Because it’s high summer (!) I thought I’d share with you this picture of Monet’s garden at Giverney just north of Paris.

He is reputed to have regarded it as his greatest work of art and if you gaze at it through half-closed eyes you can almost see his impressionist brushstrokes at play. There’s light and shade and texture and tone and colour all in this little thumbnail image. There’s a sense of composition too, with the two paths running in parallel and the tulips bursting forth in between. The effect is deceptively simple, but if you look at the way the blue contrasts with the pink and the prickly rose bushes oppose the softness of the tulips, you begin to get a sense of how complex the design really is – and that’s before you take account of the olfactory delights the garden – the symphony of different scents.

I’m not sure that there is a creative writing lesson here, except that Giverney is extraordinarily beautiful in a number of different ways and that it is an expression of one man’s vision – much like a good book. It’s a source of inspiration, and there is a kind of education to be had as well, if you start to look at the structure of different areas and how they interact as a whole. Perhaps today’s little homily is about being receptive to what you see, about being attuned, about seeing the creative potential in your surroundings, no matter what they are…