Philosphy

Thought for the day.

Good morning from The Potting Shed!  Even though I am a hopeless insomniac … have been for years … I do love getting up early in the morning. It’s my favourite time of day.   I used to worry about being tired from lack of sleep but now I know it really doesn’t slow me down so I get up, make a cup of tea and toast and settle in to read my favourite books and blogs.  I’ve learned to love the middle of the night and to embrace the extra 3 hours I get from being wide awake between 1am and 4am.  And this morning in the wee, small hours before snuggling back into bed for a precious hour more of deep, relaxing sleep,  I read this lovely quote on a styley blog I enjoy called Belgrave Crescent … and thought I would share it with you … in case, like many, you’ve been wondering what to do when you grow up! IMG_6038“An amazing thing happens when you get honest with yourself and start doing what you love, what makes you happy. Your life literally slows down. You stop wishing for the weekend. You stop merely looking forward to special events. You begin to live in each moment and you start feeling like a human being. You just ride the wave that is life, with this feeling of contentment and joy. You move fluidly, steadily, calm and grateful. A veil is lifted, and a whole new perspective is born.”   — Jes Allen

 

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A good read.

sissinghurst-aerial2Every morning I start my day very early,  pull on my jeans and boots and go straight out to walk the dogs, unlock the duckhouse and check there have been no disasters during the night. Then after feeding and checking everyone I come in, make a huge pot of tea and sit at the kitchen table with my toast and jam and read a chapter or two of whatever book is nearby. I generally have several books on the go at the same time, and dip in and out of them depending on my mood. At the moment I’m re-reading Sissinghurst – an Unfinished History by Adam Nicolson (grandson of Vita Sackville West and Harold Nicolson). It is beautiful, poetic, wonderful. He is a marvellous writer. It’s one of my favourites because a. I’ve always loved the books and poetry of Vita Sackville West and b. having visited this lovely castle and its gardens years ago, I can visualise all the places Adam talks about.  I remember well exploring all the grounds, the moat, the nuttery and the famous White Garden with my brother Peter. We climbed the stairs of the tower to Vita’s room overlooking the gardens, and soaked in the beauty of every corner of this beautiful place.  It was an experience I will never forget because this home has such an interesting history and has been home to a truly fascinating family. view from tower vitas room 2In the book Adam talks about restoring Sissinghurst to the working farm he remembers as a child with farmers bringing in crops of hay and hops, yards alive with cattle and sheep, the sound of tractors in the early morning fog and the hustle and bustle of a real farm, as it used to be. And so he puts a proposal to the National Trust, to do just that. To turn Sissinghurst into an organic farm that would supply the cafe and shop, that would sell produce to Sissinghurst visitors, and bring the land back to life.the moat   This morning as I read I thought you would love this descriptive passage:  “You only had to look at it to see that an organic system here, one that rested the land from time to time in fertility-building leys, which restored organic matter to these lifeless soils, was the only way this sceme could go. Organic was the obvious and default option. Only in one place did Phil’s (the consultant hired for the project by NT) face light up. Just outside the restaurant, in the Cow Field, where the dairy herd had always been turned out after milking, I dug Phil’s spade in. If you had been watching it in slow motion, you would have seen, with my first plunge, its worn and shiny leading edge slicing down into the green of the spring grass, slowly burying the full body of the blade in the earth and travelling on beyond it so that the spade came to rest with the ground level an inch up the shaft. Nothing wrong with that. I sliced out a square of turf and lifted it over. A delicious tweedy-brown crumbling soil appeared, a Bolognese sauce of a soil, rich and deep, smelling of life. Inside the small square trench, juicy beefsteak worms writhed in the sunlight. here was James Stearns’s ‘best bit of dirt on the farm’, the stuff in which he had said we could grow anything we liked. ‘It’s got to be the veg patch, hasn’t it?’ Phil said. Smiles all over his face. Peter Dear, the NT warden, came with his dog, and the three of us lay down on the grass there, looking across the Low Weald to the north-east, chatting about the birds, and how they loved the game crop in Lower Tassells. There were two larks making and remaking their song high over Large Field below us. How could we ensure the new farm was as friendly to birds as that? It was a moment when I felt I could see something of the future, that slow, exploratory, otter-like feeling, which you recognise only as it rises to the surface inside you, that an idea might be one worth having.”

Don’t you just love that last line … “that slow, exploratory, otter-like feeling” … which we’ve all experienced when we’ve had a worthwhile idea.  But who of us could put it into words quite like that!  You can order from Amazon here: Sissinghurst – an Unfinished History I generally order ‘used’ books from Amazon or Book Depository, yet often they arrive as brand new books for as little as $2 plus postage.   All that brilliance for $2. Who wouldn’t want to get up a wee bit earlier to soak up a few good chapters.

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The secret garden.

Our little shop, The Potting Shed, is located in a driveway between two large old buildings.  One houses Dirty Janes Emporium, which displays a large collection of vintage furniture and antiques – wonderful pieces from Europe, UK and America – sofas, sideboards, lamps, dining tables, hall tables, vintage clothing and so on.  You walk off the main street into this lovely shop and through to the back section which leads you down a set of steps and onto a landing which looks across to the other building, the Dirty Janes Antique Market, where over 70 stall holders sell more vintage and antique treasures. As you leave the shop on the main street you see from the staircase The Potting Shed spread out below.  Yesterday, as I was arranging some new plants that had arrived, I heard from above two little girls who had followed their mothers onto the landing.  “Oh, it’s a beautiful garden!” gasped one. “And with flowers!” said the other.  “It’s so lovely”, said the first, “let’s go and look”.  And they skippety skipped their way down the stairs and around my little shop oohing and aahing at this pretty flower and that.  The delight that filled my heart in this moment could not have been greater had I won a grand prize at the Chelsea Flower Show.  To hear these sweet remarks, so spontaneous and joyful was, for me, pure bliss. That in this modern world children still love a garden and enjoy its beauty is indeed comforting, and I am driven to bring even more of nature’s bounty to this previously industrial alleyway.  And to share that love of gardening around.

 

“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.”

Gertrude Jekyll

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Thought for the day.

Peony urn“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” – Rumi

I feel this was written for me.  I have long been pulled by a love of nature. Since I was a little girl I have loved the beauty of flowers and gardens and birds and animals and all things natural. What do you really love?  Go into a bookshop and see where you land.  That will usually tell you where your passion lies.

Nothing to do with gardening.

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I subscribe to a site called Listserve where “one person a day wins a chance to write to the growing list of subscribers.” Through this random global lottery, one of the 26,000 subscribers is drawn and they’re invited to share their ideas with others via email.  That winner gets 24 hours to prepare their ‘essay’ and to present their views, advice, favourite movies or music .. or whatever takes their fancy, to the world online.  It makes for interesting reading. Yesterday the winner of Listserve was from Queensland, the first Australian I’ve seen listed. Her name is Larsa Al-Omaishi and she gave us this poem.  I asked her if I could share it with you, as I found it very moving and thought provoking and beautiful.

Where are you from?

By: A Third Culture Kid

“Where are you from?”
He asks with a smile
I’ve heard it before
I’ve gone through this trial
“America.”
It’s not untrue
I lived there awhile
Traveled its highways
Going many a mile
From deserts to peaks
From cornfields to shores
I’ve seen many states
I’m keen to explore
“No, where are you really from?”
Where was I born?
That would be Montreal
“So you speak French?”
No, not at all
I moved to Toronto
When I was young
But English is not
My mother tongue
“Okay, but, where are you originally from?”
My parents were born
In the heart of Iraq
Upon hearing the phrase
He sits back in shock
“So … you’re Iraqian?”
It’s Iraqi, my dear Watson
“Then what languages do you speak?”

In what language do you laugh?
In what language do you cry?
In what language do you cope
When a loved one lays to die?
In what language do you love?
In what language do you hate?
In what language do you comprehend
What’s chance and what is fate?
In what language do you smile?
In what language do you frown?
You see it’s all the same my dear
From New York to Cape Town
In what language do you feel
The sting of war and pain?
In what language do you lose your home
And then rebuild again?
We are not that different
Ignoring race and creeds
We are all but human
With human wants and needs

In the hospital you’ll see
Emotions raging high
Carried on by wave and wave
Of hello and good-bye
Some are taken far too young
Some taken when it’s right
Some coming in to join the world
And blinking in bright light
Some realizing far too late
The love they should have shared
Some accepting their due time
And going well prepared
Let me share with you a fact
That few will understand
Inside that operating room, my friend
There is no human brand
You all look the same inside
Appendix, heart, and lung
Kidney, liver, spleen, and bowel
Pancreas and tongue
When we put you on that table
To try and save your life
Skin colour is of no concern
To us or to our knife

I don’t categorize myself
By a patch of land
I don’t identify myself
By merely where I stand
I don’t say I’m only a part
Of one particular race
At the end of the day, at the end of the night
I am merely in one place
We all come from the same dirt
We’re Earthlings in our blood
And borders are but foolish lines
Drawn in clumpy mud

Where am I from? I’m from The World
The same is true for you
And with that I’ll leave you here
I bid you all adieu.


Larsa is studying medicine and surgery at The University of Queensland. She asks that you vaccinate your kids.


Thought for the day.

IMG_9254“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”
-William Morris

We never tire of the simple pleasure to be found in the morning ritual of walking the dogs  … and taking our wonderful pig,  ‘Pigley’ for a wander down to the pond for a wallow.  She loves a chat and relishes the company. Have a lovely weekend.  And remember to look for the beauty in everyday things. M x