I came across these photos yesterday.  Both from last year. Both taken on mornings of patchy sun and drizzle. Both of the beautiful mess we make when we allow time to unfold and let inspiration in.

We drank sloe gin with our bread and cheese and talked about painting weeds, hygge, hiding and learning to sit still.

We cut up apples and opened old notebooks and new parcels.

Happy weekend.


Beautiful mess
Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 18 May 2012

I thought you might enjoy this quote from William Henry Channing while we still fiddle around with the back of a web platform.  I would rather be reading, weeding or writing.  Well, maybe not weeding, just poking about in the garden. It has been horribly neglected and is busy rewarding us with crazy, determined spring growth.  I wonder if I will ever feel there is enough time in one day.


“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”

William Henry Channing

Lovely.  Particularly the bit about the ‘babes’. I did smile. While I continue to try to be the kind of person who lives content with small means and thinks quietly, I’m going to keep my eye out for some babes.


One day
Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 17 May 2012

We stole half an hour for flat whites and carrot cake in our local café/grocery store this morning. I was ill tempered and tired of being woken early again and again. It was warm.  The wooden floor was swept.  Staff and customers were Saturday morning slow – getting stuff done but at their own pace.  A woman in a sea green knitted jumper with long, wiry hair was persuading her friend to join her for a wild swim.  We started to talk and, with the novelty and warmth of new connection, I began to find my enthusiasm for the day.   Minutes later there were five women sharing their love of swimming in deep natural pools, tidal rivers and the open sea.  For months I have wanted to dive in to the restorative flow and embrace of water.  It’s spring here.  Cold but alive.  Now is the time.  So we decided to buy a notebook and to leave it in the café on a shelf, next to the bread.  When one of us has found a new swimming spot, we’ll write it down – maybe we’ll pencil a map and the small details that will lead others to a new cove or the curve in a river where the bank is shallow enough to wade in.

The cure for anything

is salt water:

sweat, tears or the sea.

(Isak Dinesen)

A couple of books came up in our conversation:  Waterlog, of course, by the much loved Roger Deakin and Wild Swim by Kate Rew (founder of the Outdoor Swimming Society) and Dominick Tyler.  There must be more books and thousands of hidden places around the world to share with each other..Come to think of it, last summer I read Breath by Tim Winton. It was disquieting but lovely in places. He wrote about water, breath, fear, the thrill of fear, coming of age and the price of being more than ordinary. And he wrote about surfing and the joy of, ‘doing something completely pointless and beautiful’.


Diving in
Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 5 May 2012

I hung out of the bedroom window last night before closing the curtains. The garden has grown shadows and secrets under its new canopy of green. Sounds are more difficult to distinguish now but I could hear owls calling and the coarse, throaty cry of pheasants.

Inside the house, water was running for an evening bath, dull base sounded from upstairs, there were footsteps on the wooden floor boards, a dog whining in the kitchen below. I heard soft laughter from another bedroom, the hiss of a car on the wet lane and, close to me, my husband quietly turning the pages of his book.

Everything outside was growing, reaching up, beyond, through and around, looking for a place in the light. So many layers of living things.  Inside too.  Each one of us busy with our own precious life.  We weren’t together but we were connected, enjoying the same darkening evening, the same privilege of safety and the proximity of others.

hanging out
Posted by Louisa Thomsen Brits on 3 May 2012