up above

February 28, 2012

Rushing out to get the car out of the garage and on the roadside ready for a very early start of to see clients in Devon, I didn’t even look at the sky. But, having  pulled up the hand brake and, looked finally in the rear view mirror before opening the car door, I saw this wondrous cloud formation. I rather wanted to capture it as A Bigger Picture but someone’s already done that!

Holding the camera straight up above, more and different patterns appear . . . . and then looking down to the horizon, the sky, of course, goes on forever. How banal –  cars, garages, roads, rushing –   instead of ‘all to slip through’, ‘looking to take in’,  – just appreciate what’s in front of your eyes.

What of      the quicksand.

My desperate eye     looking too hard.

Or of the eye   of the world

looking too      hard

for me. Or, if you prefer, cause,

looking to take in

what could be sufficient –

Then the sun goes down    and the sentence

goes out. Recklessly towards the end. Beyond

the ridge. Wearing us as if lost in

thought with no way

out, no eye at all to slip through,

none of the hurry or the between-

hurry thinkings to liquefy,

until it can be laid on a tongue

– oh quickness – like a drop. Swallow.

Rouse says the dark.  Jorie Graham  Prayer


‘We can’t be looking at the same things. We’re all on our own’  David Hockney.

looking straight ahead

February 26, 2012

Leaving the allotment on West Hill, I usually make the journey back home in a solitary and significant manner – eyes straight ahead and focused on the horizon. The rhythm of the movement of easy strolling  is extremely pleasant – it’s all down hill after all. Today, having spent a good time either bent over or on my knees taking couch grass out of iris corms, the journey was more than ever pleasurable.  So the chronicle of the route is shown visually by the images. The sun today so bright and warm that the foreground is dark in contrast . . . but the view east looking to the country park and the building that houses the East Hill lift workings seems mellow . .

. . .  the view to the burnt out pier is encapsulated by the canopy of a stand of holm oaks – rather an elegant boat drifts into the picture . . .

. . . and looking to the castle fortifications, I realise that there are many textures and surfaces here – natural and man made –  that I hadn’t clocked before.

Strolling down into Wellington Square, the facade of the east facing terrace looks almost like Brighton. My. how smart we have become! But not really!

And what would the Misses Lutwidge think of the world wide acknowledgement of their nephew!

Some picnicking on the beach . . .

. . . and can’t resist the view through the pier railings . . . near my destination, the DFL’s ( Down from London) have emerged from their homes to inhabit all the cafes and eateries as they should on a fine Sunday morning.

The future is space, earth-colored space,
color of water, air,
black space with room for many dreams,
white space with room for all snow,
for all music.

Behind lies despairing love
with no room for a kiss.
There’s a place for everyone in forests,
in streets, in houses;
there’s an underground space, a submarine space,
but what joy is to find in the end,

an empty planet
great stars clear as vodka,
so uninhabited and so transparent,
and arrive there with the first telephone
so that so many men can later discuss
all their infirmities.

The important thing is to be scarcely aware of oneself,
to scream from a rough mountain range
and see on another peak
the feet of a woman newly arrived.

Come on, let’s leave
this suffocating river
in which we swim with other fish
from dwan to shifting night
and now in this discovered space
let’s fly to a pure solitude  Pablo Neruda  The Future is Space

playing hookey

February 23, 2012

Brilliantly sunny afternoon – 15 degrees apparently – today February 23rd! So after a morning on a site visit, the call of the allotment won over sitting indoors reading documents and preparing talks. I can do that in the dark of the evening after all! The allotment cat was there showing off as usual and being frolicsome and flirtatious.  The seeded Stipa tenuissima that grow in all the most difficult places – like the paths – are also quite flirtatious . . .

Euphorbias also seed around. they look great at the moment – just going into their lime green fancy dress mode – and set off well by the ruby chard. Many pickings from these . . . and a single euphorbia which may be E. ‘Portuguese Velvet’ getting on well with the willow strips that form partial boundary screens. These were a mistake as they grow too vigorously in this situation. However, they might all be coppiced down harshly just for their slender stems that can then be woven into low panels as a decorative boundary line.

The light of the sun bounces of the glistening willow and contrasts with the now papery, brown flower heads of the sedum . . .

. . and ‘the old shed’ which I should write a poem about, or to, as I’m very fond of it, is just staggering into final degradation. The site secretary is now commenting on the state of it. If only we could all look so good in old age!  Just the scent of a new season.

The trees are afraid to put forth buds,
And there is timidity in the grass;
The plots lie gray where gouged by spuds,
And whether next week will pass
Free of sly sour winds in the fret of each bush
Of barberry waiting to bloom.

Yet the snowdrop’s face betrays no gloom,
And the primrose pants in its heedless push,
Though the myrtle asks if it’s worth the fight
This year with frost and rime
To venture one more time

On delicate leaves and buttons of white From the selfsame bough as at last year’s prime,
And never to ruminate on or remember
What happened to it in mid-December.  Thomas Hardy  A Backward Spring

landscape in a box

February 14, 2012

Today I received a landscape in a box – exquisitely made!

The twig came all the way from Canet Plage. And the inscription running along the sides of the box is also in French.

Un petit jardin dans une boîte!

Red flags the reason for pretty flags.
And ribbons.
Ribbons of flags
And wearing material
Reason for wearing material.
Give pleasure.
Can you give me the regions.
The regions and the land.
The regions and wheels.
All wheels are perfect.
Enthusiasm.  Gertrude Stein  Red Faces

de la Warrhol

February 12, 2012

The De La Warr Pavilion makes me dizzy  . . . .

. . .   with quite a good deal of delight every visit I make. Many locals seem to come in here for a sit down and, hopefully enjoy it too,  especially when the sun floods into the hall and staircase. The current exhibition is . . .

With some of his early work from illustration, he started his working life as an advertisement illustrator. These are quite girly and whimsical and  . . . .

and then the more well known – Marilyns, Maos, Electric Chairs, Soup Cans and Brillo Boxes, and then a room of posters . . . . . . .

. . . all interesting and brilliantly graphic. But a tiny port-hole in the door drew me to gaze through and enjoy how the pattern of light flooding in makes a strong composition too . . .

. .  on the first floor, there’s another room of work. The view out was so compelling that my intention to capture this was misunderstood by the attendant – ‘No photography Madame!’ – so duly rebuked I made it straight out onto the landings, stairwells, and terraces. The De La Warr won out against the Warhol!  The view of The Colonnade . . .

. . more veiled threats and admonitions on the windows and doors. Skate boarding isn’t welcome either!  Just behave!

When I left Eli Zabar the cut-out star on the window

was whirling in the animation of the rich and hungry

hunched over tables for a $30 sandwich and a Diet Coke.

It was raining and the blurred glass of the galleries

was the gold leaf of the Carrig Rhone frames—

Childe Hassam’s dabs of Connecticut trees

the diaphanous blue on the fleshy rocks,

the melting opal of the shoals.

Inside the Whitney the rain trailed down my face;

and I found myself in a quiet corner staring

at the pink face of Marilyn Monroe.

I could still smell the smoldering high-tech plastic

as it burned the air. In the whiteness of her teeth,

in the almost aahh of her mouth and the half-drugged eyes

under the lids of teal shadow, the air kept singeing my nose.

Against the pale walls Marilyn’s face dissolved

like a stretched mesh and litho ink

where plain form is a place of no desire

like the empty mirror of the Hudson at dawn.

In the fissures of her make-up, the planes of color

led back and back behind her teeth longing—

to the deception by the Falls on her honeymoon

(with Joseph Cotton in Niagara)—where we found her clothed

and alarmed, and later desperate for the affirmation,

of a President’s limp dick and the crisp sheets

the same color of these walls—as my t shirt dries to my skin

and the faintest scent of ground zero

sifts down on the walls

whiter than the wingtip vortices

of melting in the morning light. Peter Balakian  Warhol/Madison Ave./9-11

allotment wears a white coat

February 11, 2012

Not a visit I’ve been looking forward to and, consequently made with trepidation, but I needed to see if the potatoes set for chitting in the shed needed covering with fleece. The temperature in the sheds here high on West Hill can drop way below freezing.  First glimpse on entering the site is the stark vision of just the ‘constructions’ showing above the layer of snow. . . .

. . .   this snow is now a week old and has that messy look  . . . . footprints of hungry animals have imprinted everywhere . . . .

. . the square, well made brassica tent has become a teepee and Duncan’s carciofi have flopped too, under the weight of the snow . . .

. . .  things take on a new character in the white stillness. There’s little to be done until a thaw is well under way so I can turn my back on it without guilt!

On longer evenings,

Light, chill and yellow,

Bathes the serene

Foreheads of houses.

A thrush sings,


In the deep bare garden,

Its fresh-peeled voice

Astonishing the brickwork.

It will be spring soon,

It will be spring soon –

And I, whose childhood

Is a forgotten boredom,

Feel like a child

Who comes on a scene

Of adult reconciling,

And can understand nothing

But the unusual laughter,

And starts to be happy.  Philip Larkin   Coming

on display

February 6, 2012

Last remnants of the watery snow cling to the grid pattern on the pier. We’re quite used now to stare through the security fencing in a desultory manner vaguely wondering when the ‘new’ structure will appear. Architects are appointed but that’s about all that’s happened since this post. We’re patient folks down here – grateful for the odd crumb . . . .

. . Cosmo’s displays make the blokes drool! Through his security window there’s a sexy, but bulky, old Triumph . . .

. . . and this BSA nonchalantly parked outside . . .

. . . another shop offers this display of soft pink and red tones – looking in closer I note the pink laces on the huge boots . . .

. . . did this little chap get his gear from this shop? A cross dresser?? Not sure he’s going to pull looking like this but then,  this town  is a strange place!


‘Help, help, ‘ said a man. ‘I’m drowning.’
‘Hang on, ‘ said a man from the shore.
‘Help, help, ‘ said the man. ‘I’m not clowning.’
‘Yes, I know, I heard you before.
Be patient dear man who is drowning,
You, see I’ve got a disease.
I’m waiting for a Doctor J. Browning.
So do be patient please.’
‘How long, ‘ said the man who was drowning. ‘Will it take for the Doc to arrive? ‘
‘Not very long, ‘ said the man with the disease. ‘Till then try staying alive.’
‘Very well, ‘ said the man who was drowning. ‘I’ll try and stay afloat.
By reciting the poems of Browning
And other things he wrote.’
‘Help, help, ‘ said the man with the disease, ‘I suddenly feel quite ill.’
‘Keep calm.’ said the man who was drowning, ‘ Breathe deeply and lie quite still.’
‘Oh dear, ‘ said the man with the awful disease. ‘I think I’m going to die.’
‘Farewell, ‘ said the man who was drowning.
Said the man with the disease, ‘goodbye.’
So the man who was drowning, drownded
And the man with the disease past away.
But apart from that,
And a fire in my flat,
It’s been a very nice day.  Spike Milligan  Have a Nice Day

too late, too late . . .

February 5, 2012

to admire the fresh snow but the pattern of footprints is equally fascinating . . .

and there have been and, will be, plenty of posts past and present  . . .

 . .   ‘out the back’ is still in virgin mode.

Purcell’s Cold Genius ———–

What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow
See’st thou not ( how stiff )2) and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I ( can scarcely move or draw my breath )2)
Let me, let me freeze again to death.3)   – – – —  from King Arthur.

And brilliantly performed:  Klaus Nomi. No apologies for using it again.

As the sun sets on a winter afternoon, ‘a space’ gets used in a way never envisaged by those who created it. The decorative water pools  – the White Rock Fountains – in Hastings . . . . useful now to another group of ‘users’!

Thank you Anonymous!

Whenever people ask me,
How am I,
I always end up saying
But the truth is I’m not.
I’m not fine.
I’m worse than fine,
and fine is horrible.
I want to feel great,
and i can only feel that when I’m with you.
But ever since you’re not here,
Fine is all I feel.
I want to feel you.
You hand in mine,
Your arm around my waist,
Your sweet lips caressing my own.
But you’re gone.
All you’ll ever be is gone,
and all I’ll ever be is
Fine.   Anonymous    Fine

beside the seaside

February 2, 2012

To Worthing for some much needed CPD – a strange place for a landscape designer to visit for technical detailing, inspiration, maintenance and management etc. but Splash Point was the reason for this, so look at the link to get some idea of the rationale of the scheme. Many of the south coast towns sited directly on the sea front are entering into some rejuvenation of facilities and therefore increased visitor footfall – Margate has a new Turner Gallery; Dover sea front has a new landscape  and Folkestone hosts the triennial; The Jerwood opens in Hastings next month and Bexhill is the home of the De La Warr pavilion and new landscaping for what its worth!  Eastbourne houses The Towner Gallery and everyone knows about Brighton. A bit of a list and, looking at it, quite art based. There is always discussion on whether landscape design is an art! I see there’s also discussion at the moment on the word ‘space’ and ‘outdoor room’ as being old hat or, just simply difficult to understand – for goodness sake!

It’s a tight intervention which works quite well within the small area. It’s quite edgy  – sharp angles, crisp hard surfaces, complete contrast to the surroundings, makes you stop and look, is uncompromising – and, may date, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Worthing is dated after all although the pier won best in category fairly recently.

Some of the slate bouldors are engraved with a variety of topics. Oscar Wilde apparently presented prizes for the best dressed vessels when he visited as well as writing a large part of The Importance of Being Ernest here and nodding recognition in the naming of a character.

It was below freezing yesterday at 10am but some locals inhabit the ‘space’!  I am interested to see how the clean stemmed form of the tamarisk tree grows, survives or falls over! A bold treatment of a twiggy, large bush/shrub in these environments  . . .  and anyway why not. The designers have sent me this image of summertime. The trees came from Van den Berk nursery.

The rest of the sea front looks like this . . . .

maybe that’s what is expected and enjoyed so hence this below. A set of  Lyrics with this post not really a poem as the music is definitely required for the ‘Tiddely-om-pom-pom!”- and featured in so many films!

Everyone delights to spend their summer’s holiday
Down beside the side of the silvery sea
I’m no exception to the rule
In fact, if I’d my way
I’d reside by the side of the silvery sea.
But when you’re just the common or garden Smith or Jones or Brown
At bus’ness up in town
You’ve got to settle down.
You save your money all the year till summer comes around
Then away you go
To a place you know
Where the cockle shells are found.

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll upon the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play:
So just let me be beside the seaside
I’ll be beside myself with glee

And there’s lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside
Beside the seaside!
Beside the sea!

William Sykes the burglar,
He’d been out to work one night
Filled his bag with jewels, cash, and plate.
Constable Brown felt quite surprised when William hove in sight
Said he: “The hours you’re keeping are far too late.”
So he grabbed him by the collar and lodged him safe and sound in jail
Next morning looking pale
Bill told a tearful tale.
The judge said, “For a couple of months I’m sending you away!”
Said Bill: “How kind!
Well! If you don’t mind
Where I spend my holiday!”

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside
I do like to be beside the sea!
I do like to stroll upon the Prom, Prom, Prom!
Where the brass bands play:
So just let me be beside the seaside
I’ll be beside myself with glee
And there’s lots of girls beside,
I should like to be beside
Beside the seaside!
Beside the sea!    John A. Glover-Kind

enjoy !

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