Clifton Nurseries.

There aren’t many plant nurseries in the city (where real state is at a premium), but Clifton is an exception. Compact but well sorted, with the obligatory café/decor shop for the enjoyment of the less green fingered customers. The greenhouse is a favourite of mine and there’s something about the humidity, heat and sound of running water that reminds me of Brazil as soon as I walk in.

At this time of the year there are baskets fulls of daffodils bulbs everywhere and they also set up a lovely christmas shop at the Fern House. I didn’t buy the burrito sedum pictured here (I have one already and it’s gigantic) but did bring home a small string-of-pearls plant (finally!) inside a cute head shaped vase that I will show you another time, as I forgot to take pictures.

Before the rain.

Wine, cheese and a stroll around Bloomsbury on a moody monday before a trip (perhaps I should’ve been packing instead). My laptop would die a horrible death later that day, but at that moment I was enjoying the last dry afternoon in town before biblical rains descended, sitting at Noble Rot tasting wine I had never even heard about but quite liked, listening to the distant sound of traffic and noticing that the girl in the camel coat + bottle green bag waiting for her date was matching the colour scheme on the background. Cool trick, lady.

This day is an invitation.

And it’s just for you. You’ve got a reservation for the 17th of June.
Open your eyes and let the Sun break in for a while; there may be something
that you’ve never seen inside.
Feel how your heart beats like a heavy machine, the sound of the traffic like a silent dream.

Lunch date at the favourite lebanese followed by a long walk in one of the last beautiful days of the autumn before it became wet and windy.

Late Summer

As flores já encerraram o expediente 2019 – a não ser pelas dálias nos jardins cuidados por mãos mais dedicadas. Eu não tenho dálias plantadas esse ano (exceto uma, num pote) porque fiz uma opção baixo-risco: nada de flores que abrissem o apetite das lesmas. O dinheiro que não desperdicei na loja de plantas comprando lanche de molusco foi deixado na Ikea e nas mãos do senhorzinho simpático que cobriu parte da grama com o decking. Em cima do qual eu pus mesa e cadeiras novas compradas na liquidação da Marks & Spencer que são lindas e me fazem, pela primeira vez em anos, ter vontade de sentar do lado de fora – mesmo na companhia de abelhas, aranhas e borboletas. Victory, my friends.

Fora dálias, eu também não tenho fotos de nada disso (ainda) porque estou empenhada em sobreviver à estadia de mamãe e sem tempo para respirar porque ela fala o dia inteiro, fica deprimida se deixada por conta própria por mais de 5 minutos, não consegue fazer muito sozinha (desisti de tentar ensinar como baixar as persianas e ajustar a temperatura do chuveiro) e quando cai a noite eu só tenho forças para tomar banho e dormir. Mães de bebês têm toda a minha solidariedade.

Hoje choveu o dia inteiro e pela primeira vez no verão esteve escuro o bastante à tarde para que eu conseguisse acender velas. As noites começam a se alongar. Já vejo as folhas das water chestnuts mais ansiosas trocando de cor e semana passada abóboras de vidro e esqueletos de polipropileno já ocupavam prateleiras de lojas. Todas as manhãs abro as janelas esperando sentir aquele ar frio e áspero de mudança de estações como quem busca uma maçã na geladeira em que cravar os dentes com o prazer de fome saciada.  Summer’s last act has kicked in. I can’t wait for September.

Hectic Summer days.

O mês temido por ser longo começou há cinco minutos e já estamos às vésperas do quinto dia. A pressa pelo término de agosto, a obsessão por virar a página do calendário, “to wish away time”, a pressa de morrer que eu nunca entenderei. Porque é tudo tão pouco. O mês, o ano, a década. A vida. Eu tenho tanta coisa por fazer e tanta coisa por não fazer, e as duas demandam tempo. Mês curto eu me sinto roubada. E não adianta registrar ocorrência.

Julho passou como as nuvens, com máxima de 38 graus (!) e deixando pelo caminho nuvens de pó. Aquelas que ficam depois que se guardam as ferramentas e o homem da van leva embora o radinho que tocou pop 80s durante uma semana na soleira da minha janela (tive que perguntar qual era a estação depois que tocou Donna Summer). O gato pesou 5.3kg na visita anual ao veterinário. Um dos meus melhores amigos anunciou noivado e eu estou apreensiva. A moça parece ótima e a companhia lhe fará bem, mas justo agora que nosso well oiled team of three se reuniu novamente graças aos desígnios da vida e das cidadanias européias ele vai… contrair um casamento convencional? Um capítulo da minha vida se fechando com o pé na porta. E tenho a impressão de que meu dedinho ficou preso ali. Ouch.

Julho terminou com um começo. Trinta dias de visita da velha. Dessa vez o velho não veio junto e isso é um estranhamento. A morte é um “mas como assim não vem nunca mais?” que se repete até que também… nunca mais. Já comemos na churrascaria turca, já fizemos farofa e comprinhas em brechós, já brigamos por motivos fúteis, já visitamos jardins onde Vita Sackville-West plantou gerânios e já enguiçamos com o carro no meio de uma auto-estrada no condado de Kent. O socorro chegou enquanto eu colhia cow parsleys secas à beira da estrada para pôr em vasos. Minha mãe dormia no banco traseiro, embalada pelo zumbido dos carros passando a mil na A21. Acho que os 38 graus não vão se repetir esse ano.

A cozinha está 95% pronta, mas ainda não tenho fotos de tudo; apenas alguns vignettes de detalhes que também já não estão mais como aparecem aqui. Tudo muda muito rápido. O mês, o ano, a década. A vida.

When I think about this life with you.

Saved a tiny geranium cut from the compost bin and it’s thriving. The joy it brings me. ♥ Saved a few branches from a pruning session and decided to put them into vases; the small variegated leaves are making a few corners of my home look prettier. In the meantime we drink Fortnum and Mason tea and take delivery of pins from AliExpress; I’m kind of addicted to buying pins right now. Go figure.

The first white rose of the year survived a day or two in that little blue vase on my bathroom sink, but soon withered. Summer seems to have arrived and I’m not sure I love it. The cat has been loving to cool off in the sink. When there’s still water on the bottom. Go figure.

I tried to take a picture each hour for an entire day, but only managed the first one as soon as I got up in the morning. When it comes to blog projects I’m a quitter, it seems. Got a couple of liquid soaps from the Body Shop because this summer will request more showers and at least I can make them deliciously scented. This morning the whole bathroom smelled of grapefruit. Cheap joys.

I took this “shellfie” a couple of weeks ago (I think?) because I changed the stuff on it and for once it looks cute, but uncluttered. The peperomia and the string of hearts are stretching away and it makes me happy to see. Soon they’ll need bigger pots, but I’m making the most of their infancy like mothers enchanted by every little thing their child does, the tiny size of their hands and ears, the smallness of their world reminding us of a time when things used to be simple, and simple was enough.

There is endless beauty in the smallest of things and this never, ever ceases to amaze me.

I have seen your face a million times before, it’s painted in my mind, it’s painted on the walls, I’m driving on the road, I’m driving to a party, the ones you never go to, they play my favourite song all night” (favorite song – pizza girl)

Cats, food and plants.

Three of my main interests. ♥  Pleased to report the string of hearts seem to be perking up nicely!

It’s been a while since I last had an orange. Ages, really. I’m not much of a fruit person, but obviously something came over me this summer. I even bought peaches instead of cookies the other day. That supermarket bought sushi isn’t the best ever but it satisfied a craving and I’m happy.

In the conservatory.

I love when my tiny cactus blossoms with flowers. So many (but only a couple at a time), and no pixel could do that colour justice. I really must repot that little guy into a bigger container; I wonder if it’ll produce more flowers or the extra space/nourishment will allow them to flourish all at once.

The crassula (third pic) also blossomed for the first time in its lifetime. The flowers are white with delicate pointy petals, like tiny stars. I bought another ivy since I’m a prolific killer of them. At this point I’m seeing them as temporary, almost like cut flowers in a vase. They’ll last until they don’t want to anymore. And then I’ll replace them. Life goes on (mine, not theirs).

I don’t know the name of that banana-like succulent but goodness it GREW. I remember the first picture I took of it, it was TINY. Comfortably sat within the limits of the palm of my hand. The oldest heuchera now lives in the brown urn but will need to be transplanted soon. Unfortunately, I can only keep them outside if planted on the ground; if I leave them in pots the weevils have their roots for dinner. Pots are for indoors only, but the plants are never really happy this way.

I’m also in two minds about the acers. I’ve read that they cannot be kept inside, but the conservatory is cold enough in the winter to allow them to hibernate. Perhaps not enough light in the summer, though? For now they look moderately happy, even though the big acer seems a bit spindly. Perhaps I’ll pop them into bigger pots to keep outside?

Meanwhile, the cat surveys his domain. Cats really love this space in the summer.

And summer is just around the corner. Or already here, if you consider 1st of June the beginning of it. For a couple of weeks the weather has been clement – for me it means cool, cloudy and a bit wet. Some proper rain too, which was nice to see and the trees loved it. And so did I. Any excuse for having days dark enough to light candles in the afternoon, read magazines and drink tea is good for me (listening to raindrops on the roof is a bonus).

Oooops.

Last picture of the queen of succulents before being overthrown. A few losses on the battle, but her reign has been reinstated and she is safe. For now.

From a (small) distance, though, the usurper watches.

“Until next time”, he whispers darkly. And falls asleep.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Small pause on our wanderings yesterday to admire St Paul’s cathedral from the inside. On sunday afternoons there is no tourism and part of the church remains open all day for visitation, free of charge. There are religious services you can attend but on these occasions you’re not allowed to use your camera. 


I felt tempted to stay for the evensong, but had another appointment in a different part of town and had to rush. Maybe next time? I still want to go on a paid visit so I can have a look at the memorials for famous people buried there, including Admiral Nelson and Sir Christopher Wren (who designed the church).