Monday, August 15, 2011

that's all I ever wanted: a ceramic birdbath

We're having an old-fashioned summer. There will be time enough for drama camps and treks to ruined empires and visits to friends to compare tiaras when the daughters are older; this is a year for a timeless two months about the garden and beach, making huts and secret paths, singlehandedly running a large imaginary fire-station, assembling collections of significant leaves under the pillows...

... and not heeding the world outside until it is time to send them off to school in their new shoes, clutching the usual kind but stern notes for their teachers stating our wish that Blue Daughter and Pink Daughter should receive no religious instruction. Should this wish not be adequately heeded, it'll be closely followed by another note mentioning in a heightened font that the school cardigans are Not Very Comfortable.  O time ward off those bustling clangorous days and leave us here on the sun-strewn stone with a glass of golden Sancerre and our ceramic birdbath full of flower-petal soup.

Which is all very well until the old-fashioned rain falls on our old-fashioned idyll. When the poet spoke of "an arrow-shower sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain," that somewhere was right here, plink-plonk into the ceramic birdbath and its environs in the wettest summer for years.

Reader, if you are the sales representative of a wallpaper manufacturer who sells a design incorporating pictorial suggestions for things that children can do when it rains, fax me now. Keep faxing every five minutes until your sample roll reaches me and you have signed me up as your showhouse customer in Blogtopia.  Our fancy rose-scented wallpaper paste is at the ready.


  1. Thank you in advance for your suggestion of jigsaws. Much appreciated.

  2. I think this is what you need!
    Colour in wallpaper! Genius! The birdbath is beautiful, you could put floating candles in it, so pretty.

  3. If you don't want jigsaws, may I suggest children's entertainer who specialises in R.I.?

  4. We appear to have identical birdbaths...we got ours at Meadowville on sale.

  5. I yearn for those bustling clangorous days.

  6. Thank you for delivering a smile. Ta ta. I'm off in search of flower-petal soup...

  7. My four once spent an entire wet summer holiday running an imaginary dog grooming parlour in the garden shed... the youngest, two at the time if memory serves, mostly played the part of the dog, with assorted teddies etc - theirs and their friends - reluctantly substituted when he did undog like things, like throw a tantrum or ask for his blankie and a cuddle. I feel your pain :)

  8. Oh Mise,
    I'm ready to start the day after reading your magical post of childrens play, make believe and wishful thinking!

    You should be writing children's books as you can still relate so well to their world!!

    Every home needs their birdbath and a bird house as well.
    My little birdhouse is overflowing with hungry feathered beings this morning as we're reeling from the freezing temperatures again.

    Enjoy your week!

    Shane (in NZ) xx

  9. I guess you could send them to us for a bit.

    It rarely rains here.

    Can they weed?

    I guarantee there will be no religious instruction here.

    But i might get the pinks and blues mixed up upon return.


    xo Jane

  10. I'm sure I don't know of any other blog where I start smiling before I even begin to read. You're a wonder:)

  11. I have a concrete, painted birdbath and I love it. It's difficult to keep water in however as Utah is a desert climate. I like your shiny blue birdbath. So lovely with the floating petals in it.

  12. Great idea, Lilly! And soon to be just what you need too.

    Not great idea, Tom! Not great!

    mybabyjohn/Delores, that's so odd. You're in Canada, right? Mine comes from Galway, Ireland. The blighter must be made in the noble ceramics workshops of Taiwan.

  13. Annie, that's what I call inner resources. I hope they charged admission, and spent it on popcorn.

    Shane (in NZ), what a kind comment. I must hop straight over to your blog and have a wander round, and buy a birdhouse.

    flwrjane, I'd miss them, but they sure can weed. Full marks for such a practical and selfless suggestion. I'll buy a spare birdhouse too and send it over with them.

  14. Kerry, thank you.

    Karen, thank you.

    Everyone, look at those lovely comments from Kerry and Karen. I couldn't do better myself.

  15. Well Mise, it certainly doesn't take much to please you.....a ceramic bird bath and your happy. I bet Scottish husband can't believe his luck !!!! haha.
    To keep the girls happy when it's raining, redecorate their rooms with lickable'll get a nice lay-in in the morning ! You can get it from :
    The Chocolate Factory
    England. XXXX

  16. Oh, and I remember when our daughter was little, she and her so-called friend's played 'Blind Date' and our daughter was given the job of being the sliding door !! XXXX

  17. Hee hee...makes me think of a couple books I have in Florida...How to Live on an Island...or How to Live at the Beach by Sandra Gring...something like that...nothing but tadpoles and umbrellas.

  18. Such a lovely and evocative post. My three boys are semi-grown, but a trip to the library for a big stack of books to read aloud got me through some rainy hours. Baking cookies. Making playdoh. Watching old Disney movies. Dumbo. Peter Pan. Snow White.

  19. Can I heartily recommend a book called Something to Do - a young Puffin original? This was the mainstay of my childhood, when being bored was a natural and constant state, and making a chest of drawers out of matchboxes was the high point of the holidays. You'll be able to pick up a copy at

  20. Birdbath soup...yum! You must post the recipe with precise instructions, especially since it's such a fleeting meal and must be made perfectly the first time round!
    We're having the coldest summer on record since 1957...I'm bundled up as we speak, that's why soup sounds so good right now. Hoping autumn behaves properly and is much more polite.
    xo J~

  21. Your birdbath is a reflective thing of beauty. As is the petal soup. I'm not taking my laptop outside for fear my own birds will start picketing at the picket fence over their less reflective bird splash-basin and lack of petal soup.

  22. Jacqueline, it takes a certain adaptability and technical dexterity to be the sliding door. What a credit to you she must be.

    Jen, I guess I won't be a bona fide blogger till I've made playdough. They just keep raising the bar.

    Lucille, thanks, I'll have a search for Something To Do - the old books are better than the new ones as they don't insist on such a long list of stuff with which to make & do. It brings me back to happy days with the Childcraft How & Why Library.

  23. It's always a joy to see your posts. It makes me wonder how you are able to approach things so creatively.

  24. Apparently this isn't the wettest summer we have had but according to the trusty RTE nine o'clock news the other evening, we have experienced the coldest summer since 1957! so another record is broken.
    Oh, for a 'hottest summer' record.

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  26. I want a birdbath included in our redesigned front garden (following the garden being dug up to put in a new sewage system!!)

  27. I'm smiling too even at your tale of woe! Its such a lovely bird bath that i struggle to concentrate on your troubles. The "what to do" books ware me out not my child. I end up being the neigboorhood oragami slave. (I do like "Oragami on the Go! by Margaret (purely coincidence) Van Sicklen.
    I like that dog salon idea, you could rest while being trimmed and bathed.
    The wall paper idea is BRILLIANT.

  28. Your wet summer sounds like our wet summer six months ago. What about How to fold origami cranes and how to fold paper planes wallpaper? Hours of entertainment with a ream of paper on wallpaper.
    I also feel the need for a bird bath after reading about yours. Have the birds bathed in it yet?

  29. It's very wet here in Brittany, my husband keeps saying it would be wetter in Ireland or Sotland. I don't believe him. Anyway here we embrace our inner celts, and swim every day...rain or no rain!

  30. It's all sounding very Famous Five over at Pretty Far West - I seem to be thinking of lashings of ginger beer or did someone already say that? It would appear that all you need do is hide things all around the house and make up an old fashioned scavenger hunt. I can just see them now carrying sandwiches in a handkerchief parcel tied around the end of a stick.

    Tally ho!

    Meredy xo

  31. Thanks for your lovely comment Mise! You've brought back lots of lovely memories Niobe's summers without recourse to anything black with wires and buttons. Floundering? No, I mean the game!

  32. By the way - so glad you discovered Lucille - she's one of my favourite bloggers! Loved your description of her blog.


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