There are some pieces you find on your travels that are just too beautiful and rare to part with. When West Wales, particularly Carmarthen, was my main hunting ground I found this vintage velvet flowered bridal hair piece, which someone had clearly lovingly handmade in the early to mid-twentieth century. There are still long looping brown running stitches in the Crinoline crescent that acts as its base. In the indoor market there was the smallest antique shop. A booth of beautiful things among the fruit and veg and the lava bread and the razor shells, where the ladies still stopped to gossip over 1920’s stockings, jaunty ’40’s hats, and the odd fur stole.A good ten minute nose yielded this, along with two other millinery bits, in the glass cabinets. They were not priced but I was told with an indulgent smile that, yes they were for sale to the determined and rare buyer who managed to find them. So, she reluctantly sold them to me for £12.00 on the proviso that if I ever sold them on I would do so only to her! I promised laughing, knowing at the same time I would never let them go.


DSCN1266I generally prefer February to January. It’s a shorter month, and it always ends in March. It benefits from not sitting next to Christmas, and is not tarnished by the comparative lack of joy, presents, bright lights and good-will. So I have been trying to find some uplifting verse to match my monthly preference…

And maybe I’m onto a loser because most poetry tends towards the melancholy anyway, but February does not seem to inspire any lightness at all. Ted Hughes, I love you, but your words are stones and flints and have no remorse. Ezra Pound, I like you too, but your words have become argument’s whores. Margaret Attwood, you may have cats in your poem, but you can’t fool me, I know there is something dark at the heart.And John Clare, sorry, I just can’t trust you, it’s too Romantic and too sane. So, on the strength of his third stanza and not because he offers February in any genteel or fluffy kind of way, I give you Boris Pasternak:

February. Get ink. Weep.
Write the heart out about it. Sing
Another song of February
While raucous slush burns black with spring.

Six grivnas* for a buggy ride
Past booming bells, on screaming gears,
Out to a place where rain pours down
Louder than any ink or tears

Where like a flock of charcoal pears,
A thousand blackbirds, ripped awry
From trees to puddles, knock dry grief
Into the deep end of the eye.

A thaw patch blackens underfoot.
The wind is gutted with a scream.
True verses are the most haphazard,
Rhyming the heart out on a theme.

*Grivna: a unit of currency.

Things I Like this summer:

poppies bleeding their reds into the yellow corn 

norfolk hedgerows and their clusters of vibrant Ladies Bedstraw – i could stuff my medieval mattress right now – the scent is disorientatingly syrupy and rather discombobulating

the texture and lustre of vintage threads wound clumsily over wooden bobbins and the crochet hook that fashions them into flowers

always lace and its exquisite variousness

evening chip-nics on pebble beach at Cley and collecting dried seaweeds in the empty trays as my babies paddle in the furious waves

3/4 sleeve jackets from the fifties perched jauntily over 1930’s rayon petticoats layered endlessly for decency

capes of every vintage variety

playing ‘I imagine’ with my daughter as she says goodbye to her day, building castles in the sky, and watching the sky unreel its cloud cinema 

reading ‘Little Dorrit’ and marvelling at how we try so hard to stay free in a world that wants to imprison us and how we dare to do and dream in places that always draw our ideals (big or small) ‘down’ and how we persevere because it is our nature to tumble always on



hi from the flatlands of North Norfolk (UK) where I fashion bits of old textile (fabric, thread, braid….) into delectable necklets, whimsical wristlets, captivating collars and haughty headpieces. In my spare time I raise two wee people and try to stay cosy in a long long house with too many walls! I have been here for half a year now. The other half i spent leaving lovely West Wales, where there must still be many of my old shadows dancing round. In this new county that is now my home, I am slowly becoming a friend of the East wind and learning how to walk on an earth that barely undulates. I am also beginning to recognise greens that are not nurtured by days and days of rain!