Alexander Averin

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Suddenly it's Summer

Shirley Hughes - Self Portrait

Dear Diary,

One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space."
Rachel Carson

I did talk about writing a blog or two about children’s book illustrators but that will come at a later date. I will make do today with posting a few pics by Shirley Hughes and Kim Lewis.

It’s been a long time since my last confession, it’s coming two weeks actually. I blame life and its habit of getting in the way of blogging. All blocks to writing were Reasons to be Cheerful though. Family commitments, visitors, household duties, busy days at work. All these things give me a need for more sleep which means more early nights and less time spent in front of the computer screen. I have also got the genealogy bug again and have been climbing up my family tree; this time I have been on my paternal female line which leads to Northumberland, well Weardale actually and the 1600’s. How exciting that is.

My garden is calling to me too along with the sunshine of course. For I am a fair weather gardener to be sure. All I can dream of is plants and planting, colour and scent and magical evenings to come in my riverside garden watching the night fall. Early mornings spent pottering outside in the flower beds and wandering in the field. How I love to potter. I should add it to my list of Interests, along with Cloudwatching, Sleeping and Taking Naps.

I am reading a lot too, another joyful pastime of course. My current book is The Island by Victoria Hislop, wife of Ian. I am only a third of the way through it but am finding the subject matter so depressing; however as it is our book group choice I have to read it. Why the book has been so highly rated I cannot yet understand but will reserve my final judgement until I have completed it. Our Purplecoo book group are reading When We Were Bad by Charlotte Mendelson.

So that will be my next must read book.

Talking of which I am compiling a list of five Must Read books for Purplecoo. I have six so far, they are:

Blue Sky July by Nia Wyn
Unless by Carol Shields
Running for the Hills by Horatio Clare
Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
The House on Beartown Road by Elizabeth Cohen
Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve

It is so hard to whittle it down to just five. There are so many must read books. Perhaps I will do some every week.

Last night we had a real electrical storm. As I lay in bed right by the window, the near constant lightning flashed into my closed eyes and the thunder roared. It lasted for about an hour and a half and then eventually it rained. We don't have any curtains in the cottage, there is no need as we are not overlooked and they would obstruct the views. I was not afraid though as I love storms. I just felt very tired after work this morning and succumbed to the temptation of an afternoon nap.

A fellow writer in our writing group was obviously so taken with the subject of fear that he has chosen this month’s subject to write about as Intimidation (see my previous blog).

I think they go hand in hand, fear and intimidation, one being the effect of the other. So I am thinking around the subject but not feeling inspired. I think I may attempt a poem. To be honest I am more into brighter subjects at the moment. Talking of which here are some Blessings:

Sunshine and the promise of roses.

Scented Plants.


Trips to the garden centre and bringing home New Plants.

A new, more powerful lawn mower.

A new small apple tree that I have planted in the middle of a round bed in my back garden. She spoke to me in the tree section of the garden centre and I fell instantly in love with her. Then I discovered she is named for me, being called Katy. At home with me now and settled in her bed, she is loaded with white blossom that is already attracting the bees.

Summer clothes. Wish I had more, I have but a few.

Letting the Rayburn out, something we only do when it is Very Hot.

The waxing Moon.

Last but not least, being able to put washing out on the line. One of my passions, washing lines and I adore hanging out washing, could do it for a living.

Well we all have our little quirks don’t we?

What’s yours?

Before I sign off it is ages since I posted a much loved poem. Here is one by a newly discovered (by me) Irish poet called Fred Johnston. It is from my new poetry book Salmon Publishing - A Journey in Poetry 1981-2007


For John Moriarty

One day more desolate than the rest
He climbed into the mountain and felt
The child-hug of stone upon stone.

The stone is warm under the rain,
The roads of the hurried world are
A long way below, varicose, narrow.

And how to describe a lake, grey
As sky, light as air, an absence in fields
Of gorse, a blow to the cheek, whitening?

The scribes are in their cradle-huts
Plotting the end of poetry. The heron is
Patient. If words come to him here, he’ll

Borrow them and speak them to a small
Room. There is a soft line of track
Punctuated by droppings, a paragraph

Beginning itself in sheep bleat
Higher up, a page turning in heather-lick:
The sun, drying the ink scratch of his days.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


bradan said...

I love thunder storms too and we don't have curtains in our cottage either! And I love hanging out the washing!

Frances said...

Cait it so wonderful to read your words again. (Admit also to loving to click up that Instant Karma,too.)

Is it not so strange to try to fit all that we would like to enjoy into a day, knowing that some duties will take so many hours, some wishes will take some others, and just wondering how to juggle it.

I confess that I often put the duties ahead of the wishes, and wonder why that is.


DJ Kirkby said...

Emma's Lamb was one of N3S's favorite books last year. I love all of your blessings. xo

LittleBrownDog said...

Loved reading that, Cait - you make me feel so calm and positive - your blogs are a real tonic.

Yes, Victoria Hislop. She interviewed me for a job once and seemed very nice, but I quite agree about The Island. The reason it's so successful, of course, is because it was picked up by the dreaded Richard & Judy book club, which is a surefire way to mammouth sales for any book. Love your idea about regular must-read books, although I fear weekly might be a little too often for me (slow reader, you see). And I love Kim Lewis' illustrations - they seem to have so much tenderness in them, and the stories invariably make my eyes prick with tears, so I have to pick my moments to read them.

Very enjoyable Sunday read, as ever.


lampworkbeader said...

Isn't it funny how summer clothes never seem to fit as they used to. Delightful, thoughtful blog. I love to see washing blowing in the wind and the smell as its carried into the kitchen. Not so keen on the ironing though.

Anonymous said...

Well if you find yourself up in Northumberland do let me know, I would just love to meet you.

Beautiful words,
CJ xx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

I love thunder storms as well - we tend not to get them as they seem unable to get into our collection of hills - then again if they do manage to get in they are long and loud and we always lose broadband.

Always panic re about clothes when the summer arrives . . . and somehow limp through with the same old clothes.

Pondside said...

Hello from a fellow washing line afficionada, Cait! Lovely to read your blog again, and to see your list of five books - have read two of them, only. I liked reading about your new tree, and how she called out to you at the garden centre.

Sally's Chateau said...

I adore hanging out the washing too and watching electrical storms without shutters or curtains closed is wonderful.


So lovely to fnd you again, I dont think I oculd whittle my favouriet msut reads down to 5 either!!Looking forward to your illsutrators though!!

Faith said...

Very fond of Shirley Hughes - especially Dogger. Also very much enjoy hanging washing on the line, especially white washing.

Inthemud said...

My children adored Kim Lewes and Shirley Hughes books and i loved to read them to them.

I read The island last year, super book, i have been to Spingalonga so really felt i was part of the story.I see Victoria has a new book out, not read it yet though

Blossomcottage said...

I am not keen on thunder and lightening, I have to get up and watch it if its at night I can't just lie there and listen is rattles my nerves too much. I love The Island, yes it is a bit depressing but its a beautiful book and I found it an inspiration.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Cait,

Such a wonderful post, as ever full of beautiful pictures, and poems.

I NEVER draw the curtains either Cait, always love to see the views as soon as my eyes are open. Another thing we have in common, I have a fad about hanging out fresh clean linen on the washing line.

Thank you for info on your 5 book reads Cait, and a friend only has just told me about the V.Hislop book, although not read yet, will let you know.


Exmoorjane said...

Shirley Hughes and Kim Lewis are such fabulous authors and illustators - had quite a pang seeing those pics again now James has grown too big for them (though Floss still comes out when he's feeling tired).
Another thunderstorm fan here - though miss our old house for them as could see the line of rain progressing over the valley.
Victoria Hislop's book was OK - I enjoyed it more than I expected but would agree not worthy of the huge plaudits. Ah, which author does not dream of R&J or Oprah?!
I never buy summer clothes (just limp along with the odd ragtag I've had for years - though maybe add a pair of cut-off jeans once in a while). Jxx

Fennie said...

Oh yes I recognise that more powerful lawnmower, Cait. I've always wanted a ride-on one. Hangover from childhood I expect. Not so sure about the washing though.

auntiegwen said...

Thanks for visiting Cait, I love the Shirley Hughes books, I read "My Naughty Little Sister" as a girl and loved them and in turn read them to my own children, and also by then she had the lovely Alfie and Annie Rose.

Thanks for making me smile this morning

Milla said...

benedict Blathwait is a fantastic illustrator too, lots of lovely detail and really cheery. But have to confess to having really hated Unless which I found whiny and dreary and all that nonsense about buying a scarf. No humour at all just droning on. Oops, sorry! The rest of the list looks interesting and am off to google one which I don't recognise. Have never quite been able to face the Island which I haven't heard a good thing about. Helps to have the right husband, perhaps.