Wednesday, 11 May 2016

springtime on the patio

The Scottish spring kept us waiting until two days ago when it arrived in all its glory, sunny and warm. The patio was swept, the garden table scrubbed and the wicker chairs brought outside. It was time for our first al fresco dining this season. These last days have been heavenly, mainly spent on the patio under a cherry tree in full bloom. That's where I am at this moment, with a cup of coffee, books and magazines. In a recent blog post the tree was getting ready to bloom and then one morning I saw it through our son's bedroom window and it felt as if it had exploded. Sublime!

These days I'm reading The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia by American novelist and travel writer Paul Theroux. It's his first travelogue, first published in 1975. I had meant to read Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town but then I thought it best to read his travel books in chronological order - perhaps a foolish decision on my part with the latter being his twelfth! In The Great Railway Bazaar we travel with Theroux by rail through Asia, starting with the Direct-Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul. His style is wonderful and witty. He had me cracking up with regular intervals and frequently quoting him in my notebook. Before the end of chapter two I had realised that I would have to put my notebook aside if I were to finish the book before Christmas.

Speaking of Istanbul. I'm virtually on my way there from China, with the help of historian Sam Willis and the BBC Player. On BBC Four they are showing The Silk Road, where Willis takes us through Central Asia to Istanbul and Venice. On the programme's website you can view a photo diary of his journey. In the latest episode he was on the Registan Square in the ancient city of Samarkand, in Uzbekistan, where he met craftsmen making tiles used for the restoration of the Bibi Khanum Mosque. It was fascinating. In the city of Khiva, further west, he sat down with his guide to enjoy a meal in gorgeously decorated kitchenware. Even the flatbread had a pattern!

I don't post my Instagram images on my blog but today I had to make an exception, to preserve a precious moment. Yesterday I took the photo below with my tablet, just when my daughter and I were about to sit down to enjoy our lunch - a long lunch on the patio (she's studying at home these days; taking her final exams). It pictured the mood perfectly. I love how overexposed it looks and how there seems to be a blank space beyond the patio, instead of the ivy-covered garden wall.

Have a wonderful day!

Our lunch table (from my Instagram account, taken yesterday)


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