It’s good to be back just in time for my penultimate Summer post! During my two-week break I went to the annual Long Island Scottish Games Festival at Old Westbury Gardens (that’s a dog in a kilt, above). It’s always good to hang with my peeps, the Scottish, the most fun-loving, light-hearted, sober people on Earth. It comes from all that airy-fairy-gaia-girl-power DNA us Celtic maids of the woods possess:
Oh, right: us Scottish girls also love to dance with swords, too:
And as you can see, even the boys of our clan want to be like their magical sisters so much that they’ll even wear the same outfits.
I also spent a few days in the enchanted land known as Pennsylvania, hanging with my mother (from whom I get my Scottish proclivities). She has a cat named Sammy who knows how to work backlighting and sheer curtains:
And, yes, I spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in the backyard trying to get a shot of the 6:05 Qantas from LAX.
Yes, I sat sentry in the backyard whenever the landing pattern at JFK airport shifted to the sky above Top Cat Manor hoping to get the red kangaroo on film. The 6:05 Qantas from LAX is my black orchid, my white whale, my Loch Ness Monster. So far, I’ve only been able to catch the 6:40 Air Berlin from, well, you know where. But note how the plane catches the golden rays of the September evening. Sigh.
Anyhoo. I’m here today to show you that I was also a tiny bit productive, in that I painted a whole new illustration (for my London garden in the Damn Garden Book). I took rather a lot of photos — I thought I’d do a real brush-stroke-by-brush-stroke show and tell:
I did this just to show how I strategized this scene, working from front to back.
I think you get the idea, so I’ll just shut up and roll film:
Now, I know that you weren’t expecting a London garden today. I know I promised you a cat-painting lesson. Well, I’m working on it:
But I have an exciting new give-away for my dear readers! I have received an advance hard back copy of ElizabethGilbert’s new novel, The Signature of All Things:
Last May Elizabeth sent me a paper-back proof of the novel and I read it in two days. I loved it. And you all know that I do not read fiction…but this is almost non-fiction, as it’s a story about love and botany and is full of real true stuff about plants and gardens and 18th century trade in newly-discovered horticultural species. GREAT BOOK, is what I’m saying. If it’s been a long time since you read you’ve read a book by a really smart writer, or it’s been ages since you enjoyed a sophisticated historical romance, or it’s been eons since you read a book that took you into another realm of being…this book is for you.
The book itself is a beautiful object — it 499 pages of smooth ivory vellum with a deckle edge. And it’s got two different end-papers, with a pair of botanical illustrations on each:
This is very expensive to produce, by the way.
I am giving away this advance hard-back copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Signature of All Things to one lucky dear reader!
Please leave your name in the Comments section and, as is standard operating procedures, Top Cat will pick a Commentor at random. The winner of this lovely book will be announced next Friday,right here on this blog.
(Comments will close at midnight, Tuesday.)
It’s down to the penultimate Summer weekend, dear readers. Let’s all go out and do something to make Summer 2013 memorable!