Wednesday, 13 February 2019

RADIANT

There are days when not even the brightest of February sunlight or the prettiest of daffodils can lift the spirits. Distraction can be one solution to the brain’s chemical whims, and I experienced just such an event at the hairdresser’s yesterday.

Two or three of us sat on comfortable black chairs in front of mirrors, idly watching our hair being teased into submission by talented, long-suffering young women. Mine was being cut, and I was trying to avoid my fuzzy, unflattering reflection whilst listening to Linda chattering, when the door opened and in swept an angel.

She isn’t an angel, of course, but in that moment she might have been. Kerry, on her day off, couldn’t wait to share with her place of work the wonderful news of her engagement and how it came about over the weekend. As she stood with her back to the shop window, her face and hair – indeed everything about her – glowed with happiness. Who could not have responded to that widest of smiles, the flashing of little diamonds on her outstretched finger and the radiance of her mood? It was contagious. All of us shared the grins and the laughter which ensued.

Today, as I sort through photos of roses, I’m reminded of the joy of sensory things. This rose, 'Spirit of Freedom' is one I grew in my old garden in Mid-Devon. The fragrance was beautifully sweet and the shape of the flowers with their tightly-packed petals is - for a day or so - perfect.

A slightly paler pink is tinting our view of the garden this week as the ornamental Japanese Cherry gently glides into flower. It's been hinting at doing so for a couple of weeks, but today the show begins and I must share a couple of photos. I couldn't resist adding some 'blurring' to one photo, to highlight my own experience of it this year through these muddled eyes. In many ways the sight is quite interesting, although I hope by next year to have regained focus to both eyes... We'll see (quite literally... sorry!).



If you are afflicted by depression or simply feeling a little low, I recommend calling in at your local hairdresser's - you'll always find something to smile about.

I wish you a happy day, wherever you are, and especially all at Rachel's of Tavistock! (Names of the girls have been changed...)

Friday, 1 February 2019

NOT THE END OF THE STORY


The sunsetting of the platform Google+ where I have spent the last few years making many friends and contacts from around the world, is now imminent. Every day has brought little moments of joy viewing a myriad of beautiful photographs and reading posts both serious, humorous and sometimes sad. Strong friendships have blossomed, and will I hope continue but less easily than before. Life moves on, of course, but not without regret.

Turning to my own half-focussed vision, I have been slow to update you on the progress towards my second cataract operation because of a disappointing delay in obtaining a date.
A visit to the ophthalmologist at the hospital was both uplifting and depressing. This kind young man expressed a total understanding of my dilemma - one now-perfect eye, one distinctly poor short-sighted astignatic eye (did you spot the oxymoron there?) and brain overload! His appreciation of my slowed day-to-day skills was like a soothing balm. He then explained that an eighteen-week waiting list would be more difficult for me than others, but was the standard delay for a second cataract operation. It is assumed, wrongly in my case, that the first operation has made life so wonderful that there is no rush for the next. Well, life is always wonderful, but eighteen weeks, followed by another six-week recovery period, is a little daunting.
"Don't book your holiday," he told me, and "please don't drive!" I obey, glumly.

Snow has arrived in the garden, and all over Devon. Here, right under the corner of Dartmoor, we have been given a little protection from the worst snowfalls. It's achingly cold though, and harder to do things - especially in the garden. So instead I've been doing the things I can - a bizarre and short list: knitting, reading (large text), cooking and listening to the radio are immensely comforting asides to the undramatic slow pattern of my day-to-day run-of-the-mill chores. Reading the posts on Google+ will soon no longer be on that list. A new chapter opens, a new month begins and we all move closer to Spring.





Monday, 21 January 2019

ASTIGMATIC OBSERVATIONS: A RARE MOON

I was awake at 'stupid o'clock' this morning, snatched the camera and snapped away on various settings. They are by no means perfect, but here is a selection of my results. I was SO lucky to see it at all! The conditions were almost perfect: clear, cold skies; brilliant stars and hanging - strangely at odds with its companions, - this extraordinary rust-coloured globe.







I photographed what I could see for about one hour, and the last one was taken through the closed window as I was feeling the chill, hence the 'echo' effect. The sky was also beginning to mist over with streaks of cloud.


If you didn't manage to see this marvellous event, I hope you will enjoy my brief glimpses.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

PASSING BRENTOR IN JANUARY


We took a different route to visit my brother earlier in the week, and it's one I love because it passes Brentor. Even in January the little church perched on the tor looks solid and reassuring, especially through the skeletal patterns created by the bare and lovely trees below. Brentor plays a cameo part in my writing, on a much more inclement day than this, and here is a little teaser: 

‘Earlier she had pulled up the hood of her coat, but rain was now dripping down off it on to her face and when she looked at Titus he was soaked, his hair plastered on to his scalp and his eyes screwed up against the newly-awakened wind. The fog was beginning to clear, but sheets of rain were creating a similar obscurity.
The mound of grass and granite rose up quite steeply, the walls of the church high above and beyond them disappearing into the grey mist. Without speaking they concentrated on their footsteps, walking and occasionally scrambling their way up the climbing path which wound around and back on itself. Eventually they stepped through an iron gateway into the churchyard area which surrounded the building. They staggered across to the church door, which was where fate held another little trick in store for them: the huge old wooden door, built to withstand centuries of exposure to the elements, was locked.’ Extract from ‘Stopping Time’ by P R Ford ©2018


The photo above shows a darker view from last March, as we returned from Okehampton in late afternoon. The church is recognisable from miles away.

Finally, a view of the moor beyond Brentor looking East. The glimpse of blue sky did not last, unfortunately, and our return journey saw a far gloomier Dartmoor. Wherever you are, enjoy your day!


Sunday, 13 January 2019

A CHANGE FROM GREY

My garden in January changes from day to day. There are almost monochrome mornings, blanketed in gloom, and then there are brief bursts of low sun which change everything. Here are some glimpses of colour to brighten your day:


   
The succulents are overwintering in the greenhouse, as are the gorgeous multicoloured pelargonium and the little viola. Outside the 'mop' heads of hydrangeas have dried to crisp Winter displays, still holding their own against the weather. I will cut them down once Spring arrives and the new shoots are safe from frost.




The sight of primroses is always heartwarming, and these have suddenly appeared - I'd forgotten they were tucked into this corner by the steps. 

  

My Hebe is still flowering despite some very cold nights, and its pretty pink colour shines out from the faded green leaves. The few roses I did not dead-head have rewarded both me and the birds with fat, juicy hips which glow in the sunlight. Finally, a surprise in the hanging baskets which I planted up very quickly in the Autumn for some colour - these plants are still flowering!

On the Home Front, I'm waiting for an examination of my 'new' eye this week, when I hope to hear how much longer I will have to wait for the second cataract operation. Meanwhile, I muddle on! I hope the photos will bring you some pleasure.