I am starting a new adventure, accompanied by Mr George Bradshaw – I am going to explore London (‘and its environs’). Have you seen Michael Portillo’s railway journeys on television, in which he travelled in the UK and Europe, Bradshaw in hand? Well, the same Bradshaw also wrote a guide to London and I will be following his tour from Thursday 24 January 2013, snow permitting. I have a new blog which will document my discoveries, londondiaryblog.wordpress.com/about/, and I hope that you will join me each week.
I love the shapes and colours in Chinese pottery, and the Musee Guimet is a light-filled gallery, not too overwhelming in size, with many beautiful objects.
I have just returned from three days in Paris where I was privileged to see things of breathtaking beauty. I was not really aware of Hiroshige until I spent several hours in the Pinacotheque – you should try to see the exhibition if you possibly can.
The Christmas Fayre in the Church was fun! The lavender bags, napkins, and pretty padded coat hangers all sold, as did some pretty red padded hearts, tied up with ribbon. But the glitzy decorations were not popular – perhaps too much a ‘City’ item? People here wanted small items, not too expensive, and either useful or seriously crafted items which would keep. I will take another stall next year, and take time making items in the months ahead.
One Chocolate Beer Cake sold for £8.50, the other cut up to accompany cups of tea – both in aid of the Church funds. We polished off the ginger cake, with cups of hot tea, after sight-seeing journeys in near-freezing temperatures!
So, all in all, a successful but tiring weekend, and lots to think about for the Cake Book, and the next Church Fayre.
And another first – a small stall at a Christmas Fayre! I have made some Christmas decorations, napkins, and the lavender bags from the autumn crop of lavender. The decorations were very difficult to photograph!
The flowers in Madeira reminded me of my mother’s garden in South Africa. She loved gardening and the plants grew well for her – they really had no choice as she urged and cajoled them into growth. Indeed, they hardly dared not flourish! These were happy memories, but then, as I walked round the Museum of Sacred Art her last day flashed into my mind, unexpected and unwanted, and I felt that awful overwhelming sadness again. I wanted to see her, and talk to her. But somehow, at moments like this when I cry out, silently of course, she is with me; somehow she knows and somehow she is there.
A week in Madeira has been a kaleidoscope of fascinating images. The terrace farming, abandoned terraces, and the stark ravines of the interior spoke of another life which found an outlet in the Mercado Lavradores. And then there were the tourists. And overall the rainbows. I hope these few pictures capture something of what I saw, and felt.
The Botanic Gardens were amazing.
The Blandy Gardens were beautiful, even in the rain – incredibly lush and luxurious – providing a startlingly ‘English’ picture of the Island.
The mist is low this morning; a heavy, cold, dampness that wants to sink into my bones. It is silent, with only the occasional brave bird somewhere out in the greyness.
This time last year I was getting ready to return to South Africa; now it is five and a half months since my mother died. I need to talk to her this morning. And I long to be with my friend BER. I am suddenly overcome with fear that I will never see him again in this life – one day there will be a phonecall, or worse still an email telling me he has gone, and I will only have the sound of his voice in my head.
Being alone in the garden brings a kind of peace, but my feelings about my mother are still very fragile. They seem to take two forms: there is an almost ‘spiritual’ or ghostly aspect when I feel she is with me but in a disembodied way. I can hear her and I feel she loves me, and is with me – I am not alone, I am not deserted or rejected. It is almost like being wrapped in something warm and soft, and protective. And then there are times when I relive that last week of her life, and it is deeply distressing all over again. And now the few pieces of furniture, china and pictures from South Africa which surround me in London remind me of her physical presence, which has gone. And then I miss her. She cherished her orchids.
The lavender bushes flowered well and when I pruned the bushes in August it seemed like a good idea to use the cuttings – lavender sachets and lavender fire bundles! Making small pouches is trickier than I realised, but thanks to the internet and Handmade Jane these are the first attempts: