Lanterns and looking

Wow! Today is much, much lovelier than the BBC’s weather forecast had suggested it might be. I’m ceaselessly amazed (as you’ll have noticed 😉) by what sunshine and a blue sky does to my little garden space.

On another note, I dreamt last night (again) of Emily Dickinson and her little oil-lamp-lit writing table in Amherst. Waking, this morning, I wondered why? And the first thing I spotted in my instagram feed (from @poetryisnotaluxury) was …

… perhaps that’s what all of us are doing when we’re asleep? Or awake?

Emily Dickinson’s writing table
photo at

The sharing

Tonight I want to say a big thank you to the friends in my life (who know who they are, and only some of whom are named hereunder) who share their reading with me – and sometimes, wonderfully, their thoughts about their reading. I often contemplate what Mary Oliver called my / their / our

place in the family of things

– and I think it a marvellous reality that family and friends are often connected and inspired by the same authors, who are themselves connected souls ‘in the family of things’ – close friends the late John O’Donohue and poet David Whyte were like brothers, for example.

We do great service when we bring to each other’s attention the wisdom of human encounter. Thank you LF for today’s ‘constellating’ from David W; thank you LW for pure gift from John O’D; and thank you DK for valued intro (link) to Rachel Cusk –

We currently have a poor appetite for living, a result of being force-fed with experiences that have not agreed with us



To say that Edinburgh somehow draws me would, I guess, be something of an understatement. Waking early this bright Sunday morning in Lakeland I popped out for a coffee and somehow – by an accident? – as my youngest used to say, wound up two and a half hours away on the beach in Edinburgh. Breakfast at the beach café, and a contented hour or so watching brave wild swimmers and cloudscapes, turned out to be the perfect antidote to yesterday’s admin day. Back in Lakeland now, car washed and polished, perhaps I’ll mow the lawn to celebrate!


Some days are just pottering days aren’t they? – nothing very energetic or exciting, more a quiet tidying this and that, a contemplating, voting in the local elections, watching the progress of the light. And I’m feeling towards the close of day that the teachers who, through the ages, have encouraged a slowing down, a ‘consider the lilies of the field,’ an attentive watchfulness, have, between them, got it right!

What it would look like …

Further to yesterday’s musings on Robert Capa’s advice about getting ‘close enough’ with a camera – a friend and I sat on a park bench in Edinburgh the other day, daydreaming-out-loud about what a well-loved holiday home would look like, and where. We touched upon white paint, simple but wonderfully comfortable furnishings, beach-level closeness to the sea, warmth, wine, coffee, olives, feta, tomatoes and … bougainvillea. Yes: this is what it would look like!

Robert Capa

Somewhere today I came across a piece about the renowned Hungarian-American war photographer Robert Capa, 1913-1954, who said:

If your pictures aren’t good enough you’re not close enough

A photo of part of a chandelier that I captured last summer came to mind immediately. In the library of Abbotsford (link), the home of Scottish novelist, playwright and poet Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832, this ceiling rose conjures mind’s eye images of the entire house. Sometimes close and minimalist tells a much bigger story. Always absorbed by photography, I’ll take Mr Capa’s counsel with me in the coming month. Meanwhile, I see something of Sir Walter’s poetic soul in this gorgeous interior decoration.

Happy May Day

May Day in Lakeland has been a happy surprise. An extremely lacklustre weather forecast gave way to what has been a bright blue sky sort of a day. Relaxed time and tidying in the garden, together with a good walk, have made for a day well spent.

Spring: 1 May 2022