Saturday, 23 July 2011


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

It’s been a really melancholy few days. First, Lucian Freud died. He was 88, but it still felt like a great loss. Then the news came from Norway. Today, the details continue to emerge, each more haunting than the last. The only tiny ray of light is the dignity and goodness of the Norwegians themselves. The Prime Minister talks of democracy and humanity, rather than revenge or fear; stories come of men and women taking to their boats to rescue the children from the island; eyewitnesses facing oddly intrusive and insensitive questions from the press are calm and measured.

Then today came the news that Amy Winehouse had died, at the age of 27, which is just a stupid shame and a waste of all that troubled talent. I thought I might try and cheer myself up by watching The King George at Ascot, but in the middle of it, in a shocking freak accident, the lovely horse Rewilding broke his leg, and afterwards had to be put down. It seems odd to mourn a horse in amongst all this human tragedy, but I did.

Only the voices of Aggers and Blowers on Test Match Special remained constant and reassuring, but even the cricket did not work its usual magic. I dolefully made myself a croque monsieur and worked on my book, forcing my brain to concentrate.

The Pigeon and I went out into the garden, in the early evening. A bitter wind had blown up out of the east, sharp as needles. The garden shivered and shimmered in the breeze. A lone ray of sun lit the trees. I thought: there is nothing really to say on this strange, strange day.

Here is someone who did have something to say, and they were good words. This is what Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s Prime Minister said:

‘No one will bomb us to silence. No one will shoot us to silence. No one will ever scare us away from being Norway. You will not destroy us. You will not destroy our ideals for a better world.’

Those are words worth saying.


Pictures of the garden:

23 July 1

23 July 2

23 July 4

23 July 5

23 July 6

23 July 6-1

23 July 7

23 July 9

23 July 10.ORF

23 July 11


23 July 17


23 July 18


  1. I'm almost afraid to turn on the news.
    I was traveling when Lucian Freud died; husband only told me yesterday, so my shock was delayed. Then, reading several obituaries, it was compounded by horribly cruel comments about Freud's art. Anonymity sure brings out the worst in some people!
    Then, "out of left field", Norway -- of all places! And the number of dead keeps growing...
    The news of Amy Winehouse was a "kicker" sandwiched in between the Norwegian death count.
    It IS all too much!
    Time to retreat, regroup, regenerate & re-emerge, trying to stay positive and optimistic even.
    This is all too crazy.


  2. Pat - it does feel crazy. But I so like your determination to stay positive. Yes we must.

  3. I wish I could join you in your garden with the lovely Pigeon. The death of Amy Winehouse has reminded me of a friend who recently died. She was run over while on her bike at night. She was 22 years old. I need a bit of cheering up and it seems that the rest of the world does as well today. Thank you for posting. The dog pictures are always a welcome treat.

  4. Grace - so very sorry to hear your sad news. But so glad that the dear Pigeon can provide at least a crumb of comfort. She comforts me like mad.

  5. The intensity of your blues, surreal and ethereal and the brooding hazy hill seem so utterly appropriate in the mad, sad and bad world that today has been.

    Then it is lightened by her supreme loveliness of the Pigeon. If only there were more loveliness.

  6. I am on holiday. We have friends staying with us in a lovely farmhouse in the countryside, and the Scottish sun is blessing us with its presence. It seems awful (in the good old biblical sense) that in the midst of this, parents are mourning the loss of a child. It's just horrible. I didn't even know about Amy Winehouse until I looked at your blog. I feel sad for all those lives that are now ended. And at the same time, things are improving in my own life.

    I love seeing photos of your garden. I wish I could find my camera cable so that I could upload photos of my own to share. I am tending my rambling rose, worrying over my recovering plum tree, which has been attacked by greenfly, and glorying in the sweet peas, which are as lovely as ever and smell nothing like the Yankee Candles think they do (I was in B&Q this morning and my mother nearly had a fit when she saw the Yankee Candle stand - she Does Not Like Yankee Candles.)

  7. This is coming from Canada and on quite another topic---wondering what happened with the search for a puppy that was mentioned some time back?

  8. Oh, I've never commented on a blog before, I didn't intend to come acrossas Anonymous!

  9. I think Twitter is a marvellous thing in terms of spreading the news of events like this but we're definitely getting both sides of it. Some of the things that are being said about Amy Winehouse are appalling but the fact that some of the words and stories of the Norwegian people are being spread so widely is really wonderful. They've got so much dignity and strength and goodness.

  10. Wretched moments when turning on the news...I appreciate the need to know but agree that media questions have been oddly insensitive and frankly pointless. Who needs to know? This morning I heard the following question: have all the bodies been removed from the island? Why does this information enrich anyone's impression of what happened? Ugh. So sad. Plus I do feel slightly uncomfortable knowing that the media are giving this chap a mouth piece. Double ugh. Here's to a better week ahead... Lou x


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