‘Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. and the third is to be kind’ Henry James (1843-1916) American Author
It’s been difficult times here recently; A few weeks ago, it would have been my wonderful brother’s 50th birthday, and the following day marked 18 years since my awesome Dad passed from cancer. Everyone who ever met either my brother or our Dad, would remember them, especially if they’d cooked for them. They touched people all around the world and are forever in my heart. My awesome sister in law and nieces, and his many friends, had a lovely celebration to remember my Brother in Australia. I can’t express how proud I am of them all, and how much love I have for them all – strong women. My Chap and I have been down to see My Mum too, and helped her buy more pots for her garden, and plant new birthday roses and fuchsias, for remembrance. It’s been SO tough for her too. It’s been SO tough for all of us.
There’s been some positives though, had some interesting news at work. I’m well into the swing of daily walks #onehouroutside, mindfulness and, at least, weekly yoga. We’ve been making plans too. I’ve been walking around Monton and Worsley with My Chap – it’s always lovely to watch the plants springing into action. I wrote about one of my favourite circular walks a couple of months ago:
- In a Vase on New Year’s Day – dogs, woods and walks (1 Jan 2018)
- If you want to find more local Greater Manchester walks have a look at Sarah’s blog theurbanwanderer.co.uk/
Spring is coming 🙂 I was excited to see my first snowdrops, a dwarf Iris and crocus buds too. This was despite having two snow showers last Tuesday, it was minus 5 on Wed and more snow overnight on Sunday here in Manchester. The violas are still flowering from my last vase, and a few dwarf purple and yellow ones have appeared too, as well as crocus buds and daffodil spikes coming up. I wrote about violas, self care and there’s no such thing as Blue Monday in my last vase.
- In a Vase on Monday: Violet (not Blue) Monday in Manchester (16 January 2018)
This week, I picked a snowdrop, a dwarf Iris and added them to some red Cotoneaster berries and leaves (possibly amoenus?) and put it in a small earthenware vase about 4 inches high, that I bought about 30 years ago in Scotland while at University. It has no label and I don’t remember where exactly I bought it. I am sure this was my first vase purchase – though I’ve only rarely put flowers in it over the years. It has never appeared on in In a Vase on Monday before, but I’m sure you’ll see it again 🙂
Snowdrops represent Hope – this seems appropriate this week – Hope for the future
I picked the cook books to represent where we live (Manchester), where my Brother lived (Melbourne), and a Rick Stein book (one of my Dad’s favourite chefs). All of us love fish, and time spent by the sea. The Mrs Beaton book was my gran’s (Dad’s mum – who was an excellent cook) but I think she must have had more than one copy as there are no notes or recipes scribbled in it. The red and white striped notebook my Dad gave to me, when I went to university in the mid 1980’s, with some useful recipes like boulognese, how to boil rice, and baking cakes. It’s very precious to me. My Brother Matt gave us the Melbourne cookbook and we’d given him, and his family in Australia, The Manchester Cookbook.
Cooking food represents our love for our family and friends.
All of us love fish and time spent by the sea.
Do have a look at Rambling in the Garden where Cathy hosts In A Vase on a Monday – where gardening bloggers from around the world add links to their vases. Always beautiful, interesting or unusual – including plenty of southern hemisphere bloggers who brighten my days in the depths of Winter. This week Cathy has a Japanese Ikibana style black vase with a white Hyacinth.
Be Kind – #savouringJanuary2018
I’ve been reminded again this week of the need to #bekind to myself and do my favourite selfcare activities for me. The cold weather has been tough on my arthritic joints – painful and I’ve been wrapped up with thermal socks on and lots of layers – but moving helps especially something like sewing, crochet or knitting.
I’ve made a green heart for the Women’s Institute #showthelove campaign to raise awareness of impact of climate change – show the love make a heart to wear and share-on-valentines-day. I made a small lavender filled house too 🙂
There’s something incredibly relaxing about sewing, handling the soft material – creating something – this is a lavender filled ‘house’ I made. I need small, achievable projects like this and hearts. Sewing helps my #wellbeing and concentrating on the stitching ’empties’ your head so to speak. Yoga does this too.
I lit many candles too – Hygge in our House 🙂
Happy 3rd Birthday to Cottonopolis WI – www.cottonopoliswi.com/
We dressed up in 1920s gear, learnt the Charleston, ate cake, picked our bursary winners and had alot of fun as usual.
- Have a look at our facebook page for the photos of our third birthday party 🙂
- Join us if you’re local – 1st Tuesday of the month, 730pm, George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester
Adventures around Manchester in the last month – Good food and good memories 🙂
My Chap and I decided to go for a meal at one of the place’s we’d taken my brother when he’d visited -Mr Thomas’s Chop House in Manchester. This venerable tiled green and white Mancunian institution was opened in 1870, serves classic British food, has an excellent selection of Lancashire real ales and an extensive wine list.
- Mr Thomas’s Chop House – tomschophouse.com/
- Sam’s Chop House – samschophouse.com/ – Mr Lowry still sits at the bar.
For starter, I had Tom’s cornbeef hash, with pickled red cabbage and poached egg. There is nothing in the world quite like this hash – it is awesome and so good I forgot to take any photos – oops 😉 Followed by steak and kidney pudding. My Chap had scallops and the hash for main course – we had no room for pudding.
- the recipe is in The Manchester Cookbook (in the above photo) – www.waterstones.com/book/the-manchester-cook-book/kate-eddison/paul-cocker/9781910863015
- an online version – www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/mr-thomass-corned-beef-hash
We had a wonderful lunch, drank a glass of a very good red and then headed off to Manchester Art Gallery, another place we’d taken my Brother. Always great art to see, including Valette’s impressionist paintings of Manchester (he was Lowry’s tutor) as well as many Pre-raphaelite paintings, Victorian high art and regularly changing exhibitions.
- Manchester Art Gallery – manchesterartgallery.org/ they run regular ‘Take Notice’ events where they use techniques of mindfulness to reflect on the art
- Events diary – manchesterartgallery.org/exhibitions-and-events/event/
The next day, Sunday (my Dad’s ‘anniversary’), My Chap cooked a 10/10 Sunday roast in commemoration of Jay. My Dad was famous for his roast dinners and mine and my brother’s pals would scrap over who could get an invite.
I’ve written a few times about the men in my life and how much they loved cooking including:
- In a Vase on Monday – Love and rosemary for remembrance (30 December 2015)
I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death.They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make.Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love. Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998) Professor University of Southern California and motivational speaker
I’ll be remembering darling My Dad, Uncle Fred, Steve and most of all my wonderful Brother Matt and I’ll continue to raise a glass of quality red, especially if My Chap and I are by the sea.
It’s the third birthday of my blog today – Much has stayed the same and much has changed in that time… a bit like me….
Here’s my first few blog posts and the first appearance of ‘In A vase on Monday’ 🙂
- I waited a long time for a garden of my own – well into my 40s (12 February 2015) – my first blog post!
- Spring – daffodils and a lavender project (21 February 2015) – How to make a cotton heart with lavender filling
- In a vase on Monday – tête a tête daffodils and mini iris (16 March 2015) – with a dwarf Iris 🙂
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
I’m reminding myself to #bekind (to myself as well).
And on that note, I’m off to blow out some candles and head to bed 🙂
Bec xxx xxx