Sunday morning

House martins swooping and chuntering, turtle doves, rooks, a family of sparrows, walkers visiting for the bank holiday weekend, quiet gardeners – and me and my deckchair with coffee and (ridiculously and quite usually) two books * on the go. All pleased as Punch with a sunny, blue-skied, blooming and blossoming lovely Sunday morning …

* Human kind – A Hopeful History, Rutger Bregman & Every body – A Book About Freedom, Olivia Laing

What colour’s supper today?

You really wanted to know, Jay? OK. Just for fun …

almonds, apple juice, mixed beans – with a tiny pot of vinaigrette dressing, banana, beetroot, cardamom, carrot, cherry tomatoes, ground cinnamon, dates, figs, ground garlic salt, green olives, humous, mixed seeds – including pumpkin, sesame and sunflower, ground nutmeg, olive oil, potato and chives salad, mozarella cheese, prunes, rocket, sundried tomatoes, turmeric and coriander. Plus 2 squares of 90% dark chocolate, water, and a shot of nespresso kazaar

Scrummy 😊


Sustenance in the perfect writer’s nook …

The haar – sea fret, or cold sea fog – has been fairly bone chilling since it rolled in at sunset last night. But there’s also something ethereal and wonderful about it.

Striding along the sands at the edge of the North Sea is exhilarating, even if chilling. Do you ever find yourself involuntarily smiling – from the inside out – though your eyes are streaming, and your teeth are chattering, and you could do with a couple of extra clothing layers?

If you do – and you like warm welcome, great coffee, sourdough breakfast rolls, writer’s nooks, views and happy vibe – then I hope that you find a Beach House just like this one!


To be

Portobello morning, Edinburgh

Q: What is a lover of minimalist architecture like me really drawn to?

A: Space and light and shadow. Space to be, and light and dark’s revealing. Place and space in which to breathe – life’s invitation to become the architect of our own life-giving, life-directing inner space.

Q: What is a beach lover like me really drawn to?

A: All of the above – with the addition of invitation to return again and again to ponder on ever-changing reflections, and be blown and filled and washed with gratitude – for the governing tides of time that are the ‘housekeepers’ of our sands …

These swimmers will have clearer heads and hearts and minds by the time they’re back on land. And I walk home slowly, clearer too, the same but different. I know I’ll soon return to this ‘space to be’ which is, moment by moment, the same but – yes! – different …


Portobello beach, Edinburgh

There’s something visceral, primal, about my love for walking shoreline. Tonight, eyes streaming in a stiff and chilly wind, the endorphins raced and coursed, cobwebs flew and mind was cleared.

Noticing people walking into the wind on a beach is to observe a kind of grim determination. Noticing the same faces retracing earlier steps is to see innumerable smiles.

We meditate, and contemplate – letting off the pressure – often without knowing at the time that it is so. Yes: visceral and primal. And wonder-full!

Our Lives in Watercolour

Paul Jacob Naftel, The Queen and Prince Albert landing at St Pierre, Guernsey, 24 August 1846 ©

Our Lives in Watercolour (link to the Exhibition online) – is one of the most beautiful exhibitions of watercolours one could imagine. The Exhibition poster, featuring Naftel’s work, gives a glimpse – but, as it turns out, only a glimpse, of an utterly sumptuous collection of paintings, illustrating aspects of the lives of the royal couple, that draw one in as though present at the time.

Photography is one of my passions. I dabble in watercolour. But until yesterday I had little idea that watercolour paintings could be quite so exquisitely detailed, nor that the vast array of colour in the works could survive so vibrantly across 175+ years.

Visiting this marvellous exhibition so soon after the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has been doubly poignant. The contribution to the wellbeing of two great monarchs, and of this nation, by two visionary Consorts has been extraordinary.

The Queen’s Gallery at The Palace of Holyroodhouse has a beauty in its own right. Our Lives in Watercolour made a visit educational – and pure delight.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh