Saturday, 30 January 2010

Back to life

".....and she thought she saw something sticking out of the black earth - some sharp little pale green points. She remembered what Ben Weatherstaff had said, and she knelt down to look at them.
"yes, they are tiny growing things and they might be crocuses or snowdrops or daffodils," she whispered.
She bent very close to them and sniffed the fresh of the damp earth. She liked it very much."

"I wish the spring was here now," said Mary. " I want to see all the things that grow in England."
THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Oh Mary so do I!
....and the sky is blue, blue, blue today and the sun is bright and shining and we are going to spend the weekend outside in the garden. There is so much to do!
It has been ravaged by snow and yet still those brave spring bulbs are poking out of the earth.
It is very very cold out there, Mr.Boodle and I just poked our noses out to take in the day and our breath hung in a still white cloud.

So I may have to resort to organising seed trays and plants pots

The first year we were in this house I planted a bed under the kitchen window with helebores, daffodils and grape hyacinths and the hyacinths have colonised us! They have doubled and doubled and doubled, so much so that I keep digging them up and splitting them and giving them to friends and most excitingly bringing a few indoors in teacups and old pots.

And then before long, the bulbs start in earnest.........................can't wait!

Have a lovely weekend everyone,
Sarah x

Sunday, 24 January 2010


January may be a slow, cold month but it does have one brilliant, sunny saving grace.... it is Seville orange season! I love the annual rythm that comes with kitchen rituals and for me January is all about making marmalade. I adore the bitterness of seville oranges, I like my marmalade tangy and the colour of glowing amber.

Japanese woodblock by Yoshiko Yamamoto

Just seeing the oranges in the markets, at the greengrocers' fills me with a promise of warm summer sunshine, still far away..........

So here is my bowl of Sevilles, lets get started!

I use Delia's recipe from "How to Cook 2" it has never failed me~ now whilst that is bubbling away for the next couple of hours what shall we do?

I should really deal with the post on the kitchen table, or crack on with that pile of ironing...yawn!

Actually I think I will show you the bowl that the oranges were in as I love it and I thought you might like a closer look too! It came from MIL and is a real favourite of mine.

Oh and I am really enjoying these tulips, I love it when they are almost over and they reveal their centres, hmm I spy the current edition of you know what! well perhaps just 5 minutes?

Much later

Yum, yum......sunshine on toast!

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend?

Sarah x

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Flower Girl

Thank you all for your wonderful responses to my "Sepia Seventies" post. It seems we can all rustle up amazing amounts of detail from our childhoods. Since writing that piece I have been really luxuriating in remembering the flower girl card that Magpie gave me, and all the wonderful creative projects it sparked. I still adore the patchwork umbrella and higgledy piggledy buckets of flowers.

Anyway, as I have been turning all this over I suddenly had a little revelation. I remembered the Birthday present I had from Magpie last year........

Yes, this wondeful image of a flower-girl!
I spotted it in a favourite shop in Lewes some years ago and had lusted after it. When it came to my Birthday last year I suddenly found myself the proud owner of it! Thank you Magpie.
It is quite large (A2) and framed in a simple black frame, every time I pass it I am drawn in to look at the detail of the basket, or the flowers or her steady, frank gaze.
And of course she can't fail to remind me of someone else.....

Eliza Doolittle
When I think of My Fair Lady I am most fond of the scene in Covent Garden Market where Eliza is selling violets and is discovered by Proffessor Higgins.
In honour of that wonderful old Flower Market here are a few of my pictures from Paris on New Years Day.

And a favourite poster of Covent Garden you can find at the London Transport Museum.

I am sad it is no longer in Covent Garden and I am hoping that I will be lucky enough to receive this lovely book for my Birthday.

You can find it here
It is well worth a look, Peter Ackroyd's introduction is simply wonderful.
"In the late 1960s and early 1970s Clive Boursnell shot thousands of colour and black and white photographs of the Covent Garden fruit, vegetable and flower markets, documenting an era before the markets moved out of their site in the heart of London. This hardback book contains almost three hundred of those images, portraits of the people working and using the markets, the flowers, fruit and vegetables, the streets and architecture of the Covent Garden area and its distinctive character. It also includes interviews with the people who know it best - the porters, the stall holders, the flower sellers."
This isn't Peter Ackroyd's intro! Just a synopsis of what's inside!

I really love this exploration of the past through still images. I think Stephen Poliakoff nailed it in Shooting the Past. Sorry off on another tangent, must stay focussed, tee-hee!

So I am longing for Spring posies of violets, anemones and paperwhites .

In the meantime I shall content myself with filling my bud vases with some pretty twiggy, catkin bits from the Lane!
Love Sarah x

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Sepia Seventies

There was a moment in my childhood when I was no longer very young nor was I a teenager. It was the 1970's, a time when my world was coloured sepia, cream and chocolate brown.

I remember Magpie would come and kiss me goodnight before she and my Dad went out to a "do" and I was bewitched by her.

I still remember her perfume would hang in the air long after they had driven off. And I would lie awake imagining them at the party.

Magpie has always been a brilliant stylist, she would rustle up brilliant outfits. Long skirts, high neck blouses always feminine and always cool. My favourite was a floor length chocolate brown swishy skirt with cream polka dots and a cream silk blouse with impossibly small pearl buttons on the deep cuff and bodice.

This fabric, "Daisy Chain" by Jonelle was in our kitchen and when paired with posters by Toulouse L'autrec and wonderful hand thrown earthenware pots it seemed to me the kitchen was a brilliant studio for my early crafty endeavours. I have since discovered Daisy Chain was designed by Pat Albeck ( Mathew Rice's Mum!) Find out more about Pat's fantastic work here.

I was very influenced by films of that era too. This must be becuase of Magpie as I can't possibly have known about them from any other source. The wonderful styling of the Great Gatsby with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

Mr. Redford populated much of the landscape of my childhood in several guises, but the all time favourite?

Yes of course!

And Katherine Ross as Etta Place was sublime

Ah, that scene!
Responsible in some part for my obsession with multi layered petticoats and incessant rumaging in flea markets in the vain hope I might stumble over "THAT" dress

Definately the reason I love Ewa i Walla so much

You can read about her in the NOV/DEC 2009 issue of Selvedge
But that is not the only explanation for my Petticoat obsession, oh no
there is another little lady who must take some responsibility too

Magpie gave me both of these images on different years as Birthday cards. The flower girl was my absoloute favourite, I would sit at the kitchen table carefully drawing it and then colouring it/decorating it over and over and over again.
I wish I had kept the resulting collages! it would be fun to see them.
I am off to make a proper hot chocolate!
Still snowing here.
Hope you enjoyed my brown and cream trip down memory lane?

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Celebrating 2009

Nice cup of tea required, many, many pictures in this post
Today's learning, "I would make a rubbish picture editor"
In my efforts to find ONE picture to encapsulate each month of 2009 I have failed.
I have, however been exceptionally good at indecision, and as a consequence have managed to distill each month into 2 or 3 pictures.
So here we go, 2009.....
Began with a hoar frost, coating everything in crystal and convincing me I had woken in Narnia
Then the marmalade making factory got going

Birthday lunch in Padstein

And a very tired Boodle at the table

Time spent with Magpie (Mum)

In Paris..............

Annual Spring trip to Perch Hill

Sarah Raven's Garden in Brightling

Nothing, but nothing could have prepared me for this beautiful sight, I remember gasping and the tears came...

Celebrating our Wedding Anniversary in Florence

I am mad about markets so this had to make the cut

Garden parties and celebrations with friends and family

One of those glorious English mid-summer afternoons, hear the bees buzzing, smell the roses...

Lavender festival

and Hampton Court Flower Show

I did buy flowers too!

Holidaying in Cornwall

Devon and Dorset too!

Visiting the Faraways in Australia
So much magic

Seeing little people and discovering one another and all things new

Staying in "the house with the purple trees"

Autumn looms
And Kent bats her lashes at me to chase away those post Australia blues

A much loved God-Daughter in her ballet performance

And a long awaited and much anticipated visit to the cinema

Lavish Cornish celebrations

And a certain snow event, fast becoming historic

And that was it! 2009
Of course you cannot possibly edit your year to a few photos but I have loved this. Sitting in my snow bound office, giggling, sighing, crying, wishing and remembering.....It has done me good.
I am blessed to have this life and my lovely boy makes so much of it possible, love you Mr.Lane.
And now I think it's time for 2010 to take centre stage
Bring it on!