Alexander Averin

Sunday 31 October 2010


Dear Diary,

Samhain Art Nouveau greeting card - Oestara Publishing

(I shall start with a poem and end with a blessing).

Yea, she hath passed hereby, and blessed the sheaves,
And the great garths, and stacks, and quiet farms,
And all the tawny, and the crimson leaves.
Yea, she hath passed with poppies in her arms,
Under the star of dusk, through stealing mist,
And blessed the earth, and gone, while no man wist.

With slow, reluctant feet, and weary eyes,
And eye-lids heavy with the coming sleep,
With small breasts lifted up in stress of sighs,
She passed, as shadows pass, among the sheep;
While the earth dreamed, and only I was ware
Of that faint fragrance blown from her soft hair.

The land lay steeped in peace of silent dreams;
There was no sound amid the sacred boughs.
Nor any mournful music in her streams:
Only I saw the shadow on her brows,
Only I knew her for the yearly slain,
And wept, and weep until she come again.
Frederic Manning

I apologise -  it has been such a long time since my last ‘confessions’.

I’ve been away for a few days to the Otherworld which is what we call the South East of England from whence we escaped twenty years ago.  We travelled eastwards from Wales for the wedding of my niece in Lewes and also for a reunion of siblings for my husband, also by chance held in Sussex.  We stayed with my brother and sister in law in Surrey which is always a pleasure.  Much as we hate to leave Wales, the pleasure of seeing so many family members who we don’t see often enough was a real joy.

Last night was a return to watching Strictly Come Dancing but I didn’t enjoy it as much as usual.  Only one dance moved me (Matthew) and the judging, the costumes and the ridiculous Halloween theme choice of music were a disappointment.  Personally I don’t think Halloween and music and dancing mix.  I hope next week is an improvement.  Sometimes the costumes are so unflattering, all the wrong colour and they irritate me so much that I am itching to re-clothe the contestants.  Moan over.  I am allowed one per day.

So Sunday comes round again, my favourite day of the week but even though I call it my day of rest it is back to the old everyday routine because I am back to doing my daily yoga each morning  -  I have been very lazy of late, preferring to have an extra twenty minutes in bed instead of exercising each morning as I used to.  I do my yoga routines to music and never know what songs will play as I set my Windows Media Player to shuffle selection mode.  This makes it more fun and in a really daft way it helps get me out of bed each morning, eager to see what music will come up.  Sad eh? Today’s music is pure Sunday, easy going soft and gentle songs by Mark Knopfler and Celine Dion (not together!) and a final one by Eric Clapton which wakes me up and energises me as only Clapton can. 

I am still reading in bed each morning as usual and the book I am reading at the moment is so good that it makes it hard to put down.  I have read it before -  it is The Secret Scripture by a much loved author, Sebastian Barry but a book group member has, to my delight,  chosen it for our November read. I know the ‘story’ so can now re-read  and completely wallow in the writing -  and it is language to die for.

And so it is Samhain already, the time when the veil is the thinnest between this world and the next.  I love Autumn so and will be very sad to see October leave us, she has been and still is so beauteous this year.  I can’t remember last year’s leaves being as colourful as they are this year. I am not of scientific mind.but  I think it’s something to do with the weather, frosts and all that.

John O'Donohue 1991-2009

Talking of dearly departed souls, John O’Donohue is one of the most missed so I was so pleased to hear of a newly published book of his writings..

In The Four Elements, John draws upon his Celtic heritage and the love of his native landscape, the west of Ireland, to weave together a tapestry of beautifully evoked images of nature.

In this collection, John explores a range of themes relating to the way we live our lives today, revealing how the energy and rhythm of the natural world – its innocence and creativity, its power and splendour – hold profound lessons for us all.

With a foreword written by his brother Pat, this illuminating treasury is a unique collection of reflections inspired by the ancient wisdom of this earth.

The book is available in the U.K. and is set for release in the U.S. early next year.

For more information:

I am off to order a copy now, it will have to be (a tad early) Christmas present to myself..

In September I had sent my dear sister the latest book of John O’Donohue’s Blessings for her birthday and I was thrilled when one of them was read out at her daughter’s wedding.

For Marriage

As spring unfolds the dream of the earth,
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.
As the ocean finds calm in the view of land
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.
As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.
As kindly as the moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.
As surprised as the silence that music opens,
May your words for each other be touched with reverence.
As warmly as the air draws in the light,
May you welcome each other’s every gift.
As elegant as dreams absorbing the night,
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.
And as twilight harvests the day’s colours,
May love bring you home to each other.

John O’Donohue

I will leave you now because before I polish up my broomstick I have alliums to plant, dogs to walk and Sunday lunch to get on the go.  I hope you will forgive me that this post is a lot about Irish authors but I think it must be my dead ancestors trying to influence me through the veil.

Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Sunday 17 October 2010

Close to You



This post is a response to a kind of Meme posed in the wonderful blog that is Chronicles of a Country Girl.
(do go and visit her blog, there are photos to die for, she is another Kate and she also has a border collie).

These questions were posed.

You may recognise the wording as they come from lyrics of the song Close to You by the Carpenters.

Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near

I like to think it’s because they love me as much as I love them, especially as it is said they are akin to angels. But it is more likely that they see me as the lady of the cottage who feeds them with nuts, mixed seeds, fat balls, left over bread and the like. But they do enjoy my music and always sing along when I fling open doors or windows,

What always gets you down

Definitely not rainy days and Mondays as I love both.
Best not get me started on what does though, I am a Grumpy Old Woman of late and it could turn out to be a blog in itself.

If you had to live yesterday once more (literally yesterday, as in Friday the 15th) which part might be worth writing a pretty pop song about?

Oh God I can’t even remember yesterday!
Let it be today.
Let the song be about autumn sunshine, a walk in the field with the dogs, taking photos, river watching, listening to music, watching dance, laughing, having a nice meal, feeling great joy that it is the weekend and that all is well.

Where’s the coolest place you’ve been where you could look “down on creation

I hate flying in an aeroplane but would like to be able to have a superhuman ability to fly and not only in dreams. I have not been on the top of the world, not literally but like most people I have been there mood-wise on occasions and it is a good feeling - not under the influence of any drugs I hasten to add.

What’s something in your life that has only just begun?

The rest of my life has only just begun.
This moment……
Ah, it has passed already.

All these answers are cliché-ridden, I apologise.

Here’s one for you inspired by another song, the Lovin Spoonful’s Do You Believe In Magic?

Do you believe in magic?
Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart?
Can music free your soul?
Does it make you feel happy like an old-time movie?
Is the magic in the music or is the magic in you?

Tell me of the magic in your life.

I am looking forward to answers in the comments or in your blog.

Bye for now,

Friday 15 October 2010

Friday Rambles

Windswept by Paul Henry

Dear Diary,

Who can tell the dancer from the dance?
W B Yeats.

This is just a bit of a Friday ramble, just a list of a few nice things about the day.

The sun has been shining, it has been very warm, more like summer in fact and I have primroses out in my garden which, nestling beneath the roses make a rather unusual coupling.  A fuchsia I have planted in an old Belfast sink has also decided to flower once more.

There is also something rather nice that helps me get out of bed in the mornings and it’s a new kind of cereal.  Chocolate Weetabix, have you tried it yet? Simply delicious, the naughtiness of chocolate mixed with the healthiness of wholewheat, what a grand combination.   I feel I should  perhaps be paid for advertising it but never mind.  I must admit that I have been unfaithful to my organic porridge for a few days now, Jordan’s porridge which I adore, their organic and chunky oats which I have had religiously every morning for literally years as anyone who knows me will confirm.  I usually add ground almonds, raisins and whatever fruit comes to hand…. Very healthy and sustaining for me ……but not lately.  I  have a new temptation.  I know the answer …. Jordans will have to make chocolate porridge…..they don’t do they?

So what else has been good?

I found some YSL Elle perfume very greatly reduced in a local Boots and a Wallis skirt in a charity shop, it is my favourite skirt-colour -  grey in my much-loved herringbone tweed mixed with a textured tweed and just below knee length.

Talking of clothes I am a bit late I know but I have just discovered Boden’s 'pull-ons', I have a pair in lovely jade green and white flowery pattern and really, as their website says, the comfort and quality of these is out of this world.  Worth every penny. I sleep in them, wear them to lounge about or snuggle up in, do my yoga in them, I even blog in them.  I think I need two pairs!  I am getting well into snuggly type clothes now as winter draws on.  I have got some really soft  socks from M and S, quite inexpensive too but soooo warm and comfy. Again I wear them for everything.  And I bought a pair of their cheap soft boots, the sort you wear indoors.  I have to be prepared for the hard winter that is forecast.  Someone said to expect snow showers next week!

I also discovered a new fruit and veg shop today in one of our market towns, it is a little bit hidden away on an industrial estate and  sells the most fantastic range of stuff which is all really good quality.  They sell eggs, plants, ice cream and  bird food too.  There is a dearth of places round here to get good vegetables and fruit so I am very pleased.  Also for sale  there was a fantastic classic car - a 1953 burgundy coloured Vauxhall Wyvern.  Stumbling on this car was a real trip down memory lane for me as when I was a child my adoptive parents had one in a metallic green colour - I even remember its registration number - 729 HEV.

I treated myself to a magazine today, an Easy Living with a free gift of an Emma Bridgewater tea towel which can’t be a bad deal.  I shall read my book (Stepping Stones - Interviews with Seamus Heaney by Denis O'Driscoll)   in bed tonight by the light of another much loved object, my little reading lamp which can be clipped on a book - I just hold mine as it can be bent into any position, the light it gives is fantastic, the battery has lasted ages and it even doubles up as a torch.  I am putting a lot of effort into simplifying my life and getting rid of stuff, and as well as 'stuff' I am trying to eliminate what I call the 'nuisance' in life and all its 'unwanted obligations' but there are some things one just can’t live without.  What can’t you live without?
What are you getting rid of?

Before I go here is a poem by one of my favourite poets. She speaks of things you can't buy but which are the most valuable of all.


    LIFE has loveliness to sell,
    All beautiful and splendid things,
    Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
    Soaring fire that sways and sings,
    And children's faces looking up,
    Holding wonder like a cup.
    Life has loveliness to sell,
    Music like a curve of gold,
    Scent of pine trees in the rain,
    Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
    And for your spirit's still delight,
    Holy thoughts that star the night.
    Spend all you have for loveliness,
    Buy it and never count the cost;
    For one white singing hour of peace
    Count many a year of strife well lost,
    And for a breath of ecstasy
    Give all you have been, or could be. 
    Sara Teasdale

 What was good about your day?

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,

Wednesday 13 October 2010

The Model

The Model

She is no soft-soap Cinderella,
invites abound, she wades in wealth.
Kohled eyes cast far and wide,
she slinks the thin and hungry cat’s way.
She can be the red-hot hunter, breathing fire
or coolly chic, script-prepared and fine-tuned gazing.
She can be a vision in deep plum,
in a wistful, warming, dream of a dress
in the prettiest print that is paisley,
its precious patterns framed in silver
amidst leaves of russet-gold.

Amethysts adorn a neck that is pure grace,
real pearls dropping from beneath her tiny ears.
Jewels of the moodiest blue in her ruby skirts,
her shawls are shady purple, red and ochre
and ballet pumps of velvet glitter at her feet.
Effortless in cable knits or clumpy-booted
in a cool cowl neck, a bow-neck knit
or a blouse of the daintiest, delicate lace.

Today she is fine art of the purest kind,
with red-haired-ringlets falling on her face
but whether she is almost naked,
wears a top hat with tight jeans,
some pull-ons or a wedding gown.
she is always the fashion model.
who always acts and always twirls
who always stares
who always softly smiles.

Cait O’Connor

Friday 8 October 2010

Dear John

 John Lennon would have been 70 tomorrow had he lived.

God bless you John.
Yoko is to call for peace in your name.

Thursday 7 October 2010

National Poetry Day

I have to post a poem today don't I?  It's National Poetry Day so I thought I would show you the second prize in the Mslexia competition,  (the first prize-winner is in yesterday's post).  This one  is also a wonderful poem and was written by Stephanie Norgate.

The Table

It was the round world of tea.
It had a pedestal foot of mock walnut.
It had been pulled under the bramley
on the lawn which became lawnless
where cow parsley and dock held
the grasses in their sway. It was
a plate of drips from the apple twigs.
Like Hardy’s clocks and carpets and chairs,
it was out on the lawn all day and then for years.
It was a flat world of peeling veneer
near the safe hedge of elders and elms.
It offered nasturtium salads and peppery remarks,
flawed like the internal specking
of the Bramleys, with their sepia stains.
Among the campions and apple blossom,
it glowered and mouldered and glowed,
a greening pool in a green light suspended
among nettles, its circle just visible
shadowed by the pink gold towers of dock.
When we slapped down cards, the green world
trembled and wobbled on its carved stem.
I want to lean my head on the ribboning surface,
and ask, Grandad what do you hear?
I want to unfreeze his ear from the trench
and see him listen again to the shelling of beans,
the downy shucks’ light fall on the table.
I want the people back who stood between me
and death with their unlocked doors.
Table, float them back to me
up the slope from the stream, through
the hogweed, past the bare bean poles,
till they’re back under the bramley with you.
Let your curved drawer stick as it used to,
the handle gripped in their tired hands,
then wrenched open and free.

Stephanie Norgate

Alphonse Mucha 1860-1939

Tuesday 5 October 2010

A Poem I Must Share

Every now and then I read a poem that is outstanding and this is one of them, it was written by Margaret Livingston and won First Prize in Mslexia's Women's Poetry Competition 2010; the judge was poet Vicki Feaver.   

Since reading it last night I have been thinking of it all day  -  there are several lines in this very moving poem that are truly brilliant.  See if you agree.

The Widower and his clothes 


The winter after
the weather organised his clothes.
He took to moors and beaches
and tentative horizons
that juggled sun and blizzards
on the ocean’s edge.

He took to rocks,
and sturdier boots,
and ditches where the rain
lay muttering with the moss
and dark newts lived a definite life
that made him feel unformed.

He looked to trees
their roots, like talons, holding on,
and found a heavier coat
that made his back seem real
and his arms more able
to push him through the day.

He wrapped a scarf
around his mouth to keep
his language warm, his words
in hibernation, while he
lingered on the hillside
where the frost was yet to melt.

The weather chose his clothes
that careful chrysalis, in which his heart
adjusted to the qualities of snow,
until the winter nuzzles into spring
and his fingers, in their gloves,
begin to think of touch.

Margaret Livingston

Monday 4 October 2010

Just a song

 I haven' t posted a song for ages and sometimes only music will do, it's that kind of evening I am afraid, there is damn all on TV and I have been so enjoying listening to my music collection.  I remembered how much I love the talent and voice of this artist, Tori Amos.