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Showing posts from October, 2014

The natural order of things

I do like to follow the natural order of things.  I was in Edinburgh yesterday and horrified to see The Dome, a huge cafe/bar/restaurant on George Street, festooned with Christmas decorations. Even the window of the Post Office in the village has a Christmas tree, all aglow with Christmas lights.  It's just not right.

The natural world has it right, though.  There is a gentle state of collapse going on in the wood. The bracken is beginning to lean slightly, and the leaves on the sycamore trees have completely flown away in recent gales. The lime trees are turning yellow and the leaves are fluttering to the ground, and there is the delicious, sweet nutty smell of autumn pervading the air. I love it.

At the risk of becoming a little repetitive, I offer a few more photographs of the autumn vegetation in the wood!  The colours are just too good.  The bracken is warm and glowing, especially with the sun shining through it 
I think the unquestionable winner for colour, this year, are the b…

Summer clocking off

The clocks change this weekend, officially recognising the shortening days and lengthening nights.  But the memory of summer lingers on - I found this in the garden today.  Isn't she lovely!


When I was at school my uniform was grey, so, on principle, I grew up not liking grey.  However, in the last ten years I have finally outgrown that childish opinion!  It's taken a long time to get over the hang-up, but I I love grey now!  I wear it quite a lot.  Complimented with the right colour (and most colours zing quite well with grey), I think it's very wearable, without looking drab. 

In my Monday morning art class, over the last two weeks, we have been mixing spectral greys, using red, blue and a smidge of yellow.  The type of red and blue you start with does dictate the kind of grey you end up with.  I found the exercise quite difficult.  We produced a painting of a still life but I wouldn't dream of showing my effort here.  It's not something I am proud of.   But the whole exercise has made me much more appreciative of grey, so much so that when I was looking out of the window at breakfast time today, all I could see was a multitude of different greys!  I thou…

Pizza with a difference!

The half term bake off has finished and the grandchildren have all cooked dinner for their parents over the past couple of weeks.  My granddaughter was declared the winner this evening.  She triumphed over her brothers by producing a bit of a winner in the way of a pudding pizza!  A handmade pizza base, cooked off and cooled, and then topped with Nutella and marshmallows, the whole put back in a warm oven to melt the goo, and then dotted with fresh strawberries.

Behold, the winning and completely delicious confection!  

Complimentary colour!

Final offerings

This is it.  The last of this year's runner beans, purple French beans and sweet peas.  They have been a joy, for which I give thanks.  

The week so far

It's my Scottish grandchildren's half term this week.  The wee one in Melbourne doesn't get these breathers just yet.  "Thank goodness" I hear her parents sigh!

The children here have such a hectic life these days, now that they have to commute into Edinburgh to school every day, that the first few days of this week have been chill out time.  They have spent far too long on their various bits of technology but I have just gone with that.  They needed to be still for a while. The only other thing we have been doing is cooking. Each day one of them has cooked the supper for all six of them to sit down to in the evening, when their parents got home from work.  I have tried to teach them a few skills attached to each dish. Apparently the family have been scoring each meal, and so far the older boy, of the younger set of twins, is in the lead by 5 points.  On Monday they sat down to chicken casserole followed by a mango smoothie for pudding;  On Tuesday, cheesy gougere…

BBC Ten Pieces

I find myself listening to Radio 3 more and more.  To keep in touch, I check out the world on the Today programme in the morning, but by and large Radio 3 is my favoured destination these days.  It's not just as an escape from an increasingly distressing world, but a place to learn a lot.  And I love music.  It's a very diverse radio station and I thoroughly enjoy my Radio 3 interludes (except for opera - no thanks, sorry).  

Over the past couple of weeks the BBC has been promoting its Ten Pieces initiative.  It has created a 50 minute film for primary school children, introducing them to ten outstanding, descriptive pieces of classical music.  The film is available for us all to see on BBC iPlayer (  They have also got Ten Pieces ambassadors and on Saturday afternoon the Welsh harpist, Catrin Finch, introduced a programme of wonderful pieces.  There was even a piece by my favourite combination of Jan Gabarek an…

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Just chilling out on Sunday morning.
It's time to start the mammoth task of putting the garden to bed for winter.  Lavenders to chop back, along with all sorts of other plants.  The trimmings create a lovely fragrant autumn smoke, but I still end up smelling like a kipper! 
A necklace of geese, progressing across the sky.

Autumn tree tops

On a sunny Saturday morning in mid-October, what better thing to do than go for a walk in the countryside with your dog!  Tilly and I had a very happy stroll down the track, round a couple of huge fields, and home again.  

The tree tops, against a lovely autumn sky, were looking good!
The silver birch and conifer below hadClematis vitalbarunning through it.  Old man's beard, or travellers' joy, is a wild clematis which runs wild over my native Hampshire.  All over the south of England actually!  I have hardly seen it anywhere in Scotland, until this year!  It seems to have popped up in odd places and I couldn't be more delighted!  It's a plant of my childhood, of late summer/early autumn, and I love it.
I did a double take here.  Blue sky and leggy, airy branches of a gum tree - I could have been back in Australia!!  It was unexpected, but rather wonderful,  
and all that's missing is a cuddly koala, dozing in the crook of those branches!
The hollies in this part of the…

Surf's up!

Tilly and I had a walk on the east beach at North Berwick this morning.  The wind was whipping up the surf and the waves were fabulous!
The Bass Rock was just a faint blob, sitting out in the middle of the iron grey sea. Turning round, and looking south, North Berwick law was clothed in wisps of cloud. By lunchtime the sun was out again!

A fine week of weather

We have had a run of fine weather this week.  It's been warm, sunny, and the temperatures have been pretty well perfect for walking, gardening, and a spot of just sitting!

Tilly and I have seen some lovely things on our walks in the last few days.  We have walked around the perimeter of a nearby field.  It is a huge field, probably as a result of digging out hedgerows in years gone by.  Along the field edge we passed two very statuesque stands of wild fennel and teasels.

The autumn colours are now golden and glowing in the sunshine, which still has considerable warmth in it.  I can feel it, comforting, on my back. 
The weather forecast indicated that yesterday was going to be the last day before the wind and rain set in, as it has today.  So Mr Gaucho dropped Tilly and me near the law in North Berwick and we walked home from there.  
I have been wanting to make rose hip syrup for donkeys years.  This is the year!  I went armed with my folding secateurs and a bag to gather some berries…