Photo by Kate Laine at Unsplash

A big shout out this morning to the people in our lives who bring us art and design. They’re worth their weight in gold – and conversation (face to face or ‘online’) with someone who’s passionate about design – and great at it – always sends my spirits soaring.

Where we deliberately and carefully choose to place ourselves, and things that inspire and bring meaning to our lives, are hugely important. In Kate Laine’s photo here I catch a scent of mince pies just out of the oven, it’s probably blowing a rainy gale outside, and whoever lives here is delighted to be home for the evening. Calming, joyful, relaxed and comfortable.

Heavy grey cloud and rain greeted my early Lakeland walk today, and the continuing metamorphosis of the natural world smelled and appeared earthy and inevitable – just as the design and creation of spaces to hold our own unfolding, resting and rising are. And I’m so thankful for designer / artist / photographer / poet friends I’ve been chatting with in much loved Edinburgh. The juxtaposition of my Lakeland life, and my Edinburgh life, and the treasured people in both, amounts to high art and design in itself.

And on a drizzly grey morning it all seems to carry the wide-smiling imprint of a caring and joyful designer – and of mindful intention.

The colour in reflections

screenshot credit @gingerandpicklesbookshop
screenshot credit @gingerandpicklesbookshop
screenshot credit @gingerandpicklesbookshop

Edinburgh is a city with whom I am engaged in perpetual discussion! – with architecture, with colour and line, with suddenly come upon and breathtakingly startling vistas, with bookshops, with birdsong, with history (mine and the city’s), with music (I’ll walk a quartermile out of my way to trace the source of the sound of the Pipes), with poetry, wind, hills, coastline – and anticipated conversations with others who are haunted and delighted and vivified by it as well.

Engaged too with the reflection that settles in one’s soul’s having been calmed, and drawn, and enchanted by her colours and her reflections. Edinburgh may certainly be spoken to, but there’s immeasurable benefit to be celebrated in deeply listening to her too. Hers is a hard won, long won, weft and wisdom. And in such slow contemplation there’s a seeing sunrise, sunlight, sunset, moon and starlit spaces behind – whilst simultaneously seeing sunrise, sunlight, sunset, moon and starlit spaces ahead.

Windows into the soul are so important. Here we find ourselves sustained by what’s behind us, and by what is – here in this city, in this ‘window’, right now, and by the light that calls us forward. All this, so often seen in one and the same windowpane. In a bookshop, or a stationers, or our own home, or our own dreams, or – most beautiful among the firmament of the windows of the soul – the eyes of family or friend or beloved.

All this discussion, contemplation and reflection steadily leads us inexorably to metamorphosis – gives wings to ‘The Extraordinary Life,’ to ‘The Boy (or Girl) Who Loved,’ to what ‘Bunheads’ might think of as the Dance of Life. And a certain being at home with oneself, be the days warm or cold, happy or sad: all the while growing …

more at gardenstudiogram


Rania is not a name I will forget in a hurry. A friend’s tweet this morning pointed me in the direction of The Guardian.

Yesterday I wrote about ‘healing the world that touches you, that’s around you.’ That touching can and must include any and all means of communication that might open human hearts too quick to judge the intentions of millions of this world’s displaced people.

Made with immense courage, dignity and good humour by a twenty-year old young woman, necessarily fleeing the war zone she still calls ‘home’, may this film open hearts and minds; may a deeper compassion be shaped in the hearts and lives of humankind the world over.

Wall-construction needs to involve the rebuilding of shattered homes. All talk of ‘refugees’ needs to be set in the context, the possibility even, of how it might be for any of us were tables to be turned. Could I pack my life and loves into a small rucksack and head off, smiling and gutsy, to I know not where?

Rania. Ayman. Christopher Columbus. Let me not forget their names!