Thursday, 31 August 2017

Flights of fancy

When I was a young child, I thought the feathered seeds of rosebay willow herb, drifting along on the late summer breeze, were fairies.  
 It still seems a reasonable assumption to me.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Little Shop of Colours

To be perfectly honest, there is not a huge amount that draws me to London these days.  Living in Scotland spoils us in terms of living without hoards of people, traffic and life moving at high speed. Been there, done that.  But this morning I have just been listening to a delightful programme on Radio 4, Little Shop of Colours, which makes me want to get on the next train going south, to visit a little art supplies shop, close to the British Museum.
L. Cornelissen & Son has been selling colour in various forms (oil paint, oil pastels, acrylics, chalks, powdered pigments) with a multitude of fabulous names (Lapis Lazuli, Rose Madder, Naples Yellow, Mars Violet Deep, Potters Pink, Egyptian Blue, Antwerp Blue, Caput Mortuum), to artists since the 19th century.  The shop sounds amazing, and as I LOVE colour, I think a visit has to be a bit of a priority now.  Good opportunity to catch up with some old friends too, and that can't be a bad thing either!




Tuesday, 15 August 2017

High summer?

I think there may be a little confusion going on in the heavens, and - just possibly - August has been swapped for April.  We have had an endless succession of days full of sunshine and showers.  So far this month we have only had one completely dry day.  Now, this has nothing to do with Scottish weather because, by and large, on the east coast we get very little rain indeed. Anyway, the upshot is my runner beans are growing well and the cereal crops in the East Lothian countryside are looking good.  

To my mind, August doesn't offer much in the way of colour across the landscape.  The fields and wild grasses have all turned to straw, and the leaves on the trees have morphed into one dull dark green.  There are little pinpricks of colour, which I relish, and we have had many rain-laden skies, which have produced a welcome intensity of colour to contrast with the landscape.  But it's hardly high summer weather.  Temperature-wise, although the sun feels hot, the air is cool and more like a Melbourne winter!
 If you look closely in the photo below, you will see a little reed warbler.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A much anticipated annual event

This is the third year we have visited the studios at Allanbank Mill Steading, in the Borders, which opens it's very special doors to the public over the first weekend in August, every year.

Allanbank Mill Steading is the home and studios of Pauline Burbidge (quilter extraordinaire) and Charlie Poulsen (sculpture and drawings) http://www.allanbankmillsteading.co.uk  It is a beautiful place.  Apart from Pauline and Charlie's skills as artists, their home offers clever gardening, tranquility, attention to detail and masses of creativity.  It really is a treat to visit.
Everything in and around the steading buildings is decorated and painted in an interesting way.  Even the door mats have been given a little extra something!
Despite all the human effort to display so much creativity, for me the whole show was stolen by these little chaps!  Five fledgling swallows, all lined up on a rafter in one of the steading outbuildings, eagerly awaiting the next flying visit from their parents with afternoon tea in their beaks!

It barely seems possible that, in a few weeks time, these young birds, hardly out of their nest, will be embarking upon a journey of thousands of miles to spend wintertime in South Africa.  These little fellows will travel across western France, over the Pyrenees, down eastern Spain into Morocco, and then across the Sahara. Little miracles.