Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I was thinking yesterday whilst relaxing during our late Spring Public Holiday about poetry and its place in our lives. The poems we loved as children, the poems that had 'special messages' for us during our teen years, and whose subjects took upon the face of our current 'beloved' and finally the adult years the poems that have inspired us, spurred us on in the face of disaster and those so beautiful they make us weep. Then an idea struck me, yes slap bang in the middle of my forehead. a beautiful. inspirational but simple idea. This is it!

During the summer months I am going to open a blog, similar to Daisy Lupins Story Telling Circle, for those that remember that at Halloween. This time it is to be devoted to poetry and I am going to run it for three months. June will be Poetry we loved as Children, July will be Teenage Dreams and August will be Now we are Mature. I would ask you all to either post your favourite childhood poem on your blog or email me with it, you can add an illustration if you like, but don't panic, I will transfer the poems onto Daisy Lupin's Poetry Fest, I will also source illustrations for your poems if you want. I will put these on my new poetry blog which will be linked to my Cats in the Kitchen Flora in the Garden Blog.


I loved poetry as a child, mainly it has to be said due to my Father, who had been to a school where vast chunks of poetry had to be learnt by heart every week. He could spout vast amounts of rip roaring High Victorian and Edwardian poetry, and did so to me. I loved these poems. Unfortunately, in later life I turned my back on a lot of poetry, as I had a very difficult teenage and early twenties relationship with my Father and he became associated with poetry. In my later years, I have now overcome this stumbling block and delight in poetry once again.

You don't have to stop at one poem, come back with as many as you want. One proviso, so we are not constantly repeating poems, if a poem is popular, the person who posts or emails it first will have it credited as their favourite, you can still comment on it though, plus there are surely lots of different poems for us all. I'll start the ball rolling, this should be so interesting to see what poems people pick, and who knows we may find some new favourites ourselves. So for the whole of JUNE it is POETRY WE LOVED AS CHILDREN. I'm making a sidebar badge for it, so come along and join in and enjoy.

C. Hassam

Well, that's the long weekend over, a mixed bag of weather, but at least I got out into my garden for one whole long day and was happy with what I achieved. My poppies are amazing this year and I must get them photographed, unfortunately, we have had quite heavy winds at times and some of the poor poppies are unfurling to be blown away without a chance to bloom properly. My petunias are growing really lushly, deep velverty blooms. I have one sparse looking bed where my shrubs and lilac bushes are but I have planted lots of little clumps or what will become ground cover, so by the end of the Summer all the soil should, I hope, be covered. As soon as the ground is dry enough, my other half, the Wiz, will lay this year's bark chippings around the stepping stones and in the sitting area. I then just have to put all my ceramic blue pots in their permanent summer positions.


I gave in on Friday and put all my ornaments out. So the White Rabbit is anxiously looking at his watch under the lilac bush, my Hare is moon gazing, my Green Man has been in situ all year round, so he can protect the garden. my glass orb looks beautiful popping up above the salvias and penstemons. The final flourish will be siting my oblelisk and placing my golden hare in position. I put in four solar powered lights on Friday, and went to look at them on Friday evening, they cast lovely pools of soft yellow light in the darkness. I will have to get some photographs organised.

C. Hassam

The time I couldn't spend in the garden at the weekend gave me time to finish off some craft commitments, and I put them in the post today. I feel footloose and fancy free on the craft front, and a great weight seems to have been lifted from my shoulders. I am starting to brim over with ideas again, now I have only one swap ongoing. It's much better for creativity this way.

Caught up on some good music television over the weekend too. David Bowie's last concert as Ziggy Stardust back in the 70's. How some of those costumes he wore, like the romper suit type thing, make me cringe now. The sound started off ropey but as the concert kicked in it got better and better. Also a very long programme about LA music called from the Byrds to the Eagles, which was fascinating, especially the filmed bits of Laurel Canyon. I also started on a new book Labyrinthe by Kate Mosse, this one goes between the present day and the Cathars in Medieval France, I think the Grail comes into it as well. It's a big fat juicy book!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Following on from seven random things I realised that I had never done this meme, that I found ages ago. Sorry, but I go through stages of being addicted to these things, also they are a great way to find out what makes people tick, and if someone else wants to do this one, great. Sorry, also to whoever's blog I stole this from, I don't know whose it was, but it might have been Janet's as she loves meme's too, apologies if I have named the wrong person.

What curse words do you use the most?
Well this is revealing, I swear like a trooper in the privacy of my own home. I take the attitude that most curse and swear words were originally just good old anglo-saxon and later on Early English. The combination of having lived a hippie lifestyle and later studying Chaucer meant I felt completely differently about 'curse words'. If they were good enough for Chaucer they are good enough for me. I know from feedback I have had from people who are now good friends that when I started this blog, people imagined a prim lady sitting daintily prettily typing out a blog! Hah, nothing could be further from the truth! I have no qualms at all about swearing, and totally poo poo the idea that people only curse and swear because they have a limited vocabulary. Try a good dose of private cursing, it certainly takes away the stress.

Do you own an i-pod?
No but I am being constantly promised my daughter's old one, are you reading this Sweetpea?

What time is your alarm clock set to?
It isn’t. I just wake up, usually between seven and eight, nearer to seven if the sun is shining, nearer to eight on a dull day. Alarm clocks, are only for going on trips or holidays. Then I am too scared of sleeping in and spend the night checking the time.

Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture?
I’d rather take the photograph, I love taking photographs, if you look at our holiday photos it always seems to be of a man and two children, where is the woman, behind the camera, but that suits me fine.

What was the last movie you watched?
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a double whammy, a good fun movie and Mr J Depp.

John Piper

What cd is currently in your player?
A Paul Simon compliation.

Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk?
Yuck, why on earth would I want to drink milk?

Has anyone told you a secret this week?
Yes, people tell me secrets most weeks and they stay secrets.

When was the last time you had Starcrack Starbucks?
Never, sixty miles to my nearest Starbucks.

Can you whistle?
No, just make an imperfect flat sound but I can sing.

What are you looking forward to?
Short-term…My daughter coming to visit after her holiday to Jamaica, so she can tell us all about it. Mid-term... The chance at some point to have a break away, a short holiday for my other half and I, time for total chill out.

Did you watch cartoons when you were little?
Yes, Yogi Bear ['What's up BooBoo?' and 'Smarter than the average bear'] and the wonderful Top Cat and his nemisis Officer Dibble.

Do you own any band t-shirts?
Have in the past, mainly Grateful Dead

What will you be doing in an hour?
Having a lovely foamy hot bath.

What was the last song you heard?
Season of the Witch Donovan, for two reasons, my fellow blogger Gemma quoted it on her blog and got me thinking about Donovan, then another fellow blogger Lila sent me a link to Donovan on You Tube and from hence I went on searching until I came across Season of the Witch.

Last time you cried?
As I have said before I often shed a tear at happy or unhappy endings, at happy events or sad events. Within the last few days is probably the truest answer.

Desktop or laptop?
Good old desktop, an old friend.

What’s the weather like?
Grey and chilly today, typical weather for May in our area which always seems to flucuate between wonderful hot sunny days, pouring rain and the aforementioned.

What were you doing an hour ago?
Placing a fish dish for dinner in the oven.

How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
I cannot at the moment sleep the night through, I have been making myself go to bed at 12.30, 1.00 at the latest, otherwise I will be up pottering around until 3.00. I go to sleep easily, the trouble is I can't sleep all night, I always wake, about one minute before the dawn chorus starts. I just realise that that is what my body wants and I go down the stairs and make a cuppa whilst listening to the birds waking up, then go back to bed until wake up time. I probably function on about six hours in total, but really probably should have about seven or eight.

Do you eat breakfast daily?
Always, it's what fuels you for the day, always either fresh juice or probiotic drink and then cereal, finishing up with a cup of coffee.

J M Whistler

What did you do last night?
Started reading a new book, Phil Rickman's The Smile of a Ghost, I love his books.

Do you use sarcasm?
At times I have been known to, and no 'sarcasm is not the lowest form of wit'. I do have at times a dark dry sense of humour.

Do you like mustard?
I love grainy mustard with cold meats and on salad adore honey and mustard dressing.

Do you sleep on your side/back/stomach?
Always sleep on one side or the other. I like to go to sleep on my right side which lets me look at the night sky outside the bedroom window.

Do you watch the news?
Very occasionally, don't really like the way news is shown on television.

Laura Knight

This weekend is an English Public Holiday weekend, which means that Monday is a day off work for people, it is commonly known as Whit Weekend, or Whit Week. This week was always celebrated from the early 1800's in the industrial cities and towns in the North of England by Whit Marches. If you think of the long working hours and days of people of that time, you can understand how a holiday week end would be a huge celebration. People would try to achieve new clothes or at least dress up in their very very best, young girls would wear white dresses with flowers in their hair and marches would be held through out the town. Churches and chapels would march, led by brass bands, around the town to some final area where the fun would begin and there would be games and picnics and a fine time would be had by all. It was a moveable holiday happening on slightly different weekends every year, depending on when Easter and Pentecost were. It has now been regulated to the last weekend in May and is really called Spring Bank Holiday and is just a four day weekend now.


I am hoping for good weather this coming weekend, this is the weekend when I like to get all the annual work in my garden done with so it is ready to enjoy for the summer. I have got my last batch of annuals to plant in the remaining containers. I have bought an oblelisk that I am screwing together to grow clematis up and I need to bring out my collection of ornaments that I have been collecting since last year, nothing like the late summer sales in garden centres. I have also got a set of four solar lights which I will place at sporadic places around the garden to softly illuminate parts at night.

I am experimenting with my flower beds this year, I have planted lots of items over the past few years, and some are now mature, in fact, my borders are probably about as full as they can be, unless I start splitting plants and giving some away. So I have decided to try to have a sort of unkempt look in the garden this year. A type of blowsy, lush ripeness, just teetering on the verge of slipping over into dangerous wildness, but still under control. I don't like gardens where there is not a blade of grass out of place or a weed dare not raise its head. In fact, I have been known to let one or two weeds grow if they have pretty flowers, as some of these weeds are just wild flowers and sometimes of herbal use. I will have to take some photographs of how the garden looks now at the start of the summer and how it progresses through the summer.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

To achieve all the above I will need some good gardening weather, and I have a feeling that it might not be happening according to some long term forecasts. Well we will see, if there is no good weather, I'll just have to indulge in a chillout weekend doing my other favourite things, crafting, reading maybe a dvd or too and some nice wine. Won't that be hard to do?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Castlerigg Stone Circle

Following on from my last post, I found it so interesting to find out what experiences other people had had in liminality. Most commenters had experienced a little something Julie of Celtic Woman has even blogged about an experience she had which is really interesting. She headed her post with a photograph, which unknown to her, meant a lot to me, Castlerigg Stone Circle above Keswick in Cumbria. I promised to do part of my next posting about my small experience within this circle. So here it is.

One of the Standing Stones

I am going back about thirty five years or so, imagine, a cold windswept very early Spring day, spots of rain occasionally falling from the lowering steel grey skies, dark clouds that float over the peaks of some of the higher fells [Fells in Cumbria are small mountains] and if anyone knows the Lake District you know just how oppresive and low the sky can feel there before a long downpour, and when it rains in the Lake District, it rains heavier than I have ever seen anywhere. I was in Keswick, which is about sixty odd miles from me, with some friends for the day. I desperately wanted to go to the Stone Circle, despite the weather, you could drive up in a car, park and cross the field to the Stone Circle. The party divided into two parts, myself and one other person decided to go up to Castlerigg. When we arrived it was a truly desolate site, the stones looming against the pewter sky, not another living person to be seen, just the eerie baaing of the sheep on the fells and the occasional shriek of a curlew. We walked around the stone circle, I remember, touching the stones as we passed them by. We realised we had forgotten to bring a camera, so the other person decided he would go back and check the car to see it there was one in there.

Castlerigg Stone Circle [note the colour of the sky]

I watched him go and then turned back to view from the stone circle the surrounding fells, I remember I was thinking about the people that had built the circle and wondering about their lives. I began to realise that everywhere had gone deathly still, no animal sounds or bird calls, the wind didn't even seem to be blowing. I was rooted to the spot intently staring at the top of one of the fells. The air felt thick almost as if I put my hand out to touch it, my hand would bounce against some spongy substance. Then just for a flicker of a moment, I had a feeling that I was watching out of someone else's eyes and I knew I was waiting for something, whether it was the avenging hoardes of a neighbouring tribe, or just some messenger, and I knew they would come over the crest of the opposite fell. I also remember thinking that it felt as though I had different clothes on and was carrying something, I, honestly, don't know why I never looked down to see, I presume my eyes were fixed on this point I was watching. Suddenly my concentration faltered, I saw another party in kagouls approaching and everything returned to normal. I have never ever forgotten that day and how it felt in the stone circle. I really felt of another time, I have described the incident to the best of my abilitiy, but it was mostly a tactile and mind experience. I put it down to one of the mysterious things that life throws at you.

I have been tagged by Lila of Indigo Pear to list seven random things about myself. Hmmm, this might be quite difficult I think you know just about everything about me from previous memes. Some of these memes are so far back in the depths of time that I can't remember what I have revealed or haven't revealed yet. Well here goes, apologies to anyone who feels cheated and thinks she's said that before!

1. I am left-handed and I love being left-handed, even though it is a right-handed world. People would always comment on it as a child as though it was some great disability. Luckily, my mother was not stupid and did not force me to use my right-hand instead. My greatest difficulty was learning to sew, but I have managed. I would love to embroider properly but the illustrated instruction books don't make sense to me. I have a special pair of left-handed scissors for craft work, and am desperately looking for replacements as they nearing the end of their live. If I use my fountain pen that has a left-handed nib as well. People in my area call it being cack handed, which used to offend me, they probably made a secret evil eye against me too. Put round a table with people, and I will immediately check for left-handed people. There are more of us out there than you would think. Beware we are aiming to take the world over!

Jackie Morris

2. My two worst fears, heights is the first and been totally immersed underwater is the second, my head and neck must be above water. Even a railway bridge between platforms in small stations in the open air makes me shaky. The knock on effect from my fear of heights, is my fear of flying, you know up there in the sky in a plane, no safety net. Which leads me on to my other fear, the water immersion one. Worst possible scenerio, being in a plane in freefall and crashing down into the ocean and being totally immersed in water. Crazy though this may sound, ferries and boats don't bother me, even though they can crash and they travel through water. Perhaps, I was the village witch in a previous life and was thrown into the village duckpond.

J. M .Whistler

3. I am terribly impatient, I can't stand traffic jams, queues, or explaining things to people, if they don't get what I mean right away. I an't stand waiting for buses, trains or even taxis to arrive. I am aware of this failing of mine. It's so stupid, if I have visitors coming, as the time gets nearer I am constantly clock watching and wondering when they will be arrive. This runs over into a pet hate of mine, I cannot abide people who say, leave it with me and I'll get back to you tomorrow about it, then never ring. Arggghhhh! Do that and I'll be back on the phone giving you a headache. Bet you didn't think I would be impatient?

4. I am an only child, not spoilt, please don't mention that old adage, it really annoys me. If I was spoilt I would have had the bike I always wanted and many other things. No, being an only child made me very self sufficient. I had lots of friends to play with, but if none were available I could occupy myself happily. I still can. The only bad thing about being an only child I can think of was, I had no idea at all about sibling interaction. I was determined to have more that one child, and had two, and what a learning curve that was, watching them interact. They were both treated exactly the same, they would take this to a ridiculous extreme. I remember them cutting a Mars Bar, someone had given them to share, in half both standing watching the kitchen scales as they weighed both halves. Yes, they grumble about each at times, but they do share a flat together in London, at the moment, and have done for three years.

5. I am a good listener, I will listen to any friends troubles and sympathise, I will offer advice if asked, but I expect people to act, it not upon my advice, to move forward somehow or from someone's advice. I can't stand people wallowing in self pity or their trouble, although as I said I am sympathetic, I have this desire always to help people move on make their troubles right again. The flip side to this, is that if I feel troubled, I am more likely to try to work it out myself than to talk to people about it [maybe this is another side to my only child status].

6.As a child I would sing or dance for anyone, I played the piano in music festivals and acted in drama festivals without qualm. If there was a show or a play, I would be in it. I was chatty and outgoing. This all changed when I was eleven. I can remember the day, I was acting in a duologue, I came on stage and announced who I was and my partner did the same, except she said like me she was the Country Mouse, whereas in reality she was the Town Mouse. It was, at that time the worst ten minutes of my life, she dried completely, she just couldn't get one line right, I couldn't really help her if she couldn't remember all her lines, my replies didnot make sense as she hadn't said the lines before. For the first time in my life I was aware of how cruel an audience can be, they found it amusing. I never acted in plays again, terrified that that would happen to me one day. I also began to become more introverted, I was always with friends, but large groups would have me slightly tonguetied. I was a lot quieter until I went to college, then I firmly took myself in hand, by thinking unless I was more outgoing I would have no real fun. I blossomed, and boy did I have fun!

Elizabeth Blackadder

7. I cry a lot, at the end of books, at the end of films, if I see animals being hurt, I can cry for any reason, if I am happy, if I read something sad, if I am sent a present. My eyes just fill up, I have tried for years and have never ever managed to conqueor this. Anything that touches me for any reason, good or bad, has the capacity to make me shed a few tears. Not loud sobs, just a few tears fill my eyes up and trickle down my face a little.

Well, that seemed like a marathon task, but there are seven random unusual things about me. I am not tagging any one else, as I never do, but anyone out there feels like doing this, by all means do it.

John Piper

Just to let you know my son is fine and is now back in England. He is an experienced traveller and has been to every country in Europe, some many times and also to most countries in what was Eastern Europe. He loves Barcelona and Madrid, but says he will never ever go to that part of Southern Spain again. He loves travelling but said he felt safer in Tel Aviv than he did in that small part of Southern Spain. He has put it down to a life experience.

I also have heard that our blogging friend Claire, is improving, another blogger has spoken to her and she managed to laugh and giggle a little bit, but please still keep her in your thoughts.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


What a week it has been so far, and it is only Thursday! There was I on Monday celebrating my one year blog anniversary, by Tuesday I had had the Spanish Police on the phone to let me know my son was fine after an incident. He and his three friends were returning to their hotel when one of friends, decided to go into the bar opposite the hotel and get a couple of bottles of wine for them to drink whilst sitting on the balcony. He was set upon by two young Spaniards, one of whom tried to steal his wallet, he ran out of the bar after the guy and my son and friends on the balcony ran down to help him catch the guy. Unfortunately, the two guys suddenly turned into a crowd and there was rather a rough few minutes. Luckily it was all sorted out, but it was quite a shock at the time.


Tuesday, I sat down at the computer after breakfast and found out the terrible news about one of our Glitter Sisters, Claire, who, in her prime, has had a stroke. Emails and phone calls followed this news. I felt so shocked only a few weeks ago Mrs. Nesbitt, Sue, Kai, Kai's sister, Lorna, Claire and I had met up in Thirsk where we had such a lovely time getting to know each other in the real world. This lovely vibrant woman is now recovering in hospital, she has recovered her feeling in her right arm and legs, can understand and read but is having speech problems at the moment, though she should slowly get this back, though it will be long haul. We English Glitter Sisters do have some lovely ideas in the pipeline for her though. Please keep her in your thoughts and wish her a speedy recovery.

My friend Robyn has an interesting posting on her blog today, about how she felt as if for a moment time stood still, and the earth was gathering up its energies to breathe again. This made me think about liminal times and places, and I thought you might like to know about these. Liminal comes from the Latin word limen meaning a threshold. Places and times that are lininal are of great importance, a sort of 'betwixt and between' space between two realities. These are supposed to be places and times when you go pass through a portal into another reality or fae creatures and spirits are at their strongest and easier to see and interact with if you dare. Everyone's personal liminal time is one that happens at least twice a night,. that is the time you fall asleep and the time you wake up. As you go to sleep you can sometimes think that you have seen strange faces or shadows and when you wake up it takes you time to remember if what is in your mind was real or what you were dreaming. I think it is one liminal time we can all relate to.

If you think about liminal time, you can go from a year to a day with liminal points. In the year the liminal points are the equinoxes, the solstices, times when one season moved into another. In the day dawn and dusk, when the day is 'betwixt and between' dark and light, and also midday when it the time of no shadows and some add midnight into liminal time, the end of one day and the beginning of the next. Often I find at dawn or dusk, you get that moment of stillness, a silence unbroken by birds or beast, a time where not even a breeze stirs the leaves in the trees, when you can almost reach out and touch the heaviness of the air and silence. That is a time to stay still and peer into dark or shadowy spaces, or movments around the outer edges of your vision.


Liminal places can be covered by two types, one bound by the elements and one made by man. People often say, I just love the coast, being at the sea, it's balm to my soul, there is an extra electric feeling in the air. This is because all coast is liminal, a border between water, earth and air, a place where the air can haze, shimmer, and move. Mountain tops as well are liminal, a border between the air and earth. Druids had their own special liminal places, their oak groves, especially those near running water. I know a wood near where I live where you walk through and come across a stream winding its way over rocks with trees on either side, this is a liminal space. Waterfalls and caves can be too. You can usually feel when you are in one, you don't what it is, there is just a sort of difference in the air there, a difference in the atmosphere but you would find it hard to put your finger on exactly what it is. To hear a blackbird singing in a place like this is an extra sign, as according to the Druids the blackbird guards the portals to other worlds.

Malham, Yorkshire

Man made liminal places are usually crossing points, bridges, especially those crossing water are liminal places as are stepping stones. Sometimes you hear of people having a fear of bridges, and I often wonder if this is from the collective unconciousness, a knowledge of the specialness of these places. Crossroads, are also liminal, many many myths and folklore have tales involving crossroads. People were hung from them, the devil is supposed to lurk around them for lost souls and witches also gather round them. Country people like to avoid crossroads in the dark of the night.

I am sure if you think about it we all do know some of these liminal places, and maybe think they are special but are unsure why. I think some people call these liminal places, vortexes. Also savour the atmosphere, at dawn or dusk, especially at dusk if you are sitting out in the garden on a summer night and peer carefully into the fading light

E De Morgan

Have you noticed my new banner to my blog? Ms Robyn made this for me, and I finally deduced how to add it to my blog. Wow! I am certainly becoming a computer teckie!!!!! Also sorry if I haven't visited your blogs for a while, I know I am Blogging Without Obligation, but I don't seem to have been commenting on some for quite some time. All will be put right soon, its just I have taken a longterm swap over and have been busy sorting out themes, partners, and other communication aspects with the members. As I said in the title of this blog. I think this week makes you realise that you should appeciate the small joys of everyday and try to make more of them, life is for savouring the tiny satisfying making you happy things as well as the large occasional joys.

Monday, May 14, 2007


One year ago today, I spent the morning setting up my blog template and falteringly working out my first posting. It was a mad spontaneous decision to start a blog. I had lurked around a few blogs to see what was out there after reading an article about them. Then my daughter phoned me full of how she was starting a blog. I just thought, 'What fun!', imagining rambling at some length to the world in general. With trepidation I put out my first posting and then with even greater bravardo left comments on a couple of blogs I really liked the look of. Then I went about the rest of the day wondering if I would get any comments, or would the world in general see fit to ignore me. Late that evening I returned to my blog, and yes, I actually had a comment. Guess who was my first commenter? Why, of course, it was someone who was to become a dear friend of mine in cyber world, Ms Robyn! After that, three more comments arrived, and there was no stopping me, my daughter never found the time to get her blog off the ground properly but here I still am!

What have I learnt in my first year of blogging. So much, just so much. Mostly positive, most people are nice, but you do come across one or two who let you down. I have made friends all around the world, and actually met some of them, become a Glitter Sister, have participated in both successful and unsuccessful swaps, actually ran a couple of swaps and best of all, these two things, I have learnt so much about other people's lives and found a support network of people I can discuss life with. The most important point of my blog has been though, to break through my block of many years in my art work and send my creativity soaring again. I am creating my healing spirit dolls, my other little fripperies, altering anything from cards to books. Blogging made me decide to start my Local History Group, after writing snippets about our village history on my blog. Also with exchanging customs from other cultures, I have immersed myself deeper and deeper in my English myth, folklore, herbs and magic.

Elizabeth Blackadder

Here's to the future of communicating with you all. I am not saying I will blog for evermore, but I am happy to do so at the moment, but I do know I will always find a way to communicate my Daisy ramblings and lore to the world. Raise a glass or two of pinot grigio with me tonight to celebrate this day. [It is only breakfast time for me now!]

Laura Knight

I am looking out of the window at a cloudy sky, but in among the clouds are patches of blue, and the sun is trying to shine. I had an early morning stroll down to my garden, which is looking so verdant after all the rain, some of the plants are taking beds over, but I am rather inclined not to cull them until autumn and let this garden, be of blowsy controlled chaos this summer, just letting it teeter on the edge of wildness, not too far, just a suggestion, so you can imagine secrets hidden in the plants. And there will be secrets hidden in the plants I have been collecting up all sorts of interesting bits and pieces to put between the plants and I hope to have them all in position by the beginning of June, when weather permitting, I should have done all my serious planting. The poppies have numerous heads on them. [Don't they look like green aliens emerging from the leaves?] I will have to stake these up as poppy leaves are notoriously untidy and sprawl everywhere. My beautiful pale blue irises are waiting to open and I keep scooping up and putting in pots the marigolds that have self seeded from last year.

Tara from Silver Apples of the Moon, sent me some herb seeds in the autumn and they have germinated nicely and are pushing up out of the soil in their pots. All the way from her garden in America to my cottage. I have taken delivery of four giant bags of bark chipping to recover the path between the stepping stones, and to seriously cover where the table and chairs reside. I do feel everything is happening a couple of weeks earlier this year, and hope that my garden will be able to maintain its freshness throughout the summer. Even the bedding plants are taking off earlier, I just hope that they are not finished too soon, such as before August is out.

Other items of interest to me at the moment, I am currently reading the new Barbara Erksine book, Daughters of Fire, which goes between present day Edinburgh and Yorkshire and Celtic times in those two places. I have decided as well to make a summer project of re-reading some of Thomas Hardy and reading one or two of his I have never got round to reading. I love Thomas Hardy's more rural books, especially Tess of the D'Urbervilles, a tragic soulful rural tale. This was also made into a brilliant film a good few years ago by Roman Polanski. I have spent a couple of classical evenings listening to Chopin's Nocturnes, balm to the soul, soothing yet stark, conjuring up wonderful images. Also I have been dipping back into old Paul Simon, you sometimes just forget what wonderful lyrics he writes.

James Whistler

Once again, don't forget to raise a glass with me tonight for Cats in the Kitchen Flora in the Garden is one year old today.

Friday, May 11, 2007


It is almost the start of a new month in the Celtic year. On 13th May, we will enter the month of Huath, the Hawthorn. This tree, though in England it is used as hedging and can be more like a shrub, is also known as Maybush, Maytree, Thorn bush. It is one of the important triad of trees, Oak, Ash, and Thorn, and it is said that when those three species grow together if you are quiet and patient you may be able to see the faeries. Also to fall asleep under a blossoming Hawthorn, is a risky thing to do, you may be captured by the faeries and whisked away to their lands never to be seen again.

The Greeks and Romans saw the Hawthorn as a symbol of hope and marriage, yet in later times, Europeans considered it a bush that was associated with witchcraft. These two contradictory sides to the meaning of Hawthorn, mirror the bush itself, with its dangerous thorns and beautiful blossoms. It is unlucky to cut the flowering Hawthorn and bring it into the home before Maytime, but hawthorn has many uses in the home. If it is hung from the rafters it will keep evil spirits away. To hang a branch of Hawthorn on the roof of your house is said to protect your home from lightening. It is also used hanging from the roof of the milking parlous to make sure the cows continue to be happy and give large yields of milk. The wood of Hawthorn also makes one of the hottest fires and it burns well. Beware, though, if wanting to use the wood of Hawthorn you must never cut it while it is flowering. To cut a flowering Hawthorn branch to use or burn the wood, is to upset the fae and they will take their revenge on you. Many Country people plant a Hawthorn bush outside their homes, also as protection, though it has been heard that a witch has the ability to hide in the shape of a Hawthorn. A thorn from the Hawthorn bush can be carried in a pouch to ward off depression, and is also supposed to be good luck when fishing. Hawthorn has an affinity with water and is often planted next to sacred wells, especially in Ireland where you can see rags, and strips of material hanging from the tree where people have asked for favours.

Paul Nash

Herbally, berries, bark, seeds, branches and flowers are used. The berries are a cardiac tonic, but they must be mixed with other herbs to dilute its potency. Please do not try to make this tea if you are inexperienced, it really does depend on the other herbs in it as well. Its leaves and blossoms can be brewed to create a tea to aid anxiety, and poor ciculation. Hawthorn can be used for health, prosperity, protection, love and marriage, purity, cleansing, happiness and to lose old habits and dusty old ideas.
John Piper

Village cottages would be decked with Hawthorn on Mayday and the Maypole often had a crown of the same. Some villages would have branches of flowering Hawthorn that they would carry from door to door, bestowing blessings on all the village homes. Kissing balls and Mayday crowns also incorporated Hawthorn, and these crowns would be left at the end of Mayday under Hawthorn trees for the faeries to reclaim.

Our weather has now settled back into its normal pattern of early May, heavy showers and gusts of wind. These wild gusts of wind come from a local wind that blows at this time of year, it is known as the Helm Wind. It is a wind that develops, a curious pbenomenon that occurs along several miles of the local fells. Though we just get the tale end of it in our village.
The helm wind is a strong, blustery easterly wind that descends the western slope of the Cross Fell Range in Cumbria, northern Enlgand. It roars as it gusts and seems to be able to penetrate the smallest gaps and make your house chill. In certain years it has been so strong that it has wrongly been called a hurricane. A predictor of this wind is the helmet or cap of a certain type of cloud that forms above Cross Fell escarpement itself.


Even between the showers, when the sun comes out and the clouds scud across the sky, it is too gusty and blowy to chance doing anything in the garden. Luckily none or my plants are large enough to have been damaged, apart from the honeysuckle its wire backing has been partly ripped from the wall. I am hoping for a good weekend to sort that problem out. Today I am determined to sort my desk in my workroom which is an absolute disgrace, and I must get Sweetpea's bedroom put to rights [I have been storing things in there] and after she has been to Jamaica, at the beginning of June, she will be coming to stay for a few days in the middle of June. So the bad weather is the perfect excuse to sort out her room and make it welcoming again. I know when the weather gets better, I will make any excuse to put off doing her room and to spend my time in the garden.

By the way, if anyone wants to take my 'Greedy Juicy Summer' banner and use it as a badge on their sidebar that's fine by me. The painting is a still life by Cezanne and is not copyrighted and the words are mine.