The White Pulse of May.

The very end of spring is green and white. Country lanes are illuminated with cow parsley, a delicate foam of tiny petals in a sea of pale green. Every year, this is what tells me summer is near. A certain kind of sadness for the dying spring, a certain kind of hope for drier days (warm and light don’t tempt me), a certain kind of longing for the autumn that will follow. Fields of cow parsley are ticking clocks of the seasons and life; fresh young flowers blossoming and dancing on the wind now, but just like everything else soon they’ll wither and die. 

“Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,—
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
‘Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
Are golden kingcup fields with silver edge
Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
‘Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:—
So this wing’d hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love

– Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I’m outside looking in.

An open door says, “Come in.”
A shut door says, “Who are you?”
Shadows and ghosts go through shut doors.
If   a door is shut and you want it shut, why open it?
If   a door is open and you want it open, why shut it?
Doors forget but only doors know what it is
doors forget.

– Carl Sandburg

Bees in the trap.

Brazilian afternoon in South Wimbledon. The restaurant was more like a café; very informal and very small. Food was distinctively average but the chicken hearts were on point and the caipirinha heavy on cachaça, as it should be. Also great coffee, and my dessert (oddly went for chocolate cake) didn’t disappoint. Next time I’ll try pastel and the sausage with fried cassava.

We parked under a tree covered in tiny white flowers and loaded with bumblebees. I managed to control my panic enough to be able to get some photos and videos, but as I was getting back into the car I noticed several dead ones on the floor. Bumblebees tend to form couples for life and look after the grubs together. The idea of baby bees waiting in vain for their parents to come home made me incredibly sad.

Here is London, giddy London

So good to see the city coming back to life. And without the crowds that used to make it hellish. Tourists are needed and need to come back, of course – but for now, while no one is looking, I’ll say yes, it’s that little bit nicer not having to battle hoardes of people everywhere. I just hope it won’t last.

La saison des cerises

Had to prune the photinias before they swallowed up the house. Now I have a bright front room again, but on the other hand I can see outside and become aware of humans – well, gains and losses.

In better news, it’s cherry season. At least in the supermarket. Fresh, plump, shiny and sweet, that shade of blood red that would make a perfect nail polish. I ate some sitting in the garden and watching the wooden bench that I need to repaint, the deck that needs to be cleaned, the plants that need to be pruned, the slugs that need to be dealt with, the shed that needs to be finished and realize that I forgot how to relax. The cherries, however, were delicious. I threw the seeds in the garden, knowing they won’t grow.

The petunias are going wild and I wish I had bought more/planted in a bigger pot. They’re annuals and when the long flowering season ends they’ll only serve as fertilizer, but their ephemeral and brightly coloured existence will have fulfilled its mission.

And speaking of nails. Ouch. This is gonna hurt for a few (several) days (weeks) now.

Jersey shores.

Jersey is an island and self-governing British Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west France. It is the largest of the Channel Islands (118.2 square kilometres or 45.6 sq mi) and is located 22km (14 miles) from the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy, France. It has a coastline that is 70 km long and measures roughly 9 miles from west to east and 5 miles north to south, which gives it the affectionate name among locals of “nine-by-five”.

The island is divided into twelve parishes (all named after their parish church), the largest of which is St Ouen and the smallest of which is St Clement. The island is characterised by a number of valleys which generally run north-to-south, such as Waterworks Valley, Grands Vaux, Mont les Vaux, although a few run in other directions, such as Le Mourier Valley. The highest point on the island is Les Platons at 136 m.

Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown, though never became part of the Kingdom of England.

Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems. Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom and has an international identity separate from that of the UK, but the UK is constitutionally responsible for the defence of Jersey.

The island has a large financial services industry, which generates 40% of its GVA. British cultural influence on the island is evident in its use of English as the main language and Pound sterling as its primary currency. Additional British cultural commonalities include driving on the left, access to British television and newspapers, a school curriculum following that of England and the popularity of British sports, including cricket. The island also has a strong Norman-French culture, such as its ancient Norman language Jèrriais and place names with French or Norman origins.

01. Jersey airport

02. Old shed for the defunct Jersey Airlines

03. Rozel Bay, the closest beach to where I used to live. I would walk there  down Rozel Valley through the daffodil fields until I reached the shore.

04. A simple burger at the Hungry Man, Rozel’s most famous beach café. I loved walking there to get a coffee and watch the waves, while throwing muffin crumbs to the ducks. The tiny colourful houses on the background are beach huts.

05. Another view of Rozel. The tide is low, exposing the sandy beach.There used to be a lovely seafood restaurant on the seafront (the blue square house in the center of the picture), but I believe it’s now closed.

06. Jersey has 19 beaches and they are home to a plethora of fauna and flora. Masses of succulents cascade down the sunny rocks, providing shelter for little lizards.

07. This is where the old abattoir used to be, and in recent years it was turned into a mall. It wasn’t very popular. Retail isn’t one of Jersey’s strong points; there aren’t enough inhabitants to justify having a lot of shops. People do their shopping online (Ebay, Amazon, etc. but several retailers won’t deliver to Channel Islands postcodes), take weekend shopping trips to the UK or France or get by with whatever is available locally. The upside: Jersey doesn’t charge VAT tax, meaning that anything bought in the island or coming into the island from the UK is at least 20% cheaper – hence the many cosmetics/perfume shops, very popular with locals and tourists.

08. and 09. The parish of Saint Helier is Jersey’s capital and main retail area. There are plenty cafés, restaurants and shops, and also houses the bus station to where the vast majority of bus lines converge. Public transport isn’t a strong point either, as most people have cars and never take the buses.

10. Le Crapaud, the toad statue in Saint Helier in honour of the nickname given to the Jersey people by the french. It’s sometimes used as a meeting point; “see you at three by the toad!”

The politics of lipstick.

“i love lipstick. i want to write an essay about the politics of lipstick. i like lipstick that’s deep, deep red. i like lipstick that’s purple, lipstick that’s black and dark for when i want to dress up my melancholy. i like sharing lipstick with sisters. and i laugh at boys that think i wear lipstick for them to notice, i laugh, lipstick is an art you can’t ever understand. from picking out a color, testing it on the inside of my wrist, pursing my lips during the application of it. i like when i kiss a baby and leave lipstick on their cheek, when you hug someone and leave lipstick on their shirt, when it gets on your teeth and you use your tongue to get it off, when you sleep in lipstick and wake up with it on your pillow case. in 1997 mama left for ethiopia to see her mama for the first time in 12 years. i was six and i cried the entire way home from the airport. and when we came home there on the kitchen table was the teacup mama had been drinking out of. at the bottom a sip of tea and black cardamom seeds. and there on the rim of the cup the lipstick imprint of my mama’s kiss.” (nomad manifesto)