Midsummer’s day on Friday and the weather finely got the message, though looking out of the window now, the air is thick enough to slice and grey storm clouds are gathering. Which probably explains the English fascination with tents and gazebos: a place to escape from life and rain, somewhere full of hope and nostalgia that remains a little bit of summer no matter what.
I remember at Christmas being drawn to coloured fairy lights over the classic, style leading, Scandi simplistic white and that pull to colour is still strong: In the opening episode of Tales of the City on Netflix, there’s an outdoor party in San Fransisco festooned with every kind of light, shape, size and colour and it was an eclectic, mad, happy joy to see. When the weather is grey, the politics greyer and the country feels like it’s going to the dogs, we need colour….and the bigger, the brighter, the more ebullient, the better.
Friday marks midsummer. Try telling that to the clouds, the rain, the wind and the temperature. It’s the pay back and karma for last summer. But it still hurts. Maybe that’s why I’m loving the colour, the fluidity and the fun of men wearing silk scarves.
Kindness, magic, setting something free, message in a bottle, transformation, reaching out to strangers, giving something we take for granted another story: There’s something here that catches a special zeitgeist and pulls on the heart.
Hats in the air to Waitrose starting a ‘bring your own containers’ trial to Oxford. Plastic packaging for a range of products like pasta, cereals, rice, coffee, wine and frozen fruit will be removed and replaced with a refill your own station. About bloody time one of the big supermarkets did this. When they roll it out across all stores (fingers crossed) maybe they’ll use Smile Plastics in their design..
Smile Plastics is a material, design and manufacturing house making desirable hand crafted panels from waste material. Their vision is to change people’s perceptions around waste via innovation – to use art and technology to unlock the hidden potential in recycling and open peoples eyes to the unexpected beauty of scrap. In doing so they hope to inspire more people about sustainability and recycling.
Wow! The shops in Deal are getting good!..just the right side of vintage, affordable and desirable. In one shop – The Hoxton Store – they also had a glasses brand from France – izipizi – I’d never seen before offering sunnies, reading glasses, baby glasses and blue light glasses for working with screens. Classic shapes, bright colours and around the £40 price point. Winner, winner chicken dinner.
It’s half term this week and we’re decamping to Kent for a taste of the simple life. If you have a moment, watch the BBC’s Celebrity Painting Challenge available on iplayer. There’s something incredibly joyful about the participants happiness in creating. Makes me want to pack a paintbrush….
The weather is still strange here, if the sun shines it’s getting warm, but we can have sudden cold carrying squalls arriving from nowhere. In the evening, no matter how blue the sky has been, the temperature is still dropping away steeply. It means the transitional wardrobe is in full swing with the similar layers of winter, except they are lighter and looser: cotton instead of wool, silk instead of cotton, bare feet and summer colours…
Chelsea Flower Show starts this week which means all things leafy and green. It’s made me think about our garden plans again and re-query the sticking points, one of which raised borders, yes or no, pros and cons, what material, where and how high?
There is a practical reason for wanting raised beds – we have a patio that requires power washing every year, but in the process the plants in the beds get waterlogged and generally die which means I’m in the same position each year looking at my sad, dying borders. Besides there’s something delicious about sharp edged, rendered borders, particularly when they’re painted dark.
Except I have a strong, internal design rule that like women, things outside should be able to age so that they look better with every passing year with the accumulated patina adding to their interest. The obvious answer would be box hedging: great on the eye. But wouldn’t solve the water logging problem. And we have the dreaded Box Tree Caterpillar, which destroyed the box hedge we used to have.
A brick wall would be fab. But expensive. So thoughts are currently leaning towards railway sleepers: Natural, dark and reasonable price bracket with the Brucie bonus of almost instant satisfaction.