Friday, 21 June 2013


Here in England's north country, fine June evenings remain light until at least 11pm. Can there be a nicer way to end a perfect day than sitting on a warm terrace with the heady scents of summer flowers filling the air.

This picture depicting midsummer hangs in my kitchen. It is by one of my favourite artists, Meg Falconer. The inscription is taken from Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. I expect you'll recognise the verse below.

 I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.

Meg Falconer is a local artist and her prints have been sold for many years from a lovely gallery overlooking Lake Coniston. Last week we decided to drive the few short miles to the lake and take another look at Meg's inspiring work. Sadly the clouds looked rather menacing but thankfully the rain stayed away.

After several miles negotiating narrow country lanes we arrived at our destination. This is Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin. He was a leading English art critic of the Victorian era. Also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and a philanthropist. His house containing much of his original work is open to the public.

Ruskin's coach and boat are on display in the coach house and above this is the art gallery we had come to visit. But sadly things didn't turn out as we'd planned. The gallery was closed and the contents had been removed. I was so disappointed.

I know of no other galleries that display Meg Falconer's work and so I think my collection is unlikely to grow.

Whilst I'm content to enjoy midsummer in my garden (when fine) many thousands of people flock to Stonehenge, the world famous Bronze Age standing stones situated on Salisbury Plain. Visitors have to arrive before 4.52am in order to witness the sun appearing over the horizon and aligning perfectly with two of the largest stones.

Apparently today this event was masked by dense cloud and the sun was nowhere to be seen which must have been a huge disappointment for the many who had made the trip.

For folk like me living in a Lakeland valley the midsummer sun isn't visible until it has risen above the hills. Of course you can get out of bed early and climb up a mountain for a better view or maybe pitch a tent and stay on the mountain all night. From the mountain peak you will get a spectacular view of the midsummer sunrise (as long as the sun isn't masked by cloud as so often happens in our country).

Not being someone who scales mountains or pitches tents I am content to spend midsummer at home. And of course my midsummer night's dream will be filled with pictures like this!

 Enjoy your weekend everyone
Eli x