Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Graveyard gift

Standing in the churchyard, local quarried stone
Keeper of lost souls, the guardian of bone,
Seasons of people passing through lych-gate to this acre
A remembrance of life, a trustworthy caretaker.

No longer in mortal memory of freshly wiped tears
Generations have long forgotten over many years,
Through times of hardship and wars with skies so leaden
Vandals, neglect and weathering spelt graveyard Armageddon.
But still the stones remain although edges decay
The words that were inscribed oft have little left to say.
 primroses in a churchyard
Now it is the nature that speaks in volumes with such might
From those that crawl and slither, scuttle or fly at night.
An angel full of lichen and a skull that's topped with moss
An ecosystem of memento mori on every arch and every cross.

Winding paths cutting meadow grass welcome dainty wing
Summer ox-eyed daises, buttercups and snowdrops every spring.
Tussocks of Yorkshire-fog with plumes of purple florets
A food source for the Speckled Wood and where beetles rest in showers.
Amidst a sea of flowers with waves of buzz and pollen golden
Centuries of graves to which wildlife is beholden.

 shaded gravestone
Ferns in damp shaded corners, a steady drip of blessed dew
The avenue of limes and the mysterious ancient yew,
Hiding places for woven nests, the robin and the wren
Tangles of ivy and prickling bramble, a dashing foxes den.

A hunting and foraging site for creatures of all sizes
The nocturnal and crepuscular and songbirds at sun rises,
A figure of eight loop-the-loop from a pipistrelle
Catching flies, dancing high above where granite tombstones dwell.

Moonlight brings the badger on his familiar trail
Trodden path with humbug grunts and wiry tufts of tail,
And as he stops to snuffle for worms and droplets of elder berries
Peace abounds; consecrated ground, tranquil cemeteries.

Open the gate to these sacred spaces in countryside or town
Take some time to sit there and really look around.
Whether your journey is spiritual or somewhere to find ease
Celebrate the gift of the natural world underneath the trees,
A place for green enrichment and replenishing the mind
A rich mosaic of living and departed intertwined.
 grasses and graves

Five Reasons to Buy a Fake Bonsai Tree

Artificial trees, whether for the home or the office, bring a touch of beauty and nature indoors. And they are, of course, trouble-free, whereas real plants are time-consuming, dirty, wet, prone to dying, and generally more expensive to boot. In terms of dressing up a space, artificial trees are great value, and fake bonsai trees deserve special attention. They are excellent for decorating a smaller space, but they make a large impact. While many artificial plants are designed to provide a relatively subtle, casual shift in mood, bonsai trees are attention-grabbers. The create a focused, powerful statement, while also softening an interior space.

Bonsai trees are great. But let's face it: you don't need a reason to buy a fake bonsai tree. If someone asks, though, here are five:

Fake Bonsai Trees Are Portable

Going to the vacation home for the summer? Moving to a larger office? Sleeping on your friends couch during a painful divorce? These are the moments when you might regret buying a fake palm tree. A bonsai tree is tiny—that's the whole point—and you can pack it up and take it with you. You can enjoy your ersatz miniature tree experience wherever you go. Some bonsais are small enough to take as carry-on luggage, and all of them will fit easily in the footwell of a car. Let your ex keep the fake palm.

Fake Bonsai Trees Will Protect You From Intruders

No, really. Because the guy who breaks into your place at 2AM isn't a botany expert. He can't tell that your ancient gnarled cedar tree is fake. All he knows is that bonsai trees means Mr. Miyagi. If you own a bonsai tree, what are the odds that you also have a blackbelt? Decent, right? So he will be heading back out the way he came in, before the bonsai owner shows up in a bathrobe to rearrange his spine. Better than a guard dog, and much cheaper.

Fake Bonsai Trees Will Inspire You to Write Fake Haiku

There is a long-standing association between bonsai and haiku poetry. Unfortunately for English-speakers, actual Japanese haiku relies on the “on”, a phono-linguistic unit that is not quite the same the English syllable. So English haiku (in the 5-7-5 format) are necessarily fake, and it is more appropriate to write them while contemplating a fake bonsai tree than a real one:

Counting syllables
The tree never needs water
What is illusion?

Fake Bonsai Trees Will Add Years to Your Life

This is true in a relative sense. If you get into (real) bonsai trees as a hobby, you are going to spend years of your life trimming branches the size of nose hairs, and using little splints and wires to tweak the growth of tiny tree limbs. You will spend ages staring at dead branches out the window, wondering how they got to be the shape they are. So, by comparison, fake bonsai trees are going to save you years of life.

Bonsai Tree Pots Are Too Small to Collect Litter

If there is a down-side to fake plants, it is the pots or planters themselves. If they are outside, smokers see them as elaborate ashtrays. If they are inside, they seem to magnetically attract plastic wrappers, coffee cup lids, and so forth. Soon you have a small landfill with a tree in the middle. But not with bonsai trees! Real or fake, bonsai trees are too small (and maybe a little too intimidating) for people to use them as absent-minded cup-holders or trash cans.
*collaborative post

British Summertime home

The British Summertime is nearly here and my thoughts switch to sunny days in the garden, hanging washing on the line, windows open, gentle breezes and balmy evenings with a glass of wine. Inside the home I like to capture the essence of our summers from the British coast to the buzz of the city on a warm evening. 

I was excited to find a wonderful United Kingdom cushion from George at Asda with a cheery map showing some characteristic landmarks and cliched but cute elements such as the bagpiper. A couple of these on the sofa will be lovely for my front room. Add to this one of their contemporary bug print cushions for English country garden charm. 

Time to inject that lighter and brighter feel into the bedroom too with new accessories and furnishings, perhaps new throws and duvets such as yet another great find for my love of maps with this colourful offering from Ben de Lisi. Summer is a great time to redress those window with some new curtains to brighten your room. My trickiest windows are in the loft and with all the light flooding in early in the morning need some VELUX blinds such as their blackout blinds for a decent nights sleep.British Summer Home British Isles Cushion, George £5 // British Isles Duvet, Debenhams £28 for a double// Bug Cushion, George at Asda, £5// Blue Stripe Mugs, Matalan £1.40// Vintage Train wall art, M&S £55// Garden birds cake tins, Dotcomgiftshop £12.95// Cottage Tea Light Holder, George at Asda, £7// Deckchair, eBay, £26.95// Rose cottage candle, Candles Direct £4.95

I love a feeling of calm in the house and a candle of two with a summer scent is my treat whilst I read in the evening. Floral fragrances such as roses or lavender give a delicate aroma to the room. Some fairy lights or a lantern add to the look or a simple tealight in a pretty holder such as the country cottage, again from George at Asda. 

It doesn't have to cost a lot to add some summer into your interior design, a few pieces from the high street, the supermarket or online can perk a room up. What could be more summery than a stripy deckchair, pop into a corner  by a window for a cheerful reading area, or on the patio on a sunny day. 

In the kitchen, a new set of mugs or some cake tins for your summer bakes - lemon drizzle please, can liven up open shelving, adding pops of colour. I need a new teapot and would love one with a coastal look, seaside gift shops are always so good for summery purchases so I will be looking out for one on our day trips. 

Personal items make me happy, wall art of seaside trips, train journeys and city breaks and vintage style posters of the Tube line. After my recent holiday on the Yorkshire coast I'd like frame a retro Scarborough poster, the National Railway Museum sells these for all over Britain and they are such a great way to remember your summer holiday.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Back in the sea fret of time

Northumberland sea fret Low Hauxley beach house Low Hauxley beach sea fret silhouettes crab pots Low Hauxley sea fret dunes and marram grass Low Hauxley village

Late morning and the sea fret lingers on the coast of Northumberland, swirling around dog walkers who emerge from the cold dense air like apparitions in waterproofs and walking boots. 

The fishing hamlet of Low Hauxley may be accustomed to a few spectres since this area was an ancient burial place and excavations have found remains from the Bronze age under the dune system, marram grass anchoring secrets from thousands of years ago. An eroding coast of cairns and cists containing human bones and beakers decorated with incised markings.

The beach gradually appeared through the shroud of mist as I walked with my trusty terrier, pattering paws on flat sand rippled with patterns of coal dust. Crab pots left by rocks and a smattering of beach huts on the coastal road, today's inhabitants alongside their Neolithic neighbours.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Vale of Eden

Vale of Eden North Pennines area of natural beauty View from the A686 North Pennines Alston Penrith Old Road Sign tree framed View Pennine AONB
When the return home journey offers views that make you stop and draw out the holiday just that little bit more. The rolling, green landscape of the Vale of Eden in Cumbria and fluffy clouds to match fluffy sheep. May trees, some still in leaf burst and lungs full of spring air, a sandwich and a bleat from beyond a drystone wall. A stretch of road where cars zoom past and I think please slow down a little, in fact just stop and look through this tree framed view of mine at this wonderful drumlin, a glacial deposit and there are lots of them here in groups known as a basket of eggs or a swarm.