Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Mostly pictures

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

I go to see The Brother-in-Law, and he tells me stories of Ireland, where he has just been. He has a lovely turn of phrase. I think more and more that is is a great gift, to be able to talk well. I once knew a man, a great old friend of my grandmother, who never spoke in anything but complete sentences and perfect paragraphs. There were no ums or ahs or you knows; no dangling modifiers or thoughts left unfinished; no platitudes or jargon. I can hear him still, in my head.

I wave off the relatives, who are going to Glen Muick, my favourite glen. It is not one of the great famous ones, those monumental glacial rifts of the Highlands. In Scottish terms, it is a small, neat glen, with a wide valley floor, where a bright blue river winds its way, and herds of deer graze. It has a shining loch at the end, where ospreys hunt, and a circle of indigo mountains rise in a perfect bowl beyond. It is one of the finest places I ever saw, and it is only forty minutes from my front door.

Out in the world, I am vaguely conscious that American politicians are doing questionable things (oh oh oh, fiery and eloquent Mr Anthony Wiener, what were you doing sending pictures of yourself to young ladies who were not your wife?), and the IMF is making statements, and terrifying things are happening in Syria. Normally, I would want to talk about all those things. Just now, I think: it is time for someone else to parse and argue and examine. Here, a fine rain falls, and the oystercatchers sing their song outside my window, and I contemplate the trees. Everything is very still. The world seems a long way away.


I took no pictures today, on account of the dreich weather, but here are some from the past week:

7 June 1

Even though the focus in this one is all wrong, I love it, for some reason:

7 June 2

7 June 3

7 June 4

This tiny little cotinus barely survived the hard winter, and I am giving it love and plant food to encourage it to live:

7 June 5

The poppies make me think of the three little maids from school in Gilbert and Sullivan:

7 June 6

7 June 8

My marjoram is going gangbusters this year, and I cook with it almost every day. Last night I used it instead of the more customary parsley on some lovely little clams, for a special treat:

7 June 8-1

It is too long since we had a really good tree trunk:

7 June 10

And some bark and moss:

7 June 11

I can never get enough of the honeysuckle buds. I love them more in this incarnation than when they burst into their slightly vulgar full flowering:

7 June 12

I have a deep affection for the box. Sometimes I think I could almost have a garden made entirely of box, like the French. I like it especially up against the good old Scottish granite of the shed:

7 June 14

These are not my hills. They are four miles west. I love the way they dip and curve in waves, like the sea:

7 June 7

The glory that is The Pigeon:

7 June 9


  1. I work for a technology company. Someone who had an advanced preview version of a new mobile phone took it to a conference. The phone, by default, was set to upload any photos taken to Facebook. Shame the person concerned didn't remember that before he took two prostitutes back to his hotel room... All the more as he was Facebook friends with his wife and his boss. Needless to say, as soon as I got my phone it was the first feature I turned off!

  2. The Three Little Maids is a brilliant metaphor! How clever you are. Lovely writing as always, Rachel

  3. Quite, quite lovely photos. I adore honeysuckle. My grandparents used to have a honeysuckle hedge that was always quite overgrown and gorgeous.
    The Pigeon is looking beautiful.

  4. I have no idea (apart from switching on the computer) quite how I landed on you blog, but I've taken a 2-cups-of-tea and-a-muffin amount of time reading past posts (I eat rather slowly)

    Having rather more than the average allocation of deaths in our family, I read with interest about your father's tree- we have a veritable forest here- and the beautifully apt accompanying service.

    Singing at the top of your voice is always to be recommended, and is the reason I now give for not attending funerals, coupled with a desire to reply to banal platitudes with a dry humour, which is evidently not appropriate to anyone but me!

    Somehow you get more used to the physical gap that beloved person leaves as they move further into your heart ("time is a great healer" is obviously the standard phrase for a reason), and I think your sense of humour must have brought the greatest comfort possible.

    I couldn't find an email link to send you this any other way except via comments

    kindest wishes


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