pause to wonder

Jul 05


Jun 09


"That we find a crystal or a poppy beautiful means that we are less alone, that we are more deeply inserted into existence than the course of a single life would lead us to believe."

-John Berger

Jun 02

Organic Gardening Spray for Insect Pests, Rust, Powdery Mildew…

I use this mixture to get rid of all garden pests (aphids, white fly, etc.) — just spray it over them. It’s also good for powdery mildew, rust and some fungus problems.


1 litre water
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (aka: baking soda)
1 drop horticultural or vegetable oil
1 drop biodegradable washing up liquid (“dish soap” for our American friends!)

Shake well to mix everything together & dissolve the bicarbonate of soda.

Spray in the morning to reduce the risk of foliage being burned in intense sunshine before it dries. You might want to test it on a leaf first (spray, wait for 24 hours, see if leaf is happy) — especially if it’s a delicate plant.  Spray both sides of leaves and stems, reapply every couple weeks or after rain (as this just washes it off). Works best when applied in the early stages of the problem.

The baking soda makes the surfaces of the plant alkaline. Spores of powdery mildew, rust and black spot don’t germinate well in an alkaline environment. I forget what it does to insect pests, but it works on them quite well!

Also, I’ve read that this mixture doesn’t harm beneficial insects ( e.g.: tiny predatory wasps, ladybird beetles).

May 22

Schopenhauer’s Porcupines, or, how to manage your spiky pigs

What is a “Stachelschweine” exactly? It seems to literally translate as a “spiky pig” which I think is great. If it were up to me, we’d stop right there. Most people, though, seem to have gone with porcupine, while a few seem to think it should be hedgehog. (But then it might get tangled up with Berlin’s fox and hedgehog… which would certainly end in chaos or, at the very least, hurt feelings all round.) Anyhow, whatever you want to call your spiky pigs, I think it’s excellent advice on how to get along with other humans.

May 20

James Hart Dyke, Waiting in the hotel room, 2010, oil on canvas.

The artist was offered a mission by Her Majesty’s Government: to go undercover with MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, and report on the life of undercover agents in paintings and drawings.

Source: via Pause on Pinterest

Guardian article here:

May 17


May 08


Apr 25

The Buried Life by Matthew Arnold

Light flows our war of mocking words, and yet, 
Behold, with tears mine eyes are wet! 
I feel a nameless sadness o’er me roll. 
Yes, yes, we know that we can jest, 
We know, we know that we can smile;    
But there ‘s a something in this breast, 
To which thy light words bring no rest, 
And thy gay smiles no anodyne; 
Give me thy hand, and hush awhile, 
And turn those limpid eyes on mine,   
And let me read there, love! thy inmost soul. 
Alas! is even love too weak 
To unlock the heart, and let it speak? 
Are even lovers powerless to reveal 
To one another what indeed they feel?      
I knew the mass of men conceal’d 
Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal’d 
They would by other men be met 
With blank indifference, or with blame reprov’d; 
I knew they liv’d and mov’d      
Trick’d in disguises, alien to the rest 
Of men, and alien to themselves—and yet 
The same heart beats in every human breast. 
But we, my love—does a like spell benumb 
Our hearts—our voices?—must we too be dumb?    
Ah! well for us, if even we, 
Even for a moment, can get free 
Our heart, and have our lips unchain’d; 
For that which seals them hath been deep-ordain’d! 
Fate, which foresaw 
How frivolous a baby man would be,
By what distractions he would be possess’d, 
How he would pour himself in every strife, 
And well-nigh change his own identity;
That it might keep from his capricious play  
His genuine self, and force him to obey, 
Even in his own despite his being’s law, 
Bade through the deep recesses of our breast 
The unregarded River of our Life 
Pursue with indiscernible flow its way;  
And that we should not see 
The buried stream, and seem to be 
Eddying at large in blind uncertainty, 
Though driving on with it eternally. 
But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,   
But often, in the din of strife, 
There rises an unspeakable desire 
After the knowledge of our buried life, 
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force 
In tracking out our true, original course;    
A longing to inquire 
Into the mystery of this heart which beats 
So wild, so deep in us, to know 
Whence our lives come and where they go. 
And many a man in his own breast then delves,   
But deep enough, alas, none ever mines!
And we have been on many thousand lines, 
And we have shown, on each, spirit and power, 
But hardly have we, for one little hour, 
Been on our own line, have we been ourselves;     
Hardly had skill to utter one of all 
The nameless feelings that course through our breast, 
But they course on for ever unexpress’d. 
And long we try in vain to speak and act 
Our hidden self, and what we say and do      
Is eloquent, is well—but ‘tis not true! 
And then we will no more be rack’d 
With inward striving, and demand 
Of all the thousand nothings of the hour 
Their stupefying power;    
Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call! 
Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn, 
From the soul’s subterranean depth upborne 
As from an infinitely distant land, 
Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey     
A melancholy into all our day. 
Only—but this is rare— 
When a belovèd hand is laid in ours, 
When, jaded with the rush and glare 
Of the interminable hours,       
Our eyes can in another’s eyes read clear, 
When our world-deafen’d ear 
Is by the tones of a lov’d voice caress’d— 
A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast 
And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again!      
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain, 
And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know, 
A man becomes aware of his life’s flow, 
And hears its winding murmur, and he sees 
The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.
And there arrives a lull in the hot race 
Wherein he doth for ever chase 
The flying and elusive shadow, Rest. 
An air of coolness plays upon his face, 
And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.
And then he thinks he knows 
The hills where his life rose, 
And the Sea where it goes.

Feb 03

Wonderful pastries and prosecco in Venice…

Wonderful pastries and prosecco in Venice…

Dec 01