At Castle Combe - Thomas Hunn
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
A rainy day means a kind of a welcome break from playing catch-up in the garden. I have taken a couple of days off work to do so and I mainly need to do battle with a part of the garden I call the elder bed. Ground elder to be exact and anyone who has this in their flower beds will understand what a ******** this plant is. I have decided to dig out the whole bed and plant some tall, strong, very-spreading, beautiful cottagey plants/shrubs that will hide, if not fully suppress this pernicious weed. Suggestions welcome. The other alternative is to remove all the plants, apply Round-Up and leave the bed for two years. I have never used weed killer so that option, though eminently sensible, will not be one I will take up. I have never been sensible in my life, more’s the pity sometimes methinks.
I had planned to visit a garden today - Katharine Swift’s garden in Shropshire at Morville Hall. I read her book The Morville Hours and loved it so because it is such a beautiful piece of writing. It is in my force-upon-you list. A friend has been to her garden and insists that I go too, it’s a longish drive but she says it is worth it. I am hoping Sunday will be a nice day so we can go then and take some photos.
I take days off from work as the mood or the weather reports take me because we don’t often do holidays. We escaped to Wales and to be honest now live in the sort of place that we used to holiday in. Ireland is out this year, the exchange rate isn’t good and the ferries are so expensive as is petrol and accommodation. Then we have our dogs and the cat, one dog (Finn) is elderly, stone deaf, his legs are getting weak and he is getting quite anxious so we are loath to leave him for long. Sometimes I think holidays are more trouble than they are worth and I am happy just sitting by the river with a book.
Talking of books, it was writing group last night, I enjoyed it very much and some good ideas for future projects were suggested, then later we adjourned to one of the local pubs for more discussion. I hadn’t been to work yesterday but was thrilled to find some books that I had requested were waiting for me. I felt like a borrower as I brought my bag of new books away with me. I requested them via the New Additions section of the library website - a great way to see what the library has recently purchased. There is something wonderful about a new book isn’t there?
I have also borrowed a DVD called Sixty-Six that was recommended by a borrower as a great ‘family-type’ movie.
Would you like to peek into my bag of books?
Gillian Clarke’s latest poetry collection. A Recipe for Water. She is a huge favourite of mine. A Welsh poet who was Wales’ National poet last year. I have read a few of these poems this morning in bed and they are so beautiful, I am not disappointed.
Notes from the Garden, edited by Ruth Petrie - A Collection of the Best Garden Writing from the Guardian.
Garden Painters A book on contemporary artists selected by Ariel Luke.
Emotional Healing for the Inner Child by Anne Cummings, another Welsh author. I am interested in the concept of the inner child, how the child in us influences our psyche and our adult behaviour.
I have just noticed that all books are non-fiction - much as I love them I am so longing for a really good novel to get lost in. Suggestions welcome!
I must post a poem, do you like this one? It's by Gillian Clarke, not from her new collection but one she wrote for a special occasion. I can hear her wonderful Welsh lilt as I read these words that are most moving and most true.
New Year, 2009
for Barack Obama
Venus in the arc of the young moon
is a boat the arms of a bay,
the sky clear to infinity
but for the trailing gossamer
of a transatlantic plane.
The old year and the old era dead,
pushed burning out to sea
bearing the bones of heroes, tyrants,
ideologues, thieves and deceivers
in a smoke of burning money.
The dream is over. Glaciers will melt.
Seas will rise to swallow golden islands.
Somewhere a volcano may whelm a city,
earth shake its skin like an old horse,
a hurricane topple a town to rubble.
Yet tonight, under the cold beauty
of the moon and Venus, something like hope begins,
as if times can turn, the world change course,
as if truth can speak, good men come to power,
and words have meaning again.
Maybe black-hearted boys in love with death
won't blow themselves and us to smithereens.
Maybe guns will fall silent, the powerful
cease slaughtering the weak, the rich
will not gorge as the poor starve.
Hope spoke the word 'Yes', the word 'we', the word 'can',
and a thousand British teenagers at Poetry Live*
rose to their feet in a single yell of joy -
black, white, Christian, Muslim, Jew,
faithful and faithless. We are all in this together.
Ie, gallwn ni.**
** Yes we can, Welsh
Any blessings today?
Seeing friends and sharing ideas.
Soft, gentle, Irish rain.
Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,