Birds · Books · Dogs · Garden · Happy · Trees · walking

A Spring in My Step

I had a hair appointment on my birthday! It felt like a fantastic present particularly now after this latest lockdown. My hair was the longest it’s been in twenty years. It was definitely time for a chop.

Perhaps I was thinking about hairstyles as I looked out my window this morning? A bit of a wind today and the Laurel bush is waving like a shaggy monster from The Muppet Show. The breeze is rippling through the bronze tint on the Beech hedge and the bobbed Kilmarnock Willow is showing off streaks of green through it’s mane.

Green tinted Kilmarnock Willow

Each year I have the discussion about when the leaves will appear on the trees. I always think Spring comes earlier than it actually ever does – perhaps too optimistic? So I look out of my window to check what’s happening in the garden and every morning I try to read a poem. ‘A Child’s Song in Spring’ by Edith Nesbit summed up exactly what I was thinking one day.

Signs of Spring are coming and a blue tit is nesting in the bird box hopefully kept warm by our dog, Molly. Having brushed Molly, we put the fur from the brush into an old bird feeder and recently spotted the birds collecting it to line their nests. In no time at all the feeder was empty. Molly is one very well groomed dog these days!

Well groomed Molly keeping me company as I write this,

I recently downloaded an App: Merlin, which is helping me to identify the birds I see in the garden and out and about. I love the way their calls and songs are available to listen to as well. To top it all I was totally delighted to receive a pair of binoculars for my Birthday. I had a sudden flashback to childhood and trying to use my parents’ binoculars and now at last, I have my own! So with the App and the binoculars, I’m pretty sure the pair of birds who scurry around our garden are dunnocks.

So with my newly cropped hair, my binoculars in hand, I’m off for a walk with a spring in my step. Here’s to life as a twitcher!

I’m reading ‘Golden Hill’ by Francis Spufford and ‘Flight’ by Vanessa Harbour. Still reading Muriel Spark’s autobiography.

Picture Book Review

Head over to my Picture Book Review Pages for great recommendations.

Latest Review – ‘I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End’ by Emma Perry and Sharon Davey.

Books · Flowers · Garden · Happy · Latin names · Tea

Kaleidoscopes

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

Books · butterflies · Friendship · Happy · Inspiration

News

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!)

Rogie Falls this October – the beauty of Scotland.

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.

Books · Happy

Book Shopping

 

The other day I helped out at a bookstall for a Girl Guides Fair.

Well it just so happened that I had a ‘Tinkerbell’ book in my hand as a lady and her little daughter approached. With exclamations of delight she said her daughter loved ‘Tinkerbell’ books but there aren’t many about and so she has to get them out the library. Now her wee girl thinks the books are hers! 

So, we got talking and I asked her if she’d looked online. Immediately she mentioned ‘The Big A’ and I agreed but also said how about other second hand bookshops online?

Anyway, it got me to thinking. When I joined a book group a few years ago we discussed where everyone bought their books from.

Some went straight to the High Street, others to the aforementioned online store, still more to buy second hand online and one lady usually used the library.

It made me stop and think. There are so many options out there. It is easy to buy with one click but if I take just a little more time to search for the book I want I could be saving money and hopefully helping the environment too. (I know, I haven’t even mentioned e-books!) thumb_IMG_1327_1024

Recently we made our way back to the delight that is The Bookmark in Grantown-on-Spey. I have to confess I bought four books – a massive treat, not just to buy them but also to go in and chat about books in such a great environment.

Buying books is a complete joy to me and these days I pick carefully where I buy them from. One here, one there. I picked up a few great bargains at the bookstall, I’ve collected my recent book group choice from the library and I’m hoping for a book voucher for my birthday so I can do a little bit of High Street shopping too!

Here’s hoping!

 

Where’s your favourite place to buy or borrow books from?

 

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Hyacinth in the Spring sunshine

 

 

 

Flowers · Garden · Happy · Nature · Photography · Writing

Simply Not Perfect

Life isn’t perfect.

When I started writing this blog I was very aware I didn’t want it to be a relentless round of cheery posts with no indication of the reality of life.

On the way I’ve found it to be so much harder to write a blog post about sadness. I don’t want to be the person spreading sadness and yet there are always things that upset, worry and make me sad.

No one has fabulous days every day.

It’s the tough days that make me appreciate the good ones all the more

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Searching for the sun.

So if I post a photo of my garden, I’ll usually take it on a bright, sunny day. Sometimes I’ll have to wait for quite a few days for the sun to appear and when it does I’m out there,  really appreciating the light.

For every flower, fruit, vegetable and so on I’ve been proud of, there have been the plants I’ve put in the wrong position, or not fed correctly, or something (who knows what!) and they’ve not survived.

However, every seed, every bulb, every plant has been planted with optimism – I’m going for the cup is half full!

I guess there’s ups and downs in nature and in life but I’m going to keep on plugging away.

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A close up of  a murmuration of starlings at Aberdeen beach. (Not a very sunny day!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

bees · Flowers · Happy

Bee Happy

I wrote a blog post last week and for some reason it didn’t save.

Not a great start to a Monday morning when I was hoping to just check it over and publish.

Still, oddly enough the post was about little things and how they can make you happy. In the scheme of things I decided, this was not a big thing and certainly wasn’t going to make me unhappy.

In fact, in a cup half full sort of way, perhaps it was a good thing? Maybe the post wasn’t that great anyway and now this was a chance to start afresh?

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Top 20 things to make you happy

A few years ago I cut out this clipping from a newspaper. For a while I hung it up in the kitchen and then I used it as a bookmark. I hadn’t seen it for sometime and had forgotten about it until thinking about this post.

On my way to try and find it amongst the mountain of books on my bedside table it was there; lying on the floor in front of me!

Somehow it must have blown off the table as I picked up a book that morning! Bizarre, definitely meant to be anyway!

 

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Taking part in the bee count makes me happy!

 

 

Taking part in the Great British Bee Count has made me really pay attention to the beauty and intricacy of flowers. I’ve spent a few moments each time watching the bee at work, an amazing sight and well worth taking the time to see. Definitely a small thing I would like to add to this top 20.

 

 

 

So, here we are, blog post written, photos included, a small thing but certainly one to make me happy – I could add it to the list above.

I’d love to know, what small thing makes you happy, is it on this list or something different? 

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The beauty of an allium.