Wednesday, 30 June 2010

A Wild Flower For a Brave Poet

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.

Czeslaw Milosz (1911 - 2004 / Kedainiai / Lithuania)

For more information on the life of Milosz:

Today is Czeslaw Milosz' birthday... Sadly, he is no longer with us but his poetry is.

I discovered him quite late. I stumbled upon a volume of his poetry in 1989 and we were inseperable. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1980.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with him.

It's just a photograph of wild geranium which is sprouting up everywhere at the moment. I find it quite lovely, a bit of an upstart, persistent and destined to survive regardless of adversity ~ a bit like Milosz...

As his poetry has never failed to stir my heart, I wanted to dedicate today's blip to him.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

My Vita Sackville-West Rose

My Vita Sackville-West Rose, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

A flowerless room is a soulless room, to my way of thinking; but even one solitary little vase of a living flower may redeem it. ~ Vita Sackville-West

Flowers really do intoxicate me. ~Vita Sackville-West

Several years ago we took Gary's parents to Sissinghurst Gardens for their 50th wedding anniversary. The garden was developed by Vita Sackville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson around the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion.

On the property is a cottage called the the Priest's House. Climbing up the outside wall was a climbing rose I fell in love with. We were living in a flat at the time. When we finally bought a little terraced house on the Sussex coast one of the first things I planted was that rose.

It is called a Madame Alfred Carrière rose, Victorian, 1879. It has yet to turn into the fragrant, lush climbing rose I admired at Sissinghurst. But here it is: the first bud of the summer! I fall in love with it every year!

The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence

Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen for - sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive or quite and calm.... One of the greatest sounds of them all - and to me it is a sound - is utter, complete silence. ~Andre Kostelanetz

The deepest feeling always shows itself in silence...
Marianne Moore (1887-1972), U.S. poet. "Silence," Selected Poems (1935)

This day was filled with medically instigated, and apparently required, pain.

I won't go in to it, as it is not very interesting.

Around seven in the evening after things cooled off a bit, Dixie and I went for a walk ...

This was taken on the edge of Lancing Manor Park. It reminded me of an unmarked frontier grave site... it isn't ~ merely a place of green silence...

Those Who Live By the Sea

Those Who Live By the Sea, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence.
Rabindranath Tagore

Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.
(Hermann Broch (1886-1951), Austrian novelist. The Spell, foreword (1976, trans. 1987)

This was taken on Sunday. It was very hot. There was a lot of rushing around that day. We went to one of our favorite farm shops: Middle Farm near Lewes for salad veggies and English wine. Rushing home, we arrived just as the England World Cup game started. It was, as we all know, a disappointment.

Alas, it is just football... a small drop in the ocean, as some say...

We put Dixie's leash on her and headed for the beach. It was so very lovely at that time of day, with a cool breeze drying the perspiration off my neck and the tide just coming in - all very seductive. Dixie, being a dog, was just greatly relieved to feel cool again, to be able to run without collapsing from heat exhaustion.

I took a lot of photos~ some of the beach, some of the lavendar at Middle Farm. I had a hard time deciding which one to use... Will try to enter the others onto my Flickr account:

In the end I loved the simplicity of this shot... and the feeling of 'wetness' ...

Another Rose from Robin's Garden

There are glimpses of heaven to us in every act, or thought, or word, that raises us above ourselves. ~ Arthur P. Stanley

A bit of a busy day doing very unglamorous gardening chores. I only took 3 photos the whole day!!!

This is, needless to say, one. It is not a very sharp image but c'est la vie...

Friday, 25 June 2010

Smells Like Hope

Smells Like Hope, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies.
- Christopher Marlowe

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve

Well, I don't know about everyone else but I have found this week extraordinarily depressing. A very tough week in the news.

As lovely as the sun is, the heat is making it quite difficult to sleep, so am probably just over tired.

Today, Dixie and I walked to library (yes, I am determined to personally keep them in business, as new government seems to believe they are no longer needed). On our way back, I was feeling somewhat dejected. I spotted this rose in a neighbor's front garden. Something about it made me think of hope...

Day Lily with Rosemary

Day Lily with Rosemary, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Another blip from the back garden.

This is a day lily. I did not plant them. They were here when we moved in and bloom every year ~ only for a day. I tried to cut one once to put in a vase. It shriveled, pretty much instantly. So I admire them from the garden path.

I do, however, love that mother nature in her infinite wisdom gifted us with a flower that beautifies our lives for a day... As if to remind us of the fleeting nature of, well, everything...

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

View of an English Churchyard

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say
there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

From Dante's Prayer, Loreena McKennitt

This was taken as Dixie and I entered our village churchyard - just inside the gate. I always find myself stopping to absorb the stillness when I look upon these graves.

It has been very hot and the church graveyard is so very cooling with a slight breeze even on the stillest days... or so it seems. Whispers on the wind?

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Mexican Aster on the English Sussex Coast

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets

This is a Cosmos bipinnatus, also known as Mexican Aster. I found it at Shoots Garden Centre. We had a clump of wild echinacea growing in our front garden. Wonderspouse aka @Spats_Fumble hated the stuff. We have finally pulled it all out. My plan is to replace it with Cosmos. Apparently it is great favourite of Birds and Butterflies which is a wonderful thing.

I think it is a beautiful flower and smells really lovely, as well.

Last night I decided to attempt a few photos. I wanted something midsummerish. I can imagine wearing them in my hair and dancing about the garden. Oh dear, do you think I'm suffering from heat stroke??

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair... ~Susan Polis Shutz


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Lost at Sea

Lost at Sea, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

he sea pronounces something, over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out. ~Annie Dillard

Sunday, late afternoon, Father's Day and a walk on the beach. This was taken on the beach at Climping. I had not been there before. It was virtually deserted. Amazing how mystical the Sea can be when you have the time be alone with it.

Off in the distance was a sail boat that seemed to follow us as we walked, "Tacking to Littlehampton," Gary said. I don't actually even know what that means but I nodded knowingly as wives often do. The tide was in so we weren't actually able to walk on the beach, per se. We walked on the pebbles and winced at the strain on our ankles but,

it was lovely interlude in an otherwise busy day...

The Sun Sets on The River Adur

The setting sun, and music at the close, As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last, Writ in remembrance more than things long past. ~William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of King Richard II

As it happens, there was music. We were in the beer garden of The Bridge Inn in Shoreham: The Shoreham Folk Festival. Porchlight Smoker was playing. The beer garden sits on the River Adur. It's very beautiful. I looked up from the band and watched as the sun set and managed to capture this shot at the same time.

If I forget where I was when I took it, it reminds of the 10 years I lived in Los Angeles. Perhaps California is merely a state of mind...

Tangled Up in Green

Tangled Up in Green, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

Energy doesn't come to us so much from the things around us--although we can absorb energy directly from some plants and sacred sites. Sacred energy comes from our connection to the divine inside us.
James Redfield

Dixie and I found this on one of our walks... It's is growing up a neighbor's wall. I don't actually know what it is, but it resembles grape vines. We were not at a vineyard or even out in the countryside so I doubt very much if it is actually a grape vine.

However, it's colour is just so alive and refreshing. And I love that it's growth pattern is so unrestrained. It reminds me of this quote:

Honest criticism means nothing: what one wants is unrestrained passion, fire for fire. ~ Henry Miller

The Perseverance of a Flower

The Perseverance of a Flower

The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust

When I began this project it was my hope that it would train me look at the world in a more observant way, to see things as they are and not as my eyes expect them to be.

One of the things I have discovered is that my life is not really a very interesting one. So much of my experience of life is conducted on a cerebral level (fancy words for I live in my head a lot). Fortunately I have Dixie and we have our walks. Even so, we sometimes find ourselves in a rut looking at the same things every day.

I try to stay alert, try to see things in a different way, challenge my perspective, and most importantly try not to space out. Try not to lose myself in my past or some possible future and forget to look at all.

We have been so fortunate with our weather down here on the Sussex coast but the pollen count is quite high today and that makes me a little spacey. On my way back from the shops I was thinking how tired I was and how heavy my shopping bags were and how much longer I would have to walk to reach my house...

I looked down and spotted this clematis. It was in the front garden of neighbors who clearly have more important ways to occupy themselves than keeping up with their garden. The clematis has probably been there for years.. long before they ever moved in.

I loved its velevety softness and its persistence! Just knowing of it existence caused a lightness in my step. To see something keep growing, to continue to survive against all odds is a most wondrous thing to observe.

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak ~ Thomas Carlyle

Of Summer, Wishes and Flaming June

Of Summer, Wishes and Flaming June

Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June. ~Al Bernstein

On our walk today, I spotted this lovely little ladybug (ladybird in the UK) on a stinging nettle leaf. I fumbled for the pocket digital, sure she would fly away but she kindly waited for me like a highly trained artist's model.

"The name "ladybird" originated in the Middle Ages when the insects were known as the "beetle of Our Lady" . They were named after The Virgin Mary, who in early religious paintings was often shown wearing a red cloak. The spots of the seven spot ladybird were said to symbolise seven joys and seven sorrows. Common names in other European languages have the same association (the German name Marienkäfer translates to "Marybeetle" or ladybeetle). In the USA the name was Americanized to "ladybug". ~ Wikipedia

I can remember letting ladybugs walk on my arm and feeling like I had captured a magical moment special only to me, as if I had been chosen...

In America where I grew up we believed that if a ladybug landed on you, your wish would be granted. We used to catch them, cup them in our hands and quiety whisper our wish to them and then quickly open our hands so they would fly away back home to make our wish come true.

I would wish that I could recapture the innocence that let me believe a ladybug could make my wishes come true...

So now I have decided that when I see a ladybug/ladybird perhaps I can stop for just a moment and at least think about wishes coming true...

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Lazy Summer Evenings

Lazy Summer Evenings, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

This day was very busy; a spinning one's wheels and never quite getting anything finished day. Very frustrating.

I just couldn't come up with an interesting blip idea. So when all else fails, there will always be Geraniums!! This is a photo of a tub of geraniums in my front garden. You can also see a naturtium leaf or two that I hope will bloom with lovely orange blossoms. However, that miracle has yet to occur...

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~Sam Keen

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Dreaming of the Strawberry Days of Summer

One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quotes

This is actually a photo of one of my alpine strawberry plants... tiny little strawberry plants with tiny little strawberries on it. I planted a few plants in pots last year. Lo and behold they have begun to bear fruit... tiny, itsy bitsy little fruit, but fruit nonetheless.

I am extraordinarily pleased. They have also sent out runners outside of their little pots and are spreading. They even appear to be overtaking the weeds. What a Result!!

Whenever I think of strawberries, I think of kisses. In a perfect world, every time you took a bite of a strawberry, you would get a kiss... prefererably with some sort of chocolate sauce involved!!

I was going to call this photo: Dreaming of Summer Kisses. I then discovered there is a rather dreadful Australian tweeny pop song called Summer Kisses. It spoiled the image for me.

Where I was born and grew up strawberries were always associated with summer, with strawberry shortcake, with grandmothers making strawberry preserves in big pots on their kitchen stoves: Strawberry Days of Summer.

Dixie's Big Day Out

Dixie's Big Day Out, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive. ~Gilda Radner

In Ireland a dog is destroyed every five minutes every day, except Sunday.

Dixie is Irish. She was rescued and brought over to the Brighton branch of the RSPCA by Waterford Animal Welfare over three years ago where we found her.

Our girl is a Jack Russell cross breed with ears that don't flop down like most Jacks and fur that is very soft in some places and coarse in others. Although her tail was cropped before we adopted her, it still wags joyfully pretty much all the time.

Her previous owner was a drug addict. She was discovered buried under piles of garbage in the kitchen with a cocker spaniel who, very sadly, did not survive. Dixie still has a special fondness for spaniels.

Her name was Trixie. We changed it to Dixie because we wanted her to have a new life and with it a new name.

On Sunday, the Shoreham branch of the Dog's Trust had an open day. This photo of Dix and Gary was taken while we waited for the decision of the judges of the 'best bitch' competition. Sadly, she did not win. But we still think she is the prettiest dog in the world.

Today she is a little tired after her 'big day out' but yesterday, she was in doggy heaven...

Run Aground Again

Run Aground Again, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

I have always looked upon decay as being just as wonderful and rich an expression of life as growth.
Henry Miller

Along the Adur mud flats adjacent to Shoreham Beach sits (and at high tides floats) an extraordinary collection of house boats: converted barges, tugs, mine sweepers.

At a spot between the house boats and the pedestrian bridge over the river into the town centre sits this forgotten boat. I found it quite beautiful and just a bit romantic with the red poppies blooming near it...

First Rose of Summer

First Rose of Summer, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

by George Eliot

You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

You are probably getting a little bored with my flower blips, but this one is special!!

My roses haven't been doing very well this summer. They are very late and don't seem to be the least bit interested in blooming.

This is my very first rose this summer!!!

We inherited this rose bush when we moved in and it is a very decadent shade of pink!!

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter

There Is Nothing You Can See That Is Not a Flower

There is nothing you can see that is not a flower;
there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.
Matsuo Basho

I spotted this gorgeous clematis flower on the walk home from my GP's surgery. Considering the high winds and rain, it's really quite amazing that it hasn't been battered to death.

Today was probably one of the most unproductive days I've had in quite some time: 3 hours watching DVDs and a 3 hour nap. However, after less than positive news about the state of my blood pressure, a day of rest was probably a good idea, anyway...

Sleep is the best meditation.
Dalai Lama

Dixie... What a Joy She Is

Dixie... What a Joy She Is, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. ~Christopher Morley

Although, during our walk we got some more shots of the woods around the dog park, none of them were as good as this one of Dix!

A bit of a cheek throwing in another pic of my dog but then she is so very photogenic...

After all,

A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk. ~O.A. Battista

Park Bench...Waiting

Park Bench...Waiting, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

Waiting for the spark from heaven to fall.
Matthew Arnold

Between the wish and the thing life lies waiting.

It was a busy day today. The day started out cold and rainy and ended up hot and humid. Dixie and I didn't leave for our walk until quite lake. Although, there were a few people about, the park was quiet and bathed in stillness.

Looking at this park bench I could almost imagine it had just that moment been vacated...

We Found a Pink Rose Today

We Found a Pink Rose Today, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.

It is at the edge of the petal that love waits."
- Quotes William Carlos Williams

Actually this is a dog rose, but isn't it lovely??

It has been a difficult day. My twitter account was taken away by the powers that be. I do not know why. Twitter has not responded to my requests for information or re-instatement. As I am currently an unemployed housewife struggling to finish her novel, I have no reason to spam anyone, as I have nothing to sell.

My husband has tried to do some research and has discovered that sometimes these random experiences happen with Twitter. And sometimes people just never find out why, nor do they get their accounts back.

When I first discovered Twitter ... ages ago... I picked a user name based on my place of birth. Since then I have blogs, flickr accounts, and a web presence, etc, etc in the name of robin_intheuk. So some time ago I decided to change my Twitter identity to match. As I couldn't figure out quite how to accomplish this, I just opened a new account. Now that they have taken it away, I have reverted back to the old account. I apologise for the confusion to my followers.

So, in the midst of all this upheaval, Dixie and I went for a walk and discovered this very lovely dog rose. A reminder that life is full of opportunities to practice grace under pressure...

Picnic at an English Vineyard

We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.
Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast)

One of life's gifts is that each of us, no matter how tired and downtrodden, finds reasons for thankfulness: for the crops carried in from the fields and the grapes from the vineyard.
J. Robert Moskin quotes

I wrote a longer description of our day but unfortunately when I previewed the blip, it was lost in cyber space.

I don't really have the heart to recreate it. I suppose this will teach me to save all of my words from now on...

So I will just say that this was taken at Sedlescombe Organic Vineyards in East Sussex. From Lewes we purchased cheese, pate, olives, a baguette and lemon drizzle cake. At the vineyard we bought a lovely cold bottle of Bodiam Harvest. It truly was a 'moveable feast'.

Other than the vineyard owners, we were the only ones there. For a moment in time we were enveloped by sunshine and birdsong and a quiet happiness.

It was a lovely, lazy, romantic interlude...

Uploaded by robinintheuk on 15 Jun 10, 1.30AM BST.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Pansies in the Garden: A Fragile Beauty

A flower's appeal is in its contradictions -
so delicate in form yet strong in fragrance,
so small in size yet big in beauty,
so short in life yet long on effect.
~Terri Guillemets

Feeling a bit under the weather today as recurring intestinal problems... well, recurred...

So much of my time seemed to be spent focused on the unpredictability of my body and not enough focus on the outside world, I am afraid.

However, regardless of how I feel my gorgeous purple velvet pansies continue to flourish. I am reminded of the beauty that can be found in fragility... the magic of an altered state, and the strength to be found in the delicate curl of a petal...

Uploaded by robinintheuk on 4 Jun 10, 10.36PM BST.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Gazing at The English Channel from the South Downs

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.
~e.e. cummings

I so wish this image came close to representing what we actually saw today!! The blue of the sea and sky is quite bland compared to the reality. So sad that you cannot smell the Hawthorne or the wildflowers or feel the white petals of the Hawthorn brush your arms as they fall to the ground, blown by the wind on their way... or hear the sheep bleating in the distance... or the bees buzzing...

Dixie and I walked a little over an hour to get to this view. We were both overwhelmed by the sheer beauty, the warmth of the June sun and this glorious land called England.

We returned restored and confident that all things are possible, that all dreams come true.

Oh, and a little tired...

Uploaded by robinintheuk on 3 Jun 10, 8.35PM BST.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Lancing Ring Forest

Lancing Ring Forest, originally uploaded by robinintheuk.


I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.

by Wendell Berry

I found this refuge on a walk with Dixie today. After lots of frolicking with a tennis ball in the sun, we ducked into the trees growing next to a meadow and let ourselves be blessed by the 'blessing trees'.

I love this poem. It reminds me of an old friend of mine. Also a poet, writer and fabulous teacher. Warren was the first person to show me the poetry of Wendell Berry...

Uploaded by robinintheuk on 2 Jun 10, 8.17PM BST.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Geranium Crystalised by Rain

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. ~Langston Hughes

Close up of a Geranium flower that has been kissed by today's rain.

The first day of June was celebrated by Mother Nature with a lot of rain!! But as I walked out into the back garden this evening everything had a silvery glow from today's rain.

Rain showers my spirit
and waters my soul.
~Terri Guillemets

Uploaded by robinintheuk on 1 Jun 10, 10.38PM BST.

Not, In Fact, Wild Coriander

This is another classic case of mistaken identity.

G was convinced this was coriander. So convinced, in fact, that he sprinkled some on top of our curry. I was not quite so convinced. So I did a little checking on the Web. And sure enough, it's called Herb Robert. It's considered a noxious weed in the state of Washington but a wildflower here in blessed England (apparently quite good for dysentery and bubonic plague).

A little tip: coriander is NOT hairy. So if you see something that looks likes coriander and smells a bit like coriander but has tiny little hairs on its stems... Herb Robert (also known as Geranium Robertianum).

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows. ~Doug Larson

Uploaded by robinintheuk on 1 Jun 10, 10.35PM BST.