Entries in home (25)


a little blue

Joel at 2. taken with old film.

This morning's dawn chorus was different. Instead of starting slowly, with blackbird and robin calling out politely to start a birdly murmur, there was a brisk and purposeful bird-wide chatter as if they all woke up at once and knew that the rarely-seen sun would shine for a few hours and there was work to be done.

I'm also jolted into action in the knowledge that tomorrow marks the end of the school term. There have been so many school and personal commitments filling up the days that I've kept my eyes averted from the calendar simply not to feel the acute sense of time limited. But they're suddenly here. The holidays that I've longed for just a few steps away. There is an odd sense of sadness about the closing of this term as it marks the end of Joel's time in the comfortable, homely early years. In September, he moves to another part of the school and another type of learning and a longer day that breaks my heart. Over these last months we've deliberated about home-educating Joel for the next year to avoid the working week school hours. That's what I would like to do. But he loves his school and his friends so on he'll go and we'll take it from there.

And on I'll go. I'll take my coffee outside now and watch the busy, birdly times outside. The buzzards wheeling lazily overhead now, confident of speed when they need it. The little wrens moving so quickly and beautifully from bush to fence to perch in the honeysuckle that's just beginning to bloom. Blue-tits hanging upside down on the willow. I'll sit in the noisy silence and have my fill of the solitude that will soon be a memory.   



Blue warmth briefly breached the clouds so I took the chance to get into the garden. The slow and calm of tying in roses and the satisfying clip and pull of dead-heading made me hum out loud. That's a good sign. A precursor to the singing that will mark my full ascent to ground level. 

Buoyed by the pleasures of that outdoor tidy and trim I searched for a little something I could do in the house. Ignoring all the large, dull piles that are accumulating this week I settled instead on the smallest, and happily gathered all our recent beach finds into a jar for Joel. 

And so the morning passed until it was time for coffee. With biscuits of a kind I only eat on my own as I like to nibble away all the edge chocolate first in a way that seems unseemly in a grown-up. And a read through the new book I bought after taking Denise's counsel on my last post. The bracing blue against red made it irresistible and brought to mind summer and all things good.

I found more clear sky in Simic's words. The blue in the cloud, the light in the stone. Hope.




I have seen sparks fly out

When two stones are rubbed,

So perhaps it is not dark inside after all;

Perhaps there is a moon shining

From somewhere, as though behind a hill - 

Just enough light to make out

The strange writings, the star charts

On the inner walls.

Charles Simic


woman's work 

It's been an unusually domestic week - mostly because the sun suddenly came out and my strongest wish was to sit quietly outside watching the fishermen cast and reel on the lake or listening to the radio in the shade of a tree. Both provided the perfect accompaniment to sewing.

First, I stitched up some little stones for Jude's project. I loved the process of setting the pleasingly imperfect stone shapes onto tiny squares of linen and could have carried on for ages. Only the thought of Jude's heart sinking as she gazed upon mountains of my stones made me stop. Then I tried a little freehand embroidery but the heat sapped any creativity and I set aside my hoop with not a little irritation.

So it was that I gave in and got domestic. I cut down some outgrown patchwork trousers to shorts for Joel and then spent a frustratingly long while unpicking the excellent stitching that held all the separate patches together. Still, I now have a tantalising stack of colourful squares to work into a floor cushion or rug for his room. I finally patched up the pockets on my favourite 'hot evening at home' Antik Batik kaftan. I sewed swimming badges onto Joel's pool towel. I even fixed the hems on John's cricket trousers such was the domestic goodness of my heart. And remembering Anja's beautiful checks, I cut and hemmed up some extra large gingham napkins to use on picnics. Oddly satisfying; all of it. 

Though the tranquillity of sitting happily outside in the heat contrasted uneasily with the sense of dread that always accompanies the bowel-shifting grind of the low flying chinooks that are busy in the sky this week. There is something about the simple, homely sewing that I'm doing now that makes me think of all those women - stitching, mending, running a home - in places and circumstances where tranquillity is a distant memory. And thinking about them doing their best in intolerable situations, I feel - yes - gratitude for my quiet days but also such impotent outrage for the too many lives that are far from ordinary.

* Kate


how are you?

A while back, I bought a trio of these postcards from Kerry at Seventy Tree and immediately knew that I'd have to claim one for my own. Just looking at it makes me happy - and reminds me daily that there is a long list of people I need to say hello to. 

If you know me in person, you'll have many examples of phone calls left unreturned for far too long. The phone and I are not friends and it's too easy for me to let a call go to voice mail. Then begins a self-perpetuating circle. I don't return a call promptly - time goes by - and it becomes too hard to easily answer the question 'what have you been up to?' More time goes by. It becomes even harder. And the worst thing is, it's the friends I think of almost daily - but who live at a distance - that I neglect most. I too often assume that we will always pick up where we left off. The loose, local acquaintances based on proximity and children have calls and coffees and no hint of my elusive ways.

But at this point in a new year, I realise that it isn't enough to say that I've thought a lot about someone (though entirely true). I need to accept that a regular phone call is better than a perfect phone call. To answer that call instead of leaving it to the more convenient moment that never comes. So these cheery lovelies are not going to be used to avoid a call but as an adjunct to one. And if one of them arrives on your mat then I hope it comes with a light-hearted hello, unweighted by lengthy apologies. It means I've managed at long last to break one of my most unhappy habits. 


at home

Stepping out into the early dark last night to pick a pair of bay leaves, I stood for a while looking up at Jupiter and Venus shining particularly brightly in the clear, cold night. Bats flickered under the willow. Walking back into the warmth of the kitchen, I felt a surge of contentment and sense of place that surprised me. We've lived here for nearly five years: longer than I've ever lived in a house, or a place. Being settled doesn't really settle me. Or so I thought. This odd little house that contains most of Joel's memories until now, with the garden that frustrates and delights in turn, has become a home that will be hard to leave. 



It's odd how things come together. Yesterday, to make space for a new piano, I had to find a place for everything that currently lives in a large and accommodating chest of drawers. And in a small house, that means sorting and throwing and finding new containers for things that fit perfectly well in their current home but seem utterly wrong anywhere else. 

I wasn't full of joy about my task. And the sun was shining so warmly that it seemed ungrateful to be indoors, so I made a strong espresso and told myself briskly that after a short break I'd get back to the job with no more excuses. Grabbing a well-thumbed copy of Barbara Pym's Excellent Women from the pile of books that no longer had a home, I settled on a bench outside. 

It was a full two hours later when I rushed back in, full of guilty zeal, to fling books and boxes into at least an approximate order before making a dash to collect Joel from school. I'd been charmed again by the voice of Mildred. Regarding herself with that particularly English form of self-deprecation and reluctant self-knowledge, and others with an eye that vacillates between dutiful generosity and sharp accuity, she's a perfect guide through a small slice of post-war English life.   

And then, while hastily sorting a drawer stuffed with cards and notebooks I came across an old postcard that I picked up years ago. I'd bought it solely because I was amused by the text. Who was the rather imperious, leggy Cynthia and why need Joan buy her stockings? But coming straight after my reading of Pym's book, it was as if the characters had come to life. I immediately imagined that Joan was a sort of Mildred; living alone in a relatively smart address, but perhaps in a small series of rooms, with washing drying on a rack and simple suppers that she resented eating. And Cynthia her glamorous friend, too busy with her romantic dramas to buy something so banal as stockings.

The synchronicity pleased me and made me feel that my distraction had a higher purpose. Rather a satisfactory day after all. 




It was another brief weekend at the cottages. A perfect pair of spring days with a sudden warmth that had me stripping off my layers in disbelief. Arriving late morning, we unpacked and ate a hasty make-do sort of lunch before heading out and up to walk the forest tracks to the ridge of hills that give us a favourite view over the area. The snow layer has been slow to go so the ground was surprisingly muddy. Joel soon regretted his decision to mountain bike and there was not a little bartering about who would push the bike on the steep sections. Back home, in front of the fire, a few slices of intensely lemony drizzle cake with a good thick crust of sugar made the efforts worthwhile, and eased the hour or two until the grown ups reclaimed the evening.  

I woke the next morning to silence as the boys had slipped next door to have breakfast with John's mother. Cup of tea in hand and a stack of old Country Living magazines weighing down the bed covers, I listened to the birds calling happily through the window until the light forced me to get up, and get out my camera. It was a day of rainbows, scattered through the house and briefly cresting the distant trees. Football and more cycling, this time on the flat, before we had to pack up and make the journey home. The grind of unpacking made more palatable by the sheer pleasure of knowing we'd each be sleeping in our own beds with all the familiar sounds of home. 


week's end

The closing days of the short school holidays have come too quickly and we're refusing to look Monday in the eye. It's been a gentle time, suddenly warm and springly sunny, and we haven't ventured far from home. The list of activities I had planned was ignored. Instead, the stream has been dipped, some tennis played, drawings made, books read. Fields walked through and the alpacas conversed with. A chocolate cake baked and devoured. Films watched in front of the fire, with soft toys tucked under a blanket. Good days.



Another overnight delivery of snow rearranged my day and left me with a couple of spare hours this morning. I was happy. The sun began to assert itself as I walked and the silence of the empty fields was punctuated only by the music of birds. The buzzards wheeled in slow arcs. A tiny wren perched on a thorned branch for a moment to catch its breath. An apricot-coloured young fox paused in fright at the crest of the ridge as I climbed, and disappeared in an instant. I stopped to speak to the pair of horses I'd last seen trespassing in the grounds of the manor house at new year. 

Sometimes I'm not sure if I value such moments of solitude more than others or if I'm more accepting of them. I've spent a lot of time alone during my years of academic study and work and during long bouts of travel and living abroad. Alone a lot even while in a relationship because of work. Being alone in public doesn't bother me. I can eat alone, travel alone, go out alone. But long periods of living alone is something that saps all joy from me. I miss that daily routine of being with another person. At the moment, John is clattering through the cutlery drawer to lay the table for the supper I've prepared while he's put Joel to bed. I like that. All the daily inconveniences of sharing a life with another person are secondary to the simple pleasure of knowing that my solitude has an end. My achilles heel. 



Ten years ago, when she was eighteen and was not called Arrow, she borrowed her father's car and drove to the countryside to visit friends. It was a bright, clear day, and the car felt alive to her, as though the way she and the car moved together was a sort of destiny, and everything was happening exactly as it ought to. As she rounded a corner one of her favourite songs came on the radio, and sunlight filtered through the trees the way it does with lace curtains, reminding her of her grandmother, and tears began to slide down her cheeks. Not for her grandmother, who was then still very much among the living, but because she felt an enveloping happiness to be alive, a joy made stronger by the certainty that it would all come to an end. It overwhelmed her, made her pull the car to the side of the road. Afterwards she felt a little foolish, and never spoke to anyone about it.

Now, however, she knows she wasn't being foolish. She realises that for no particular reason she stumbled into the core of what it is to be human. It's a rare gift to understand that your life is wondrous, and that it won't last forever. 

Steven Galloway The Cellist of Sarajevo


quietly happy

Back in our own little house after several days staying in rather glamorous surroundings it's the pleasure of the familiar that has us excited. I'm happy to live at a gentler pace after the rush of these last few weeks and to enjoy looser days before school enforces its own routine. 

These first days of a new year always take some adjusting for me: I've only just dug out the new kitchen calendar. It's a ritual that I write in all the birthdays and important dates for the year - and a ritual still to be running to the postbox with a card at the very last minute and just hoping that our postal service will perform a miracle. And since I have a stock of cards always made, and envelopes and stamps and the dates faithfully written in my diary why should it still happen? I think because I feel I've already done the hard work. 

I hope this first week sees you settling in happily into 2012. 



These last few weeks have been lived largely without internet access, often without a phone line and with a dying laptop that finally had to be replaced. The daytime silence that settles through the house on a school day was heightened by the absence of phone rings and click of keys to the point where I held off automatically switching on the radio in favour of letting the external sounds filter into the quiet. In some small way, those little periods of mindful silence these last weeks have been a form of meditation. Perhaps I'm storing up the silence for winter, as term ends soon and the season of anticipation and feverish excitement begins. Storing up patience as I've stored the fruits that have been harvested, juiced, cooked and frozen.

And warm autumn sun has continued on, making these short days vivid with colour. Surrounded by woodland and heaths, our valley has been so lovely to walk through, especially as we can do so largely unencumbered by coats and layers. The heather lasted well beyond its usual season, the berries fruited on and on and our garden blue tits have recently raised their second batch of chicks this year. Until yesterday, when the first hard frosts left fields and leaves stiffly white for those first hours, it seemed impossible that winter would ever come. But I'm ready for it now; ready for the rush towards the end of the year with its making and baking and advent.

Walking to the car this afternoon in low yellow sun through rustling brown leaves with the church bell tolling the end of another life, I felt utterly grateful. For the warmth of the bonfires and fireworks and unexpected loveliness of autumn. That I was on my way to pick up Joel from school. It seems that the warm pleasures of these last weeks has enabled me to build a store of happiness against the coldest weeks of winter and those moments when joy is harder to find. Come on winter, we're ready for you. 


oranges not lemons

Growing up in the seventies, orange was a familiar sight on clothes and in homes. One house we lived in was painted orange outside. In another, the entire kitchen was orange. Even the floor was terracotta. You had to look up or out to rest your eyes on any other colour. And if it wasn't orange, it was brown. Brown carpets, brown cars, brown cord trousers. 

Nowadays, in our white worshipping society, you don't see orange around so much. But it happens to be my boy's favourite colour so I've felt compelled to use it around his room and in splashes around the house. Last year, I stretched some orange bird-printed IKEA fabric over a very large handmade wooden frame as a cheap (temporary, I thought) hanging on one of our high, breakfast room walls, but it's still there. We took it down, replaced it with more tasteful this and that, but the wall looked so lonely and cold without the vivid splash of colour so it's back up again, reflecting warmth back into the room. It's cheer-making, especially when the days outside are increasingly grey.

This bonfire weekend was heaven for orange lovers and as a contribution to a bonfire feast I made an orange saturated almond cake. Similar to the lemon cake I mentioned previously but moister, it's been a staple of ours for years as you can cook it in advance and let it really soak in the juices or whizz it up quickly on the night as I did, making it a lighter and drier affair. I like it straight with coffee but it sits very happily alongside ice-cream or crème fraîche and simply gets more richly delicious and moist over a number of days.

The recipe below is based on Claudia Roden's orange almond cake, the main difference being that the oranges are squeezed and zested rather than boiled and used whole, so it's that bit quicker to make.


4 eggs, separated

125g caster sugar

grated zest of two oranges

100g ground almonds

For the syrup

juice of four oranges (add an extra one if you want more syrup to pour)

125g caster sugar

a good splash of brandy or cointreau (though equally happy without it)

Preheat oven to 180C/350 F/gas mark 4. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar, orange zest and almonds.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, and fold into the yolk mixture. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured loose-bottomed cake tin.

Bake for 45 mins until golden brown. Meanwhile, place orange juice, sugar and brandy (or whatever) in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 mins.

Pierce the cake all over, then pour over the syrup and leave to soak in. Jug any extra: rest assured, it will all be used.

By now your kitchen will be full of orangey deliciousness and November will seem a pleasant time of year. Enjoy.



sunlight on your eyelids

Good morning. And it is good. Sitting outside with my coffee I realised that something felt different: yes, the leaves had yellowed dramatically but it wasn't that. It wasn't even that the grass is so thickly carpeted with yellow and orange leaves that light is reflecting happily upwards. It then struck me that there was a lot more sky and water than normal. After a night of strong winds the tops of the tallest trees are bared and the lower limbs of the trees surrounding the lake have dropped, letting in so much more light. Tilting my closed eyes up to the warmth and brightness, I thought of this song, discovered via Lily and played over and again.

On first hearing, images exploded of my first trip to India. Driving dazed from the airport in a taxi playing bangra. Rolling along the stall-lined, rutted, back streets of coastal Kerala as dusk descended abruptly candles flicked on alongside us, the stars switched on above and woodsmoke wove in front of our headlights. I stuck my head out the window like a crazy mutt, all the better to inhale the scents of smoke, food, dust and dung. The smells of India. Addictive. But then, the scent of dusty pavements drying after rain is heaven to me. My first night in India, not sleeping. In a hut on a cliff above the beach where the incessant crashing of surf mingled with the shouts and songs of fishermen and early morning calls to prayer. And from somewhere, music. In India there is always music.

The colours of an English autumn can't compare with the vivid tones of India but this is our season of yellows and orange. Warm colours reflecting the welcome warmth of the last day of October. Sunlight on your eyelids: it's a good way to start the week. I hope your day - and your week - contains a little sunshine.  


handmade home

top photo: Swedish Elle Interiors 2010: home of Maria Astrom and Sam Stigsson. bottom photos: British Elle Decoration June 2011: home of Kristin Peters

I was relieved to see the cover of last month's British Elle Decoration celebrating the handmade home. As I gazed around our own little house, I could see fewer than a handful of items that we'd brought brand new, and fewer still that haven't been adapted, or painted or otherwise tinkered with. We've always preferred to find furniture and objects to re-home and had quite a collection. But when we moved here we found that most of our furniture didn't fit. Needing new furniture throughout we had to be inventive to keep costs down. Older items are frequently more petite, so a 1950s Danish teak sideboard (bought for £10 and revived with patient applications of teak oil) sits neatly in the sitting room concealing any number of toys behind its sturdy doors; a sternly plain Victorian bookcase fits perfectly into the study alongside a pair of vintage desks and a rosewood linen press contains clothes and linens in the alcove no modern wardrobe would fit into.

The one problem with the handmade home is that it can take longer to source furniture and it usually involves a bit of work. Whitening old wood that can never be restored to its full glory is utter simplicity but while slippery modern laminate needs a little more effort, it yields equally satisfying results. A friend's unwanted IKEA chest of drawers has been transformed with some chalky white paint into a piece that is often mistaken for vintage scandinavian. I'd much rather expend a bit of energy than a lot of cash, but sometimes I admit to putting the task off. Which is why a prettily-shaped modern dining table (another cast off from a friend) has been waiting patiently in the shed for me to get sanding and painting. But it will be done and every time we use it I'll think of her.

The interiors I love most are those where you have a strong sense of the people who live there. They may not be the most styled, or even entirely my taste, but to me there's nothing better than stepping into a characterful and individual home rather than one expensively but blandly furnished. What I like about the photos above, and this eclectic bedroom, are that they're examples of relatively simple but still individual and homely rooms.

For our own home I prefer a simple palette of white and wood offset by splashes of colour. I like pictures and photos (both snaps and John's own fine art photographic prints) books, fresh flowers, candles in jars and glasses and a mix of textures. I like looking at our collections of natural objects and discovered treasures but dislike clutter, so tend to only display a selection of our things at a time. And I'm bordering on obsessed with keeping all the necessary clutter of life (art supplies, paperwork and inevitable mountain of toys) firmly behind solid doors. I also make quite a few things for the house - cushions, coverings, throws, table linen - and like to display a few pieces of Joel's work properly amongst our other things. All in all, it's a home handmade by us all and we like living in it.

As I'm writing the guilt of that languishing table is gathering. It seems there's nothing else for it but to get out the sandpaper and the paints and get down to work. 


treading lightly

The summer holiday has begun and we all feel lighter for it. It's lovely simply to have time to be together. Getting out the bubbles and watching the butterflies and dragonflies darting in between them. Watching bubbles skim lightly over the surface of the stream and family of ducks swimming furiously to investigate. Sitting outside with boxes and tape and paper and pens and making a series of creatures and their homes. Discovering a skateboard park that's perfect for stunt biking. Building upon a growing crystal collection and reading all about them. Talking. Laughing.

Shedding constraints. I'm still tethered to earth by the practicalities of preparing to leave for France at the weekend but look forward to cutting those final ties and treading more lightly through life for a few weeks. I hope summer is being kind to you.



a life in pictures

Sometimes when I'm uploading photos from my camera I come across images that I don't remember taking. Then I realise that Joel has been photographing. Santa bought him a little camera last year but it's usually mine that he picks up, and he's pretty adept at using it now.

I love to see the world through his eyes. The sheer difference in height changes the way he sees things, and it makes me see what he values. The favourite shoes; the surprisingly lovely light of a bath-toy; John's gardening gloves drying; an outgrown tricycle. Our quiet lunches and shared painting times. Me and John - usually unflattering but always loving. When I laugh at how I look in them he says indignantly 'no, you look lovely!' (have you noticed that I haven't included any of those? yes, I am that vain).

Not many days go by when I don't photograph. Because a lot of my life is spent around the house, that's reflected in my pictures. Joel has a strong sense of what my eye gravitates to - 'Look mummy! look at that shadow! quick!' - so I find it fascinating to see what catches his eye. I like his aesthetic: the angles and exposures may not be perfect but they're surprisingly composed and take account of the fall of light, and of colour.

Sometimes Joel moans as I rush off to get my camera, 'you don't always have to take photos of everything!' and mugs the shots after I make him do that thing again (and maybe again because I haven't quite caught the expression) like he's on a photo-shoot. But I tell him that one day, when he's older, he'll be happy to look back on so many photos of himself and his home. And among them will be his own photos of home and of family. Will the memories be more precious for that?



seeing green 

With the wild flowers over and the trees now in full leaf, the garden is looking disconcertingly green. I love the tall, swaying trees that cast welcome shade and shadows but have less friendly feelings towards the self-seeded laurels that cutting back only encourages, ivy covered tree trunks, dense holly and incongruously planted conifers that border the edges of the woods.

Once you start looking though, it's extraordinary just how many shades of green there are. A glance outside the door offers the fresh, broad bean green of the ferns unravelling from the stone wall, the dusty silver of lavender and eucalyptus, sharp brightness of lemon balm and muted, white-rimmed shade of hostas. It's a subtle palette that I'm having to take time to appreciate rather than simply giving in to envy of those gardens whose bright blooms remain glorious and un-eaten.

It's also a palette that is acutely sensitive to changes in the light. Delicate and fresh in the morning, by mid-day the sun bleaches out the subtle tones, making the garden heavy with shadows and sombre dark-greens. Late afternoon the variety returns and the garden sparkles lightly. While I'll never entirely lose my summery desire for bright drifts of colour outside, I'll console myself with the thought that looking at green is supposed to be good for the mind and body, and relax.

How does your garden grow?


light and dark


My day, my moods and my writing seem to be overly influenced by the weather at the moment. I realise, too, that the photos I post are sunny when I complain about rain. That's because the sun will shine in sudden bursts that illuminate the house in stripes of light and, generally, the skies relax in the early evening, resulting in long low shafts of sun across the lawn and through the bottom of the trees. I love the light then. But when it's taken away we're thrown from bright sunshine to a sudden darkness that needs lights to be switched on to avoid feeling like we're living in a cave.

Thinking about it, I wonder if the weather is reflecting my shifting moods as much as influencing them. This week I'm too easily thrown from light to dark and long for the simplicity of a day where skies and moods are even and predictable.

Today wasn't one of those simple days. A morning party for Joel and an afternoon of baking. Or rather, sweating anxiously over my first attempt at a birthday staple in John's family, the crostata. My grandmother taught me that pastry must always be made in a relaxed, unhurried state. That wasn't the state I found myself in. Returning from the party, distracted by the ludicrously bedraggled, wet and muddy alpaca massing around the fence to greet us, I reversed the car into the corner of our wall. At the time I was impersonating their high-Andean accents so, really, there is no excuse. And for my childishness there is now a largish hole in the bumper that irritates me every time I have to open the boot.

It isn't hard to make a simple jam crostata but it's been made by John's Italian mother for family birthdays for nearly 50 years so to take it on this year was, well, a little intimidating.  Emerging eventually from the oven (having had to whip up an additional batch of pastry owing to certain .. technical issues) with something that at least looked like a crostata, I worked off my nervous energy with a vigorous pillow fight with Joel. You'll notice perhaps that there isn't a photo of the crostata. I covered it ready for tomorrow and I'm damned if I'm looking at it again until then.


quietly busy


Joel stayed off school today and we had a quietly busy morning of making. While he constructed a submarine and a space explorer out of boxes and tape, I made a pile of notecards out of images torn from magazines. It's so satisfying to have a stack of cards ready to go. I'm notoriously bad at making and returning phone calls: I much prefer to send a few words by mail and talk in person. My rationale is that I gesticulate too much to make the phone a natural means of communication for me.

Still creatively energised and seeing my cards scattered over the table, Joel then papered over an empty IKEA biscuit box to act as a little desk storage box for my cards, envelopes and address book. I love the rather Moroccan theme and now I really have no excuse for non-communication.

I also finally wrapped up a pretty Old Navy dress I found for my god-daughter Rosa. And, oh the feeling of being so organised, I slipped in one of my new cards to say hello.

A bit of moussaka making is now on the cards. I haven't cooked it for ages and it feels rather seventies. Perhaps I should slip on my kaftan? I unearthed an embroidered jewel-blue Antik Batik in a tatty thrift shop and was thrilled with my find. The only problem is, I keep catching the pockets on our door handles, tearing the pockets a little every time and pinging backwards with a start and a cry. Not entirely sure I'm in the mood for that and the weather isn't very Greek, so I'll put on my vaguely Nana Mouskouri-esque glasses and leave it at that.