Saturday, 4 December 2010


celebrating on top of the pass above Crickhowel, the family were taking a break in Turkey.


On top of the pass with the industrial Methyr Tydfel some miles down the valley to one side, and beautiful Crick Howell (I'll abandon trying the Welsh spelling,) nestling between the green hills far down the other side, I'm listening to sheep calling lambs, and a pair of ravens, watching them flying in and out of their nest in the dark granity-like rock escarpment above.

Where I sit, here under this old thorn tree it feels like I'm on top of the World. Today, Easter Day, my new book was published on Lulu.

Flat out now. Has it all been too much, all this excitement? Michael set off and climbed up into the Kingdom of the Eagles - at least he joined the ravens up there, and on his downward path, took this unauthorised view of Esme, the author, Out to the World.

Michael, back from the raven's tops, resting under the old thorn tree. We both look, as our friend Skip said, like a pair of old hippies. I prefer to think he looks like the wise old man. Maybe the shaman. I'm sure it's a magical tree. Certainly a magical day for us both.


FIRST; A Silly Song for Spring!

Spring is springing,

Birds are singing.

Sun's beams abound

But the warmer it grows,

My fingers and toes,

Plus the tip of my nose,

All remain unaccountably froze.

Three in a bed

practising Telemann

Family relaxing. Oldies exhausted.

Sickening, isn't it. I'm going to have to break the universal law again, No sooner did I swear I'd never swank about my grandchildren's achievements after *** musical genius results last December, than her youngest sister ****arrived yesterday shyly whispering her news. 'Look at my tee-shirt grandma. I've been playing in a tournament at school, and they've made me captain of the rugby team. I'm the only girl in a team of boys, but we won the tournament. Best out of 6 games, all really difficult, but we won, and they gave me this tee-shirt and a lot of games equipment for the school.' So I just had to ask her to pose for her photo in the corner of the room. Didn't I!

This is *** playing another sort of

game. This time with Dad-dad

**** In another corner.

CHRISTMAS DAY AT DRUIDSTONE A rare sight. Our hotel, The Druidstone, poised above icicles on the cliffs above the beach. I was kicking myself at not packing my camera at the last moment, but this picture was taken by Chris Segar. A photographer who knows what

he's doing, Chris and his wife were also a guests at the hotel, and he generously gave me some of the shots he had on his camera. Later in the day he also took several stunning views of the Christmas Day sunset over the sea. After the cold start, the day itself was crisply perfect. Blue skies and calm blue sea, with people taking a walks on the long, golden beaches all the way from Broadhaven to the south to Newgale to the north along the coast until sunset. The sunset colours that Chris captured were amazing; pearly violets, blazing oranges and golds, and I'm hoping to find a way to download a few to add a very different aspect to this unusual but monotone view above.

that say one doesn't praise one's own offspring in public.... I learned last night that Ellis, my middle granddaughter, age 12 had taken her music exam at the Guildhall School of Music with a pass mark of 98% This qualifies her for playing in an adult symphony orchestra. Her instrument is the double bass, the choice of which came about when at the age of 6 she went with her father Mark, one Saturday morning to buy a quarter-sized cello and returned with a half-sized double bass. The 98% mark is the highest ever given and is beyond 'distinction' grade.

Fond parents are aburst with pride - Grandparents Michael and Esme are bereft of words. This is the girl, who a years ago was taken to the Royal Observatory at Greenwich and asked a bearded chief astronomer if she could press the button which opens the great telescope lens. He asked he what she wanted to be when she grew up, and got the reply, 'an astronaut.' 'Go for it , girl' he told her. ' I wish my own granddaughter was as adventurous and brave as you.'

WITH GREAT SADNESS I return to my sprig of Glastonbury Thorn pictured in our garden a few weeks ago --- before the arctic winter befell with a vengeance. I used this image and some accompanying text for my this year's Christmas card. No sooner were they collected from the printer than I heard on TV news that some fool in a fit of mindless violence had taken a chain saw to the original tree which stands below the Torr and cut it to the ground.
So in honor of that 2000 year old parent tree one of who's offspring shoots, (so it's said) is now rooted in our garden, here's the picture again. (Unfortunately and mysteriously it somehow got deleted.)

AND, BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE. WOW! Better stay in. What a shock it was after that glorious November -- all those colours; trees bedecked in gold, amber and russet, blue skies and sunshine for weeks, that we're suddenly into Arctic weather. Temperatures soaring ? --there must be a word for an unbelievably rapid fall, but can't wait for it to emerge -- as I need to look out some extra clothing quick. Back to double underwear and porridge for breakfast long before the anticipated date. Winter Wonderland, if you want to see it that way from inside your house, but a bit of a pain if you're having to dig out your car from a snow drift before venturing out to forage for food.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

11 11 11

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone.
In the ranks of Death you'll find him.
His father's sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him.
'Land of Song,' said the Warrior Bard,
'Though all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee.'

The Minstrel fell, but the foe-man's chain
Could not bring his proud soul under.
The harp he loved ne'er spoke again,
For he tore its chords assunder. And
Said, 'No chain shall sully thee, thou
Soul of Love and Bravery. Thy songs
Were made for the pure and free,
And shall never sound in slavery.

(This is from memory and not necessarily
correct -- I wrote it because I wanted to!)

HARRY PATCH, the last surviver from the 1st W.W. died last year agge 111 (anothe 11 nunber!) He is buried locally, down the hill from where we live in Combe Down.


It is fabled that Joseph of Arimathea on his visit to Britain in the year A.D 63 brought the Holy Grail to Glastonbury. It was here that his staff took root and budded miraculously on Christmas Day. Almost as miraculously, an off-shoot of this tree is in full flower in our garden right now, along with masses of red berries. As you walk beneath it you breath in its sweet honey-lemony scent.

It has been a wonderful autumn this year, especially for the range of colour in the leaves.
A few days ago Micheal and I took a trip - about an hour's drive from Bath - to a lesser-known
area of Wiltshire known by the locals as, The Golden
Triangle, because it sits between three A roads.
There are a few minor roads crossing the triangle
so very little traffic passes through.

Ancient Inns, big country estates, and pastoral landscapes
take you into a world which is, or was, typical of Southern England. M. spent 3 days here on a recent course given over to the work of Marie-Louise Von Franz called
The Way of Dreaming. He stayed in a splendid house, met
some inspiring people and ate lushious vegy food, all among
the glory of the autumn leaves, rolling green pastures, surrounded by lakes, on one of the estates down here. He was so taken with it all that he brought me to see it
on Monday.

This is from a local village Inn, The Angel, and depicts another legend; Saint Michael, or The Archangel Michael killing the Dragon.

Across the village square is an even older inn; The Lamb.
And finally, a shot of lambs safely grazing.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


MAY in OCTOBER --- or our Christmas flowering
Glastonbury Thorn -- otherwise a variant of the
old fashioned May Blossom, bursting into bloom-
and scent- to boot, in late October, complete with
blood-red berries.

The legend is that St Joseph of Arimethea brought Christianity to Britain along with the Holy Grail. His staff took root, budded, and burst into flower on Christmas Day. And, yes, ours usually is in flower on that day. But this years it's gone a step further and produced red berries and white blossoms together!

The last few days we've had mildness and sunshine, the garden abloom with roses and vivid orange, carmine, gold and magenta flowers of all kinds. But today we're promised frost. Wonderful if it adds sparkle to the May blossom, but too much like it's heralding a long, cold winter for my taste.
Who knows! Let's see.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Typical Welsh farmhouse with windows that look like it was also used as a chapel.
Boats on the Saintclair's quay inlet looking inland.
Same inlet looking towards the sea.

Brent? geese on the brackish water lake near Dale.
And a view of the oil refinery faint in the distance at Pembroke Docks with the oyster beds in the foreground

I WOULD LIKE TO CALL THIS FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE, although having to use myself and one shot of Michael as the figures. Here I am at the far end of the promontary at Little Haven, drinking it all in.
From past experience, trying to fit text to pics is frustratingly time-consuming, so this is the best I can do for now.

And here, at Saint Non's is a view of all that space. I tried to capture a moment when the sun caught a sliver of yellow-green on the distant hill top, but when I pressed the button it had faded. Nevertheless the sky was well worth recording.

What I so love about this part of the world is that you can seem to have all these miles of beauty to yourself.

Down by the riverside at the Cathedral of Saint David, Micheal is contemplating a walk on the water!

A black Welsh cow contemplating the montain whilst chewng on it cud.

Figure in the landscape contempating the same mountain. (And if she looks right she will see the sea.)
And the same figure, seconds later seated on same rock, with same sea behind to the left, but so bright it seems to have blotted figure out. Either that or evening has descended unexpectedly.


One more from our collection, Michael down by the riverside at St.David's Cathedral contemplating a walk on water!

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Michael and I seem to be spending more and more of our time, these days, dissecting and discussing the lives of the people of Ambridge. Analysing the Archers as if they were REAL! Oh, my Gawd! Tum-ti-tum-ti-tum-ti tum!!!!

Also heard on sound radio, BBC, a few things that made me laugh out loud: British-born Jamaican reggae poet, vegan and Royal bauble decliner, Benjamin Zephaniah being interviewed this week on why he left behind city life to settle in a small village in Lincolnshire. In Birmingham he'd go out of the front door and walk past house after house after house - every one the same. In this village near Spalding he'd leave his house, walk for 20 miles, turn round and still be able to see his house in the distance nestling in the trees. 'What about racism. Wasn't that worse in small village life than in the big City.' Benjamin paused - 'That's certainly what I thought . In the early days there I used to hear people muttering in shops and pubs - although I don't drink myself. I heard them complaining of these immigrants coming here taking our jobs, marrying our women, until I realised they were talking about those stranger-invaders from Norfolk.'

Another news snippet: A posse of Canadian police raided a cannabis farm but hadn't got far inside before they spotted several black bears. Obviously planted with the intent of keeping out any unwelcome interference from the Law. The officers fled! At a safe distance they turned to look back and noticed all the bears peaceably lolling and sitting around -- presumably, according to the image which leaped into my mind - quietly enjoying a spliff.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Summer moving on

TODAY ..... there were a dozen Goldfinches in the garden feeding on magenta flower-head seeds.

That's all! If I had a picture ....

However..... they'll bee onto these very soon -- as soon as the bees move over.

Monday, 19 July 2010


It's the end-of-year school concert. Performance begins 6.30, but a little rehearsal back home in the kitchen, and some sisterly hairstyling support in the living room first.

Lauren, who left Malorees junior after her 'dramatic staring role' as a New York reporter in her end-of-year musical 2 years ago, attempts to achieve a convincing top-knot effect for younger sister Ellis's Japanese lady role. while Arti, the youngest, plays a soothing bassoon solo in the kitchen.

Soon, in the school hall, the lights are about to go up, the audience forgather, and the stage is set!
(conceived and painted by their mother Sandhya, who teaches at the same school.)

Meanwhile .. SOMETHING DRAMATIC is about to happen. The audience begin to go wild, as the players get into the swing of things to the strains of a very professional 6 piece jazz band.


The Japanese ladies of the court (featuring Ellis, mid stage in pink with a cream flower in her hair) gather round the Mikado. After much dramatic hoo-ha where Nanki-Poo 'returns from the dead' to save the town, and Ko-Ko make the ultimate sacrifice by agreeing to marry the no-so-young lovelorn Katisha, the wedding celebrations of
Nanki-Poo and YumYum can at last take place. And of course, they all live happily ever after...

Saturday, 12 June 2010

June, flaming June. And home again.

Complete contrast but home sweet home is great too. After that amazing week in Wales where the wild flowers bordering the narrow lanes overwhelmed the senses - not to mention the knock-out effect of all that space and light and the silence of having it all to ourselves, the more gentle return to our English garden was wonderful in its own way.

Poppies everywhere. A madness of poppy.
Here in the purple passion corner the special dusky purple ones had opened fro the first time and bloomed while we were away.

And here again the giant blowsy pink ladies joined the dance with the bee-bells and the nature spirits lurking among the leaves.

And a splash of scalding scarlet frilly ones.

By the end of the week Michael had finished his splendiferous seat, created from Victorian ironwork rescued from an old garden and been in our shed for maybe 20 years awaiting the turning into realty of the initial vision. Some beautiful hardwood shaped, sanded and drilled to fit the original Victorian scrollwork.
Perfectly placed now to catch the last of the evening sun, we can sit, glass in hand, plates on knees, sipping and enjoying an outdoor Spanish omelet.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A Week in Wild West Wales

This is Nolton Haven, our first evening. The day began hot and bright, sunshine and blue skies all the way down from Bath.

Saint Brides, or San Freidd Monday, brilliant light cool breeze, wall-to-wall blue. Sea, sky, all to ourselves. Someone's old boat, all by itself too.

From the end of the rocky promentary at Little Haven. Tuesday morning.

Long walk, strong wind, all wrapped up in scarf and wollies against the cold. Little cottage in mid-distance; St Davids Head mountain in distance.

Our last evening, cliff top, stunned by the intensity of light, beauty and silence we had absorbed all week.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Well, I think I'll bow out of the political scene now. I don't usually get this fussed when it comes to casting my vote, but you must admit this last election has been a humdinger. But now it's boiled down - now the hype and hysterics have died down - to what's being called the Dave&Nick show, otherwise, the Tweedledum-Tweedledees, the Clegarons, the Clammeroons, the whatyouwiilies, and the other side busy now trying to stir up more hilarity with their own version of the Tweedledumdedees, the Mili-Boy-Band, I've had enough excitement for a while.

So I will attempt no further political utterance until the next damn election, 5 years hence, and focus back to my usual flat world of New Energy writing and assorted Ascension maters.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


For one brief moment it seemed there might be a real progressive co-operative, non-adversarial government - a rainbow of colours including a few Scotsnats, Welshnats and the Verdantly triumphant Caroline GreenParty. But all too soon the dream was pricked. Sad Gordon resigned but no hands were extended to Nick, and we're now where we are. But at least we got the beginnings of a completely New way of politics, and nothing will be quite the same again. Change has come and the future is ahead - as always - but with a promise of something more mature and grown-up then we've known before.

So to cheer myself up a picture or two. Spring might just be here at last.
Up the garden path!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

What Did I Tell You.

There it is then - crisis and chaos. Be careful what you predict, you may just get it.

I have it from my sources: Confused OAP voted for the Dibberal Lemoncrats. Or was it the Dribbleral Lemoncats? -- Dribbly Lemoncakes...

Wathc this spac3e. I'm jusht off to open another bottle of fizzy water.

Thursday, 6 May 2010


Oh those empty, blue skies! (Well, not quite so, they're still grey and chill, but with that unpronounceable volcano's dustcloud again drifting our way, the planes 'up North' are grounded once more.) The empty blue skies I'm referring to are the airwaves free of Brown stuff, Clegg mania and that Cameron bloke. I think he's a bloke, isn't he? That's what he claims, anyhow.
But, no. For once we have a Day without any of that stuff, and instead we've had, at least on the bit of radio I listen to, nothing but artists, writers, musicians and a few good storytellers being interviewed. What a Change this is. This is what I call a Change. Yippeeee, hurrah! Let's have more of it.
Of all the interviews this morning, the one which impressed me most was Paul McCarthy, (yes, remember him? He of the Beetles fame.) He was telling us of two of his most recent projects; one, I failed to take in fully - wasn't quite tuned in yet, not quite awake, but it was the one which made me sit up, metaphorically you understand. It had been a suggestion, apparently, coming from a friend. Her idea was to have a special car set aside of the trains - a quiet room for people who wanted just not to be bothered, but where they could have reading material provided. Books of short stories. And she'd approached Paul to see if she could persuade him to write one.

And the second of Paul's projects was that he'd agreed and had written about his own pet subject, getting people to think about the benefits - to themselves, but also to the planet as a whole - of a Meat Free Day. A word with Jamie on the subject had brought him on board too, but Jamie, a step further, had suggested that two meatfree days per week was even better. So we may be in for his next series; Jamie Does Veggie Britain.

Anyway, I'm off to marinade Jamie's Moroccan fish dish for tonight's supper before that one comes on line. But not with out giving you my 5th of May Message for the Day.

Calling all UK voters; Let's go to the next level. Vote for Tomorrow. The Dualistic mode of politics we've been living with for too long, for since like forever, is bust. The Great Awakening is upon us. Dive in and cast your vote for crisis and chaos. What could be more perfect!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


In the wake of all the doom and gloom which inspired/clouded my last blog post, the sun is illumining my mood and my garden path right now. Blue, blue empty skies for we Earthbound folk who didn't fly away this Easter brought a breath of unfamiliar silence in which to contemplate a future free of iron birds trailing vapour streams and odorous guiltladen carbon footprints. Wondering perhaps what would take their place. Magic carpets? Glass of wine and thou?

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter Sunday

If I'd remembered to take my camera, I'd have some lovely pictures of New Forest ponies to put up. Easter Sunday, and it really felt like Spring. The first sunny day for ages and the cars streaming out from Bath, as well as those heading towards us, all driven at a speed which suggested herds of farm animals penned up far too long over winter, making for their first taste of fresh, green grass in months.

We headed for the New Forest and went off track - got lost a bit - in a part of the world we'd never explored before and came upon The Cuckoo dead on lunchtime. It's a wayside inn, completely and authentically rural. A good local beer, log fire, and crowds of kindly folk drinking and eating in the garden surrounded by spring flowers, or indoors surrounded by oak and pine, flagstones and good-natured chatter. A sweety of a woman proprietor saw us to a sunny table, and with a keen but simple pride proceeded to describe the several dishes of home cooked food on offer. We settled for artichoke and celeriac soup with a touch of lemon and ginger, and a plowman's, the proportions of which seemed so staggeringly generous that I nudged Michael, hinting that a plastic carrier in the car would do nicely as a doggie bag. Both the farm-house pate and the wedge of Brie would have done us the week.

Later, at last deep in the forest, it was time to breathe lungsful of sunlit air, stroll over springy lichen, twisty roots, piles of dead beech and oak leaves, and through squelshy water-sodden ground. Ponies all around, some scrubby-looking with their winter coats peeling off, others with bodies bony and thin telling how hard a winter it had been, were nibbling at whatever nourishment they could find on the ground. Of grass we saw no sign, except on the verges of the lanes.

Sunday, 28 February 2010


It was dark - dead of night, so it felt, when I was woken by the blackbird singing its heart out outside my window. But otherwise I'm stuck still in hibernation mode - like the whole of nature around me, it seems. My favourite tree is dead-looking and dropping all its leaves. Never done this before, and we've had it almost 20 years. But this year seems to have been its last straw in its bid to hang on through the winter, dreaming of its native Australia. Always before in February it has burst into clouds of tiny yellow, vanilla and lemon scented flowers.

I feel like I'm dropping my leaves too- hanging on - in hopes. Only last Sunday we picnicked under a deceptive sun, the day seeming to have a Spring in its steps at last. 20 Roedeer ran past and Michael, with his sharp ears, heard a skylark overhead. Yet winter is back with a vengeance and threatens us with a further round of fluey colds, or worse.

Speaking of books into films, (as I did earlier) I heard the 'critics' verdicting on The Lovely Bones. And if I believe what they say- and I'm inclined to on this occasion - my opinion, for what it's worth, is read the book! Forget the film. I shouldn't pronounce on somethingg I haven't seen, but, from what I hear, all the important elements, psychological and spiritual depths and subtleties have been airbrushed by Hollywood, box-office gloss.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


Half Term and the kids down for a couple of days, and the forecast was snow over Bath. The deepest snow of the winter. The fact that it didn't quite happen, but poured with the coldest rain and sleet instead only lifted out spirits slightly. Mid-day was darker than any mid-day I can remember, and buckets and bowls catching streams of drips from the gass roof downstairs, it didn't bode well for a fun time. Friday, however dawned. Sky blue. Sun, instead of water, pouring in throught the ceiling, we set off for the Rainbow Woods and the playing fields carrying our two kites.