Thursday, July 31, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
We thought they probably shouldn't be allowed to flower, but they were so lovely we left them, then cut them off and brought them into the house in a big jar on the windowsill.
By yesterday they were beginning to smell a bit, well, garlicky, so they had to end their days on the compost heap. The gargantuan bulbs themselves we have started eating: roasted with spuds, or sliced or crushed in soups and sauces. They are delicious, but moderation is advised. The flavour is very mild.
Windy Skies (India) - Anil lives in Bombay. He posts fairly infrequently, but often at length. Wonderful writing, seems to me to have an insider's knowledge with an outsider's wonder at it all, and subtle, illustrative photos, dreamy, gentle, all in extraordinary light. Train journeys across India, the window his companion, discoursing on Indian cinema, memory, custom, human geography. I love this blog!
Works well ( UK, and occasionally France) - Barrett Bonden. The endless fascination of practical things: motor bikes, septic tanks, kids scooters, garlic crushers, all with a good salting of dry humour. And more besides, books, refelctions, reminiscenses from a clearly very clever man, with French connections. I always get too caught up chatting here.
My mark of humility (USA)- Elizabeth. A family blog, very loving and happy atmosphere. One of the really nice things about Elizabeth, though, is that she's a very appreciative, conscientious, kind blogger. She thanked me for leading her to another blogger who's work she was enjoying, which pleased and surprised me. and her computer and someone she knows have just been struck by lightning!
From the House of Edward (USA) - Edward is a gorgeous dog, who lives with Pamela, who's a designer. This blog is a total charm and nostalgia fest; as well as the adorability of Edward and his adopted sister Apple, there's much civilised chat, books and poems, and the most fabulous collection of pictures of the kind you remember from childhood and haven't seen for years: Victorian paintings and children's book illustrations, art nouveau fantasies in dolly mixture colours. I don't know where Pamela finds them, but they're so beguiling, and it's all beautifully put together.
Kolokolo - (Czech Republic) Julia is an American living in Prague, and so another displaced person, which always draws me. Despite having a five-year old and very small baby in tow and working from home, and playing the piano and more, she still sometimes finds time to blog! I have an especial affection for this one in fact because James was my first blogging baby; there was a short post left there late one night saying, in effect, I'm having contractions and just off to the hospital, see you after the birth, which I thought showed devotion to the cause above and beyond... Oh, and one of her favourite books is 'The Riddle of the Sands', which is rather intriguingly unusual.
Accept all offerings - a new blog from a very old and dear blogging friend. Herhimnbryn was one of my very first visitors, and has always been incredibly lovely, faithful and intelligent in her commenting. Clearly she has been for many, and her original blog, Secret Hill, was deservedly popular. Then she took a longish break, and has now cleaned her palette and come back with this wonderfully stripped-back offering. Saying a lot with a little was always her strong point, a few words, a photo, often black and white, occasionally a video, always eagerly awaited.
Spiralskies - I'm not sure that Jen is such a recent addition, really but I had to get it in. It's one of the funniest on my list, unfailingly, and anyone who has the least recollection of Keith Chegwin must read this post, and must read the comments. Yes, I know there were 64 of them at the last count but it's worth it, you'll see. At a time when I didn't feel at my most like laughing I laughed until the tears ran and I was in danger of fusing the laptop.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
The first was done to illustrate a poem I wrote about toads, herewith included. This one obviously wouldn't do for a cookery book. Unless you were one of Macbeth's witches. Apologies to lovely (toad-phobic) sister for any distress caused.
- who, in passionate self-abnegation, urgent
with procreative zeal, hung their spawn
about the pond in viscous rosaries -
are born toad tadpoles. Innocent
of the orgiastic rites from which they came,
these oblates feed on slime, slowly
putting on arms and legs, to undergo assumption
onto land. They'll live as eremites
in cells of earth and stone, unmortified
by cold and damp, until the spirit moves them to intone
their chiming canticles on moist spring nights
and calls them in their turn to make
their progress to the water.
Poem and cobnut were inspired by qarrtsiluni's new 'Transformation' theme, which is yielding some wondrous things, as ever. They've accepted some of my photos, which is nice, I'll say when they're up there.
Molly's brighter, and has bursts of cheerful energy, though she often flakes out immediately afterwards, and sometimes seems uncomfortable, and is a little distant. I was able to clean round her ear by giving her a gentle, warm, not all-over, shower, which rather distracted her from the fact it was actually the hurty place I was cleaning, and Betadine I was using. She has to go back to the vet next week and I don't know what they'll want to do, but in the meanwhile, we're all just relaxing a bit in the sense of relief. Thanks again for kind words and concern.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
In the scheme of things, it's not so catastrophic, I suppose, or life threatening or hopeless. Molly suddenly became very painfully ill, apparently from a complication from last years operation, an abscess or some such, we don't exactly know. We spent a long and difficult day in and around the vet's at Plerin on Tuesday, but it's not really resolved. She's dosed up to the eyeballs with painkiller, cortisone and antibiotics, the last she needs to continue taking at least until the end of August. She's still troubled by it but not suffering so much now, but the whole matter is very up in the air, I don't know if we'll have to go back today, tomorrow... and I worry at the consequences of so much anaesthetic and antibiotics in her system. The expenses incurred are the least of it. I'm just relieved that I don't have a full family and working life that a dog would have to be fitted around.
It's so bitterly disappointing and disheartening to be back here again, after all the heartache and hard work of the ear operation last year, when everyone here was so supportive and lovely I don't know what I'd have done without you, that I don't think I can face giving blow by blow accounts of it and presuming on everyone's interest and kindness again, but I'll be back and forth, and once again, thanks. We're all a bit better rested now anyway.
The disappointment is compounded because I was supposed to be flying to England yesterday to see lovely sister, meet up with rr, and travel with her to Yorkshire for the wedding party (I do think of it as such, though on the invite it's a Civil Partnership Party) of Tall Girl and L, which has been planned and looked forward to for ages. rr and Tall Girl are probably the people who've been in my life longest of anyone outside of family, and letting them down like this is wretched, but I know I can't leave Tom and Molly to cope alone, I'd worry too much anyway.
So that's my tale of woe, which as I say, is not enormous in the scale of things. As matters calm and clarify, I'll try to get back with more interesting stuff here and brief updates, and to get around all of yours too. Much love to all and huge amounts of gratitude.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Bear with me, back soon.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Ghazal - 'stone' radif
A heart that is broken will mend, but can end up a lot like a stone;
what is tender and fleshy is sweet, but will rot, not endure like a stone.
If the field that you sow in is bitter, the plough's blade will break as it turns,
the seed corn will wither and die there, and all you will crop will be stone.
"You'll have garnets and rubies, my darling, to drip from your fingers like wine,
but if blood's what you're after" he told her, "you'll not get a drop from this stone!"
The clay that lies cold in the earth comes to life in the potter's warm hands,
then fired in the hot kiln's red heart, the pot is as hard as a stone.
At night she would call to her lover, "I am here at the foot of the stair -
it's you that I want and you only, have mercy, I'm not made of stone!"
The old woman sat by the river, and smilingly held out a hand,
"Come cross over now, dear, with me; we'll hop over water and stone..."
"Open your hand, Lucy, show me, what you have there, your fingers curled tight!"
I yielded. "You lied, that's not treasure, all you have got is a stone!"
Oh, sod it, here's another.
Ghazal - 'mind' radif
Cracks and flaws in spirit, fears of error, conspire to shake the balance of a mind,
but shafts and shadows change as days move onwards, and sunlight's angle slants a cast of mind.
As cruel besetting soldiers hurl their torments at citizens inside the hungry walls,
so do the demons of the smaller hours, pelt their cruel jibes and taunts at besieged minds.
The day had turned from red to gold to silver, and found her long already on the road,
her eyes on hills ahead, the road before her, and never a backward glance to sway her mind.
I'd sit all day and watch the swallows flying, a whirl of life, quick fragments of the sky,
bursting from mudded nests, all streaming sunwards, a sight to quite entrance an earthbound mind.
Gone is the dried and gnawed-at bone of morning, the weariness of empty afternoon,
the deepening of twilight, wine's warm welcome, the drawing-in of night grants peace of mind.
You'll tussle with the words and thoughts and fancies, and seek elucidation of some kind,
but when will you admit and see the light,girl? You'll never find the answers in your mind!
Oh, and my moon radif ghazals were published on the Ghazal Page, here, and here. There really is a fantastic selection there, so please, poetical people, take some time to read some of them!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Abram Darby's looking very lovely.
They're making a film of 'The Vintner's Luck', which I'm looking forward to. It can't be as good as the book, which is a must if you like wine, history and angels, or all three, or even if you don't, and far better to my mind than anything I've read by Joanne Harris, whose work's far better known and more marketed, but it's by the director of 'Whale Rider', and shot by someone who did 'Lord of the Rings', and they've apparently roped off huge tracts of Burgundy to do it, so it should be fairly luscious.
We've been stopped in our tracks in a concreting project; we mixed and mixed on Saturday until we ran out of cement, then couldn't go and get any more today when we remembered it was Fête nationale. I suggested we go and storm the gates of Gamm Vert and liberate the sole bag of cement on the premises, but we decided against, and have spent the day so far reading, writing, painting(or watching DVDs about painting anyway), wandering round the garden with a camera, listening to Handel and generally slobbing about. I'm supposed to be making lemon cake to take to our friends' who have a nearly front row seat in their garden to watch the fireworks so we tend to invite ourselves there. The swallows who have decided to nest in our garage since Tom took the door off are perhaps happier. They'd built about three inches of nest, but our noisy concreting activities and coming and going seemed to have put them off, but they were back this morning. They don't have to worry about public holidays disrupting their supply of mud, they sow not neither do they reap...
"What's Africa like then?" "Dunno, never been."
Happy Bastille Day.
Friday, July 11, 2008
A plan d'eau is any fairly small artificial lake. This one is there as a recreational spot, part of the landscaping of the municipal area. It is stocked with fish and anglers use it mostly at weekends, you can just go and get a day permit from the Mairie nearby. The watercourse it is part of continues in a number of other smaller ponds on terraces down the hill to the sewage treatment works at the bottom.
and a stand of shrub-sized judas trees.
The rugosa roses produce flowers and hips for a long season.
The water's edge is kept fairly clear of reeds and reedmace, for the benefit of the anglers but also to avoid providing cover for coypu, the giant naturalised Canadian rodents that can destroy banks and spread leptospirosis. But there are a few plant species planted there: these which I can't identify,
and a gunnera which I'm never quite sure if I like, but its forms and textures, in all kinds of states, continue to intrigue me.
In front of one bench is a patch of red water lilies.
Although the verges and banks are mown and kept fairly tidy, there are plenty of places nature is allowed to play a little rough with. Among the interesting wild plants that flourish is mullein, whose prettily furry rosettes and spikes have here been ravaged by the nearly as prettily zingy-coloured mullein moth caterpillars. The moth itself is a dull grey little thing, but the larva obviously have a wild yellow and black youth among the fuzz.
There is a reasonable amount of fauna: herons, green and spotted woodpeckers, finches, tits, a nuthatch or two, I thought I saw a tree creeper once, and a lot of rabbits, since, although there is fishing, no chasseurs are allowed, as it is a public park. During the winter I'm often glad of it as a place where I won't run into them. Even so, the ducks are shy, and prefer the ponds further off where people don't go. Molly is clueless about rabbits, they often pop up right in front of her and she doesn't see them, so busy is she with her olfactory sense. However, an extraordinary wildlife sighting one may experience is of the Beast of Trédaniel, the plan d'eau cat, captured here sunning itself on a rock, and really an enormous creature, quite capable, I'm sure, of taking on a fully grown rabbit.
This is the only picture here not taken with the small camera. I find the place yields a surprising amount to look at and take in and photograph; as well as the entries on Out with Mol, quite a lot of photo posts here have been from time spent there. Yet more are sitting in folders which I've not posted. A post at Jean's had me thinking about how we tend to feel the need to only use, seasonal, up to the minute, current photos on our blogs. I like this seasonality, but also think it might be a good idea sometimes to look over and show older pictures that perhaps were passed over before. So perhaps I'll run an occasional series of back-number plan d'eau pictures.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
And then we went home.