Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Month of March

World Book Day at school. One of those warm fuzzy moments. A lovely warm afternoon, 500 three-eleven year olds dressed up, parading around the playground in their classes cheering everyone on. all the teachers and support teachers dressed up too.
Discovering a new bar, Eleanor Bar at The Charing Cross Hotel. The friend who chose it knew nothing about it but decided that because they'd chosen to name it after the original cross that Edward 1 erected as a memorial to his wife Eleanor of Castile, it couldn't be that bad. For it's location this bar is a fantastic find.
A feeling that spring had sprung one day and then the next day back to grey skies.
A sunny afternoon mooch in Blackheath and onto supper with friends.
Twin and the blessings up for lunch. Alas the weather meant we ended up playing games, making things and going for a very brief walk to the local park rather than to the woods.
The rebranding of AnyOtherWedding to AnyOtherWoman.
Off to Canterbury to see my parents. Twin and the Blessings were there so we had a delightful spring walk. Then in the evening to the cathedral to hear dad sing (Hayden's Creation) in his choir. It's the first time I've been for years, as a teenager I used to take a cushion and a book as I found it so boring. In places I would still have liked my book to read. I realised how fortunate I am to have this amazing building on my doorstep and how I just take it for granted.
A first spring afternoon in the garden. Amazed at the shoots of new life coming through, relieved that I don't seem to have killed off the plants - yet and excited for what will unfurl in the coming months.
discovering that I really do need to be more careful with my money. So striking things off my wish list. a £29 pair of Zara boots instead of these Ash ones.
A blog meet up with Rachel at Canteen. A really lovely evening talking about books and everything else.
Thursday Late at The National Portrait Gallery to see Lucian Freud. Then a cocktail in the bar afterwards. This was my favourite painting, imagine it in a bedroom, how restful.
Sleeping Nude by Lucian Freud
Warmth has done an amazing job searching for a new dining room table, our current one I inherited when I bought my flat. Finally ebay ended the quest and our new table was delivered. Time to now buy new table linen.
A busy weekend. Looking for dining room curtain material in Peter Jones. A walk to Battersea Park to The Affordable Art Fair. It was busy but good. We didn't buy anything but have found some new, affordable artists that we both like. Then to Shad Thames to meet some friends and have supper at Cantina del Ponte.
The next day up early for an early lunch at Mama Warmth's and then to Ham House for her birthday and Mother's Day celebration. It was a cold spring day, I dressed for a warm spring day.
A delightful evening spring mooch in town. Liberty's and Selfridges all in one night.
another potter in the garden. I am finding spring so wonderful this year having a garden. The way the dead branches come to life with tender new leaves is miraculous.
Florence Finds Afternoon tea at Drink Shop Do. It was a wonderful afternoon/evening. Putting faces and voices to internet names.
To finish the beautiful spring weekend. A walk through central London to order new curtains for finishing off the dining room. Then to Somerset House for Pick Me Up. Warmth had been speaking to my mother the day before who'd been there as the boyfriend of a relative is exhibiting. We did buy a print for our home, in fact we were spoiled for choice.
A family funeral. Tears, laughter, sunshine and lovely to be together as a family.
This weekend I'm mooching around Notting Hill and then we're off to friends.
A baking extravaganza. The Hummingbird Bakery chocolate cheesecake (delicious but huge quantities), Jaffa Cakes (a need to perfect them) my first Florence Finds recipe try out and a re bake of Bea's of Bloomsbury Snickerdoodles. Flapjacks - the idea is to bake something easy so I can have a snack at work and not resort to buying croissants, crisps etc. So a healthier option and the money saved can buy a new eye shadow or such like each month.
Books read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh for Florence Finds Book Club. Penelope Fitzgerald The beginning of spring. Miles Franklin My Brilliant Career - the last two opportune charity shop finds.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Fairies Poached Eggs

Whilst walking around Ham House the other weekend, as one does, the lawn was awash with daisies. I knew I'd read a good daisy quote recently.

"Audrey squatted down on the grass at Catherine's feet...amongst the green blades, her fingers picking the flowers neatly up and dropping them into the water...
'Fairies poached eggs!' she said, pointing to the floating daisies." Hostages to Fortune Elizabeth Cambridge
Now to try and place this in a sentence this summer....

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The voice of water

I've just finished reading Penelope Fitzgerald's The beginning of spring. As hoped there was a spring quote.

"the first sign of spring that couldn't be mistaken had been a protesting voice, the voice of water, when the ice melted under the covered wooden footpath... the water freed itself by its own effort, and once it had begun to run in a chattering stream, the whole balance of the year tilted over. At the sound of it his heart used to leap. His bicycle came out of the shed... In a few weeks the almond trees would be in flower..." Penelope Fitzgerald The beginning of spring


Do you have a favourite spring time book?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Warm delicious beauty

This weekend has just been glorious so this seems a perfect Monday post.

"The most thrilling day of the year, the first real day of Spring had enclosed its warm delicious beauty even to London eyes. It had put a spangle in every colour and a new tone in every voice, and city folks walked as though they carried real bodies under their clothes with real live hearts pumping the still blood through." Katherine Mansfield Something childish but very natural

How was your weekend?

Thursday, 22 March 2012

sad Andromache

Yes the boxes of school files keeps coming. Scribbled in the corner of an 'A' Level Classical Civilization file was this poem. I remember it and so am now storing it here for safe keeping.

Parting in war time Frances Cornford

How long ago Hector took off his plume,
Not wanting that his little sons should cry
Then kissed his sad Andromache goodbye -
And now we three in Euston waiting room.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Spring is like

The spring onslaught continues with this e.e. Cummings poem.

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window,into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange 
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully 
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing 
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

e.e. cummings

What is spring like for you?

Friday, 16 March 2012

The forest in spring

And now to spring in Russia.

"He reflected again that he thought of history, of what is called the course of history, not in the accepted way, but in the form of images taken from the vegetable kingdom. In winter, under the snow, the deciduous wood are thin and poor... But in only a few days in spring the forest is transformed, it reaches the clouds and you can hide or lose yourself in a leafy maze. During this transformation the forest moves with a speed greater than that of animals, for animals do not grow as fast as plants; yet this movement can be observed. The forest does not change its place, cannot lie in wait for it and catch it in the act of moving. However much we look at it we see it as motionless. And such is the immobility to our eyes of the eternally growing, ceaselessly changing life of society, of history moving as invisibly in its incessant transformation as the forest in spring." Boris Pasternak Dr. Zhivago


This passage is almost poetry in the way I don't quite understand it but feel it.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Old-fashioned, fragrant flowers

Now to America and as it's the month of March it had to be from the March family.

'As spring came on, a new set of amusements became the fashion, and the lengthening days gave long afternoons for work and play of all sorts. The garden had to be put in order, and each sister had a quarter of the little plot to do what she liked with... Meg had roses and heliotrope, myrtle, and a little orange-tree in it. Jo's bed was never alike two seasons, for she was always trying experiments; this year it was to be a plantation of sunflowers... Beth had old-fashioned, fragrant flowers in her garden; sweet peas and mignonette, larkspur, pinks, pansies... Amy had a bower in hers... very pretty to look at, - with honeysuckles and morning-glories hanging their coloured horns and graceful wreaths all over it; tall white lilies, delicate ferns, and as many brilliant, picturesque plants as would consent to blossom there." L.M Alcott Little Women

Which sister's garden would yours be most like?
 Mine would, or will hopefully have Jo's experiments, Meg's roses, Beth's sweet-peas and Amy's honeysuckle.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Soft grey sky

I have a whole collection of quotes on spring and what's wonderful is they are all from different countries. At the beginning of the month we had France and today it's England.

"Spring in the English country, there's absolutely nothing like it, that soft grey sky and the primroses." F.M. Mayor The Rector's Daughter

I can think of nothing sweeter than contemplating spring from this vantage point.  
Where would you like to be?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

International Women's Day

It's International Women's Day today and I'd been thinking of what to post from what I've read this year. It came down to either L.M. Alcott or Winifred Holtby and her protagonist Sarah Burton in South Riding.

"But I tell you what is my business, and that's the kind of woman you are and the teacher you will be. Up till lately you've always been pretty successful, haven't you? Scholarships, honours, promotions. You're good-looking in a queer sort of way. You're attractive. You're young for your age, and strong, and confident. And you did your work well - up to a point, I think. You were good with the bright ones, Lydia Holly and Biddy Peckover, and the scholarship girls... But what about the stupid and dull and ineffective? The rather dreamy sort of defeated women? You hadn't much use for the defeated, had you? Not much patience with failure. Well, now at last you know what it is to be defeated." Winifred Holtby South Riding

Maybe not the most uplifting but in context I think it is. I like that South Riding celebrates strong female friendships that aren't bound by being the same age, friendships that help us learn from each other, about each other and about ourselves.

Monday, 5 March 2012

A change for you

I found this poem in amongst all the letters I was sorting through in the autumn. It's another one sent to me from my mother and fits with Friday's quote.

Black March by Stevie Smith

I have a friend
At the end 
Of the world,
His name is a breath

Of fresh air.
He is dressed in 
Grey chiffon. At least
I think it is chiffon.
It has a 
Peculiar look, like smoke.

It wraps him around
It blows out of place
It conceals him
I have not seen his face,
But I have seen his eyes, they are
As pretty and bright
As raindrops on black twigs
In March, and heard him say.

I am a breath
Of fresh air for you, a change
By and by.

Black March I call him
Because of his eyes
Being like March raindrops
On black twigs

(such a pretty time when the sky
Behind black twigs can be seen
Stretched out in one
Cambridge blue as cold as snow.)

But this friend
Whatever his new names I give him
Is an old friend. He says:

Whatever names you give me
I am
A breath of fresh air,
A change for you.

Stevie Smith

Friday, 2 March 2012

A good month

Sunday, 2nd March
March has brought an end to the rain, the sky is raw now, a screeching blue between fast-moving clouds, and a sharpening wind has risen during the night, gusting in corners, rattling windows.
March wind's an ill wind, my mother used to say. But in spite of that it feels good, smelling of sap and ozone and the salt of the distant sea. A good month, March, with February blowing out of the back door and spring waiting at the front. A good month for change. Joanne Harris Chocolat


I can't wait for spring.
Wishing you all a good month x