Saturday, 23 May 2009

Picnics and Hats

I went with my two children to Hoveton hall again today. We had a lovely hike around - My little girl (3) even walked all the way to the ice house - albeit a bit perturbed by both the family of geese and nursing sheep in our path. All the rhododendrons were out in full scenting the air and filling the skyline with colour. We then had a late picnic, from my new basket, of wraps, grapes and homemade carrot cake. The flask of tea was a very welcome treat indeed after a morning with two tired children. There really is nothing like tea and cake - the one without the other is still nice but there is a certain magic of the two together - more than the sum of its parts. I wore my new raffia sunhat and felt fitting sitting on the picnic rug surrounded by the beautiful English countryside and strolling along flower borders.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory -
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belov├Ęd's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

Shelley (1792-1822)


The dark lintels, the blue and foreign stones
of the great round rippled by stone implements
the midsummer night light rising from beneath
the horizon - where I said "a cleft of light"
I meant this. And this is not Stonehenge
simply nor any place but the mind
casting back to where her solitude,
Shared, could be chosen without loneliness,
not easily nor without pains to stake out
the circle, the heavy shadows, the great light.
I choose to be the figure in that light,
half - blotted by darkness, something moving
across that space, the color of stone
greeting the moon, yet more than stone:
a woman. I choose to walk here. And to draw this circle.

Adrienne Rich

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


I had a discussion with a liberal feminist friend the other day about women's freedom to wear what they want. Her sister works in Kuwait and has to cover up and she sees muslim dress codes for women as oppressive. I do not disagree with her in essence but we do disagree about the relative freedom of being able to wear what you like. On a saturday night my local city is full of young girls wearing next to nothing - even on very cold nights. I question that this is an expression of freedom - as many of them are chained to behaving in certain ways to pick up a man. If a woman dresses as she wants for herself it is one thing, but if it is to attract a man and this often involves being freezing cold or uncomfortable, then to me she is potentially less mentally free than a muslim girl who chooses to take the veil. Obviously, living in a free state to pass comment may seem trite, but still I think there is often the illusion of external freedoms, when actually mentally we are far from free.