Thursday 28 January 2010

Definite signs of Spring!

Today is a bit brighter, though we can't actually see the sun, so I decided to have a really good hunt round the garden to see if Spring had touched us yet!

I was thrilled to find two tiny snowdrops, and some more possibly under the hedge. I was afraid that they had been dug up, or eaten, by cats, squirrels, slugs or humans by mistake (dug up, not eaten!) I shall be keeping my eye on those!

The daffodils are coming up all over the place, but this one has a tiny bud! This clump always flowers ages before any other daffodils, which is quite cheerful in the dark days of February. When we bought this house, we inherited loads of daffodils all down the end, and in what passed for grass then. There were three old apple trees there, and they had left the garden wild, so the daffodils looked lovely. We had to have two of the apple trees out, one was diseased, and the other a spindly thing just taking the light off the pond we built. I hated having the trees down, but they really had to go, we were developing a woodland area with ferns and things that liked shade.

However, like all things, it changed, although the ferns are florishing vigourously, and I found one little frond that had just started to grow. I love seeing the fronds grow toaller and start to uncurl.

The buds on the Golden Elder are beginning to swell, but they will have to be pruned back very soon. It grows extremely fast, from the pruned branches, with beautiful golden leaves. The buds grow into funny-looking red tufts first.

Shoots from the geranium are coming through - they are such a gorgeous pink. It is the geranium that has bright pink flowers with a black middle, can't remember the name, but it is very colourful later in the summer.

And the reliable, tough sedum is showing its baby leaves. They look lace-like with the water drops on them, but they will soon grow into bigger leaves that always hold rain drops in the centre. The flowers are an autumn treat that usually attract loads of butterflies, but last year we had hardly any. I don't know where they went to, as there were reports of lots in other parts of the country.

Maybe it was something we said!!

But I was pleased to find Spring was coming, even if slowly, I think we all need a bit of encouragement and cheer this time of the year. Winter ought t be over, but we know that February and March can bring unpleasant surprises!

But then, life is like that, I find. Think you are on a nice even track, and something suddenly turns it all round, and its never the same again! But the only way to deal with that is to look forward, not back with useless regrets. Its taken me a long time to realise that!

Saturday 23 January 2010

The Teenage Years from the Archives

I was going to post a really interesting blog, with recent photographs, and great prose! However, things have conspired against me, so I have dug in the archives again, and made a collage of what are roughly my later teenage years.

I have to admit I was a rebellious and sulky teenager! My parents, bless them, were of the era before the war, daughters did as they were told, got home at the times they had said and definitely didn't bring home the most unsuitable boy-friends!

But by the late 1950's, us girls tried hard to break out of that mind-set and do things differently. Probably like all teenagers everywhere.

The photo with the bell tents is our Guide Camp in 1947. This was a very hot summer, and also the year of the Polio outbreak, which meant we could not go swimming in a public pool. I have at the back of my mind that public pools were closed. But we did go down to the coast, and paddle, with our Guide uniforms tucked up.

There is also a family group with some friends we met on holiday one year. Every year my parents would go for two weeks to Cromer, in Norfolk, on the east coast of England. There we would hire a beach hut, which sat on the promenade in a row with others. It was quite big, with deck chairs, a table, and big double doors which would open right back. It was handy for changing in and out of bathing costumes, making cups of tea and munching on a bit fruit cake my other always made to bring with us. She and my father could sit in there, out of the wind, which was forever a feature of the East Coast, comfortably reading, dozing or doing the crossword! Every time I smell methylated spirits I am transported to that beach hut and the little methylated spirit stove busily boiling a kettle for tea!

The top right is a photo of me as a 2nd year student at University. In those days we were a far cry from today's students. Jeans hadn't been invented (well, not for females, anyway!) and jumpers and skirts were the norm. (I looked particularly tidy that day as my parents had come to visit!) Numbers at of students were far below today's thousands, and I think my days as a student were probably some of the happiest of my life.

The other photos are various - our school hockey team, my friend and I with her french pen-friend, and a lovely holiday she and I took Youth Hostelling for three weeks across the south of England.

Again, like my earlier photos from the archives, it seems like a distant country, where we once visited and marvelled at the strange customs and dress of the inhabitants.

Wish I was thin like that again, though!

Sunday 17 January 2010


I managed to get to the supermarket this week, and found pineapples were on special offer. Now I love pineapple, so of course I had to buy one!

We had what was supposed to be caramelised pineapple slices, but I can't say they were quite like the picture! Tasted OK, though. But I did want to make a pineapple upside down cake, which turned out quite well, except the cake side wasn't flat, so it was really a pineapple-upside-down-cake-which-rocked-gently!

I love the exture of the skin of pineapple, even if it did leave a tiny thorn in my finger, which I can't find to take out!

Thinking of texture got me looking for the photo I had taken when I was experimenting with my new camera, of a lovely basket I bought a while ago which from Traidcraft which were sold as wastepaper baskets, but they were far too lovely to be used for that, and this big one stands on the half landing on the stairs.

Traidcraft is a big organisation which aims to get fair prices for the craftsmen who make their products, thus helping them to make better lives for themselves and their families.

I also love my glass ball, which I rescued from a Scottish beach about 43 years ago, and have managed to keep it undamaged ever since!

I'm not a great collector of things, but there are one or two items I have, such as the glass ball, which I keep, which bring back good memories for me. Just looking at the green ball, and I am back camping on the Isle of Skye, by Dunvegen, the birds calling as the sun does down over the loch. Wonderful!

I've gor a few other treasures with memories attached - maybe I'll bring them out another time!

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Digging in the archives

I was digging around in an old photo album - it being far too cold to do anything constructive either indoors or out - and I came across a lot of old photos of myself and my sister.

They are all taken between the end of 1939 and the end of 1945, when I was rising five and rising eleven. My sister is 3 years younger.

Firstly I am very proud of my father, who took all these photos. He was an excellent photographer, and a great perfectionist. This had the big disadvantage, however, in that I was so tired of waiting while he got it right I mostly lost my smile! Though maybe I didn't smile much - I remember I was a solemn little girl, who loved reading and playing with my various dolls (a battered rabbit, a much-loved bear and a rag doll called Rosie)

Secondly, I am amazed at the difference between us and today's children. My best clothes (top right) look so formal, and uncomfortable. We never wore trousers, so cold legs had to be clad in leggings, with lots of tiny button up the sides. Murder to get on! Mostly we wore dresses, which a friend of my mother's made for us. I am sitting on my Grandfather's knee in a beautiful blue velvet dress, which I loved to bits!

The woman with my sister and me by the pond is not my mother, but a very much loved aunt. She had married my Uncle only two years before the war, and when he was called up (disappearing for 5 years into the African desert and later fighting up Italy) my Aunt worked in the Admiralty in London. She came over to us for a bit of a rest and recuperation from the bombs, and her busy life. I loved her dearly.

I was terribly envious of my sister who had lovely long, blonde curly hair. Mine was straight mouse, although it darkened later to a good brown. My sister stayed blonde and curly until she turned grey and curly (only a great deal shorter by now!)

It was amazing what emotions were stirred by looking at these photos. I can't put myself back into the mind of an 8 year-old child now, of course, but I can still sense some of the feelings from then. Or maybe they are the more mature thoughts of a 74 year-old interpreting those of a small child. Either way, I was quite surprised at how deep those feelings ran!

But its good to reconnect with those years. So far away that they are almost a different culture. I wonder if our own children will feel the same when they think about the times, 60 or more years ago, when they were tiny?

Friday 8 January 2010

I'm tired of a white world!

I don't know about you, but snow has lost its appeal for me! So I've dug around in my archives (that's sounds good, doesn't it, like having a dusty cellar full of mysterious objects!) and found photos of things I've liked, places I've enjoyed and just things I fancied photographing!

The first one could loosely be called "Things that go round and round"

And the second is just images I liked. And yes, that is me and my sister many moons ago, having a camp fire in the garden. Sis is very fed up because I monopolised the whole thing, being bigger and cleverer than her!!

Keep warm, and keep cheerful!

Sunday 3 January 2010

It snowed!

We had a lot of snow on Friday and Saturday, which made the garden look really pretty! I'm a bit of a sucker for pretty snow, even though it makes it hard to travel about|!

Where the little stream enters the lake is not frozen, and ducks tend to huddle around that bit. But the early sun looked so lovely shining over the ice.

The lake is nearly frozen right over. There is a very small bit of open water where the ducks sit waiting hopefully for the army of duck-feeders arrive later in the day. But the moorhens don't seem to mind.

And they leg it briskly across the ice!

You can just see the open water here.

The bullrushes looked so striking against the light. They weren't quite so good this year, so I had to make the best of what there was!

The snow was so heavy, and then turned to ice so that a lot of things were bent down.

I was going to walk round to the other side of the lake, which I haven't done for ages, but the dog had other ideas and raced down the path around the tennis courts. Rather a dull walk for me, but I suppose its heaven for dogs with lots of interesting sniffs!

But maybe I'll get there tomorrow, or even this afternoon if I can find the extra strength! Mind you, it gets a bit dangerous round there with speeding and out of control sledges! But its great to see the children (and adults) enjoying themselves - we don't often get snow like this!

Friday 1 January 2010

Some chilly gulls for the start of 2010! Actually, they are last year's gulls, but I am absolutely positive there are similar gulls looking miffred out there now. Only it's Mr. G's turn to take the dog out, so I am here blogging, a much warmer and nicer occupation!

A decade ago I didn't think I would be here in 2010! But here I am, and wondering what the next year will bring. I don't think I will contemplate another decade......

I hope it brings peace. And a readiness to talk rather than shoot. And for faith, hope and love to reign over all - less greed, less Me! Me! Me! and more thought for others.

A Happy New Year to you all! Thank you for all your support and kindness to me.