November: Butter in the Buttercups

Today, as part of our November week, a poem from from Butter in the Buttercups, 1980, by Stella Browning.

Winter-Green Palette
(Mix Buttercup Yellow with Winter-green...)

We will mix the colours of our paintbox
Like Woodland days of Summer's rainbow hue,
Just as BUTTERCUP the yellow toadflax
Dies the mellow field with scabious blue

Violets — harebells, yellow St. John's wort
Lie between the seeds of couchgrass green
Where cow parsley's skeleton: her tall foot
Mixes palette to Winter's colour scheme!

These spangled leaves rest now in moss and seam
The yarrow leaf. Deep wood anenome —
The quiet sorrell seed; pink mallow leaf,
In speedwell dwarfed without her bloom and gnome
Of ale-hoof, ground-ivy locks in sheaf
Whispered rise in Spring mix yellow with leaf....

The winter leaves and skeletons were picked by the children for those which remain green throughout the winter

The Summer Book

We love the stories and illustrations of Tove Jansson, and we were lucky enough to grow up reading her Moomin tales.

This week on BBC 7, you can listen to her 1972 novel The Summer Book. The program will be available for seven days after the initial broadcast. However, the best way to experience the book is to read it.

The Summer Book is not a children's book. It's about a young girl and her grandmother spending a summer together on a small island in Finland. This is a good summary and review: Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. It's a very beautiful book. This much-loved copy is a Christmas present from Judith to Robin.