A few people asked me what was in the parcels I referred to in a post from just before Christmas Day. Because some of my friends and family members read this blog and because some of them were on the receiving end of those packages, I couldn’t say. But now I can. There were rounds of panforte,


rustic houses John cut out of old post, fitted with copper chimneys, then the details painted (badly) by me, with beeswax candles for the smoke,

candle house

and some of the packages also contained jars of rose petal jelly from summer, or wine grape jelly flavoured with thyme. Our cards this year were not particularly Christmas-y (because the year…) but contained a brief passage from an essay in my forthcoming Blue Portugal:



I hope the year is kind to all of us, that we all find a way to navigate these strange waters we find ourselves in, and that the world rights itself, centres itself, so that we can rest easy and perhaps take guidance from Voltaire, who advised us to cultivate our gardens and whose shopping list included “artichoke bulbs and as much as possible of lavender, thyme, rosemary, mint, basil, rue strawberry bushes, pinks, thadicee, balm, tarragon, sariette, burnet, sage and hyssop to cleanse our sins, etc.”

1 thought on “after”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s