Friday, 12 November 2010

In which I do not have very much to say

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I feel I should have words of wisdom or philosophical ponderings or political statements or at least an opinion on something for you. I am used to a quiet room. The rhythms of family life are so unfamiliar that I find my brain functions in an entirely different way. The words that spill over each other when I am at my own desk are suddenly not available to me. (Sudden thought: it may be because I am chatting all the time; once the words are spoken, there is no need to write them down.)

What I love about staying in my cousin's house: the jokes; the oblique angle from which small people view the world; the affection; the lack of dissembling; the moments when I come downstairs and find everyone dancing in the kitchen.

What I miss about my house: the silence; the space; the time to think and think and think; the latitude (I may eat soup at breakfast if I fancy, and work until 3am, and take Wednesday off as long as I then work on Sunday); the luxury of time.

There is a lot of happiness in this house. The sound I hear most often is laughter.

So, I am contented, but slightly disturbed by the vague sensation of being empty-headed. I am so used to having several strong opinions for you. But somebody has a birthday, and it is time to go and eat a Victoria sponge. What could be more important than that?

So instead of words, there are pictures. The weather continues dull and ugly, so there are no photographs from here. Instead I went through my files and plucked some old favourites from the archives for your Friday viewing pleasure.

The beeches:

12th Nov 1

The Scottish light on the hill, looking south:

12th Nov 3

I do sometimes look at something like this baby euphorbia and wonder why it was that nature went to all that trouble. She did not have to put those astonishing scarlet stars into the centre of the green flowers. There is almost certainly no evolutionary or practical need for it. I suppose there might be a thing about bees and pollen, but duller flowers manage to get themselves propagated without that startling colour combination. It's just there for pure, glorious aesthetics, and there is something magical about that:

12th Nov 6-1

I do not always need vivid flowers though; sometimes, as the regular readers know, I am tremendously happy with nothing more than a green leaf or two:

12th Nov 7

The hellebores transfixed me for most of the first half of this year. They flowered from February to September, in the shade of a north-facing wall, without fuss or complaint:

12th Nov 8

The impossible delicacy of the chive flowers also filled my thoughts:

12th Nov 8-1

And there was a moment when all I seemed to do was take pictures of the tiny honeysuckle buds:

12th Nov 9

The elderflower can be a blowsy and vulgar thing, but I like this rather strict shot:

12th Nov 10

This was my sister's hydrangea, of which I was blatantly jealous for most of July:

12th Nov 13

Of course I miss the ladyships the most, but I must not speak of that, or I shall sound like the most sentimental of the Dog People, and I am attempting to hold onto some reputation for rationality.

Rather moody and slightly blurred:

12th Nov 5

All sepia and Julie Christie eyes:

12th Nov 6

Almost too noble to breathe:

12th Nov 12

12th Nov 11

Look at that; patience on the monument indeed.

Have a very happy Friday.

(I can hear the sound of six small girls having a disco downstairs, so I must go before they eat all the cake.)


  1. My children are at boarding school; when they are at home the house is very busy and incredibly noisy. It's late afternoon and I'm alone in a dark, freezing cold house but I enjoy the solitude as much as I'll enjoy the Christmas end of term busyness(and the heating on). What a funny old world. I hope that they saved you a large piece of cake; Victoria sponge with home-made jam is my favourite.

  2. There is definitely nothing empty-headed about that post. Life according to TK, once more summed up with splendid economy: "somebody has a birthday, and it is time to go and eat a Victoria sponge. What could be more important than that?" Quite. As one of my friends has just said about my Photo of the Day on Facebook (a silhouetted tree in front of a lovely Norfolk dusky sky), "the best things in life are definitely free"...

    Enjoy the Victoria Sponge. That takes me back.

  3. Sounds like the best of both worlds to me - a happy noisy house to visit and a quiet haven (with dogs) to return to. Enjoy the rest of your stay.

  4. I know the feeling. My three children live in Melbourne and when they do come back its so busy. Even when they are asleep there is a different feeling in the air. When we are alone at home, I can feel myself thinking, of my thoughts drifting from one subject to another. Its two different worlds, two different feelings, both good.

  5. I almost passed out when I saw that lime Euphorbia. I must have some now. To plant before the snow comes along with four Camellia shrubs, a Turkish fig tree, too many Lenten Rose to count and a couple of the strangely beautiful Toad Lily. And the Hayes Starburst hydrangea that I keep looking at on ebay (a hybrid that popped up in Alabama). I did not have much to say either and then your post brought all this tumbling out!

  6. Maybe that empty-headed feeling is just your brain resting and refilling itself with the companionable sounds of family life free of the need to produce anything for the moment. It's good for you - enjoy!


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