The weather in the UK has been about as fickle as I can remember. From spring flowers – to arctic blast – back to spring (slightly battered) flowers.

I can remember the big freeze of ’62/’63 – the year in which I built an igloo. There’s photographic proof somewhere in the family archive – but I have just wasted 30 minutes trying to find it – and failed. You’ll just have to take my word for it!

The ice on top of last week’s snow, reminded me of that year, but whereas then, the snow lasted for 6-8 weeks, here, it was gone within 48 hours, and today, we are back in springtime once more.


Looking back through the family albums, I was struck by the enormous changes in fashions, over the years. Just think of all those ‘must have’ items that we wouldn’t be seen dead in now. Perhaps we should have invested our money more wisely. Something to think about the next time we get an urge to spend. And, maybe, as Fairtrade Fortnight trickles to an end, we could think a bit more about the people and places which help produce the things we buy… thinking about other people’s lives helps put things in perspective.

Fashions and fads are fickle – but there’s no need for us to be fickle too.


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Oh dear! I can’t believe it is so long since my last visit to this site – my only excuse is that I have been fairly diligent in writing on my other wordpress site (honeypotbooks) and I have been both busy and ill – catching practically all this winter’s bugs (apart from norovirus and housemaid’s knee).

Here are some of the reasons I have been distracted:

Yes, that thing called Christmas, then following the builders, the Great Decorate (not yet completed), the cat (of course) and the beauty of North Wales – not to mention writing, painting, baking, entertaining… (I didn’t bother to photograph ‘ill’!)

Roll on Spring!

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Journal progress

Silence in the blogosphere is not evidence of inaction, rather the precise opposite. So, the promise of the odd journal crossover holds true – it’s just that I have been sooooo busy that it hasn’t happened… until now. So here is a taste of October in the Lake District:

‘Allan Bank in Grasmere – a wonderful NT property, with commanding views of the lake. Semi-destroyed by fire in 2011, it remains ‘unfinished’ in regard to decor etc. but it is the centre for family activities and creativity – providing many ideas for Honey Pot based activities for 2018! Walked the Woodland Walk (lots of steps & a tunnel + play areas & kitchen garden – so much for children). Met a class doing ‘forest school’ waterproof shelters. Brilliant.’

OK, so not Earth-shattering – but here are some of the photos:

If you want a more thought-provoking journal, I highly recommend ‘A Constant Heart’ The War Diaries of Maud Russell 1938-1945 Edited by Emily Russell, published by Dovecote Press. A completely different view of WW2. If you have visited Mottisfont and seen the tempting tasters written on table napkins around a wartime dinner table, you will know what I mean! This book has been in my hand for the past three weeks – un-put-downable!

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Where have all the starlings gone?

The thing about starling murmurations is that they happen spectacularly just before you have your camera ready or just after you get bored, give up and put your camera back in your pocket. And when they are gone, they are gone.

Meanwhile, clouds of chaffinches get in on the act, suggesting that we have become too focused on starlings.

The joy of bird-watching!IMG_3875

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A long wait…

I realise I haven’t been here for a few months – the summer has been really busy and so I have restricted my online ‘menanderings’ my other site: Honey Pot Books.

But, with a new academic year (I still think in academic years as well as calendar ones – it’s really great – you get two opportunities to make ‘New Year Resolutions’) I have vowed to keep a journal of the year and try to take a photograph each day.

OK. I hear you say ‘try?’ Yes, in a household which does not own smart phones, i-pads or tablets (other than soap or painkillers) and only possesses one working digital camera, it isn’t always possible to keep that vow. However, since my journal is in a book (remember paper?) I can both write and draw in it – so no excuses permitted.

But I digress. With the advent of a journal AND photographs, there is more scope for adding to this on-line dumping ground of idle thoughts – so be warned.

I don’t want to frighten the horses, so I’ll make a start with yesterday’s photo – taken just before I harvested the eating apples. And for anyone who is interested in these things, they are Spartan eating apples – very tasty, diced, on top of a bowl of cereal, for breakfast.IMG_8115

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We made it!

Well, to be absolutely honest, a lovely bunch of men from the village rallied round to ‘make’ the shed – leaving me the role of painter and decorator AND chief supplier of tea. The Grand Opening’ of the shed was celebrated on Friday April 28th – with suitable fizz.

The shed now acts as a perfect place for children to sit and read on Saturday mornings, hold exhibitions and stack the old plastic chairs which come out once a year for the Charity Breakfast held on our drive.

So, a wonderful start to our May festival weekend (April 29th – May 1st) and many happy people enjoying the atmosphere of the event. England looks so very beautiful at this point in the year – fresh green everywhere and (between the showers) gentle sunshine and a chance to sit outside and chat with friends. The book-garage, garden, shed and canary-coloured caravan were full of book related installations, stimulating conversation over tea and cake in the Mad Hatter refreshment area.

Summer is on its way.

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Easter and the gallop to summer

A wonderful Easter weekend – with proper Easter weather – sun and a nip in the air (the previous weekend’s balmy temperatures being an anomaly which put paid to the daffodils). All our Easter activities were blessed with the ‘right weather’, luring people out to enjoy things to the full.

The garden is lush with new growth and grass-cutting has now taken its permanent summer place on the ‘to do’ list. The glorious fresh green of spring leaves in the hedgerows and woodland around us is a refreshing balm for the soul. Everyone is walking taller, smiling more easily, unfolding like the spring flowers and readying themselves to enjoy life out and about.

A trip to the Jurassic coast on Saturday morning (in a biting wind) was rescued by a visit to Whitchurch Conanicorum and a picnic in a sunny sheltered spot. Barrington was our destination yesterday – taking ‘overflow books’ to the book barn there. We bumped into friends and neighbours, also taking advantage of the sunshine. The gardens were looking beautiful – vivid colours – wallflowers and tulips making glorious displays (well done, team of volunteer gardeners).

Out with the paintbrushes when we got home – and now the ‘new’ shed is looking smart – all ready to receive its motley collection of ‘treasures’. (Note to self: why does one hoard things which are of no use to anyone else?) (Note to potential burglars: forget it – nothing worth nicking 😉 )

So, the African hut, destroyed by Storm Frank, has now been resurrected as a shed – and you would be surprised how much of it found its way into the foundations (thanIMG_1733ks to our lovely neighbours, who masterminded the very solid – temporary – construction)  Photo to follow, just as soon as we work out what to do for a roof!

Hopefully, this will happen in time for the next bank holiday weekend, when the gardens and book collection are open to the public – with all sorts of pleasant things to do. Check it out at

And today? Still lots of tidying up to do – and preparation for our ‘literary garden’ – not to mention spring-cleaning the Canary-coloured caravan. And I guess that the weeds are also popping up with the more welcome new spring growth, so, guess what!…


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