Flowers · Garden · Seasons

Let Spring Bring Hope and Peace

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.

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Primula vulgaris in the garden

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.

 

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Spying a heron when out for a walk.

 

 

I am reading ‘The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland’ by Catherine M.Valentine

Birds · Fairies · Seasons

A Winter’s Ramble

Yesterday I wrote this blog post and then thought, with so much going on in the UK at the moment my wee blog seems more insignificant than ever. Then I read the news on the BBC website this afternoon and saw this small item. ‘Cottingley Fairies Hoax Photo Sells for £1,000.’ Talk about coincidences. So, it may be a ramble and a potter along but here’s something different to read.

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This year the holly tree in our garden has an abundance of berries. Does this mean it will be a hard winter ahead? Has Nature made her preparations to feed the birds? Blackbirds, blue tits and wrens among others are swooping into our garden and like them my mind flutters, darting here and there.

 

The Latin name for holly is Ilex aquifolium. I’ve been trying to learn the Latin names for some of the flowers and trees in our garden using this beautiful book.

As I search for it on the bookshelves I see Cicely Mary Barker’s  book of ‘Flower Fairies’ and cannot resist looking up ‘The Song of the Holly Fairy.’

This reminds me of a book I found in a second hand sale this year, ‘Airs and Graces’ by Erica James. In it she uses the poems of the flower fairies as epigraphs.

A distant memory from childhood finds me looking up the Cottingley Fairy photographs. Taken over a hundred years ago, some were recently put up for sale. Although the photos were fake, one of the girls always maintained the final one was genuine.

Who knows? In this time of dark winter days perhaps we need the magical and the fantasy world. It is a time for enjoying the music and dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Time to tuck up with a good book.

First though, I’m going to make sure our new pond isn’t frozen so the birds can have a bath and refill the bird feeders. Just in case there aren’t enough berries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship · Inspiration · Seasons · Thank you

Inspiration

The other morning a lovely friend asked if I had written a blog post recently, in case she’d missed it.

Well, I hadn’t. The question, and the discussion that followed, inspired me though. I did have something I wanted to say, to share.

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I wrapped up warmly and  watched a blackbird as he sat on a branch eating rowan berries. I listened to the cracking of ice on a puddle when I couldn’t resist stepping on it.  Then I went home to switch the kettle on for a hot cup of tea.

Reflecting on this I realise all the senses are covered apart from smell. Well, I think it was too cold!

Still, I have actually baked our Christmas cake – super early this year for me – and the smell of it baking was a real treat. This preparation, the making of the cake, is filled with hope.

As was planting the Hyacinth bulbs at the weekend and even, for my first time ever, planting an Amaryllis bulb. Watching Carole Baxter in the Beechgrove garden has inspired me and I thought I’d give it a go. Watch this space!

So a simple question about this blog has made me reflect on so many things, made me be grateful for friendships and realise how much hope there is at this time of year.

I wonder, what inspires you and gives you hope?

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Molly hasn’t been sent to the corner. She has just found a new place to sit in the kitchen where her paws won’t slide on the floor. (She is of course hoping to get a treat!)

 

 

Art · Books · Seasons · Writing

A Book for all Seasons

I’ve just finished reading ‘Autumn’ by Ali Smith and coincidentally my sister bought me the next in the series, ‘Winter’ for my Birthday.

A few weeks ago we visited the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (M2) in Edinburgh and I’d loved seeing the Andy Warhol  and Eduardo Paolozzi exhibition.

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An image of an image of an image?

To see the iconic Marilyn Monroe images up close was an amazing experience and I was blown away by the gigantic ‘Vulcan’ sculpture by Paolozzi. Anyone who’s read Ted Hughes ‘The Iron Man’ will surely love it!

Having enjoyed the post on the Novel Points of View Blog about where writers write; I really appreciated seeing the studio of Paolozzi which had been gifted to the nation.

 

So what is the link to the Ali Smith book? Well, by reading it I learnt about the artist Pauline Boty who was the only female British painter who took part in the pop art movement.

As Jim McColl says – ‘Every day’s a school day!’

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Be prepared for all types of weather if you live in Scotland – hailstones in May!

 

Seasons · walking

Walking the dog

Pull on one layer, then another, just in case. Hat, scarf, definitely gloves.

Big brown eyes watch me. She circles impatiently. She knows. All the signs are there. Then yes! I pick up the lead. It can only mean one thing. Time for a walk.

I’m taking the dog out but the reality is, she’s taking me out.

Today, the coldest day in months. A grey, sullen sky hangs. There is none of the sharpness, the detail of a bright sunny, frosty morning. It is. Just. Cold.

But I am determined. This dog needs walked. If I don’t go now it will be worse later.

The mist is not just around me. It’s a fog in my head.thumb_IMG_0546_1024

Marching, moving fast, keeping warm. I have purpose. I’m on a mission. This dog will be walked and so will I.

I am not the only one wearing a big winter jacket. The horses in the field are newly dressed in clean, brightly coloured coats. They watch us with steady eyes as we pass.

A single leaf floats down in slow motion. Encouraging me to admire its colour, shape, pattern before it merges into the patchwork carpet before us.

An outsize crow caws. The wind sighs, travelling from tree to tree.

My eyes lift up. Maybe tomorrow will be the day of winter blue skies with marshmallow clouds?

Then it is here.

The clearing.

I am ready once again.

My steps, which have slowed down begin to speed up. Once again, determination, enthusiasm awakens within me.

I know what I must do.

My arms are swinging now, even the dog walks faster. She must know we’re on the way home. We both do.

 

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A welcome home – the Godetia is still flowering

 

There are too many quotes about walking to list so here are just a few.

Walking is man’s best medicine. Hippocrates

If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress. Barack Obama

This might be one of my favourites!

I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it. Olivia Newton-John

 

I’d like to add. Sometimes you just have to go for a walk.

Flowers · Garden · Seasons · Wildflowers

Sunbeams

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Sometimes I can’t see the grass for the leaves!

Yet the borage, geraniums and cornflowers are still blooming. They’re not giving in yet!

Many times over the past month I’ve walked into a room thinking I’ve left a light on only to find it’s the warm, golden sun streaming through the windows.

It may be starting to get colder but the beauty of the autumnal light and the bright burning colours of the leaves are a real gift.

thumb_IMG_0509_1024Mother Nature is teaching us again. Who else reminds us day by day, minute by minute to appreciate what we have before it is gone? Always with the reassurance that bright days will return.

For the cherry blossoms bursting forth are fleeting, the bright gaudy summer blooms will fade, the burnt reds and oranges of autumn leaves will fly away and the frost sketchings on our window panes will melt.

It’s in the name, seasons. Only there for a short time. Enjoy, revel, take time, notice, appreciate.

 

Do you have a favourite season and, if so, is it the one you were born in?

 

Friendship · Garden · Nature · Poetry · Seasons

Starting September

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September spiders, weaving webs from window to washing line.

A new academic year, time to refresh, rethink, reconsider.

Will we look at the web we’ve built for ourselves?

This is a new beginning, brighter, warmer, sunnier than January 1st. Life is full of hope and possibilities. New opportunities.

September sun shining after a cleansing downpour and it’s time to declutter. Do I need quite so many things? Can they be recycled, reused?

It’s the same with the garden. Time to tidy up, wash out all the pots ready for next year.

Amidst these thoughts for the future, I’m going to take a moment to think of all the good things. Yes, it’s exhilarating to plan new adventures but I think the starting point must be where I celebrate all the lovely people in my life and the successes, large and small.

Wishing you a happy, sunny and successful September! What will you celebrate?

“By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.”
–  Helen Hunt Jackson, September, 1830-1885