I don’t know about you but 2022 , well, I can’t decide if it got off to a slow start or is just flying on through.
I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago but had a few technical issues (the format of the photos changed and I didn’t know what to do!), anyway, I decided just to post it. After all, so much of it can apply at anytime. Hope you have a good day!
Sometimes I think I have magpie tendencies. I like nothing better than to gather together bright shiny strands from all parts of my life. This then, helps me to build a sort of collage picture of hope.
I don’t think I’m alone in finding January and February a bit challenging but this is the recipe I’m using right at this very minute to help me and I hope that in some way it may help or inspire you too.
Taking a look around the garden and spotting this sedum popping through.
At times like these, when the dark winter days are slowly, slowly changing to the brighter days of spring I remind myself it can be a good thing to think small to get started with. Progress doesn’t have to be big to be effective. So it was interesting for me to read the title Anya Hindmarsh chose for her autobiography: ‘If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair’. In fact it made me laugh as, over the years, I’ve developed my own wee routine for those days of doubt.
So here it is, my six-step plan. For the days when I wake up and don’t know where to begin.
Brush my teeth
Have a shower
Go for a walk
Do the dishes
Make a pot of soup and then eat a big bowl of it!
Phone a friend/ family member.
Is there something you would add to make it super-duper seven step plan? (Or should that be ‘souper-duper’?)
Bonus soup recipe – with thanks to my Mum and most, likely, the Woman’s Weekly.
2 mugs red lentils – rinsed
1 onion – diced
5 carrots – peeled and diced
2 pints of water
2 tins of Heinz tomato soup
Optional: fennel seeds, celery – any old vegetables you have to hand.
Put everything in a large soup pot except for the tins of soup. Cook for 45 minutes, add in the tins of soup and heat through and it’s ready to serve! This also freezes very well.
Book: ‘Do One Thing Every Morning to Make Your Day’
Poem for Every Night of the Year’ Edited by Allie Esiri.
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
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.
Nothing is so beautiful as spring – Gerard Manley Hopkins
Birds are singing. Landing on the fencepost they pause, check all is clear, dart to the feeder and back to the post in the blink of an eye. A robin, blue tits, chaffinches. Magpies launch themselves at the fat ball holder, blackbirds peck at fallen seeds. Two pigeons, one fat, one thin, drink from the pond.
Flowers are opening, welcoming the sun. Crocuses, hellebores, cowslip, primroses. The tulips are appearing, still wrapped up tightly.
Glossy green leaves of the Laurel gleam in the shining sunlight.
The first giant bumblebee of the year buzzes past my ear.
Frog spawn wobbles in the pond and we stop to watch two woodpeckers on our walk.
Spring is here. The seasons roll on.
Wishing you all good health and peace.
I am reading ‘The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland’ by Catherine M.Valentine
I am, I confess, a fair weather gardener. This does make me appreciate the good days even more though.
On wet, dreary, dare I say dreich, days I’m more inclined to be inside but there’s one thing I do know, learning about gardening will never end. There’s always something to discover. Each day is a new opportunity.
When I was a child I watched ‘Beechgrove Garden’ and ‘Gardeners’ World’. As the beauty of the flowers filled the screen their name was listed at the bottom. Not once but twice. The common and the Latin name. The presenters would effortlessly reel off these unusual names and I would listen, unaware that years later I would begin to attempt to learn them myself.
I have a Twitter account and have already stated my intention to learn some Latin names for plants. Apparently if you share an aim with someone it makes you more likely to achieve it. Here’s hoping.
Already I have been encouraged. Watching Monty Don on ‘Gardeners’ World’, he explained how the name for Sedum had been changed to Hylotelephium – this was one of the (as yet few) names I had already learned.
The days may be dark and cold outside but there’s always something to learn and this way I can combine my love of language and gardening. What a winter treat.
At the moment I am reading, ‘The Cabaret of Plants’ by Richard Mabey – slowly. I’m not very fast at reading non-fiction!
I haven’t been out in the garden much recently. Instead I’ve been doing lots of looking out of the window and thinking about garden jobs for the Spring.
Mostly I’ve been enjoying our houseplants as they bring us happiness with their beauty and health giving properties.
During the past year I made a resolution to learn the Latin names for plants in our garden. Well I’m hoping to keep that up and am extending it to some houseplants. This beautiful Peace Lily has the Latin name Spathiphyllum wallisii.
Like the Amaryllis flower pictured here, my New Year’s Resolutions are emerging slowly. I began with ‘I’d like to read more’ and now I’ve added ‘I’d like to write more’.
I know I am supposed to make ‘SMART’ targets so the next thing I need to do will be to break down these resolutions and put time scales etc next to them. That may come later, for now, I’m just going to pick up a book and enjoy reading.
Whatever and however you do your New Year’s Resolutions, I wish you well.
At the moment I am reading ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo (with maybe one or two other books alongside!)