Winter Happenings …

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Sunday dawned sunny and bright, the strong winds had died down – a perfect time to find my old gardening coat and do a bit of pottering in the garden – the first time in I don’t know how many weeks.  It made me happy – I had missed being outdoors  – a little tidying and watering in the greenhouse,  emptying old pots of summer plants and stacking them away; clearing dead foliage,  a bit of weeding and getting close to the soil, seeing if anything was growing – pushing its way slowly through the soil.  And yes – there are signs of life.   The fresh green shoots of Chives – the odd bulb here and there, small green leaves forming in the crowns of plants – the garden coming to life again overcoming the ravages of winter – against all the odds.

Soon I will be dusting off the propagators, checking out which seeds I will be growing this year – assessing which flowers and vegetables did well last year, and which I won’t be bothering with again.  Trying to get back to basics and not giving myself too much extra work – simplifying tasks and growing methods – so that I can enjoy my outdoor life without too much stress and trying not to be too influenced by what other people are doing in Blogland. 

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some of the crops grown in 2014

 

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On Tuesday, late morning, the sky turned dark and huge snowflakes fell – covering the ground quickly.  Sadly, the snowflakes were very wet and soon disappeared – but it was quite dramatic whilst it lasted.  And how it transforms – just a light dusting can turn the landscape into a winter wonderland.

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The same thing happened on Wednesday snow fell overnight, but stayed this time; walking out to feed the birds, ice had formed, pleasantly crunching underfoot.  Blackbirds suddenly appeared out of nowhere, cold and hungry – I threw apples down for them – hoping they would take advantage of them before the crows appeared to carry them away.

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Last week my lovely blogging friend Snowbird at Gardens and Wildlife passed on the Liebster Award to me – how kind of her to think of me - and although I had decided not to accept awards, I thought I would answer her questions anyway – it would be churlish not to.

1. What is the worst injury you have sustained while gardening/plotting? In-depth gory details please…. I sliced the end of my little finger off whilst using the hedge trimmer.

2. How would/do you deal with wet, slushy, soggy leaves fermenting on the lawn that refuse to be raked up? I leave anything to do with the lawns and leaves to husband – it is his domain. 

3. Have you ever had an invasion of Bamboo trying to colonize your garden? If yes, how did you get rid of it? I don’t have any bamboo in the garden.

4. Do you have any irrational fears/terrors re an animal or insect? If yes, how/when did it begin? Moths, in the house – a childhood fear.

5. Has anyone else ever danced barefoot in the rain or hugged a tree? Definitely not – I’m much too sensible/inhibited for that malarkey – although I wish I wasn’t.

6. Do you believe that the moon can influence the growth of plants? Anything is possible. 

7.Do you have a favourite flower legend/story/superstition? Once upon a time there was a girl called Violet.  Her stepmother didn’t like her, so one day she decided to get rid of the little girl.  She took her over to the forest and left her there in the cold of winter.  Not knowing how to get out of the forest she fell asleep and froze to death.  But she didn’t die.  She managed to transform herself into a little violet flower which we call Viorica (Violet) and from that moment on, Violets blossom in spring before the snow melts. 

8. Have you ever used a plant medicinally? And I’ll have NO stories of magic mushrooms or Belladonna mind!!! A Comfrey poultice to reduce swelling. 

9. Which is the most important to you, house or garden? 50/50

10. Do you constantly talk/complain about the weather to anyone who will listen? Of course, I’m British!

11. What is the most you have spent on a plant over the last year? Hard to say – the money I spend on plants sometimes gets out of control.

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Last Saturday on a whim I went into the hairdressers to book to have my hair cut.  I have been wearing it long for the last couple of years, usually piled up on top, out of the way, easy to keep without too much fuss.  Wednesday, the day of the haircut dawns, nerves set in.  I had about six inches cut off and it is now shoulder length – ooer!  I feel really strange – almost lightheaded – just love the way hairdressers can make your hair feel silky and shiny – I think I like it, although it will take some getting used to – just have to wait and see if husband notices the difference.

 

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One of my Christmas presents from a friend this year was a ticket to go and see the ballet, Swan Lake, on Saturday – I wasn’t sure I would be able to go because of the coughing – but it seems to have subsided a little – so I’ll let you know all about it next week.  And another present from a friend is for the following  Saturday  - High Tea at Kilworth Hall – very posh – looking forward to both events tremendously.

‘Til next time – take care and keep warm.

Comments

  1. What a lovely colour your hair is.

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    1. Thanks Lucille - I still think of myself as a blonde but the picture shows differently - alright, I admit it - I have gone grey!

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  2. We just had a flurry if snow for a few minutes Wednesday morning but most signs of it disappeared quickly. No pottering though.

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    1. The snow seems to have targeted us in the Midlands - not enough to cause any problems though.

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  3. Good to see that you managed to spend some time pottering in the garden. It's more than I've managed to do on the plot recently. Those snowy pictures look pretty but I'm thankful that there's been none here as it causes chaos on the roads and soon turns grey and slushy.
    Well done on the award, which Snowbird gave me as well, and for answering the questions which I've yet to do. It's always nice to find out a bit more about blog friends.
    Enjoy the ballet, and high tea. Flighty xx

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    1. The South doesn't seem to have had any snow at all - but I am sure your turn will come. Thanks I do enjoy the ballet - and as for the high tea - who wouldn't love a cake stand full of delicious cakes.

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  4. Despite it´s only a tiny layer of snow, it looks much better than all the rain we have. I always love the pictures of the beautiful scenery behind your garden, I´m really fond of the rolling hills of England. Very nice length and colour of your hair, I hope your husband noticed the difference....... Actually here it´s always my husband who is noticing that I´ve been to the hairdresser, when he has been I never notice which sometimes annoys him, haha.
    Wish you lots of pleasure at the Swan Lake ballet and the high tea!

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    1. The trouble is always when the snow melts - everywhere now looks very muddy and when I go for a walk my boots always need a good clean afterwards. Husband did notice the hair straight away as it looks so different.

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  5. You have cyclamen in a flower box outside with blooms on them? I'm envious. I saw some snowdrops on another of the British blogs.
    There is a calming effect that the presence of snow can bring. I'm sure the birds were most appreciative of your gift. I have a sharpshiined hawk that frequents my backyard platform feeder. She is an excellent hunter and the little birds scatter when she comes around...
    Have you got used to your haircut yet? Its cute. I like you, have a long mane to the bottom of my back which I pile in a bun during the day.
    Enjoy the ballet it sounds lovely...
    Susan x

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    1. The cyclamen have been flowering for ages - I didn't realise that they would survive snow too - a bonus. No snowdrops yet though. We get Sparrowhawks coming into the garden - sometimes they strike lucky - I guess we all have to eat! The haircut still feels strange - I miss having long hair to brush.

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  6. Time for gardening resolutions. One of mine will be continuous sowing. I'll get it right one day!

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    1. Yes, continuous sowing must go to the top of your list - I'll be checking on you.!

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  7. Ooh I'd just love a sprinkling of snow sometime soon. We seem to miss out here in the very south east corner of Essex, whenever the country is deep in the throes of snow. I like the sneaky peek of your hair Elaine and hope you're pleased you had it cut. Have a lovely weekend. P x

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    1. I hope you get to see some snow this winter - just enough to make everything look pristine for a little while. Hope you have a lovely weekend too.

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  8. This is a wonderful post so full of such good things. I do not know where to begin. Snow. We have snow. Old snow, dirty crunchy, hard to walk on. We have also had some warm days that have melted the snow, then cold temps that froze it again. It is supposed to get record warm tomorrow, maybe all of the snow will be one. Love the hair cut. I am due to get mine cute Monday, too. About the length as yours. I love your natural gray. The ballet and High Tea. Oh my. I can only dream. And puttering around in the greenhouse, wonderful. But I especially enjoyed you award answers. And yes, the moon does affect when to plant, according to my dearly departed mother in law, a farm wife. Have great week end.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Ann - I sometimes wonder if people will be bored with what I have to say. Nice to know it's appreciated. I shall think of you whilst I am at the ballet and when I am tucking in to the delicious tea. Have a good weekend.

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  9. Your photographs are always brilliant Elaine { except, maybe, the one of the muddy puddle !!!! haha } and I can't imagine you improving on your harvest this year …. looks as if you had a bumper crop last year !!
    …. and, it looks as if us in the South East are in for some snow at the weekend ….. I LOVE it but, hate driving in it !!
    Enjoy your gardening ….. I might venture out in ours in a couple of weeks !! XXXX

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    1. Thanks Jackie - okay I admit the muddy puddle perhaps isn't the prettiest of pictures haha! The weathermen reckon it's going to get colder, so maybe you will get some snow after all. It was a pleasure being able to get out into the garden for a while - it seems ages since I had a good session out there.

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  10. Hi Elaine,

    I love your images showing the changing weather scene in your area. We have so much water at this time, some areas are flooded once again. Expecting snow this weekend, and that is something I really do not like, especially driving in it. It does look pretty though :)

    I am sure you will get used to your hair.....a bob can be most flattering, and your hair is a lovely colour.
    I had mine cropped this morning....now that did take courage, believe me. I am loving it though, feel like a new woman.

    I cannot believe you have never danced bare footed in the rain or hugged a tree. I have done both, but confess to being a bit of a crazy woman :) I have done a lot more but am certainly NOT telling :)

    Have a good weekend Elaine..........

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    1. Hi Cheryl
      I have been tempted to dance in the rain - I promise to dash out shoeless during a summer storm this year - ha! You might be crazy but crazy is good - I would love to be fearless. Having my hair cut always makes me nervous as hairdressers never seem to know when to stop - but my hairdresser is great and keeps checking with me before she does anything.

      Have a great weekend yourself.

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    2. I am going to hold you to that promise....wait for your summer post :)

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  11. Saw the Russian ballet many years ago (Swan Lake) I absolutely loved it.....enjoy.

    As for tea.....well I just love a posh tea...........had tea at the Ritz many years ago, and it was amazing.
    Hope you have a wonderful time.

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    1. I saw the male version of Swan Lake a couple of years ago - fabulous. I do love afternoon tea - so very civilised - I will try to be ladylike and sophisticated and not grab all the best cakes - ha!

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    2. Grabbing the best cakes is a must surely......but do it when people aren't looking.........

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  12. I envy you your snow, Elaine. Just rain and mud and mud and rain here. A little fed up with it now. Your hedgetrimmer incident made me wince. I'm far too blasé with mine. I've made a note to try not to be. Dave

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    1. The snow didn't last long - we are probably just as muddy as you are now. The hedge trimmer incident left me very wary of the machine - I rarely touch it now.

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  13. I think the new hair cut is perfect - and just in time for the posh tea date! I would like to wake up in your shoes some morning. Your landscape looks just like "The Holiday" - a movie we watch each Christmas! It may be the idealized version of England, made just for this side, but don't dash my dreams!

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    1. I won't dash your dreams Jayne - the area where we live and the cottages that surround us are very much like The Holiday.

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  14. It's lovely to see shoots pushing up through the soil and buds plumping up. Snow here too, although it didn't last and some forecast for tonight as well I see. We had a couple of those thunder snow storms, very peculiar. It just doesn't seem right having lightening flashing about in January!
    Love your hair..

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    1. The mixture of weather has produced some wonderful sunrises and sunsets too - I am forever dashing about with the camera to capture them, fleeting as they are.

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  15. I'm glad you got to go outdoors, it's so refreshing after being inside for a while. Glad to hear you are feeling better too!
    What a good harvest you had, it's great to look back on the pics, they are very inspiring. Oh....I do love snow, despite the problems it causes if it sticks, it does transform and make everything look so romantic and magical....
    I loved the answers you gave....crikey, your poor finger, that's scary!!! Now....I had you down as a die-hard barefoot dancer in the rain....you really must give that a go....it's so liberating!!! Ahhhhh, what a lovely story about the voilet....
    Your hair looks very pretty, it will be just the thing for the ballet and high tea. Enjoy!!!xxx

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    1. Although I do go out for my daily walk it is different just to be able to get out and achieve something however small. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

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  16. It nice to see your sprinkling of snow . I hadn't heard that story about Violet before. My Granny was called Violet so the flowers have a special meaning to me. I know the feeling of getting carried away buying plants too! Sarah x

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    1. Yes, I am going to rein myself in this year with plant buying (although I say this every year and never manage to achieve it).

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  17. I love snow :) So happy for you you got some. We're supposed to get some this weekend and I'm really hoping for it :)
    Love all your pictures. And I like your new haircut. I cut my hair off about 10 inches last weekend - and I love it.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Elaine! :)

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    1. The snow disappeared very quickly unfortunately - it certainly transforms everything whilst it lasts. Oo you are brave cutting your hair short - I always think if I don't like it it will always grow again. Enjoy your weekend.

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  18. Amazing that you are seeing bits of growth in your garden! We are under piles of snow at the moment....what I would do to see some green! And your answers to her questions were so fun...it is always fantastic to get to know little bits about you! And the hair is awesome! Love it friend!! Your outdoor scenes are always a dream to me especially with that bit of dusted snow!! Have a great weekend you!! Nicole xo

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    1. I keep checking the garden to see what is coming up and am pleasantly surprised to find things shooting and signs of life - it gives me hope and something to look forward to.

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  19. Lovely to see what has been going on out and about and at home with you. Great to to read your answers to the questions and find a bit more out! I leave all leafy lawn things to my husband too! Good on you getting your haircut, I hope that you love it. I think that mine might be due a chop, but I am too nervous! Hope you have a great time at the ballet! xx

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    1. I am just getting ready to leave - we are going to an early performance so it will be strange sitting in the dark whilst it is bright sunshine outside.

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  20. You will be at the ballet as I write - I hope you are thoroughly entranced! I love your silvery hair.

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    1. I love the story of Swan Lake - so romantic - but this performance was somehow slightly lacking in atmosphere - I can't quite put my finger on it - but it was lovely all the same.

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  21. It has been so miserably cold here (in the minus twenties) that it has been rather impossible to go outdoors for any length of time. I am beginning to feel a little like a caged animal! In envy your mild British weather. It must be wonderful to get out and putter about.
    Snowbird came up with interesting questions. I love the Violet story. So sad really.
    I hope you have a marvellous time at tea and the ballet.

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    1. It is always nice to do something a little special and different - especially in winter when such treats make up for the cold and dark we have to endure.

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  22. Do hope that you are enjoying the ballet today, and your hair looks lovely.
    I too do not accept awards, but it was interesting to read your answers nevertheless.
    What a fabulous collection of vegetables you grew and enjoyed last year.

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    1. Yes, I did thank you. Alas, I can never get me hair to look as good as the hairdresser can,but I suspect that is the same for all of us. The veg garden did all right last year but always hoping for even better results.

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  23. Glad to read that your va-va- voom is returning. Oh what a glorious veggie collage Elaine. Your phrase "simplifying tasks and growing methods" strikes a chord with me as that is what I hope to achieve this year. I hope that you have enjoyed or are about to enjoy 'Swan Lake'.

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    1. I did have a bit of a coughing session whilst at the ballet but fortunately I had taken honey and lemon sweets with me just in case - at last I am beginning to feel normal again. I think I make life difficult for myself in the garden sometimes and hope to rectify that this year - we will have to check up on each other to see how we are both getting on in that regard.

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  24. You will be home from the ballet now, and hope you thoroughly enjoyed it! Really enjoyed reading your answers to Snowbird's questions. You have such a variety of loveliness on your post entry. The snow does transform the countryside quite beautifully. It is encouraging to see Spring's determination to push through no matter what. I love looking for signs of Spring. We have not had much snow this winter, just a touch before Christmas. Yesterday was a glorious sunny day -- something we haven't enjoyed for some time, having fog or rain instead. Your first picture of bright tulips brought a big hopeful smile ~ Spring will eventually get here. Loved the photos of your harvested vegetables as well.

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    1. I was watching a Wren hopping about amongst the pots of flowers yesterday - he actually found a big green caterpillar to eat - I am surprised that they survive the colder temperatures. So glad for you that the fog has finally shifted, it can be so depressing - a bit of sun can work wonders.

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  25. I agree with Lucille, your hair is a lovely colour. I think it's because you were blond. No dark patches showing through like mine unfortunately! Anyway Elaine, your collage of last year's veggies is a delight and those cyclamen too. Enjoy Spring as it comes your way.

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    1. Thank you Jane - nice to see you blogging again. Spring is just around the corner - I don't want to wish my life away but the thought of Spring is very cheering.

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  26. Hope you enjoyed the ballet and I agree your hair is a lovely colour. Great photos as always and I'm with you on the moths when I was a child they terrified me flittering around in the late summer evenings- crane flies with their long legs too:)

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    1. I did enjoy the ballet Rosie - such a treat - and a lovely meal in an Italian restaurant beforehand. Funny thing about Moths, they seem to fly at you - butterflies don't bother me one bit - perhaps they get away with it because they're prettier.

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  27. Ah, you had me smiling at #10 and #7.
    That crunchy snow looks enticing -- makes me want to walk out and explore, just as you have done with your camera :-)

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    1. Unfortunately it didn't last long but just enough to take pictures. Now we have heavy frosts each morning still plenty of camera opportunities.

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  28. I did like your comments about not being influenced by other bloggers ... it's easy isn't it to get carried along by another's enthusiasm for something, feel we'd like to try it too, and end up with far too much happening.

    We also had just a dusting of snow, here in the river valley but along the lane, up on the hill, just a few miles away, they had inches. I'm thinking we need to move up there, and the mister says he's thinking that I'm madder than ever!

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    1. Oops, garbled sentence there ... our village sits by the river and the lane that runs out of it hits higher ground just two miles away.

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    2. Yes, I have fallen into that trap many times - now I am trying to curb my enthusiasm and do things my way regardless.

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  29. Some lovely photos as usual. We've been getting a bit of snow too. Good for staying indoors and planning for the year ahead.

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    1. Thanks Kelli - yes, thinking of the year ahead is always a pleasure in winter.

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  30. First and foremost - those lovely tulips are a feast for winter eyes. Just gorgeous. I loved seeing your photos and reading about your happenings with gardening. Sorry about your finger...my gosh that must have been painful. I know I cut a good slice in mine trimming just last summer. Sounds like spring may just be around the corner for you. I hope it comes here soon as well. Take care and enjoy your "Swan Lake" gift. Hugs

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  31. Thanks for taking the time to visit Debbie I know it must be hard to keep up with blogs with all that you have on your plate at the moment. I have much more respect for my garden tools since that little accident I thought the finger would never stop bleeding! We are back to more wintry weather again but still have some sunshine most days but still too cold to do much work in the garden. Swan Lake was lovely. Take care my friend.

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  32. It was interesting to read your answers to lovely Dina' squestions. And also to see the wintery scenes round you .

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  33. Oh wow I LOVE those amazing winter images. I think winter is the most beautiful time of year. I hope your finger heals quickly!

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    1. The finger incident was a few years ago now - I still bear the scars.

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  34. Hi Elaine, I haven’t been here for a while, too many blogs to follow and too little time – good to be back again :-)
    Nice to see photos of your cyclamens with snow, we haven’t had any snow here in London, actually hardly any frost either although it feels cold enough with temperatures hovering just above zero. I hope you got to see Swan Lake, it is a wonderful ballet.

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    1. Hi Helene
      Thanks for visiting - we have a lot of frost this year but the snow has gone for now. I agree it is hard to get round to see everyone in blogland - life just gets in the way sometimes.

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