The English non summer didn’t stop us getting some walking in. Tully and Harley didn’t care about rain or grey skies and nor we decided should we. As Ruskin said there is no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothes. Besides the South West Coast path ran almost in front of the door, and it would have been a crime to miss it. … Continue reading Summer On The South West Coast.
We spent the British summer (grim, grey and shower after shower) in Weymouth, looking after the gorgeous Harley and Tully, and Batman the cat. (I cannot think of Batman without that soundtrack running through my head). The dogs were gorgeous cocker spaniels; so pretty with ruffled ears like flowing locks. Tully, small and nimble, golden like soft brown sugar. Harley, always with a lopsided cheeky … Continue reading Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside.
‘You’re like a different person here’. I am not good at doing nothing. I get so excited when I get someplace new and want to run about and discover, walk the streets, sit on terraces, eat the food; soak it all up. To Jim, I’m manic. I envy his ability to sit and stare into space, nap in the afternoons and hang over gates watching sun-sets. … Continue reading The Charente.
We’ve just finished our fourth housesit on a small-holding in the Charente region of France. Now we’re old hands at milking, and this time, for the first time, we didn’t have to milk Bella. She’s a grandma now, and resting. Here I look back to our first stay and encounter with the She-Devil! Day One: We meet Bella. She splayed her legs, put her hooves on the lower bars … Continue reading Diary Of A Milkmaid.
It’s well known that the English are eccentric. ‘Only mad dogs and English men…’ and all that. Nothing expresses this national characteristic more than the passion for folly building. Aristocrats with more money than sense set up turreted towers, sham castles and ornamental gateways on hill-tops, in gardens, and in the middle of nowhere, for no better reason than that they could. These places are … Continue reading Foibles and Follies.
Only one day in Paris! What to do? We went to our favourite museum – Musée d’Orsay – and I became spellbound by the face of a woman who lived 95 years ago. What do I see when I look in your pale, oval face? Hair neatly parted, scraped back in a bun. Deftness. Quietude. A certain passivity. You don’t look like you’d be the … Continue reading Madame Cezanne.
There is something about stairs. Transition points, they are slightly magical, other worldly, mesmerising. Literal and figurative transporters to other realms. Think Kate and Leonardo in Titanic splendour or Kermit’s plaintive ode ‘halfway up the stair’… Ordinary trappings of everyday that offer endless possibilities … Continue reading Stairways of Paris.
The padlocked wrought-iron gates barred our way. In the inner courtyard, a flock of twenty-something pigeons took flight as one, filling the silence with a flutter of wings, and the emptiness with a scratch of charcoal grey. In the eastern cemetery a skinny fox sauntered amongst the tombstones, turning to look back at us, tongue lolling from the corner of his mouth, before he disappeared … Continue reading Highgate Cemetery. Fairyland With An Edge.
‘Well done. The kids will be delighted’, she said as she turned to face us, trowel poised mid-air, ‘We were a bit short-handed this year, we didn’t have time to put out the explanations.’ It was the music notes that gave it away – although, I admit, not to me, but to Jim. Those, and the big fat moustache. The trowel plunged downwards again and … Continue reading ‘Excuse Me, Is That Elgar?’
Cordoba is known for her courtyards and we were lucky enough to have our own. Sky-blue walls and plant-pots, green foliage, coloured flowers, lemons, figs and bougainvillea. Our apartment was up plant-filled steps, in the eves, crowned by peach-grey weathered tiles. At two in the afternoon, when the mercury in the thermometer went beyond forty degrees, this – and an ice-cold bottle of water – … Continue reading Cordoba – Patios And A Square.