Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Saturday 25 December 2010: Ribbons, Christmas and Gifts of Peace

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. ~Ruth Ann Schabacker

May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown

The manner of giving is worth more than the gift. ~Pierre Corneille, Le Menteur

Well, yes. Once again I have fallen behind on blips. Between Dixie not being able to go on walks until the Vets have some idea of what illness has befallen her, my relapse and exhaustion, and Mr. D's dreadful cold, ie Manflu, I haven't even been outside. In fact, I don't think the camera has left the kitchen table for days. I did think about taking a photo of the Lemsip box... May be forced to do so at some point.

However, I do miss my photos of the sea side and the South Downs and the wood and walks with Dixie...

In the meantime...

Peace begins with a smile. ~Mother Teresa

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Peace, Love & Christmas Day

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. ~Charles Dickens
May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through! ~Author Unknown

We are busy rushing around getting ready to have dinner with Gary's parents in the pub and after we will open our pressies.

I wanted to take the time to wish every one of you a very Happy Holiday.

Dixie has looked in her stocking and found a turkey flavoured chew bone and is in heaven.

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.  ~Peg Bracken

Friday, 24 December 2010

Friday 24 December 2010: Christmas Eve Thoughts and Reflections

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson

I try to stay busy at Christmas. I treat it like a job or one long to-do list. This is not really ideal and I don't do it consciously. I believe it is a coping mechanism.

Nine years ago I moved to England, a truly beautiful land with beautiful people. I am so very blessed.

At Christmas, however, I miss my son who lives thousands of miles away in New Orleans. I want to celebrate Christmas with him. I want to hear him laugh. I want to feed him pie until he begs for mercy.

I miss my three sisters who live equally far away in Oklahoma and their children whom I adore and their children's children to whom I wish I had the opportunity to be that eccentic Great Auntie in their lives. I miss my brother who used to make the most incredible pot of Chili for our Christmas Eve family get together. He had a shy smile, a deep voice and a laugh that made you laugh. He has passed on now but we still celebrate Christmas with him in our hearts. I do sometimes wonder if anybody thought to get his Chili recipe. Just like after 33 years I still have questions I wish I had asked my Mother.

I will have a lovely Christmas with my husband and his family and of course the irrepressible Dixie (even if she is laid low with illness at the moment). Tomorrow I promise to regale you with joyous tales of an English Christmas. But for just this moment, I would like to remember and hold in my heart family and friends I am unable to touch...

I have let my mind
stroll through Christmases past

With a promise that I will not linger
That the misty sparkle of images
I cannot quite make out
Will not make me mourn but rejoice

For Christmas present is filled
with the light of Christmas past

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Thursday 23 December 2010: Lancing Manor Park with Dixie: Late December

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? ~ Dr. Seuss

The most important thing in illness is never to lose heart. ~Nikolai Lenin

My best friend is sick.
How can I think about anything else?
How do I put words on paper?
I spend hours just watching her sleep
She sleeps a lot.

In the rare moments when she smiles
and wags her tail
My gaze turns into a mad stare
as I try to memorise the moment,
sear it into the brain
Just in case
those moments are numbered.

The experts have placed
a limit on her movements
But today we took a brief walk
in the park with her red coat on
Alas, no ball throwing
Even so, she was in heaven.

The park was bleak and wintery
with seagulls playing the part
of carrion crow.

I paused from my worry to take this shot.

She pays a price for that twenty minutes of joy.

Now she sleeps...


Dixie in Healthier Times

The results from yesterday's blood tests came back and they are normal. However, if she had Atypical Addison's they would be normal.

Unfortunately, once you start giving them steroids, you can't really stop so they have decided to run the ACTH stress test again. To complicate matters even further, they noticed when looking through her records that she had been given ear drops for an ear infection. I thought they were just antibiotic drops but it turns out they also had steroids in them. Apparently, if there were any residual steroids lingering around in her system, it would affect the results...  You need a good clear 3 weeks before test...

So, she is scheduled to retake her test on Wednesday.

In the meantime, we are supposed to keep her calm with a minimum amount of exercise and continue the Hill's Recovery food (which, sadly, causes some quite smelly flatulence which I think she finds quite embarrassing).

On a positive note, she does seem brighter but gets tired very easily. So short periods of playfulness are followed by 5 hours of sleep.

I had promised to keep a number of you updated on her condition and decided writing a Facebook note would be the easiest. However, several of my friends on Twitter had problems accessing the link (my security settings are probably too tight) so I decided to post it on the blog which means everyone can see it.

Basically, we are currently in a holding pattern...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Here Comes The Sun - Beatles

My Thursday According to StarIQ

  Thursday could be a interesting, dare I say 'good' day for me according to:
 StarIQ Forecast

 Dec 23, 2010

Transiting Mars Trine Natal Jupiter

Invest your energies fully into adventure, romance, the love of life and the desire for knowledge. Any one or more of these activities reaps fruitful reward. Demonstrate generous and magnanimous acts with your energy. Give freely of yourself. Share your experiences. Invention, innovation and dramatic creativity burst forward with nova-like expanse. Write, design, articulate and create. Your efforts are rewarded and heralded. Take time and effort for the things you always say you'd do "if so and so happened." It is.

In addition, other influences can add complexity to the day.

Transiting Mercury Trine Natal Pluto 

Your mind is very deep, able to probe below the surface and come up with information not visible to the rest of the world. You know what's essential now, and what needs to be cut out. This suggests great focus, clarity and power that can help you move the minds of others with relative ease. You understand how much to push and exactly where to apply pressure to get the results that you want. You are able to take in difficult news with objective detachment, and to share it with great tact and discretion.

Transiting Mercury Conjunct Natal Sun 

Think you have a good idea of who you are? Great. Let everyone know. Spit it out there. No need to hold back. Be clear. Be succinct. Be forthright. This burst creates a chance for you to clarify everything that you ever wanted anyone to know about you through your personal declarations. Eliminate the feeling that people do not understand you. Remember, a little goes a long way. Avoid tendencies to repeat a joke when well received. Same rule remains true with self-proclamation.

I almost feel hopeful!!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Orange and Cranberry Muffins from the Hopton House

Orange and Cranberry Muffins... baked by me & photo by me :)

 A Fabulous Recipe from the Hopton House Blog: 


 Orange and Cranberry Muffins

Posted by Karen Thorne on 15/12/2008 16:00:43

My gardener, Bernard, was here for his last visit before Christmas so I decided to give him some muffins to take home for him and his wife to share. He was shocked one morning when I gave him a muffin with his coffee and it was still warm. Muffins really are best fresh out of the oven.

I've been using one of Ina Garten's scone recipes and cooking some very nice cranberry and orange scones when it occurred to me that an orange and cranberry muffin would be a good combination - nice and christmassy. They are lovely and, for the moment, my favourite muffin flavour.

225g Self Raising Flour

1 teaspoon of Baking Powder

60g Caster Sugar

110g of Dried Cranberries ( fresh are too tart )

zest of 1 Orange

200ml milk

1 egg

55g melted butter

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees ( fan ). A bit hotter for non fan.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar, cranberries and orange zest and mix well.

Beat together all of the wet ingredients, then stir them quickly into the dry ingedients. The key to light muffins is not to over mix - the mixture will look lumpy.

Spoon into 6 to 8 paper muffin cups and cook for about 20-30 minutes until they are lightly browned on top.

Murphy says "Eat a Hopton House mufifin and you'll be raring to climb up to the top of the hill in the snow!"

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Saturday 11 December 2010: Winter Skies

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show. ~Andrew Wyeth

During the winter my attention was attracted to the changes in the stars and planets in the sky. ~Paul Nurse

Winter skies remind me
of places I've been
of moments in time now lost.

In a cold winter's breath
magic slipped through my fingers.

Now when I look down
I see an old woman's hands
with the same desires
of a young girl.

December can be cruel.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thursday 2 December 2010: Snow in the Trees

And finally Winter, with its bitin', whinin' wind, and all the land will be mantled with snow.
Roy Bean

Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.
Andy Goldsworthy

What with worries, personal sadness and dreadful illnesses, I have fallen woefully behind on my daily blips. This one was taken quite some time ago. The snow pictured here has melted ...a long time ago. Now, according to the weather stations, more is on the way... Children will dream of more snowball fights. A White Christmas is a 'foregone conclusion,' they say. The gritters will be moving out...

...while I dream of summerland.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Dreaming of the healing waters of Chalice Well, Glastonbury

I have been dreadfully ill...
An illness is like a journey into a far country; it sifts all one's experience and removes it to a point so remote that it appears like a vision.~ Sholem Asch

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Wednesday 1 December 2010: ...and today it snows

Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.
Andy Goldsworthy

And so The Snow Queen also became a story about the need to seek equilibrium, in our own lives, with the natural world, even within the universe at large.
Joan D. Vinge

We have been watching from the warmth and protection of the Sussex Coast as the rest of the country struggles with the snow. It has taken on a life of its own and seems disinclined to move on anytime soon.

Today it is our turn. We awoke to a lovely white winter wonderland. Easy to think of it in terms of visual poetry as long as you have nowhere you need to be. The airports are closed while the roads are extremely hazardous. Or so I am told, as I have yet to go any further than my front door. This was taken from my front door.

In addition to waking to snow, we also woke to colds and sore throats so a lot of tea is being drunk.

The snow
reminds me of Christmas
Reminds me of racing across
cold wooden floors
flannel nightgown
flapping around my ankles
Warmth given barely a thought
While listening for the
sound of sleigh bells.

I will drink hot tea
Think about presents
I have yet to buy
And cards I have yet to send
And wish Santa came for me.

Sunday 28 November 2010: A Tree Embraces the Dying of the Light

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. ~Vincent Van Gogh

Dreams are only thoughts you didn't have time to think about during the day. ~Author Unknown

I relax
at the coming of night

I always have

These days
they come faster

have less meaning
Less fear

The anxiety
is still there

for a wrong step

At night
my soul whispers

And sighs
at the silence

Friday 26 November 2010: Dancing with Myself

ids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. ~William Stafford

Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop.
~W.H. Auden

Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order. ~Samuel Beckett

Gary's niece turned 18
There was a party
There was cake
There was laughter

There was a DJ
There was a disco with flashing lights
There was a little boy dancing
He danced and danced and danced
An elemental force of nature
The perfect gift.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Monday 22 November 2010: Shadows, Colour, Waiting

Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even here, upon a winter's day, how beautiful the shadows are!

Alas! it is the nature of their kind to be so. The loveliest things in life, Tom, are but shadows; and they come and go, and change and fade away, as rapidly as these!

~ Charles Dickens

In photography there are no shadows that cannot be illuminated.
~ August Sander

Impossible to escape
the shadows
this time of year
They come earlier and earlier

Afternoon barely exists
or rather exists lightless.
However, the eye continues
to look for colour
and sometimes finds it.

This day, a pale, bleak, watery
colour settles over my dreams
And I cannot help but wait

And hope that in my waiting
a kind of magic is born.
A light thought hidden
in darkness
is uncovered.

Once again,
I am waiting
for illumination.

The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Saturday 20 November 2010: Green Hanging On

A wind has blown the rain away and blown the sky away and all the leaves away, and the trees stand. I think, I too, have known autumn too long. ~
e.e. cummings

Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me.~

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This is the chestnut tree.
A sentinel keeping watch
over the green.

Every year it hangs on
to a summer long forgotten
Soon it will be a skeleton
The green of its leaves
a mere memory

Today, a blizzard in Scotland,
they say
Down south we have no snow
Just the frozen certainty
of more cold to come.

Friday 19 November 2010: Chasing Rainbows

Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true ~ Lyman Frank Baum

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky. ~
William Wordsworth

Although the sun was shining, the sky just didn't want to stop raining. Dixie and I dashed out in between rain showers for a walk.

I reached into my bag for the all important ball and as I looked up, I saw a rainbow! It was the most magical of moments because it was so unexpected. I suppose that is what makes seeing a rainbow so joyful. One never expects to see one.

So, needless to say, I spent quite a lot of time trying to photograph my little rainbow, but it was far more difficult than I had anticipated. There is this slightly disappointing one: Rainbow in the Park . The actual rainbow was so much more vivid...

After chasing rainbows, with occasional tosses of the ball, for quite some time, my magical rainbow disappeared but I spotted this view through some shrubbery...

Busy chasing rainbows
I found you
Perhaps beauty is
just the willingness
to see

The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.~ Ashley Montagu

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Oxford and You

015, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.
I think about you and I think about loss
I think about who might have been here before me
The mystery of stained glass and stone caskets
makes me wonder
Do we know who we are
Do we know where we've been?
Does it even matter any more?
Am I too old to crave the touch of you?
Do you still write poems about my hands?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Survival Struggles: Geranium

The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall.
~Helen Garner

"Yea, I have looked, and seen November there;
The changeless seal of change it seemed to be,
Fair death of things that, living once, were fair;
Bright sign of loneliness too great for me,
Strange image of the dread eternity,
In whose void patience how can these have part,
These outstretched feverish hands, this restless heart?"
~William Morris, November

No person has the right to rain on your dreams.
~Marian Wright Edelman

It is cold
It is wet
Frost even.
Yet, this geranium

I watch and feel sad
I stop to wonder
about my own
weakness of spirit
In the face
of such persistance

I suppose
for a geranium
Life is
just something you do
Until you no longer can

I suppose
for an old woman
One very similar
to myself
Life is something
you remind yourself to do
Until you no longer can.

Monday 15 November 2010: Autumn into Winter: Sunset in the Park

So dull and dark are the November days.
The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The place we occupy seems all the world.
~John Clare, November

A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves
with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed,
are as crisp as autumn air.
~Eric Sloane

It is the middle of November
It is cold
Already I long for spring
Already I regret moaning
at the site of daffodils
everywhere I looked

Now it rains
and rains
and rains
and in the brief intervals
I see soggy leaves

Leaves of summer
beaten into submission
by winds of winter

This a photo of a sunset taken on a walk with Dixie during one of the brief intervals...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Love in the Eyes of a Dog

Love in the Eyes of a Dog, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.~ Roger Caras

I ironed today.
I may have mentioned how much I dislike ironing before.

As the sun's presence is in meagre supply at the moment, it was very dark before I remembered I hadn't picked up a camera.

Fortunately my live-in photographer's model was available. She, however, is not really very good at holding a pose for any length of time at all.

But I thought this was quite a sweet shot, nonetheless.

No poetry tonight as I am quite tired... perhaps tomorrow...

Tonight is about dreaming...

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.~ Mary Anne Radmacher

Saturday 13 November 2010: The Changing of the Trees

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon
men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that
emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews
a weary spirit.
- Robert Louis Stevenson

They are beautiful in their peace, they are wise in their silence.
They will stand after we are dust. They teach us, and we tend them.
- Galeain ip Altiem MacDunelmor

This is my birch tree going through its 'autumn into winter' transformation.

Soon there will be no leaves at all.

Winter is bearing down hard on us here in England. It's not that it is that cold.. not yet, anyway. But it is just so dark and gloomy... and stark.

Looking out my window
I witness
The changing of the trees
I watch its dance with nature
Some days when the sun shines
It is like some minimalist artform
practicing its dance in my back garden

On days like today, however
it is a dark sentinel
a harbinger of days yet to come
a mystical, magical beast
that has wandered away from
a wood steeped in magic and menace

My imagination runs away with me you say
just wait...

Friday, 12 November 2010

Friday 12 November 2010: Raindrops Dancing on a Flower


The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

- Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1895).
Scottish essayist, novelist and poet.


Raindrops are such funny things.
They haven't feet or haven't wings.
Yet they sail through the air,
With the greatest of ease,
And dance on the street,
Wherever they please.
- Anon.

This flower will be gone soon but the rain is here to stay, I am afraid.

In the spring and summer I found myself mesmerised by this pelargonium. This will probably be my last photo of this flower.

You can feel winter in the air
Taste it on your tongue
Hear it quietly knocking at your door
Soon, it will be pounding
Demanding to be acknowledged
But, not yet...

Today, we are christened
by autumn wind and rain
Turning our faces to the sky
and then back down again
We turn our collars up
Escape into memories of summer,
of dances in the sun.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Saturday 30 October 2010: We all shine on...

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.
John Lennon

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished. ~Michael Strassfeld

This photo didn't turn out very well. I think the bright sunlight was too much for my little camera to handle...

Lately, I find myself obsessed by the dying of the light. I look for the sun everywhere. I watch the patterns it makes on leaves, stone walls, faces of children, my own aging hand...

With my little pocket digital, I try to capture these moments. Sometimes I end up with something very interesting, sometimes not.

Although this photograph doesn't quite meet the criteria I have set for a postable pic, I still remember that day, that moment, and the feel of the sun on my aging face...

Red Poppy - Armistice Day 2010

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. ~José Narosky

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Crianlarich Hotel – so near to Glen Coe

Crianlarich Hotel – so near to Glen Coe

Today I found myself remembering Glen Coe, the holiday destination that was originally an afterthought, but one that has found a comfortable spot in my heart and mind. How did we end up in Glen Coe? Like so many other hapless travellers my husband and I found ourselves in the Great Glen during our Grand Tour of the Scottish Highlands Holiday. Glen Coe was for us merely another destination on our list: Loch Ness, tick; Inverness, tick; Fort William, tick; Ben Nevis, tick. Well, you get the picture...


Thinking of visiting Glen Coe when you stay with us?

Saturday 6 November 2010: A November Gloaming

Saturday 6 November 2010: A November Gloaming

The grand show is eternal.
It is always sunrise somewhere;
the dew is never dried all at once;
a shower is forever falling;
vapor is ever rising.

Eternal sunrise,
eternal dawn and gloaming,
on sea and continents and islands,
each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.
~John Muir

The clocks have turned back
Twilight comes earlier now
The beginning of the end of my day
is what I once thought of as afternoon.

The leaves are abandoning the trees
or perhaps the trees are neglecting to nurture them.
Ominous, cloudy skies seem closer
Remembering to breathe and to look
I am reminded
In these sad, lightless times
There is still beauty to be found

I spotted these trees against this sky on a West Sussex A road and stopped to capture the moment.

This is my 100th blip. My blips have been a little sporadic of late but still am so very pleased to have discovered blipfoto. I have met many talented, helpful and interesting photographers. I raise my glass to you all and look forward to my next 100.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Wednesday 27 October 2010: Autumn in the Park

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
Emily Bronte

There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Percy Bysshe Shelley

The colours in this autumn take my breath away.
My thoughts meander through pathways followed before
Yet I don't remember these colours.
I remember Autumn as a kind of cold anxiety
That waiting time before the uncertainty of winter
The question on my lips: will I survive?
Will I forget how to dance in the wind,
turn my face to the sky,
Catch a leaf in my hand
and laugh with joy at the thought of another day?

But today I find myself drawn to the stillness of spirit I encounter in my local park on a windswept autumn day.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sunday 24 October 2010: Gary's Birthday Cake

An old-fashioned American, circa 70's, Pumpkin Cake (with Cream Cheese Frosting).

Gary is not a huge fan of pumpkin, so it was a bit risky... Am happy to report he loved it. Only problem: didn't last very long!!

"Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to eat more cake."

Saturday 23 October 2010: Babbling Brook

If it weren't for the rocks in its bed, the stream would have no song.
Carl Perkins

What law, what reason can deny that gift so sweet, so natural that God has given a stream, a fish, a beast, a bird?
Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Lunch at the Shepherd and Dog, Fulking. "Its slight elevation and location next to the ever-flowing spring, with the dramatic backdrop of the hills above have provided it with a perfect setting."

This is a photo of the 'ever-flowing spring' on a rainy, cold, autumn afternoon.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Wednesday 20 October 2010: Deserted Beach: An English Autumn

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. ~ Rabindranath Tagore

A stroll along the edge of the English Channel
I, with a hole in my shoe
bundled up against the brisk autumn wind
Dixie chasing her ball with a perpetual smile
Gary patiently following her
While I stopped to soak in the atmosphere
of a deserted beach on an autumnal English afternoon

Later we drove to Baird's Farm Shop for cornish pasties.

And even later we toasted another year with English Sparkling Chardonnay

This is how we celebrated Gary's birthday...

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that God invested in you at birth is present once again. ~Menachem Mendel Schneerson

Sunday 17 October 2010: Another Exploration of Lancing Beach

He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea. ~George Herbert

Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. ~Robert Henri

Dixie loves a walk on the beach. This was late in the afternoon with a brisk sea breeze but gorgeous sunshine. We wandered along the shore in a slow leisurely fashion until our hearts found their natural rhythm.

I have decided there is nothing better than a walk on the beach regardless of the season.

Sunday 10 October 2010: On Brownsea Island

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard. ~Standing Bear

I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. ~Henry David Thoreau

Gary and I set out for a day trip to Brownsea Island . Such grace and peace to be found on this small island on a beautiful October afternoon with clear, fresh sunlight laden air.

Tuesday 5 October 2010: Red Berries

All right, every day ain't going to be the best day of your life, don't worry about that. If you stick to it you hold the possibility open that you will have better days.
Wendell Berry

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief... For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry

Friday, 15 October 2010

Saturday 2 October 2010: An Afternoon in Oxford

"[Oxford] whispering from her towers the last enchantments of the Middle Age . . . Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties!"
Matthew Arnold (English Victorian Poet and Critic of Literacy and Society. 1822-1888)

On this Saturday afternoon we decided to visit the Ashmolean in Oxford for the Pre-Raphaelites and Italy temporary exhibition. It was, needless to say, fabulous with some incredible drawings by Ruskin. The entire day was a bit like walking into a fantasy world as the sun was bright and shining while practically everywhere else in Britain was being rained upon. Matthew Arnold called Oxford the "city of dreaming spires". To me Oxford seems bathed in a spectacular golden light. Although, the photo I chose to blip doesn't demonstrate this very well.

As we were rushing to the museum, I turned to look behind me and saw this image which I very quickly snapped before continuing on. To me it looks like a moment captured from another time.

I wonder anybody does anything at Oxford but dream and remember, the place is so beautiful. One almost expects the people to sing instead of speaking. It is all like an opera.
William Butler Yeats

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Sunday 26 September 2010: A Walk in the Wood

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
- John Muir

If you look for the truth outside yourself,
It gets farther and farther away.
Today walking alone, I meet it everywhere I step.
It is the same as me, yet I am not it.
Only if you understand it in this way
Will you merge with the way things are.
- Tung-Shan

More autumn explorations with my dog in and around Lancing Ring, West Sussex...

Thursday 23 September 2010: Head in the Clouds

A certain recluse, I know not who, once said that no bonds attached him to this life, and the only thing he would regret leaving was the sky.
Kenko Yoshida

The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I have fallen woefully behind on my daily photo journal... sigh...

However, here is another photo of sky and clouds and blue. It has more to say than I do at the moment...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Irish Mother: Easy Weeknight Meal: Chicken Enchiladas

The Irish Mother: Easy Weeknight Meal: Chicken Enchiladas: "I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol. ~ Steven WrightI admit that these might not pass as enchiladas in Mexico, or even Texas fo..."

I can't wait to try this!! R

Friday, 24 September 2010

Autumn Leaves on a Park Bench

Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.
William Cullen Bryant

I feel I must apologise if I am boring you with a plethora of focalised colour shots. I have been having a difficult time finding subject matter without an ugly or boring background. So I have been portraying the ugliness in fuzzy black and white. How I wish this worked in Real Life.

I did, however, think these leaves were such a lovely vibrant colour (the park bench, less so). I don't remember an autumn with colours this bright before. Well, not since I lived in New England. Something to do with the drier, hotter summer I am told. Or perhaps I merely forgot to look.

Some days I feel myself overcome with the need to See. I worry that in trying to see my world in a new and interesting way, to find that image that will keep you entertained, I have perhaps forgotten to truly look, to actually see my world, to remain conscious. These are the thoughts that occupy my mind until the colour and shape of a leaf captivates my imagination and I forget about you, about me.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sunday 19 September 2010: Pyracantha Golden Sun Berries

September: it was the most beautiful of words, he'd always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.
- Alexander Theroux, 1981

I trust in Nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and Autumn garner to the ends of time
- Robert Browning

Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow
- Author Unknown

Our Pyracantha is making berries for the birds to feast upon in preparation for winter.

I love this plant. We inherited two, one on each side of our back garden. We have to work really hard to keep them under control but the blackbirds absolutely adore the berries!

They do, however, have extremely lethal sword-like thorns on them. Gary has been assaulted more than once and is not nearly as fond of them as I am. I just like making the birds happy and then there is the colour! Ours is called Golden Sun and is this lovely vibrant shade of yellow. A truly lovely sight on a gloomy winter day.

Blackbirds swoop and dive
Yellow berries dance, beckon
Autumn seduction
Haiku by Robin

Friday 17 September 2010: Patchwork Wall in the Rose Garden

I'm susceptible to that sort of thing - to walls and flowers. You can probably get something more from a wall than a person sometimes. It's just put somewhere.
Ray Davies

We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love these old flint walls. I could just look at them for hours looking for a hidden pattern. Walls made of flint are one of the great things about living in Sussex. This one has been repaired numerous times; a few red bricks here and there, a crack filled in with cement, support bars made of iron...

This is another photo taken in the old rose garden (no roses anymore) in one of the darker corners. I very rarely look in that corner but it has a kind of dark beauty, not much sun, a lot of shade from the trees. A place where one tends to whisper for no apparent reason. Where spiders spin their webs while no one is watching. A fantastical place where one has to be reminded to breathe.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Wednesday 15 September 2010: Blue Skies with Clouds

Excuse me while I kiss the sky.
Jimi Hendrix

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
e.e. cummings

Dixie and I stopped to throw the ball around and the air was so bright and clear and crisp. We stopped to look up and I managed to capture this moment.

If only it were possible to reach up and kiss the sky...

Perhaps Dixie and I will become Sky Worshippers...

Friday, 17 September 2010

Poems4people: The Opposite House

Poems4people: The Opposite House: "There’s been a death in the opposite house Family members have come to rip Out the unwanted furniture And put it in a skip. Mill..."

Sunday 12 September 2010: A Sunday Afternoon in September

I Am the Autumnal Sun
by Henry David Thoreau

Sometimes a mortal feels in himself Nature
-- not his Father but his Mother stirs
within him, and he becomes immortal with her
immortality. From time to time she claims
kindredship with us, and some globule
from her veins steals up into our own.

I am the autumnal sun,
With autumn gales my race is run;
When will the hazel put forth its flowers,
Or the grape ripen under my bowers?
When will the harvest or the hunter's moon
Turn my midnight into mid-noon?
I am all sere and yellow,
And to my core mellow.
The mast is dropping within my woods,
The winter is lurking within my moods,
And the rustling of the withered leaf
Is the constant music of my grief....

McIntyre Field, Lancing Ring as the summer changes to autumn and the green, green grasses turn yellow and drop their seed pods...

But, Oh, such gorgeous blue skies and how the Sun did shine...

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Saturday 11 September 2010: Solitude in the Wood

The Way Through the Woods
by Rudyard Kipling

They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ring-dove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.

Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night-air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate.
(They fear not men in the woods,
Because they see so few)
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods?.
But there is no road through the woods.

This is a quick shot of the way into my woods... A wood filled with the 'sound of skirts swishing in the dew, cantering through misty solitudes', hushed whispers never quite heard, a portal to another time and place ... even if only in my imagination...

Wednesday 8 September 2010: The Lost Reflected in a Churchyard

In Those Years

In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and, yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through rages of fog
where we stood, saying I

Adrienne Rich

This is my local Anglo-Saxon church. I've taken photos of it before. I try to to take at least one every season...

A gloomy, blustery day this was. I think I must have been a little gloomy myself. This day when Dixie and I took a reverent shortcut through the churchyard, I was reminded of loves and lives long gone.

I spend quite a lot of time wondering how we manage to 'lose' people - part of the aging process, I am sure someone will say.

Obviously some die and we are left with the husks of their life... holding on.

Some are lost through choice: our choice, their choice, petty dramas that seemed so important at the time.

And yet others just seem to slip out the back door unseen. One day you turn to them only to find them gone...

I like to think that by merely remembering them, they are no longer lost...

Somedays I think that is the purpose of an Anglo-Saxon churchyard...

Tuesday 7 September 2010: Sunflower in the Wind

"...bring me the sunflower crazed with the love of light." Eugenio Montale

Yes, I have fallen dreadfully behing on my photo journal... Life seemed so very busy and I seemed to have lost the words to describe it.

I spotted these in someone's garden on my way back from yet another visit to my GP... It was a windy, blustery day. We have had quite a lot of those lately. Autumn is, indeed, upon us.

It was as if they had turned their faces to the wind like a small child would do. Letting the wind take their breaths away for a moment followed by a giggle. Of course, sunflowers don't actually giggle or even breathe, I suppose.

Perhaps they find some kind of flowery joy in making others giggle...

Sunday 29 August 2010: A Self-Portrait

by Adam Zagajewski
translated by Clare Cavanagh

Between the computer, a pencil, and a typewriter
half my day passes. One day it will be half a century.
I live in strange cities and sometimes talk
with strangers about matters strange to me.
I listen to music a lot: Bach, Mahler, Chopin, Shostakovich.
I see three elements in music: weakness, power, and pain.
The fourth has no name.
I read poets, living and dead, who teach me
tenacity, faith, and pride. I try to understand
the great philosophers--but usually catch just
scraps of their precious thoughts.
I like to take long walks on Paris streets
and watch my fellow creatures, quickened by envy,
anger, desire; to trace a silver coin
passing from hand to hand as it slowly
loses its round shape (the emperor's profile is erased).
Beside me trees expressing nothing
but a green, indifferent perfection.
Black birds pace the fields,
waiting patiently like Spanish widows.
I'm no longer young, but someone else is always older.
I like deep sleep, when I cease to exist,
and fast bike rides on country roads when poplars and houses
dissolve like cumuli on sunny days.
Sometimes in museums the paintings speak to me
and irony suddenly vanishes.
I love gazing at my wife's face.
Every Sunday I call my father.
Every other week I meet with friends,
thus proving my fidelity.
My country freed itself from one evil. I wish
another liberation would follow.
Could I help in this? I don't know.
I'm truly not a child of the ocean,
as Antonio Machado wrote about himself,
but a child of air, mint and cello
and not all the ways of the high world
cross paths with the life that--so far--
belongs to me.

I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.
Frida Kahlo
Mexican painter (1907 - 1954)

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Sunday 5 September 2010: The Making of Cider

And there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it. ~ Neil Gaiman

People came from miles around for their cider. ~ Jayne Berger

We met up with friends today, including a couple from Scotland. I made American-style pancakes. It was hugely fun and hugely decadent. On our way to Beachy Head (yes, again) for a pub dinner in The Tiger Inn we stopped at Middle Farm so our visitors could sample the The National Collection of Cider & Perry . Dixie and I waited outside which gave us this lovely view of apples just waiting to be turned into that magic elixir known as Cider.

Thursday 2 September 2010: Autumn Colours and Emily Dickinson

Besides the autumn poets sing,
A few prosaic days
A little this side of the snow
And that side of the haze.
~Emily Dickinson

As Summer into Autumn slips
by Emily Dickinson

As Summer into Autumn slips
And yet we sooner say
"The Summer" than "the Autumn," lest
We turn the sun away,

And almost count it an Affront
The presence to concede
Of one however lovely, not
The one that we have loved --

So we evade the charge of Years
On one attempting shy
The Circumvention of the Shaft
Of Life's Declivity.

by Emily Dickinson

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Wednesday 1 September 2010: An Afteroon in the Park with a Dog and Milosz

If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.~ Lyn Yutang

The Sun
by Czeslaw Milosz

All colors come from the sun. And it does not have
Any particular color, for it contains them all.
And the whole Earth is like a poem
While the sun above represents the artist.

Whoever wants to paint the variegated world
Let him never look straight up at the sun
Or he will lose the memory of things he has seen.
Only burning tears will stay in his eyes.

Let him kneel down, lower his face to the grass,
And look at light reflected by the ground.
There he will find everything we have lost:
The stars and the roses, the dusks and the dawns

Warsaw, 1943

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Monday 30 August 2010: Memory of a Flight

Life is a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.
Charles Lindbergh

The wave of the future is coming and there is no fighting it.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This is not really a very interesting blip but this is the tail of The DeHavilland Heron outside Airport House which was the aircraft that flew the last passenger flight from Croydon on 30 September 1959.

We were attending a wedding reception next door and I stopped to take some pictures of the old Croydon Airport which opened on the 29 March 1920. It is sadly looking decidely frayed around the edges... a very depressing sight really. But in its heyday the Croydon Aerodrome (as it was called) experienced world wide fame:

"The aerodrome was known the world over, its fame being spread by the many aviators and pioneers who touched down at Croydon, such as

* Alan Cobham, who flew from Croydon to Cape Town and back in 1925-6;
* Charles Lindbergh, who flew into Croydon in 1927 shortly after completing the first solo trans-Atlantic flight;
* Bert Hinkler, who made the first flight from Croydon to Darwin, Australia in 1928;
* Charles Kingsford Smith, who beat Hinkler's record;
* Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly from Croydon to Australia, later to return to Croydon to a jubilant welcome.
* Winston Churchill, who took extensive flying lessons at Croydon and was nearly killed during a crash at take-off in 1919.
* Tom Campbell Black, who with C.W.A. Scott won the MacRobertson London to Melbourne Air Race in 1934;" ~ Wikipedia

So for one afternoon with sprinkling rain blurring my vision I found myself swept up in a moment lost, virtually forgotten, apparently no longer valued. However, I wonder had this moment not existed would my present be in its same form?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Saturday 28 August 2010: A Lighthouse at Beachy Head

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine. ~ Dwight L. Moody (American Evangelist, 1837-1899)

Just Shine!