Heroines and Heroes

Sally Mann is showing at Photographer’s Gallery here in London at the moment.

Her photographs oftentimes leave me with a dual sense of eternity and ephemerality all at once. They have been lingering in my mind when pottering around the house for the last week or so.


I accidentally seem to be drifting away from ye old online journal, so I decided to remedy this troubling downward spiral by quickly taking some photographs. The peeky bunny up there on top of the Vermeer is a MyPaperCrane.

The house is smothered in sunlight these days and I am settling indoors for a spot of Miss Marple on the telly. One of the Geraldine McEwan ones I believe. I love her Marples merely for her sparkly gaze which makes her look like she knows secrets. Then I am planning to have an early night after watching The Bunker of the Last Gunshots; one of the really early Jeunet/Caro wonders. We have been raising by dawn a lot lately, to go to our kitchen gardens before the hens are let out in our home garden. That way I don’t have to worry about any sly fox coming to feast on my li’l ones when I’m not around. (They are supposedly notoriously active around dawn.)

Elspeth  standing outside her 'Green House'

The unbelievable passing of Elspeth Thompson has left me with such a heavy heart. She was a truly inspirational entity to me (and many others) and it somehow hurts to think that she would want to end her life. It makes me question my own life and even other people’s lives and what the point of them are, if one like hers was not worth living. But such is the nature of depression, I suppose; mysterious, cold and absorbing.


She showed humankind that the easy route is not always the best and it is certainly not the most interesting. She showed us that true beauty is timid and unforeseen.

Elspeth Thompson

Thank you Elspeth, for sharing your world through your writing. You will be sorely missed.

– From a fellow traveller and patron of that rocky road.

Remember how I told you a while back that my lovely little Ada was dreadfully poorly?

Well, after coming home from the veterinary surgery she has been laying all sorts of worrying things, such as completely shelless eggs and she has suffered a terrible ordeal from it all. But lo and behold; this is what she came up with this Monday! A perfect, beautiful, brown speckled, magic little gift. And on top of that she has been her happy self ever since. I can’t wait til the day my clever little giver retires from her egg laying and just keeps her energy and nutrition to herself. But in the meantime I am just happy to see her running around in the garden looking a bit like an aeroplane again!

Oh, and, completely unrelated to the above rantings, there’s now only three days left on the Specific Flavour January Sale, so if you are feeling like a bargain of the flavourful kind hop over here!


Oh, I have such sad news that I don’t know how to give tongue to them. Albertine, the tiniest of hens and my sweetest of garden friends, has past away. She was thin and shy, but I had not grasped the full severity of her situation, to the degree that we never even made it to the vet…and for that I shall never forgive myself. We have ordered the rose ‘Albertine’ to plant in her memory, but right now I just wish the sorrow could be quiet and plain and not flecked by all this guilt, because both at the same time, seem so much harder to take. Albertine, my unfortunate little girl; you were worth so much more. Now I shall have to adhere to the other three, before this story turns into And Then There Were None. I am terrified that something should happen to any of the others and must keep my eyes open at all hours. Who would have known that keeping hens would be so emotionally draining.


My lovelies are recovering rather well from concentration camp and I am devouring books about poultry like never before (and like I never would have imagined I would ever do). Here I am (part of me anyway) reading “Keeping a Few Hens in Your Garden” by Francine Raymond, surrounded by my new feathered friends. It has been a lot of work; in fact, they’ve taken up most of our waking time for the past week; learning, worrying and caring for them. But seeing Valentine making one of her crazy dustbaths, or being chased across the garden by Ada running faster than a speeding bullet, makes it all worthwhile 100 times over. They are such pleasant ladies and I am honoured having them as retirees in my garden. Looking at them strutting around the lawn contently and foraging curiously for this-and-that in the beds, thinking they should have been dead is a very strange feeling indeed.

Meet the new stars of our garden…




Albertineand Albertine!

They have gone through a lot in their previous battery lives, but they are adjusting well to their new garden surroundings, that offer a bit more than that A4 size of a space to (try to) move around on that they had in the olden days. Consequently they are spending their days stretching a lot; wings out, leg back style. I’m learning their characters, of which they have oodles and for now they are easy to identify on their respective ailments and various stages of baldness. But they shall soon be in top knick, I hope, with a lot of tender love and care from yours truly.


The Baronesse is spending a lot of her time by the hen house looking a bit like a panther. Harriet does not approve of her rather sneaky walk, nor of her longing looks! (Duchesse Teddy is ever so frightened and keeps well out of their way.)

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