Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A List For Spring.... Has Anyone Seen It?

A List for Spring....
Has Anyone Seen It?

Today I wore a coat the colour of a Springtime sky.  In this part of the country, in any other year, this final week of March would call for a coat made of linen. But not this year.  Though its colour said Spring, the coat I wore today was made of warmest wool and sported a flamboyant fur collar (faux fur, naturally).  I paired it with a grey turtleneck sweater and grey woolen trousers, grey socks and grey oxfords.   And I still shivered as I ran from place to place.  For though the calendar emphatically tells us it’s Spring, the weather declares it a liar.  
In any other year, the trees would already be wearing the golden green dresses of Spring.
Azaleas would be blooming; windows open wide. 
 But not this year.  
Outside the wind is howling; the temperature dropping like a stone.
  There is a roaring fire in the fireplace; a mug of hot cocoa by my side.  
There is a forecast for a dusting of snow; an extra blanket on the bed.
Tell me.  
Has anyone seen Spring?
If you, like me, are clad in flannel and snuggled down for another cold and wintry night...
If you think Spring is nothing more than a myth...
Here’s some new favourite finds to, hopefully, make you smile.
Bundle up, and Enjoy!

1. Garden
Normally the stone urns in the back garden would already be overflowing with blowsy new ferns. 
 There would be alyssum in the window boxes and the hydrangea bushes lining the drive would be full of new green leaves. 
 Instead, the palette of winter still colours the land.
  Grey trees, grey ground. 
 No matter - I’m using these extra cold days to dream up new ideas for
 the Spring that will surely come soon.  
Ideas like the one above.
Don’t you just love that?

2. Hats
A couple of years ago Macy’s closed their hat department here in town.  A lot of women were simply appalled.  I counted myself in that number, even though I have to admit that I rarely wear a dressy hat, something I find regrettable. (I do wear sun hats, of course, big wide-brimmed numbers that I love.  Strangely enough, I find these at my dermatologist’s office.  She has the best hats.)  I adore hats, especially extravagant ones with feathers and such, but really, where would I wear one?  In my dreams I wake every morning and place a delightfully bizarre hat on my head like the one above, one designed by the milliner extraordinaire, Philip Treacy.  Has there ever been anyone more creative?  Treacy’s hats always seemed so perfectly suited to the designs of Alexander McQueen.  They have that same ability to push the boundaries of fanciful right off the mountain of spectacular.  Perhaps I couldn’t get away with donning one of Philip Treacy’s creations for a run to the farmer’s market, but now at least I can have an entire collection within the boards of a glorious new book of his work.
(Oh, and it’s worth noting that the complaints of local women convinced Macy’s to reopen their hat department last Spring.  So maybe I’ll be a hat wearer yet.)
Find the new book ... HERE

3. Amazing Handbags
It seems a rare thing these days to find something unique. 
 Something you’ve not seen before; something beautiful, something extraordinary.
  When I saw these new handbag creations by designer, Kristine Johannes, my heart stopped. 
 Each one is a work of art. 
 Not only would they be a joy to carry,
 but I can see a collection of them lined up on an antique table, 
reflecting sunlight and candlelight like prisms.  
Utterly modern, with a timeless beauty, they could easily become a passion.
They are all so gorgeous, I had the hardest time choosing one to feature.
See the collection for yourself, HERE.
See Kristine's brand-new video for Barney's HERE

4. Keeping Time
It goes so fast, as we all know.
Shouldn’t we keep it as magically as we can?
Watch time fly with this lovely carousel clock.
Find it HERE

5. Bob and Sophie
Like me, a lot of my readers are well acquainted with two very special, very furry, sheepdogs who used to reside in the deepest part of France.  The adventures of Wilf and Digby were faithfully recorded on a daily basis by their witty and devoted master, Angus on his popular blog.  It was always my first stop every morning.  When they left us, Digby first, and the gallant Wilf a couple of years later, I along with many others felt their loss in a significant way. Such is the power of friendship between the like-minded within the blogosphere.  Fortunately, Angus continued his delightful writing at a new blog entitled The Rickety Old Farmhouse, giving us a window into his wonderfully quirky French village.  And now I am so happy to report that two new Polish Lowland Sheepdog puppies are scheduled to arrive at The Rickety Old Farmhouse on the seventh of April, something that makes me endlessly happy, particularly as that happens to be my own birthday!   These two are brother and sister, christened Bob and Sophie.  If you are followers of Angus, this news will tickle you as much as it does me, I’m sure.  
If you’ve never visited before, now is the perfect time. 
 Set your watches for April 7!
You can find Bob and Sophie at their brand-new blog.
Find Them HERE

6. Good Ol’ Freda
A couple of weeks ago, on a balmy Saturday night around ten pm, if you happened to drive down one of my city’s more eccentric streets, you would have seen yours truly sitting cross-legged atop a stone wall outside a fairly grand church, an unusual sight to be sure.  The Songwriter and I were there waiting to see an entry in the city’s annual Film Festival.  The schedule was running late, but I’m so happy we waited, for the movie, Good Ol’ Freda, was a wonderful experience.
  Good Ol’ Freda is the story of Freda Kelly who, at age sixteen, was often in the crowd of girls watching The Beatles’ lunchtime concerts at The Cavern in Liverpool.  One year later she was employed by the band.  For eleven years, Freda ran their fan club, acted as their personal assistant and secretary and became as trusted as family.  Though this is a fascinating tale of a halcyon time in our culture, it is ultimately a portrait of a woman who refused to sell her story for fame and fortune, choosing instead to hold her secrets close and remain loyal to the members of a band she worked for and loved.   The movie, like Freda Kelly herself, is joyous and uplifting.  I cannot recommend it enough and encourage you to see it if it comes to your town.
Read More HERE.

7. Poems to Learn by Heart
When you were little, did you memorize poems?  I know I did.  Isn’t it odd that the words we memorize as a child seem to stay with us forever, floating back whenever we have need of them? Perhaps that’s why we say we know them “by heart”, for they do seem to reside there, in the deepest part of ourselves.  
Whenever my Father was complimented on the beauty of his garden he would respond with “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, calling forth the words of Keats into the springtime air.  And just last night, as the March winds blew the wind chimes into wild crescendos and sent the thorny branches of the rose bush to clawing the windowpanes, the words of Robert Louis Stevenson traveled the long distance from my childhood to the forefront of my mind...
 Whenever the moon and starts are set 
Whenever the wind is high, 
All night long in the dark and wet, 
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out, 
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Caroline Kennedy has published some delightful poetry compilations over the years and I’m happy to say she has a new volume just out this week.  Poems to Learn by Heart is a collection of wonderful poems perfectly suited for memory.
Find it HERE.

  For the child in your life, or for yourself, 
wouldn’t it be nice to know this one by heart....?

I’d Love to Be a Fairy’s Child
by Robert Graves

Children born of fairy stock
Never need for shirt or frock,
Never want for food or fire, 
Always get their heart’s desire:
Jingle pockets full of gold,
Marry when they’re seven years old.
Every fairy child can keep
Two strong ponies and ten sheep;
All have houses, each his own
Built of brick or granite stone
They live on cherries, they run wild -
I’d love to be a fairy’s child.

Happy Spring to you all!
I'm sure it will be here soon.


  1. I am really loking forward to getting out into the garden once this arctic blast has dispersed. I must grab myself a copy of Treacys hat book. I studied basic Millinery during my fashion years, my heart still skips a beat when I pass Philips shop every day. The cover piece worn by Ms Jones is one of my favourites.

  2. Wonderful suggestions Pamela... and they will help pass the time beautifully as we wait for spring... If it ever comes this year...

  3. We are having the exact same weather as you Pamela .......... heading into April it is rain, sleet and snow for us !! Still, having lived here in the UK all of my life, I am used to it ...... I can remember snow in May and June !!
    I'm sure that Spring is just around the corner so, while I'm waiting, it will be a pleasure to pick up on your suggestions.
    Keep warm and please buy a Philip Treacy hat ..... you would look wonderful in one and I feel that it's your duty to own at least one in your lifetime !! XXXX

  4. Hello Pamela, same weather around these parts - just cold and windy, rain now and then. The grass is green and beautiful and will require another 'haircut' this week, but everything else is so slow to open buds, blow forth petals, and waft on a breeze. Easter will be barren in southeastern gardens this year but I just know Spring is coming soon. Meanwhile we light a roaring fire each evening, refusing to clean out the hearth and put the fireplace accoutrements away yet!

    What a great thing to offer hats at the dermatologist's idea for others to emulate. I seem to be collecting my sun hats in other countries lately - found stylish, affordable ones in Australia especially.......where they know the power of the sun.

    Happy week and Easter blessings to you, the Songwriter, Edward and Apple..........
    Hugs - Mary

  5. Pamela,
    I could visualize your blue coat. It sounds lovely. I know this will sound like whining, as we do not receive snow where I live, but it's the coolest winter and now the coolest start of spring I can remember. Southern California is usually warm by now and maybe even too warm. It's been quite cool with only intermittent warmth.
    I'm so happy to hear that Angus is soon to be the proud owner of such darling puppies.
    Do you suppose we'll have a longer warmer summer as a result of the longer cooler winter? :D

  6. It's cold on St. Simons Island, GA too. BRRRRRR!!!!! I'm normally in the middle of preparing my garden, not this year! Stay warm and thank you so much for your beautiful posts!

  7. Thank you for again a lovely post. Today we have sun and comparatively mild weather - what a welcome day! I've been looking forward to hearing about Bob and Sophie; thanks for the link which I shared on my blog. Oh, hats, I love hats; rarely have the occasion to wear them but love them none the less.

  8. Today Spring fluttered her skirts and danced in the neighbourhood all day. Such a flirt! I know she will take up residence very soon.
    SO happy to hear about Bob and Sophie - I feel like the grandkids are arriving!

  9. Spring is hanging out here in the Similkameen, - she is so fickle, it may only be a short visit, - but such a welcome one!

  10. Nice post. I will have to see that Movie,and the Garden idea is a winner. As far as that hat, how
    can she balance it. I grew up in a hat shop, love them. When we bought this property I found a big stone with a Fairy footprint in it.
    I show it to everyone.
    We are getting snow too.
    Renee keeps sneezing, Spring is here. yvonne

  11. As ever a compendium of wonderfully fascinating items.
    I will follow the puppies with joy!
    HAPPY EASTER, dear Pamela and Song Writer and Edward and Apple.

  12. Hi Pamela,

    You probably already know that April is Poetry Month. You and your readers can sign up to receive a Poem-A-Day from Knopf right to your inbox. There's a box on their home page for entering one's email address.

    It's such a lovely thing!

  13. You always, always cheer me up Pamela whenever I read you. Today it is minus 1 here, snowing and 20cms of snow lying on the ground. Sheep are dying in the hills as they are buried under the snow and the strong east wind means that as fast as they are dug out the wind blows in again.
    And yet you manage to find something to write about to cheer us all up. I absolutely love that first photograph - alyssum(?) spilling out of a milk church - what a brilliant idea. So thank you dear blogging friend.

  14. Like you, I'm pining for spring. Your whimsical list cheered me up.

  15. While reading has always been a love of mine I wasn't girl who memorized poems. I would have like to have been that girl, however.

    Those clutches are stunning, but having clicked on the catalogue so are the prices. A collection of them on an antique table would definitely be a beautiful way to show them off as works of art.

    Oh yes I know, really looking forward bo Bob and Sophie. You first introduced me to Wilf and on the morning he finally passed I had to compose myself at work several times to stop myself from bawling. All for a dog across the world who I never met!

    Must watch the Freda movie.

  16. Love the garden pic. Can't wait for the this snow we're getting in Yorkshire to blow away. I want sun and flowers. Please.

  17. I believe that Spring will come. Nature does not do what our calendar decides it should do. It comes in its own time, and we need to wait with tea in hand, and a seed catalog in another.
    My Rosario Iris has bloomed, and I am thrilled. My beloved Father was called Rosario, and it was a natural act of fun for me to plant his namesake. ;)

  18. The poem is beautiful! Thank you for letting us know about the film on Freda. I will make a point of seeing it if it comes to Los Angeles. Happy Spring!

  19. All very beautiful and apt. Here in the Southwest of France, this New Englander is seeing new glimpses of Spring every day, but the heating oil is still depleting! Angus has caused a lot of us to hold our breath while waiting for the much anticipated arrival of the gorgeous Sophie and the little character Bob. Wilf went over the Rainbow Bridge on the day we moved to France last May, and my heart had a hole that is still there. Thanks for reminding us of good things.

  20. This time a week ago was a return to winter, but today is feeling springy. We have already reached our predicted high of 60 degrees. I'll take it! Freshly laundered sheets are drying on the line, and the clouds that are gathering no longer threaten snow but look like rain. A small bunch of multi-colored crocus by the back door make me smile as I go in and out.

    I saw--and almost bought--the most wonderful hat in a thrift store recently. It had an enormous brim! The sun wouldn't stand a chance. It would be the perfect hat for a Victorian tea, as well! I confess I tried it on and thought I looked rather fetching. Now I'm wondering why I didn't buy it. Perhaps it was the thought that there wasn't room in our little Victorian cottage for a huge Victorian hat!

    Happy spring… Happy Easter!

  21. I am looking forward to seeing Bob and Sophie on the 7th (my son's bday also). Let me please wish you an early Happy Birthday, Pamela!..and I am getting C. Kennedy's book for my granddaughter..just a couple of the many delights I find whenever I visit here. ;)

  22. I'm off to take a look-see at Bob and Sophie, thank you for tipping us off as to their arrival and the new blog - I'll be back!

  23. P..I always thing the same thing each time I start with a comment on your posts...where do I begin? This one left me with one lasting impression that I can not let go in a Philip Treacy creation...if not Phlip then surely something very English on your next trip to London. I want to hear one day that you found it and you are brining it home! As always...everything else hear is magical....I would love to be a fairy! xx


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