Saturday, October 31, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A Vagabond Song
Bliss Carman 1861-1929
There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood -
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.
The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
I love this poem. I came across it in an anthology of American poetry in a bookshop in Vermont (can't remember exactly where, but it may have been Middlebury, VT). Maybe it's because my birthday is in October, but it seems to sum up everything I feel about autumn.
I have also been converted to Geranium 'Rozanne'. I wasn't a huge fan when I first had it - the leaves seemed a bit coarse and the flowers didn't really do much for me. I was thinking of ripping it out, but I reckon it's earned its place this year, flowering non-stop and undeterred by the ash leaves falling all over it. It really seems to like being chopped back - which I have done every time it started to look a bit scruffy. I'm impressed.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
So my vision of pottering around, cup of tea in hand, while I plan the next horticultural project has somewhat evaporated. Not only that, but the bathroom project has hit a few snags. I was hoping we could tile over the existing tiles, but now the old sanitaryware has been removed, I've discovered that the existing tiles were glued to the previous tiles. ALL the tiles have got to come off, which will not only delay things, but also increase the cost.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Monday was our last day in Morocco and it dawned wet and chilly. This was just as well otherwise it would have been much more difficult to tear ourselves away from what had been the sun-soaked pool terrace at Tigmi.
Here is the family silver - literally. It's not used every day, of course, but kept polished and brought out on special occasions, such as weddings or festivals.
And here's the vegetable patch. There are no flowers in the garden, only fruit trees, and behind the vegetables (tomatoes, courgettes and squashes) there is a patch of maize.
Some more Berber "allotments". The mountains are so steep that any pasture or cultivation tends to be done down by the river, or, where possible, in terraces. If you look at the picture below, it's easy to assume that the buildings in the foreground are a village. In fact the "real" village is up on the mountain, towards the top left of the picture. (There's a close-up version of it below.)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Marrakech itself doesn't disappoint. It's like a film set for one of those Agatha Christie movies with an A-list cast. October is a terrific time to visit as the weather is hot but bearable and the kaleidoscope of colour - the red of the city walls, the carpets in the souk, the endless rows of babouches (slippers), scarves, bags and pottery shimmer beneath a blue sky like a cinematographer's dream.
The main square, the Djemaa el-Fna, is famous for its snake charmers and musicians, who provide a non-stop cabaret from early evening onwards amid a smoky melee of stalls selling mint tea, soup and barbecue. Here's a huckster trying to persuade two tourists to be photographed with his monkey. Don't you just love the monkey's expression?
Needless to say, my mother and I found ourselves drawn to the plant stalls, below, but didn't find any bargains. Prices in Morocco seems to be pretty similar to the UK. The tall bougainvilleas on this stall were 250 Moroccan dirhams, about £20.
Here's a traditional medicine shop, with its animal and snake skins hanging up outside. Goodness only knows what they use them for.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
I might have known that the weather gods would read my blog. No sooner had I burbled on about the lovely weather we were having, when the temperature dropped. I think it was my punishment for describing September as Indian summer when, as Lia Leendertz so rightly pointed out, it isn't really an Indian summer until October.