Wednesday, 31 August 2011


I love roses and these are divine; they're a couple of weeks old now and fading beautifully. Don't you just love those colours!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Southampton Water.

The view across Southampton Water was just beautiful this evening; an incoming tide, blue sky, clouds lit by the sun - what a picture!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The New Forest.

Rambling through the forest last week was a joy; late afternoon, the sun low in the sky, a chance of rain, the air sweet and damp. I came home with a big smile, a bag full of blackberries and a handsome array of specimens for my nature table. I can identify most of them, the hawthorn, dog rose, pine cones, thistle, alder, london plane, blackberry, cobnut/hazel, heather, beechnut, blackthorn/sloe, but the long slender plant at the bottom of the picture - is it meadowsweet?, and the silvery green, sword-shaped leaves with the clusters of orange berries - very beautiful, but what is it?

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Moon 2.

After such a wet and moody day yesterday, the sky was a cloudless , bright blue early this morning and I was thrilled to see the moon, still visible to the west (centre left in the picture - click on it for a larger view and click again for a big close up). A beautiful day indeed and a fine day for a birthday. Happy birthday Sheila! And happy birthday to my brother John - it was his birthday on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Hythe Sunset.

An extraordinary sunset this evening, looking west, across Hythe foreshore, towards the village and the marina.

Monday, 15 August 2011

The New Forest Show: Celery.

I think I've always liked celery, it's an elegant vegetable, has a good colour, beautiful leaves, and a very particular flavour; works well on its own, with cheese, with apple, with walnuts, in a soup, in a stew, braised, roasted, raw, and is a fine ingredient for a sandwich.

I mention it now because of the photo. I went to The New Forest Show a couple of weeks ago and of all the exhibits - the cows, the sheep, the horses, the local arts and crafts, the fruit, the flowers - it was the vegetables I loved most of all. I was captivated by the beauty of four perfect potatoes displayed on a plate, three handsome carrots, tops trimmed, roots intact, cleaned and arranged with military precision, and of course, the two giant heads of celery, standing proud and emblazoned with a bright red first prize rosette - the best in show for me!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Moon 1.

I love to see the moon and each night I look out hoping to catch a glimpse. It hasn't been visible for weeks - too cloudy, or too low in the sky - but last night the sky cleared and there it was, in the south east, almost full and looking magnificent. I love a full moon and maybe I'll see it tonight, but most of all I love a new moon, so you can be sure I'll be scanning the skies until the end of the month, watching and waiting, hoping to see that magical sliver of light.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Mezzo-Sopranos: Dame Janet Baker.

I love a mezzo-soprano and over the years I've fallen under the spell of many, but I always come back to Janet Baker singing Handel arias. I need to be in a happy and expansive frame of mind in order to listen, otherwise I find them too strident, but when the time is right, they're a perfect fit and the gentle power of her voice, its depth and sensitivity, match my mood and fortify my spirit.

One particular aria, Dopo Notte from Ariodante, is my all-time favourite; it was made for me, it is me, and when I found the CD notes and read the English translation, my hair stood on end, it defined my very being and I understood everything.

"Dopo Notte"
Aria from Ariodante (1734)

After night, dark and mournful,
the sun shines more radiantly
and fills the earth with joy;
while in a frightful tempest
my boat almost capsizes
it arrives in port
and clings to the shore.

by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The View From My Window 7: Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.

Last weekend was spectacularly busy on Southampton Water; Ocean Village in Southampton was host to the start of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race (10 ocean-going race yachts set off from the Solent to take part in the world's longest yacht race - 31st July 2011 to 22nd July 2012 - twelve months at sea!).

On Friday HMS Illustrious arrived in port (the Royal Navy helicopter carrier). On Saturday morning the racing yachts started to arrive, along with three cruise ships (MSC Opera, Ventura & Celebrity Eclipse). On Saturday afternoon the three cruise ships left port and made lots of lovely noise with their whistles. On Saturday evening there was a fabulous firework display. On Sunday morning the cruise ship Aurora arrived, along with dozens of small boats, lining up to watch the parade. On Sunday afternoon the Parade of Sail set off down Southampton Water to the race start in the Solent - the 10 ocean-going yachts, followed by HMS Illustrious and surrounded by support vessels and every kind of small ship imaginable. The sun shone, the wind blew (a brisk south easterly), the water positively boiled with boats jostling for position, helicopters buzzed in and out, the marina was stuffed with sightseers, Hythe foreshore was humming, people standing, sitting, watching, talking, clicking cameras, pointing, training binoculars, children playing, gulls squabbling, the world was abustle. And then they were gone, silence, as though it had never happened, water lapping at the shore, a tern diving, the pier train rattling, Aurora still in her berth, Sunday afternoon at home, and just these pictures to remind me.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The View From My Window 6.

An early morning sighting of RMS Queen Elizabeth sent me scampering for my camera. It was getting on for 06:30 when she came into view on Southampton Water and she looked so majestic sailing silently into port - I just needed to capture the moment.

I love the cool, quiet of an early summers morning, before the heat gets up, and today it was bliss; the tide was out, the air was still and cool, an egret fishing in the shallows, seagulls calling, a flock of turnstones - it can't get much better than this.