just trees

February 22, 2015

willows

Along the lanes between Frittenden and Sissinghurst, single elegant specimens and more functional lines of trees screening the fields of fruit – all with intrinsic character. Birds inhabiting the top canopies. A busy time of year for them – sounding happy . . .

tree line

fruit

hazel

elegance

. . . stands of sweet chestnut, hazel, birch and more solitary statuesque oaks.

birch

oak

oak 2

dogwoods + willows

No one around just endless cars but the the inhabitants of these missed the beauty that I enjoyed.

ivy

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.  Robert Frost.

candlemas

February 2, 2015

Today is Candlemas or la Chandeleur, the midpoint between the winter solstice and spring equinox- the pagan festival of light when the churches blessed their candles. Snow is forecast so a prompt to get out . . .   and walk down from Goult through the pine and white oak scrub covering Les Terrasses to the valley of  Lumieres. Poplars, planes and some willow line the river here – delicate ivy clings on its upward journey . . .

plant trunk

. . . a solitary young soldier on a plinth. As yet I have failed to come up with identification. Maybe a question in the epicerie will supply an answer. On the plinth: ‘Ge suis venne au roi de France de par la Vierge Marie”.

statue

statue 2

Scrambling up the Mange Tian ( a regional cooking vessel at the first level of research – the shape of?? or where food was offered??) – precipitous, slippery but exhilarating climb to the plateau covered with pines . . . and a few bories that young master H. Dupont Fogg would love to investigate . . .

pine

borie

. . . dry stone walls retaining the terraced land and also free standing structures as boundaries. Some ruins of a hamlet  . . . about 6 houses clustered here no doubt with livestock – cereal growing, olives, vines and other crops – on the open plateau. The terrain would have been intensely farmed enough to sustain a small community. Now holm oak and the white oak have regenerated to cover the land and the lack of light is evident.

dry stone wall ruins

ruins1

ruins 2

ruins 3

. . . where nature has started the process of reoccupation.

ruins 4

path

The journey along the narrow paths has dramatic interludes when and where unstable or tired trees perform their dance of death. More dancing from those lively specimens alongside too – all elbows, hips and flashing legs . . .

path 2

dancing

dancing 1

. . . and then a solitary sign of another wasted object left to rot – Citroen Ami? Interesting that the lichen and algae have inhabited the surface – shows how clean the air is.

car

car 2

les fenetres rouges

Down and beyonds lies an area called Les Fenêtres Rouges where the ochre landscape sits centre stage. This occurs intermittently within this intimate terrain but always surprises visually and evocatively . . . No other souls around. Bliss.

L'imergue river bed

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost  The Road not Taken.

fire

October 19, 2014

1 Last night was our bonfire night in Hastings. The Sussex towns take their turn with separate commemorations during the wind up to the grand finale in Lewes on November 5th. The bonfire societies travel to each venue filling the streets with light, noise and pagan atmosphere. Effigies were burnt in Lewes in 16C highlighting the burning of 17 protestant martyrs alongside Pius IX’s decision to restore the Catholic hierarchy in England . . . 3 4 5 6 . . . great theatricality – I hope the images convey the drama. Health and safety go out of the window, thank goodness. As the drums roll, flaming torches are cast on the pavement, sparks catch alight and mothers, dressed up, with double buggies, dressed up, marching in the procession seemingly oblivious. 7 8 11 13 The lighting of the bonfire complete – families throng the beach – and the fireworks start. An excellent show this year and one from another.

14 15 16 17 19 Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice. From what I’ve tasted of desire I hold with those who favor fire. But if it had to perish twice, I think I know enough of hate To say that for destruction ice Is also great And would suffice.  Robert Frost  Fire and Ice

fist view

First glimpse of the harbour arm this morning down at The Stade and once passed the fishing boats the rainbow colours are left behind . . .

over the harbour arm 1

over the harbour arm 2

over the harrbour arm 3

. .  if I’d chosen B+W these images couldn’t be more graphic. Great turbulent sea.

detail

Even the puddles have a marine quality  – this one looks like a large turbot. Nipping into Sonny’s at Rock – a – Nore  turbot wasn’t on offer but no matter as his display looked mouth watering as always.

fish

rock a nore

Battling up the shallow incline of The Old Town High Street to see Drawings Inspired by Great Dixter Gardens which had some resonance with the bare bones of the stormy weather. Large charcoal compositions that ignore one of the attributes that Dixter is famous for – the variety of colour within the planting palette. So, a brave decision, but one that many are appreciative of.

34 old town high street

echo

Artist and gallery owner in deep conversation and an idea of the scale of ‘Echo’, the largest piece. Listen carefully and you might hear nightingales . . . .

paradise revisited

. . I rather like these shots where other pieces are reflected to form layered compositions. I also rather like it when our garden clients come along and make a purchase. Very good choice, James.

dixter

a thousand ways

It’s been a weekend devoted to gardens. And devoted to gardens with yew hedges that provide a still and calming presence. Yesterday was spent at Sissinghurst when we talked a lot about control. How to convey sense of place and mood when writing about gardens. How to describe the character of plants successfully. How to dig deeper and also how to edit. Today, there is no control and hence the choice of poem, but it was a close run thing with Robert Frost.

last

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  The Sound of the Sea

Just to record today January 20 2013. And also to take a breath of air, so across to the front and look east . . . .

east

. . and to the west.

west

And to look down at the turnstones rushing around on the beach – little dark smudges, poor things.

turn stones

And herring and black headed gulls . . .

gulls

. . being spied on by a penguin! and a friend.

pengiun + cat

market alley

Trudge back along the alley and admire the Euphorbia mellifera doing the best it can opposite the front door. Go inside and read some poems in the warm.

euphorbia mellifera

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice. Robert Frost  Fire and Ice

January gives me a dark eye

and a light.

one patched like a pirate,

obliged to look in,

the other squinting out at the park

like a spring animal.

What my dark eye knows

Is the blind underbelly

of the turf.

the brown dog

in the dream that defies gravity.

and, in the premature dusk,

Concorde swooping down from a storm-cloud,

not silver for once

but tar-black, lucid

as a galleon in the hieratic spread

of its sails.   Alison Fell  6 January  Lightyear

cooperation and party spirit

November 12, 2012

Moveable Feast is an exciting and worthwhile asset here in this urban environment. Yes, we are a seaside town that, we are told, is  ‘on the up’ but, it’s a slow haul and we are still classed as the down and out or ‘edgey’ poor cousin of smarter Hastings. But, probably nothing so inventive could ever rise up out of the ashes in Hastings . . . .  too middle class! So Moveable Feast is a community fruit and vegetable garden that might be regarded as temporary only in its present position – but the rationale and feedback would indicate that this ‘big idea’ is here to stay – it’s a breath of fresh air . . . .

. . .   so this imaginative group (check out the links to see how forward looking the W I can be) , have found a south facing derelict site owned by a housing trust. The site may be built on soon but it’s a great site – just a 1 minute walk from shops and the heart of the town –  and also because the open boundary treatment of metal railings and wire mean that the garden is a shop window. All the planting is in containers – bulk bags, timber, tyres, super market trolleys – which is encouraging for all those who choose to interact with the ideas of Moveable Feast – the young, the middle age and the slightly more advanced middle aged. All are welcome to have a go and enjoy time in the open air growing useful produce.

Ben Eine, of the dropped shadows, designed the graphics on the focal point wall. Ben’s done another show stopper just close by.

The produce looks even more appetising than if grown in an allotment environment.

. .  brilliant container as are the’ Californian’ looking circular forms holding the fruit trees . . . attractive enough to encourage residents in.

There’s a stylish feel generally  . . .

. .  liked the use of pallets maybe holding compost, not quite sure, but anyway set vertically to support growth on strawberries.

Even produce within the poly tunnel (excellent building – on Xmas list) is displayed with a designer/makers touch . . .

. .  look at the links to see locals playing and enjoying the garden. And look at this link to see Sally’s other interest – they work well too! Good luck and thanks for all the great effort so that we can enjoy it too.

You come to fetch me from my work to-night
When supper’s on the table, and we’ll see
If I can leave off burying the white
Soft petals fallen from the apple tree
(Soft petals, yes, but not so barren quite,
Mingled with these, smooth bean and wrinkled pea);
And go along with you ere you lose sight
Of what you came for and become like me,
Slave to a Springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.      Robert Frost  Putting in the Seed

 Going CAD crazy today  – confined indoors  – so an escape before the dark of nightime hits the village at 9pm. 

Read Robert Frost and think about changing life.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost  The Road Not Taken

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