Tag Archives: summer

Berry Season

19 Jul

Suddenly there are not enough empty glass jars in the house, nor lids. Those which are pairs rattle around in the dishwasher while that familiar, comforting scent of bubbling strawberries and sugar (so much! one’s teeth!) rolls out the back door and into the garden in great, billowing clouds.

The strawberry is fine. The gooseberry and elderflower, hmmmm, not so much. (Must not make jam while on the phone must not make jam while on the phone must not make jam while on the phone must not make jam while on the phone…)

I am certain this jam is delicious, however. And the tumblr page is nice: London Borough of Jam.

This looks pretty good, too.

Walk Beside the River

18 Jul


Roger Deakin swam here.

I would, too.

Cattle on the banks.

Beds of damp clover.

Buttercup meadow.

Swallows, now specks, against blue sky.


















Self-raising Flowers

15 Jan

Years ago I had a temporary administration job in a university department in central London.  The job served its purpose, had its ups and downs and involved a fair bit of filing, a task that allowed one to disappear to a small, windowless room for days on end, certain in the knowledge that one would be left undisturbed for the duration.

I didn’t care much for the filing, the subject codes or whether the students had passed or failed. What distracted me in that tiny room was the personal data contained in those files: places and dates of birth, copies of visa and asylum applications, names of children and spouses – and the names of the students themselves. As the course attracted a large West African contingent, the students’ names were not the mild Sarahs, Janes and Katies  I’d been exposed to until then but marvellous things like Promise, Charity, Hyacinth and, my favourite, Dahlia.

That particular name, Dahlia, popped into my head early one morning last week as I photographed a garden given over almost in entirety to the flowers.  It’s a life’s work for the owner, who, after 39 years in the same beloved place, is moving on to somewhere smaller in the next month or so.

“That garden’s a bloody mess,” a local landscape designer said when I mentioned it. “My hands itch when I go there.”

She’s right – it is a terrible, overgrown mess but therein lies its most wonderful charm.  In that quiet garden I was entranced by the infinite variations of colour and form in this most regal of summer flowers.  So, they’re greedy feeders and they’re a bit rampant if left unchecked, but if you’re going to name your child after a flower, I can think of few better options than Dahlia.

I’m to go back to the garden for a reshoot but, Sod’s law, the weather’s turned and it’s raining.

A Happy Snap

11 Jan

Ok. I know I promised you something planty in my previous post but I thought I’d slip in this teeny-weeny post  about  my latest cover shot without you noticing,  because if you can’t blow your own trumpet on your own blog, where can you?

The pic (of me) was taken by my sister after we spotted the cover mounted on the wall of Bloom, a wonderful restaurant in the KZN Midlands owned and run by Wendy Winthrop and her daughter, Sally Haigh.  You may recall that Sally is the wife of Mick, who makes whimsical ceramics for smart shops around the world.

Despite the financial perils of media work during recession, and it being a fool’s gold at times,  I enjoy what I do so much that after nearly ten years of it I still become ridiculously and rather embarrassingly giddy when I see things like this.   The cover, which  features Mick’s ceramics, belongs to the Midlands Meander 2009/2010 route map. Next to it is a photocopy of a piece I wrote earlier in the year for House and Garden.