Thursday, 29 May 2014

stop a while and join me for elevenses …

 

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Why don’t you pull up a chair … and we will have a chat … before I go on holiday next week.  Can I interest you in a cup of coffee and a cocoanut macaroon … or maybe a ginger snap.

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I have picked a nice little posy for the table; chive flowers, sweet rocket, nepeta and a cornflower, all looking a little bedraggled  after all the heavy rain we have endured just lately.

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Elevenses is a quintessentially British ritual and a highly civilising one, at that.  So it amuses me that it takes a bear from Darkest Peru to remind us of the pleasure of that moment halfway between breakfast and lunch that is perfect for a little sit down and a reward.  Paddington, never one to miss an opportunity to eat (he carries marmalade sandwiches in his suitcase in case he should ever run short of sustenance), enjoys his elevenses of bun, cocoa and chat with Mr. Gruber in his antiques shop on Portobello Road.  It’s wonderfully cosy and irresistible, and a fine example of civilised living to all readers.

Winnie-the-Pooh preferred honey on bread with condensed milk, and for the Hobbits, elevenses is a meal eaten between second breakfast and luncheon.

So, back to today … as I said, next week we are taking a little holiday at the coast  for a few days … my friend is taking care of the garden for me … but if it carries on raining like this there won’t be an awful lot for her to do in the watering department.

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“All year I wait for spring, and now it’s here I’m greedy for every minute of it; and yet hours pass when I’m inattentive, and ungrateful.  It only lasts two or three weeks, this explosion of life reborn, and I have only twenty or thirty more springs to watch in wonder:  I need to remind myself that this is it, now, this is the best of life, this is what I will remember on the dark evenings, and in old age.  So I sit at my keyboard and lay down these thoughts, to pay public tribute to this May morning, before it is gone again.” (William Nicholson)

The last few days I have woken up to rain, rain and more rain.  Those hot, sunny days earlier in the month were summers’ false start.  I always get taken in … think, this is it … here comes summer.  But no … so eager was I for summer to start that I forgot to keep enjoying the end of spring.  It is hard to remain optimistic when it is grey and drear outside … when just wandering around the garden leaves your clothes soaked.

The long range weather forecast is not looking good … do I pack summer or winter clothes or a bit of both?  There isn’t a lot to do in Norfolk when it rains … I want to be able to walk feeling the sun on my skin … ditch the trousers and bring out the shorts … leave the knitwear in the suitcase and  wear light cotton tops.  Is this too much to ask?

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I have been preparing the garden  for our leaving … everything is planted out … all those annual flowers that I tended so carefully so that the garden would be a glorious splash of colour … all the vegetables have been found a place.  I find myself not really wanting to go away at the moment … it has come around too quickly… and I feel unprepared in my mind.  I realise that once the car is packed and we are on the road to our destination I will be okay … but it is always a wrench somehow … leaving the familiar behind … even if only for a few days.  The garden will keep growing without me and will be greeted with delight on our return when more flowers will be in bloom and others will be gone.

We have always been lucky with the weather on our little jaunts … will the weather gods look down on us and feel pity … and send a few rays of sunshine our way.  Will the slugs and snails breathe a sigh of relief at our leaving  and munch their way through all the fragile, tender plants that they so enjoy … without my unrelenting vigilance … only time will tell.

When we return home June will be in full swing, this extract from ‘The Wind in the Willows’ describes it beautifully:~

Purple loosestrife arrived early, shaking luxuriant locks along the edge of the mirror whence its own face laughed back at it.  Willow-herb, tender and wistful, like a pink sunset-cloud was not slow to follow.  Comfrey, the purple hand-in-hand with the white, crept forth to take its place in the line; and at last one morning the diffident and delaying dog-rose stepped delicately on the stage, and one knew, as if string music has announced it in stately chords that strayed into a gavotte, that June was at last here.”

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So this will be my last post for a while   … well, only a week actually … let’s not be too dramatic.  I leave you with the first rose to open … looking a bit battered  and sorry for itself … there are two mice living in the compost bin … and the visiting racing pigeon is still with us … and the snails are proliferating.  Who says this isn’t a haven for wild life.

One last photo of the greenhouse strawberries as requested by Rosemary at Share My Garden ~ my friend will pick those that ripen  whilst we are away, so they won’t go to waste.

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‘Til I return, I hope the sun shines on you too.

60 comments:

  1. hope you have a really relaxing and enjoyable mini-break and hope you get to use that new camera on some photos for posts when you get back, I have a feeling the weather is going to break for the better enjoy

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    1. I am sure we will David - but I think husband may monopolise the new camera.

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  2. I just loved that quote from William Nicholson...when you look at it with only having a certain amount of springs left the complaining goes out the door! I really enjoy seeing your above shots of your garden! It is like a little world I just want to explore with all of those colors!!! And why don't we have elevenses here.....we seem to have it backwards a bit in the states. I admire how you all slow down and take life in! I am wishing you a glorious holiday friend! That it is warm and perfect for you to have that sun on your back! See you soon! Nicole xoxo

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    1. Thanks Nicole it has been freezing today so I am not hopeful but we will still enjoy it I am sure

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  3. Have a great time, with plenty of opportunities to break out those shorts!

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    1. Thanks Jessica I will take them - you never know

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  4. Oh, what a wonderful posting this was. Your garden is so very beautiful, and all that rain sure brings out the green. I understand completely your feeling about leaving. Hope you have a nice time, though.

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    1. Hello Nan - thank you for visiting - I am sure it will be enjoyable - I always enjoy the change away from home once I am there.

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  5. We don't have 'elevenses' because the whole of France eats at mid-day.

    I think I have now eaten 3 strawberries, I have 2 tiny courgettes, and my red cabbage plants are HUGE. I think I'm just about understanding weather; one word, unpredictable.

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    1. Yes, the weather is the one thing you can't rely on except that it never does what you want. I can't believe you have courgettes forming already - it must certainly be warmer in France than it is here.

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  6. Have a lovely holiday Elaine and pack those shorts in an act of defiance. I too am hoping for a lift in the clouds for a wedding next weekend.

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    1. Thank you Lucille - I will certainly pack the shorts and will wear them even if I freeze to death. Here's hoping the weather is kind when you attend the wedding.

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  7. Good Morning Elaine,

    Firstly have a wonderful week, may sunshine come your way
    It is always difficult to leave a much loved garden.
    I always feel a tug at my heart strings, for I am very much part of my garden. We all need to take a break though.....it is a wonderful feeling coming back, taking a stroll and enjoying the changes.
    I hope the beastly slugs and snails do not do too much damage...........

    Tku for coffee and ginger snaps. Battered or not the flowers are perfect.

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    1. Hi Cheryl
      My friend is a mad keen gardener so I know she will look after it well - I always miss it when we are away and the first thing I do on our return is go on an inspection - and am always amazed at how much everything grows in just one week.

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  8. Hello Elaine:

    You are going away with totally mixed feelings which we completely understand. It was always a wrench to leave our Herefordshire garden, even for a few days as there was always the thought that so much might be missed and, additionally, there would be much work to do on our return however much one had got ahead before leaving. But we are certain that as soon as you actually head off you will stop thinking about home, which is clearly to be left in good hands, and have a really enjoyable time. We do so hope.

    How dreary the weather sounds to be. We have had wonderfully warm days here but suddenly it has turned much colder. We look for the temperature to rise at the weekend.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comments - it will be enough to just relax and get away from the normal routine for a while - the biggest treat for me is no cooking - eating delicious food in some great places is the highlight of holidays for me.

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  9. Ooh ginger nuts! My favourite especially to dunk!! Have a wonderful holiday Elaine xx

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    1. Thanks Anne - I love a good 'dunk' myself.

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  10. I've enjoyed joining you for elevenses - my favourite time of day - early chores done and coffee and biscuit calling - perfect if only it would stop raining so we could sit outside to enjoy it. I know what you mean about feeling healf hearted about going away - I always have that but once on the way am ok - have a lovely time:)

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    1. Thanks Rosie - I have missed sitting out in the sunshine too - I am sure the sun will come out again eventually - she says hopefully.

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  11. Hi Elaine, thank you for reminding me about elevenses :) I do need a mini-break, but I always forget...
    And have a wonderful holiday!
    Marielle

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    1. I only forget when I am totally engrossed in what I am doing.

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  12. Have a lovely break xxxx fingers crossed for some sun x

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    1. Thanks Nicola - I'm keeping my fingers crossed too.

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  13. A lovely post Elaine.. and that posy may look bedraggled but it is still simple stunning.. I love the colours.
    Have a wonderful time in Norfolk and I hope the sun shines for you.. it's not too bad here in Suffolk today.. it's not raining (at the moment) and we are having some sunshine :o)

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    1. Thanks Julie - the garden has taken a bashing over the last few days but I am sure it will recover.

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  14. Have a lovely break, hope you have good weather and I'll have a ginger snap with my cuppa please :-)

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    1. Thanks Su - Ginger snaps coming right up.

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  15. Your garden and contents are amazing and it looks so healthy!! I do hope the weather improves for your break, I'd love a walk along a huge open beach atm. It's always difficult to pack clothes for hols in this country. It'll have to be a bit of both (and inbetween) for you me thinks. Suzy x

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    1. Hi Suzy - the garden is burgeoning at the moment and I really need to take back control - but it will have to wait till we come back now. I am already looking through the contents of my wardrobe to make sure I have every eventuality covered.

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  16. Elaine I hope you have a wonderful and fantastic time. You had me at cup of coffee and a coconut macaroon LOL

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    1. Thanks Keith I'm sure we will.

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  17. Our little college student who loves with us leaves June for her life's grandest adventure: Scotland, England, and Germany. I shall tell her to pack for rain. It is amazing that our gardens seem to fair without us, for Mother Nature has her own ways. Here it is not too much rain; it is the heat so watering is essential. Have a restful get away, and a dry one, too.

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    1. Thanks Ann - I hope your student friend finds a little sun whilst she is here - everything looks so much better in the sunshine doesn't it.

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  18. A lovely post and terrific photos which has helped no-end to restore my good mood.
    Have a good holiday, and I hope that weather is kind. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty - I hope the weather is kind too - glad that the post helped to restore your good mood.

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  19. Funny I always find leaving to go on holiday a wrench too. I used to read Paddongton Bear to my class when I was teaching but I'm sure I got the humour more that they did. We enjoyed the stories on differing levels.

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    1. I often feel that children's stories like say Wind in the Willows is more appropriate for adults than children. There are far too many long words in it that I can't believe children would understand.

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  20. Hope the sun shines on you in Norfolk and you have a wonderful time by the sea. It was lovely to spend elevenses with so many favourite characters from my childhood! Sarah x

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    1. Thank you for your kind wishes - I love being beside the sea - I find it so calming - but of course you would know all about that where you live.

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  21. So glad I came by for elevenses, a tour of your lush garden, and the promise of a holiday :) A lovely post indeed ~ I'll add to the finger crossing for shorts weather! Enjoy ~ the garden will be waiting for you when you get back full of surprises!

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  22. Thanks Glo - a busy day ahead getting everything ready for our departure - so much to do - so little time. Enjoy your weekend.

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  23. What a wonderful post! I'd love to join you on elevenses :) A cup of coffee and the macaroon sound great to me! :) Have a wonderful time on your vacation and I hope the sun will be shining for you. And that everything in your garden will be doing well when you return :)

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    1. Thank you so much for paying me a visit - I have been so busy preparing to go away today - I think I will definitely need a bit of rest and recuperation to get over it. Have a great weekend.

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  24. I cannot imagine anything nicer than joining you for elevenses, or first or second breakfast, especially if you are going to wax lyrical, cook and serve the food on your pretty china with an adorable posy on display....now....when are you free??? xxx

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  25. Oh....forgot to say, have a delightful holiday, may the sun shine on you.xxx

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  26. All that rain will make your gardens look even more lush. I have a friend visiting England right now, and her postcard says that she can't believe who far ahead the gardens there are. She lives on the coast in BC, and I live in the Interior now, so you can only imagine how far behind I am.

    Jen.

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  27. Hopefully the sun has made a glorious appearance now and your garden will go on in leaps and bounds. I think that your friend will be busy in your garden while you are on a break. Take care xx

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  28. Have a lovely trip. I loved the story of elevenses. I didn't know it.

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  29. Love those coconut biscuits from Mrs Crimble. Your photos are really beautiful. I love how you've dressed each little scene.

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  30. Oh, I suppose I am too late for the coffee and coconut biscuits for you will be on holidays by now. Your garden looks so lovely fresh and green by the rain, but I hope for you and me the weather is nice on your holidays. We have nice and sunny weather at the moment and mostly in England you have the same weather like we have. When you have rain today we get it tomorrow.
    Wish you a lovely time in Norfolk!

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  31. I always stop for elevenses, have done all my married life, as well as afternoon tea at 4pm - simply has to be done - with the obligatory biscuit of course. Have a wonderful time away. xx

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  32. Dear Elaine - I so hope you have sunshine for your days away. I can empathize with you when getting ready to leave the familiar...I am always sad to be leaving my garden and babies too. Love the idea of elevenses (here in America we don't observe it - wish we did). Anyway have a great week away and I will be looking forward to your return. Now I must go and browse some of your latest posts.

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  33. It all looks and sounds lovely. I'm a big fan of tea time and tray bakes! Have a great time when you are away.

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  34. What a lovely post. Though, never quite heard of it before, I find the idea of elevenses endearing. The photos are pretty.:-)

    Madison

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  35. I am off on Thursday as well and also to the coast (Nova Scotia). I have heard that the weather there has been cold and wet. Like you, I hope to arrive to a little sunshine. Have a wonderful trip Elaine!

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  36. Happy holidays Elaine. The garden will rejoice at your return as will you.

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  37. I had no idea elevenses were real. I thought they only existed for hobbits. Have fun where ever you are going! :o)

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