Tuesday, 18 November 2014


I do believe in an every day sort of magic--
The inexplicable connectedness
We sometimes experience
With places, people
Works of art and the like;
The eerie appropriateness
Of moments of synchronicity;
The whispered voice,
The hidden presence
When we think we're alone.
Charles De Lint

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Last of the summer wine

It has been a long generous summer and we have been glad of it, with much of the house exposed to the elements whilst we extend. It has been a long generous summer, so much so I have become suspicious of it. Like too much pudding its a tiny bit sickly and cloying.It is weighing heavy, time to move on. Perhaps I am simply describing my mood? I want the Autumn winds to blow...the leaves to turn and tumble and the last of the builders to trundle down the drive and disappear into the mist hanging on the hill.
September has been slow moving but never dull. Magpie flew off to the Faraways for three weeks and they seemed an eternity. I was reminded how much I love this eccentric Island of ours as the tears of relief rolled  the morning Scotland said we would not be parted. I managed to slide off to Norfolk for a weekend with my dearest girlfriends, we stood arm in arm in a cornfield watching fireworks fly into the pitch. And my heart was full when I saw a bowls match being played with great gusto between two teenage boys and two senior gentlemen, the respect shown to one another by both teams was joyful to watch.

Whilst I have been busy choosing Tudor bricks, Kent pegs and English oak the garden has relaxed into a semi wild haven, there are spiders webs and long tendrils of green curls wrapped around things they oughtn't. I should feel guilty about the wildness but instead I am enchanted by it. The drive is a builders yard and so the roses bolting across the weatherboard feel anarchic and I approve! And all the while the hydrangeas are quietly developing their Autumn colour palette.

seeds of love

Monday, 11 August 2014

Sun lit...

We float down sunlight streets
And let our hair get stuck
On our fingertips
Weeds whisper
Coaxing us to the grass
Wrapping their way through our toes
Slick pebbles weigh down your pockets
I braid sunshine into your hair
You’re glittering

I sew sunshine onto your skin
Ribbons that glow warm
The hum of the wind
Catches on your breath

Butterfly, butterfly
What an amazing string of summer days we are having... set with a sapphire drenching courtesy of Bertha...
All these images are from my "Summertime...." board on pinterest
The poem isn't credited, I found it on the i gigi general store pinterest page I'd love to know who penned it, any ideas?
with love from a sun drenched, wind swirled Lane!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Big "Siss"

A few weeks ago I tumbled into Sissinghurst. Tangled, jangled at odds with myself. I cursed my own stupidity, it was a warm mid-summerish mid-morning and I tipped up with coach loads of Garden Tours...literally coach chaos! And still, amidst the thrumming Big "Siss" delivered!

In the arched brick entrance, notes from the head gardener written onto a slate with single blooms arranged in a lovely  wooden stand. Terracotta pots labeled in chalk...simple and honest, I make a mental note to do this myself...instead of a gift tag.You can read more from the gardeners here.

Garden and buildings converge at Sissinghurst to create a beautiful English symphony of brickwork, oak timbers, hung tiles all festooned with foliage and flower. They heighten one another.

I saw something of Vita in this statuesque visitor, perfectly attired visitor.

Heady? Yes! I scuttled away from the madding crowd and headed for the giant archway wondering how Adam Nicolson and Sarah Raven had progressed their vision of reinstating the kitchen garden. The view through is bucolic indeed...

A walk past a meadow brimful with sweet grass and dozing lambs brings me to a fully formed and large kitchen garden with flowers for cutting...hooray...

Just glorious to see big Siss looking so fantastic!
 I consider Sissinghurst the elder sister to my other favourite gardens Great Dixter and of course Perch Hill.

My head is swirling with iris and rose scented joy...summertime breezes whisper in my ear.
Inhaling deeply I head for home.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Mown and Grown

The long days yawn ahead. 
Long and lazy. 
Pyjama clad, Croc footed I head for the fields with the lark and Boodle.
First stop the Cowshed, new doors fresh paint! 
Actually re-claimed doors but let's not quibble it's too early...
The fields are humming already. Choirs of insects sing ~ the grasses sway. The dew drops balance like pearls of sweat, the flowers tangle with the grass, no-one is sure who came with who to this dance.
Where the field runs into the garden fringes it seems to be beckoning the roses, "go wild!"
And the long day yawns ahead. 
The fields are "half-cut!" Drowsy and swoon inducing is the scent of a fallen wildflower meadow. Sorrel, Sweet Vernal, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Tufted Vetch, Clover, seeds and husks all jumbled like a giant bowl of nature's pot-pourri. It smells so sweet...honeydew, golden mead. I think it may be the greatest tea I'll never taste. The tractor drowns out the insects. Cutting long into the evening and the dark.
 Dusk is purple and gold. I head for the fields with Sauvignon and Boodle.
We yawn, the long day stretches behind us. 
Food for the winter.
I suspect I am talking to myself, but should you happen upon this post "Hello! Hello!"
I have been, and continue to be "here" Down the Lane. We are building a new piece of Lane which, whilst exciting, is also utterly terrifying and consuming. I promise to share all with you once we are respectable! In the meantime sending summery greetings or winter greetings to my Faraway friends!

 PS If you are interested in finding out more about native grasses and meadow flowers, The Wildlife Trust is an excellent resource.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

H(e)aven or where the road runs out

On England's southern margin, where the chalk cliffs dunk into the channel like a shortbread biscuit, lies Cuckmere Haven. 
When the weather is rattling through on fast forward ~ four seasons in one day ~ and the light shifts and pools, the wind whistles in one ear and out the other, then suddenly drops away, silence, the skies darken and the sea mist softens and blurs. The cloud breaks and bright dazzling light bounces off pebbles and glints in pools. It is a pure sensory pleasure to be here...
Walking across the flood plain at Cuckmere Haven out towards the Channel. Green and pleasant collides with coastal wild. Rolling South Downs at your back nothing but shingle and glittering sea horses between you and France. Strips of green along the ric-rac curves of the Cuckmere. Silty banks gleaming like wet clay flaring out to a width of pebbles, strewn and tide tumbled. Groynes stand proud, weathered and softened, ropes hang, knotted and split, flyaway mermaid's hair. The rabbity watchers stand, all seaweed and studded...

 It suits me well this Island life. I happily bowl around my green Sussex landscape knowing that the road ends at the sea. I love to look out beyond these shores. I find large countries both fascinating and intimidating, where is the sea? How far is the sea? When I was in Australia I found the vastness incomprehensible, the views were epic and wide, the horizon impossibly far away. Distance took on a whole new scale of meaning, I loved it but felt like an alien! Only when I returned home did I appreciate the way a well positioned tree, hedges, fields, a church spire conspire to punctuate an altogether smaller landscape.
 We retire inland to East Dean
 Fish & Chips washed down with a drop of Harveys bitter. Restoration complete. Someone asked me if Boodle is an American Labrador? If portion size is anything to go by then, yes I suppose he is. I walk across the village green and notice that one of cottages has a blue plaque, I investigate.
I listen carefully for the strains of a violin.

"At an Inn door stands a young labourer, tall and straight but loosely made...A prince - a slave...He goes into a cottage that stands worn and old and without a right angle in its timbers or its thatch any more than its apple trees and solitary quince which all but hide the lilac and massed honesty of the little garden. This is a house - I had almost said this is a man - that looked upon England when it could move men to song. 
For a moment or less as he goes under the porch I seem to see that England, that swan's nest, that island which a man's heart was not too big to love utterly."
 Extract taken from The South Country by Edward Thomas.

Thank you for hearing my song

Find out more about the Cuckmere Valley here