Saturday, 27 October 2012


Earliest autumn, light and dark, apples

The Warm and the Cold
Freezing dusk is closing
Like a slow trap of steel
On trees and roads and hills and all
That can no longer feel.
But the carp is in its depth
Like a planet in its heaven.
And the badger in its bedding
Like a loaf in the oven.
And the butterfly in its mummy
Like a viol in its case.
And the owl in its feathers
Like a doll in its lace.

Freezing dusk has tightened
Like a nut screwed tight
On the the starry airoplane
Of the soaring night.
But the trout is in its hole
Like a chuckle in a sleeper.
The hare strays down the highway
Like a root going deeper.
The snail is dry in the outhouse
Like a seed in a sunflower.
The owl is pale on the gatepost
Like a clock on its tower.

Moonlight freezes the shaggy world
Like a mammoth of ice -
The past and future
Are jaws of a steel vice.
But the cod is in the tide-rip
Like a key in a purse.
The deer are on the bare-blown hill
Like smiles on a nurse.
The flies are behind the plaster
Like the lost score of a jig.
Sparrows are in the ivy clump
Like money in a pig.

Such a frost
The flimsy moon
Has lost her wits.

A star falls.

The sweating farmers
Turn in their sleep
Like Oxen on spits.
metrodorus:No. 1273 by Halasi Zsolt on Flickr.

Oh Mr.Hughes, no wonder Sylvia loved you so.
 Every line so vivid, each sentence the first line of a story or the last words of a book...
We are off to split logs as the fire will be hungry today...the first sting of polar air...icily exhilirating...
wrap up everyone a doll in its lace... a chuckle in a sleeper... a key in a purse...

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ever Sew Crafty

Sarah Moore that is! 
Early start yesterday ~ train to catch. 
Once in London I route marched from Charing Cross to Liberty in record time, on a mission to capture some morning shots of Nicky Tibbles, Wild at Heart flowers.
There, at the main entrance on Great Marlborough Street. they shine against the black tudor timber.
Just enough time for a twirl around inside, so many lovely things in the Stationery Department at the moment, aaarrrghhhhh!
Yes I did!
Ayway, enough! 
The real reason for my trip was to join Sarah Moore for her masterclass at the Liberty Sewing School. You may be thinking, Sarah Moore? sounds familiar, and you'd be right! 
Country Living magazine have a new "simple makes" series featuring Sarah's lovely projects.
 and she is also the author of 
 Homemade Gifts Vintage Style a glorious day ensued. 
I do so admire generosity and Sarah has it in spades. 
Vintage wallpapers, pretty buttons, bindings, antique velvet, welsh wool blankets spilled forth from baskets and crates and we could help ourselves!
First up, a patchwork noticeboard ~ Oh my pie all those gorgeous hexagons, Sarah was so encouraging and we all made really pretty boards. I was just so excited to be allowed free access to Sarah's stash of goodies. After lunch a strawberry pin-cushion made from a vintage velvet curtain, corsages made from love worn blankets and antique fabrics....
 My corsage turned into a rosette....couldn't resist the blanket fringe!
 And to finish? We wrapped soaps in vintage papers, so simple and so gorgeous...look out Christmas!
  I heartily recommend Sarah's book and her Country Living series. I found her easy, relaxed confidence both refreshing and inspirational, I will be buying her book as a gift and as a go-to resource for lovely vintage inspired projects.

Happy weekend to you all, can't wait to hear about what you are making in readiness for the Jolly Season!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Portrait of a lady...

....and a Sketch of some Bloggers!

So, deep breath, been a little busy around here! Finally I am sitting down to write this post. seems an age...
Last week saw two visits to the Smoke, I know! I don't budge from this hill for weeks and all of a sudden I am up and at 'em. I had very good cause.

First that mention of Sketch...I was delighted to be asked to a Bloggers Tea in London at the aforementioned Sketch by Laura at Happy Homemaker UK. She has written a great piece about the event here.

Sketch was an inspired venue - it has recently undergone an eleven million pound makeover - yikes! There are four restaurants. Our tea was held in THE GLADE
Glade by night
The Glade at sketch

The Glade at sketch has been transformed into an enchanted fairy tale forest, in the heart of
central London. Inspired by a single image from an early 20th century communion card,
artists Carolyn Quartermaine and Didier Mahieu have created a decoupage forest in a room
where everything has been handmade and tailored to the space. Internationally renowned
for their installations and design work, Quartermaine and Mahieu have a long history with
sketch and a strong friendship with its founder Mourad Mazouz.
The collaboration evolved from the communion card belonging to Mahieu’s grandmother
which depicts a Glade like scene, and is itself hung discreetly in the room at sketch. The card
was repainted, reversed and enlarged before being printed onto hundreds of metres of
paper. Each piece of paper was then handcut and decoupaged to the walls by a team of
artists, designers and sketch staff, creating one of the first rooms of this kind in London.
The room is the latest transformation at sketch, a venue that remains ever true to its integrity
as a place that is always changing and evolving, and where nothing stays the same.
Glade by night
So, here we were served high tea. We being, from left to right:
Robynne (Robynne's nest), Liz (The Snowdrop Project), Louise (Love and Lilac), Selena (Oh The Places We Will Go), Belinda (Wild Acre), Laura (Happy Homemaker UK), Sarah and Little ( Modern Country Style), Charlotte (Cottage in Totteridge), Becky (As a Yank in Yorkshire), Gesci (Peach and Thistle). What's that? Where am I? Oh well you know, fashionably late and therefore not able to make the photo-call, phew, that was close!

Do you know, I really enjoyed meeting all these fellow bloggers. Much chattering and laughter, inspirational stories and lives, warmth filling the fairytale room, all good as they say! Everyone has written about our "meet-cute" (Get that one Laura?)so it's worth clicking over to their blogs for more insights.
My heartfelt thanks to all for making the trip and especially to Laura whose sterling work it all was -x-
Jay Brooks
As for the Lady I referred to in my title ~ not Henry James "Lady" but Ibsen's Hedda.
Although I reference the two, as for me they are both free spirited women living with the consequences of their choices.
I went to The Old Vic with another gang of brilliant women. Love this Theatre, the conservation work has really paid off it looks magnificent. Read about the history of the theatre here.
The staging is really good, the set is gorgeous all Gustavian in sensibility and with very clever use of an internal room made entirely of glass walls, used to excellent dramatic effect. The music score is also very evocative.All in all, a thumbs up from me. I wasn't sure if Sheridan Smith would portray the venomous side of Hedda to its full effect but I confess she did pull it off. My clever friend Virginia, pointed out having seen Rebecca Hall as Sylvia in Parade's End, she would make an excellent for thought Mr.Spacey?
Episode 1
That's probably more than enough from me!
Having reflected on last week I note that it is a real privilege to be surrounded by so many brilliant women both real and fictitious...and just in case you were worried that I am becoming too high-brow I'm off to clear out the cowshed, Moo!

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Being enthusiastically greeted by a smiling labrador. 
Like the prodigal returning, like a hero, tail waving furiously with unabated joy...when in fact, you have only been separated for an hour...
Happiness indeed

Monday, 1 October 2012


I have been scouring the field margins, searching for juicy fat blackberries. It seems juicy fat ones are in short supply, or perhaps I am too late? I waited for the rains to "plumpen" them.
I find berries stewing on the stove the most aromatic and sweet occupation, it soothes.
Goody Palmer

backyard blackberries by hannah * honey & jam, via Flickr
Pouring over cookbooks, divining the best use for my black autumn jewels...remembering blackberry slump a hot stew of sweet berries dolloped with mascarpone and topped with a  lemon spiked scone mixture. Sarah Raven has paired down version (minus the scone topping) in her garden cookbook, baked blackberries and mascarpone, as demonstrated by Rose Gray at Sarah's cookery school.

I must confess I then began craving some warm jam and went off on an internet guided tour of recipe research. I am so glad I did as I stumbled upon Juls' kitchen and the joy that is September Jam, oh how the name appeals to me and Jul's description of the grape harvest in Tuscany is a delight.
And so September Jam perfectly solves the dilemma of too few blackberries, I shall be throwing in some grapes and other berries as she directs...and I don't begrudge the shortage if these chaps are having their fill!
All of which brings me neatly round to a rather serendipitous find in the cow-shed yesterday afternoon. Whilst the Faraways were here we rootled out a big old baggage stuffed with what I believed to be Little Brother Faraway treasures...photographs, etchings, games and the like. Sure enough we found lots to giggle over and the memories of a shared childhood swirled around us like paper streamers, tickling us and awakening long forgotten things.
Yesterday Mr. Lane and I began our Autumn clear up. We began to move things back into the Cow-Shed, I tripped over the baggage, quietly cursing it. Bending down to move it out of the way I realised we hadn't quite emptied it. I pulled out a long forgotten box of ink kisses, written onto cards given to me throughout my childhood, carefully squirreled away by little Lane girl.
All the Leap Birthday's were there, carefully stored, all the beautifully illustrated cards given to me by my parents...and the special kisses, the cards sent just because I needed a little encouragement or love. My heart raced as I looked in wonder at each card...
"Is it here?"
...Oh my goodness here...safely stored at the very bottom of the pile...

I have been remembering this card, visualising all the detail, the colour...pinks, mulberry, green and a pop of yellow. When we were in Devon a couple of weeks ago I took this photo...
..and in my minds eye I was thinking of a much loved card, long since lost, sent to a little girl by her Granny when she was eight years old to comfort her as she had suffered a very great sadness.

Kneeling on the floor of the cow-shed, starry eyed, she smiled just as she had back then. 

My childhood was illustrated by Arthur Rackham, Earnest Shepherd, Racey Helps, Beatrix Potter and Beshlie.
Being a noticer, every night I would gaze at my pictures, at the tiniest details and drift off into sleep in the company of woodland animals and fairytale characters. 
This was my favourite, Romany Wood by Beshlie.(There is a great archive of her work here )

And so, once again, comforted by a card sent more than 30 years ago...clever Granny perfect timing.

So here we are in October! "White Rabbbits" everyone, and "Hello" to you all.


The Hare and the Tortoise by Arthur Rackham
Slowly does it very time!