31 March, 2014

Ballenberg Swiss Open-Air Museum

 by  Diana Studer   
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Britrail in December, Eurail in January, in the seventies with my shiny new library diploma ... then in May I met the Ungardener, and made Switzerland my home in September.

Terracotta roof tiles on Ticino farmhouse at Ballenberg

I have wanted to visit Ballenberg, ever since I heard of it. It is a bit like old racehorses (patrician villas) put out to grazing, with some carthorses (farmhouses) and a few donkeys (sheds and barns). You will need a whole day for the journey through Switzerland’s lakes and mountains, where the English invented tourism. Train from Bern to Interlaken, then Brienz. Tatu, ta taa, yellow Post Bus blowing the post horn, through villages, and up the mountain side. When you arrive check the day's programme of demonstrations. We saw cheese making, weaving and a blacksmith in action on a lovely day in July 2009.

17 March, 2014

The Wearing of the Green

 - gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” is a visually striking outdoor installation at the Tower of London by artist Paul Cummins of 888,246 ceramic poppies built to commemorate Britain’s involvement in World War I. The red poppies each represent a British or British Colonial military fatality from the war — over the course of the installation, the poppies will be gradually added until the final day, when the last poppy will be ceremonially placed. The installation opens on August 5th, 2014, the 100th anniversary of Britain’s first full day of involvement in World War I. It ends on November 11th, the day that the Armistice was signed in 1918, marking the end of the war. 

For bloggers who share my Irish roots - Carrie, Foxglove Lane, Stone Art who writes about The Tree That Ate The Church and 

 My maternal Anglo-Irish grandfather
 'Pat' Frederick George Yeates 
7th Oct 1878 to 2nd Sept 1918
 Air Mechanic, 35th Kite Balloon Section of the Royal Air Force,
 in Northern France, at the Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux 

My cousin asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission where our grandfather’s grave was. When the Ungardener and I were crossing Europe in the old Land Rover, we went to visit his grave at the Bucquoy road cemetery. I read the entry in the register stored at the gate. His entire life, in a few lines. Nearby is Delville Wood where we walked quiet avenues of tall trees, and no birds sang. 

We have a studio portrait of my grandmother, with two small girls. My mother was only four there. "With love from all of us." Which would have been returned to his widow. I claimed my mother's shamrock brooch years ago. 

My mother's shamrock brooch

10 March, 2014

My life, in oil-spills and shipwrecks

 - gardening for biodiversity

Chapter 1 - The Seafarer 

Home, where I was born, and gardened for 20 years, is Camps Bay. Fairest Cape, but also cape of storms, with busy shipping lanes. Our images of disasters in nature, were painted by the TV journalist Charl Pauw. The Seafarer came aground, just off the Sea Point shore. It was a wild wintry 30th June 1966, which we remember because a sister was married on That Day.

03 March, 2014

Da Vinci - walking in London

by Diana Studer  
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

The Ungardener focussed on The Eye, but I focussed on the chestnuts. Roast chestnuts - the smell of heaven! 

The London Eye

London Walks setting the scene in 2009 - People have long sensed the high strangeness of London. That the Monument and Nelson's column - can it be a coincidence that they're both 202 feet high? - cast significant shadows at the summer solstice; that a 1960 mural of Jean Cocteau in a hidden little London church suggests that he and Leonardo da Vinci were collaborators across the centuries - and that their religious beliefs were not nearly as orthodox as the history books would lead us to believe. Dan Brown's best-selling novel lifts the lid on some of these matters. 
As does Gerard de Sede's The Templars Are Among Us. "Heretical beliefs", the goddess mystery, sexual alchemy secrets, mastery over time itself, gateways where the human and divine worlds meet; a church that's allegedly denied its true roots.