Alexander Averin

Saturday 26 September 2009

Just pictures and a poem

Marcel Dyf - Village of Kerjouanao,France.

Dear Diary,

It seems too long since my last posting; life has been rather busy again. It is late at night so for now I am just going to post a poem I love and a couple of pics.

Winter Landscape - Breon O'Casey

The Breon O’ Casey pic is the sort of thing I would paint (if I could paint). I am hopeless at art and can’t even draw stick men but I have often been tempted to paint abstracts in blocks of colour. Finding this picture was strange because I have wanted to do something similar and I would have started with blues.


I have really enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees, it almost made me want to take up beekeeping., I am waiting for the DVD now but I am sure I will be disappointed. Books and films are never the same but then a book is a book and a film is a film and I guess we should not compare them. The style of writing of the Bees reminded me a little of Joanne Harris and of her book Chocolat, I don’t know why. I had to have a big mug of hot chocolate close by when I read that one - an essential accompaniment such was the book’s chocolatey-ness|! The film was very disappointing though.

We have hedgehogs nesting close by and a young one was outside the back door last night. I have been hearing that they are becoming rare and I must admit I hardly ever see them on the roads now so I was overjoyed to see our visitor.

The dry weather continues and we see the sun every day.
We light the woodburner in the evenings though and I almost look forward to winter and to dreams of cosy hibernation.

Sunday tomorrow, my favourite day of the week.

I promised you the poem,

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott

That will do for now, my bed is calling,
Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Tuesday 15 September 2009


Dear Diary,

Pleasure is the flower that passes; remembrance, the lasting perfume.

~Jean de Boufflers

Some plants bring memories to me that take me back to old homes, previous lives, pastimes and childhood days. One that always does this for me is the much-loved perennial the Michaelmas Daisy. It speaks to me of autumn, the season I love so with all its scents, its colours and its promises. I love this daisy’s hue, it is synonymous with autumn and I always want to wear its colour for it is kind and forgiving, slightly mysterious and flatters an ageing complexion.

Pink phlox always remind me of our old home, a little cottage in Sussex where they grew under the front window. They were new to me then, I loved them so and I wish now I had brought some with me to Wales all those years ago. Thoughts of West Sussex take me back to the country lane I used to walk each day with my two children and my two dogs. I walked this lane every day from when they were babies (or puppies in the case of the dogs) and always remember the white flowers of ‘milkmaid and the primroses that lined the lane and in the wood at the end there were my beloved bluebells and wild blue scabious.

Primroses were new to me when, as a young woman, I first moved out from London, I had never seen them growing in the wild and they grew profusely around the Surrey village that my adoptive parents moved to. I had hated leaving London and all my friends but soon fell in love with the countryside and it is a passion that has not faded (and plenty do!). Lasting passions, aren’t they wonderful, what are yours I wonder?

As a child in South London I seem to remember that there were antirrhinums in our garden and I have a vague recollection of there being pansies and marigolds (their scent is gorgeous isn’t it?). I still love pansies and my middle granddaughter does too. They are hardy little things in spite of their prettiness and their appearance of delicacy; they spread themselves upwards and outwards and last for ages without much watering or care. The winter ones cheer me all through the cold days, I usually pick the purpley, dark bluey ones.

I asked M if there are any such memories from his past and he mentions the hollyhocks that grew wild and untended in his dear mother’s garden. These are one of my favourite flowers but I find it difficult to keep them going here in the Welsh hills. M’s memories of autumn are of chestnutting; picking them, boiling them and then eating them with sore fingers. All this is alien to me being a child of the Smoke. He remembers picking wild raspberries and says that the Bramley apples in his mother’s garden were ‘as big as someone’s head‘. He also mentioned snapdragons, I called them antirrhinums earlier but wish I had used the name snapdragons as for one it is easier to spell and two it is also a more magical name. I wrote a silly little rambling poem about flowers once where I mention one:

Musings from the Flower Garden

reviving old certainties;
unfolding spring.
Woodland’s white drops,
proclaiming joy,
sweetly nestling like jewels
in ice-petalled drifts,
they resurrect our passions.
coyly she peeps.
reflecting gossamer blue,
Parades among her fields of gold.
I can almost taste her almondness
and her vanilla
in its mottled and powdery fluffiness.
Around me bees are thronging;
buzzing and barging
for the sweet delight
that is the orange pollen.
Before they are fed and dusted,
sated and in retreat
will the Dragon Snap?

Cait O’Connor


A little mouse lives close by my bird feeding station, its hole is clearly visible and he obviously keeps himself and his family well fed on what the birds drop from their beaks. Last night my collie Kitty wouldn’t come in from her last-thing-at-night outing - I thought she was lost - but I found her laying by the mousehole, glued to it in fact and she was most reluctant to leave it. I’ve never had a mousing dog before so I found it highly amusing.


Another Good Book. It’s not a new title but a borrower recommended The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and I am really enjoying it. She said she was phoning all her friends and telling them that they must read it, I think she was right. It is also a film, I will wait until l I have read the book and then order the DVD through the library.

I also want to get hold of Alan Bennett’s new one - A Life like Other People’s. I so love this man’s writing.

Free Days - I am on leave from work this week - getting in practice for retirement perhaps? Sometimes I think it would be nice to be retired but I really love my job and for financial reasons will have to work until I drop anyway so it’s just as well.

Dry days - they are such a novelty and even if the sun doesn’t shine (like yesterday) they are a joy.

There is to be a fresh review of the sex offender’s law - probably after the outcry at the ridiculous measures suggested by the authorities. I blogged about this very recently.

Autumn, autumn, autumn, can’t you tell I just love it?

New beginnings - I can feel them stirring.

Bye for now,
Enjoy the day,

Friday 11 September 2009

Not really a rant

Dear Diary,

One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.  ~Carl Jung

I was in the Past Times shop recently in Shrewsbury and the Eleven-Plus Book caught my eye.  Genuine exam questions from yesteryear (what a lovely word yesteryear).    I purchased the book recently on a whim and partly because my middle grand-daughter is eleven and now goes to High School in a local market town.  (All secondary schools are called High Schools in Wales but in my day high schools were for the very bright indeed), 

Maybe I wanted to see if all the girls would be able to answer the questions, it might be a good test of  standards nowadays?    I did buy the book for S but still have it - she will get it but I haven’t got round to reading it yet.   Truth to tell though am I perhaps nervous at peeking at those kind of questions again?  Will I struggle with long division and the like?  (Yes!)

There were different exams set by different Exam Boards dependent upon where you lived.  I went to school in South London and from the age of eight I was lucky enough to go to an excellent junior school.  Before that I had been to an inferior school in an area not too far away but we had moved house so I changed schools.  As always, teaching is down to the quality of the teachers and I struck gold with Miss Bray (I think I have blogged about her before).  She was dedicated, round, gentle and kindly and she cared.  I was a bit of a lost and vulnerable child and she brought me out of myself a wee bit so I have a great deal to thank her for.  She would have been called a spinster in those days.  Remember that word?  Bit of an insult don’t you think, I hate labelling.  Come to think of it I was taught by many ‘spinsters’ at my grammar school, I guess married women gave up work in those days.  For reasons I won’t  bore you with I escaped an Irish Catholic education and from what I hear from friends and relatives who had one  I am not too sad about it.

I’m digressing again.

Back in those mists of yesteryear I passed the eleven-plus and to be honest (again) I just loved the kind of questions we were set.   I had been well prepared, I  loved challenges and loved words; not too good on the maths though but I knew my tables and I could add up and take away (what more do you need? - be honest now) so I must have got by in the arithmetic section. 

M is relaying the radio’s news to me, he is listening to the Today programme.  I have given up watching TV news and even avoid Today lately, preferring to scribble or read a novel.  I must say my blood pressure has lowered dramatically.  What M is telling me is old news in fact, the plans for all people mixing with children, even volunteers or visitors to schools to have to be CRB checked.  And people like authors  on school visits will have to pay (£80?) to be checked!  I know a couple of well known writers whose names I have forgotten have declined to do any more school visits which is such a great loss to the children involved.

This often-used phrase spills from my mouth:

 The world has gone mad..

Do you know anyone who hasn’t used this phrase?  I don’t.  I sometimes feel we are being invaded and under siege by an army of bureaucrats. God help us.  Just another nail in the coffin.  I know police checks have to be carried out on those who work with children.  I had one myself when I worked with them, in some jobs it is necessary but these people who sit in offices take everything to extremes.  Most child abuse takes place in the home in any case.  Extremism is something we should avoid - don’t you think it is the cause of most of the world’s troubles?  There should always be a place for compromise and good old common sense. (where has common sense gone?).

My brother told me that he was taking his wife’s cousin round South London recently on the heritage trail, the cousin was over from South Africa after many years away from the UK, he had left when he was a child.  They pulled up in the car outside his old school and the cousin pulled out his camera to take a pic for posterity.  Before my brother could say that would not go down well a teacher was making her way across the playground and admonishing them.  My brother explained the situation and voiced his doubts of any contravention of any actual law.   

What is the world coming to? 

Another well-worn phrase spills from me. 

I am not ranting, I am far too happy to rant today.   The sunny weather we have been having has revived me as it has the flowers in the garden; they are all bursting forth again and it is such a joy.   The sun is shining brightly and it is set fair for the weekend and please God, beyond.

Blessings are in order.

Last night’s moonlight.

Today’s sun on the water.

The grass which has been cut by M yesterday, his first chance for weeks and it was getting near knee high.

Wild Life in all its many forms.

Bless the birds and the bees, the garden is alive with both today. And I saw three wild ducks (mallards) fishing in our river, ducking and diving as they do.  They don’t visit often but I get really excited when they do.  I’m sure they were two parents teaching the young one how to fish (like the otters do with their young sometimes).  We have a really deep pool area in the river now which appeared after the Great Flood - I had visions of the girls swimming in there this summer but alas it has not been hot enough.

My fuchsias and montbretia which remind me of my roots in the best place in the world, the south west of Ireland.

Talking of roots I have been found on the Ancestry website by a relative who descends from an Irish couple who emigrated to London way back in yesteryear - we share a branch in our trees.  He lives in Canada and without the Ancestry site he would not have found me.  So this will be a final blessing along with the family site or LDS as some folk call it (I do).  If you are interested in doing your family tree these two sites are brilliant.  Ancestry is very well worth the subscription and you can access its records free in all UK libraries.  LDS is free.

Well I have rattled on a bit again. 

I’d best be off and get the day started.

May yours be a happy one.
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Monday 7 September 2009


West Cork - Artist - Dee Pieters

Dear Diary,

The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze."
- John Updike, September

My sister emailed me recently and talked about her love of the month of September; she mentioned the air of calm about it. It is the month of her birth which made me wonder, do we all have a fondness for the season during which we were born? I am a child of Spring and certainly think of it as my favourite time of year.

But I love September too and I felt its calm as I walked with the dogs in the field this morning; there was for once complete silence, no traffic of any kind could be heard, no foolhardy motorcyclists treating our Welsh roads like racetracks which happens every Sunday with accidents happening regular as clockwork, and often fatal.

I digress.

The air is balmy today and only the gentlest of drizzles caressed me on my way earlier this morning. West Cork weather I call it, my very favourite climate that suits my Celtic soul. There was a faint mist over the nearest mountain top and I wished I had brought my camera with me. Then quite suddenly the sun came out, full on this time and I felt sad that most holidaymakers have returned home - the adults back to work and the children back to their new terms at school and that they would miss seeing Wales as it can be in sunny weather. I thought again how lucky I am to live here in my little piece of Paradise.

September’s stillness has captured me as it always does, this month-in-waiting with her one foot in summer and another placed firmly forward into Autumn, the season that for me is always brimful of colour and delight. And newness: new starts, new notebooks, new projects getting underway. Stop me, I am getting excited now for I always wax lyrical about September and this year will be no exception. I don’t even mind winter except that it goes on just a little too long.
The hermit in me loves to hibernate you see and loves log fires, soups and all things cosy.

Talking of mist David Gray has a new single out. I read yesterday a journalist describing him as the musical equivalent of mist - I don’t think he meant it so but being a mist lover I would take that as a compliment myself - His new single is called Fugitive, the CD is called Draw the Line.

And if you want a good book to read, not too heavy (sorry this is an unintended pun) I have just read...

The Weight of Water by Penelope Evans. A good read that resonated with me as I live in a cottage by a river which is (partly) the theme of the book. Reading it I could certainly feel the weight of the water in her writing.

So blessings today?

Masses, but I will restrict myself to:

Silence, Solitude, Stillness and Calm.

David Gray’s words and music.

Feeling rested after a few days off work.

A new Anne Tyler novel to start today. Staying on the watery theme it is called Noah's Compass...

Another new book - The poet Denise Blake has a new book out whose cover is Barrie Maguire’s picture which I love so much - the little girl wrapped in the green fields of the map of Ireland (see below in earlier blog). It is a small world indeed as I only discovered this through a comment on a previous blog. I will post the title when I know it.

My genealogy work is going really well and I am still chasing and catching many dead people; however hard they try they just can’t escape me.

Bye for now,
May the sun shine on you today,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Sunday 6 September 2009

Let it Be

Dear Diary,

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.

~Maya Angelou, Gather Together in My Name

When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music, mother Mary comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

Let it be, let it be, .....

Sorry I have been absent for a while, I have been busy with family visitors and very enjoyable it was too even though the weather was not on its best behaviour.

While relaxing on the sofa last night I enjoyed a journey back into my past as I watched the programmes on BBC2 that were part of a BBC radio and television tribute to the Beatles.

The Beatles were the background to my teenage years, to my growing-into-a-woman years. I bought every one of their records, their photos adorned my bedroom wall and there was always one stuck under the desk of my lid at school - I could never choose between McCartney and George Harrison though nowadays George would be the winner, God rest his soul.

They had several good 'quotes':

Money Can't buy me Love

All You Need is Love

Give Peace a Chance

Let it Be was their last single, probably one of their best and definitely one I would take to my Desert Island. I tried to post it for you but it would not work so instead I have posted In My Life which is another favourite of mine.