don't join him as he dives into the vliet, as it is too difficult to clamber up back onto dry land for the likes of me
I was inspired by Grace's black and white necklace and the way it was draped around a plastic crow's neck over in her post messages, so I went and made one for GhostBird, at his specific request; here he is showing off 

he already had a blue one, which as actually a broken bracelet, but hey he adores it, he quite likes trinkets and dressing up

I liked the result so much I made one for self

at long last mended eldest's torn jeans, such a satisfying job, once it's done!

table cleared of clutter and moved about a bit, still not quite certain where it will go; I like how the different objects left markings, such as the heart shape.....

....which manifested itself after removing this tin; I'm guessing I placed the dead bird in it about a year ago; it is completely dessicated and no longer smells, it is now stuck to the tin: a beautiful object 

meet my new potato friends
the lengths food will go to these days not to be eaten: they have grown arms, legs and one of them even has a head! the wrinkly one in the back is posing as a mouse, knowing full well I don't eat mice (not that I don't eat meat, mind you, 'cos I do, it's just that mice tend not to have enough meat, so it's not worth the effort)
and thus the black-faced sheep has company on the kitchen windowsill
they look like they are enjoying themselves

if I didn't know better  it would seem they are waving at us and inviting us to join them