On the cusp

As I write, May is about to turn into June – so the rain is steadily watering the garden and storms are forecast for Monday night – just the sort of summer weather so amusingly described by Angela Thirkell in her Barsetshire novels.

I am coming to the end of a marathon reading challenge – reading through Angela Thirkell’s books in chronological order – spurred on by an equally enthusiastic reader who is (I confess) a good five or six books ahead of me.

Thirkell’s descriptions of the dismal wartime summers, followed by equally dismal post-war austerity summers, set me thinking. I know that Thirkell loved hyperbole and caricature, but there was probably more than a element of truth in her descriptions. This set me thinking ‘why?’ Was it the massive detonation of bombs which affected the climate? Has anyone researched this subject? Just a thought.

Meanwhile, the days are growing ever longer and the longest day is less than a month away. Perhaps – just perhaps – true summer is on its way?

In the meantime, here are some pictures of my springtime garden – some of which were taken on a sunny day! IMG_3584 IMG_3181IMG_3583The two taken from the Canary-coloured caravan were taken just over 4 weekIMG_3179s apart.

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What a change a few weeks can make!

May has settled in and, apart from a few days of icy blast (NOT welcome) we can see the massive surge forward of the seasons as everywhere has ‘greened’ around us.

These pictures, taken last weekend, give an idea of just how much growth there has been. They depict stories: The Robin showing the way (The Secret Garden), Hattie learning that she is an orphan (Tom’s Midnight Garden) and Mrs Tiggy Winkle from her eponymous story. To find out more about the story garden go to: https://honeypotbooks.wordpress.com/


The installations were part of a special ‘open’ weekend at Honey Pot Books, and the garden happily received its story characters as they nestled down in the shrubberies.

That was last eekend – but since then, it has rained rather a lot! The garden keeps growing, so this afternoon has been dedicated to mowing the lawns and sorting out some flower pots. You’ve got to grab every opportunity over the next few weeks – or you’ll need Prince Charming, sword in hand, to hack a way to your front door!

Time for tea now!IMG_3345IMG_3347

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Beautiful places

IMG_3020 IMG_2924 IMG_3010The wonderful variey of Pembrokeshire – chill winds at times (in late March) but plenty of sunshine too! I can thoroughly recommend it as a perfect place for rest, renewal and ‘play’!

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Sherpa and the disappearing trick…

Digital StillCameraSherpa likes to help in the garden. Even as a kitten she showed a keen interest in trees (no, the birds have flown, Sherpa)IMG_0018. She was very keen to help rethatch the African hut – checking out that it was all done to a proper standard! BuIMG_0020t… when Peter climbed up the apple tree last week, to do some high level pruning… Sherpa was NOWHERE to be seen!IMG_2904Hmmmmmmmm!

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First signs of spring?

So, the sun came out after lunch today and lingered over a deliciously apricot sunset – until nearly six o’clock. As one friend commented ‘spring is on the way’. Well, it might be, but there is plenty of scope for the return of winter while temperatures remain low and the jet stream, which has wandered north, still has scope to dip south, dragging polar weather with it.

Coughs, colds and flu still seem hold our neighbours in their grip. The sound of coughing punctuates every gathering. We could all do with some warm dry weather to help us recover. But let’s not rush things – many of our snowdrops have yet to bloom and the daffodils have not progressed beyond leaves. Our ‘host of golden daffodils’ has yet to be revealed.

I love sprongtime, but this ‘on the cusp’ period is, if anything, more special. It is an indrawn breath, a leaning forward and then pausing… nothing fully begun, but instead a brief time to take stock before surging forward with the flow of new life.

So, let us spend a moment more cacooned in winter’s dormancy. Let’s stay a little longer by the hearth and wrap ourselves round with the contemplation of winter, remembering times past and last year’s bounty. This coming year’s demamds will all too soon be upon us – so let’s not meet them before we are ready.


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Greetings, 2015!

Welcome to a new year – full of good intentions. May at least some of them survive the first week!

I have written a very short list this year – if one item can be called a list. I have simply promised (myself) to write to my friends and family – on real old-fashioned paper, put in a real old-fashioned envelope and stamped with a real o-f stamp and popped in the post.  Letter number 1 is already on its way – so at least week 1 has some positive evidence. I’m not doing this in order to prompt a reply – rather, just to do something joyful and more lasting than an email. (I can’t tweet – don’t ask me…)317

All this makes me wonder what other ‘resolutions’ have set people off on a mission (so to speak). There are the old ones – like giving up cigarettes (I don’t smoke) giving up being nasty (hope I don’t ever need to confess to that one) or ‘being a better person’ (whatever that entails) – most of which are forgotten as soon as the Christmas decorations are down. But a positive resolution (just as long as it doesn’t involve a gym) is probably more achievable. I’d like to write one letter a week – say, 50 before next Christmas (and I’m not counting post cards) so I will be supporting the post office if nothing else.

My mother used to write to her mother every week, receiving a letter by return. In the days before email and cheap phone calls, when a visit entailed two long bus rides and a train journey, and Norfolk seemed to be as far away as the moon, this was a practical and rewarding habit – which, to my benefit, she continued with me – writing to me when I left home for college and never stopping a fairly regular correspondence right up to the age of about 80. I came across some of her letters the other day. They weren’t exactly the stuff of memoirs, but a relationship shone from the page – she clearly knew what I was doing and was wishing me well. Looking back, I’m not sure I realised what that meant when I was in my twenties – but now, waving my own children off after the Christmas holidays, wishing them well, enjoying seeing their lives – from one remove, perhaps, but with genuine love and appreciation of who they are, I see a little better that long ago relationship, written out on small sheets of paper and folded in an envelope – a capsule of something very important, now confined to memory. Here is one of her very early efforts, written when she was about 9, to her grandmother :)S4300336 (Please note: in those days one could bank on a post card reaching home before you!)

So, here is a plea for the old-fashioned letter. Why not pick up your pen and write one yourself. You never know what that might mean to the recipient(s). Send a little light out into the January darkness. Go on. Do it.

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A retrospective meme

(Pinched from http://stuck-in-a-book.blogspot.co.uk/) “This lovely annual meme is all over the place again, and I can’t resist. Essentially, it means copying the first line from the first post of each month, as a nice (if perhaps aleatory) overview of the year… Go ahead; do it yourself! “… ALEATORY…? Goodness me!
Anyway, here goes:


The British are good at weather.


As the rain continues to fall, interspersed with the odd few hours of sunshine, indoor tasks become the focus of my attention.


Not a chess term – just a few lovely days checking out Welsh castles.


There are some days which stand out in memory as ‘perfect’.


Now, where did you two pop up from?


Back in the days of storm and tempest, when trees were falling like nine-pins, a massive oak keeled over in the village, bringing down fences and destroying a wall.


A fortnight’s silence on this blog = lots of activities which have kept blogging well and truly pruned.


Last week, on one of the hottest days of the year, OV and I were to be found climbing up to the Bath ‘skyline walk’, pausing every few metres to enjoy the views (and get our breath back!)


I note, with shame, that a whole month has passed with ne’er a squeak from me on this blog.




What happened to October?


I can’t recall months flying past with quite such abandon, for several years – but here we are, nearly a month after my last post and already in the throes of celebrating Christmas.

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