It’s been a good year for all sorts of blossoms. Some misty like these cherries on the verge of a suburban road . . .

. . . and some standing up proudly wanting to be noticed –  bog standard bergenia flowers.  Blossoms on Magnolia x soulangiana point skywards . . .

. . . a single cherry with blossom like snow flakes nestles below a comforting neighbouring pine.

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.  Robert Frost  A Prayer in Spring

down the lane

March 16, 2012

Down a lane at the back of Northiam, the beech woods are still asleep . . . .

. . . signs of spring awakening shows on the lower shrubs and herb layer – catkins on the hazel . . .

. . . some, but not a great deal, of interest in being photographed!


This isn’t Bob’s Lane but Ewhurst Lane – a hurst being a wood. The sheep are, of course, also a clue.

Women he liked, did shovel-bearded Bob,

Old Farmer Hayward of the Heath, but he
Loved horses. He himself was like a cob
And leather-coloured. Also he loved a tree.

For the life in them he loved most living things,
But a tree chiefly. All along the lane
He planted elms where now the stormcock sings

That travellers hear from the slow-climbing train.

Till then the track had never had a name
For all its thicket and the nightingales
That should have earned it. No one was to blame
To name a thing beloved man sometimes fails.

Many years since, Bob Hayward died, and now
None passes there because the mist and the rain
Out of the elms have turned the lane to slough
And gloom, the name alone survives, Bob’s Lane. Edward Thomas  Bob’s Lane


March 8, 2012

Stuck indoors today and outside it’s looking like this. What frustration – surrounded by scaffolding, noise, those who know little and have small regard for others – and trying to concentrate on a design that should solve problems but, moreover, give delight!

Just off loading!

The people along the sand
All turn and look one way.
They turn their back on the land.
They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass
A ship keeps raising its hull;
The wetter ground like glass
Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be—
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?  Robert Frost  Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

boîte de couleurs

March 4, 2012

Saturday is market day in Pézanas. Holiday season hasn’t arrived yet so the locals can do their shopping in relative peace and quiet and the prices are low accordingly – baskets at 5 euros!! So I am the token tourist.  . . . .

. . . slabs of colour emit from most stalls whether les savons or les bretons pour les enfants. The expression on the stall holders face shows the amount of custom and I wasn’t buying either!

An elegant facade in the Marché des Trois-Six. The market spreads itself throughout the town . . .

. . . a very silly, but really clever dog played dead. The stunts stall holders will go to, to gain custom!

But around the corner sits a very well-behaved dog who wouldn’t demeanour himself to dramatic acts.

Back to the topic, et les salades . . .

et les artichauts. Robust – the size of a small football – and multi coloured.

All types of vines are for sale and strawberries – in March! The strawberries received a good press from those who’d bought last week . . . looked stunning and smelt good too.

Strawberries from Spain above and from Portugal below.

Et les pensées. Dramatic colour for the final act . . . .

. . .  to illustrate the pride that the town feels for its  famous son, Molière.

Dead–he is dead! The rouge has left a trace
On that thin cheek where shone, perchance, a tear,
Even while the people laughed that held him dear
But yesterday. He died,–and not in grace,
And many a black-robed caitiff starts apace
To slander him whose Tartuffe made them fear,
And gold must win a passage for his bier,
And bribe the crowd that guards his resting-place.

Ah, Moliere, for that last time of all,
Man’s hatred broke upon thee, and went by,
And did but make more fair thy funeral.
Though in the dark they hid thee stealthily,
Thy coffin had the cope of night for pall,
For torch, the stars along the windy sky! Andrew Lang  The Burial of Molière

in the mist

March 1, 2012

On the Devon coast, the sea mist just sat around all day. Standing in a garden, thinking about the problems that needed solving,  the misty context of the line of oaks and the layers beyond was seductive . . .

. . . .  and then focusing on the task in hand, studying the trees surrounding the garden and within . . . .  the best time of the year to engage with these beauties . . .

. .  the natives and ornamental, like the Cornus capitata on the right in the image below . . .

. . this combination of cordyline and yucca in the foreground sits well with the oak in the background. A visual combination that won’t read so graphically when the oak comes into leaf.

The next morning at Beaulieu, in Hampshire, the mist sits low and silent over the river at low tide.

Low-anchored cloud,
Newfoundland air,
Fountain head and source of rivers,
Dew-cloth, dream drapery,
And napkin spread by fays;
Drifting meadow of the air,
Where bloom the daised banks and violets,
And in whose fenny labyrinth
The bittern booms and heron wades;
Spirit of the lake and seas and rivers,
Bear only perfumes and the scent
Of healing herbs to just men’s fields!   Henry David Thoreau  Mist

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