Frown Lines


I’m in the White Garden at Sissinghurst.  I’ve come over all Bloomsbury.  I’m going to be haughty and let my frown lines show.


Actually I love frown lines.  I particularly love Anna Soubry’s frown lines.  I love a woman who embraces her frown lines.  I think frown lines go hand in hand with integrity.  But I digress.


Standing under the pergola in the white garden feels like being in the cloisters of a church.  There is protection from the fierce heat of the sun, and lovely views out into the garden.


I like the clean lines of the pergola contrasted with the swooping loops of the rose which clothes it, and the frothy ferment beyond.  Is this a reflection of the state of my mind?

It’s been a funny old week.  There is lots in the world to frown about.  We welcomed a ‘President’ who is also a self-confessed Pussy Grabber, who is openly racist and anti-Islamic and refers to immigrants as animals.  We put on a nice show for him.  Everyone had to grin and bear it.

I suppose I am feeling disenfranchised.  The message seems to be that it doesn’t matter that this very powerful person has been unkind to women, people of colour, people with disabilities, hard-working immigrants, people seeking asylum.  It doesn’t matter that he has never shown a shred of remorse.  It doesn’t matter that he has never sat with one of those he has dismissed and dehumanised and humiliated and really listened to their story.  He matters, we don’t.

But we did have the balloon, and that felt good.

This outburst which could no longer be contained led me to research Freedom of Speech.

These paragraphs from Amnesty seemed pertinent:

Rights and reputations of others
Public officials should tolerate more criticism than private individuals. So defamation laws that stop legitimate criticism of a government or public official, violate the right to free speech.

Media and journalists
Journalists and bloggers face particular risks because of the work they do. Countries therefore have a responsibility to protect their right to freedom of speech. Restrictions on Newspapers, TV stations, etc can affect everyone’s right to freedom of expression.

I can offer a temporary fix.  My youngest daughter has been slightly obsessed with the Musical ‘Hamilton’, and has been trying to learn ‘Theodosia’s Song’ on the piano.  She doesn’t have the sheet music, so has worked it out for herself.

The song is a parent’s tender vow to their child that they will be there for them, whatever happens, that they want a better world for them, and that they can’t wait to see what their child will do.  It is worth a listen on You Tube.  I challenge you not to cry (I fail hopelessly at this).

But because I am flipping proud of this girl, and her sister (who helps her out at one point with the left hand) here is a recording of their version.

There.  That feels a little better.

When the world feels a little mad, it is important to have a quiet place to retreat to.  Whether it is a song, or a place to sit, or a thought, or a poem.

What is making you frown this week?  Do you have any favourite frown lines?  What brings you comfort in these strange times?


My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. janesmudgeegarden says:

    The same things make me frown as make you frown, Ali, as well as climate change deniers and our terrible, shameful government policy on asylum seekers. Quite a lot of things, really. But your girls made me smile, so that’s good.

    1. Ali says:

      I know I am in good company, Jane. x

  2. cocoaupnorth says:

    I hear you, Ali. This week, I’m frowning for the same reason you mentioned above. We are hosting the said person here, today. So much to be said about ‘grin and bear it’.
    But the garden you featured is so gorgeous, and a reason to smile. Happy Summer!

  3. You could only be talking about Trump. I don’t watch the news here anymore because of him – my spirit can no longer bear it. I’m sorry he is tormenting your country too and just be grateful he doesn’t live there and you don’t have to put up with him on a daily basis.
    Your daughter’s music is delightful! You have beauty at your house, both inside and out!

    1. Ali says:

      I really feel there has been a cloud over us, Cindy, and it must be awful to have this all the time. Not that we are without our own difficulties. Thank you – there is much to be grateful for in the world. Love and compassion I hope will win through.

  4. Annette says:

    A beautiful post, Ali, many things make me frown but I try to control it as I don’t fancy too many frown lines, much prefer laughter lines! 😉 Nature and my garden are my rescue as well as our animals and my husband (not in this order 😀 ).

    1. Ali says:

      And mine too, Annette. x

  5. Anonymous says:

    Proud of my Son. Grandson and Step-daughter who protested in London and help to smooth out the frown lines, but I fear I am stuck with them now! I love your post, you must be proud of your girls, I have only sons and grandsons, but my two lovely Step-daughters and equally lovely Daughters-in-law more than make up for that!

    Birds on my bird-table and flowers in the garden make me happy, even though I am unable to do much gardening now, but, hey, I did once!

    1. Ali says:

      Please thank them from me for exercising their democratic right. Birds and flowers are excellent remedies for a harsh world.

  6. bcparkison says:

    I am so sorry you have all fallen for fake news. Don’t believe every thing you read.

  7. FlowerAlley says:

    I have been hiding in my garden.

  8. Penny Post says:

    Nice post I really want to see the garden at Sissinghurst so enjoyed your photos. As for Trump the fact that someone above really believes everyone else and not him is peddling fake news makes me frown. I try really hard not to think of him, the Queen deserves a massive raise just for being polite to him for however long she had to put up with him. Hopefully we won’t have to play host to him again now his ego has been pampered.

    1. Ali says:

      Even if you filter out all editorial content, it is Trump’s observed behaviour at press conferences which leaves an impression. His non-verbal signals towards females asking questions is striking. This is not the way any of the men in my life behave towards women. He seems to pick on all of the disadvantaged groups in society, and this is extremely unattractive.
      I would love to know the Queen’s private thoughts!

  9. On behalf of most of the people in the U.S., I would like to apologize for our President. I deeply apologize. Thank you for this post. My tendency to ruin my technology is making me frown a bit this week. But, I am also coming off a vacation, so I am feeling pretty peaceful, too.

    1. Ali says:

      You do not need to apologise, Shelly! It was interesting that having him around affected my mood; he was like a cloud over the country, making me feel such a sense of injustice. As Cindy said, you need to protect yourself from this negativity if he is always there, but at the same time I don’t like being a passive bystander. When I saw Theresa May standing next to him grimacing as he spoke about immigration I wanted her to go “No! Stop! This is racist and I will not stand here listening to your drivel!”. Instead she was like a silenced partner, and that was painful to watch.

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