A French Holiday: Part II

We sat on the terrace yesterday evening by the swimming pool long after night had fallen and the silhouettes of the tall trees in the distance could be seen in inky black definition against the dark sky. There was a definite chill creeping in on the air; a reminder that the season of autumn with its cooler cast of characters waits in the wings and a signal that, all too soon, our summer idyll will draw to a close for this year.

A French Holiday: Part I

We were driving along a French country lane in the early evening yesterday. The dappled sunlight filtered through the canopy of greenery overhead forming magical flickering patterns in the air. I was put in mind of  the fairy sprites in a Midsummer Night’s Dream and their mischievous activity which results in so much hilarious chaos.

Dreaming on the Rails

Sitting on a train heading away from London, my thoughts move with the rhythm of the rails and images from the past week flash before my eyes. I am never prepared for the experience of being back in this city; somehow it always takes hold of my heart and teaches me something new, even when I think that I have nothing left to learn. 

Going Back

With the evening sun warm in the sky, the children and I drove northwards along my favorite stretch of freeway yesterday. We were in the shimmering company of the spirits of time past. Summoned by our choice of music, from a period when my husband and I were younger creatures, I could see their vague traces; two youthful figures seated together on a warm evening in an Oxford pub while the music flowed all around them.

A Musical Interlude

We took the dog to the beach on July 4th. With the sound of the ocean roaring in our ears, the salt tang of the sea water floating on the air and the endless blue in every direction, it was easy to feel as though we were floating off the edge of the world toward a new and distant horizon. I often think about the celestial music of the spheres when I’m sitting wave gazing; the sounds so refined and beautiful that our human ears can not detect them. Sitting by the water at the edge of clear blue open space one feels closer these sounds somehow.

Behind the Silence

We sat down to watch Somewhere last night. It’s one of Sofia Coppola’s movies, released in 2010. I came across it recently when I was researching Jacques Demy’s first English language film Model Shop (1969) which featured in the documentary Echo in the Canyon. I have seen a couple of Sofia’s movies, Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette and loved both of them.

Times and Changes

There’s a coffee shop in Santa Monica that I often visit when I need to dwell inside of a quiet moment or two. It stands on a street that fascinates me; deceptively quiet - at first glance there’s really not much happening- but I’ve always had the feeling that powerfully unspoken events are taking place somewhere in some dimension or other- as if you could pull back a curtain and find yourself in a different crystal world.

An Enchanted Vision

There’s a painting I’ve loved for a long time now. It depicts scenes from the life of the Cyclops, the famous one eyed monster of Greek mythology. I first discovered it completely by chance a few years ago when searching on the internet for something or other. Ah the wonders of google! You can see a photograph of it above this piece. It was in fact one of several wall murals that were discovered during the excavation of the Augustan Villa at Boscotrecase in Italy.

Dancing Days

The sunny season is here and it’s gathering pace. We finalized the booking of our annual trip to Europe a few days ago; a little later than usual as we leave in just over a month. This year the travel arrangements seem to have taken on a life of their own and I’m a little concerned that I won’t remember to be in the right place at the correct time with the right child!

A Tale of Two Cities

It’s a particularly beautiful time of year in our Los Angeles neighbourhood; the flowers of the Jacaranda tree are blooming everywhere. We were walking the dog yesterday and the fallen purple blossoms which lay strewn upon the sidewalks glowed almost luminescent in the fading evening light

A Reading Hour

When I look back into the past I can not locate the moment at which I first discovered the novelist Mary Stewart. In the days when, as teenagers, we would make weekly family trips to the library I was always happy to discover one of her novels unfamiliar and unread. In later years the delight came from rediscovering one to read again. I must have read all of her novels ten times over or more.

Forever Young

Sunday was Mother’s Day here in America. It was a very sweet celebration this year. My daughter and her classmates sang songs about us; we were heroes, monster slayers and teddy bears while my son’s witty and heartfelt card made me smile in a way that hasn’t left me all week. It seemed somehow not quite right to sit for a meal and so we all piled into the car and drove down to Dog Beach.