"Wading neck deep in a swamp, your revolver is neither use nor ornament until you have had time to clean it" Mary H. Kingsley (1897)

flowers

Putting On A Show: Marigold Moments

Morning sees fresh garlands of marigolds draped on the film-set.

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Picture taken in Fort Cochin


Preparing A Pookalam

As I took breakfast this morning Dalila, my wonderful cook, and Anu, my ever-cheerful houseboy, sat in the kitchen, separating flower petals.

We are now in the midst of Onam – Kerala’s biggest festival – a time celebrated by everyone: Hindus, Muslims and Christians alike.

Part of Onam’s tradition is the making of a “pookalam”: a small carpet of flower petals to welcome the return of a semi-mythical Kerala king whose reign, much like England’s King Arthur, was a time of peace, justice and chivalry.

Once they had taken breakfast Anu, with the help of Stefan – Dalila’s youngest son – spent the rest of the morning creating an Onam pookalam in our hall.

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Sunday Errands

The purchase of votive flowers.

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Picture taken near to the Hindu Temple in Palace Road, Fort Cochin


Braving The Monsoon

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Opting For B&B

Brick and Bougainvillea
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Bougainvillea blossoms overhanging a perimeter wall in Fort Cochin. 


Cannon Fodder

Blossoms of the Cannon-ball tree in Kalady, Kerala
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In Search Of The Exotic

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Gangtok maintains a garden of colourful flowers.

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Its older blooms are particularly exotic.

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Pictures taken at the Flower Show, Gangtok.


Summer Evenings’ Light

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A weekend in the country:
Time to enjoy the summer’s late evening light.

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The Nature Of Stone

From our kind hosts’ garden

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To still glorious ruins

The transience of beauty.

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Pictures taken in the Yorkshire Dales and the ruins of Fountains Abbey.


Consider The Lilies

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“Wealth, the beauty of youth and flowers are guests for only a few days. Like the leaves of the water-lily, they wither and fade and finally die.”

Sri Guru Granth Sahib

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Discarded Dreams

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Life is a stream

On which we strew

Petal by petal the flower of our heart;

The end lost in dream,

They float past our view,

We only watch their glad, early start.

Freighted with hope,

Crimsoned with joy,

We scatter the leaves of our opening rose;

Their widening scope,

Their distant employ,

We never shall know. And the stream as it flows

Sweeps them away,

Each one is gone

Ever beyond into infinite ways.

We alone stay

While years hurry on,

The flower fared forth, though its fragrance still stays.

Petals by Amy Lowell

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“By plucking her petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower.”

Rabindranath Tagore

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“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it. For every truth there is an ear somewhere to hear it. For every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it.”

Ivan Panin

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November Mornings

November mornings bring the return of a milder climate.

Monsoon battered shrubs come back into flower.

Lightness seems to pervade everyone and everything.

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In Focus

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“To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.”

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Picture from The Telegraph


Preparing A Pookkalam

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It is now Onam, Kerala’s biggest festival.

Although primarily a Hindu celebration, Onam has been adopted by all the faiths of Kerala. It is a time when all Keralites try to get home, to be with family.

Presents of clothing are given. My dhoti and kurta collection is now very impressive!

It’s Sunday. Shaji and Dalila, my amazingly kind house-staff, are not supposed to be here today but this evening they arrive with traditional Onam gifts for me. They bring their youngest son, and Sebastian my carpenter from neighbouring Nazareth.

Following the exchange of small gifts, the main purpose of the evening is addressed: preparing a pookkalam.

A design is chalked out on the floor, and filled with flower petals.

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We are ready to welcome the King.

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Happy Onam!

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Raindrops

 

The sky darkens. Rumblings of thunder become longer and louder.

Gentle raindrops begin to fall.

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Evening Enchantment

The evening was beautiful: the dusk light almost magical.

The flowers in the front yard were bathed in gold.

A pack of dogs had climbed the water tower,

as if to view the setting sun.

Petals from the flame tree

fluttered down to decorate discarded coconut husks

and wall tops.

Familiar buildings were suddenly transformed by the glow of twilight.

People, who had sheltered from the intense heat of the afternoon, finally emerged from their homes, to stroll and chat as the pastel light began to fade.

An evening with neither crowded rooms nor trysts with strangers, but nonetheless enchanted.


Morning Glory

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.

Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven.
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning;
God’s recreation of the new day.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.