Category Archives: Flowers

I shall wear purple ….

Pericallis Senetti in the courtyard to our flats

As I walked past the purple CinerariaPericallis Senetti – the gardeners had newly planted in our courtyard, I was reminded of Jenny Joseph’s poem Warning

‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me
. . . . ‘

Like everyone who voted it Britain’s favourite poem in 1996, I’ve always liked it, especially now I’ve grown old myself.

However, alhough purple is my favourite colour, the only purple garment I have is a Marks and Spencer purple button-to-the neck cardigan. Perhaps it’s time to go shopping for purple.

Delighted to get back another speedy and positive review of Chapter 1 of my memoir Woman in a White Coat. Thank you N.

Email me at to be sent the first chapter of Woman in a White Coat. If you comment, I will send you another. Look forward to hearing  from you.

Georgia O’Keefe and Bhupen Khakhar at Tate Modern, London

One of my favourite flower paintings by O'Keeffe
One of my favourite flower paintings by O’Keeffe

I wish I’d seen the BBC1 Imagine program – Georgia O’Keeffe by Myself – before I went to the Tate exhibition. From the poster I had expected to see lots of her flower paintings which I’ve always liked, but there were only two and though I very much liked New York Street with Moon, her Lake George paintings and her paintings of skulls and bones, the exhibition lacked the coherence of the TV program. The exhibition seemed bitty to me, but having watched the program and seen how her art evolved, I appreciate her non-flower works much more. It would be good to visit the exhibition again but there are so many good things to see in London just now, I am unlikely to make it.

One of Khakar's fleshy nudes
One of Khakar’s fleshy nudes

The other works on the same floor were by the Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar. Josh and I both particularly loved the deep blues and greens of the paintings in the first room. A sad man,  plagued by living in a world where his sexuality was forbidden, much of his work is related to his homosexuality. Rich vibrant colours and often moving, I much preferred it to the Georgia O’Keeffe, with the caveat that if I had time to go back I might well revise my opinion of the exhibition of her work.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, we were too tired after visiting both exhibitions in one morning to tour the new Modern Art Wing of Tate Modern. Another day.

There’s a bird nesting in our window box

Window box in the courtyard
Window box in the courtyard

We’ve had Mallard ducks on our 9th floor balcony and a peregrine and we can hear the blackbirds singing from their nest above us. Once a pair of ducks nested on the roof opposite and raised a family of ducklings there.

Sparrow's eggs?
Sparrow’s eggs?

Now a small bird has made a nest in our courtyard and laid five eggs. It seems amazing. The new gardeners only replanted the window box quite recently.

I caught a glimpse of a little brown bird flying away as I walked past but I’m not sure what type it was.

A neighbour said it was a robin, but surely they have blue eggs?

Lilies and Stamens

Our Stamen-less Lilies
Our Stamen-less Lilies

When Amelia, our daughter-in-law, came to dinner she brought a bouquet of these huge white lilies. Their perfume filled our flat but I worried about the mess I knew their rich golden-brown pollen would make. Luckily our younger daughter Jane had come over  to examine a PhD and had read that the answer is to remove the stamens as these magnificent blooms open. Works a treat though the pistils look a bit weird on their own surrounded by beheaded stamens.