Monday, April 30, 2007

Crosspatch Day

We don't have Santa Ana winds this far North, but something is up, from the outage which undid a morning's work to the snarkiness and lack of cooperation from things. Pins dropped, staples twisted, thread snapped, and I lay on the sofa and didn't wake until 10.30.

I can see that no-one is going to like the deer fence I just put up. I have had such positive comments from my neighbours about the front garden so far - but if the deer eat it won't it look dreadful? The fence isn't purty of course, and round here things have to be purty.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

John Masefield

"I have seen flowers come in stony places
and kind things done by men with ugly faces
and the gold cup won by the worst horse at the races,
so I trust too."

Down to the River

I doubt I will be able to row today and it makes me sad. I have so enjoyed the last three days, I can envisage rowing every morning, it is no effort at all, and the quiet of it, the mountain, the challenge of negotiating the curves, curiosity about the houses along the river, pleasure in the sun and the breezes, the discipline and the clutch at the heart when it tips - they are all delightful. Even washing the boat afterwards as carefully as I would wash a baby, murmuring comfortably, drying all the nooks and crannies then tucking it away on the rack safe and sound. I stop short at kissing it goodnight but I wouldn't put that past Norma.

Francisco is levelling Mary's terrace now and I have said I will stay and supervise, which really just means asking him to do this or that next. Progress.

A Strong and Willing Lad

I am waiting for the gardener to come - Mary's gardener, and I eagerly accepted her offer. There is a rat's nest of clippings on the waterline I don't want to touch, and I NEED wire to stop the cat thoroughfare under the house unless I want to turn my new beds into a litter tray (Suscipe I can forgive, it is the visitors I resent). Then the posts whacked in along the front - oh, he'll be busy.

I have trimmed the tree at the front, just one heavy branch out to let filtered light through, and shifted the 1/2 cubic yard of soil from truck to path, bucket by bucket. I want the lad to do the things I can't do even by creeping up on them.

Last night mum reminded me of my delight in the music student who did heavy work for me at Park Village. He was built like John Ridd of Lorna Doone, and I so enjoyed watching him heave half a barrow-load with every cut that my friends became concerned. It wasn't lust, it was the luxury of seeing how easy it was for him when it cost me all my effort. He broke many spades with his great splayed feet. Lovely boy.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Moving Pictures

Why do I like this little picture so much? It set off a Norman Rockwell fest, and I remember seeing them as a child and being struck by the American-ness of it all...not this one though.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


I pegged clothes out on my new washing line today, hoping that clothes, pegs nor my dear self will end up in the water below. Wore my pinny to put the pegs in the pocket and felt like the total Eco-Mummy.

Total promiscuous vicarious house junkie too, what with Norma and Paddy both in the grip of house lust and floor plans and agents' detail flying. I feel destiny is infallible in where we live. Strange that neither of them yearn for chooks and orchards the way I do: the sheep were a bit of fantasy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Is this a lovely house?

Paddy found this link for Norma, which reminded me that she found Park Village East for us. Good hunting!

Monday, April 23, 2007

And On

Listening to Bach early this morning on the way from the airport; no-one could doubt that he was a happy man. My mind then roamed over all those children, the idea of proliferation in music and progeny - can it have been as effortless as it sounds?

A wonderful week of adventure, relaxation and chat has come to an end and I spend today on the mundane: vet, cat bath, building raised beds. So here I am now with a lovely fat ream of new paper, work tomorrow, lots to think about and happy memories with a lovely friend.

Clothesline, tick, rose essence "that's INTENSE!", sawdust to the chin, pumpkin curry and espresso.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Virtue its own Punishment

So, Da Godmother is come among us and we have been all over. This afternoon though she is taking Felix, or he her, on the definitive sunglasses hunt, with digressions. I am husbanding my energies for the Rose Tour tomorrow, when we will learn how to distill essence from the petals. Very heaven.

I pottered this morning, making bread and candle, whacking in all protruding nails from the recycled timbers, potting up cuttings, spreading fertiliser and joy wherever I go. The net looks functional and handsome draped along the fence, and the buoys and floats tactfully point up that it is a fishing net, yes! I have a long thin mirror behind the old lilies in an attempt to give them more light - I moved most of them to a sunny spot before I raised the bed but two stay-behinds have struggled through the extra twelve inches of soil and I haven't the heart to ignore such gallantry.

Yesterday after lunch with Cissy at the Half Day I frogmarched Eileen to Bare Escentuals and we had a very satisfactory session. She hates foundation so I have been touting these powders as if I owned shares, and I thought she looked wonderful. We got talking about eyebrows and I ended up redoing the makeup artists' so I was a happy missionary. I love eyebrows.

We then visited a grim commune in Tiburon with Stefan, luxurious, unfocussed and joyless. Once we had handed over the lens rings and seen the grounds I couldn't wait to get out of there but managed to be in good-visitor mode right until someone demonstrated the vibrating plate in the gym. Straight face very hard to maintain. They have a gym, and employ gardeners. Heretics.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

All the Photos

What is this life if,

At five this morning I got up too energised to sleep, so unloaded the three remaining bags of stones from the truck and sat in the pre-dawn peace in my new garden. It isn't finished but it feels like a garden (the deck feels like a deck), and I soaked it all in, the birdsong, the lovely tension between pride and impatience to get on with it, Suscipe intimidating the mosquito fish in the little pond, jasmine and honeysuckle and that feeling of fresh green companions near my skin. Chlorophyll centers on one atom of magnesium, haemoglobin on one of iron. I think.

when I came in I read this article:
which was so relevant to what I had just been doing, so meaningful, that I sat and listened now at 11 am to the whole tape (in the interim I went back to bed). It haunts me. The absence of meaning which so often oppresses me has lifted, whether it is the sandpit pleasure of arranging rocks - it looks like Brighton Beach - or the joys of creation, nature, beauty, community, I don't know but am grateful.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

On the Beach

I always want harmony with the spirit of place without getting too carried away with lighthouse doorstops etc, so I am delighted with the beach pebbles I found at the ASA, amongst the chickens, pigs and peacocks. I carted home half a ton of them and tossed them one by one over the fence, easier than carrying all the way round in a bucket, and have now laid about one square yard - who would have known it could be so painstaking? Only three more to go.

The bed edging I did the simple way, timbers from the fence and pounded rebar. I am tracking an old fishing net (with floats!) on e-Bay for the honeysuckle, jasmine and nasturtium to climb up, and if it is a success I might get another for the passion flower up the side of the house. AND put pebbles over the dank little bed beside the front path so I can move things around in pots. AND put a zinc top over the old table so that it looks like a potting bench from Petersham Nurseries. AND hang all my ships lanterns along the fence. Avast, me hearties!

We have a sirocco blowing so I am anxious about my tender plants, even dug up a limp lobelia to revive it inside with a cool cloth over its brow.

I really seem to be happiest when I exhaust myself.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I have been so carried away with gardening that yesterday I slipped down the bank and twisted one elbow and one knee, so hors de combat inconveniently. I managed to take the fence down with help from Cissy, it looks wonderful to my eyes, so I hope Mary feels the same. Today I hobbled about quietly sweeping, watering, staking, tomorrow the old paling go to the dump with odd tree limbs, fennel, and the old bathroom door.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Contrarian

Norma has just reminded me how refreshing it is to read an opposing view, which is why I was so taken with the Christian Wife book.

It is Easter Sunday, bread and lamb in the oven, we rowed Corte Madera Creek this morning and Felix managed to get back into the boat midstream, not easy. I had to keep doing pivot turns until the fourth time I approached the dock someone took pity of me and held my oar so I didn't shoot past (again). All good stuff.

All my menfolk are looking deliciously handsome with new haircuts, so I am enjoying it. Even Suscipe is sleek - and I soaked myself in Easter Masses this morning, from Mozart to Rutter, Glagolitic this evening, because it is windy and to me the Slav sounds like a high wind, to be enjoyed in March.

I am giving in on the hop, will plant solanum instead. sigh.

Friday, April 06, 2007


Grumpy after an abortive hunt for a good romping humulus lupulus aureus, but I have planted new lavender and dark lobelia in the teeth of a stiff wind (playing havoc with my clematis armandii), watered, looked for Lyle who escaped when Mary's front door blew open, and am now contemplating Easter weekend with new artichokes, roast chicken (lamb on Sunday), all the dear old Easter hymns I love for the wrong reasons. We are on track for spring.

I bought a pot of freesias on impulse after admiring swathes of them while walking with Mimi, I can plant them out once they fade, but for now the scent is very heaven, reaching me from the dresser.

I am becoming SUCH a boring old fart, every activity recorded in monotonous detail.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Woman After God's Own Heart

I have come to realise that if I am intrigued by a blog I had jolly-well better Bookmark it or I will never be able to find it again. I have been leafing through by hitting the 'next blog' button, but it is never the same series from one moment to the next, reminds me of "The Faraway Tree", one of my favourite young-childhood books.

So I have not been able to find a blog by a young woman who describes herself as a young Christian wife and mother, and who devotes many column-inches to 'A Woman After God's Own Heart' by Elizabeth George, thesis: be the best possible wife you can be. When the steam stopped whistling from my nostrils and I regained my detachment, I experienced envy. Yes, envy. The idealistic part of me that wants to be Lord Chesterton, Marmee and Lassie rolled into one, resonates to aspiring to the highest and best one can be. It is seductive.

I would find a husband on a similar mission intolerable. I think my risk is low.

I would rather have universal empathy. David always said altruism. A change of heart, or maybe coming from the heart instead of looking for advantage.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I do enjoy finding new blogs, so will share this one,
She has a wonderful use of images.

I am so under-occupied! So many things I could do. Still smarting under Ruth's back-handed: "Tricia is such a rag-bag of talents", and she has been dead for - ten years now? And really, I just want to work, in production, at what I do best. Good projects, good clients, more of the same.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I Can Do This...


That is my favourite, lust-worthy rug, Simdu from Odegard. about $100 per square foot so I am never going to get it. I'll just dribble whenever I think about it.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Elephant in the Room

So since then I have been thinking about the matriarchal wisdom of the elephant and the idiocy of modern young women: don't they know anything? I think I'll start a Joan Barrington Trust for emotional intelligence.