Friday, March 30, 2012

The sunshine called.......

The weather has been glorious all week, and so, for the most part, I have abandoned the computer in favour of the great outdoors and the delights of the aqua classes. The combination of the whole lot - sun, gardening, aqua, etc has meant that coming inside to rest for a second = falling asleep instantly. Yes, I have done way too much, but oh oh oh, I have loved every minute of each day. 

On Tuesday, it was 36 years since I walked down the aisle as a bride in white French lace. The gardening garb didn't quite have the air of elegance we aimed for 36 years ago, but the memories were great and there was a great deal of grinning here. I simply cannot believe it was so long ago. Mum and I worked out that she had been married 26 years when I got married. 36 years ago is talking of ancient times. 

So it was a quiet and good day. 

On Wednesday, Jean and I headed out in the blazing sun at an early hour to a lovely garden centre close by - Podington - and after trying out their very new and definitely improved restaurant (we timed things perfectly - the scones were still warm), we grabbed a trolley and started choosing plug plants. Well, I did. Jean bought clothing. Plugs are tiny starter plants, a great deal cheaper than the fully grown plants will be in a couple of months, and I love planting things on and re-potting, so the plugs are great for me. 

 See? Rows and rows of little plug plants. Bliss. I knew exactly what I wanted and that was exactly what I bought. But the meandering about the aisles was such fun.
 Now this (above) is what REALLY caught my eye.What a superb idea. I loathe squirrels. Not because of the fact that they are squirrels. I am quite prepared to see their cuteness 10 miles from my garden. But the pesky little horrors around here destroy my plants, dig up all seedlings, wreck my garden and drive me potty. Not to mention the fact that they plant obscure nuts all over the place, in my pots, beds everywhere and then they grow instead of my pretty flowers. So that fence guard stuff had enormous appeal. Until I worked out just how much it would cost. However, I may try a section and see how they like it. They may have to learn Irish dancing to get across it. That would be just fine.

SEE?????? SEE THAT NUT?????? It was destined to be planted in my pots, only Mr Squirrel had second thoughts when I started waving a garden fork in the air like a demented person.
And then I moved on to the gentle art of sitting under my apple tree (the leaves are starting to appear at last) practising my breathing, lowering the blood pressure, post squirrel repelling dance. (Is that a word? If not, I have just invented it.) While sipping at the coffee, with the feet on the coffee table. The sun shining through the tulip petals looked so beautiful......calming.....
The double daffodils are coming out now too, and the lilac is starting to grow its leaves. And, while the sun today has been absent , it is starting to filter through the clouds as I speak. Just as I have finished covering the seedlings, plug plants and seed trays with fleece for the night. Did I mention that I upended the packet of nemesia seeds and the whole lot fell into one seed tray? They are very small and totally invisible on potting soil and then I looked at the packet. 750 seeds. Right. That could be interesting.

And there could be snow next week.

It has been a delight to be outside and just enjoying the miracle of spring, you know. Seeds I planted started coming up within 5 days and that has to be one of the greatest thrills. Little miniature brown specks transforming into green shoots. (I am contemplating what 750 little miracles all sprouting at once will look like.....) Like my apple tree, pruned back hard, and the new growth is strong and starting to reach for the skies. My roses too.

It is like life, isn't it? Sometimes things happen which are dreadful, and yet, looking back, I can see how the "pruning" led to new stronger growth. New shoots - talents, opportunities, paths - spring up where you least expect them. But the pruning is on-going, and it is only in retrospect that you can see the pattern. At the time, you just plod on determinedly every single day, no matter how difficult that day may be.

And the sun - well, sunshine makes things a great deal easier. People smile when the sun shines. Laughter echoes across the gardens - laughter which may well be muffled by bricks and mortar in gloomy times, but when the sun shines, and people move outside, the world seems a brighter place. A happier place.

I wonder if my plants are cooking under the fleece in the sun. Hmmm.

Our aqua teacher has been on holiday this week, so we have had substitute teachers, and no aquazumba because she is the only one qualified to teach that. it has been fun. Very hard work - especially yesterday's class. We were "running" or dancing back and forth up and down the pool, and were all wrecks by the end, but it was a good feeling. I still ache. Coming home and hauling out the garden furniture from under its covers was probably not the greatest idea I have ever had. A snooze may have been a better idea. But, as I said, the most important thing is that I have loved every moment out there. filling pots. Dreaming of what they will look like, going through all the seeds I collected last year from my plants and scattering them about, thinking about circles. Circles of life. The seeds. What seeds bring to mind. What life stories we all have - as you can see, my mind has been all over the place.

But I have LOVED IT!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Anyone would think it was summer......

Yet another glorious day today - this weather is totally wrong for March. Temps reached 20ish today. In March. And Tuesday will be 18C, Wednesday 19C and Thursday 17C. Unbelievable. Mind you, last year the hottest spell of the year was in April and summer was dreadful. I wonder whether this summer will be grim.... but I am not going to skip ahead yet. I am just enjoying today.
So, I was outside at an early hour, because there was no fog this morning and the sun was shining, and there were Things To Do, of course. Seeds to plant. Dahlias to plant. Pots to fill. Sigh. Bliss. It wasn't until Jean popped in that I realised that I hadn't even uttered a word aloud all day. I talked to myself a lot in my head, of course, but I was happy pottering about. Taking frequent very necessary rests under the apple tree. It was so hot. More washing out, drying rapidly in the sun. Bumble bees buzzing about. Ladybirds expanding their numbers. (I watered two over-amorous ones because I thought their love life had gone on long enough thankyouverymuch and they could go somewhere more private than under my nose if they chose to continue.)
My kitchen had seed envelopes piled all over the counters, and different piles for different times and places. And I loved the mess too. I loved opening the envelopes holding all the seeds I gathered last year. I loved seeing them in their thousands, just waiting to start growing again. Something so tiny which, in a short space of time, becomes something so big - it never ceases to fill me with wonder.

I also saw the first slug of the season, and slug pellets went on the shopping list immediately.
And now for the exciting outing of the day. To fill my car's petrol tank. The nation's petrol delivery drivers have voted to go on strike in the near future, and the army is training soldiers to drive the tankers to deliver fuel around the country if they do, but I felt that filling the car would be a good thing to do. It was not empty, but it still cost £60 to fill. SIXTY POUNDS. I think I need to find a donkey or something to take me out and about shopping. I can just see myself perched on the back of a donkey with baskets on either side full of veg and fruit. Hmmm. Poor donkey. (I just had an image of me rocking up at the gym for aqua classes on the back of a donkey, and nearly choked on my coffee...)

And on the way home, I stopped to visit a friend and see just how far ahead other people were in the seed planting / garden starting stakes. Considerably further ahead is the answer. Oh well. My plants and I will catch up. The coffee and conversation was good. Exercising one's vocal chords is actually a very good thing.

How bizarre.....I am sitting here in a fleece jacket, and I am and have been typing with both hands. My right hand is ice cold. My left hand is lovely and warm. I am not in the least bit cold. I just checked - my right arm is cold. My left all warm. Bizarre, as I said. And if anyone is thinking what just flashed through my mind, do not go there for a second because I do not want to know.
David got the official letter offering him a place at university to do his Masters in September, and he has accepted it. And started the application process for Post-grad accommodation etc etc etc. His course lasts a full calendar year, so he will be there for 12 months, and not the 9months most academic years seem to be.  He is SO excited about this, and I could not be more delighted for him. And it provides a degree of certainty for the foreseeable future, not to mention the opportunity to gain a qualification which is not all that common. AND one which totally fascinates him. That is the best part. He will be studying the thing he really WANTS to study.
So, the greenhouses are closed up, the moon is out - have you seen the moon??? And how close that planet is....I forget which one. It looks amazing.
 Oh. One thing I thought would amuse you all........ after my frenzied planting efforts, I carefully wrote out labels for the seeds and pots. And, to my shame, there are two huge pots with labels reading "can't remember" in them. For the life of me, I cannot begin to think what I have planted in them, but I know I did, because I watered in the seeds. I suspect there may be more "can't remember" labels going in tomorrow...... Forget the rewiring of the brain - I need to find out where my brain cells have migrated to before I start rewiring them.........

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A little late this year.....

Having a blog is a very useful thing, because if you want to know things like when to start planting seeds, you just check in the archives. So I did. Last year, the year of the splendiforous garden, I started planting on 7 March. That would make me VERY LATE this year. In fact, here I was very pleased with myself for amassing some of the mountains of potting soil I will need, and I discovered that by this time last year, I had seedlings all over the house and stacked up in the greenhouse and was in possession of every growbag known to man on 25 March. IS 25 March and I have no seedlings, no trays bursting with things to come, no windowsills full of plants and no growbags.


This is not a good start. I am being a slug.

And I hate the slugs which choose to frequent my garden.

However, as of this afternoon, I do have an allotment which has been rotivated and it looks great. Not that I did the rotivation, I hasten to add - the men did that. I provided the lemonade and some verbal encouragement. Because it is big, and because I can't manage the whole thing, I invited my friends to use part of it too, so Margaret (the garden fairy) and her husband Derek, grow loads of things on it, and so does John, an import from Australia who is married to Jo, who is British. Everyone lives in the village, and the men do the hard stuff, but generally we all look after our own sections. Sharing is good. Margaret and Derek have built a big fruit cage, which you can walk in, to keep the birds away. David is great about doing the digging and lifting and fixing when he is here too. He worked on it with his Dad, and he is the one who really wants me to keep the allotment. Mind you, I do love being down there too. It is a very sociable thing, gardening without borders. There are not many fences - you have your patch and you chat. Large patch. Very large patch.

All the compost we took down from my compost heap at home has been well worth the effort. My section is looking wonderful, and the soil is excellent.

I can just TELL how much you wanted to hear that.

I aim to please, people......

So that was where we were this afternoon. After church this morning, I went to Jean's house for lunch and we actually sat out in the garden in the sun to eat. It was lovely. And this gorgeous weather is set to stay for the next while, so tomorrow I will be out in the garden again. I have compost to toss into the bed out of which I managed to lever the great root of the choisya. That would be because I borrowed a spade from Jean. No spade, Linds?? Why yes. Down at the allotment. Of course. My little trowel did not do well vs the giant root. So the brown bin is full (garden waste) and I have piles of stuff to refill it with once it is emptied on Friday. I can't tell you how pleased I am that the fortnightly collection of garden rubbish is back in full swing. Good heavens, I sound just like a boring Old Person who rambles on about sundry Old Person's Interests.

Yep. That would be me. Crochet, gardening, sewing, baking..... oh wait a minute, maybe I really am becoming an Old Person..........

But I do love doing all of those things!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ah, garden fever once again.........

Oh what a beautiful day it has been - hot, sunny, blue skies and no wind. Just perfect. So, after a sleepless night, I rolled out of bed quite late - after 9am if you really want to know! - and flung open the doors into the garden. I only crawled back in when Jean called late afternoon and suggested I pop over for coffee in her garden. She too, had been attacked by garden fever.

I was on a mission, you see. This is the Choisya bush. I need the bed for other things, like pretty flowers .... like dahlias. I have some waiting for a space, and if I can ever work out which way up the bulbous thingy goes, I will plant them here.

 But first this large bush had to go.
And after hacking away with secateurs, loppers and finally a whopping great saw, this is what I am left with. I tried scooping away the soil to see how big the roots are, but they appear to have headed for Australia, and I will need a large male person with muscles to come and dig it out. Or I may resort to the axe. 

I have so many seeds. Some bought on last year's sales 75% off, and some gathered from my own garden and my friends' gardens. I cannot begin to tell you how exciting it is to get out all the envelopes stuffed with seeds, and see which can go in now - like Godetia - and which I can start as seedlings. 

Now I quite understand if you look at the photo of the pile and shudder. But I don't. I want to wiggle and bounce about with delight. I am SOOOOOOO happy the time has come to sort them out. 

You know how you start one thing, get it half done and move onto another and then see something else you need to do which leads to 2 other things etc etc? Well, that was me today. I filled some pots with soil, then needed the little greenhouse cloche to keep them safe, but I couldn't find the cover, which necessitated opening the bigger greenhouse, which meant taking out the hanging baskets, so I hung those up then needed more liners, so got those from my sewing room, then hung up the pot holders on the fence, and then found the cover., but the tomato green house cover was on top of it, so I decided to do that one first so I had to move the pea baskets and potato pots to get to the frame, so I thought I must plant the peas, so I did that after I found all the seeds and spied the pea packet and then I needed netting to stop the squirrels from eating them, so that meant I needed string, so I went in search of that and then I had to find the scissors in the kitchen which meant more coffee, and then I sat down, and then I saw that the .........

That is the longest sentence in history, but it is a typical illustration of my day. 
 This is the workstation. Potting Central.
 And this was part of the patio after I stopped for the day. The pots will not stay there - they are just out of the way and in the sun for now. Potatoes, you see.

And then Jean sent me a message inviting me to coffee. I sent one back saying my garden was a disaster zone,. and she replied saying that hers was as well. Ah, all we need is the sun and we are off and (sort of) running. So I hopped into the car and drove up to Jean's house, only there was no parking anywhere, because the entire village appeared to be on the Rec. (Recreation Ground). So I parked at the church and my stick (oh wow, did I need it) and I walked over the Rec to her house - past babies, children, Mums and Dads, Grannies and Grandpas, dogs, and teenagers. The teen area - with zip wire etc was full of young people, the skateboard park was busy, and the playground was full too. The sounds of children and ice cream vans and music....... it is just like summer......
 This is the large mound on which the church is built - it has an ancient moat like thing around the back. You can see it here.
 And you can see the children at the skateboard ramp and on the right is the teen area.......
 Looking back at the church on the mound. Aren't the trees beautiful without their leaves? When they come out, the church is hard to see.
 The playground with many little ones playing......

And over the road and into Jean's garden I went. That empty chair was waiting for me. I did wonder if I would sink through the material in a disastrous fashion and descend to the ground. I did not, although I did flop into it with delight. I started thinking that I would never get up again, because as soon as I stop moving, every single bone in my body seizes up. But maybe tonight I will actually sleep. We can but hope.

Coffee and chatting in the sun was delightful. And then Jean told me the compost we used for out pots was on offer at a local superstore, so I departed at haste to get some before they closed. Never fear.....I have now got enough to fill all the 14 hanging baskets, heaven knows how many troughs and pots and what ever else I need to fill.

This year I will grow beans, tomatoes, lettuce, peas and broad beans at home. More beans, broad beans, gem squash, leeks, butternut and 3 varieties of courgettes on the allotment. I may add more, but I am halving the stuff I plant at home. We are in a drought here, and the hosepipe ban will begin on 1 April, so I am trying to plant things which do not need a huge amount of watering. We will see.

So now I am heading for the couch and a little rippling. I may never get up again. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Today? Today I am happy. Really happy. Let me tell you why......

  • It is my daughter-in-law's birthday today
  • In fact 2 of my friends also have birthdays today - Simon and Martyn. One in the village and one in Scotland. Happy Birthday to you all!
  • David has heard that he has a confirmed place at university in September to do a Master's in Forensic Osteology! Yay, David!!!!!! I am so thrilled it is sorted and you know you will be going to Bournemouth soon. 
  • The sun is shining
  • The washing is out there drying
  • The camellia has started flowering and soon it will be covered with blooms, but here are some photos of it now
  • I have planted the potatoes
  • I have filled 5 pots with fresh soil
  • I have started hacking back a choisya bush I want out of the garden
  • The phone bill which arrived today was less than I feared and it is already paid because I hate bills!
  • I have received my new blue (disability) parking badge with no fuss or bother
  • I also got a huge parcel from New Zealand, from my friend, Linds - photos of her daughter's wedding, a transcript of the service, menus the lot. I cannot tell you how I loved reading it all and seeing everything. I wish I had been there too. But I sat under the apple tree and savoured the whole thing. Lovely. 
  • I have coffee. 
So, after doing a new aqua class this morning, which was not quite what I expected - there was no teacher, so an aerobics instructor came and attempted it, but she had never done aquarobics before, so it was a bit of a disaster, I came home to flop. At least I did some exercise in water and that was good. Then I opened the doors to the garden and I have been out there all afternoon, although there has also been a great deal of sitting under the apple tree as well. Pacing, you see, I am doing it. well, actually, I have no choice. But still, the grin is still in place and the fresh air lifts the spirit, doesn't it? I think the weekend is set to be beautiful so I foresee more time out there. 


Not only am I happy today, but I am also immensely thankful for everything up there on the list. Every single thing - they are in my gratitude journal and there are so many more things I could add as well. All the small things add up to a very blessed life, you know. And I am so thankful. 
Potatoes in pots. Please ignore the washing!
So that has been my day today........ I so hope you have something to make you happy today, and to bring out your smile. Let me know????

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The excitement of a printer which prints.......

I decided to do a couple of things this year in the interest of recording a year in my life -  the 366 Photo challenge, and the Line a Day diary. The last one is easy to do. In fact, I always struggle to limit myself to a line. The photos.....well, they are another story. Days can be very similar, and there are only so many photos of washing flapping in the breeze or my aqua stuff in a pile or the ripple or the computer that I can add before I nod off. I mean -  really. Monotony springs to mind.

Not that I am bored in the slightest, but my days follow a very similar pattern now that I have slowed to a crawl, and I can mange maybe one big thing a day. That would be the aqua or the washing, or, Hallelujah! A trip to the supermarket. And one does not want photos of exciting supermarkets on a regular basis. There must be something more captivating. Ah. Today I will take a photo of the book I am reading. One page a night in the bath before I drown it.

Speaking of supermarkets, today I decided, (after Aqua) to get all the pile of quotes sorted for the lawyers and post them. A mission which I was determined to complete today. It has been looming in the background long enough. So, I finished the letter I started writing to the lawyer on 7 February (what can I say - I hated every minute of the quote acquisition) and hit the print button. And my printer sprang into life and printed the first page and then ran out of ink.

Never fear, I had a spare cartridge, so I popped it in. Beep Beep. A big red cross appeared and "Cartridge Error" appeared on the screen. So I tried again. Beep Beep Beep. I checked the cartridge and it was identical to the one I had removed. Same number, same tabs. Same everything. Beep Beep. More red crosses.

So both cartridges and I leapt into the car and tootled off to Tesco to ask for a replacement, with receipt in hand and packaging. Oh, said the customer service have to call that number and if they give you a reference number you can have a replacement. I don't want them to give me a replacement next week, I said - I need the ink NOW. So I stuffed the offending cartridges in my bag and the stick and I ventured forth to the computer aisles. (Past the iPads....drool)

And I took down a compatible cartridge from the rack, checked the price, nearly had a heart attack, and then spied the new HP printers, and so help me, the black cartridge cost £22.95. The colour one was much more expensive. And the new printer??????? £24.95. That is a printer/copier/scanner, complete with 2 FULL ink cartridges. Cheaper than a colour cartridge. So I popped the cartridge back on the shelf and grabbed the printer. So did another couple who were also eyeing the price of replacement ink. (I am getting tired of the word cartridge.)

So I have a shiny new printer. Which printed the letter happily at speed. I suspect that it would be cheaper each time you run out of ink to just buy a new printer, and that is RIDICULOUS. My old HP printer had been printing away merrily since David was doing his GCSEs. That would be 2004 or 5. And there is nothing wrong with it apart from the fact that it needs VERY EXPENSIVE INK. And yes, I have had the cartridges refilled in the past - that was an unmitigated disaster -  and I have also bought the generic ones but that was where the Red Cross appeared.

I cannot believe I have written an entire post about printer ink. The mind boggles.

I told you I was struggling to find excitement to photograph. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!! I can take a photo of the printer!

Groan. This album is not going to be at all interesting, is it............

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Budget Day and beautiful skies.....

It is Budget Day here and my head is spinning. The size of the national debt is horrendous, and the measures they are taking to bring it down are equally horrendous. The retirement age is going up again it seems - we will know later in the year - and it is already 6 years later for me and that is bad enough. The pensioners' tax free allowance is being effectively cut, which means pensioners will have an awful lot more tax to pay. So all in all, it is migraine inducing stuff, and at the end of the day, we all pay more, have less income and prices still rocket skywards. Petrol will be going up too. (Sticks fingers in ears at this point and starts singing LALALALALA at the top of her voice.)

What a joy.

I am trying to think of how I can be thankful for this.

I am not doing very well.

Anyway, the sun is shining, I survived aquarobics (as opposed to aquazumba) and even though the legs closely resemble jelly, we will put up with that. I have even prepared supper, so I just have to switch things on. I am a paragon of virtue, aren't I?? Clean washing too.

The nights recently have been so clear and the stars and planets so bright. More awe-inspiring is the deep silence. I know this because I fall asleep on the couch and wake at 12, 1, 2am and then there is the rubbish to take out and washing to get in, and I stand there and I look upwards and it is so beautiful it almost takes my breath away. The silence, the heavy silence is all around me as the world sleeps, and way up there, between heaven and earth, little lights flicker as aeroplanes with their precious human cargo silently wing their way through the skies to far off places.

Sometimes, I see a shooting star, and other times, there are satellites or space stations which whizz by. It has become a habit now, to go out on clear nights just before I go to bed, to look upwards at the skies. And every time is different. No moon last night that I could see, so much brighter stars. And the moon - oh so much beauty. Do you ever go out in the dark and just stand there and look up? When I lived in South Africa, the skies were (obviously) different, and often I would go and lie down in the dark and gaze into the heavens. I would need a recliner now. Lying on the patio/ground could mean staying there for a considerable   time.

I think it all started with Halley's Comet, back in 1986. The comet is not due back until 2061 and it is QUITE safe to say that I will not be here to see it return. The city lights were switched off to darken the skies so it could be seen more clearly. Actually, it was not that clear at all, but I certainly saw it. Something.

Whether it was awe-inspiring or not, it started a habit of looking to the heavens. And wondering. Thinking. Turning around and being filled with awe and a quiet sort of joy too.

We live in an amazing world, don't we.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wherein I ramble.......

Good grief - I didn't post anything yesterday. The world must be coming to an end. Yesterday....what did I do yesterday??? Hmmm. I took all the food collected from church to the homeless shelter, and then popped into Lidl to investigate their offers, and then went to Waitrose, which is conveniently situated right round the corner. So you can go to Lidl and save loads of money buying your food, and then go and relax and have a coffee at Waitrose in comfort.

Right. I was just getting to the dream section of Waitrose, aka the electronics section where they have kindles and laptops and all the other things on the dream list, when I realised that the leg was not co-operating. So there I was, standing near to the restaurant, like a stork, when my phone rang. Peter and Glynis calling to see if I wanted to go to Wairose with them in the afternoon. Funny they should mention Waitrose.... So, I ventured over to the queue for coffee with BOTH hands on the one stick. And as I stood there, I realised that carrying a cup of coffee or a tray was Out Of the Question. So I tottered back to the car via the veg section, pausing for long minutes to practice the breathing and the riding of the waves of pain like a surfer, and finally got back to the car. Having bought nothing.

So, I got home, had a rest and some lunch AND coffee, and then called Peter and Glynis again to see when they were going to Waitrose. And invited myself along.

I know. Sounds like I had lost the mind, but at least I didn't have to carry the tray, did I, and I thoroughly enjoyed the company and the conversation. Then I pottered round the dream section again, bought nothing, and we came home. And I made a stir fry for supper without setting anything alight.See? I am not loopy yet.

And today? Well, there was another call to BT at dawn to discuss a ridiculous email I received, telling me I was nearing the limit if my broadband allowance. This was ridiculous because I have the contract in front of me saying that I have Option 3 not Option 1 and my Option 3 allows unlimited access. Groan. I have requested an email from them saying that the first email was sent in error, because I do not want hidden charges suddenly popping up,.

And then I went to Aqua and nearly perished. It was very difficult for me because the body now feels pain in the water, as opposed to not feeling pain like Before the Flare. But I soldiered on, because I have to, and here I am. A little weary.

Oh, yes, I also decorated the Easter tree and the rest of the house too. The eggs and the rabbits are out in force. Maybe I should take a photo or two....hang on a sec.....
So I have scattered the photos through the post. The house is now in Easter mode. It will go back to Spring after Easter, of course. One day I want to get one of Ann Voskamp's son's magnificent Lent/Advent candle sets - have you seen them? Just beautiful.

The sun is indeed shining, and the kitchen is bathed in the late afternoon golden light. I love it. And you are now up to date with my totally exciting life. But then, it suits me just fine right now......

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mothering Sunday.................

It is Mothering Sunday here in the UK - our Mother's Day, and this year, thankfully, it did not coincide with the moving of clocks, because most years, we start the day with one hour less sleep. This is not a good way to start the day celebrating mothers, you understand, because we all know mothers need sleep. But our clocks only advance next week. Oh, the relief. 

So, given the absence of all sundry offspring around these parts, I got up early, made coffee (in the cup my daughter gave me) and a cinnamon roll (I ate it before I thought of photos) and chatted to youngest son on the phone. I also spoke to MY mother, because she has managed to put up with my sister and me for more than half a century. Hah. She must love us too. (Just kidding, Mum - we know you do!)

 And then I went to church....with a great deal of trepidation, I assure you, after the last memorable episode. However, with feet on a cushion, sitting on a padded cushion with a padded back, the vibrations were manageable. Not good, but I did not fall down in a heap. During the singing, I moved to the stone floor, stood on the cushion and the stick was on the cushion too to keep me standing. The knuckles may have been white, and the singing minimal, but I coped. High notes tend to be verrrrrry challenging for me to hear. That means,, Becky, that Zadok may not be something I will manage. Church bells didn't fare too well either,. but I went. I survived.
 And I was invited to have lunch with friends of mine, so that was good. The babes, who are now 10 and 8 (the twins) brought down piles of their books for me to see - and there was lots of fun and laughter and working out of lateral thinking puzzles over the delicious lunch.

I stopped to take the photo above on the way home - aren't the blossoms beautiful?
 And the hyacinths are gorgeous in the fleeting bits of sun. The sun has appeared and disappeared randomly every few minutes today. One minute the rain was thundering down and the next, the sky was blue and the sun shining. Rinse and repeat all day.
And this is the beautiful card my older son sent me. Just lovely. I skyped with them this evening and watched Missy tidy up a bit and eat some chocolate cake before she went and joined her Daddy at the computer. She had "Verk" to do, you see.

So ....... Mother's Day. Being a Mum. What does that really mean?

It means that motherhood is a lifetime career. It doesn't stop when your children fly the nest. It doesn't stop when they are 35, 31, or 23. I may not see my children every day, but I think of them, worry about them, love them and wonder about them every single day and night of my life. They are, and always will be, a part of me. Maybe the best part of me.

They amaze me, astonish me, amuse me, surprise me, fill me with pride, annoy me and drive me round the bend. And cause my hair to go grey. They are human. So am I. Ask any of them and I am quite sure they will say that I annoy them and drive them around the bend too.

But let's go back to the love part. I love them. I will always love them, no matter where they are or what they do. I cannot begin to imagine life without them colouring it - an exciting kaleidoscope of colours - bright, beautiful glorious colours. But with shades of darkness as well. That is the nature of life. Peaks and troughs. Rhythm.

They are the reason I can celebrate Mother's Day. They are the delights of my life. My children. Andrew. Diana. David.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mums celebrating today!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Coffee, Granny, Seedlings and Rugby......

The chat re the coffee had me thinking, you know, and in a real lightbulb moment, I remember my Granny. Now you need to know that Granny was a force to be reckoned with, and she was 93 when she died many years ago, and until she was 90ish, she was in full control of the universe  her faculties. When she was about 88, she read an article somewhere about butter being bad for you, so promptly stopped eating butter. After 88 healthy full of vim and vigour years. And then, when she was about 89, she read that coffee was bad for you, so stopped drinking coffee.

I mean .....really?? At 88 or 89, believe me, if I get to that age, I will be adding all the forbidden things to my menu on the grounds that it doesn't matter and who cares. I did point out to her that it seemed ridiculous after so many years of consuming coffee and butter, to suddenly stop. But it was written in black and white on the pages of the paper, therefore it was an absolute.

And I am reminded of myself. I hear a man say that coffee will slow the weight loss programme and decide to stop immediately. Even if the decision lasted 3 hours max. (She says, reaching for her coffee mug..) Some things one can change and some really don't matter. Coffee is one thing. (My own personal decision, so please do not supply any links re why it is bad. I will ignore the lot.)

On to other things. I have 10 sweetpea plants. A friend dropped them around, so I spent a happy half hour finding pots and putting them into fresh soil and into the greenhouse. It is way too early for me to have seedlings about, so I am going to see how they survive out there. They should done fine. And once April comes, I will get out my little baby greenhouse and then the seeds can be planted. I always want to start very early, and frankly, they just grow more slowly. They all end up flowering at the same time, so we are practicing patience this year. Hah. That may well go the same way as the coffee. Patience and I are not great pals.

Scotland is trying not to be at the very bottom of the pile in the 6 Nations Rugby competition as I speak. I am trying not to watch because they are not doing very well right now, and my Scottish friends will be entering a Great Period of Doom and Depression if they lose. Oops. They lost.

I just popped out to take a photo of the seedlings, and sprayed my roses. There are new leaves sprouting, and I was told by one gardener man that I need to spray them early to avoid blackspot. So I did. Just like early vaccinations for babies. Brace yourself, my friends - the garden talk is back , so I apologise for boring you in advance!
But right now, I am off to carry on making the newest ripple blanket - the one which reminds me of Scotland. It is growing. And the next of the 6 Nations is about to start - Wales vs France. The singing is always amazing when Wales plays at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. And it is happening right now.....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dreaming of gardens and flowers, and exercising one's.......

Somehow, today became a day of people, plants, dogs and chatter. And coffee. I mention coffee, because last night, while inadvertently watching Extreme Makeover out of the corner of my eye, I heard a body man say that coffee was out of the question if you wanted to lose weight. And so I thought.....right, from tomorrow no coffee.


I lasted till 10am and then decided that the coffee had to stay. Water just was not the same. I had 3 encounters with friends today, and of course coffee was involved. I have a dry mouth, remember. I need liquid. And before anyone suggest rooibos tea, I LOATHE the stuff. {{shudder}}

Even if I was born in South Africa.

That body man also suggested standing with feet slightly apart and clenching one's buttocks for 5 seconds repeatedly to strengthen the muscles (and tighten one's rear) and at that point, I was no longer watching out of the corner of my eye, but standing in front of the TV practicing. Sigh. There is no hope.

I also need to refrain from watching programmes like that, it seems, but I have to say, it was fascinating.

So the week has whizzed by at speed, and here was are at the weekend already. I love Saturdays, but I have mentioned that before. I am also wondering if I can risk going to church on Sunday or if I will be frazzled again. Hmmm. I may stand at the doors, ready to leave at speed if things start vibrating. We will see. I suspect there will be many eyes on me, waiting to see what happens, if I show up. I live to provide entertainment for the masses.

 I am dreaming of Spring. My garden. My flowers.
 You know, I just can't wait to start planting seeds. I have dreams of another beautiful garden again, especially after my friend arrived this morning with flower catalogues to salivate over. Oh, the colour! Mind you, last year's will be hard to top, because I did go a little overboard on the number of plants. Well, scattering seeds like Lady Bountiful is so much more fun! I did toss seeds all over the garden last autumn, so it will be fun to see what comes up in the beds. Maybe I will wash out the seedling trays and small pots tomorrow.
Do you remember how beautiful it was? I have just been looking through the millions of photos I took. (Click on them to enlarge - much better!) Can I do anything like it this year? We will have to wait and see. AH! It is time for the potatoes! Tomorrow I will plant them. 10 pots. Hah! And so it starts......

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blue skies and SUN!!!!!

Oh, what a beautiful day it is today! After the thick fog of the early morning, the sun has come out, the skies are blue, and I have spent a few hours just sitting under my apple tree doing nothing. Relaxing. Smiling. Listening to the birds tweeting in the trees. Then a lunch of cheeses and a warm bread roll and onion marmalade (like chutney) and more coffee  out there and the world was just fine. My world.

Today, Geoff would have been 69. 69. I can't even begin to imagine him being 69. Crazy. Mind you, he was always very much younger than his age, you know. He was fit and well and full of energy, and doing stuff. I suspect he would still have been working, down on the allotment, fixing things. 69? And how did I come to be staring down the barrel of my 60s too? Well, not quite yet, but not far off. I will be 58 this year. WHAT?? HOW did that happen???

When I consider that the PM is in his early 40s, and every policeman looks about 12, and the pundits on TV all seem to be in their 20s, and doctors are my friends' children - THEN I realise that my generation is becoming the older generation. Wow. How did THAT happen???
Blue skies and washing out drying in the sun
I had a letter this week telling me that I would only be getting my state pension when I am almost 66. I should have been getting it when I turn 60 in 2014. But things have changed and women now have to work till they are 66 or something. This is not great when you have friends who got their state pensions when they turned 60. I happen to have been born in the worst possible year. I lose out the most. Sigh. 2012 is 8 years away, people. 8 years is a long time. AND that means all the benefits of being over pensionable age shift too - like free medicines, heating allowances, bus passes etc. Not that I am known to use the bus but who knows, I could have been off on the double decker exploring the world.

Sunlight in the kitchen - and that purple book? The gratitude journal.....
Today is beautiful. And there is so much I have added to my gratitude journal. My pen kept flying over the pages and more and more things popped up in my mind. This is what being mindful is all about, you see. Focusing on the small stuff and being thankful for everything.
I am going to add a link or 2 today, because there is some amazing stuff out there on Ye Olde Internet right now.

  • Amy has written a wonderful post entitled "Confessions from a Recovering Pride Addict". I urge you all to pop over and read it.  
  • Anne has written about her "Lightbulb" moment - and there is a great deal of truth in what she says.
  • Bev wrote a post called "Jesus didn't jog" - another great read.
The first tulip is out!
 Even though the blog world seems rather quiet at the moment, there are some amazing ladies out there writing great things. Have you got any great links to put up too? I would love to know what you are finding interesting. New books are coming out all the time - written by bloggers I have followed/been friends with  for years. SO exciting!

The increased meds make me very tired, and a little woozy, so my cottonwool brain and I will be checking out for now. There is no option but to close the eyes and rest, believe me. This does not suit at all, but hey, it has to be done. Be good, now - and enjoy your day. I will be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A quiet day in Middle England......

When I woke this morning, it was to the news of the dreadful coach accident in Switzerland - 22 children dead and 6 adults, and 24 injured. I cannot begin to imagine the devastation for the villages in Belgium where the children came from - their families - their schools. They were on their way home from a school ski trip. You can go here to read about it. Just tragic. Unbelievably tragic.

It makes the grey cold day it is greyer and colder, if you see what I mean. And I don't know if the waves of feeling are the cold, the CRPS or the shudders of horror. A mix of all of them, perhaps. A grey day.

Aqua is cancelled because they are cleaning the pool. How inconvenient. The classes are hard, but I just love them - the teacher, the ladies, and the good kind of ache it leaves. I feel that I am doing as much as I can to promote healing when I crawl out of the gym, you see. Yes - it is tougher than I say, but no-one can say I am not trying. So it is very inconvenient to have the class cancelled. Humph.

I started yet another ripple last night, because I didn't feel like doing the knitting. I have a prayer shawl which has been half finished since last summer, but I am not in the knitting mood right now. So I went through the photos of Scotland taken over the years, to try to get the colours right. Scotland, no matter when I get there, always makes me talk about the colours - greens through browns, beige and the purples of heather. Muted, yet beautiful. So I raided mother's stash (again) and found some and I think it will work. I have no idea where it will go or what I will do with it, but it will keep the hands busy and the legs warm as I work on it.
These are some of the colours which represent the countryside of Scotland to me
I think it will work out well. I have always described the fields of Scotland as corduroy - I see things in textile textures. Weird. Yes. And yes, I should make a quilt, but hmmm....there is the problem of sorting all the fabrics which means emptying the cupboards, which means sorting the sewing room to be able to GET to the cupboards, which means moving the boxes of David's stuff, my Stuff, and a zillion other challenges I am ignoring, so the yarn it is. The fabric stash busting can wait till I muster strength. One day.

Being creative can be complicated. Having a creative mind means keeping things others would toss out. Tickets, cards, bits of paper, card, lace, ribbon, programmes, cuttings from papers. There are scrapbooks to be made, photos to sort, memory books to assemble, Easter, Spring, Autumn, Christmas decorations to make, cards to create, paper art to experiment with, wood work, paint, see? I have STUFF. And I haven't started on the inspiring ideas I get from the Internet yet. Or the seeds or the beads and buttons, or the ancestry digging or the ......


The last bunch of daffodils I bought turned out to be cream - pretty but not yellow. The influx I had a week ago is on the way out - they don't last very long, so I need some more. I have to have daffs! Definitely a need and not a want. I think I may just pop down to the shop and buy some now. And then retire to the couch because it is cold. I can safely say that the heating needs to be on.

Oh - our Prime Minister is visiting the USA and on Sky news this morning, the reporter pulled up the PM's photo on his iPad and asked random people of all ages in Washington if they recognised him. The only one who did was a young student aged man. Interesting. Google David Cameron if you want to see what he looks like!