Whatever the weather





I am more than ready for a new year.

I may be a little bit late in welcoming 2017 but as tonight is Twelth Night and our tree is still looking beautiful I am keeping the lights twinkling for one more evening.

We had lovely Christmas holidays and saw a surprising amount of blue sky and sunshine. My holiday reading has been “Weatherland” by Alexandra Harris which is turning out to be an excellent romp through English Literature all the time keeping a keen eye on the weather. I’ve already looked at the Bignor Villa mosaic of Roman Winter dressed in a cowl and read a sonnet (A Soote Season) by my Lord Henry Howard of Surrey in which for the very first time a sonnet steps outdoors and roams through a summer meadow. This book also has some great work on Virginia Woolf’s novels, especially Orlando, The Waves and To The Lighthouse, (Alexandra is a Virginia Woolf  scholar – her biography of VW is truly excellent and the Radio 4 series she made in which she walked in VW’s footsteps was enthralling) and I am so enjoying dipping into it randomly as well as reading it from beginning to end.

As you can imagine I was delighted to see Ian Hamilton Finlay’s word art decorating the granite of the Folkestone lighthouse which says that weather is a third to time and place, which I took to mean that it is of equal importance. I think the mermaid (a bronze cast by Cornelia Parker of a real woman) who looks out across Folkestone harbour to the sea beyond would agree. The Bridget Riley painting which is on display in Tate Modern is called ‘To A Summer’s Day’ and definitely conjures up a vision of a summer meadow to my eye and the knitted hat and mittens are made from undyed  Romney Marsh lambswool and would have been very welcome when we were on the beach, except they weren’t quite finished. The Christmas cross stitch is a little advanced from this photograph, but not by much – I think I may roll it up until the summer as the low light is not conducive to stitching on 28 count linen. East Head is a fragile sandy spit backed by sand dunes and forms the end of West Wittering beach where we spent Boxing Day basking in warm sunshine with barely a breath of wind, although by the time sunset arrived (which was definitely worth waiting for) we were all freezing.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2017 with lots of very good and appropriate weather.




6 thoughts on “Whatever the weather

  1. Happy New Year to you and your family! I loved Virginia Woolf when I read her in college but it’s been a long time since I’ve revisited her work. I feel inspired now to do so, thank you.


  2. I feel inspired to dust off my much-loved Virginia Woolf novels now. It’s some years since I read it but I remember thinking Hermione Lee’s biography of her was very good. Anyway, I do like that sound of Weatherland. The weather is so important, isn’t it? Makes such a huge difference to absolutely everything. x


  3. I enjoyed reading this post, Sam, and will definitely look out for that book – sounds just like my sort of reading. In the ‘old days’ when I sat down more than I do now I invariably had a sampler on the go, but they would never get finished these days!


  4. Loved loved loved ‘Weatherland’. So rich. Have you read Harris’s ‘Romantic Moderns’? Thanks for mentioning her radio programmes, which I didn’t know about. Delighted to see that her programme on Eric Ravilious is still available. I am a huge Ravilious fan – did you see the wonderful exhibition at Dulwich a couple of years ago?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s