swedish christmas embroidery

Look at this absolutely beautiful vintage Swedish Christmas embroidery I saw at the home of a friend today. It was her mother's and is very old. I loved the colours and the simple stitching. God Jul!

the hopefulness of mistletoe

One of my favourite books to read at this time of year is What to Look for in Winter written by the poetic and mysterious E.L. Grant Watson. I love this series of Ladybird books and for me each change of season is marked by their beautiful words and C. F. Tunnicliffe's evocative illustrations.

Last weekend I spent a few days with friends in the thin winter light and quiet landscape of North Somerset. Everywhere you looked, the tall skeletal trees were laden with bright green orbs of mistletoe, hanging in the damp still air. Apparently it is a very good year for mistletoe, although I am not sure why. I don't know if anyone has identified exactly how it appears, but in 1959 E.L. Grant Watson wrote "How mistletoe grows on trees nobody knows for sure. Poplars and apple trees are the most likely hosts for this half-parasitic plant. If you can find out how mistletoe germinates, you will be a discoverer of one of Nature's secrets".

Like Grant Watson himself, a beautiful mystery. If anyone knows anything about him other than the thin sprinkling of information on the web I would love to know. But if you know how mistletoe germinates, don't tell me. I like living with the enigma, and think of Rainer Maria Rilke, who wrote "Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves". This is a thought I carry with me daily. There are many unanswered questions in life these days. But it is still beautiful.


This little posy of late summer flowers from the garden is doing my heart good. That I have a garden at all, with flowers in, is enough for today.


This summer has been about lettuce...

...and days out to lovely places with beautiful things to see...

...travelling to see friends in different cities...

...abundance, fruitfulness, and jam...

...unexpected creativity in surprising moments...

...crochet in the sunshine...

...food outdoors.

And many other things, beautiful and ugly, peaceful and anxious, familiar and new, safe and scary. Life goes on, all summer long.

slow and steady

Since I last wrote, I have been making paths and planting things...

...making lots and lots of these in different colours

...to see if I can finish this

...walking five minutes from my house to the meadow and the bluebells

...listening to lots of music, going to see bands, having a lovely time here and here

...breathing in and out, enlarging the place of my tent and dwelling in green places...

whatsoever things are lovely... think on these things

Exactly five years ago I began the practice, at bedtime, of writing a list of five things that have made me happy that day. It has been so good for me to do this, to look for the small beauties of life as well as remember the big, wonderful things. I now have over 1700 searchable entries recording snippets from my life over the last five years, which feels like a priceless asset.

Here are my top twenty nouns, verbs and adjectives. Naturally, tea is right up there. Chicken was a surprise. 

Imogen [my grandaughter], tea, bed, garden, sunshine, lunch, sleep, fire, bath, home, Toby, Isaac [my sons], walk, chocolate, friends, chicken, coffee, breakfast, cake, wine.

Watching, reading, eating, making, playing, feeling, sitting, thinking, looking, laughing, listening, talking, painting, walking, singing, writing, enjoying, working, finishing, finding. 

Lovely, new, little, beautiful, nice, warm, good, hot, happy, early, quiet, sunny, still, bright, kind, busy, soft, late, fresh, positive.