this week a lot of the seedlings which have been occupying my bay window seemed big enough to pot on.

I decided to make my back garden a prairie – dog allowing – rather than a wildflower meadow, which she mostly ruined in Norfolk. there will be a bit of lawn, but not much. at the moment it is mostly very sad lawn, on clay with the topsoil removed, made even sadder by sporadic digging – she can’t help herself when she’s excited – and the classic yellow and brown patches cause by dog pee. anyway, I bought a lot of seed packets, for rudbeckia, echinacea and various prairie coneflowers, a few blue grasses and drop seeds, prairie gentians and clover. I am going to have an awful lot of plants. I have already used up 100 paper pulp pots and there are more needing taking out of their first nursery trays.

today was sunny and less chilly than of late, I felt a bit of a glow on my face after having lunch outside. this magnificent shield bug liked the colour of my chair.

I was given a grow shed for my birthday. there are no small greenhouses available to buy, anywhere that I can find on line, so this is a cheap substitute. it will give shelter and warmth to boost salad veg, harden off the seedling flowers, and hopefully give me a tomato crop …

if it doesn’t blow away. the guy ropes and pegs seem a little inadequate. I have tied it to the neighbour’s fence as well. though the main worry is that the frosts just seem to go on and on, so I can’t actually put any of the seedlings I have indoors out there yet!

Bims was quite ecstatic to have some outdoor sunbathing.

on Friday we walked around St Andrews’ main attractions, Lade Braes and the two dens, Spinkie and Lumbo. I heard a blackcap singing in Lade Braes, but mostly it was chiffchaff chit chat.

it’s been very dry, and the burn in Lumbo was so low we paddled (in B’s case) stepped on stepping stones (in mine) across to the other bank and the wilderness usually too full of nettles and crisscross brambles to bother with. interesting to see the den from a different angle.

it is the season of lambs, and the best place to see them is Kemback. also the bluebells are just starting there ….

last weekend I tried out a walk from Colinsburgh, just in from the coast, with splendid views of the Firth of Forth

a beautiful estate with much flower planting in semi-wild areas around streams and under trees, and a higher path around farmland

and a secret path starting under and through rhododendrons and over the burn

up to this gothic folly on the crag

overlooking a house of many gables hidden amongst trees, Balcarres, owned by the Lindsay family since the 16th century.

a week when drawing in the landscape

started this – it had its good points but not many

so it received some collaged bits and thinned down paint

and suddenly became this which was cloud shadows walking back and forth from drawings I did on the beach at Tentsmuir

and another small diptych emerged from boxes, to have an airing

and a coat of satin varnish. I found a better way to turn the lefthand panel too, so this is actually finished, officially – it has a title, “The fence resolves/the rocks agree to run away”, acrylic on canvas 40 x 80 cm, and I’m very pleased with its balance of calmness against the energetic marks. I want to find more of that balance in my paintings.

so a new start in the studio with some drawing

and a new 100 x 100 canvas ….