Monday, 28 July 2014

Pocket Page

It seemed like ages since I had any art on this blog. At least that's what I had been thinking guiltily to myself till I caught myself up on those thoughts. My photography too is part of my art making practice and there has been plenty of that. But I must admit that until yesterday morning no needle had been in my hand for almost a fortnight and that tends to make me feel very uneasy! Fortunately for once I have no deadlines to meet for the quilt I'm presently working on. It will be done when it is done! As will the other art pieces that currently only reside in my head till they take shape in real life.

The only thing I have been keeping up with apart from the photography is The Documented Life Project and this is the latest page for my 2014 Moleskine planner. Our mission this week (no. 31) is: Create a pocket - fill it with treasure from your week. 
I started with one of my gelli plate printed pages cut to size (approx. 4.3/4" x 8") and went hunting for a pocket. I found one in the shape of a library pocket which I picked up sometime somewhere. I added it to the page by sewing and then set to colouring it with Pitt Artist Pens by Faber Castell. I added rub-ons and the sticker from yesterday's garden visit. The page itself was enhanced with circular stickers bought from the Etsy shop of Roben Marie Smith, one of the organizers of The Documented Life Project. I added white dots and blue scallops around them to merge them into the background.
As the week has barely started I don't have any treasure to put into the pocket yet and it looked a bit bare so I grabbed some stuff from my supplies, such as the flower picture, the label with rub-ons and the letter F which has the incongruous words Aniseed Balls on it for some reason. As the week progresses and I gather some treasure such as receipts, cards etc. I might take these out again and fill the pocket with that instead. We shall see!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Newhall, Carlops

Another day brought another garden visit. The open garden scheme reaches it's busiest time around July and August when the gardens up here in Scotland are looking their best. Newhall is very close to home, only about 10 minutes away. We have visited before but it has been quite some time since our last visit and specially the walled garden is looking much fuller and more delightful. I was very much taken by the plaque on the wall that reads: Soul, Life, Love, Soil, or in any other order if you prefer.
This is an sundial in the walled garden, a round early 18th century table dial placed on top of what is probably a late 17th Century pedestal of four figures representing the four seasons which has been attributed to James Gifford of West Linton.
There were many flowers that attracted my attention (as always!) and here are some of the favourites.

 The pond too made for a beautiful centrepiece in the walled area.

The highlight of the visit however was the walk we did through the Glen of the North Esk river. These walks were set out in the early 1800s and I imagined walking in the footsteps of past inhabitants of the Newhall estate. Fortunately I had suitable footwear today, wearing my sturdy walking boots instead of the crocs in which I somehow managed yesterday's climbs!

Newhall might be called new but the new hall was probably erected in the 13th Century and it has been assumed by tradition that a monastic house was there before that time. Allan Ramsay, the poet father of Allan the portrait painter used to visit during the 18th Century and  quotations from his work The Gentle Shepherd can be found on plaques in the estate such as the one above.

Although the afternoon started with drizzle the sun soon appeared and produced the most beautiful light effect especially around Peggy's Pool, which is the highlight of this romantic landscape, as seen above.
Then to make things even more perfect as far as I'm concerned there is also a cemetery set in amongst the trees in a very peaceful glade. However the tale is a tragic one as can be discovered from the text on the gravestone which reads:

This sacred stone marks
the Remains of
Thomas Dunmore Brown
an uncommonly fine child who was
born on 5th April 1807 and after an
illness of only eight hours
died in New Hall House
on 19th September 1808

R.B. being Robert Brown who acquired the estate in 1783, it having been bought for him by his grandfather Thomas Dunmore. This must be the grave of Robert's son. 
 The carving is of a very high quality indeed.
 And on the back of the stone there is very sad poem that reads as follows:

ALAS young tenant of the Tomb
In vain to thee, shall Spring return
Though all her sweets around the bloom
They cannot cheer thy clay cold urn.

Where now's the blush that on thy cheek
Vied with the rose's vermeil dye?
The tongue how mute! that prattled sweet
How dark the brightly beaming eye!

Deep is thy slumber. Lovely shade!
No plaint of woe can reach they ear.
In earth's cold bosom lowly laid
Thou cans't not see soft pity's tear.

Carlops 1808 I.F.
On the side of the tomb Father Time is watching over the little inhabitant. At least I assume that's who this is.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Vogrie Country Park

We were going to visit an open garden in East Lothian today but even when we set off I had my doubts about driving such a distance in the suffocating heat. It was more overcast than during previous days but it was warm. The further east we drove the hotter it became and the sun also appeared. Then I realized we were passing Vogrie Country Park near Gorebridge and made a spur of the moment decision that we would go there instead. The park was busy with children and people having pick-nicks but it's a large place and as soon as we started one of the walks it became very quiet and we only met 2 other people.
First we passed the pond which looked lovely with beautiful reflections in the water and luscious colour.
And after passing that we reached Vogrie House itself with a colourful garden around it. We didn't go inside to read up on the history as it was simply too warm but instead we set off on our walk.
We did the Tyne Valley walk which was described as "difficult, with steep terrain". Somehow I always assume that such descriptions paint the worst possible scenario and don't apply to us. In this case I was wrong. It was indeed a challenging walk but fortunately it has been dry for so long that no slipping or sliding occurred (it must be murder when it's wet!) but the heat made the various climbs a bit of an undertaking. The views during the walk were well worth all the exertions though!
The Tyne is a river that meanders about 40 miles from Tynehead to the sea at Tyningham (East Lothian) and at the moment it's a very benign little stream with the most fabulous reflections of trees and vegetation. The brochure mentions that brown trout "are often seen" but despite a very good look we sadly didn't see any. Maybe it's too hot for them too at the moment. 
 The beautiful views extended to the sky which was a heavenly blue adorned with white fluffy clouds.
I took several pictures but saw that some darker clouds were on the way and indeed by the time we reached home it had already started to rain. It's still warm though. The garden (and the gardener) will be pleased with the gentle downpour. And we will return to the park soon to do the other walks.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ode to summer

Here are some more summer pictures. There is now such a wealth of flowers in our garden that the choice is not about finding pictures to take but rather which of the many photographs I'm taking to leave out.

Geraniums are perpetual favourites of mine, ever since reading The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge where one of the disputes is about pink geraniums. Read it if you want to know more, or read it anyway. It's an ideal book fot these perfect summer days.

As is the book I'm reading at the moment:The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift, about the making of a garden in Shropshire. It is about a lot more though. Beautifully written there is a sense of timelessness about it as well as an attachment to place.

I too am feeling more and more rooted in my own garden which is about the same size but much further up north and higher up. This book too should be read during hot summer days while savouring each word and taking time to contemplate the content. The book follows the pattern of the Books of Hours from the past and made me grab The Books of Hours by John Harthan from the shelves. I bought this book back in the late 70's when I had no garden of my own and no knowledge whatsoever of plants and flowers, making me wonder if some things are just meant to be. Do we have secret pre-knowledge of our futures?

I'm lingering over The Morville Hours, not wanting the experience to end, but fortunately Katherine Swift has written another book: The Morville Year , to which I will progress when ready. And a third book is promised!

I have decided to have a holiday while this wonderful weather lasts. So I won't beat myself up about writing less here and instead concentrating on images, and also commenting less on the Blipfoto site. Instead I will be soaking up the sunshine both physically and mentally, and storing it up for the colder times ahead. So I'm making merry! Hope you're doing the same.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Here is the latest dahlia to come out in the garden, just to keep you entertained today while I will be offline for the day. It was captured at 7 am this morning. Just before the first electricity van appeared!



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