Tuesday 30 April 2024


I had another trip to London last week, nothing cultural this time, just a lot of fun and retail therapy!
We met friends for supper so it was a late night getting to bed but the following morning I was up and went with my daughters to Spitalfields to look for suitable clothes for their upcoming trip to India. How London has changed since I was a student, the Spitalfields market was a different experience then! Now the place is humming with visitors and with good reason because there are many interesting and individual shops as well as the lively tourist market activity. I love the varied architecture of the city, the mishmash of old and new is very evident in this area.
Some of the clothes made me feel like a kid in a sweet shop, the jumpers and cardis (I love a cardi!) arranged in mouthwatering colours. My role for the day was as opinion giver, whether wanted or not and clothes and bags holder and I felt that I did rather well.
Lunch was equally delicious.
We chose something sweet to take to the menfolk left at home!
I saw the stylist, Jemma Cotterrell jemma@theshoelovingstylist.com wearing the loveliest outfit. I liked every detail, perfect socks, delicate jewellery worn with a soft cotton skirt and such an uplifting knitted top. I'm going to pinch that look for the summer! Lovely to meet her. Jemma does colour consultations. What a treat it must be to have her advice!
We shopped until I, at least, was ready to drop.
Where next?
Home please, says mother!

Tuesday 23 April 2024


A lovely surprise present came in the post from my friend, Sarah. A book of poetry celebrating spring blossom. How timely!
The garden is bursting into bloom. I especially enjoy the white flowers that illuminate this shady space. The white tulips with fringed petals called 'Honeymoon' are doing particularily well, I shall buy more of them in the autumn. Some of the other tulips have succumbed to the gusts of wind.
I've put some bamboo canes over the raised beds to deter the black cat who thinks I've prepared the soil not for my vegetables but for him. It's still far too cold for me to be planting out.
When the showers come I can retreat to the greenhouse and enjoy the perfume.
The birdsong is wonderful and there is a lot of activity with small birds flitting everywhere.
My next door neighbour has lent me this book. It is pleasing at every level, content, the words and illustrations but also the scale of the book for the hand, the overall design, the choice of paper. I love a well designed hardback and intend to buy a copy to surprise my friend.
Interestingly, this illustration reminds me of our visit the other week to the abandoned village of Tyneham.

Monday 15 April 2024

Tyneham lost village

I have long been fascinated by lost and abandoned communities, stemming, I think, from my childhood when the valley near to the hamlet where we had a house was flooded to provide drinking water for the city of Leeds. The family of my friend Hilary, the farmer's daughter, were buried in the churchyard and we attended the final service before the church was deconsecrated. I think that some tombs were moved but the majority remained to be lost to the rising water. I don't know how long it took for the valley to fill but I remember some time later picking gooseberries from an abandoned garden. Since then I've walked around a number of abandonded villages. All of them seem to have been built in beautiful places and have the same quality of stillness and loss about them. One we have returned to many times is in Corfu. On our first visit, many years ago in springtime, we had to push our way through wildflowers and clouds of butterflies. With each return visit more and more houses were being reoccupied and the last time we were there a small café had opened and was doing good business, but somewhat spoiling the atmosphere that had once captured my heart! Last week we went to explore the village of Tyneham, its history quite different from that of the Corfiots, who left their homes of their own volition. Tyneham village was requisitioned by the army during the Second World War. The villagers were promised that they could return to their homes after the war but this never happened and the whole area remains with the military and is open to the public only on certain days. The former village life has been well documented.
The church remains in service.
John Gould's letter tells us how the villagers felt about the loss of their homes and community. It must be heartbreaking to see your former home reduced to a shell.
The farm, set a little away from the heart of the village, had obviously been a flourishing place. The barn was large enough for both a hay wagon and a space for village amateur dramatics. I found a chair that seemed suitable! I loved the range of hand tools, the scythes and pitchforks that were hanging on the walls.
From there we walked down to the coast at Warbarrow Bay. Fishing and farming were the main occupations of the village. Large quantities of herring were caught and sent by cart to the nearest town.
Coastal defences in the small cove to the right of Warbarrow Bay. You can tell from the lichen hanging on the tree branches that the air is very clean.