Sunday, June 28, 2015

We're having a heat wave...

In the late afternoon I leave the coolness of the house and go out into the garden to check pots and open the side gate to peer at the air conditioner to see if any ice has formed around its entrance into the house as happened yesterday.  Luckily not.......

We are in the midst of an unusual heat wave.  No blazing sun or brilliant sky, but rather a grey and rather ominous cloud cover much resembling the lid of a pressure cooker - and there is distinct impression of being steamed in it as one ventures forth.

I have seen worse!  Picked peaches and apricots in the orchard when the temperature was well over 100 degrees F. (With constant  re-telling over the years the actual temperature has grown to117F but I hesitate to intrude on credibility).

We had no air conditioning in our home at that time but a large Rainbow sprinkler turned lazily all day on our flat roofed house, and as the water fell over the eaves it gave the illusion of coolness at least.

I found some of the potted plants gasping for water, even though I had been out in the garden early in the morning with the hose.  These are the days of morning refreshment -  happy hour about five, and perhaps a little sparkling water at noon.

What relief and delight to step back into a cool kitchen  - even Callie left her little damp spot in the raspberries to scoot between my feet.

She had spoonful of her soft tinned cat food that she has a passion for, and I had the remains of last night's refreshing fruit salad for supper  -  with ice cream!

Last night as I got ready for bed the eastern sky and clouds were bright with a show of sheet lightening.  I can't wish the same for tonight because of the very real danger of igniting wild fires, but it was pretty spectacular.

Tomorrow promises to be a little cooler than the 40C that was recorded on Charles' old thermometer!

Monday, June 22, 2015

X is for kisses

ABC Wednesday
June 24, 2015

The letter is X - a symbol for kisses

so sweet.....

'Tis when the lark goes soaring
And the bee is at the bud,
When lightly dancing zephyrs
Sing over field and flood;
When all sweet things in nature
Seen joyfully achime -
'Tis then I wake my darling,
For it is kissing time!

Go, pretty lark a-soaring
And suck your sweets, O bee;
Sing, O ye winds of summer,
Your songs to mine and me;
For with your song and rapture
Cometh the moment when
It's half past kissing time
And time to kiss again!

So-so the days go fleeting
Like golden fancies free,
And every day that cometh
Is full of sweets for me;
And sweetest are those moments
My darling comes to climb
Into my lap to mind me
That it is kissing time.

Sometimes, maybe, he wanders
A heedless, aimless way -
Sometimes, maybe, he loiters
In pretty, prattling play;
But presently bethinks him
And hastens to me then,
For it's half-past kissing time
And time to kiss again!

Kissing Time, by Eugene Field, who also worte "Wynken, Blynken and Nod"
and 'The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat"

The last two lines stir fond childhood memories of my Grandmother....

More Xs here at ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Denise and Roger
and all their kissing cousins who visit on their behalf....

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Saturday Morning Concert

I am going to a concert!

Would you like to come along with me?

I squeeze the last cup of morning coffee from the pot and gather together my knitting, my glasses, a library book in case I should want to read a few pages in the intermission, and I am off to my PC where the  Berlin Philharmonik orchestra has begun to gather and the seats are filling up.....

The first violinist arrives to applause, and the instruments tune up under his direction.

Ah, - here is the guest soloist, Chistian Tetzlaff.  And the conductor, Sir Simon with his white dandelion hair and baton.

First on the program is Brahms Violin Concerto in D, which has been a great favourite of mine for many years since I first deepened my acquaintance with it to a familiarity, via a CD with Nigel Kennedy and the London Philharmonic.

The orchestra begins, - and now the soloist joins in with great enthusiam, and then great delicacy; fierce in his passion and then tender in the quiet interlude that overtakes the music.  The first movement ends with a sweet solo sentence, sometimes almost a whisper until the orchestra joins in with great vigor, and we are into the Adagio.

The violins are quiet as the clarinets and flutes and oboe carry one gently along into this lovely movement.  And here are the violins again - light and meditative.

I have still not picked up my knitting; this is too beautiful to be distracted with keeping track of a lacy pattern.

After the Adagio the Allegro - joyful, lively, melodic and rythmic.  The camera catches a lady in the audience who is listening intently, but not smiling.  How can one listen and not smile and tap one's foot, I wonder.

The conductor is smiling - all is going well!  There is great applause as the performance comes to an end, and after a number of recalls an encore to an audience and spellbound orchestra (well, they looked spellbound - certainly very appreciative of this fine talent), So moving and beautiful....

In the intermission the artist speaks of his year of residency with the Philharmonic, and interjects wonderful musical examples that don't allow me to tear myself away to think about lunch.  I eventually content myself with a boiled egg and a bit of yogurt!

The intermission over the musicians return and the first violinist does his bit again to make sure all is in harmongy.

The second part of the program is a delight.  The orchestra is expanded with added instruments, - two harps, a tambourine and I think I even caught sight of a Ukulele!  A lovely program of Claude DeBussy's Images for Orchestra - a Gigue, a Ronde of Springtime, Iberia, and Les Parfums of the Night.

It ended with George Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody, introduced by the trombones.  A little wild and wonderful, inviting visions of twirling gypsies in long skirts and flowing hair.  Everybody busy and caught up in this passionate music - nobody sitting idly awaiting a cue to play.....

Before the audience dispersed and the orchestra left the stage Sir Simon Rattle made a short farewell speech in German, and I could only guess at what he was saying, but concluded that the Flautist, who I have admired since I first became aware of the Digital Concert Hall, was retiring.

There was more great applause, beautiful flowers and he replied most graciously, I presume, 
and with humour.  I shall miss him...

A lovely way to spend a Saturday morning 
and here are just a few moments of this wonderful music
for your pleasure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


ABC Wednesday
June 17, 2015
The letter is W

for Who, What, When, Where and Why

Who, What, When, and Where provide the facts,  

but Why is always up for conjecture

If your curiosity is piqued and you want to know more about W

wander over here to ABC Wednesday

with thanks to Roger and Denise and all wise helpers.....

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A trip to the library....

Popped into the library today to pick up some DVDs for a friend who has been secluded in the local Senior's home as a result of breaking her leg, and is beginning to get 'cabin fever'!

While there I found three books awaiting me - books that I had just ordered a few days ago, inspired by a little roving through literary type blogs one evening last week.

I was astounded at the size of 'Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell' (Susanna Clarke) but encouraged by the Sunday Times' blurb that claimed this large tome to be 'a fabulous book....dazzlimg....highly original and compelling'.

And so I am prepared to take it on!  It may take me all summer but the library lady checked and said it was probably good for two renewals (nine weeks).  One thousand and six pages!!! 

I am going to have to stem this Protestant Ethic I harbour that (even at ninety) every day must be productive if I am going to sleep self-satisfied and with a clear concscience. I shall ignore the ethics and put aside more time for reading.....

 I am still intriqued by Jack Miles' Biography of God as the 'protagonist of the greatest book'.  

 And his introductory essay to his latest work as editor of the Norton Anthology of World Religions - 'Why God will not Die' and I gather the answer to that  lies in the belief that 
"our ignorance still exceeds our knowledge, 
and we still have eminently good reason to fear the unknown"  

....and how we reasonably cope with the "impossibility of our ever living a perfectly rational life"..

Towards the end of the essay Miles quotes Mary Oliver - "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"  and continues....

"We never truly know how to reply to that challenge, do we, since more knowledge - the knowledge we do not have - could always justify holding current plans in abeyance just a little longer.  But when life refuses to wait any longer and the great game  begins whether you have suited up or not, than a demand arises that religion - or some expedient no more fully rational than religion - must meet.  You're going to go with keeps revealing how much we don't know.  Yet humans seek closure."   

And I guess that's why I was at the Church doing Bulletins for tomorrow's service, changing the hangings back to Green after the Red of Pentecost, checking the candles 
and putting flowers on the altar..............

I also brought home Arthur Ransome's 'We didn't mean to Go to Sea', which should provide a little light hearted diversion from great tomes and heavy philosphical thinking!!!!!!!

Yesterday, a real treat, - Simon Rattle and Barbara Hannigan (a Nova Scotia Canadian) in a cabaret type late night performance with six instruments from the Berlin Philharmoniker....


Advertised as being very British and a little naughty....

Monday, June 08, 2015

V is for Vestiges

ABC Wednesday
June 10th, 2015

The letter is V for Vestiges

The definition of 'vestiges'  - "traces of something that no longer exists"

My home is haunted by vestiges, - lurking in old trunks,
packed away in cardboard boxes,
stuffed into drawers,
carefully put away in files
and hanging in the back of closets!!!!

Happy momentos of life, family, early years and places where we live only in memory.

In a chocolate box is the ribbon from my mother's  wedding bouquet,
one dried rosebud, plus a few shredded blossoms.

In the garage, in the bottom drawer of Charles' desk, there was a sewing kit
used by his grandfather when he was in the Yukon
at the turn of the last century 
(recently given to one of his great grandsons).

Stuffed in one of my sewing machine drawers is my mother's tatting device, -
 which I could still use, I think, if I was so inclined.....

In my cedar chest is the treasured remnants of a silk and lace dust cap
that belonged to my great-grandmother ,
 along with a sweater I knitted for Charles in early days,
 sporting the replica of Indian paintings he found in the hills above his home.

I have in my own 'bottom drawer' a snall leather bag bought for me in Banff (Alberta)
and a hand tooled leather wallet made for me
by one of our very best friends....  

plus a small handkerchief sent from Scotland
when Charles interrupted his RAF training
 to have the mumps....

Old report cards, - innumerable momentos made for Mother by small, chubby hands - 
the receipt for payment of my piano, dated 1925 - 
the children's immunization records. - 
a collection of old poems 
and three or four large industrial shuttles which I will never use!!!
Out of date calendars with lovely pictures, treasured letters, ancient LPs
and a suitcase full of old sheet music.
A wedding dress and a little black number that I thought quite enticing -
plus dozens of C's ties that nobody wears any more

Well, you know how it is.  I'm sure you have your own VESTIGES lying around,
 reminders of life as it was, 
whose eventual fate niggles at the back of your mind as you get older
 and are not a 'thrower-out'...

Spend a little time with them and linger a bit in memory lane.
  Vestiges are great for that and for bringing a smile to your face....

For more interesting Vs visit here at ABC Wednesday, 
with thanks to Roger and Denise and their veritable helpers....

post script - no high heeled shoes
not even as a momento....

Sunday, June 07, 2015

A little of This and a little of That, but mainly garden...

June 7th, 2015

When we moved from the Garden on the Hill I slowly abandoned my Garden Diary blog, and after a while was just posting now and then some of the new little additions to this town garden.  A few days ago my granddaughter, who now tends the hill garden and lives with that marvelous view of sky and mountains and valley, brought me a lovely bouquet of roses she had snipped from the Mr. Lincoln, the Prairie Princess and the pink arbour rose.....

At the same time the roses that crowd the gateway here were soaking up
that lovely rain we had last week and reaching the best part of their first flush....

Around the garden shed the Blaze Rose, which received a good pruning this
spring to keep it from wandering into the neighbour's yard,
has recovered quite nicely and its old familiar bloom reminds me of
the roses that covered that back wall at the farm, the ones that Charles'
mother grew at her backdoor, and the wonderful Blaze climbers we had 
when we gardened earnestly on 10th!!

The peonies have all pined away and dropped their petals round their feet
but the garden is pregnant with greenery and swelling buds, 

It will soon be the time of the Lilies and the poppies (although the Oriental ones have left, except for one lone pink one which I will try to squeeze in later....

In the last day or two the spider lily, which I saved from last year, has started a magnificent display....out in a pot by the back door, with the container of hot pink and white zinnias

When I was busy tidying up the wild violets that decided they would like
to grow side by each with the Hellebore I found some blooms that
had gone to seed, -  one empty of its seed, and another still white and fresh,
although a few days in the house found it drying quickly and popping
open to release the seeds.  I thought they were structurally very beautiful, and delicate.

 Along by the front gate the large purple clematis has gone wild,and is climbing
joyously up and over the entrance - the little violet one on the back fence is being
much more prim, but still very beautiful.

and here is Callie, who hides in the garden and watches all the neighbourhood cats pass
down the lane....

and another pretty picture of the Blaze rose and the pink poppy......

I rise early these days, since the weather turned so warm (hot)
and last thing at night wander through the evening coolness.....