I took a long hard look at my website recently, wondering if now was the time to make dramatic changes. Is it too muddled, are there too many themes I wondered? After all, there’s this blog; Picture Book Reviews, Gardening, Latin names for flowers and Cup of Tea Books. Quite a variety. But no, not at this time. This is me. This is who I am. A person of many interests and this Blog brings me joy and time for reflection and the opportunity to merge these interests. I hope it will bring you a moment or two of calm too.
Thank you for reading and wishing you a safe, healthy and very Happy New Year!
I am reading Americanah by Chimomanda Ngozi Adichie and Friend Me! by Sheila M. Averbuch
Wow, wow, wow! Joy! Outside my window trees are being planted. This has made my day!
My dog walk used to take me past a row of huge trees near my house. I loved watching the leaves appearing in spring; appreciated their shade in the summer, the gorgeous colours of autumn and their signal that winter had arrived. Listening to the birds singing would start me in the process of resetting myself so that when I arrived back home I was calmer, fresher and more relaxed than when I left. Then they were chopped down. The depth of emotions I felt surprised me. Feeling powerless and not knowing what else to do, I asked if I could have a section of one of the felled trees.
‘Here you go, no problem. It’s an old chestnut.’ And a log was heaved into the boot of my car. I had to wait for my sister to arrive to help me lift it out it was so heavy. After lying beside the car for a while it has found a home in our garden (thanks to my husband and a wheelbarrow!) – as a step so I can fill the bird feeder above it and, hopefully, a place for insects to hide underneath. Part of a very mini stumpery.
Perhaps a little good has come out of it?
Alongside the trees, there’s a beech hedge being planted. I have a little beech tree that grew, from a seed blown by the wind, in our raised vegetable bed. I did try to dig it out to move it to a better spot but it’s roots are pretty solid.
Like life, like fiction, putting down roots came up (down?) again as I read the latest Novel Points of View Blog about moving house. We’ve lived here in Aberdeen for seven years now, no I don’t have itchy feet but I am amazed. This is the longest we’ve stayed anywhere at all since we left home as teenagers. To be honest, I have my fingers tightly crossed we’ll be here a lot longer.
On a positive note and, I do love a coincidence, as I thought about writing this blog a friend told me about the River Dee Trust and their campaign to plant a million trees in the Cairngorms. To raise money for this they are selling beautiful buffs – they would make super presents and would be very light to post too – just thought I’d mention it!
Well, to finish with one more tree, Christmas trees!
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and a Happy 2021!
I am reading my Secret Santa gift from a fellow bookworm; ‘Hawkfall’ by George MacKay Brown and ‘Beetle Boy’ by M G Leonard.
Today I wanted to write the word ‘butterflies’ and found myself writing ‘beautiful’.
I have been on the search for positive news, heartwarming stories like that of musician Paul Harvey whose son recorded him improvising a song and now Sir Tom Hunter has donated a million pounds to split between Music for Dementia and The Alzheimer’s Society. (It’s worth reading the article right to the very last line!)
Listening to an interview with Richard Osman from ‘Pointless’ I loved the fact that he mentioned there are ‘nice people out there’. It’s true, it’s just not often that the news chooses to focus on this. Why is that? Why is the news skewed to all the negative stories? Why was the one last positive story at the end of the news laughed at and finally removed?
Why don’t we demand that the news is more balanced, after all, aren’t we all trying to find more balance in our lives?
Reading the book ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn reminded me of the kindness of strangers. It was heartwarming while at the same time it did make me stop and think, am I that stranger?
The days grow colder and darker and we search for warmth, can we help spread a little warmth too?
I am reading ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell and ‘The Children of Castle Rock’ by Natasha Farrant.
There are leaves scattered on the grass. September is a time of change. It is a time when people leave and scatter. This is a natural process, one I, as others do, have to learn to live with. Change can be a forward movement, exciting, often nerve wracking but energising too.
We’re in the middle of a ‘tropical plume’ as the radio DJ called it – very warm this week but today there’s a smirr of rain. It does bring out the shades of green in the garden. After seven years it’s a much more mature garden.
The sunflower peeps over the fence, hopefully making our neighbours smile. Usually I plant the seeds in the vegetable bed so we see the sunflower’s bright, cheery faces too.
This year our small vegetable plot has really been taken over by the giant muppet-like monster that is the comfrey. I am totally taken with it – the bees have loved it. Apparently after a bee has drunk the nectar, the flower produces new nectar in two minutes. I’ve used the torn up comfrey leaves as slow releasing feed, ripped up on the base of the tomatoes plants and in the bottom of planting holes and, as the plant itself likes to do, I’ve spread the message far and wide!
A giant pompom dahlia flower is bobbing its head at me from over in the corner, chatting to the enormous daisies which were a gift from a friend. The garden has a wild, overgrown look at the moment but I much prefer the soft lines of this to one that is too clipped and severe. It reminds me of the Oscar Wilde fairytale of the Selfish Giant.
Are there any particular flowers you love in your garden?
I am reading ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn and the poems of Emily Dickinson.
September the start of the new academic year but the end of the summer, the seasons sweep me along, caught in the rise and fall of the tide of time. I am excited, new beginnings, time to tidy the garden after the fullness of summer, time to pare down, to cut back and move on. Time to let go but also to plan.
Taking the time to watch the bees and butterflies.
I’ve learned of the importance of the change of seasons on physical health, to me it has an immense bearing on mental health too. We move, behave, react to the natural rhythms of the seasons, the tides of the year.
Yesterday I watched the swallows balancing on the line, today I’ll search for the glistening September spider webs.
It is a beautiful morning. The honeysuckle (Lonicera Caprifolium) has grown over the fence and this year we could smell the delicate fragrance drifting on the summer evenings as we passed through the gate.
Now small perfect cherry-red berries have emerged, plump and juicy, a feast for the birds. Sunshine illuminates it on the morning side; the east. The west will have to wait for later in the day to feel the full glow of the light. To sit at the kitchen table and look out of the window at greenery has been my aim since we moved here, it’s getting there.
A garden, like everything else, takes time.
I am reading Guardians of the Wild Unicorns by Lindsay Littleson and Swimming with Seals by Victoria Whitworth.
Tadpoles! We have tadpoles in our wee wildlife pond! I think there’s a newt and many minibeasts we’ve yet to name.
Watching the birds visiting the pond has helped us enormously in this life of lockdown.
I’d have never believed how useful the steps of the pond are. They’ve had the tiny feet of bluetits, robins and blackbirds stepping down them like the owl hopped down the books in Bagpuss. Two dunnocks tailed each other along the pond edge darting back and forth.
As I write a pigeon is emerging from the long grass beside the pond, waddling about, ducking its head watching, watching before dipping in.
And we try to count the tadpoles; twelve, thirteen? Who knows?
One visitor to the garden I’m afraid I don’t welcome quite so much are snails. I’ve supplied them with too many tasty dinners! That doesn’t stop me admiring their beautiful shells or their ability to travel and sneak into my little polytunnel and greenhouse.
I’ve just finished reading the book ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. It opened my eyes to the scientific beauty of snails but still …
” COME ! ” said Old Shellover.
” What?” says Creep.
” The horny old Gardener’s fast asleep;
The fat cock Thrush
To his nest has gone;
And the dew shines bright
In the rising Moon;
Old Sallie Worm from her hole doth peep:
Come!” said Old Shellover.
” Ay!” said Creep.