Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Things I saw in the woods today, part 5

This decaying tree trunk, laying on the ground in the woods reminds me that even in a state of decay there is still order; the lines represent the breaking apart of the trunk as the various parts detach themselves and fall away. But even in decomposition and decay there is still a controlled restraint- the lines represent advancement, a moving towards something and in this instance, in a structured way. In the Iching, for example, a moving line is always a symbol of change.The opportunistic bright green moss latches on to its temporary home which will eventually crumble into dust. We will never fully understand the secrets of life and even death but there are clues in the natural world that would indicate that everything is as it should be.
Photo copyright SvD.

Monday, 29 April 2013


A friend once remarked that she hated wide open spaces because the sky was too intimidating. I took this shot last weekend in Sussex. I would rather fancy waking up to this every morning. Not the least bit scary. See that house nestled in the trees and overlooking the weir? Just perfect.

Photo copyright SvD.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Mysterious Britain

Here's what I came across on my journey through Sussex yesterday. A very fine and old manor with some distinguished owners, past and present. Take a very close look at the plaque and be intrigued (as I was!).

Photos copyright SvD.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

How to make a birdbath

It is rare to find a bird which demands an ornate marble birdbath as nothing less will do. I have seen chaffinches wash in dirty puddles of water, where the mud and silt would have made for an unpleasant wash indeed! This birdbath is an old hanging basket with a plant saucer filled with water. I wash it out weekly and refill with fresh water. The smaller birds love it! They line up to wash and splash around as soon as I replace the water. Unusually, the visitor in the photo is a starling- the first to arrive this spring. Even stranger, he is alone- starlings usually travel en masse. Thankfully he didn't crap in the water as is the wont of the pigeons who have the most atrocious toilet habits.

Photo copyright SvD.


An earthworm begins his perilous journey to the other side.
Photo copyright SvD.

Cogito ergo sum

Wilbur stopped suddenly. The thought occurred to him that maybe there was more to life than this.

Photo copyright SvD. At the farm today.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Your happy memories 04/28 Blog Talk Radio

Your happy memories 04/28 | Blog Talk Radio

You may or not recall that last week I was unable to do the show due to a technical problem at blogtalk radio. I will attempt the show again this Sunday- the self vs astrology is the topic. Email me your stories:

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Things past

Today I removed the dead twigs in the lavender and mint as the new growth is now appearing. As I broke off the twigs- great for kindling- I discovered all manner of strange things lurking on the ground near the base of the plants. Amazingly, this hydrangea flower, as delicate as fine lace, had survived our harsh winter, snow, frost and all- and had remained intact. What is left in this photo is the bare bones, the internal skeleton of the flower, which is exquisite in its intricacy- so pretty, dainty, fine and fragile and yet, it survived being outdoors, snowed and rained upon for more than eight months.

Resilience. Nature teaches us about the strength we don't even know we have.

Photo copyright SvD.


The charming indigo-coloured flowers of the forget-me-not are sprinkled throughout the woods this morning. Between yesterday and today, the fairies and the elves came along and prised open the flowers. The forget-me-not is often planted around graves in the UK and the meaning is clearly very poignant- please do not forget me. I have seen forget-me-nots still thriving around graves that are hundreds of years old- the plant seems to flourish forever. And so too hopefully does the memory of the departed.

If you look closely at the photo there are many other wild plants growing near the forget-me-not: primrose, wild strawberry, dandelion, daisy, to name a few. The dandelion ("pis-en lit" in French, or "piss-in-bed" because it's a diuretic) and strawberry are edible of course.

Today I saw the first honey bee of the year- I think this has to do with the sun being out.

Photo copyright SvD.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Illusion versus reality

This humble stone found by chance on the road back from the woods today, cast a shadow and reminded me instantly of Plato's Allegory of the Cave. If you want to understand something, turn away from it, or rather, do not mistake the shadow for the real thing. Too often in life we deliberately get wrapped up in illusion and suffer greatly when we are forced to face reality. I would argue though, that one cannot exist without the other.

Photo copyright SvD.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Things I saw in the woods today, part 4

As spring turns to summer, wild flowers appear in various colours: from pale white in early spring, to yellows to cornflower blues and lilacs, and by the end of the summer, to pinks and deep reds. By observing the colour of the different flowers I can tell how far advanced the seasons are. I often wonder about the blue and lilac flowers that occur naturally. Although the colour blue has been found in many ancient art forms, it was during the Renaissance that it revolutionised art. And since ancient times, blue has been made from crushed lapis lazuli mined in Afghanistan, a practice that is more than three thousand years old. Ironically it is a mineral from a now much-derided country that helped create many revered European masterpieces.

By the way, that first photo is of a hound, my own, and not of a flower.

Photos copyright SvD.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Blue sky

We haven't seen a blue sky or the sun for a long time so this is a bit of a novelty. I loved laying in the sun reading my book (on wild flowers) today and staring at the clouds. When I was little, I thought clouds were faraway lands. I still do. Some myths should never be challenged.

Photo copyright SvD.

Things I saw in the woods this morning, part 3

A type of wild daisy, me thinks.

Photo copyright SvD.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Things I saw in the woods this morning, part 2

Wild garlic (no relation at all to garlic cloves you cook with) appears in April in our woods but by May it has all but disappeared. The crispy, pungent leaves emit a very garlicky smell. I often follow my nose and can usually find a bountiful crop hidden from view somewhere deep in the woods. As with all vegetables, timing is everything: when the wild garlic flowers in May, the flavour becomes less intense so it is best eaten before the star-shaped white flowers emerge. If you like to forage for your food, wild garlic is for you. Wander into the woods now and you will find it in clumps growing under beech trees in particular. I pick the leaves by snapping at the base. Check for spiders and discard any torn leaves (or those with teeth marks :)). I don't bother to wash my woodland food- my attitude being 'if I live, I live'. Heat a dash of olive oil in a pan until very hot, add crushed garlic cloves followed by the wild garlic leaves and saute for one minute only until the leaves are barely wilted. Remove from the pan immediately and eat as an accompanying vegetable.  I also eat the leaves raw when the flavour is all the more pungent.
Photo copyright SvD.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Boston in the spring

This is one of my favourite songs as sung by Kenny Chesney. Particularly poignant given what's happening now.

Please come to Boston

Your happy memories 04/21 | Blog Talk Radio

Your happy memories 04/21 | Blog Talk Radio
This Sunday we're going to discuss the self versus astrology. Why relying on 'props' is not what you need. I do hope you will join me.

Radio is a great love affair

This is me today doing my show at Ridge Radio. My father would have chuckled at the sight of me presenting a radio show. He always encouraged me to take risks and live life to the full. I'm quite happy to make an arse of myself- it's the journey that matters, not the result! But guess what- I thoroughly enjoy the process!

Photo taken by the wonderful Tony Nash (presenter at Ridge Radio).

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

To be still...

Solitude in a landscape. Oil on canvas.

Photo and painting copyright SvD.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


There are certain instances in life where sometimes words cannot express what we feel. We get to a stage where we recognise that nothing we say will make a difference or change a situation which is perilously too close to the edge. The photos of the carnage in Boston brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my soul. All of humanity suffers when love is replaced with hatred.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The sun has arrived...

Hound standing in sun. This is a big deal for us- we waited until the middle of April!

Photo copyright SvD.

Friday, 12 April 2013's all there is

Never lock your heart so tightly shut that you forget how to love.

Photo copyright SvD.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Beautiful Britain

I remain eternally grateful that this old, historic, mysterious land, is my home. The subdued sky, the winter that never ends, the cold, the chill that never leaves my bones and yet, I could not bear to be parted from these things. All my creative spirit comes from this.

Photo copyright SvD.

To be free

Ah, to be a bird, free and wild without a care in the world. To preen, to flaunt my flair with pride, to fly away. Or not. Perhaps to stay.

Photo copyright SvD.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Boundless energy

Things I did today:

Cleaned the house;
Made bread by hand (not in a bread machine);
Cut the grass;
Washed the car (by hand);
Walked the hound four miles;
Presented a radio show.
Am I nuts?

Quite possibly. I should have listened to my mother and married young and to a very rich man.

Ut possumus quando ut volumus non licet.- We are not allowed to be able to do as much as we wish.- Erasmus

Things I did yesterday:
Had deep tissue massage and accupuncture because I'm so knackered!

Friday, 5 April 2013

This life

What is it about life - we are born, we 'live', we suffer and we die. And in the course of life we lose everything and regain very little. Live well and be happy, these are the true riches in life. Before the next cycle begins.

Photo copyright SvD. Oslo, January 2011.

My papa

Yesterday would have been my papa's 85th birthday. Instead he is at peace with the angels. I miss you, Arnie, more than I can express with mere words. And I'll never stop loving you.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Cheery ho!

A single ray of sunshine appeared and disappeared in a nanosecond this morning just enough time for me to capture this shot of the first primroses! These delightful custard-coloured flowers grow wild all over the UK and appear in the early spring right after the snow drops, daffodils and crocuses (in that order). Spring is taking its own sweet time this year but a lesson in patience is a good thing nonetheless.

Photo copyright SvD.