Archives for posts with tag: Gardens

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1.

Another wholly preventable wild-fire in the mountains.

If only, like the Mexicans, the residents of the Santa Monica Mountains could bear the idea of a yearly brush burn.

Then, every decade, they wouldn’t stand miserably by their pyre lamenting the loss of personal items on the early evening news.

2.

So.  I’m writing my last will and testament.  And, after much prayer/thought, I’ve decided to leave everything to my former school Monkton Wyld.

I am also discussing making a charitable donation to Monkton which is now a residential education center.

The Grade II listed neo-Gothic building is set amongst an idyllic eleven acres of lawns, gardens and meadows.

Designed by Richard Cromwell Carpenter, the rectory was built in 1848.  It is in need of help.  Tracery needs restoring, energy efficient windows need installed and a large bay window at the front of the house needs underpinning.

As a Centre for Sustainable Education, Monkton Wyld hosts a range of courses, conferences and gatherings for adults, families and children.

From bee-keeping to scything to yoga, Monkton’s programme promotes low-impact, earth-centred skills for changing modern life.

Meals are prepared in the house kitchen using fresh organic ingredients from the Court’s own Victorian walled garden, orchards and farm.

The Court is managed by a resident volunteer staff with the help of volunteers and overseen by a board of trustees.

They work to develop and promote a lifestyle based on mutual respect for each other and for the wider community and environment.

Sounds perfect doesn’t it?

I want my ashes scattered there.

Have you written a will?  How many single people do?  It is imperative.

I’ve been thinking for many years what to do with any money I might have when I die and this, I believe, is the best solution.  Helping with the fabric of this building may secure its future for decades to come.

“Between August 2010 and March 2011 Roy wrote a 50,000-word blog to Bauman.

Roy coldly examines his career to date, how he had been a colourful agent provocateur, his art, like his paradoxes, seeking to subvert as well as sparkle. His own estimation of himself was of one who “stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age”.

It was from these heights that his life with Bauman began, and Roy examines that particularly closely, repudiating him for what he finally sees as his arrogance and vanity: he had not forgotten Bauman’s remark, when he was ill, “When you are not on your pedestal you are not interesting.”

Roy blamed himself, though, for the ethical degradation of character that he allowed Bauman to bring about on him and took responsibility for his own fall.

The first few months of the blog concludes with Roy’s forgiving Bauman, for his own sake as much as Baumans’.

The second half of the blog traces Roy’s spiritual journey of redemption and fulfilment. He realised that his ordeal had filled the soul with the fruit of experience, however bitter it tasted at the time.”

…I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world… And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived. My only mistake was that I confined myself so exclusively to the trees of what seemed to me the sun-lit side of the garden, and shunned the other side for its shadow and its gloom.

Thank you Oscar Wilde, thank you Bosie.

LIly

The day passed slowly and uneventfully.

I watered the garden. “Why don’t you have an automated system for that?” I hear you say. Well, I do. But…a bit like our mad bad Prince of Wales I like watering the plants individually and chatting with each of them. The citrus trees especially respond to gentle coaxing.

There is something charming and rather annoying about the ‘we’ pathology of twins. We are with each other a little too much. Consequently, when we left for Lake Malibou, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

We all helped Jennifer with her Out of The Box Wednesday pack then Miles set off with the delivery.

Robby and I drove into Hollywood. I wanted to stop in at Fresh and Easy where I buy English staples. Tea, bacon, marmalade etc. I can’t do with out them. We, me and the Little Dog, sat in the ugly court-yard outside the supermarket drinking coffee waiting for Robby watching lithe men heading for 24 hour fitness.

A woman from Chicago, who had arrived in Hollywood two nights previously, looked down at the dog and said, “There’s a little person trapped in there.” She fed him chicken breast. “This has got to last me two days.” She told the Little Dog. She was plump, dyed black hair and red lips. She told me that she was here in Hollywood to pitch reality TV ideas to…God know who. She was going to pay to pitch her ‘concepts’.

I was overcome with pity for her. She told me a couple of ‘ideas’ she had thought of pitching.

It occurred to me that for forty years not one original thought had been formed in that sappy brain.

I went for a walk.

Hollywood is grimy. There is nothing of any beauty to look at…to be inspired by. I yearn for my garden.

Robby picked me up after an hour in the gym. We had planned on going to an art/film/glamour party in Beverly Hills but I was tired and irritable so we drove home.

Well, we drove back to Malibou Lake and I helped Jason cook dinner for the children. After dinner, as the children were going to bed, I sat at their Steinway and tried playing the piano. I had not played for thirty years. I was shocked by how clumsy my fingers were. No longer able to slide effortlessly over the keys. I began to sweat. Evidence of my old age. Evidence of my own mortality. It was so frustrating! My left hand refused to even practice the scales in unison with the right.

I lay in bed last night thinking too much. Waiting to be dead.

Not so fast Batman!

Next week I set off on my ‘great adventure’ culminating in the birthday hootenanny. There are people flying from all sorts of wonderful places to help me celebrate my 50th Birthday…before I am not. I am stunned that so many old friends even exist for me let alone want to jump on a plane and be with me. You know, this is what I should have done last year…but last year I was with him in the back parlor of Wheelers.

Last year there was no room for anyone else. WTF?

Duncan and Gabe

The garden.  Watering the garden.  Tending the garden.  Seedlings.  Deer at night.  Snakes by day.  Warm sun, a cool breeze blowing off the ocean.  It is just all so beautiful and thrilling.

I take my afternoon nap.  I write my blog.  I walk by the ocean. Gabe is here.  The tide is high.  The Little Dog runs from the waves, darting in and out of the rocks.  The surfers ride them high, crashing into the water.

News items that disturb me:  The mutilated 13-year-old Syrian boy.  The care workers in England who tortured their mentally ill charges.  The other little boy who may win a fixed British talent contest.  The corrupt and uncaring government.

Yet, despite these horrors I can still find peace.  I am at one with who I am.  Will this last?  No it wont, but why bother worrying about what may or may not come next?

Spirituality means dealing with our intuition.   The divine is looking kindly upon me?

I am here and now.  Experiencing right now.  No point in dwelling on the past or imagining the future.  This very moment.  Nothing mystical.  Precise.

Why be threatened by the now?  Jumping to the past or the future.  The now is good.

I am no longer waiting to be dead.

Trust right now.  It is very powerful.  Interacting with the now.  Everything I experience is unconditional.

Borrowing from the past and inviting the future.   No, not today.

Perhaps this is why I want God to look kindly upon me?

This morning I fight with AT&T because they have over charged me.  I take the twins and Gabe to breakfast at the Lumber Yard.  I water the citrus trees. Yesterday I stayed at the house all day gardening.

Enough is all I have so I must trust that enough is all I need.  My needs are met. Right NOW.  Look around me and experience what for the past year has been so elusive.   I live in a paradise.  My own paradise.  It is no use dwelling on future catastrophes when I love what is happening right now.  It is no use hankering after what could have been. It is no use comparing what I have with what others own and despairing that I want even more.

I am a single man with far too much already.

Now.

PS My friend and backgammon foe Sam (Levinson) is dating Ellen Barkin. I celebrate their 31 years age difference.

My friend Alecia has had her baby.

This Morning on the Beach

Miles inadvertently looked like Little Edie this evening.

A cold outing to Venice after a good 8 hours in the garden.  Our third day of chopping, dragging, pruning, raking…a hard, hard day doing man work with Robby.

The vast, dense Bougainvillea finally vanquished so the house doesn’t end up looking like Grey Gardens.   There are now new views all over the estate.  It looks a bit bare on the terrace but we shall wait for the grape-vine to grow across the newly denuded arbour.

I wore a very fetching outfit into town.  See below.  Wore my Derby rather than my cap.  Miles said, “I want to dress like you Duncan.”  Which, as you may have guessed, is the greatest of all compliments.

We ate dinner in Venice.  Food trucks.  Not the greatest food truck food but filling and cheap.  Then we headed over to Santa Monica and walked the length of the Third Street Promenade.  I am quite happy doing these simple things knowing that very soon I will be back in NYC up to my eye balls in Penguin shit.

What a fucking tosser that man is.  When I told Toby that The Penguin was attempting a restraining order he said, “Oh, so you’ve won.”  Which is one way of looking at it I suppose.

There are no winners here I am sorry to say.

P.S. Did you know that JBC’s house in the Pines was called Grey Gardens?