Saturday, 27 December 2014

Looking Back – 2014 Reflections … The Garden

Well, that’s it … Christmas over for another year.  Hope you had a good one. Presents were opened after breakfast,  Christmas dinner was delicious,   the evening was spent with friends playing games; Boxing Day spent recovering,  eating cold meat and salads – a welcome relief after all the rich food the previous day and today was spent at the cinema – the new Hobbit movie which was thoroughly entertaining.  So I thought I would squeeze in a blog post before we go away getting back in time for a New Years Eve party.





When the festive season is over I like to take time for quiet reflection of the year that has passed.

Taking lots of photos of the garden through the year is a favourite pastime – to see how it changes with every season – these are a few long shots I have taken this year.


early and late spring


early summer






late summer


autumn and winter

When you see the garden every day you forget just how much it changes don’t you.  How it gradually goes from leaves starting to unfurl and bulbs pushing through – to the full colour of summer – then the slow decline into autumn and the starkness of winter.  Each season a joy in its own different way.  I am looking forward to the new gardening year beginning – spring isn’t that far away now – just hope my spring bulbs live up to expectations.  And so the circle of the year goes on.


  the hunt out on Boxing Day in the back fields


an unwanted visitor – the Heron  eyeing up the goldfish – we have puts the nets over the pond

as a preventative measure -just in case he gets hungry

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas in the City …

My home is in a sleepy little village – living a quiet, almost reclusive, life – where I am lucky if I see three people a week.  So when I agreed to go with a friend to London for the day – it came as quite a shock to be amongst a seething mass of humanity.   Chel over at Sweetbriar Dreams advised me to go with the flow – in fact, I had no choice.  People, people, people – swarming through the streets, filling escalators and lifts – standing nose to nose on the Tube – twenty deep at the road crossings – all nationalities, speaking in different tongues – rushing or ambling – eating as they walked – carrying packages or luggage – it was, to put it mildly, totally overwhelming.  Below are some images of a day of contrasts to my normal life.





































All very exciting – but oh so tiring – my poor feet are suffering today.  All in all, it just confirms the fact that city life is not for me – I was so glad to return to the relative peace and quiet of the countryside with no traffic jams, no bright lights and no people – it was an experience that I wouldn’t want to repeat too often but I’m glad that we went if only to see how the other half lives.

As this will be my last post before Christmas I should like to take this opportunity to wish you all A Very Happy Christmas and thank you for visiting my blog and leaving comments – each and every one of them is appreciated.


Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveller back to his own fireside and quiet home! ~Charles Dickens

Friday, 12 December 2014

A Childhood Christmas …

Farmhouse Country Style: Christmas Past


We would arrive on Christmas Eve day – armed with presents.  A roaring fire would greet us – bread rising on the hearth and filling the house with wonderful yeasty smells – the battered old tinsel tree had been set up with the same decorations we remembered from year to year – garlands of paper decorations hung from the ceiling – everywhere shining and polished – it couldn’t be more festive if it tried.

Norman Rockwell

  The evening was spent singing carols round the piano – Grandad playing – copious amounts of port, sherry and advocat  being drunk by the adults.  My brother and I were sent to bed, later than normal, too excited to sleep – snuggling under blankets – feet warmed by hot water bottles.  Morning couldn’t come soon enough.



And when it did – such excitement – chairs gathered round the fire piled high with presents – the room soon filling with scraps of torn paper while the family looked on to see our reactions of delight or disappointment.  Then Mum and Grandma would go into the kitchen to start preparing dinner – the turkey had been cooking slowly overnight in the oven, soft, tender and bronzed.  The kitchen filled with steam from the pudding, wrapped in cloths and bubbling away in a saucepan.  Plates of mincepies appeared to appease our appetites whilst we were waiting – the menfolk sat quietly drinking beer and chatting; stomachs rumbling – my brother and I played with our toys, opened selection boxes and read the Dandy and Beano annuals that we received every year.




My Grandma was a great cook – all the food was quickly demolished by the hungry crowd and feeling full and replete, one by one they fell asleep in front of the fire – and my brother and I tried to wait patiently for the evening festivities to begin – the neighbours came round to join in the fun -  board games and playing cards were brought out – no television in those days – drinks flowed and gradually they got a little tipsy and laughed a lot at nothing in particular.

   These memories are so vivid and have always stayed with me, particularly as every single one of those lovely people are now dead and gone – just my brother and me left - I treasure the memories more than a box full of jewels.




This is my Grandad Herbert playing piano at a works Christmas Party in 1954


"Christmas - that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance - a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved."
- Augusta E. Rundel

Midwinter Dream

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Cold and Frosty Morning …

December - the world turns from gold and orange to silver and white
As I write this the sun is streaming through the window and the fields are white with frost.  I knew December wouldn’t let me down – good riddance foggy November.  The run up to Christmas is now underway.  All presents bought, wrapping paper and cards are standing by, decorations need to be dragged out from under the stairs, foliage and berries need to be collected – other than that,  all is calm. 
Essie Collection Encrusted 2013 |  Peak of chic
"From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens -
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye."
-   Katherine S. White
"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."
-   Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing
"Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half.   Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day.  Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb.  Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider."
-   Yule Lore
Look how the rising sun has tinged the fields with pink
Neck well swathed in scarf,
hands plunged in pockets?
Collar pulled high,
hat tugged low?
Off you go, then, down the long slope
to where the pale winter sun never penetrates.
The frozen grass, glittering with reflected light,
crunches under your boots.
Run a hand along the fence to see a battalion of frost soldiers crumple.
Lick the cold particles from your fingers,
and take a long sniff of the freezing air,
pungent with bare earth and stone,
as dry and prickly as a holly leaf - the smell of winter,
down in the frost hollow.
Christoper Somerville

When the ice of winter holds the house in its rigid grip,
when curtains are drawn early against that vast frozen waste
of landscape,
almost like a hibernating hedgehog
I relish the security of being withdrawn from all that summer
ferment that is long since past.
Then is the time for re-appraisal: to spread out,
limp and receptive,
and let garden thoughts rise to the surface.
They emerge from some deep source of stillness
which the very fact of winter
has released.
Mirabel Osler
Hope everyone has a stress-free lead up to Christmas – there’s still loads of time to get everything done
And remember
'A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.'
Author Garrison Keillor

Dream it, Wish it, Do it; Christmas time;