Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lana del Rey

Goodness me, she's a hottie isn't she? All pouty lusciousness.

She has got that retro look down to a tee. Do you think there is something a bit Ann Margret about her?

While you are thinking about it, you have to listen to this mesmerising song, which I play and play and play...

Monday, 20 February 2012

Graham and Green Goa House

Graham and Green is a great brand. They sell upmarket, unusual, beautiful furniture and accessories for the home. It's the sort of shop any designer would be thrilled to supply.

Well, last night I was browsing their website when I came across the most wonderful giveaway. One lucky person will win a free week's holiday in this exquisite holiday home they have decorated in Goa. If you won, I don't think you would ever want to leave...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

My new birdtable

When I first came to look around this house, I went into the shed (a perfect granddad's shed, smelling of creosote) and saw this birdtable which needed a bit of love and attention. I was already quite taken with the house, and when I saw this, I took it as a sign. I had to buy the house.

Here's how it looked before.
Today it went outside. We added a big platform so the birds can land, and a few more bits. Here's how it looks now (please ignore the garden, we are in the process of landscaping it).

I hope the birds like it.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Her Maj

There's going to be lots going on this year for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. I am looking forward to it. I remember the Silver Jubilee as if it were yesterday and still have the mug.
I like our Queen. I think she has done a good job for a very long time. As a young woman, I think she was a great beauty with a winning smile. I still like to see her smile. I don't think she does it unless she means it. If I had been under the spotlight for as long as she has, I'm not sure I would still have that honesty.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Edith Sitwell, my favourite poet

When I say that, it doesn't actually mean that I am an afficianado of poetry, rather that she did poetry and I like it better than any other I happen to have come across. I like her earlier work best of all. It is deeply autobiographical and creates dreamy images in my head. 
One of my favourite poems, Colonel Fantock (1924) was inspired by days spent playing with her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell in the gardens at Renishaw Hall, the childhood home. 

They are amongst my favourite gardens, with small rooms created by box hedging and totally exuberant and quite informal planting. No sign of 'The white border' or 'The blue border' style of planting. Colours are mixed for dramatic effect and that suits me far better.
As a teenager, when I was inspired by medieval gothic imagery and black and white silent films, I went through a phase of making long dresses out of old brocade curtains. So when I came across Edith and saw photos of her in just the same kind of outfit and setting, I knew I would like her. In particular, I love the photos of her taken by Cecil Beaton.

Extract from Colonel Fantock

But Dagobert and Peregrine and I
were children then; we walked like shy gazelles
among the music of the thin flower-bells.
And life still held some promise, -- never ask
of what, -- but life seemed less a stranger, then,
than ever after in this cold existence.
I was always a little outside life-- one dead, like a small ghost,
a little cold air wandering and lost.
All day within the straw-roofed arabesque
of the towered castle and the sleepy gardens wandered
we; those delicate paladins the waves
told us fantastic legends that we pondered....

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I protest

This week I saw this heartbreaking story and picture below. And then we watched The last of the Mohicans. Why do people do this to other people? What makes them think they have the right?
The chief Raoni cries when he learns that brazilian president Dilma released the beginning of construction of the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte, even after tens of thousands of letters and emails addressed to her and which were ignored as the more than 600,000 signatures. That is, the death sentence of the peoples of Great Bend of the Xingu river is enacted. Belo Monte will inundate at least 400,000 hectares of forest, an area bigger than the Panama Canal, thus expelling 40,000 indigenous and local populations and destroying habitat valuable for many species - all to produce electricity at a high social, economic and environmental cost, which could easily be generated with greater investments in energy efficiency.
If there was one song to go with these stories, it would be Soldier Blue by Buffy Sainte Marie.
When we were kids, every now and again a film would be sent over from the UK and someone would show it and invite everyone else over. On this occasion it was my parents who showed it. We kids desperately wanted to watch, but for obvious reasons, were not allowed. We played the theme song endlessly and it has always been a favourite.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

New shoes

I always think there is something nostalgic and special about red shoes. Maybe it is because as children we would often have those wonderful Clarks shoes or maybe it is the reference to iconic films such as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz or Moira Shearer in The Red Shoes.