The Cottage Smallholder

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blue hyacinthsIt’s my T.S. Eliot time of year.

Three large blue hyacinths loll beside the laptop on the kitchen table. Their scent is as overwhelming as the weight of their waxy flower heads. My old edition of Eliot’s complete poems is just out of reach. Slim and tempting and almost as worn as the hands that turn the pages.

The book now smells musty. I have opened its covers and dived in for nearly thirty years. The long intermittent journey has been more startling and intriguing than most.

Hyacinths and The Waste Land are a heady mix. This evening I found this old favourite extract. Basked and thought of summer. Standing very still to soak up the scents, sounds and secrets of our garden.

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

Extract from Little Gidding (Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot).

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda

    Woops! I’d forgotten that he was made a knight.

    Hi Jan

    I’ve just been reading about the community at Little Gidding. Your ancestor sounds like an interesting man.

    Love your forcing inside comment!

  2. PS. I love hyacinths too; the scent is sublime. They always make Ned and I smirk, though, since we saw them advertised in a garden centre as “Bulbs for Forcing Inside” which we thought sounded awfully painful!

  3. I think the community at Little Gidding was founded by Nicholas Ferrar, who is an ancestor of mine. 🙂 I really must visit it someday.

  4. I love JG’s voice or should I say Sir JG’s voice. 😉

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pat

    My not buying flower rules don’t cover bulbs as most can be planted out in the garden after flowering.

    These were quite pricey £3.99 for three bulbs in a pot. It’s much cheaper if you DIY bulbs and keep them covered in a shed for months. This year it was impossible time wise so I bought a pot for my mum and one for us. There are already small flower heads bursting through.

    Hi Felicia

    Thanks for making a comment. Just visited your blog and I have fallen in love with your pirates!

    Hello Amanda

    Get some next year! Forcing indoor bulbs can be a bit of a palaver but new ones do well outside in pots and tubs. They are never so good the next year but if you have the time, plant the bulbs in your borders.

    Hello Kate(uk)

    I loved your comment!

    I am not surprised that T.S. Eliot sounded grim. He was an unusual character but his poetry has elements that are quite brilliant. I first heard the Four Quartets read by John Gielgud – superb rounded vowels.

  6. Kate(uk)

    Our English teacher always read to the class in a dull monotone, no expression whatsoever and at a rather slow pace. Imagine our delight when one day she came to class with a record to play for us.”today we shall listen to T.S. Eliot reading his own poems.” Great excitement, this would be better than listening to her grinding on…but, astonishment followed rapidly by uncontrollable hysteria, T.S Eliot read his poems in EXACTLY the same way as our English teacher. She just could not work out why we found his poems so funny.

  7. We don’t have any but I absolutely love the colour of them.

    Lovely extract too. I love exploring locally, and it does sometimes feel like knowing the place ‘for real’ for the first time.

  8. Beautiful quote and beautiful flower 🙂

  9. Thanks Fiona!! I like that extract! And I love the smell of Hyacinths!!!! Can’t wait for mine to pop out of the ground.

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