Saturday, 15 June 2013


"Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere. We can't always understand them, but we have to trust in them."
(Lauren Kate)

(All photos: Gigi, album)

"Even the merest gesture is holy if it is filled with faith." 
(Franz Kafka)

I've already said that my posts are a little lagging on here at the moment. Last week, my first rose of the summer burst open in my little back garden. It's since been followed by other equally full,  brazenly yellow roses; then fuchsias  the strawberry plant (in it's third year) and other perky little bits and bods. The first rose was so gorgeous that I had to take a photo of it. Just a couple of weeks before, the rose bush was still skeletal and thorned. My roses are late this year, having survived another winter of prolonged wet and wind and then a reluctant spring, even wetter and windier.
A very lovely lady called Martina recently read some of my blog and asked me where I got my faith from. I was immediately silenced by this, which doesn't happen often, because my knowledge of my faith or anything "holy" is rather holed.  I just didn't have a ready answer. The following day, my rose unfurled. 
My favourite colour is red, but my favourite flowers are actually yellow, from daffodils to hypericum to sunflowers.  I love bright yellow roses and most of the roses in my garden are intentionally sunshine coloured. Dorothy Frances Gurney's assertion that one is closer to God in a garden than anywhere else has really resounded with me since I moved down to Brighton. My little house has many inherent faults and much work to be done, but it has a garden. The concrete and weed postage stamp out back probably sold the property to me. 
I think it's fair to say that the previous owner didn't extend much time or tenderness to the garden. It harbored untended jasmine, laurel and pear trees, and one very hooky and hard-headed rose tree (pink). These have been befriended and the whole area planted and populated. It's wild and quite willful and a work in progress. It's responded to my coaxing and determination with colour and a tenacity not bottled by B and Q or Homebase. It crackles with birds and bees, spiders and snails and now a toad; it has a life of it's own. I sit out there at night with a cuppa as the solar lights and lanterns flicker out. In a town that's struggling to come to terms with disillusionment and dilapidation, I'm lucky to have a roof over my head and totally blessed to have my back yard.
It's occurred to me that my fascination with the natural world and the wonders of science that baffle my little brain have strengthened my faith over the years. The prerogative of atheists to cite the big bang and the initial squib of evolution doesn't dilute my belief in God; the enormity and minutiae of the universe and beyond don't seem at odds with my idea of a greater design and a higher power. My roses come through snow and ice to meet each new summer; my pear tree was dark and woody and apparently barren but only needed a little clearing and encouragement to grow into the abundant fruit-bearer it was always intended to be.
Along the seafront towards the Peace Memorial, there's a streak of graffiti that confirms that "shit happened". And so it does; and often to good people. I'm trying to be a better person but I'm now comfortable and relieved with being ordinary. Along with so many other ordinary people, I've shed a lot of tears in the past three or four years; too many, not of joy. But smiling is a reflex that doesn't rust easily. I've also learned that it rains a great deal in East Sussex; folk greet the sun like a prodigal child. 
In fact, Martina and her husband Frank and their bright, tight family of siblings, babies and elders are hugely inspiring to me, and to others I'm sure. There's a tangible faith in their family and love for each other, their endless enterprise for business and their concern for community. So, people like me get some of our faith from people like you and yours, Martina.
I often say, whether anyone is still listening or not, that religions are cultivated by man but faith is naturally occurring. Our history bears the hopefulness of our future, seen and unseen. There's a world of infinite and resilient beauty beneath our daily dust. Ask any rose.

"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
(Mother Teresa) 

"The Rose" Andre Rieu & Orchestra, with sopranos Suzan Erens, Carmen Monarcha and Carla Maffioletti.


  1. I don't believe I have ever questioned where my faith comes from and that one stumped me!!! Your garden is beautiful Gisele, my roses have just started to come out and bloom n force (white one and red ones and a purple climbing plant (I have no idea what is is, but all of it is based at the bottom of my garden and I call it Brock's place (now to be renamed Brock and Teddy's place). Brock used to lie there under the roses to get out of the sun and then move a bit further out when he wanted to sunbathe lol xxx Take care hun

    1. I wonder what your purple climber is? Still, I don't really bother with the "proper" textbook names as long as they're growing and are beautiful! Teddy's obviously recognised a place devoted to peace and precious memories. Love to you and Colin; and Teddy xxx