“I’M SO GLAD I LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE THERE ARE OCTOBERS” L. M. Montgomery,

It was a mellow October afternoon and I decided to plant out some spinach seedlings which I still had growing in a pot. I had a wander through the rest of the garden and saw that there is actually quite a lot of winter produce doing well, and it pleased me. I also saw how beautiful everything looked, the colours, the autumn shades which are wonderful. An October sun illuminated everything. It was a perfect afternoon.
Glorious colours of the hydrangea even after the summer.
Pleasure can be gained both from tending to the garden and growing some things, or from just having a wander around.

Enjoy a lovely weekend everyone, and I would love to hear about your autumn garden too.

FURTHER RESTRICTIONS….BUT MEANWHILE

Dandelion coffee

Yes we are all experiencing more restrictions because of a recent increase in covid cases. We find ourselves living in quite a changed world these days, but the most important thing now I think is to look after our mental health, and the mental health of our loved ones and of the wider community if we can help in any way. Staying positive and finding things of interest to do where we don’t have to travel, as even taking a journey to other areas of Ireland is now not possible. And this is something that requires some pondering over, and adjusting to, for many of us.

So far for us personally it has not caused a problem as it seems we don’t get time enough to do all the things we want to do. Ian has started on his book again and bought some new software to help him understand more about writing using characters, personalities and settings. It is complicated and hugely interesting he says, and he is busy with it all day. His book is progressing well and he’s enjoying himself.

Last year I let our garden do mostly its own thing. No wild plants got pulled up and it all ended in a delightful wilderness. It also ended up in quite a bit of work and in a huge pile of compostable plant material. I decided to keep a little more order in the garden this year and have been pleased that I am finding quite a number of wild plants still growing which I am now learning about. Plants like plantain, cleavers, nettles, mullein, evening primrose, borage, dandelion for example, are all there for the picking. I find it such a luxury, and it makes it easy for me getting material for my herbal course. We study the plants in detail, having to draw the different parts of the plant which makes us more familiar with the whole structure, including roots and seeds. A very absorbing activity it is.

So that is one small part of our lives here in West Cork. I hope that wherever you are, all my dear readers and friends that you are well and that you stay well.

Blessings

Oh and I enjoyed that cup of dandelion coffee very much indeed 🙂

A LATE SUMMER EVENING SKY

When summer gathers up her robes of glory, And, like a dream, glides away.     
Sarah Helen Whitman

I took a walk this evening and felt a real bit of a chill in the air, but it was still lovely and the breeze was actually refreshing after I spent the day painting inside. And I did find some time to check a few herbs in the garden. I also include a couple of photos from a few days ago. I’m busy with my new herb course. I am also learning more about the wild plants that come growing into the garden, at this time of year the woundwort is still in full bloom and much desired by the bumblebees, lots of them. The flower bud on my ginger plant has not changed for the past two weeks, I wonder if it will reach actual flowering but I fear not as already there is not enough sunshine and we are slowly heading into the fall season.

Stachys palustris – Marsh Woundwort
Tagetes Lucida, Mexican marigold ~ I think.
Our endive plants are flowering, a lovely blue display.

ON A HUMID SUNDAY AFTERNOON

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”
― William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

There is a light breeze gently moving the tops of the trees, but otherwise it is very quiet on this restful day. West Cork has seen warmer than usual weather recently, though the last two days we have also seen very much rain. The humidity is high of course and I quite like that. You go outside in the garden and the scents and colours are intense, everything is fresh from the rain and the heat makes it almost feel as if steam is rising from all the plants and foliage. The garden is very lush at this time and I counted very many bees, hoverflies and some butterflies while I was out earlier. Autumn is actually not far off and the garden spiders are busy. Some of the decorative trees are already shedding their leaves. The hawthorn and the chestnut tree are beginning to look a lot like autumn too. The ‘turning of the seasons’ is starting to happen.

Ian is back home, his troubles are not over yet but he is slowly feeling better. It’s great to have him home, he’s my soulmate and the best of companions.

REMEMBERING

On this beautiful, calm and wind still morning the garden has been transformed into what reminds me of fairy land, the reflexion of light in the dew drops makes the spider webs shimmer and reminds me of fairy lights, or even the Christmas tree and brings me back to early childhood days, to innocence and happiness. I wander around the garden taking in this beauty and allowing these feelings to be. Autumn leaves have been brushed up yesterday, but it is the spider webs that really herald the beginning of autumn here in West Cork. There is not a sound to be heard, all the neighbours are still asleep, then a robin takes the floor and cheerfully sings its heart out.
Wind still and glorious, another day has begun.
My heart fills with gratitude.

I wrote these words some years ago but because we have recently been living with so many raindrops, not dewdrops, and we are all quite saturated with the damp and the darkness ~ I decided to give life to this post again as the beauty of watery drops really is something incredible and we might as well enjoy them.

MEMORIES OF AN OLD FRIEND

This time I am sharing a tribute to the man I was married to for 31 years and also the father of our lovely daughter Tjorven and grandfather of our five wonderful grandchildren. Ron died from cancer on Monday the 11th of May. He became very good mates with my husband Ian and he was a regular friend to our house, Ron and I remained friends.

I would like to share a tribute from the West Cork Chamber Music Festival team, I quote;

“We are sad to hear that one of our earliest supporters and volunteers, Ron Victor, has passed away after a long illness. He was an integral and much-valued part of our team for many years.

In the early days, he and his then wife Agnes were generous supporters of West Cork Music and Ron then became the man who took care of moving all heavy equipment at the West Cork Chamber Music Festivals. So much goes on behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of the Festival concerts and Ron’s contribution was vital. He made sure that everything which was needed in Bantry House, whether pianos, chairs, box office tables or boxes of wine, was there. Everything he did was with enthusiasm, energy and a smile which we all remember with great fondness.

Ron had a deep love of Baroque music and he spent so many hours listening to it while driving thousands of miles in his removal van, that he developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of the repertoire by ear. It was his passion for Early Music which influenced Francis Humphrys’ decision to include it in the Festival programme.”

For a number of years, the Cork County Council harpsichord was transported to ten schools for a week of Baroque workshops in January and it was Ron who made this possible, moving the instrument carefully from school to school while seeing the music he loved being played for a new generation of music-lovers.

Ron was introduced to early music by his friend Antoon Tandt at age 18. The first composer he became familiar with was Heinrich Schutz, and especially his ‘Psalmen Davids’, during our time together it is what we shared most of all, our love of early music, it was a huge factor in our relationship and our daughter was brought up in a home resounding of music by Bach, Buxtehude, Schutz, Ockegem, Tallis, and many other fine composers.  Eventually Ron became involved with West Cork Chamber Music Festival and later with the East Cork Early Music Festival which he enjoyed very much. His love of beautiful music knew no bounds, he listened to it until close to the time he died. 

The team at East Cork Early Music Festival were also greatly saddened to learn that Ron Victor passed away. They said he was a great lover of early music, always smiling and was so helpful to our festival over many years.

Ron’s grandchildren also contributed some memories of their grandpa, I will just give a flavour of their thoughts. Hazel who is 13 years old said that she remembers her grandpa as an amazing, kind and funny person. Alice who is 11 has memories of all the gifts and sweets that her grandpa would bring back from his travels. Ruben who is aged 9 thinks of his grandpa as a superhero, he recons that he made the world. Jasmin aged 8 thought grandpa was funny and nice, she also thought that he was wise and she remembered his 70th birthday party and all the nice cake. Willow is only five and she remembers grandpa as being ‘young’, she also remembers that he took a lot of photos. It is lovely to hear the tributes of the grandchildren for their grandpa.

Ron ended up living in the Philippines where he had a new relationship towards the latter part of his life. He loved the life there, the natural world and the climate. He returned to Belgium for a visit and to organize some things. He was subsequently diagnosed with cancer and he remained with family who very kindly looked after him while he was undergoing treatment.

So we have been busy organising the funeral service in this time of Corona virus when people cannot travel or indeed when funerals are very private, that is no problem in its own and we were able to attend and all be together during Ron’s funeral service at the crematorium in Kortrijk via live video. I had the privilege of picking the music and choose some lovely pieces by Bach and Purcell. Many family members wrote beautifully worded farewell pieces. It was a beautiful service. A good send off to Ron and a solace for the family.

Rest in peace Ron, there will be many people who will miss you.

WE ARE OF THE EARTH AND HEALED BY NATURE

We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts – William Hazlitt
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature–the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter – Rachel Carson
I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements – Henry David Thoreau

I hope that these nature photos and valuable quotes have been a solace to someone who is disturbed by earth’s current difficulties and dangers. I wish us all well.

BUSY TIMES DURING LOCKDOWN

These tulips have been flowering for well over a week and are still doing great, and very beautiful.
We have had some lovely days and then it is our delight to have our lunch in the garden, very healthy too now that we need extra vitamin D for our immune system. We are both under strict total lockdown which means that we cannot leave the front door at all, so our garden is the only place where we can get fresh air and sunshine, and we are grateful to have such.

STILLNESS

In the pre-dawn when some half disturbing dream awakens me, I become aware of stillness….. I hear nothing ~ my thoughts wander far into the Cosmos and I wonder if all is stillness there as well. I start to wonder if this is what death is like too.

The stillness is inside and out.

A blackbird starts to sing. When I draw the curtain expecting to see a glimpse of the approaching dawn, I am greeted by a full moon shining through slivers of mist covering the town below in the valley. I marvel at the beautifully diffused sight.

Right now I am fully awake and thoughts of writing stir in my freshly rested mind, so I take up my pen and here I am.

There is an amazing happening right here and now…everything lies still, it’s as if the world has stopped turning.

Awaiting the brightness of the day, gratefulness washes over me.

(Inspired by the lockdown of Corona virus)