Sunday, 28 January 2007



Ruth Howard (nee Pugh, later Stevens) at her nursing home in Lexden, Essex near her daughter Auriol. My mother's first cousin, they played and rode together as children as described in this fragment. She lived near us in Hampshire and was always close - and known as 'Aunt' Ruth. After my mother died she became father's companion. Still beautiful now at 96.

Thursday, 25 January 2007


That life may be more comfortable yet,
And all my joys refined, sincere and great,
I'd choose two friends, whose company would be
A great advance to my felicity:
Well-born, of humours suited to my own;
Discreet, and men, as well as books, have known.
Brave, generous, witty, and exactly free
From loose behavior or formality.
Airy and prudent, merry, but not light;
Quick in discerning, and in judging right.
Secret they should be, faithful to their trust;
In reasoning cool, strong, temperate and just;
Obliging, open, without huffing, brave,
Brisk in gay talking, and in sober, grave;
Close in dispute, but not tenacious, tried
By solid reason, and let that decide;
Not prone to lust, revenge, or envious hate,
Nor busy meddlers with intrigues of state;
Strangers to slander, and sworn foes to spite:
Not quarrelsome, but stout enough to fight
Loyal and pious, friends to Caesar, true
As dying martyrs to their Maker too.
In their society, I could not miss
A permanent, sincere, substantial bliss.

From The Choice by John Pomfret

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

The Orangery in Winter

I wish the garden looked like this; it's been horribly mild so far. This was taken in 2001. Roll on a decent winter snowstorm!

The morning after I posted this, we woke to snow. This is the garden in the early morning

The Orangery

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Stunning New Zealand

Milford Sound

Lucky enough to fit in a quick trip to New Zealand after Christmas and New Year in Sydney. Managed to visit Taupo, Christchurch and Queenstown - with an overnight visit to Milford Sound. The photos speak for themselves - this is one of the most spectacular places on earth