Tuesday, 26 May 2009


The alliums I planted last spring are putting on a show again this year. I love the way they stand out in the flower bed. The first ones that flower are these A. 'purple sensation'. The ones you can just make out in the background are A 'cristophii'.

When I was taking photos yesterday, the air was full of the the buzzing of bees and hover-flies - they love them! There were several different species, including a red-tailed bumblebee.

Last week I bought some alliums from the plant fair at Ashridge that lasted for 2 weeks indoors on my kitchen windowsill. I have the perfect vase for them. I have a cupboard full of vases that each suit a particular kind of flower. Is this normal?

I've been playing around with a new macro lens I bought for my camera and I love this photo...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Next in line...

As soon as I've finished here:

I can move onto here:

Having my next project lined up is always good motivation to get a wriggle on with the current one!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

On your marks...

...all bought...going for pink this year...

...get set...

...the tools of the trade...


...instant colour for my garden...

...making me smile everytime I catch a glimpse of them through the door and windows...

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

First Day Covers...

When Tom was born, some friends of my parents gave me £50 for him. Being the first baby to come along in a long time, he already had an impressive wardrobe and so I wondered what I could do with this money. I decided to open an account with British Philatelic Bureau (later to become part of the Royal Mail) and start a collection of first day covers.

The collection is still going strong and has now been transferred over to No2's name on the envelope (I found it really hard receiving things through the post with Tom's name still on it). Every month a new set of stamps is issued and I still get excited about it! Looking through the collection this morning to photograph some for this post, I realised that we have a little bit of history in our albums. Stamps are issued for significant events and celebrations, so we have a our own timeline for the boys' lifetime.

1996 Olympics & Paralympics

One of the first set of stamps produced after Tom was born, in 1993, marked the centenary of the letter that was to become one of the most famous of children's books, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. 1993 was also the 50th year of Beatrix Potter's death on 22nd December 1943. I always like to think that I named Tom after Tom Kitten as I am a huge Beatrix Potter fan. He was often called Tom Kitten by friends and family, so this was an unexpected surprise.

Today sees the issue of a set of 1st class stamps depicting UK plant species in recovery together with the 250th Anniversary of Kew Gardens.

We always like the postmarks. They are carefully chosen for each set of stamps to associate with the subject. Some of them are obvious but others are fun. I'd love to have the job of finding all the quirky places to go with each set. Did you notice that the Olympic ones were posted in Much Wenlock, home of the first modern Olympic games?

Here's a few of our favourites...

:: posted in Morecombe ::

:: posted in Freezywater, Enfield ::

:: posted in Mousehole, Penzance ::

The Christmas ones are always posted in Bethlehem, Wales, which I was thrilled to discover was just a couple of miles up the road from Bantwen.

Blogger has just about driven me nuts doing this post, with its mind of its own when it comes to positioning and layout. And my photos aren't great... the battery was dying on my camera and it's SO grey here at the moment!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Spiritual Retreat...

Last Friday I was lucky enough to be invited to another spiritual retreat with Helen House.

The gardens at the house provide a wonderful space for reflection and memories.

Again, we were blessed with the weather and wandering around the garden was such a delight.

The generosity of the owners was, once again, amazing.

After lunch, we did a little workshop on memory stones. I was not really familiar with the idea of them, but I now have my own set.

The smooth stone represents everyday things - day-to-day life, routines, muddling along...

The jagged stone represents more difficult times. Times when things didn't run quite so smoothly, perhaps...

The little stone has some tiny sparkly bits in it. It represents special times. Times that stand out...

They feel good to hold. Strangely, the special one fits snugly onto the jagged one in one place. It's good to have a 'real' thing to hold for a specific purpose.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Party time...

There were peonies...

...birthday balloons...



...the perfect ingredients for a party.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Happy Birthday my darling boy. Sixteen today.

Center Parcs 2001

Party coming up!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Bluebell Heaven...

Yesterday I found a little bit of heaven.

A sea of blue - almost floating between the beech trees.


Photo opportunities at every turn!

Over the stile, across a couple of fields and the air is filled with the scent of wild garlic.

The best the month of May has to offer.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Pattern and texture...

Our day at the zoo last week was wonderful. The sun shone all day and we strolled from one species to another. I have hundreds of photos of all the animals we've seen at the zoo over the years. Armed with my camera, this year, I thought I would look in more detail at what we were seeing.

I loved the mosaics I made last year, so I've made some more using the patterns and textures we spotted.

There is a new Animal Adventure area (you can tunnel under into the meerkat pen and pop your head up in a perspex dome in the middle of the pen - how cool is that?) and texture plays a big part in the design. It was all very tactile: I wanted to get down and touch this floor.

And these willow sculptures were so organic - I'd love some in my garden.

OK, just one animal shot - here's a gorilla with a shared interest!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


Just so as you know, it's like being on a rollercoaster. Although my previous post was mostly down, I do have other moments punctuating my days with up.

On Sunday, I received this text from my sister...

...I duly replied (ok, an hour later, but I was busy-ish).

Her reply had me in stitches. For quite a long time. No2 wondered what all the noise was.

I'm still giggling at it now...

Laughter is the best medicine. Especially when it is unexpected.

Monday, 4 May 2009


There's some stuff that I need to get out. Or maybe, just write down. Same difference, really.

My moments of delight are important to me at the moment. Without them, I truly believe I may go mad. Here's another:

Love white daisies...

It's that horrible period of two weeks that will always be hard. Between Tom's Angel Anniversary and his birthday. This year he will be/would have been 16. Old enough to:

  • get married with one parents consent
  • have heterosexual sex
  • have homosexual sex
  • leave school after official leaving date
  • join armed forces with parental consent (but not permitted into war zone)
  • work full time
  • claim social security benefits
  • get licence to drive a moped
  • sell scrap metal
  • join a Trade Union
  • buy a pet
  • choose your own doctor
  • buy premium bonds
  • drink beer, cider, porter or perry with a meal in a restaurant
  • play the National Lottery
  • sell National Lottery tickets
  • change your name

List from here.

Clematis montana alba - magical with the sun going down behind it...

So I sit here and wonder what he would have been like now. If he hadn't been brain-injured. Or if he was simply still here. My heart is breaking. I have taken books off my book shelf that have not been looked at in many months to see if it is normal. Lines from them pop out of the pages and they resonate with me to my core.

"How will people be able to deal with the person I have become, will become?"

" To be forced to be well behaved is torture"

Love lime green stamens...

My days are dark and robot-like. I'm finding it difficult to be motivated and I go through daily rituals almost in a trance. No2 gets fed and always has clean clothes to put on. I watch him and wonder how it would be to have two boys under my roof. His voice has broken, he sounds grown-up apart from when he giggles. I haven't heard Tom's voice in nearly 12 years. His injury robbed him of it along with all the other things that we take for granted. He had a funny little voice. It delivered what he wanted to say precisely and thoughtfully. The last thing he said to me was 'can I have a drink?'

I wonder how tall he would have been and what he would have been good at at school. Would he be revising hard now, for his GCSE's or just winging it like his brother?

There are new and shiny things in my life now but I wonder if there is room for them at the moment. Will I ever feel whole again? I want to move forward but my grief drags me back. I'm angry. It is unfocused, just a general feeling that bubbles under my skin.

Bear with me. One day at a time.