Summer is….

An ancient song…

Summer is icumen in

Lhud-e sing cuckoo

Groweth seed and bloweth mead

And springs the wood-e noo

Sing cuckoo

Ew-e bleateth after lamb

Low th after calv-e coo

Bullock starteth

Buck-e parteth

Merry sing cuckoo

Cuckoo cuckoo

Well sing-est thou

Cuckoo, nay stop thou never noo


Sing cu-ckoo noo sing cuckoo

This is an ancient summer song from England. It’s rustic words are a real tongue twister to sing. Our choir tackle it at this time of year. I tend to sing the burden because it’s a simple repeating line. You need good breathing though because it runs along below the main song and usually starts before and ends after the rest of the choir. We sing the music as a round, normally four groups for the tune singing summer is icumen in.. Summer is icumen in.. One group after the other. The foot/Burden group is usually split into two groups of two and start Sing Cu-ckoo… Sing Cu-ckoo…. Over and over.

As a side note, the first time I saw the song was in the film ‘the Green Man’ with Edward Woodward. The villagers sing this after he is captured as a sacrifice. I always get a little chill down my spine when we sing it! You can probably find it on YouTube…..


For years I painted the scenery for the Penkhull Mystery plays. This one was about the river Trent starting near Stoke on Trent and travelling towards Hull. Each year I would do one or two large sections of painting. The show would start rehearsals in March? And be on in July for one day only on the village green. I miss those days. The excitement as we prepared and made things. Brilliantly directed by Greg Stevens. And organised by him and Kate Barfield. It had everything. Music, acting, tragedy, comedy. Plus morris and molly dancing, a bower of song, a Maypole dance, eukelali players and choirs. I don’t suppose we will do it again?

Thanks to my friend Tim for the photo.

Clocking on

Have you ever clocked on? I did for a few weeks one summer when I got a holiday job. The clock machine we had to use was a big grey box with cards in slots next to it.

I also clocked on for an art project. Each time I went into my studio I clocked on, and off. The cards were collected and turned into an artwork later on.

So seeing this at the museum rang a bell… Some forty year old thought woke up and reminded me of a dirty grey factory floor, oil splashed on the machines, knurling air filters for cars (joining the concertinerd paper together) with two clogged wheels that pressed the ends together to hold them in place before they had cages and the rubberised circles fixed to the top and bottoms, then clock off and go home at the end of a long, boring day. So clocking on? I’ve done that.


Now’s the time to order our hanging baskets for the year. The lady that puts them together asks me what colours I would like. Usually I don’t specify what theme I want but I’m definitely going for a rainbow theme this year. I think because there are so many different flowers and shapes and colours that would really brighten the yard. Last year was mainly red white and green so I bought in other flowers to broaden the spectrum.

Going out of the back door and seeing all this colour lifts my spirits. I usually order them and then collect them 6 to 8 weeks later. It’s a bit expensive but I have never been able to grow baskets as beautiful as hers. The summer arrives and I bring the baskets home. Then we have a riot of colour until late Autumn.


Six months ago these were still flowering. The bushes are outside Portmeirion pottery and always cheer me up when I see them. Now we have reached meteorological spring they should start to transform again from dry looking sticks to flowering stars.

Fushias are beautiful hanging flowers. They can be simple like these or delicate like ballerinas with swirling pink or red skirts or double flowers like flamenco dancers. You can get all sorts of varieties of them. I think they are called F1 hybrids?


Mascot of some sort of Falcon seen on a motor trike last summer at a classic car show. Lovely chrome with orange eyes. The green paintwork was fabulous. You wouldn’t want to get into an argument with this bird.

I do like looking at things and sometimes I can get a good photo of objects with my little caeon my phone.. The trouble is its getting very full of images and I have to scroll through a lot of them to find things, so mostly I chose more recent images. Hope you like this one.


When the sum rose this morning it was on the shortest day of the year. Now the days up here in the Northern Hemisphere will slowly start to lengthen again. At first at a minute or two a day, but gradually a few more minutes around spring time. Then as the Summer solstice approaches the number of minutes slows down. Finally after that the process goes into reverse and the days begin to wane again. So the great cycle of light and dark tumbles along North and South. Only on the equator are day and night lengths balanced out. The cause? Earth is tipped at an angle, so for six months of the year one half of the planet gets more light than the other (which also proves the Earth is a globe).

Happy Solstice everyone!


When it’s warm, not hot, when the scent from plants wafts gently in the air. Then it’s time to visit the Dorothy Clive Garden in Staffordshire. It’s on the border of Shropshire and Cheshire. As you look down from the tea rooms you can look down over the three counties. It’s pleasant to sit out on the lawn with sandwiches and a cup of tea or scones and jam and cream. I’m imagining that I’m there now. That the cold chill in our living room is actually a gentle breeze blowing over the hill behind us and cooling me down! I might even indulge in an ice cream from the tea room. We would definitely be buying plants to take back to our garden.

The Dorothy Clive Garden was created in memory of her. It is built mainly on a slope with perennial plants in beds around beautiful and unusual trees. Some of the plant combinations are spectacular. There is also a quarry garden filled with trees and rhododendron bushes in glorious flower in the spring. There is a lovely view of a waterfall in the bowl of the quarry garden. Then an extended area of the gardens with drought resistant planting and a laburnum walk under planted with purple Alliums rings the changes. This year we also visited a hothouse with tropical plants at the lower part of the garden. It’s a good place to visit on a summers day.