Sunday, January 01, 2012

CCLXXI - A Day in January

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A River of Stones had a challenge
on Facebook to write something insightful
about the small things in your life every day in January.  
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Rather than doing a set of 31 posts
I compiled them all into a composite about one day in January.


A Day in January
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It’s dark but there is the sense that others
Are already awake; sounds from beyond the thick
Velvet drapes and cool cotton covers:
With utmost patience a magpie feeds its chick.

The gentle cooing of the doves on the roof;
The lorikeets crippling the unwary with scimitar nips;
The ravens’ mournful cawing, remotely aloof;
 Wattlebirds tout “Hot pies, hot pies, chips, chips, chips”

Cars pass up and down the street,
From the tyre’s sound, the road is dry.
A jogger pounds away his knees and feet.
Distantly, a tram clangs and trundles by.

The room hangs over me as if made of wool,
Or as if an overly embracing creeper.
I want to yield to day-break’s pull;
Beside me the rhythmic breathing of a sleeper.

Warm bodies move restlessly in nightshirts and
Crawl out of the covers, into the musty gloom:
With the parting of the curtains,
The greys dissolve and colours flood the room.

The movement excites the feathered kin
Who sense food will soon eventuate.
Kitchen scraps, neatly diced, in a well-used tin
Are delivered with deference to the sacrificial plate.

Plum jam, home-made with love and care
Awaits to have after the feeding of the fowls.
Served on toast where all the seeds are there;
It’s good, I’m told, for the movement of my bowels.

Hot, black and syrupy, perhaps excessively so:
Espresso in a china cup of purest of white.
However else the day may come or go,
There’s some consolation that it started right.

Who is that in the mirror?  Watching me   
Prepare to lather a stranger’s face?
Grey hair, wrinkles and sagging skin sting me
With the truth about time’s relentless forward pace.

Against a wealth of previous experience
I check the to see what is happening in the news.
The basic stories have a strange intransience,
Just the names are changed, and the locations too.

A mug of coffee, the second one for the day,
Goes with me as I go to see how the garden sits.
New weeds, new flowers,  new growth and decay;
Insects and possums vie for the most tender bits.

Warm, succulent, juicy and red
Satsumas that survived the possum horde
Are a plum prize of the fruitful garden bed,
Some are eaten fresh, the rest are stored.

In the garden, plants get gently squeezed:
Geraniums, basil, mints and verbenas;
The heady aromas so rudely released
Transport your mind to distant arenas.

As if in giant cobwebs, the grapes are draped
In netting, to deter the birds;
Last year not a single grape escaped
The rotten little pecking…um…herds.

My companion when prowling the garden
Is a pair of good, strong secateurs;
Prune hard and then beg a pardon
Works better than asking permission first.

Many years ago, when she was going into town,
My grandmother had a special city-only treat:
A pork and pineapple sandwich, white not brown,
From a small shop, just off Flinders Street.

In her memory, I made such a meal,
With some of the left over weekend roast,
It’s the closest I come to genealogical zeal,
And to my Granny, I raised a silent toast.

Forty expected today, quite unpleasantly hot;
That’s one oh four in the old Fahrenheit scale.
Air-conditioned, the cinemas seem just the spot
To escape from reality, in all it’s over heated detail.

Meryl, as always, was right on the mark
But pools of light flicker as cell phones intrude
And strangers beside me, crunched stuff in the dark;
Is two hours too long to go without food?

We exit from our dark and plush cocoon
Into a seething whirlpool of humanity.
I feel out of place in this mad cartoon
And leave at once, to protect my sanity.

The day has knocked the plants around:
The hydrangeas are hit quite hard,
The lettuce lies limply on the ground
And the raspberries, crisp and scarred.

Salvias are upright and enjoy the heat;
Cold drinks do a roaring trade;
The driveway cooks unwary feet
And open-beaked birds stand in the shade.

Zucchinis, known as courgettes to some,
Grow faster than you can collect them.
But it doesn’t take long for the welts to come
If I handle them without protection.

Cold and amber, the tall glass is dewed
With beads of condensed appreciation;
Beer that has been so carefully brewed
Is an elixir, deserving heartfelt adulation.

At the end of the day when the work is done
Few rewards will so wash your dusty cares away
As a cold beer; sometimes even more than one
If it has been an overly dusty care-filled day.

The evening is hot, the mercury yet to fall
Relief in rain, we are told, is on the way.
The Bureau is 60% confident in it’s call
But, disbelieving, I water the garden anyway.

Out for a walk, beneath twilight skies,
I greet passing strangers with a cheerful ‘Hi!’.
Some respond with a start, as if caught by surprise,
While others avert their gaze and hurry by.

Tending to the charred offerings on the grill
Of a four-burner, gas-fired barbecue;
Gives man, the hunter, a throw-back thrill
And, as before, leaves the salads for his wife to do.

Mosquitoes announce their presence with a whine,
That turns sane people into anxious self-hitters.
There are those who swear on Intelligent Design
But none give a reason for these sucking little critters.

A quartet treacles through the night,
Playing Mozart, with mathematical precision.
The music is a sublime delight,
An escape from reality’s mundane prison.

The gentle caresses in familiar places;
The discarding of clothes that encumber;
The culmination in a loving embrace,
A genital sneeze and then so to slumber.

The rain does come, in the middle of the night,
The air is of the earth, a sense of life on-going.
The patter on the roof is a visceral delight
And the storage tanks are overflowing.
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The house is now quiet, darkly, softly so;
A clock marks the measured steps of time.
The moon casts a timid, tentative glow;
And somewhere a possum eats my vines.
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© 2012 J Cosmo Newbery
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Print this post

292 comments:

  1. you're off to a great start!
    dark drapes and cool cotton covers sound great as the summer heat hits in full swing here

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  2. Lovely writing! Very atmospheric!

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  3. Good start to the month! Keep it up.

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  4. I like that feeling of having a 'sense that others are already awake' - particularly if I'm still in bed.

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  5. Lovely and serene. Only 29 left!

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  6. That's a lovely, vivid glimpse of the other side of the world.

    Glad you're doing this too!

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  7. Hey,this is interesting Cosmos! One a day, huh? I can expect a lot of the witty and saucy things coming from you, right? Great!

    Hank

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  8. so that is what they are saying :)

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  9. I'll have whatever those wattlebirds are selling!

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  10. bythewobblydumdumtreeJanuary 03, 2012

    Thank you for visiting my blog. I have been listening to cooing doves on the roof too but we are fresh out of lorikeets and wattlebirds!

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  11. This is going to be a long day...

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  12. I'm still laughing at Lee's comment :)

    I don't quite get the whole thing; explain please. Sorry.

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  13. Your small stones are very poetic. Nicely observed.

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  14. I absolutely love River of Stones Fabulous.
    Happy New Year

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  15. Lots of movement in #3. The jogger sounds miserable.

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  16. LOL Lee

    this is an interesting way of doing it, developing a flow of its own

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  17. Well this is an interesting challenge. Let's see if you can keep it up for 31 days ... ;)

    xxx

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  18. Wow.. These sure do beat my fb updates!

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  19. Very clever, keeping each stone hanging together like that. Nice.

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  20. I love the wattle birds chant. There are also purple ink birds. You know those....

    OK I think I'm getting this. ok ok shutup

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  21. Beautiful! I can really feel the atmosphere in the room.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog:-)

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  22. This cumulative thing is brilliant, especially reading the day's one alone then as part of the whole. Excellent.

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  23. Your words are beautiful. Poetry has never really been my gift so I always admire those who can do it really well. Sorry to hear Mrs N won't cook duck because of Jemima. I love Jemima too but I tell myself I'm not eating her, just one of her naughty cousins.

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  24. Along with the enjoyment of reading every stone you write, you create a wonderful anticipation of what will happen on this particular day. So well done!
    How can I follow you blog; I can't find the "Follow" button?

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  25. What a stage you set, J Cosmo...every nuance of a morning unfolding...stellar imagery.

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  26. Your Jan. 5 stone is just lovely! I wish my mornings were as beautiful! Instead, I get an alarm clock in my ear and two dogs crying to be let outside in the cold!

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  27. I like this 'The greys dissolve and colours flood the room.'

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  28. Tantalising..."the sacrificial plate..."

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  29. Beautiful thoughts :) Lovely way to do small stones!

    thank you for visiting my blog and commenting!!

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  30. The birds are excited, we are excited! :-)

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  31. perhaps the feathered kin are poetic parrots

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  32. Wonderful imagery in your daily rhyming challenge, if anyone can make great work of it you can dear J Cosmo. :)
    xoxoxo ♡

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  33. The meaning of life is to find the beautiful things!

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  34. Thanks for that morning smile :-)

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  35. Great plum jam poem. I love the twist to the punch line.

    BTW there seem to be one too many the's in (I think it's) the third line. Hope you don't mind me mentioning.

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  36. any day that starts with a strong 'short' coffee in the morning is a good one :)

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  37. I enjoy your writing, and today's stone (about the espresso) took me to my happy place.

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  38. Coffee always starts MY day right too. Enjoying your stones!

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  39. I am thinking that permitting overtly fine and decently upstanding women to be enjoying your stones is being a thing that should not rightly be undertaken on a public blog. Am I not thinking correctly so?

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  40. I really like the way you have set up your small stones! Your prose flow, like the river we are all casting our stones into.

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  41. Only you could use bowels in a poem and make it seem not only right, but perfect, J Cosmo.

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  42. I'm with the princess - protect your stones! Bowels ... really ??? LMAO

    xxx

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  43. Plum jam and good coffee! Heaven.

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  44. The coffee sounds wonderful!
    xoxoxo ♡

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  45. This is great, I love the idea of this continuing poem. :)

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  46. Since Australia is 10 hours ahead of us (at least Sydney, the part I know, is) you're probably having your evening glass of wine, or beer, now. So I raise my (somewhat late) morning latte and say Cheers!

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  47. Since Australia is 10 hours ahead of us (at least Sydney, the part I know, is) you're probably having your evening glass of wine, or beer, now. So I raise my (somewhat late) morning latte and say Cheers!

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  48. I like the way you're doing this and day 7 made me laugh!Thanks for visiting me :-)

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  49. That first cup of coffee is So important, isn't it!

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  50. I'm back on day 8... love it!

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  51. I am enjoying reading your stones, thank you for visiting my blog to read mine. Beverley xx

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  52. The glass of wine drew me in, your words kept me ~
    I will return.

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  53. Espresso in a china cup is wonderful! When we visited Italy, I adapted to that custom immediately!

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  54. I just read it all again from the top; love how it's rolling out like a slow wave...

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  55. Aw, don't be so hard on yourself, I am sure you look great dear J Cosmo!
    xoxoxo ♡

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  56. I have the same problem.

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  57. Cosmos,
    One a day and a composite for the month. Never thought of it that way. A refreshing way of getting a flow of thoughts captured and smoothly consolidated. What ingenuity!
    On your latest,we can all relate to that. A reality check so to speak. Time for a facial,huh?

    Hank

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  58. 'the truth about time's relentless pace' ....
    Very apt for me, too, this morning as I read this while waiting for the hair colour I have just applied to my grey roots to 'take'.

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  59. The passing of time...Aren't we the fortunate ones to have this happen to us? The alternative is unacceptable, for now anyway. But sometimes it feels weird to look in the mirror and see someone whose age doesn't add up to how I feel inside. But then, I don't think I would like to be young again either... I need whatever wisdom I have gathered since :-) she rambles on...
    This is a very good capture of that morning moment of truth!
    BTW, watch out, the moon was full this morning, but it will still look full tonight! :-)))

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  60. Ah yes...time marches on for sure. If I don't wear my glasses while gazing into the mirror, I still look pretty good ;)

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  61. Well, it can indeed be disheartening to look in the mirror and see one's parent instead of oneself looking back. I'm doing the Small Stones in a similar way to your approach in a special Small Stones PAGE at the top of my blog. I got my idea from YOU (thank you), and it is working well. Stop in sometime if you are in my 'neighborhood.' Here is the direct link, but it can always be found at the top of my blog.

    http://inthecornerofmyeye.blogspot.com/p/experimentation.html

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  62. This is beautiful. I love the way you're putting it together as a composite. :)

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  63. Another good and lovely stone! This will be one great big read! :)

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  64. Oh I really like this stone ... and of course can relate to the all too human condition of aging. Someone above mentioned feeling younger on the inside. Now that I'm older, I do understand that feeling completely. But our flaws are stitched together with good intentions, yes?!

    Very impressed with the way you are putting this together - and producing on a daily basis. Well done, Cosmo.

    xxx

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  65. It does seem like they're the same stories over and over. We're just not able to learn from our mistakes, so this will continue. What's the solution, stop following the news? I'm just asking...
    Good observation!

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  66. That's so true. More of the same. I've stopped watching and reading the news, it's always bad.

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  67. So very true about the news (and about our reflections changing) :)

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  68. Oh I love how your stone is gathering momentum - it's a real joy!

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  69. Thought-provoking small stone today. So true, and so well put. :)

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  70. Ok but don't get depressing on me...

    Can the possums be on drugs or something?

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  71. Make a day last a month, he's still only on his second cup of coffee!

    Love the plum jam.

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  72. Yes the news is almost always the same but never many good news stories.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  73. Very nice verse, it is a nice experience to wander around the garden looking for new flowers and new growth.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  74. wow - I love how you're doing this in stanzas. Today's post (11th) is wonderful. I love to wander the garden, cup in hand. I'll check back to see how this shapes over time. What a great idea.

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  75. January 11 - nice! I am one to walk around with MY coffee cup to as I wander through life.

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  76. Good one (11). Wandering around the garden is relaxing, and a great way to start the day.

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  77. I kill everything I try to grow, so fortunately I don't have a garden, just a large deck, which I love :-) But reading your stone almost makes me wish for a garden to bring my coffee into :-) Good stone!

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  78. Jan. 11 Possums! Wow. Again a great shackle to the chain!

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  79. Satsuma plums are delicious, happy that the possums left some for you.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  80. The garden seems to be positively seething!

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  81. Yummy. I bet they make great preserves! I'm glad the possums left you some.

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  82. It feels forever since I've been in the garden. This reminds that after the winter (and after animal raids) there will be beauty and bounty again.

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  83. Delightful and delicious!

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  84. Jan. 12 was also a great read! :)

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  85. It's getting juicy! :-)

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  86. I've been wandering around my garden with a mug of coffee too. I am a fair weather gardener, so it's all pretty neglected at the moment, but am enjoying watching the green shoots of the hyacinths and daffodils start to emerge. Roll on, Spring!

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  87. Time is like water
    From between the fingers.
    Cherish the time

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  88. Love that feeling of still being cosy in bed, and hearing the animals and birds about their morning business. Evocative writing.

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  89. You seem to lead an enchanted life!

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  90. Beautifully written, so many aromas in the garden to take us to memories of far off places.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  91. Strangely, I wrote about the power of perfume today. I wonder if scents provoke more instant memories than anything else? Beautifully written Cosmo,as always.

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  92. I can smell your garden I think :)

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  93. A subtle trip to summer with stone #13, I love to squidge plants!

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  94. Enjoying the garden moments, much!
    xxx

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  95. Your garden sounds wonderfully aromatic and fragrant!

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  96. cute :-) Ahhhh fresh grapes! No wonder the birds can't resist. I'm jealous that you are in summer!

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  97. Good to hear that you have outsmarted the birds and will have some grapes to eat.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  98. You must have a magnificent garden! A great place to sit and inhale delicious aromas, and maybe swat at a few birds!

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  99. I am thinking that this is going to be being a long slow day, is this not being so?

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  100. heh-heh
    i can think of another word that rhymes with birds

    :-)

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  101. So this year the grapes will be safe from those nasty things! Hoo-ray! I love my Australian vinos.

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  102. I love today's stone - very witty! It's amazing that you're getting them all to rhyme and scan - bravo!

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  103. They do look like giant cobwebs too - and the birds seem to know exactly when to swoop in and strip the lot.

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  104. January 13: I can certainly smell and picture this beautiful garden from your words.

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  105. January 14: I do hope the netting protects them!

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  106. Birds can be all too clever, especially in...er...herds. (I have more trouble with that sort of netting than the birds do, always ending up caught in it.)

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  107. Ha!! I'm lovin' this...it's like a goddamned soap opera! lol :))

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  108. Jan. 14: Another one I love to read! :)

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  109. So now the birds have eaten the entire harvest?

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  110. Birds in herds? Who knew??

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  111. Braja: More like baby shampoo - soft and gentle, won't sting the eyes.

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  112. Yes, keep those grapes safe! They could be turned into good wine :-)

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  113. Oh, I need new secateurs, mine just crush the heck out of the branches.

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  114. January 15: I don't have a clue what 'secateurs' are. Some kind of fancy sheers? You definitely sound like a master gardener.

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  115. I had to look up "secateurs", interesting word, learning new stuff here. Now I have a vision of you, the prowler, with this instrument of torture, and terrified grapes....

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  116. Very nice dear J Cosmo but remember not to prune too harshly, as most men tend to do. :)
    xoxoxo ♡

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  117. Shoot first, ask questions later....

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  118. Whenever I go to do any gardening it's the secateurs that I can't find.

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  119. Hotly Spiced: They are not my first pair by a long shot. But where are the others?

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  120. Your Stones are a delight to read. :)

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  121. Is this being a branch of the science that is called Phrenology with which I am being unfamiliar?

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  122. PTM: I think you may mean 'chronology'. Please tell me that you mean 'chronology'.

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  123. Past half way! The down hill run!

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  124. Your poetic offering today is very sweet, a nice memory of your Grandmother.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  125. Nice! A pork and pineapple sandwich sounds good....especially in memory of your grandmother!

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  126. Those darn pecking herds! :)

    I think that sandwich would have to be considered soul food, J Cosmo.

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  127. This is so weird - it's the second time today I've read about pork and pineapple! We occasionally got served ham and pineapple at school... I loathed it! It had a glacé cherry on top for some reason. *shudder*! I'm sure your sandwich would have been much better

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  128. Childhood memories are always better when food is involved!

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  129. OOH! Very nice this one. :)

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  130. Forty expected today, damned upleasantly hot.
    Bring back winter. Loved both your posts. I will return.

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  131. Forty degrees today, poor you, it's beginning to feel too much like Summer.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  132. Oh, I would LOVE 40 degrees C. today. We will have about 20F and snow. I enjoy the hot end of the spectrum more than the cold. But I did escape into a theater yesterday. Theaters are good escape from either hot or cold weather. (Saw Mission Impossible!)

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  133. The sun is high, the sky is blue, But the wind is cold and I envy you.

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  134. No envy from me. I despise hot weather! Be careful not to melt going to and from the cinema.

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  135. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother. And meat and pineapple together is so yummy!
    I love warm weather, but 40 degrees is just that bit too much for me, drains my energy. Hope you enjoyed the movie!

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  136. Looking around us, two hours is definitely too long to go without food.

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  137. I HEAR ya about the crunching! Really, two hours is too long without munching? These are always my sentiments exactly.

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  138. No, some people cannot go without food, talking or their mobile phones for two hours.
    Sorry the enjoyment of your film was interrupted by these annoying distractions.
    I will wait until the film comes out on DVD. :)

    xoxoxo ♡

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  139. I often wonder that too. I hope the film was enjoyable in spite of the distractions. I've heard it's good.

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  140. Ahh, J Cosmo....you're an Adelaide boy, or was your grandmother just an Adelaide girl, like me :) Flinders St...know it like the back o' me 'and...

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  141. It's one of the things I notice when I go to London these days: everyone seems to be sucking on a cup or stuffing their face. Everywhere and at all hours.

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  142. It must be a universal disease - cell phone lights in the dark of the theater and not being able to wait until after the movie to stuff our faces and discuss the plot! Yes, I, too, will wait for the DVD.

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  143. I rarely go to the movies, but if I did, I would be just in it for the popcorn anyway!

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  144. I can't stand popcorn... Tastes like cardboard to me...

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  145. It's hard to imagine 40 degrees on either scale right now, and I'd take both in a heartbeat :)

    I never mind the crunching of stuff at the movies, but the crinkly bags drive me nuts!

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  146. I can relate to the heat as we had over two weeks straight of temps above 100 F last summer. The cinema IS the place to be. Popcorn, chocolates and a cola for me!

    Well done, Cosmo
    xxx

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  147. I would be into a quick escape as well.

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  148. January 19th - ooh, yeah, yuk, I can relate. Out of the dark, into the face slap :P

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  149. Entertaining as ever, glad Meryl was good!

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  150. January 19th - Well written, it's a shame we cannot stay in the safety and sanity of our sanctuaries, the world is too loud and confronting.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  151. Emerging from the theatre always seems surreal for some reason.

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  152. Good choice, to quickly get away from the mad movie crowd!

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  153. Dianne: You have posted on my blogs for ages and yet, today, Blogger decided that you were spam. Perhaps your hugs and kisses tripped the Blogger propriety meter. You are dressed demurely, I trust?

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  154. Oh yes. But as I type blessed rain is perfuming the air and granting life.

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  155. The Elephant's Child: North of the border, I suspect!

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  156. Sounds like the weather is turning where you are. I love hydrangeas and I hope they recover to be beautiful for your summer. And the raspberries of course - delicious in Spring. Lovely words.

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  157. January 20 - your words definitely make me FEEL for the plants!

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  158. Meryl's movie is on my to-see list.

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  159. It sounds as if Jabuary 20 was a hot day, sorry to hear about the heat-stroke in the garden.
    It was hot here also.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  160. Nothing worse than limp lettuce. I watched mine wilt this summer. Hope the weather changes there soon.

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  161. I think you must consider fruit salad then. Sounds as if there is nothing else which can be done...

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  162. I can see it all, terrible for the raspberries, my favourite fruit. Hope the storm passed quickly.

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  163. What a sad day after a disappointing evening at the movies in the rush of the city. I guess it requires quite a bit of clean-up and repair?

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  164. We could use some of that heat here as we had some snow today. and snow is no better for fruit and veggies than heat...

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  165. I love salvias. We used to have them at our former house. Your 'stone' reminds me; and I shed a few tears for what once was.

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  166. uh huh
    perfect capture of a hot summer day

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  167. Any day when the birds are standing open beaked is tooooo hot. Great picture you have painted. Thanks.

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  168. Those salvias must be resilient, more so than the birds and bare feet.
    I hope it cools down tomorrow.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  169. No cold drinks for the birds?

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  170. I saw your post at Writing Our Way Home. Bravo! (And wishing for warmer, more bird-like weather here!)

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  171. It must be really hot where you are. Our summer has been really mild. Still waiting for it to kick in actually.

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  172. That glass or two of amber ale at the end of a fraught day sounds wonderful.
    Beautifully and so visually written dear J Cosmo.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  173. touch, taste, smell, see

    yup, you done good

    :-)

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  174. I was thinking that you were being a drinker of the red wines. Is this not being so?

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  175. Nothing beats an ice cold beer at the end of a dry hot day, or at the beginning for that matter!
    Cheers

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  176. Cheers - enjoy your well-earned cold one (or two)!

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  177. Karen: I fully agree. PTM take note.

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  178. Nope. Not a beer drinker. You are welcome to mine on a hot day though. I would rather have a gin and tonic. Or even just a tonic.

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  179. Not even Kenyan Tusker Lager for the Elephant's Child? I'll get some tonic water and do a trade.

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  180. Kenyan Tusker Lager sound suspiciously like cannibalism in a bottle (or glass). Great name though.

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  181. Delicious description of that cold beer!

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  182. January 22: I'm not a beer fan, but I could almost become one after reading your January 22 stone! Ein Prozit!!

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  183. You describe the heat of the day so perfectly on January 21st! And your beer is almost as good as the real thing on the 22nd! I can taste it.

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  184. On a hot, dusty day the beer needs to be downed quickly before it gets warm. And that one is so good, I think I'll have another.

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  185. Ah yes, a beer after work. It's the Australian tradition.

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  186. A great way to end the day. Cheers!

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  187. Beer, so true. I love "condensed appreciation"

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  188. I echo your disbelief. Why is the forecast temperature accurate to within a degree or so, and the percentage chance of rain wildly inaccurate? I am now reasonably confident if the prediction is for an eighty percent or higher chance of rain.

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  189. Yeah and who ever believes the Bureau?

    And OMG I'M 200!!!!!

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