Sunday, 27 May 2018

...the darling buds of may...

'...rough winds do shake the darling buds of May...' sonnet 18, William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616

Spring had only just begun but it felt like summer. The days were long and hot and sunny, and I didn't want to waste a second. I rose early to make the most of it. After the long cold winter's hibernation, it was catch up time!

I sowed seeds, and I planted and watered, painted outside doors and windows, and garden furniture that had been washed by the snow. Sorted out the loft, the shoe cupboard and my wardrobe. Recycled, renewed, repaired, and baked a million fruit crumbles and streusel tarts.

Before the sun was up I worked on my little shop, that had also mostly hibernated, and then did the same on the long light evenings.  It was  good to feel an order and rhythm return to this little life we've made for ourselves.  

Then April showers came and we went to London and when poor Ahmad was in meetings, I explored the Serpentine in the rain, and the green lungs, and saw bright green parakeets, horses and heron. Discovered little lanes with quaint mews houses and the Liberty store, with it's ancient oak beams taken from an old ship. I met friends, and one of my sisters, and drank gunpowder tea from the teeniest Japanese teapot. 

But best of all we crossed that bridge again, and visited our 
little acorn in Bristol. She pampered us. Baked us pie and made crumble, and delicious breakfasts; and there were goodies and parcels waiting for us in the spare bedroom. 

And the most precious gift for me. All wrapped in tissue-y paper and tied with thin twine. It was a book that I had picked up so many times in my favourite bookshop. Each time I had put it back because I already have a version.  A newer one.  The same words, different skin. Every time I visited that bookstore, I would search for it. The little skinny one  in-between the stout tomes. 

I would take it out and pour over the hand-cut pages with their serrated edges. Feel the smooth marbled, paper backing and carefully open the delicate leaves and read the inked hand written inscription from 1936.  

Then I would turn a page to the printers title: 'House - Warming and Winter Visitors, from Walden, or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau, privately printed MCMXXXVI, and then the next page: 'These essays from Walden have been privately printed by the Haddon Craftsmen for their friends at Christmas,' with subtle green print of pine cones on a branch. On the following page, the little house in the woods and the text began. Walden's beautiful poetic words. 

I would find an old comfy armchair in the store and settle in, whilst everyone else was on their search for books ...I would sit and drool over the pages, sometimes uttering a quiet exclamation at it's beauty. I'd look up and someone would catch my eye and and chuckle. They had been their too. 

Then I would put it back. Almost in the right place, but not quite. Maybe a few letters along. So that it would still be there the next time I came. 

The last time that I looked for it, it had gone. I was surprised that it hadn't gone earlier and was a little sad but reasoned   someone else loved it, just as much as I did.

...Little did I know who that person was... and now that lovely old book has a new inscription below the older one, cursive script blue/black ink, this time to me from my little acorn and her larger oak... 

'...I went a-graping to the river meadows, and loaded myself with clusters more precious for their beauty and fragrance than for food. There too I admired, though I did not gather, cranberries, small waxen gems, pendants of the meadow grass, pearly and red...'Henry David Thoreau,from his essays, 1854.

Now we are well and truly into May and the darling buds are blooming with a vengeance. But what about your garden, how does it grow? dx


  1. Oh your photos are a delight to see! It's truly spring time here after a chilly April. Now if we could get rid of the allergies that would be grand!! Love your food and your book.

    1. Oh thank you Karen. I hope that you are avoiding the allergies, Spring is so lovely but hard if you are affected by them. I am little further north this week in Doncaster, Yorkshire. It has been so barmy the last couple of days and now the wind is getting up and a storm warning forecast for today. I am goin to stay hunkered down in the hotel and catch up with reading and writing. I hope that you have a cosy day too. debx

  2. Oh, Debby, I have missed your posts SO MUCH. Spring is always such a catalyst for me--nothing like a change of season to get one cracking!--and it sure does sound like you had a very productive spring. I envy your rainy day London exploring. And gunpowder tea--I don't think I've ever had it(I had to Google what it is :) but it sounds, well, thrilling! Your photos are a story in themselves and I adore all of your pictures: the gorgeous flowers, the delectable pies and crumbles, and breakfast bowls (you always have so many good things cooking). But, the story of the book your daughter gave you. I think I shall always remember it.♥ What a thoughtful, loving girl! And what a treasure of a book!

    1. Thank you Sue. That's so kind of you. Me too. I miss you,this place and my blogger friends. Thank you for coming over and catching up. It's been so busy and I've been having major technical problems. Hopefully they will be sorted soon. I'm borrowing a lap top today to catch up a bit. The book was an amazing surprise. I still haven't worked out how she managed to buy it for me without me knowing. I am so lucky. Not only is she my daughter but my best friend too. Have a lovely day.