What can one say?

You can leave comments on the original post on Pictures Just Pictures by clicking HERE

Read more ...

From Lucy - An Extra Sky . . . Over Purbeck

Go Sky Gazing with Skywatch!

Lucy's blog is Pictures Just Pictures

Read more ...

From Lucy - ANOTHER KIND OF LOOKING UP - The Inside of a Lych Gate Roof - For SKYWATCH

A Lych Gate was where coffins (or bodies in shrouds) used to be brought for the beginning of funeral services. The roof would give shelter. I used to think coffins were stored there before the service too - in the rafters. Now I'm not so sure!

This photograph was taken from within the Lych Gate of St George's Church on Portland in Dorset. The view is up and out - so I'm posting it for Skywatch. Once again, not a cloud in sight!

This photo is also posted at Pictures Just Pictures. You can comment here - or there!

Read more ...

From Lucy - AGAVE and Detail

Below Are Details

These photos are also shown at AGAVE AND DETAIL on PICTURES JUST PICTURES

You can see lots more monochrome photos from photographers round the world at MONOCHROME WEEKLY.

Read more ...

From Esther - I Once Met a Man Who Wanted Everyone To Wear Rubber

I once met a man who wanted everyone to wear rubber. He said the Fairies had told him to cut rings through the bark round the trunks of trees. He hadn't got his pension book because someone had offered to 'look after it for him' and he'd let them. And he was homeless. At least, he had been homeless until he'd been given a place in a house for men coming off the streets - men who didn't want to live rough any more and might have a chance to settle.

I was staying in that house for a few days, visiting a friend. That's how I met him. The room I was sleeping in had no windows and there was a hole in the concrete floor by the door - so you had to be careful if you got up in the night! It was the first place I'd visited where fleas were as much at home as the humans who lived there.

The conversations I had with him were worrying. Not because of their content - but because I couldn't see the difference between him and Hitler. I'm not wanting to cause offence by saying this. What I mean is that although Hitler was clever and had a philosophy and would never have given his pension book to someone else 'to look after' - he was only able to wreak the havoc he did because other people let him. What if they had found him a place to live instead of making him their leader . . . had cooked for him as they did for the man who wanted to cut rings round trees. No-one called the man I met 'evil', however disconcerting his manner or unpleasant his views. But neither did anyone put him in a position of power so he could put his ideas into practice. Who is evil? Who is not?

I was once stranded in Berlin. I'd gone to a student conference and was planning to go from there to Czechoslovakia to visit a friend in Prague - but it snowed. The Norwegian delegates thought it was hilarious that the trains had stopped - but stop they had . . . and I was stranded.

I'd been billeted with an elderly lady who was organist at her local Church and she let me stay on. She fed me. She took me to her Church with her. She introduced me to her elderly friends. They came to visit - and we slipped and slided together on our way to visit them.

One evening, she talked about her brother. He had been a pilot during the second world war and had been shot down and killed. She was younger than him and had been part of the Hitler Youth. "We all had to join," she said. Then she paused - and changed it. "We wanted to," she said.

She talked about what was, by the time she was speaking to me, the situation in Germany. Students were protesting because society was too strict. When the police intervened strongly, the students protested more - so the police got tougher . . . . It was a vicious circle. "What we need," she said, her eyes brightening and her voice growing deeper and louder, "is for someone to say 'No!' ". And, with the 'No!', she brought her fist down with a smash on the little table where we were eating. She was shouting. It was winter (obviously is was, with the snow) and the room was lit with candles. I'd learnt a new word 'Gemutlich' - cosy, homely, warm and pleasant. It wasn't gemutlich any more.

Then she subsided. "It's hard for you British to understand," she said. "We aren't used to democracy. Sometimes we just want someone to say 'That's enough!'.

I don't know. I don't know how many people thought like her. She was lovely. I still remember her with warmth. She housed me and fed me when I had little money and no-where to go and there was lots of snow outside. She would have liked someone to say 'No!'. She would have liked someone to take control; someone she could follow, who would protect her, who would break the circle, stop things getting worse.

I've been thinking about these people - the man to whom the fairies gave unpleasant instructions and the woman who was trying not to want a dictator . . . because I'm re-reading 'Rebecca' by Daphne du Maurier.

(If anyone doesn't know the story and doesn't want to . . . you'd better stop here because I'm about to give a summary.)

. . . . A young woman, little more than a girl, marries a much older man (Max de Winter). He is handsome and wealthy but harbours a dreadful secret - that he murdered his very unpleasant (though strikingly beautiful) first wife - Rebecca. Overawed by him, his house, his servants, his wealth, his age, his fame . . . the new Mrs de Winter allows herself to be bullied by Mrs Danvers, the sour and dour housekeeper who harbours such a morbid devotion to the dead Rebecca that she sets out to destroy the new wife. In the end, she destroys herself, along with the house and a way of life which could have been gentle and fresh and full of country air and sea breezes. And, in the process, she comes to symbolise female obsession, jealousy and evil for book readers and Hitchcock fans alike.

(I'm talking about a symbol here. How 'female' emotions come to be perceived and stereotyped is a separate matter. Symbols are symbols.)

I don't usually re-read books and, with this one, it's not much fun; I don't know why I'm putting myself through it. (Maybe to prove I'm not a wimp?) All the time, I'm wanting to shout 'Don't wear the dress. Don't wear the dress. Whatever you do - don't wear the dress!'. (You have to read the book to know why.) And all the time, I'm thinking - I don't think Mrs Danvers is the villain here, whatever the tradition. It's Max de Winter. Why didn't he sack the housekeeper? Why didn't he tell his new wife he'd murdered Rebecca? Well, he couldn't have done that - but he might have mentioned that, in his opinion, she was terrible and cruel and not all she was cracked up to be; that he'd stopped loving her long ago. That way, the poor mouse of her replacement might not have tortured herself by thinking (the poor mouse) that she was a gauche failure in comparison.

Not very deep thoughts. But you've got to think of something while you hack back your garden because it has become a forest instead of a glade. I don't think I would vote for a man who wanted me to wear rubber. But I might be weak enough to let politicians take more power than is good for them and then blame them for the result. And if I were to have a society beauty as an ex-wife, instead of an extra-terrestrial as a husband, I might be half pleased with the memory, hang on a bit to the glory which had rubbed off on me, even if she had been the kind of person best not to marry in the first place.

This isn't a post. Not a regular one. I'm in the middle of a gap. It's just that I'm feeling sorry (and grateful) for (and to) people who have this blog in their sidebar despite the little note underneath which says it hasn't been updated for five weeks. And I thought, I bet I can come up with a better headline than 'WEDNESDAY WORD AND HOUSEHOLD NOTES - ON A THURSDAY' so I've changed it to 'I Once Met a Man who Wanted Everyone to Wear Rubber' instead.

I suppose I could add 'Gloves' - then it might count as boring.

I Once Met a Man Who Wanted Everyone to Wear Rubber was first posted on Esther's Boring Garden Blog. To add your comment to those left there - click HERE

Read more ...


This was the view acros Portland Harbour in Dorset on the morning of the Autumnal Equinox, earlier this week. (September 22nd 2009) It wasn't as dark as it looks when I took the photo - it just came out that way. But I suspect, if I had come an hour earlier . . . this is what it would have looked like.

Notice the rays of sun pointing vertically down along the horizon? Someone phoned and said to go and look at them. I ran. I needn't have bothered. Three-quarters of an hour later, they were still there - and still people were photographing them.

See the boats? Portland Harbour will be the base for the sailing events in the 2012 Olympics. I'm not sure they will be terribly exciting as a land-based spectator sport. I may be proved wrong. I hope I am because it's not often you have the Olympics on your doorstep. But for people who have televisions . . . remember the Autumn Equinox. (If you are watching!)

For skies around the world - go to Skywatch!

More of Lucy's photos can be seen at Pictures Just Pictures

Read more ...

From Mary - To 'Hugh and Camellia' Readers

I'm getting in a right muddle remembering where I am up to so . . .
I'm not . . . at least, not here.
BUT . . . (more dots!) you can continue it somewhere else - in fact, you can romp ahead until you catch up with others who are reading it. Then you'll have to wait a bit until I've written more. But the story goes right up to episode forty-six so it might keep you going for a while.
This is the link for SIXTEEN
And this is the link for anyone who would like to start at the beginning - THE BEGINNING
Then . . . (more dots!) . . . I'll spend more time writing and less time copying and pasting.
Sensible, eh?

Well, there isn't any more to read. It's just that we put the 'Read More' html in the blog template and, until we get round to organising it differently, - - - - (change from dots) - - - - sometimes there is more . . . and sometimes there isn't . . . and, it seems to me . . . that the 'Read More' html doesn't work if the blog is accessed through Google Chrome. Huh! (Can you tell that I'm in a bit of a grumpy mood this afternoon?)


From Mary - 'HUGH AND CAMELLIA' - Fifteen

continued from

While Hugh was gone, Stephen was at liberty to look round the room. The walls were painted oddly orange and the light from a central bulb, under a parchment shade, made everything distant from the AGA seem flat and dull. The windows were high, right up against the ceiling. They hadn't been touched for months, possibly years, for the pole with the brass hook on the end which would be needed for opening and closing them, and which was propped handily in a corner, was coated with cob-webs and the skeletons of . . . spiders.

The room was bigger than any kitchen he'd been in before. The table would have been better sited in the grand dining room of The Hall than in here but there was still plenty of space between it and two arm-chairs (islands in a tide of newspapers) for broken baskets and cardboard boxes.

He had just sat down in one of them and was ruffling through the papers, thinking it might be interesting to read about something which had happened a long time ago, when he heard Hugh shout.

Then again.

His voice was muffled but coming closer. When he'd left the room with the tea, he'd gone through the door which led to the gun room and the yard so Stephen leapt up and headed for that. But the handle was round and brass and slippery and loose. There must be a knack. No. A catch. A catch to lift. It stuck. He rattled and pushed. It shot up - a second nick to his finger! . . . and Hugh burst through a green baize door on the other side of the kitchen.

“Stephen! I’m so sorry. It’s Camellia.” He steadied himself against the back of a chair. Stephen ran to help. Took his elbow. Waited.

Hugh drew a breath but couldn't say more.

“Show me,” Stephen said gently, his own heart thumping. Hugh didn't look well. What if Hugh and Camellia expired on him? Both of them. "Where's Camellia, Hugh?" Hugh just carried on staring. “Show me,” Stephen said again, raising Hugh's elbow a little.

Hugh turned and went back through the baize door. There was hardly any light on the other side. Just the smell of mould and manure. Stephen took Hugh's arm again, not to offer support but to know where they were going. Then they came out from under a huge staircase into a burst of semi-sunshine. A great long, high, wide, entrance hall, with tall windows and oil paintings, and a standpipe, and donkeys pulling hay down from wire baskets on the wall.

"There." Hugh nodded towards the open drawing room door.

Stephen let him rest, leaning against the wall, and went in.

Late afternoon light was filtering through dust into the most extraordinary room he had ever seen and Camellia was there, as if stranded, slumped like a drowned mermaid on a slimy rock that had once been a chair. A standard lamp lay smashed on the floor beside it and a shovel, half filled with muck, lay abandoned at her feet. She was pale. Very pale. And cold, with her hands resting limp on the arms of her rock, her head sideways against its mouldering back. Now Stephen knew what ‘digging up the carpet’ meant. There was a heap of the stuff in the fireplace.

“It could be lovely,” she whispered - and fainted again.

Stephen was worried he too might faint for want of anything worth breathing so he went to one of the windows and tried to push up the sash. It wouldn't budge. Something snorted behind him. He paused. Listened. Wondered. Didn't like to turn and look. Then there was tapping. A series of little taps on the granite floor where the carpet had been scraped away. He drew his arm across a dirty pane. He could see the barn in the courtyard now. It helped to know where he was. Thus strengthened, he turned.

Several sheep were standing in the room and more were arriving, clattering out from behind what had once been a sofa - to look at him. Sam appeared at the doorway. A duck shuffled past Stephen's ankle and hopped onto a chair opposite Camellia and settled on what once had been a cushion.

Hugh said something.

That was it. They must get her head down.

It wasn't easy. Hugh was feeling weak and worried. Stephen was feeling sick and scared.

“She wanted to make it nice for our daughter,” mumbled Hugh. Suddenly, he was angry. “I told her she'd be too tired.”

His voice didn't come out loud. He was anguished and tired and worried and cross and wondering if it would be more comfortable to despair.

Camellia groaned.

“Doesn't he go on!” she said. Then she smiled. It was a weak smile - but a definite one.

Stephen found himself grinning back.

“We though you might like some tea,” he said.

For the post before this - Fourteen

Read more ...