Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Last night....

So we've had the last night at our home.
This morning, Judy recorded the dawn chorus from the conservatory at 5am. Sooty our blackbird was in full song, singing from a telephone poll across the way... a fitting farewell to our time here.
Now that the house has become bare and stripped its time to reflect on all that has happened in the seven years we have lived here.

We moved into a bare and empty space that had never been lived in before and now we leave it with memories...creativity, friends, music and laughter. It has been a fabulous home.
Judy tops up the bird feeders as I write and the sparrows flit about in the beech edge. 

Today the last of the studio boxes will be gone... and that, will be that.


These were the "before and after" shots from yesterday...and the first was taken only 20 minutes before the second....the movers are incredibly fast. 

It has been quite nerve-wracking to keep the things coming with us separate from the things to be stored and sent to America next year...they are like swarming bubble wrap-laden bees. Mom told me that when my sister moved to Virginia, she had a box from her kitchen with used Brillo pads...this might really interesting!

What I do know is this, all the legal documents and our love letters are safely in the suitcases we are taking, they are the things I could not imagine losing in all the momentary chaos.

That being said, here is a photograph also taken last evening, what a wondrous gift to change one's focus.


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Bare simplicity...

These pine needles in Sequoia National Forest remind me of the simplicity of winter... just as our house becomes bare and empty.

A time of change and a new beginning just around the corner.
As the Philosopher Seneca said: "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
Today, the kitchen and bedroom will be boxed and ready... leaving just our bed and two chairs behind for tomorrow.


The wisteria is spectacular this morning. Our second-to-last morning waking up here in our beautiful home. 

I am reminded that we are, each of us, only stewards of the places we live and the lives that we touch. This letting go of the daily routines, and the habits that no longer serve, helps me to get a new focus on things. This house is not mine, it is the place I have been privileged to create, to journey, to grow.

The two Tibetan bells hanging on the pergola were a wedding gift from Bill and Sue, who jointly married us in June of 2000. Hard to believe we will soon be on a ship, heading for North America when we celebrate our anniversary, that these bells will be in a storage unit in England, and that we will be bringing into form the new home that will be ours to steward for as many years as we are blessed to do so.

Just as some of the wisteria is fully in bloom, just above the lower of the two bells, there is a large bud...poised for full we go...



It's just past midday and Judy and I have been up since 4am. The removals crew arrived at 9 and now most of downstairs and the studio are neatly packed up in boxes; the rooms stripped bare.

Emptying drawers in my office desk I came across assorted coins, odd keys and countless bric a bric that I can't identify or see the purpose of.
We retreated to our bedroom for a brief lunch and will look forward to sitting in the garden later this evening with a cool drink. 

The sun blazes down.
We've served cold Cokes, cups of tea and plates of biscuits to the three man crew, who, are, without doubt, the best.
Amidst all this I am mindful to ensure that our crucial papers are not lost; my immigration documents, our passports, our QM2 tickets and so on. 
Meanwhile, this interior of one of our irises serves as a reminder of beauty at the heart of all things...


These old-fashioned English roses were on the table at the party my women friends gave me on Saturday. They have a fragrance that is sweet and lingering and today I am reminded of them. 

Today, as bit by bit our home became a uniform shade of cardboard brown, emblazoned with the words "Robinsons International Moving and Storage", I was deeply aware of the desire Nicholas and I shared in creating a sanctuary, a home where art and music and books were the featured items on display. Our garden had wind chimes and sculptures, music and form to dance with the light and the elements. 

And, in saying this, I am deeply aware that we will do so again, in a new home, in a new country....

As we were studying the boxes and the labelling on them, we were aware that "ornaments/lounge" tells us very little. As if reading my mind, Nicholas said, "What a time of rediscovery it will be." 

And it will be that, absolutely, and on so many many levels.

As I type these words he is creating a gourmet meal, we will have another early night, another early morning and then...

Robinsons...round 2!!!


Monday, 28 May 2012


Four days to go until we leave the house! Today a truckload of clutter was cleared away in the space of twenty minutes, just as our favourite decorator made good the studio. It was as if new...
Our dining room table and chairs has found a good home and, now the house is ready for the removals team.
With only two chairs to sit on we are still able to enjoy the conservatory and, today, in glorious sunshine the smoke tree is at last coming into its own.

Its funny how the mind plays tricks though... getting up from the chair here I have an internal dialogue which says...'oh, I'll just go and watch the cricket highlights...' but the TV has gone back to the rental company and its not just a dream.
Now in the cool of the evening, Judy and I have vowed to get up at 4am to move all the paintings to their allocated rooms.
It will be a long day.


This hand carved clock was a wedding gift, yesterday it stopped at is the first time in 12 years that the battery has run symbolic!

That being said, I can relate. I am really tired, this has been a big push...from the initial dream of emigrating that was born 5 years ago, to the questions about "where", to the pension planning and financial advice, the house sale, the car sale, the decisions about what to bring and what not to bring, the decision about where to buy, what to buy, who to build the new home (once we knew it was Maple Ridge and Dryden), etc...and, of course, the grief with Paddy dying so suddenly in February mixing now with all the goodbyes.

I like to imagine I am the bird on the top of this clock, happily singing away, perched at  a carefree angle, trusting that I will have all the light I need with the smiling moon and twinkling stars...and most likely I will. But, tonight, as I go to bed at 8:00 I am certainly more akin to the bird with the startled gaze. (kind of a deer-in-the-headlights look... only feathered).

We will go to sleep, wake when the sun is still asleep and, unlike this clock, our bodies and our spirits will be restored and we will accomplish all we need to accomplish before the movers arrive at 9. I am quietly confident about this, as both Nicholas and I are pretty fabulous in a crunch, we work really brilliantly as a team and our's been perfect so far!


Sunday, 27 May 2012


So what is it about dragonflies and the symbols of the moment? 

Today, Judy and I were telling some our friends Nicky and Liam about the dragonfly moment last week when, just at the same time, a dragonfly appeared above the pond in our garden and flitted about for a moment or two.
We have at last sorted out the garage... two trips to the local dump later and we're done.
And, tomorrow, we will part company with yet more furniture.

And, of course, its all about that moment of change, of transition and, just as we bid good bye to our living room glass table, our dining room table and our last few chairs, I am reminded of the Buddha face which graces our hall.

A stillness that is a perfect symbol of change and hope...


These are the pieces of driftwood I am dusting and preparing for their year in storage. At the moment they are on the windowsill of our conservatory, making beautifully reflective still life sculptures with our Iona stones.

I am aware that this moment in my life is like these pieces in a way. So much of what has shaped me is about to do so again, relationship, love, letting go, holding tight, I recognise that these are the ebbs and tides of being a human being.

As I see the beauty in the areas worn away by sand and salt and wind, I see that my heart and my spirit carry similar markings. My face has the patterns worn from laughter, from deep thought, from worry, and joy.

This season will leave its marks as well...and they will be formed by love.


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Long Light...

Today, my portfolio is featured on Absolute Arts' web site, which considering there are about 70,000 artists on the site is quite something! My painting Island Light 2 was inspired by the Scottish Islands.

Browsing through my photographs of the last ten years I came across this one taken on Harris in June 2001... it captures the sense of magical long light that lingers in the memory.


Today my closest women friends here in England honoured me with a leaving party...a few were unable to join us in the beautiful sunny garden setting of my friend Renee's home, but most were there.

They together gave me the perfect gift...

Each woman (even those not in attendance) had chosen a charm that was reflective of our shared journey. The heart at the 12 o'clock position is the clasp of the bracelet and in clockwise direction they tell this story...

A cowboy with a guitar from my friend Siobhan, I have sung with her husband
An angel wing from my friend, writer, Chris, who began to collaborate with me creatively with my book, Gabriella 
2 keys from my friend Helly-we hold them for one another here at the Mews 
The shared initial J from my friend Jacquie 
An amethyst heart from Renee, it was her Mom's and she and I first met when my healing touch was given as a gift by her to her Mother 
The long silver key is from Anna-the first of these women I met in England-we lived opposite one another in Chartwood Place
A tower from Lizzy to remind me of Leith Hill and the beautiful Surrey Hills.
A doggie, from Sarah, who first met me lying on the floor of an art gallery here in Dorking (I was giggling and getting kisses from her dog, Zach...yes, I know!)
The bagpipes are from Annie, who has loved the story of our meeting on Iona and held it tenderly 
Kimmy gave the red orb, held gently in the silver casing...we both have red hair, freckles and a wicked sense of humour 
And lastly, the house is from my beloved next-door-neighbour, Lou...

A circle of memories created and now cherished by me.

Thank you...all of you...I am moved beyond all comprehending.


Friday, 25 May 2012

The warmth of Spring...

27 degrees today and counting... it has been a glorious warm sun filled day, with a brisk breeze blowing debris around the garden and rustling in the leaves.
Judy and I began finalising the database of paintings.. 350 or so to go in to storage for the next year. Its quite bewildering trying to keep track... but lets hope it will all make sense next year.
Our irises are gorgeous, and have burst out in the last two days...

And, all afternoon we were treated to blackbird song; joyful song celebrating the stuff of spring.


It doesn't take a lot to shed light on things...well...sometimes it takes patience to wait for illumination, for what was once in shadow to be revealed.

Today there were blessings, a friend had an all clear on a follow-up, something that is always frightening for her. Another friend had a scare, but it seems at this moment that she, too, will be ok. 

Light puts things in perspective, it helps me remember what to focus on. It
helps me remember that extraordinary gifts are often the simplest, the light on a new leaf on a spring morning, celebrating life in all its glory.

Today I am filled with gratitude and aware of grace.


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Getting there...

Five years ago, Judy and I visited the Valley of the Gods in Utah with two close friends... and during our brief stay we drove up to Muley Point, overlooking Goosenecks State Park. The views there offered us a truly grand perspective, as if the distances were a framework to help us stay focused.

And, today, I am grateful for those memories... they are, for me, beacons at a testing time.

On the south rim of the Grand Canyon, on our first trip to the west 5 years ago, Nicholas knew that he wanted to move to the USA and he knew he wanted to become a US citizen. On this trip he was almost overwhelmed with a feeling of having found his way home.

In the early days of our love story, we wrote letters, every day. We did not have emails or texts, we actually exchanged letters, kind of like a diary that was addressed to a lover, a friend with whom we shared our deepest hopes and dreams. Sometimes in those letters he would refer to my pioneer spirit and when I see him here and think of the future we will share, exploring the glory of the America and her National Parks, her mountains and rivers and coastlines, I am filled with a sense of awe and a deep and abiding peace.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Just in Time...

Our Irises in the back garden are just opening, ten days before we leave...

And, just in time, the wisteria is at last showing signs of coming into blossom. It has been an anxious time waiting for these slow developments just as we complete so many of the processes of packing.

Today as I collected the Hi Fi we stood outside the store chatting briefly with a fabulous engineer called Derek. He had rebuilt the Linn Sondek, rewired the arm, installed a new cartridge and methodically packed it all up for me in its correct box, ready for shipment. And, just as we spoke about moving to the US, a dragonfly landed on the tip of my index finger and stayed there calmly for a minute or two. 

It seemed a propitious moment and, perhaps, a good luck sign for the future, and a perfect metaphor of change and transformation...


At last...the wisteria has begun to unfold!

I am so grateful. For the past six weeks, in the cold and bitter spring, it has often felt as though we might not see our garden in its height of beauty before we left. But, now, in late May, we have what would have been only seen in early May. The gorgeous blossoms of iris, and poppy and rose and wisteria are all blooming now, as if to send us on our way.

When things are pending, in a seemingly endless sort of way, the joy that is unleashed in the beginning of the change, the shift, the movement...well, that joy releases so much pent up energy and passion. 

That is what has been released in me today, on this sunny day in England, 73 degrees Fahrenheit, warm and bright and filled with all that is yet-to-be.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012


I love hummingbirds and can't wait to create a garden in which to attract them. They are such a feature of birdlife in North America, but completely absent over here in the UK.

I spotted this one in Sausalito, California in October 2009 just outside the Inn above Tides where we stayed for a day or two.
To me they are a symbol of perfect balance and poise, or a metaphor perhaps for the process of being still at the centre of a turning world.

Beginning our lives again across the pond will be a balancing act... of staying true to our intentions and keeping calm in the chaos. 

And I will learn to tread carefully amongst the shimmering shadows...


We, all of us, leave a mark in our lives. We leave a record of where we have been, sometimes we are conscious of this process, sometimes we are not. 

Our lives are recorded not only in our memories, but in the memories of those whose paths joined with us for years...or moments...

As Nicholas and I have travelled to beautiful places on this earth, I have found many cairns along the way-little offerings of pieces of stone and wood, sculptures from the natural world that say, one day another person on their journey was here, in this very place, and paused to mark the moment they passed by.

I hope my life, the moments I inhabit, leave an imprint as beautiful as this.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Contrasts and Textures...

I took this photograph on Agate beach in Northern California in 2009. It was an unlikely moment as the sea washed back to reveal a seabird's feather amongst stones.

And, just as such unusual sightings reveal the most unexpected beauty in unexpected places, so too, this last week has been a celebration of friends and company at such a transitional time for us all.

These last few days and weeks here in the UK are an opportunity for us to give thanks to all of our friends who have accompanied us on our journey so far... and to give thanks to all the changes that will come, with gratitude.

Two days ago I watched a pair of tadpoles flit about in the pond, not knowing if they would  grow or reach maturity...and today, I saw a baby blackbird fly for the first time to sit, by the pond, as if surprised by its own reflection. 


I know...I know...I don't tend to follow Nicholas' lead with the blog, but tonight the photos from Agate Beach were still open when I began to write and this image caught my eye...and my spirit...

These are the pieces of redwood, agate, basalt and granite that I spent hours searching for three years ago this autumn. They are the pieces I tucked in my shoes and socks and then into my suitcase on my return from San Francisco to London and now...they are the remnants that shall return to our hillside home in Dryden.

It is of interest to me that they look a lot like my treasures from Iona. 

It is of interest to me that I look for strong pieces of the natural world that have weathered storms and the assault of ages. I seek them out. They remind me that this is life, this beauty that is only possible with fully experiencing the sometimes painful process that is the oddly packaged gift of a life lived with abandon.

In seeing the uniqueness of an aged and distressed stone or piece of driftwood, I am reminded that the imprint of a life is, more often that not, formed by the most difficult and challenging moments.


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Fine wine and a Sunday roast...

This evening we had our last roast chicken here, accompanied by our last bottle of red wine, a 1983 Cos d'Estournel which I had purchased in 1988 and kept for all these years. The cork had almost pulverised but with a judicious bit of sieving I managed to rescue the wine. It was a fabulous claret still lively with fruit and unaffordable at today's prices; it was rated by Robert Parker at 98. Altogether, it has been a fitting meal to celebrate this fabulous house and the years we have spent here.

Last night we had our last meal with good friends...and when Judy and I thought about it we reckon we have enjoyed company here almost twice a month for seven years. 

I played the piano for the last time here too... an hour before it was packed off to Brighton. 

Its really hitting us now, as the house becomes leaner and leaner and as the last notes echo into memory.


This beautiful photo was taken in a B&B overlooking Trinidad Bay in northern California. The play of reflected light from the bright blue glass and deep red wine were glorious to behold during the sunset on our first night.

With our years of entertaining here in England now drawn to an end, there is a lingering sense of wonder at the depth of the experiences we have shared gathered round our table, listening to stories, sharing memories, dreams and disappointments, opening our hearts and our spirits to one another each time we gathered.

We have been blessed...deeply the friends who have met us here, they have sustained us and nurtured us through so many formative moments in our marriage and in our unfolding creative journeys.

Thank you...all of you...for nourishing us so utterly. What a feast it has been!


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Getting there...

My most recent painting, created three weeks ago is just about dry, which, thank goodness, is just in time for the packing which begins in ten days time.
Entitled Desert Light, it is 20" x 30" and, when I painted it I was reminded of the sublime qualities of the light I have seen in the South Western Deserts at certain transitional moments.

It will be a strange interval for the next year or so, to leave my paintings behind in storage until they can be shipped to our new house in Dryden, but, I will anticipate rediscovering them next Spring with the joy of new beginnings.
Tomorrow I will say goodbye to the will find a new home in Brighton, and that too I will miss until we can find a replacement. 


This is my sister's dog...Maky...and this picture makes me happy. 

Really happy.

In the midst of all the goodbyes and letting go, he represents not only all that is about to happen, but he (and all dogs) are fabulous reminders of the need to stay right in the moment I am in.

As has been the case for many many months now, each few steps forward have been accompanied with some variant of a momentary setback...but, when I look at this I smile and, well actually I laughed right out loud. 

That will be my goal these next few weeks. to smile and laugh...a lot...

Oh...and I have googled cockapoo breeders in Central NY state!


Thursday, 17 May 2012


Exactly a year ago today I photographed this small bee busying itself in the front garden beside one of our oriental poppies... but this year the blooms are several weeks away from opening. The wisteria in the back garden looks like it will open in June and the iris are still in bud.

With temperatures here forecast to be colder than the Arctic at this time of year, at least for the next two weeks, we'll be lucky if we experience the garden in full bloom before we go. 

And that, of course, is a reminder that we can't take any of this bounty for granted.

Perhaps it will be easier leaving the garden with the best still yet to come, and as we get closer to saying goodbye, I am grateful for the words of Pema Chodron:


That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent,  is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs.  Everything is in process. 


This is one of the earliest photographs of the garden design from the window of  my healing room, looking down. As we were clearing the cupboards earlier this week we happened upon the initial hand-painted drawings for this garden, created by our landscape designer.

We have placed them in a portfolio, along with a number of Nicholas' drawings and photographs and they will be all be coming with us on the Queen Mary. 

It was a relief to know that we still really like this design, that we will show it to our new landscape designers and take the things we most loved, including the plantings, and work to create some sort of fusion, blending the history of our present garden with our future hopes for a place of respite and reflection.

In looking at this in its earliest stages, I am reminded that we wanted the symbol of a journey, the gentle visual presence of the curving path gives us this daily focus. It is the journey, it is always about the journey, there is no way from here to there without it...

But...I can do all I can to make it absolutely beautiful along the way.


Chinks of light in strange places...

I photographed this abandoned barn near Trumansburg, New York just over a year ago... I was struck by the interplay of light and shade and the shapes and forms that made an abstract composition.

Today, some more crucial parts of our jigsaw puzzle have fallen into place and, just like the light shining in unexpected places, today, we can rest a little easier.
At times the last year has been such a roller coaster of highs and lows its difficult to believe so much has happened and, is about to happen. We will be meeting with friends over the next few days and saying goodbye...and, tomorrow, the last of our orchids will find a new home.
Outside in the garden as I write, the birds are as crazy as ever. We have a new visitor; a lone magpie who seems a threat to nesting birds and so we see him off at regular intervals.... and, we saw our frog the other day.


We were in the ruins of Melrose Abbey, in the borders of Scotland and this was our view as we were exiting the ancient place of worship. As you can see, it was incredibly dark inside and then...through the gentle was there, beautifully unfolding before us, the greening...our only responsibility was to step over the threshold.

And, as we did then, so we shall now...

Tonight is my last book club, I have been filled with joy to meet with 5 incredible women from the Mews nearly every 6 weeks for the past 3 years. They have had children, fought physical and emotional battles, had great successes and challenges, and one has now moved away from our little community of Mewsters...but together we have joined in a circle and discussed stories-ours, and those we have experienced in the books we have chosen. Together we have borne witness to one another's lives and helped one another perhaps much more than any of us may fully realise. I shall miss them incredibly.

The book I chose for this week was The Glass Painter's Daughter by Rachel Hore. It is a wonderful book about the craft of painting glass and, like the title, it speaks of broken bits of individual lives and relationships, that somehow, miraculously find their way to wholeness and become greater than the sum of their parts. I hope my life is like that; that each person who has touched me can somehow find themselves reflected in the life I lead, in the light I hope I share each and every day, and I hope that they know I could never be exactly who I am had it not been for the moments we have shared.


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

English Churches...

St Martins Church in Dorking has the second tallest steeple in the UK at 210 feet. The original church was listed in the Domesday book of 1086, but the present day church began life more fully in the 14th Century with its bells dating from 1626. Such churches lend a tremendous sense of history to these isles and they are a vital part of the landscape over here.
This photograph of St Martins was taken from Cotmandene in 2008 and looks north to the Downs and the  Pilgrims way, the trail made famous by Chaucer in the Canterbury tales.

Today we begin a final book clearance...
then we'll tackle the garage and its accumulations of clutter and so, hopefully, by the end of the week we'll be that much closer to a sense of order before the 40 foot container arrives!

A small pathway beyond St Martin's Church leads to Meadowbank with its beautiful trees and pond. 

This has always been one of our favourite walks, in every season it offers some sort of special blessing.

As we prepare to leave Dorking, I am increasingly aware of the uniqueness of this medieval market town that has held us for the entirety of our marriage. It sits nestled in the valley between the green slopes of Ranmore, Box, and Leith Hills; from our High Street we have glorious views of the North Downs  surrounding us in each direction.

It is interesting how much more deliberate, how much more conscious, my seeing, my listening, my inhabiting of my life is in this season of leaving. I hope I am able to retain this commitment to truly inhabiting each moment, for hidden within each is something spectacular which risks being lost to my experience if I become complacent or locked in thoughtless routine.


Spring weather...

Today was perishingly cold for this time of year, with sleet and rain blowing in from the East. It all seems a very long way from the warmth of the desert we experienced in Joshua Tree National Park 4 years ago.

But, leaving that aside we've made great strides in preparing for the removal team who arrive in two weeks. Much has been sorted, much discarded and, thankfully, for insurance reasons, the removals company will do the packing!

Today my pension funds have arrived at last from the NHS... its taken an absolute age to sort this all out and now we can breathe a little. 
Nobody said this would be easy... but extricating myself from such bureaucracy has been a very long winded process indeed.

Our garden birds are extraordinarily hungry: not only from the cold, but they are feeding their young...  yesterday Sooty had a fight with a marauding Jay and saw him off with a brief fluff of wings and a cackle or two... 


Right...I rarely nap, it is not that I don't want to take a lovely, restful break in the middle of busy is that I am usually unable to quiet my mind and body enough to find a gentle release in the midst of busy times.

Today, I did, thus the delay in posting.

All that is to say that in the resting, came my idea for this post.

This picture was taken after Nicholas waited...he literally waited for over 3 hours for this raven to allow him to take its photo. It was a beautiful winged dance, replete with a throaty song that could have inspired even Piaf with its raspy, edgy call. The background for the display was the Grand Canyon and we were compelled to wait; if Nicholas wanted the raven, in all of its unique glory, we had to wait.

Today, a large piece of our waiting game has ended. And, like the photo of the raven...we can now begin to soar. We are winging our way to new horizons even as I write this. The joy is palpable...


Monday, 14 May 2012

Light and transformation...

I photographed these snow fields as we flew over northern Canada in the spring of 2008. Flying at 46000 feet we were gifted with an incredible panorama of ice capped mountains and glaciers stretching as far as the eye could see. 
It's an experience that filled me with inspiration, not only for creative work ,but also for the journey of life itself, for the vast scale and almost limitless horizons are a metaphor for the process of waiting and of being patient.
These few weeks remaining for us here in the UK are filled with minutiae, with seeming obstructions and obstacles and with waiting for those to be overcome...and so I often return in my imagination to those ice filled landscapes and imagine the patience of Job as the days tick by.

The light is coming, a change is taking shape...

In 2009, while travelling in the American West, we journeyed to spectacular Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. We arrived on a sunny day with 70 degree weather, the next morning we awakened to over a foot of snow and temperatures averaging 15 was a fantastic rate of weather and temperature change, and we were, literally, amazed!

This was the view from our lodge the next morning.

This season of our life is not rapid, like this moment in Oregon was. It is incredibly slow-moving, or at least it feels slow-moving. Nothing is unfolding without some little detour, or delay, or hesitation. For a while this was really getting to us, but in reality, maybe things slow down so we have the opportunity to not be overwhelmed, to increase our trust in the things we cannot directly control, to be amazed at the unfolding as it occurs, in just the right time...

My one, slightly selfish hope, is that May will begin to be warmer and drier, so that our wisteria and smoke bush, oriental poppies, irises and climbing roses might open their glorious blossoms to the light and send us on our way with a flourish of gentle beauty. 


Sunday, 13 May 2012


This morning, Judy and I visited the Rhododendron plantation below Leith Hill and then climbed up from Windy Gap to the summit. The views were incredible as we looked out over the countryside, stretching as far as the eye could see in perfect sunshine. 
Sounds echoed up from the fields, and, every now and then a peal of church bells sounded in the distance.

Now, we are embarking on a big clearance of clothes; sorting out the needed from the not... almost exactly four weeks to go before we board the ship and we need to know what we will be taking on board with us and, also, what might last for the best part of a year!
We've experienced this quintessential English spring morning as a quiet sort of leaving gift...


In June of 2002, both sets of parents visited some of our favourite places in Scotland with us. It was a wonderful 2-week trip and I am so grateful to have had the magical experience with them. 

I remember the moment we saw this beautiful setting by the sea, the stone wall, the red poppies, the lavender geraniums and the yellow iris, softening the dark grey of the rocks, adding beauty to a landscape that at times seemed desolate.

But more than the gentle invitation to rest provided by the bright swatches of living colour, I remember thinking that this cottage seemed such a welcoming sight in the midst of the barren land we had just driven through. 

Home is like that, isn't it? A place of safety and security and warmth. On Mother's Day I want to say thanks to my Mom for creating a space where I could explore the natural world, as well as my internal world, so freely. Thanks for sustaining me when the world outside of Seymour Street seemed less than hospitable and for reminding me, always, that the love you and Daddy have for me is constant.


Saturday, 12 May 2012


Well, my studio looks like the proverbial bomb site today... holes in the wall and chinks out of the paint. It  will all need filling in and making good, but that is the way of these things.
The Linn LP12 is to be serviced and re-conditioned. The expert at the Hi Fi store told me this morning, that the cartridge was out of alignment and that the 30 year old wiring would need a complete overhaul. Ouch... at some cost too, but I guess it is the responsibility of having vintage equipment.
Last night we went to a jazz concert featuring Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball and Chris Barber. These amazing musicians began their professional lives in the 1950s at about the same time as this truck was born! I spotted it in the Redwood forests of California in 2009.


This photo was taken on a cold Parisian morning, as Nicholas and I wandered the streets before the city began to awaken.

I wonder what she is remembering, what she sees, what she has seen.

At this moment in my life, as memories flood my heart and mind, as dreams intermingle with hopes and fears, as all I have ever been is about to say hello to all that I might become...I am reminded to pause, to focus my gaze, to smile a little, and trust that things have a way of working out. 

I am thankful for the inspiration that comes from unexpected sources to guide my thoughts, and my spirit.