the Olympic torch passes by

Exciting stuff. My boys have no idea how amazing it is that they stood next to the Olympic flame today as it passed through Buckingham.

the olympic torch relay

We just happened to be standing in the perfect spot. I can still remember the first Olympic Games I watched on television: Moscow 1980. There was a bear called Misha. I was seven and the memory of the closing ceremony has stayed with me for 32 years. I love thinking that one day they’ll share this memory with their children.

the olympic torch

a rainbow of chaos

I rather like that quote. Very much appropriate on the night before the children go back to school after the holidays and the place is littered with mismatched socks, the wrong coats, and solitary trainers for PE.

a garden for Melanie

In spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Being a gardening blogger (albeit one with a blogging habit a little like my gardening habit, ie leave everything in autumn, forget about it, then return when the sun shines with renewed enthusiasm) my fancy turns to thoughts of flowers and bees and ooh, gorgeous sunshiny days and the smell of earth and mud under the fingernails.

My friend Melanie (she writes a rather wonderful just-reached-a-million-hits blog as well as being author of several books and one of my favourite people) is venturing into the world of gardening for the first time. So rather than email her, I thought I’d share my thoughts here and you can all have a look. So here you are, M. Just for starters:

First of all, Clematis: Dr Ruppel (I love the blousy, seasidey stripey flowers) and the elegant Niobe which would both grow beautifully in containers or in the ground, depending on how portable you want your garden to be. Clematis are really easy to grow, and give a new garden height and satisfying splodges of colour which make you feel like a proper gardening sort.

Pretty Aquilegia Black Barlow which will self seed year after year and fill your garden with beautiful flowers (which won’t come back true, because aquilegias are contrary beasts). and I think you’ll love Eryngium Alpinum Blue Star.

Depending on your slug situation (I bet you’ve never thought about your slug situation before, have you? Welcome to gardening) hostas are utterly beautiful and also likely to make you feel murderous. Cracked eggshells and copper tape round the pot and incantations by moonlight and coffee grounds and oh, there are a million other things that will help stop slugs having a midnight feast. Well actually they won’t at all, but it’ll make you feel good. Either that or don’t grow hostas. Some people seem to be able to grow huge hulking ones. I bet they use evil blue pellets of doom, though. They’re meaniecats, as child no4 would say. So this Fragrant Blue is a good one to try. And the Prunella Grandiflora Rubra is lovely, too. No idea how it grows, but I think you’ll like it.

Roses. You have to grow lots and lots of roses to fill your garden with scent and bees and beauty. This Black Baccara is utterly gorgeous and will smell heavenly. And after years of loathing them I’ve grown fond of Dahlias but they’re another slug magnet, so if you buy them as tubers rather than established plants (which is cheaper) you’ll need to keep an eye out or they’ll be there one day and completely gone the next.

Look at that. It’s an email to a friend that’s masquerading as a blog post. But hey, it’s a blog post.

Happy Christmas


We’re in the new house. And look, everyone is happy. Hooray. Here’s to 2012 and all it brings. Have a lovely Christmas.

chicken in red wine

I’m on my way back. It’s been a long old summer, with lots of changes for everyone, but I think I have found myself again in all of it. Have a lovely weekend, and I’ll be back with photographs and the usual ramblings next week.

Corby Glen Sheep Fair

Apart from the first photo, which was taken by my lovely friend Elly, photographer extraordinaire and member of the Bourne Borderers Morris side, the rest of these are just camera snaps. But it was such a gorgeous day I want to remember it.





We drove to Lincolnshire on the spur of the moment yesterday to visit some very dear friends. There was much Morris, there was a samba band, there was whirling on the waltzers and eating melty ice cream in the baking hot October sunshine.

The beautiful tatter coats, blackened faces (a disguise which prevented the police from arresting them for begging) and colourful decorated hats are all part of the Border Morris tradition which dates back to the 1600s. Have a look at this link if you’d like to book the amazing Bourne Borderers to dance.


Well, after a long hiatus I guess maybe it’s time to dust off my blogging boots and say a huge big thank you to everyone who nominated Tales from the Village to win the MAD awards best photography section.

It’s been a funny old summer, and it wasn’t until I sat at home last night (unfortunately I couldn’t make the awards) reading the live updates of the awards ceremony and looking back over the blog that I realised how much I’ve missed writing here and taking photographs of the things that make me happy. So I’m back. Hooray.

I’m off to dust off my camera. More later this weekend!


A broken laptop has meant an enforced break from the online world. It’s been quite peaceful, in a strange way. I hadn’t realised to what extent my fondness for Twitter and Facebook fed my news addiction. Right now I have no idea what’s going on in the world.


And I can’t upload photographs, either. So here I am on my phone, saying hello to my neglected blog and hoping that you are having a lovely summer.


Back soon!