Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The New Term

A week ago I took my daughter to Uni. 
She’s studying Illustration in sunny Brighton. 
She is sharing a house with six first year art students. 
The upheaval has temporarily taken its toll on my sanity.

Why was I sanding down an old chest of drawers for her the day before departure? 
And why hadn’t her washing been done sooner?

I can still only manage short sentences.
But it has been a learning curve, so here are my tips on what to take and what not to leave behind.

Succulents and potted herbs are fundamental, don’t argue.

Clothes pegs have many uses and have assisted mankind for over 150 years. Don’t let any student tell you they’ve been superceeded by an App.

Empty nutella jars will be very handy for keeping leftovers in the shared fridge. And a house full of art students should have some fancy pens between them for labelling the little snap on lids. 

Don’t worry about seeming to be eccentric... sneak in a tray of home-grown apples, courgettes, carrots, garlic, onions, home-made jam, chutney, fragrant plum sauce and crabapple and chilli jelly. It WILL be appreciated because it’s FREE.

Check the clothes dryer before you set off. 
(Today in a gesture of unconditional love, I have searched for, found, packed up and posted underwear!)

Break your journey at IKEA. It is integral to the rite of passage... even if you only buy another plant, over door hooks and a toilet brush.

If you can, also stop off at the grandparents en route. They will love being involved in this exciting stage of their granddaughter’s life. It also means you can borrow a duvet when your daughter’s own is inexplicably still lying on her bed at home.

And finally, when you arrive at the house, be prepared to do the lion’s share of carrying boxes and A1 portfolios up to the top floor. After all your daughter will need time to get her succulents arranged on the shabby chic chest of drawers!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers" Claude Monet

…and then when their petals have fallen, 
aren't seed heads just as compelling?

Friday, September 12, 2014

London Fashion Week… for Chickens

Hello, I’m Peggy MBE *

To coincide with London Fashion Week I’m proud to unveil my latest plumage. When I arrived at Mary’s coop some weeks ago I’ll admit that after a year of barn life with no direct sunlight I was due for a bit of a makeover.

Hulanicki, (who's a bit of a diva), was only too eager to rise to the challenge of giving me a few styling tips. She's quite a stunner. Passionate about the black and white Op art of the sixties, she can carry off shockingly bold designs with her slim figure and catwalk swagger. 

For me, fortunately, she toned things down a bit. I’m at that stage in life where a 'tunic to cover the tummy' is so much more flattering. Call it real fashion, for real fowl.

So, tah dah... I hope you like my textured layers, topped off with cheeky dip-dyed tail feathers! 

…job well done!

* I am named in memory of a dear friend. Peggy had been awarded an MBE for a lifetime of fundraising for sick children. 
Mine too is for services to the community... an egg a day for as long as I can remember.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I Love Allotments

Earlier this summer I jumped at the invitation to visit a friend’s community allotment open day.
The sunny slope was like an intricate patchwork quilt. 
Colourful annuals were embroidered between rows of neatly weeded leeks.

Lolling cardoons danced around a chic scarecrow-ess, while abandoned courgettes, with their heavily swollen bellies, eyed the vigour of neighbouring climbing beans.

There were favourite nooks for private thoughts,

blue water butts hugging precious rainfall,

 lots of little sheds full of treasured garden tools,

and contentment written on absolutely everyone’s face!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


How did we so quickly tumble into September? 

Carrots, sweetcorn, lettuce, beans, courgette, cucumber and plums, the succulent currency of August, 
has been exchanged for Autumn’s apples and blackberries. 

 The drone of heavy farm machinery competes with approaching thunderclouds as summer is rolled swiftly away. 

Rural idyll? 

Two buzzards were calling to each other last night; an extraordinary experience and an extraordinary sound, but every thirty-five seconds for two hours?  As I lay awake, I was wondering how I could most accurately describe the hullabaloo they were making. Imagine a terrier chewing on a squeaky toy and you’re somewhere close. 

Sweet dreams!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bin Day

“Happiness is a by-product of absorption”. T E Lawrence

I’ve just been messing around with some ghastly plastic tubs from the recycling bin
 and a few wooden slats from a rotting garden chair. 

I have been very absorbed...

...and my carrots are delighted with their Victoriana makeover.

Who’d have thought so much happiness was lingering in the bin!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The lucky damsons, that escaped the sticky spoons of jam making, found a snug home in a charity shop teacup.