Saturday, 30 April 2011

Photo Scavenger Hunt 2011–April…


:: a church ::

on the Thames

April - a church


:: a cross ::

on the top of the loaf I made on Easter Sunday

April - a cross


:: a sculpture ::

my most favourite in the world, photographed by me in 2000

April - a sculpture


:: a set of keys ::

that I couldn’t resist buying from Kew Gardens

April - a set of keys


:: an interesting shop name ::

loved this!

April - an interesting shop name


:: April showers ::

the only kind my garden saw this April

April - April showers


:: breakfast ::

creature of habit that I am, porridge and fruit, all year round

April - breakfast


:: eggs ::

kindly provided by my girls

April - eggs


:: my camera ::

not for this project though!

April - my camera


:: something to do with Shakespeare ::

this months’ first day cover

April - something to do with Shakespeare


:: something to do with St George’s Day

do my patriotic tulips count?

April - something to mark St George's day


:: something yellow ::


April - something yellow

Friday, 29 April 2011

Five years…

Today is Tom’s fifth Angel Anniversary.
Five years.

Tom's horse chestnut tree 2011

Near his grave, there is a horse chestnut tree and each autumn we collect shiny brown conkers and put them under his headstone.  Two years ago, I noticed that there was a tiny tree beginning to grow from one of them after it had lain there for some time.  I brought it home and potted it up.  It now grows in my garden having being given life from a life that has gone.
I have learnt a new phrase: mono no aware.  One that I stumbled upon recently and that resonates with me profoundly.  I think of it each time I look at my tree.

Tom's horse chestnut tree 2011 (2)

Five years.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Hot flush…

After the delicate, pale first flush comes the hot, zingy second act.



Tulip bed (2)Tulip Black Hero close-upTulip Christmas Exotic centreTulip Jan ReusTulip Orange Favourite in shadeTulip Purple Dream openTulips Ballerina & Black Hero


Now I need to find some zing and get up to make hot cross buns for my guests.  I went out to dinner last night and it was such a treat to be cooked for.  Perfect timing too as I have a busy weekend of cooking and entertaining ahead of me.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Kew in April #2…

Kristina and I made our monthly visit to Kew yesterday.  We were hoping for lots of blossom but other than this pompom-like pink stunner, we seemed to have either missed it time wise or walk wise.


Kew pink blossom (2)


Looking back over my post from April last year, there is a noticeable difference in the blooms this year.  They are much earlier, which is surprising as we had a long, cold winter.


Kew white rhododendrons


The rhododendrons were in full bloom and my favourite was this unusual pale lemon one.  I always tend to think of rhododendrons being pink or mauve.  These were  a whole month earlier than last year.


Kew pale lemon rhododendron


We also stumbled across this beautiful pale lemon magnolia, still in all its glory while its cousins were dropping all their petals.


Kew pale yellow magnolia blooms

Kew pale lemon magnolia flower centre


My absolute favourites though, were the tulips.  We didn’t see them like this before, that’s for sure.


Kew tulip beds (2)


Whether they are parrot tulips in an urn with happy-faced violets underneath…


Kew tulip urn


…or striking lily-flowered tulips (I’m guessing that this is the type they are because the lily-flowered ones love to open out in the sun), underplanted with white forget-me-nots…


Kew red and white tulip


… or peony-like ones, perfect against the blue forget-me-nots…


Kew tulips & forget-me-nots


…or stately single tulips with wallflowers…


Kew tulips & wallflowers


… I cannot get enough of them.  Love tulips.



Saturday, 16 April 2011

Making me happy…

The first week of the school holidays has passed in a bit of a blur but it has been good to have No2 at home, even if all he does is sleep, play Xbox and grunt in reply to any attempted conversation.

For the first two days I looked after my two nephews and niece and I have to confess to being stunned at a period of quietness in the house only to discover they were playing… wait for it… a BOARD GAME!  Shock! Horror! No machines!

I have been able to spend 2 days writing and our book progress is steady, thanks to some self-discipline.  It means that I haven’t been able to spend as much time sewing or doing the other things that my busy hands usually like to do but s-l-o-w-l-y I have been making a quilt for my sister.


Ready to hand-quilt


Putting together my quilt sandwich was made a whole lot easier after getting some clamps to hold it together on my kitchen table.  Crawling about on my hands and knees on the floor (usually with a nosy four-legged friend with a waggy tail helping getting in the way) was too much for my aching back.



(is it just me, or does this clamp remind you of an albatross?!)

As ever, I can’t wait to sew the binding on – maybe this weekend.


Kyra's binding fabric


There are other projects in the pipeline too and this wonderful roll-up finally made it onto my work table after spotting it in a little quilt shop in Warwick a couple of weeks ago.


Kona colour roll-up


Look at that saturated colour.  I’d love to have a go at making one of these.


Kona colours


My front garden continues to make me very happy indeed.


Tulip first flush


And with that, I’m off out in the garden.  My back is already grumbling about the digging…

Saturday, 9 April 2011


I always forget, so am pleasantly surprised, when I realise that for the months of February and March, if you pay by direct debit, you don’t have to pay for your monthly council tax bill.  Living in London, it is my highest monthly bill, so to get a reprieve is a real bonus.


Baby blue tit on blossom

:: baby blue tit ::

So… having a bit of spare cash and spotting a very good deal on Amazon (33% off) I treated myself to a new lens for my camera and I am LOVING it.


Blue tit (2)


I don’t know all the technical terms for photography (yet… one day… ) but I know that I can get some great shots of the birds visiting the feeders in the garden:


Robin on feeder


Robin on perch


Or helping themselves to the new buds on the blossom tree:


Robin on blossom


Pigeon in blossom


Some nicely captured sunlight on acid green new leaves:


Spring sunlight on new leaves


Spring sunlit leaves


And some more (!) shots of the white blossom at the bottom of the garden:


White blossom full flower


White blossom (2)

Thursday, 7 April 2011


What a difference a bit of sunshine makes.


Lady Jane tulip diptic


All of a sudden, there is colour to be found in the garden.


Orange tulip diptic


I am so glad I planted more tulips last autumn.  The first ones to flower in the front garden are Christmas Exotic and they are putting on quite a show.


Tulip Christmas Exotic in front bed


Tulip Christmas Exotic open


Tulip Christmas Exotic back of petal


Other things that have been making me happy over the last couple of days:

Baby great tits cheeping from the nesting boxes.


Bird house


Finding a clump of wild garlic at the bottom of the border. A mystery as I did try to grow some last year in the greenhouse but nothing came of it…


Wild garlic clump


And, of course, white blossom against beautiful blue sky.


White blossom and blue sky


Yes, we like sitting in the garden.  It is easy to find contentment out there, in the warmth of the sun, and try to take on board the way life is taking us.


Pip on step