Lockdown and self isolation are limiting the number of places we can visit so it is a challenge to write a blog! Why not, I thought, photograph some of the things I like most in the garden and bungalow and write about why I like them so much?
The day started with me photographing the glorious oriental poppies in our garden. They are just outside the window of what I call “Café Queen Anne” which is where we have a little table at the end of our Kitchen.
I look forward to them appearing each year. Usually there are nine blooms, this year it was just eight, here are five of them. I suspect my grandfather had them in his garden when I was living with them during the war. I love the colour but also have a strong emotional attachment to them. They are exotic and radiate uninhibited sensuality. Perhaps it is passion that burns them out in just a few days.
Here are seven of them looking from the garden into “Café Queen Anne”, it was evening and the colours had become gentler. We like to sit for lunch together at the table. then read a while whilst drinking our tea. I sit at an old carver, on the right. It was advertised in the local paper and when the seller answered the phone it was our recently retired accountant! The chair had been his father’s. Son-in-law Ryan repaired it and now I use it every day that we are at home. Valerie’s chair is one we had found in a junk shop in Hereford. She stripped the white paint to reveal wonderful dark, warm wood.
Less flamboyant but equally beautiful, are the yellow poppies growing under our wonderfully unruly corkscrew hazel. The dustbin is rather dented as I had knocked air holes in it with my mattock having completely forgotten that there was a tank cutter in the garage. Behind it, you can just see the runner bean plants climbing the bamboo frame I had constructed using canes from the bamboo growing on the other side of the garden. Back to the poppies, I call them Icelandic poppies, Valerie horned poppies and friends Becky and Tony Welsh poppies. I like their simplicity, their unpretentiousness and that they last for weeks. The plant on the left is growing out of a pile of large stones I had collected in Wales and taken from house-to-house since the mid seventies.
When I first met Valerie I was a committed and angry aetheist who refused to go into a church during a service. This included family weddings and christening so I was, at times, not popular. I still regard Christening an abuse of power and it is ironic that I have been twice! Once in a church when I was born and then, in December 1943/January 1944, on the battleship HMS Rodney when it was in Rosyth having its damaged and leaking plates repaired.
My mother took me there to meet my Father when I was about nine months old. He had yet to see me as he was at sea, I think on Malta convoy duty They rented a bedsit for six weeks and it was here that my sister was conceived. According to my aunt Margaret, I was christened on board by the ship’s chaplain which means my name may be inscribed in the ships bell. In the event Churchill had need of this great battleship and she sailed without the plates being fully repaired.
Valerie introduced me to Spiritualism by giving me a ticket for a reading in The Beacon of Light. The Saturday afternoon session was so organised that I entered through the kitchen so I did not realise that I was entering a church. Once in I thought, “Why not.” This led to years of studying under Dr Petia Prime and even chairing services in The Beacon! Moreover I was ordained into an American Spiritual Healing Church and became The Reverend Fisher. Valerie used to answer the door proclaiming that she was the Reverend Fisher’s housekeeper. I was ordained in Palm Beach and it was lovely, I enjoyed the studying and experience but left the Church a few years ago. I now think of myself as being a polytheist.
For a year, I studied Crystal healing with The International College of Crystal Healing and enjoyed the course and developed an everlasting love of crystals. Once a month I would travel to Fulham for one Saturday and Sunday a month. I was the only male in a group of 11. It was the same when I practised yoga some 40 years ago. Then, I thought of myself as an honorary woman but this time I decided to learn to interact as me and it was great. The course used the new NVQ system and I just could not deal with the filing and administration and did not go on to the second year.
There are crystals all over the house and I wear a tourminalated quartz cabochon pendant around my neck. Here is a photo of the crystal garden I created. The two huge lumps of rose quartz (my favourite stone) were being sold off by a distributor who was closing down. There is another piece in our lounge. We we first moved in to our bungalow we were plagued with mischievous spirits who came in through two portals, one in the porch and one in our sitting room. The one in the porch was beautiful It looked like a curtain of electric blue silk shimmering in a zephyr. I programmed the rose quartz to help return things to normal and they were very effective. The light brown stones are two of those we brought from Wales. There is an amethyst druze just out of shot to the left.
Art glass, especially from Murano, is another love. The cockerel came from an internet auction in New York and I was so pleased when it arrived. Unfortunately when we were burgled the robber knocked it off the window sill to fall and break in the drive. It is so lovely I put it to guard the crystals for me. Hag stones are another favourite and we are always looking out for them and have a few scattered around and about.
Daisies are so lovely, simple cheerful. When we were young we would make daisy chains by slitting a hole in the stem with a fingernail and poking the stem of the next one through it. Daisies seemed bigger and more plentiful then. Before cutting the lawn I pick the daisies and put them in the little glass vase and put them on the table in Café Queen Anne.
This is a shot of our lavender bed which also has sage and pink Japanese anemones. The chimney cowl has such a wonderful shape and sometimes we put a soft toy in there to peer out through the flutes. I treated it with a seal some years ago and I must repeat the treatment. In the autumn we will plant the pink rose, which is in a pot outside our kitchen window, into the back of the bed.
Whilst I have been writing this, their passion spent, the poppies shed their petals.