Monday, April 13, 2009


PS, my other blogs are still being updated, because they take less mental energy to write!

This blog is going into hiatus until November 2009. The reason for this is that I don't have time to write at the moment. I've incredibly busy in the garden, which takes several hours a day, and I also have an Open University course to work at. Together with minding the house, and taking Pippa for walks, this doesn't leave enough time to make the regular commitment to writing which I am determined on.

So rather than keep making excuses to myself, I am calling a halt on this blog and I will be back here in November.

These are the writing-related blogs which I will return to reading then:

Best wishes,


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Owning a place

Lucinda Lambton is one of my favourite ... now what to call her? If I say a writer, that excludes her effervescent television presentation, and the photographs in her books which are such a big part of her appeal.

Anyway, in her "A-Z of Britain", I have just read the following which struck me:

"In 1901 at Plas Newydd in Wales, the 5th Marquess of Anglesey had the audacity to convert the Gothic fan-vaulted chapel of 1809 into a private theatre. He called it 'The Gaiety' and, having enriched it with plush drapes, quantities of palm trees and statuary, installed a gilded stage in place of the altar."

At first I found this very funny. Then it reminded me of the closure of the chapel in Brideshead Revisited ("They have taken Him away").

It makes me wonder about several different things. How much does the architectural integrity of a building depend on its presentation and use for its original purpose?

How sacred is a place whose sacredness is lost on its owner?

If something is in private hands, how much say should outsiders have on its treatment?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New blog

Please note that I have started a new blog called Cetera, also on Blogger, which is to contain every entry that isn't either attempting to be literary or about the garden. The first post is some pictures of today, showing a short walk and some odds and ends at home. I hope you like it!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Writers are Other People

Writers are Other People. They write; I read: that's how it goes. I'm not saying they're all members of the Garrick or sit about in dressing gowns smoking Gitannes and scaring small children, but... they are Notme.

It's a bit like top French wine: I just can't imagine it being local. It seems inherantly foreign. Not so physically remote perhaps but just as exotic as oriental silk, sultry spices or a palm-fringed beach.

Ideas like this are fun to indulge, but some of the potential implications turn out to be false, and inhibitingly so. It isn't the case that whatever is local must be inferior. As it happens there's a vineyard up the road from us which, for a price, can sell you a remarkably fine bottle of wine. Any small town might harbour a shop, a workshop, or a great factory, in which goods are produced that are the best in the world; distance may lend the goods an alluring unfamiliarity, but to someone, they're local.

"There is a woman within you who already wears Pethek Philippe."

So went the seductive advertising slogan - or at least I found it so, in my more susceptible days (ahem). But there is a writer, who is me. How good she is I don't know (and I doubt she'll ever afford a posh Swiss watch on the proceeds). But I have met her.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The garden blogosphere

We stare into our fires and plan our seeds,
and feast in heated rooms against the cold;
our gardens sleep while others' blaze with green:
a Mexican wave of flowering laps the Earth.

Young human generations unfurl now,
but garden time runs true, life's orrery:
ephemera preserved for them in blogs,
while your reflected sunshine joins our fires.


[I apologise for cross-posting this with my other blog.]