Wednesday, September 14, 2011


We used a window frame on the fence in our back yard. Only once did I get climbing yellow nasturtiums to crawl up the side.

THERE WAS a British author, now deceased, whose writings I appreciated hugely. In one of his books, "The Thatched Roof" Beverley Nichols wrote this of windows:

"To me, all windows are magic casements. Whether they are bright or dim, whether they give onto green lawns or blink at barren bricks, or are shaded or sparkling, the life I see through them has a sweeter pattern. There is something terrifying about the wide spaces which the eye enfolds in the open air; and there are times in a man's life when he must always be darting his head from this side to that, watching from the corner of his eye to assure himself that the Enemy is not creeping towards him from the dim distance. But when he looks at life through a window he is safe.

Safe! And master of his own world. For with a tilt of the head, a cloud is banished, a green branch dances into view, the church steeple lifts its grey finger in the foreground and the picture is perfect. A step to the side of the room, and the view through the window is utterly different, though no less delicious. For now the steeple is gone, and three poplars take its place; the hill gives way to a valley, the sky is a deeper blue and across the foreground a swallow flutters, like a swift line in India ink from the pen of a Japanese artist.

Windows! Perhaps it is a weakness to wish, so often, to remain behind them, to draw the curtains, just a little, to frame the raggedness of life. And yet.......I am not sure. At least I know this......that it is better to gaze through a small frame, clearly, than to walk the open road with a downcast head."

When we had a house we awakened to this view each morning.
Before we moved to the Manor, this was the view from our front window at home.

Often I put cut flowers from our garden on the windowsill above the kitchen sink. 

Now our fourth floor window overlooks a small neighborhood park that is well used during the day and I suspect is the scene for occasional drug deals after dark.

When we used to visit our eldest and his family in Oakland, when we crossed the bridge into the town of Alameda, I would see Albert Einstein looking out the window. He was gone last time we were there.

Sometimes it's fun to be outside, looking in. And I'll admit to enjoying the sight of lit windows at night, but I'm a little ashamed to admit that.

The only thing I relish about going to the doctor is the view of the valley from his waiting room window.

Window shopping is fun. Years ago I started setting up our display window at Thanksgiving time with a table setting featuring books of the season amongst the bowls and platters. The current owner has carried on the practice.

Mr. Bob created six stained glass panels for the shutters that covered our kitchen windows. We brought them with us to the Manor, but are stumped about how to use them.

What a task to clean such a large window before opening time.

I'm ever grateful that I've never lived where bars on the windows were necessary.

I've never had much luck growing indoor plants. This was one of my attempts, but it didn't last long. The lighting is better where we live now.

  This photo of a window overlooking San Francisco, 
courtesy of Chris Humphrey.


  1. Sometimes, when I got very overwhelmed, I'd sit outside at night and look into my own windows from far away. It looked lovely and peaceful....even when I didn't feel the same!

  2. Lovely, words and pictures.

  3. Fascinating Jane, loved the photos and the explanations.
    Your house and views look so lovely , you must miss it sometimes.
    Wonderful windows BOb , hope you do manage to install them somewhere in your new home.

  4. Fabulous post! Those photos of the views from your home are filled with love of place, too. I smiled at Einstein peeking back at you. And Chris really does have a good eye--great shot he got. I didn't know Bob did stained glass work! My brother-in-law does, as well, and he's very talented. He's made some real beauties.

  5. Love all the talk of windows...I have often heard the saying to not judge by looking in others windows. It is all your perception!