Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Books and boots and collages and goodbye 2014

Before any Old Year's Night meditations, I want just to share the delights of my Christmas haul of books and music:

This is mostly acquired by ordering the things I want over the preceding weeks and months, then Tom snaffles them away and brings them out for me at Christmas. I do the same for the things he orders. This works pretty well, ensuring each of us gets what we want, with even the occasional element of surprise when we forget what it was we ordered in the first place.

Also, though again not really a surprise as I had to try them on, but an unexpected pleasure nonetheless, since I didn't know such nice ones existed, the Best Pair of Wellies Ever. I have long needed a new pair of possibly what are the most important items of footwear, along with good slippers, for my mode of living, since the old ones, either by the action of garden tools or by the weakness of polyurethane or whatever they're made of these days, acquired a small hole just before the toe, leaving me always with an annoying wet patch on my sock, where the bunion would be if I had bunions, which I'm happy to say I do not, since I have always used my feet well, run around barefoot through most of my childhood and beyond and never worn stupid shoes. Flat-footed feminist and proud, that's me. Anyway, these are not only quite beautiful, with their foliate decoration, but also very comfortable: snug, supple and warm, they do not pull and twist one's socks off inside and are easy to pull on too. Who said progress isn't what it used to be? (And yes I know I've said more about the boots than the books but I've worn the boots and haven't read the books yet, or only a bit.)


So, the end of 2014 is nigh.  The year when I said goodbye to the dearest of beings, and cried an awful lot. When paid work and poetic inspiration finally dried up altogether, and I let them go without much struggle; when it seems to me a process of stripping back and stepping back, of detachment and patience and acceptance has been required. And yet, it's also been the year when things and creatures and places and people were found or re-found, or they found me: Jordi Savall and Patrick O'Brian, sculpted stone and Quess'quitricote and greyhounds, Père Lachaise and the Ile de Batz ... and more and others I'll not name but treasure them up in my heart. 

And I continue to come back here ( more often this year than last, in fact, 90 posts this year against 75 last, for what it's worth) and to treasure and appreciate my friends here, old and new, for new friends continue to appear, to my great satisfaction. So thanks and love to all, and may all manner of things be well for you for the coming year. 

And on that note, my final end-of-the-month collage for December, followed by all of them for the year past. I'm pleased I've kept up this practice, albeit erratically, which seems at once to show how long and rich and change-filled the year has been, and also, paradoxically, how it has flown by. 

  1. Winter wheat field.
  2. Meadow pipit; winter bird flocks are mixed and indistinguishable, sometimes the camera allows an id I wouldn't get just by eye.
  3. Ditch water. Not as dull as it's made out to be.
  4. Redcurrant jelly, from the summer's crop, with Port. Very good.
  5. Sushi birthday.
  6. First frost and slippered feet.
  7. Christmas Eve.
  8. Christmas Day dinner. Guinea fowl and three types of stuffing.
  9. Hat and gloves. What to wear when taking a turn in the frosty garden.
  10. Frosty garden, from the bedroom window, New Year's Eve.
  11. Ivy on the compost bin.
  12. Rosehips.


(For the rest, month titles link to original posts.)












Begin again...


Nimble said...

The year was just as long as it had to be. Reading your summation is a great way to celebrate it. Thank you for the words and the pictures! Happy new year!
I wonder if you would share the frosty ivy on the compost bin? It'd make a great desktop background image...

marja-leena said...

A wonderfully colourful and rich summation of your year, in words and photos, Lucy! Here's wishing you a happy and healthy and creative New Year 2015.

Oh, and I love those boots. I'm desperate for a pair of waterproofs that are easy to slip on and off as I go in and out from house to garden and back. My feet are difficult to fit so have gone through several that pained me but must go hunting again.

Stella said...

You are charmed, and hence so are we the readers. No lack of poetry in your words or images. Not quite relevant, but do you know the Shirley Highes kid book "Lucy & Tom's Christmas"? I thought of you this morning when on the treadmill and watching a (recorded) Christmas cooking show from Alsace. He stuffed his turkey with chicken, pork fat and liver. (Turducken!.....turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken.) then he made Brioche Bon hommes. A distinct pleasure it has been to discover you, Lucy, and I look forward to reading and seeing more of your corner of the world. Bonne Chance and all good wishes for 2015.

Catalyst said...

I love your collages, Lucy, both of photos and words. You are a master at both. May you and Tom have a fantastic 2015, full of warmth and pleasures.

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh, sweet Lucy! These are wonderful and most welcome to review on a cold night here. Your words and images (and videos) bring me joy and food for thought throughout the year. Thank you!

I send to you and Tom a big hearty wish for daily deliciousness and intriguing times ahead in 2015! Prost!

the polish chick said...

happy new year to you and tom, lucy!

saw this and thought of you:

Marly Youmans said...

Hah! I just started a Pinterest page of pictures of Glimmerglass at other people's houses. Shall send you a link... after I pop in that picture. It has other people you know, I imagine--Marja-Leena for one.

I hope you and Tom have a wonderful 2015. It is so strange to grow older and have many things and creatures and people drop away, and yet life is still so full of color and joy (and cute boots.) Hugs!

Marly Youmans said...

Ta da!
Glimmerglass at home

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Lucy,
H is for Hawk....... for the first time since A level English Literature, I wanted to write pencil notes in the margins (I will). Also, 'The Windhover' by Hopkins will be inscribed on the front page. Happy reading in 2015,
Susan ( hhb)

tristan said...

keep posting .... you're a landmark on a moving horizon, like the little steeple at combray ... happy new year !

Clive Hicks-Jenkins said...

How lovely to see 'Glimmerglass' in your Christmas loot! Heartwarming to see that the tiny pebble thrown into the pool continues to send out concentric circles of waves.

Happy New Year! xxx

HKatz said...

I love the collage recaps of each month.

Have a wonderful new year.

Avus said...

You've been a busy girl with those collages, Lucy.
I love the boots with their decoration and sensible pull-ons.
I enjoyed "H is for Hawk" immensely and think you will too.

Roderick Robinson said...

Never start your piece with a reference to the weather, says Elmore Leonard. Except (I took him to mean) when it's relevant. Our weather comes direct from the Brecon Beacons and the Black Mountains, we can see it coming, over numbers 47, 49 and 51 - odds on the other side of the street, we're the evens. Eventually in Britain there occurs that winter combination - low temperature, humidity, and a nagging wind - when it's quite horrible being outside. Those conditions prevailed when I returned to the UK for my mother's funeral decades ago and I felt the weather gods were kicking my ass for going away in the first place, betraying my homeland. It was like that this week.

I decided I needed a scarf and picked a short navy-blue number made of synthetic fuzz. I do have another scarf I could have chosen but I foresaw it would get tangled up with my glasses dangling on a grannie string. Besides this was a quick walk - to the filling station to pick up The Guardian. The other scarf demands an occasion to launch it, an occasion when appearance matters.

Although, God forbid, I'm not looking for any event so specific, personal and cruel, I would have worn it well at my mother's funeral. A sort of humped-up mass standing with my memories at the front row of pews in the church. You know things are bad when you're on the front row.

Writing this the light has suddenly cleared. That scarf deserves a better occasion than one for mourning. I'll wear it on the first warm day of Spring, when it will be a counter-intuitive garment when it may even make me sweat a little. It'll be the appearance that counts, slightly odd, out of kilter with plodding Herefordshire life. A day of pawky celebration.

Meanwhile that scarf hangs on the back of my study door, an exhausted python, flat and unfed. A sacrificial goat, perhaps? Nah, too visual. Some tins of Pedigree Chum would do.

2014 - a year you proved to me it's OK to weep.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

Nimble - the frosty bin and all the others are on a web album at

but only at 800 px wide, don't know if that's big enough for a screensaver...let me know if not and I'll add the full size version. Thanks for the compliment!

ML - creativity waxes and wanes and changes course, I suppose, at least for me. The boots were somewhat more expensive than ordinary plastic wellies, and came from a garden centre. There were some others, men's - of similar design which seemed to be aimed maybe at hunting types, so perhaps that's a possiblity. I rather dread nicking them with a shovel or something, but think perhaps they're a bit stronger material than others. Good luck!

Stella - yes, we have that book! My workmates gave it to us with much glee the first Christmas we were together, and I got the print room to do a blow up of the page with the text 'Tom gets very excited about his presents and rather cross'.

Bruce - thanks old friend, and the same to you and SWMBO.

R - your wish well received.

PC - wow, gravity glue! It's a gorgeous video altogether in fact.

Marly - what an honour to share that board, thanks for that and the link.

HHB - lovely to see you. I'd been listening to The Once and Future King on the radio, and wondering about TH White and what his life had been like, then saw a review of H for Hawk. I've still got my copy of The Goshawk, perhaps one of the first grown-up books I bought at a school book fair when I was about 13. Seems like the right book at the right time.

Tristan - oh that pleases me!

Clive - I've not read it yet but have already had pleasure enough looking at the cover!

Hkatz - thanks. In fact they kind of have more point, or momentum or something, seeing them together. Glad I pinched the idea from another Lucy! Happy New Year to you too.

Avus - in fact I've generally been less busy with photography, and have found the collages a good way to keep my hand in and make something out of what I do take. I look forward to the book very much (see comment to yer darter above!).

Robbie - perhaps it's more of a python skin than a python, remember how happy and excited Gros Calin used to get after a shedding (I've forgotten the French word)? The last is perhaps one of the nicest things you've said to me, though the bar for that is high.

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely round up of the year. Great books and boots too.

Les said...

I so love your collages. Just beautiful. A belated Happy New Year to you! May it bring you much beauty, and may your boots stay warm and snug.

zephyr said...

What a wonderful post...loved swimming in these images of yours.