stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Friday, April 27, 2007

No time for text

So just some photos taken in the garden this morning, in between packing to go sailing. Looks like the weather will be fine and warm - which is just as well, as the north westerly winds come straight from Siberia to Norfolk. It can get very chilly!

I am reliably informed that this is brown rayed knapweed and not a cornflower.

Those two photos are of abutilon megapoaticum which can survive outside in sheltered southerly places in UK. These flowers and leaves are looking tatty as they have overwintered, and the new growth is only just shooting out tiny leaves and buds. Its a very leggy plant but trained along a wall doesnt look too bad.

I cant resist buying a few new tulip bulbs of the parrot variety each year, no idea what its called.

The acer corner on the decking - the one on the right comes out later than the others, and it has lime green leaves shaped like a fan not dissected like the others. I will do a close up later.

Better carry on with the morning. Luckily I have a lift to the station. Will be on the Broads sleeping on the boats tonight. Just discovered they have no engines! Plenty of use of the quant pole if the wind dies then (the broads are not very deep!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Normal service will be resumed...

.... as soon as I get time!
Ive had two really lovely weekends - one at Springhead (and Ive promised you photos and words about that one).

And last weekend I spent with my LifeLongFriend who has just bought a property in Dorset. Its so exciting, even though LLF wont be moving in herself. She has bought the house so that her parents can move from the Isle of Wight.

And this coming weekend I shall spend sailing on the Norfolk Broads, so not a lot of blogging time in the near future. I manage to snatch the odd moment with a cup of tea to read about what my blogging friends are getting up to though!


Monday, April 16, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

Its always a pleasure to settle down for a spell of blogreading. I use Sage on Firefox instead of Bloglines these days, and as it searches I have a little smile as each red asterisk appears beside a blog title, meaning a new post to read. Try it if you use Firefox (and if you dont use it, why ever not?!)

When I read Rowan's Circle of the Year, I got another smile. She had nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award. Which means, in my turn, now I have the fun of nominating five blogs.

But I realised that my blog has changed. It isn't so wordy and philosophical as when I started in September 2005. If it does makes anyone think these days, it must be by gentle osmosis rather than spiritual rant! However I have just come back from a Weekend Together with other meditators - a gentle weekend spent in the most perfect setting. Mostly outdoors in a wonderful garden around springs and a lake, an old mill......oh it won't do! You will have to wait until I can write a proper post about it. But the photo was taken by one of the springs. Quite magical.

However - five blogs that get my Thinking Blogger Awards? They may have already received them from others, but I dont think it matters. These are the ones that always stay in my mind long after the reading.

1. Zen's Sekai I - One if by Land Two if by Sea In his own words, Zen is a graphic designer, musician, artist, healer, Tai Chi/ Kung Fu teacher and potter who plans to sail to Japan one day with his made in Japan wife.

2. Living in Japan ( Robert Brady lives on a mountainside near Kyoto

3. One Day at a Time Tabor works on her karma.

4. Beyond the Fields We Know Kerrdelune's Wild and Earthy Thoughts Along the Journey.

5. Chris and Jo's Space Chris is a work colleague who, at the moment, is not at work but nursing his terminally ill young wife. Please visit his blog and, and, if you can, support her friends who are raising money for our local hospice. Read about the Jo-rassic Challenge (a link and details are on his thought-provoking and honest blog.)

These five people can, if they wish copy the award logo to their post and side bar, link to the original source and then pick five bloggers, who you consider to be great thinkers and whose blogs make you think, to pass the award along to.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Tranquil day and busy day

On Saturday, Youngest Daughter and I headed north for a bit of retail therapy in Clark's Shopping Village, heaving with holiday makers after a bargain. But we used our local knowledge and were there long before the carparks filled up. I bought some new shoes. And then we drove the five minutes to Glastonbury.

Before spritual refreshment, bodily refreshment. Glastonbury is full of amazing wholefood restaurants, often with courtyards where you can soak up the sun while lunching. We shared a vegan lunch (we aren't) of falafel, humous, olives, garlic dip and pitta bread, and Fair Trade coffee. Just right!

The Chalice Well Gardens (lovely website) surround the place where the ancient Red Spring bubbles out of the hillside. Such beautifully tended gardens, and such a tranquil atmosphere. The well head cover has the shape of the vesica piscis in it (which is explained on the website)

The Tor can bee seen through a gnarled oak branch with mistletoe growing on it. Its a long climb to the top, and is always, always windy up there. Great views over the Vale of Avalon though.

Youngest Daughter fills our bottle, to take home. So cool and fresh. You can see the red colour of the minerals that are left with constant splashing.

There is a small but interestingly packed bookshop there, online too usually, and Youngest Daughter bought a rose quartz heart pendant, and I chose my favourite, fluourite.

More refreshment - tea and cake at the nearby Museum of Somerset Rural Life. A lovely day.

On Sunday we went out to Lyme Regis, a Georgian seaside town, a forty minute drive along the coast - almost in Devon. It is the favourite location of the Man Of the House, who loves to visit it on every opportunity. We have been there on a freezing day in winter, when he needed his obligatory Cornish Pasty to warm his hands (eaten while walking along the promenade along the sea coast). But today the sun was hot, and on this Easter Sunday the place was packed with visitors. This is the view outside the pasty shop.

The Town Crier was in full garb, and the MoH engaged him in conversation. (thats him in the white hat and the Town Crier in all his The lamp standards are the shape of ammonites, as the town is famous for its fossils - along the cliffs either side of the town. Its on the famous Jurassic coast after all.

Lyme Regis has a problem with landslip, and there has been a multi-million pound effort to try and stabilise the gardens (which were re-opened by Princess Ann last month). It was a world away from the bustle of the beach up there. Quite and calm with wonderful views along the coast.

Another lovely day. We left the seagull in peace.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

While spring cleaning the garden

I couldnt quite believe the beauty of the epimedium leaves, they looked as if they were cast in bronze or glass with the sun gleaming through from behind. The fritillaries are flourishing, and the tulipa turkestiana surprise me every year. I always forget they are that tulip variety and dont expect the open flowers and a sunny centre!

And another discovery, deep behind the holly tree and among blackberry thorns and ivies........I came across this beauty, rambling over the fence. Down on the main road is the old house where the school teacher used to live, and their garden adjoins ours. The last owner was knowledgeable about gardens and liked plants, and I believe this is an akebia quinata or chocolate vine, but I couldnt detect any perfume.

The leaves of the acanthus didnt die off this winter, and the new growth is lush and vivid. It reminds me of sea lettuce or whatever that colour seaweed is called.

I am part of a loose knit group of "ladies who lunch" on a Wednesday (market day) in a small tea room on the old road through Dorchester, known as High West Street. Today there is a bypass around the town, but until recently it was still the main thoroughfare - and old coaching road and Roman road - on the road the Exeter and the South West. Its an old building, dating from 1640 I think, and the layout is still just like the old domestic house. You walk through a hallway and this room is on the right, go through the hall to a back room that is larger. Its like having tea in someone's house.

It only has a small menu on offer, which includes things like Welsh Rarebit, (cheese on toast!) and always a delicious home made soup with crusty roll. This day it was broccoli, Stilton and spinach soup. Mmmmm. I like to sit in the window and gaze at people going by. They open on Sundays for a traditional Sunday roast lunch. There is always a lovely display in the bay window at Easter time, and you can see on the table that there is a seasonal snack on offer. Hot cross buns. The place is so English!

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable Easter weekend. I am off to Glastonbury for the day, for some spiritual refreshment - as well as retail therapy and a nice lunch I hope!

Happy Easter.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

After "blackthorn winter"

I hope its "after" blackthorn winter anyway - but who can tell how long it lasts.

In case you are unacquainted with the concept, its a time when the blackthorn - prunus spinosa - blossoms. This can happen any time between the end of February and April. You have been lured into putting tender young plants out in the garden and are just beginning to enjoy the balmy warmth of spring and WHAM. The blackthorn blossoms in the hedgerows, looking like snowy drifts and bringing hail, snow and icy blasts with it.

I had never heard the mythology about this before I moved to Dorset, but if you look at my photo of snow on the Welsh hilltops and have read any other UK bloggers posts the past few weeks, they will back me up.

However, yesterday seemed to spell the end of the cold snap, I hope. Here are a few photos of the warm day, beginning in my garden.

Small clusters of dwarf daffodils called Cheerfulness I think (a bit vague, sorry) They looked as if they were shining with an inner light as they sun lit them from behind. So lovely to see several small flowers on one stem.

The crab apple malus (variety " Gorgeous") that is still in a large pot on the patio, shows its tiny tight buds. I really must decide where to plant it this year!

The ceanothus that I had such fun cloud-pruning still survives. It looks a bit odd and leggy - not at all like the cloud-pruned pine tree as I had hoped. It is tied to the wall with a large piece of wire, but looks as if it is trying to make a run for it, and leans away from the wall in hate. But I cant bring myself to uproot it, when it looks so wonderful when all the tiny flowers make it a blaze of that amazing light blue-purple.

I met my good friend Gill for lunch and we put our boots in the car ready for a walk somewhere. My boots are still muddy from the last little outing, when more than my boots were covered in mud! You may remember my confession. And yes, Youngest Daughter is still laughing!

There is a Crocus Walk planned for the end of April, I believe it could be *fanfare and drum roll* the third annual such walk that has been organised by "the ladies". (See "time for tea" for last year) So we decided to do a recce ("reconnoitre" for those not understanding UK military slang) on the spur of the moment.

The first important task has been accomplished - deciding on the end location - the Tea Room of our choice. This year the location of the walk is the tiny village of Moreton. The tea rooms were the old village school.

Gill is Dorset born and bred, from a well established and widespread family. An excursion with her into the Dorset countryside is always enlightening. Partly because she is so knowledgeable about the environment and local history, and partly because she is nearly always related to someone in each village or farmstead!

Sure enough, when we went in to the Tea Rooms to book our group in for tea and cake after the walk (we have our priorities sorted!) there is a lovely display of old photos and memorabilia of the history of Moreton. She stopped in front of the first one. "Oh look there's a photo of my Uncle Walter and his twin brother, either side of that lady in the front" she said. "He lived till he was 90 you know"

More of Moreton and the Crocus Walk when it happens.