Summer 2017 // Spurred on by the thoughtfulness of others


We’ve entered a season of conflict in our home. I wander around barefooted, eking out every last breath of summer’s warmth. My husband looks at the turning leaves with growing anticipation; autumn is best for him. September may have a foot in both camps, but there’s a distinct chill to the evenings that even I cannot wilfully ignore. It’s time to look forward to the leaf-paved season and gather reflections from the golden one that’s past.

This summer I’ve found myself struck but the thoughtfulness of others:

This piece from Hannah Thiesen, blogger behind Life Style Justice, on whether ethical fashion is elitist, writing from a place of increasing insight as she spends time in the Philippines.

This article on minimalism and privilege made me laugh and think. My views on minimalism flip flop. Sometimes encouraged by the recognition that more stuff does not buy happiness. Sometimes feeling like the narrative is just as obsessed with stuff as the lifestyle it’s trying to challenge; the fixation just runs to the absence of – rather than the acquiring of – things. Chelsea Fagan’s article is challenging on the aspect of privilege that can run through minimalism:

“You cannot choose to “declutter” if you are already living in a sparse home you cannot afford to furnish. You cannot “reduce” the food you consume if you are already only able to put one good meal on the table per day. And when nearly half of Americans would be unable to pay their bills if they missed a single check, this “forced minimalism” is much, much more common than we would like to imagine.”

These incredible portraits by Tom Price from his trip to South Sudan. We visited the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition in London and it was another series of portraits, this time from China that stayed with me. Check out Ruiyuan Chen, who won the ‘Mankind’ category.

I found myself nodding through George Monbiot’s article about the need for better language to convey the beauty and wonder that environmentalism is attempting to preserve.

“On land, places in which nature is protected are called “sites of special scientific interest”. At sea, they are labelled “no-take zones” or “reference areas”. Had you set out to estrange people from the living world, you could scarcely have done better.”

Nature is full of drama, beauty, expanse and detail. We belittle it with our language. And it matters, because there’s so much work to be done.

We’ve continued our gardening journey. Our plants have been late producers so we’re still picking fresh strawberries every few days, and holding out for peppers and tomatoes to blush red. We’ve been trying to walk a balance of making the most of the garden without it becoming another big demand on our time. More thinking on that to be done and written about for a future post.


We’ve longed for the sea; perhaps one of our biggest struggles of this first year in the big city. As the temperature soared this summer all I wanted was to submerge my feet, my whole self under a watery horizon. Alas, the opportunities were few. But we savoured those we created – found water in Kent one day, paddled in Exmouth another. We talk of a canoe for the future to bring us closer to the water we long for. It comes up in conversation more and more. Perhaps in the Autumn we’ll find ourselves gently paddling downstream, a flask of hot chocolate awaiting us for when the chill sets in. That doesn’t make the coming season sound so bad after all.


Today’s soundtrack: Charlie Cunningham // Lines

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