Monday, April 26, 2010

"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile" - William Cullen Bryant

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot

"Autumn is a second spring
when every leaf is a flower."
Albert Camus

"Autumn's the mellow time."
William Allingham

"Autumn burned brightly, 
a running flame through the mountains,
a torch flung to the trees."
Faith Baldwin

"No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace
as I have seen in one Autumnal face."
John Donne

"Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn."
Elizabeth Lawrence

"October's poplars are flaming torches
lighting the way to winter."
Nova Bair

"Falling leaves hide the path so quietly."
John Bailey

"Wild is the music of autumnal wind
 among the faded woods."
William Wordsworth

"For man, autumn is a time of harvest,
of gathering together.
For nature, it is a time of sowing,
of scattering abroad."
Edwin Way Tea

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Today, Anzac Day, Australians and New Zealanders come together to remember and honour our soldiers who lost their lives at Gallipoli in defense of their families, their country, their ideals. The Anzac Requiem, written by Dr. Charles E W Bean, says what we all feel today.

The Anzac Requiem
On this day above all days we recall those who served in war and who did not return to receive the grateful thanks of the nation.

We remember those who still sleep where they were left - amid the holly scrub in the valleys and on the ridges of Gallipoli - on the rocky and terraced hills of Palestine - and in the lovely cemeteries of France.

We remember those who lie asleep in ground beneath the shimmering haze of the Libyan desert - at Bardia, Dema, Tobruk - and amid the mountain passes and olive groves of Greece and Crete, and the rugged, snow-capped hills of Lebanon and Syria.

We remember those who lie buried in the rank jungle of Malaya and Burma - in New Guinea - and in the distant isles of the Pacific.

We remember those who lie buried amid loving friends in our Motherland and in our own far North.

We remember those who lie in unknown resting places in almost every land, and those gallant men whose grave is the unending sea.

Especially do we remember those who died as prisoners of war remote from their homeland, and from the comforting presence of their kith and kin.

We think of those of our women's services who gave their lives in our own and foreign lands and at sea, and of those who proved to be, in much more than name, the sisters of our fighting men.

We recall, too, the staunch friends who fought beside our men on the first ANZAC Day - men of New Zealand who helped create the name of ANZAC.

We recall all those who gave their lives in the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force, the Merchant Service and in British Commonwealth and Allied Forces, and we think of those British men and women who fell, when, for the second time in history, their nation and its kindred stood alone against the overwhelming might of an oppressor; we think of every man and woman who in those crucial hours died so that the lights of freedom and humanity might continue to shine.

We think of those gallant men who died in Korea, Malaya, Borneo, Vietnam and in peacekeeping and peace enforcing commitments assisting to defend the Commonwealth, and other countries of the Free World, against a common enemy.

May these all rest proudly in the knowledge of their achievement, and may we and our successors in that heritage prove worthy of their sacrifice.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ha-ha! Did you know?

Castle Ashby Ha-ha, Northamptonshire
with the Orangery in the background
Photo: R. Neil Marshman 

I didn't.  I was reading about Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire and the article said the grounds had a ha-ha.  A what?  So, I clicked on the big W and read all about it.  The above pic shows the ha-ha looking towards the house, while the photo below shows the uninterrupted view from the house.  It is so-named because of the reaction of most people when happening upon one.  One wouldn't be walking at night-time without a torch!

This from Wikipedia:  "The Ha-ha is an expression in garden design that refers to a trench, the inner side of which is vertical and faced with stone,, with the outer face sloped and turfed, making the trench, in effect, a sunken fence or retaining wall.  The ha-ha is designed not to interrupt the view from a garden, pleasure-ground, or park, and to be invisible until seen from close by."

Castle Ashby - looking over the Ha-ha
Photo: R Neil Marshman

The ha-ha is designed to keep animals from entering the property around a building and can also be used to deter people from getting out; as in the following pics of two lunatic asylums (yep, that's what they were called once) that existed in Melbourne in the 19th and 20th century.  The ha-ha enabled the patients to see the outside world.

       Melbourne Victoria, c.1900

Ha-ha at the former Kew Lunatic Asylum
What would have been a ladies' courtyard

The main building and surrounding grounds of the Kew Asylum (later known as Willsmere) were sold by the government in the 1980s and it is now the site of the exclusive Willsmere Apartments.  Many of the ha-ha walls have been repaired and remain intact on the property.

So, there you have it - ha-ha!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our place yesterday, arriving home from shopping....

It was an awesome sight;

photos can't

capture what we saw...

pride in what we've achieved

and a very early regret

that we have to leave it one day...

but we'll enjoy it a little more

~ while we may.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Year Without a Summer

J M W Turner 'Chichester Canal' c.1828

Artists took up their brushes after the eruption of Mt Tambora in 1815 as the high levels of ash in the atmosphere caused spectacular sunsets.  The yellow haze was the prime feature in many of Turner's paintings following the eruption.

A similar phenomenon was seen after Krakatoa erupted in 1883.  William Ashcroft painted several and made thousands of coloured sketches of the red sunsets around the world after the explosion.

William Ashcroft 'On the Banks of the River Thames' 1883

The pall of darkness inspired poet Lord Byron to write 'Darkness' the year after Tambora.  Below is an excerpt from the poem.  The writing of this poem also occurred only months after the ending of his marriage.

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
did wander darkling in the eternal space,
rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went - and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
of this their desolation; and all hearts
were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light...

Monday, April 12, 2010


"I read and walked for miles along the beach, writing bad blank verse and
searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would
step out of the darkness and change my life.
It never crossed my mind that that person could be me."

~~ Anna Quindlen ~~

Friday, April 9, 2010

King of the Bush

"Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree" was written by Margaret Sinclair in 1932 and children today still sing the song in school. I remember singing it as a 'Round', where a second group comes in after the first line.

Our resident Kookaburra's sentinel post
is the clothesline...

♫ 'I feel the earth move under my feet' ♪♪
~~ he can also hear that worm moving ~~
or see that hopper hopping...

He was back again this morning
fluffed up against the chill and fog

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Dresser holds some Childhood Treasures...

One for the girls. I had a bee in my bonnet to change a few things around. I moved furniture; even the very heavy, old Ronisch piano; it hadn't been moved for nearly 11 years and I was amazed (I mean horrified!) at the intricate nests that moths make!

The image above is of 'Rosebud', a gift from Mrs. McIlhiney who lived next door in the 50s. She visited Scotland annually and brought this little Scottish highland dancer back especially for me. I called her Rosebud because the pink box she came in said 'Rosebud'. The Rosebud Doll Company was a British firm in the 1950s, taken over by Mattel in 1966. The dolls are now a collectors' item.

We were always supervised when handling the duck; its wings move, the head swivels and the horn comes out of his mouth. My grandchildren were supervised too; that's why it's still 'as new'.

My brother's Peter Piper cup and Bunnykins set - he's 69 this year!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The solemnity of Good Friday; happy holiday follows...

Caspar David Friedrich - 'Easter Morning' 1833

Happy Easter
dear blog friends!