Saturday, July 23, 2022

Desperately Seeking Shade

Forgive the plagiarism of the Madonna film, but I have been immersed in all things 1980s this week.  I'm organising a staged shoot in September to promote my elopement photography.  My concept is a 1980s inspired woodland elopement (think artsy, boho 1980s as opposed to the bridal froth of Princess Di) with a Stranger Things vibe.  My mood board is overflowing and I'm amassing a great team of suppliers, including a local model, who just so happens to be a Kate Bush fan, a Stranger Things devotee and lover of all things 1980s.  Coincidentally, Chloe grew up visiting my chosen woodland location as a child.  Her boyfriend, Tim, who has also agreed to take part, is even rocking an 80s mullet hairstyle.  Serendipity!  

Immersing myself in work and play has never been more important after the loss of Caroline.  We said goodbye in style on Thursday, all wearing a splash of colour to reflect her personality.  As sad as the service was, it was a fitting tribute, with a church full to capacity and the celebration of her life became just that, in the sunny garden of a 17th Century coaching inn.  Caroline would have found this photograph highly amusing.  

A guest was forced to abandon her shoes at one point in order to cope with the humidity, steps and uneven surfaces on her travels to converse with everyone.  Caroline was diminutive in stature and always appreciated a decent pair of heels; even more so a party.  She would have approved.

Having already been excused from jury service to attend the funeral, performing my civic duty turned into a non event.  I'd been rehearsing my dramatic "Guilty" voice (I jest) and bracing myself for a lengthy deliberation where I would give my best Henry Fonda turn in the jury room, but it was not to be.  Every evening, I would receive the email to say that I was not required to attend Court the following day and at the time of writing (Friday evening), I have formally been discharged from jury service.  

Given that the UK racked up its hottest temperatures on record, the central region, we reached a high of 36 degrees on Tuesday, the fact that I wasn't required was met with some relief.  

This photo was taken when I was pondering whether or not to venture into the garden.  Our view from the kitchen window, looking at the monster potted Gunnera Manicata outside; the light reflecting the kitchen cupboards behind me.

I went for it.  We have never been more appreciative of our woodland garden, which allowed for short bursts of exposure of sun on our pale English skin en route to the shade of the trees at the very top.  Here's a sun accented wild geranium at the bottom of the garden.

Old windchimes, claimed by spiders, glinting in the sunlight.

The rising sun in a cloudless sky just kissing the top of the laurel bush.

The corkscrew hazel twisting the light....

....and who did I find at the very top, hiding out in the tree house, which of course, now belongs to her?  Lotte the cat of course.  Lotte divided her time between the laurel bushes and the tree house, refusing to accept that it was actually cooler in the house.

On my return journey, I spotted the lace cap hydrangea blooming...

...glimpsed the house through the shade of the trees...

...admired the honeysuckle (very briefly, as by now, I was feeling scorchio)

...and paused for an ivy shadow selfie.

This photo reminded me of a series of barley shots I took a number of years ago, which included this weird and wonderful shot.  Can you see the barley spirit?

We sadly had regular visits from the fire service because it's seemingly impossible to educate some people as to the dangers of setting fire to tinder box dry woodland vegetation.  I wonder if they would feel remorse if the houses were engulfed in flames and lives lost?  

Rewinding a little to a day or so before temperatures peaked, we were able to visit a vintage store I had discovered online.  It's the area's best kept secret crammed to bursting with all manner of antiques and collectibles.  I will be back because there was a Victorian Carriage Cloak with my name on it (although the price tag requires some alteration)!

We also made friend with this beautiful black cat, who I'm calling Johnny Cash because he's the man in black and walks the line.

On our regular walks, I took this golden view from Kinver Edge...

...photographed the spiders' webs - from a safe distance...

...spotted this badly parked narrow boat...

...and indulged in more cat stalking.

I'll leave you with a short video I took on Monday from the shady top of the garden.  With the temperature already breaking all UK records, we suddenly experienced an unexpected rain shower.  It lasted for a blissful 2 minutes and felt like divine intervention.


  1. lovely cat shots - but lotte tops them all - so very cute in her shady spot under the bench.......
    and - masterful play with the sun and shade and the foliage of your garden!!
    can´t wait to see the 80´s inspired photos.....
    i do love a warm sunny summer - but whats happening at the moment is not right. and makes me fear the future. we had a few minutes rain here too - just enough to settle the dust but not enough to fill the reservoirs.
    the celebration for caroline sounds wonderful!
    stay cool and safe and give lotte some headbumps from me and lisbeth <3

    1. Thank you. I agree with you Beate. I'm quite fearful about what the weather has in store now. I will pass on requested headbumps. I know Lotte will appreciate them. xxx

  2. We've hardly got any shade in our garden this time of year, so with the heat - we clocked up just under 40°C - it's a no-go area. In order to cater for my poor patio pots, I did my watering duties at 10 pm, when the temperature were just bearable!
    Love your garden shots, as always, but my heart leapt at the barley spirit, the golden hued view from Kinver Edge, and Johnny Cash walking the line.
    The service and celebration of Caroline's life sounds fitting indeed, but I do get that immersing yourself in work and play has been important.
    I had to laugh at Lotte's choice of hiding place, which is probably typical for cats. We could neither tempt Bess nor her predecessor Phoebe to opt for a spot on the tiled floors downstairs. Both prefer(red) to lie on the fleecy plaid on our bed! xxx

    1. Thanks Ann. It was unbelievably hot wasn't it? We've never experienced a time when we have been advised not to open our windows. Lotte clearly doesn't understand the concept of heat rising. Cats are a law unto themselves! I don't think Caroline's absence has fully registered yet. It's as though she's on holiday. She would have been so pleased to see everyone there. xxx

  3. Ouch, I'm just reading about Ann's almost 40 degrees and 10 pm watering :0 I spent Monday and Tuesday lunch in the woodlands by work - it was just bearable. Oh look at Lotte beast! It must be so hard with that much fluff. Our neighbour's cat disappeared for three days. He always does when it it's hot :0

    Of course I saw the barley spirit! Wonderful photo. Love the corkscrew hazel too. So good to hear your dear friend Caroline had a super send off. The red shoes made me laugh.

    The antiques store looks brilliant - I'd happily rummage in there. Was that canal boat really parked up like that?! :0 :)

    Your 80s woodland elopement shoot sounds so exciting - especially the mullet part! Monsieur has given me permission to send you the 80s vibe Thrds remix if you'd like to use it to accompany any of your photography / film. I'm at 'longmizzle (at)'. I could always dropbox you the .wav file. Lulu xXx

    1. Yes, poor Ann having no shade. Scary times.

      Yes, the canal boat was "adrift" shall we say? I can't imagine how any narrowboat holiday makers would have dealt with that one!

      You would have been in your element in the antiques store. Any requests? I'll keep my eyes peeled.

      That's so kind of Monsieur. I might try and put a little video together (time permitting), so his cool soundtrack would be most welcome. I'll drop you an email soon. xxx

  4. I'm so sorry to read about Caroline, Claire. The photo of the shoes is wonderful and I can picture what a glamorous and vibrant woman she was. I'm glad you gave her an appropriate send-off.
    Lotte looks magnificent as does Mr Catitude and Canal Cat.
    I'm intrigued by the 1980s elopement themed shoot - I'm imagining the bride with a spiral perm and fishnet gloves lugging a battered leather hatbox down the road, her belongings spilling along the pavement...ah no, that's actually 20-year old me doing a flit from my slumlord! xxx

    1. Thanks Vix. It was pretty sudden and we were forced to cancel plans to see them. It's all a bit shit really.
      Mr Catitude was one cool cat and Canal Cat was a cutie. We seem to have been doing a lot of cat bothering recently. :-D
      I might call on your expertise for the 80s elopement shoot. I have sorted quite a few things for it, but I've set myself up for a fall by sharing a photo of my dream outfit for the groom, which he has fallen for. Not sure if I can deliver on it though! A spiral perm? Eek! I am eyeing up a round tartan hatbox/suitcase though. xxx

    2. Hope it works out, sounds really interesting!

  5. Your garden looks wonderful! I love the idea of a slightly wild garden hidden in trees with the sun coming through in dapples!


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