The house stands square and proud, tenaciously clinging to the last vestiges of dignity it once owned. The once vivid rose-coloured paintwork, now weather worn, peels to reveal aging stonework below.

Pristine white shutters are no more, faded by the fierce heat of the summer sun are now decaying in the rain. Roof tiles crumble, occasionally lifting in the wind, only to settle once more under the weight of the verdant moss that has put down roots there. The ironwork frames that support ancient vines twist and rust ingloriously.

Terracotta fades to black.

Orange trees neglected over time flower and fruit together a rosemary bush clings to a crumbling wall and a house once bustling and alive to the sound of children’s laughter is now kept suspended in time. Its faithful retainer following a decades old routine of airing, dusting and polishing, waits like the house for the family to return.

For one or two weeks a year they both get their wish. A different generation of children visit, not the children of old, but a new breed, more interested in electronic pursuits than games of hide and seek and picnics in the garden – not for them the simple pleasures or sense of history an old house can bring.

In the garden a yellow rose blooms defiantly.


  1. Such a fantastic article, Nicola, thank you! We are right there with you taking a tour of the grounds. Your images are outstanding. I love the way your eye frames what you’re seeing for us. The words cascade in a real and intoxicating way!

  2. I credit the ipad …………. that got me writing the poem – then I thought I am going to need images because google does not like poems – then I was playing with the idea of a two coloum post with the poem on one side and the pictures on the other …………… then I decided to mash them up all in one. I like the way you have added in an extra picture for me. Thank you

    1. I like the mash! You were smart to think of how the images and text would work on the page. With our current setup, images are limited by width, but not by length. So we can use, and often do, very tall images that peel down the page. It looks good. Putting text and image side-by-side would not work well since our publication spec requires the widest possible width for all our images to fill the text column.

  3. I was also playing with the idea of a dual post one just the poem and one just the words – that did not work at all for me – they both gave context to each other. The images for the fort piece were spectacular …………………..

    oh splitting them side by side would have been a nightmare

    1. Your gut is good! Keept it together. It’s tempting to split articles — I often think of that myself to produce volume instead of depth — but it’s always better to pack more information into a single thought because the conflicting ripples tend to run into each other and create new context. It’s a thrill to read.

      I love it that your iPad was by your side as your figured this out. That’s the sort of itinerant publishing the device was made to support!

  4. I always take my ipad when I am out and I know Mr P is going to be spending time doing business and talking a lot of complicated Portuguese I cannot follow or contribute to – yesterday it was invaluable as the original “poem” just came without prompting and I did not have a piece of paper big enough to write it on!

  5. I have a regular one – bought just before the mini came out – which is why I guess I got such a good deal on it !

    1. Smart! The new minis are already in decelerated production — a newer version is reportedly on the way in the Fall. I like the idea of the mini, but not without the retina display like the current model.

  6. Have to confess mine was a random airport buy on the spur of the moment – I am still struggling to get the fullest and best experinces from the bigger macs and a friend had suggested I tried the iPad as an entry level mahine to give me the feel for how they worked rather than struggling with my iMac and my Macbook air . So there sitting at the airport on very special offers in very special bundles were iPads – both retina and non retina displays. It ended up being a no brainer. Retina display – raspberry purple leather cover, screen protector and purple sylus for less than the price of the retina iPad on Amazon.

    1. What an amazing deal! Are you able to use iCloud? Do you have a lot of Apps installed? Do you like the screen keyboard or do you use an external bluetooth keyboard?

  7. Yes to cloud …………….. yes to talking to the other machines. I currently have three aps – wordpress, facebook and gmail. I struggle a little with the screen keyboard especially when I am writing longer posts. I love using it for lists and I would have been totally lost without it for the handfasting where I had lists, budget, etc on there – it was worth what I paid just for managing that.

  8. I am usually sitting too – BUT in the car where it is not usually connected to the net is where I do my list making my on the spur of the moment stuff – and as I am short it is in portrait mode so I can rest it on the dashboard !

  9. works for me – the case acts as a nice prop in landscape mode but is pretty useless in portrait. I love my car – has so many uses !

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