Hello from Sunday night

trail

pine

045 copy copy

Breath comes in hard gulps. Hiking up the trail to the white pine before the rains come again. That’s autumn round here. The week world is made of city and mountain. Warm patio sun traps and city sized gardens, and cool mountain air, fresh pine smell and spongy trails.

On these rare breaks form the rain, I hike up the mountain to sit at the base of the white pine in the forest high above the city and absorb the calm.

hike

When there’s more time, there’s a break to the country.

IMG_8198 copy copy

Misty mornings give way to sunny afternoons. Garden centres, little boutiques, lunch outside on a restaurant patio.
Country charm and country calm.

country girl copy

IMG_8234 copy copy

IMG_8228 copy copy

IMG_8151 copy copy

And then, like the busy bees, back to Monday and back to work and, quite probably, back to the rain.

IMG_8207 copy copy

Sharing with Judith and the Mosaic bunch. :D

Night time, the WordPress photo challenge

101 copy

036 copy copy

My two night times, the city and the country.
For the WordPress weekly photo challenge.

Hello from Sunday night

fall

IMG_9965 copy copy

IMG_9979 copy copy

painters

IMG_9976 copy copy

IMG_0003 copy copy

IMG_0026 copy copy

IMG_0022 copy copy

IMG_0047 copy copy

IMG_0041 copy copy

IMG_0049 copy copy

IMG_0044 copy copy

IMG_0053 copy copy

gardens

Well, hello autumn! Is everyone ready? Ready for the mountains of leaves and crisp apples and chrysanthemums? Bring it on!

It’s been a rainy week here on the West Coast, and just as well for me because I really needed to cocoon and spend some time in thought and meditation, but the glorious weekend brought sun and loads of it and a wonderful Saturday at the river and Sunday at the beach.

Dogs, and farmer’s markets abound and also strange little art get-togethers. I love that, you know. I mean I love dogs and farmer’s markets, but so love to see a group of people, of all ages and expertise levels, set up their easels, paints and canvases and just go for it for the day. There was a group at the river, about 30 strong, ages five to 85, who painted En Plein-Air for four hours and presented their masterpieces in one of the historic shipyard buildings as an exhibition. I just loved every painting I saw.

One more thing which means super fall to me is HOCKEY! YAY! Clove and I caught the first Wolf Pack game. C’s boy Bryson is an extraordinary skater and has been serving as a linesman for the higher league hockey games, and this game was being played 10 minutes away, so naturally we went to support him. The Wolf Pack team is the last minor league boys can play in before they get called up to the NHL, (or not), so scouts are watching, and the game is fast paced and…um…testosterone-y to the max. In the third period, there were three WP players off the ice in penalties for roughing at the same time. I’m so glad that Bryson has years of Aikido as offensive training…lol. Although we’re technically cheering for the refs, it’s nice when the home team wins, and the Wolf Pack did! :D

So, two more days and we technically put summer 2014 to rest. How is everyone feeling about that? Does anyone do anything about celebrating the equinox? A little pagan ritual or something? I’ve been watching Outlander and now love all things Scottish…including Robbie, who is Scots…but now want to do something spectacular to bring in the fall, like build a stone henge right in my back yard and have a ceremony. I know, I don’t tend to do things by half…lol. Maybe I’ll just make a piece of jewellery from one of the pieces of ancient flint I’ve strung up on a copper wire. What do we think? Maybe a necklace with mystical powers? Looking up the powers of flint, I think I need to get this book!

Well, that about sums up my week and weekend. Hope yours was wonderful and you got the best out of it. If it wasn’t, then oh well, tomorrow’s a new day. Big hugs for a wonderful and shiny week ahead everyone. :D

PS: I have another of those darn spaghetti squashes round here. Anyone know something spaghetti squash fabulous?

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

Stopping at my favourite garden centre

It’s the ideal time, here on the West Coast, to plant garlic in the garden, and so I popped over to Southlands, one of my most favourite garden centres, to get a few bulbs.

IMG_9906 copy copy

There’s nothing quite like fresh, homegrown garlic. Anyone growing it? This year I harvested a few bulbs, (it was a trial year and I only planted a very small amount), but the flavour of my homegrown garlic has been amazing. This year I went to three different kinds, including a Mexican variety which promises to be potent.

I guess I just have to make sure everyone eats it along with me, or there’ll be no talking to me face to face…lol.

IMG_9905 copy copy

I got my garlic bulbs and had a stroll around the nursery.

Look at these amazing vintage pink flamingos! I’d say they’re right past kitsch and out the other side into the chic area of garden decoration. :D I love them.

IMG_9918 copy copy

One trend I’ve been noticing lately here in the North West is a huge import of all sorts of semi tropical succulents. They’re becoming the easy, must have of the garden.

I love them.

IMG_9903 copy copy

I’ve always loved them, even before they were “fashionable”.

I tend to do really naughty things, like import a little leaf or piece of branch or tiny rosette from San Francisco, my friend Catherine’s plant in Oxfordshire, a random front garden in Mexico. No succulent is safe…lol.

IMG_9904 copy copy

But can you blame me? They really are so very lovely.

IMG_9919 copy copy

Clove thinks they look like land-bound sea anemones.

IMG_9909 copy copy

I was absolutely stopped in my tracks by this one reaching its flower up to the sun. How spectacular is the geen pinkness of it?

IMG_9910 copy copy

It’s part of this spectacular arrangement.

IMG_9907 copy copy

But it’s normal for the wonderfully artistic team at Southlands, and what would you expect from a nursery who find and bring in land-bound sea anemones.

IMG_9920 copy copy

I aten’t dead yet!

That line is one of my favourite lines in fiction.
For anyone who doesn’t read Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, this line is attributed to Granny Weatherwax, a witch, who lives outside the small village of Bad Ass, which incidentally is what my children figure that the scar on my neck will look like. :D

Well, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I guess you could say that people post traumatic operations should probably take it easy, and I guess I’ve over-done it round here and now I’m in bed feeling not so hot, but over-all everything is going to be fine and ‘I aten’t dead yet.’

This lovely, fragrant posy ended up by my front door yesterday. It came with some lovely pages about planting an all white garden, an interesting art exhibit and indoor plants, with a little note: “From Rosemarie from the Art in the Garden tour, I read your blog.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing?

003 copy copy

Thank you so much Rosemarie, thank you for thinking of me. :D Please say hello so I can get to know you.

I know I should have been resting post op, but after two months away form them, Kerstie brought all three of our little girls over and we got to play with some of the toys I brought for them from England and also to start putting together the loveliest, but also complicated, wooden puzzle made after my friend Jackie Morris‘ drawing of dragon hatchlings.

019 copy copy

And while Ziggy was having a nap, Binky and Bunny redecorated the doll’s house.

025 copy copy

Now at this point I think I should have kissed my little and big ones goodnight and went to bed, but a supper came up with all of my children and I just couldn’t say no!

Jonathan made reservations at a downtown restaurant called Gyu-Kaku Japanese Barbecue.

IMG_9658 copy copy

Most fun ever! A central grill and loads of dishes equals cook your own supper.

IMG_9692 copy copy

And so we did.

IMG_9735 copy copy

Chef Adam and Chef Jonathan hard at work.

IMG_9693 copy copy

And what do you have for desert when there’s a grill right in front of you? Smores! And lychee ice cream.

supper

We had such a lovely time…except maybe a bit too much sake and wine.

supper2

And got home way too late!

IMG_9789 copy copy

Today we had monster truck races…

IMG_9801 copy

…and monster chocolate chip cookie faces…

IMG_9807 copy copy

Nourishing soup, fresh squeezed orange juice and tea, and I do believe we all felt better afterwards.

lunch

And this evening, in the warm quiet of my studio, Clover and I finished the dragon hatchling puzzle, put it back in its box, and finally I decided I needed rest.

IMG_9818 copy copy

And so I went to bed early with Terry Pratchett’s Feet of Clay, and my lovely pages from Rosemarie. For all of you who have never read any of Pratchett’s Discworld novels, I’m so jealous!!! I reread them quite often and I love them to pieces, and to think, you have this whole world to discover and delight in…you lucky ducks you.

Thank you everyone for thinking of me, and big hugs form me, (the bride of Frankenstein), to you. I’ll be back soon. :D

A river runs

Apparently it’s been a dry and lovely summer here on the West Coast and, while we can still believe that it’s the height of summer, there are undeniable signs of autumn all around.

001 copy copy

But what do we care about that on a golden Saturday as this Saturday it turning out to be?

We pick our way thru the boreal forest, around the giant cedars and firs, thru the curtain of vine maple…

walk

…to the aspens and the river.

008 copy copy

And we stick out feet right in and and balance on the slippery rocks with our toes.

010 copy copy

And then, when the cold, mountain water isn’t taking our breath away, we gently ease our bodies right into the river…

023 copy copy

…and watch as the aspens drop their leaves and float them by.

020 copy copy

And hours go by and the shadows lengthen and we reluctantly dry off and head out of the boreal forest for home.

045

And as we walk out of the forest, the summer river seems like a memory because the signs of autumn whisper to us from all around. They are as ephemeral as a spider’s web and as real as next year’s wildflowers seeds caught within.

061 copy copy

But even as our thoughts turn to autumn, we will hold on to our summer river as long as we can.

056 copy copy

Beach love

074 copy copy

201 copy copy

165 copy copy

199 copy copy

085 copy copy

175 copy copy

177 copy copy

115 copy copy

205 copy copy

138 copy copy

Days in Vancouver have taken on that golden Indian Summer warmth. It’s nearly impossible to stay in the studio in the afternoon when any number of lovely beaches is just minuted away. So I grabbed a certain flaxen haired girl and off we went to a little crescent shaped pebbly beach to beach comb, splash around and have some fun.

A little drama and peace restored.

IMG_9542 copy copy

Quiet day at home. Not sure what I was doing just at that time, but I heard a soft thud and Chloe called, “Morgan, NO, Mom, emergency!”

013 copy copy

A little yellow warbler had hit the window and landed panting on the patio. Morgan was up like a shot.

IMG_9545 copy copy

While Chloe blocked Morgan away from the bird, I picked him up and took him to the garage and put him on a soft blanket into the cat carrier to recover in the cool and dark.

064 copy copy

060 copy copy

And got on with a bit of gardening.

garden

Twenty minutes later, the little guy was recovered enough to fly to a garden tree and he sat there for a very long time, and finally flew away.

067 copy copy

Morgan was suitably unimpressed by this, and, especially since she…or Milo…got a small rat in the night…

peace

…but came to terms with it and cuddled up on the little table in the living room and went to sleep.

Peace restored.

peace restored

Sharing with the WordPress bunch for the photo challenge Adventure!

Home, missing home

IMG_9392 copy copy

The last few days at home in West Cottage were so very busy for both of us. It’s always that way when we try to get as many projects completed as we can together. There are things we have to do, like replacing a weak piece of wood at the bottom of one of the large bedroom windows, which is just nearly impossible to do on one’s own.

The good thing is that we managed to get all the jobs done. The bad thing is that now we have to be apart for a couple of months.

IMG_9370 copy copy

But there’s no denying that the crops in Oxfordshire have all been harvested, the fruit is ripe on the trees, summer is ending, autumn is fast approaching, and I have to return to Vancouver. The ideal would have been for R to come to Vancouver with me, but his work and projects won’t allow that right now, and my work and projects won’t let me stay longer in OXON, so there you are.

apples and pears

IMG_9368 copy copy

102 copy copy

IMG_9383 copy copy

So Robbie drove me to Heathrow, we had a lot of hugs and kisses and tears, and off I went.

IMG_9495 copy copy

IMG_9499 copy copy

IMG_9502 copy copy

All bleary eyed and jet-lagged at home, our sweet Chloe had garden flowers waiting for me.

022 copy copy

She took great care of the house here, both the cats and all the plants.

017 copy copy

I dug up some potatoes and garlic from the garden, we stopped at a little organic market for some more veggies…

IMG_9512 copy copy

…and made a hearty roasted veggie supper.

005 copy copy

In one way it’s good to be home with C and the Vancouver cats, but in another way it sucks…know what I mean?

010 copy copy

Summer at home tour

EDIT: Winner of the chickadee/bluetit painting is number 3 Patricia
and Winner of the towhee painting is number 37 Marion

It’s been an exciting few days of trying to figure out exactly what where home for the summer is.

I sat in my studio and started to paint and came up with this image: The impossibility of my West Coast chickadee on the same bird feeder as my British blue titmouse. Both the same species of birds, both hundreds of miles apart. And that best describes my life, my friends, because Canada may be my country, but Europe is my home town.

Most of you know that I was born in Prague and now live between Vancouver Canada and Oxfordshire UK, so this probably doesn’t come as a surprise.

IMG_7785 copy copy

As far as I can remember life has always been like that…an adventure, and this site is a way for me to communicate that adventure with you.

This is where I live for 7 or so months of the year: a 1920 Craftsman cottage nine streets away from the Pacific ocean. Where I have a studio in the loft, with a rather large green and oak trunk, which holds C’s summer journals.

018 copy

Chloe has been keeping summer journals practically since she could write. I looked at the journals yesterday. I flipped thru the pages and remembered us in Geneva, in Vienna, in Prague, in Venice, in Paris and in England. Every summer, ever spring, every school holiday and sometimes when there was no holiday but we said, “Stuff that for a game of soldiers, let’s get out of here!” And we lived there. Really lived there. Rented an apartment, spoke the language, cooked the groceries we bought, entertained the friends we made, hiked the country, rented a car and ended up in Lichtenstein, got on the fast train to Prague and spent the night in Berlin (oops)…really lived.

231 copy

I’m so glad we glued C’s photo to the front of each journal as a reference to that year. These journals are put away now, safely, for her future, but each one is a treasure of summer memories.

232 copy

Right now I’m about five days away from switching city for country, pavement for meadow.

The quirky 1920’s cottage in Vancouver for an equally quirky 1950’s cottage in Oxfordshire with a name rather than an address, West Cottage, five fields away from the Thames, where my love is at the moment.

Switching my beautiful blue/green ocean…

035 copy

for my beautiful blue/green river.

133

Where I always stop for tea and dream up new art, new techniques, new media…

001 copy

Like enamelled copper, pottery, stone carving and lino cuts.

032 copy

Where my vintage mini and land rover wait for me to join Robert’s one-of-a-kind cars and our friends at races and car shows.

006 copy (2)

Where I hound car boot sales and come back with way too many treasures to cart back to Vancouver at once.

004 copy

But this summer is a special summer. I’ll be going to Prague first. Back to the heart of my home, my spirit, my wandering Bohemian nature. I’m going where the light is pink and my grandparents sleep in the warm earth. Going to visit family and friends, to speak the language, to walk the streets, to touch the city and connect with my home.

prague

And then, then I’ll fly back to London, and Robert will pick me up and we’ll drive thru Oxford…

Oxford

and we’ll go home.

039 copy

And we’ll stay at home till the weather turns and the early autumn fogs start rolling over the meadows and all the wildflowers turn to seed…

064

…and the wind will change direction and we’ll feel it and see it in the willows, and I will leave my river…

029 copy

…and return to my ocean.

007

Do you remember a couple of posts back I said I would give away this image (below)? Well, I decided to give away both the chickadee/titmouse and the beginning of this post and this towhee image below, plus a few of my greeting cards, and any other silly and wonderful goodies I can think of, to two random generator numbers, so, if you like, please leave me a comment and I’ll draw the name on Monday morning and post it off PDQ before I leave on Tuesday, (so please leave me a way to get in touch to get your addy). Also, I’m off to visit with my daughter Kerstie and my three granddaughters for the weekend (and this requires hours of driving), so might not have a chance for replies till a bit later, but, since we’re probably all bloggers and you all feel the same thrill, am every so grateful for each and every comment and connection. :D

Also, sending out a great, big, THANK YOU to Kelly who invited me to take part in this lovely blog tour. Please pop over to her site. You’ll love her warm and gentle nature as much as I do.

Here is the updated blog tour list for everyone to visit these lovely gals.

Wednesday,  June 18th

 On Sutton Place

Stone Gable

My Soulful Home

Thursday,  June 19th

 Country Design Style

Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Lilacs & Longhorns

Friday,  June 20th

 Thistlewood Farms

At The Picket Fence

Jennifer Rizzo 

 

Saturday,  June 21st

Our Southern Home

Southern Hospitality

Debbie Doos

Veronica Roth

Finding Home

IMG_7776 copy copy