Gardening doesn’t usually turn out the way you expected – much like life
The weather took a major turn for the worse this week (12-19 May 2017) – it’s hurled down for most of the week, the garden certainly needed it – everything was really parched. But, all the rain meant I didn’t get into the garden much, let alone anywhere else. I’ve also been feeling very tired, and arthritis pain is high. However, I’m continuning to note down activities, people and things that make me happy or I’m grateful for.
As ever, major thanks to Suzy from www.fromthefringe.co.uk who hosts this weekly gratitude link up. I think she’ll recognise the lighthouse, as she lives around the corner from me 🙂 Also to Emma from www.misspond.co.uk who inspired me to blog and also writes regular posts on Happiness. Thank you ladies. One of the things, I love about blogging is meeting (usually virtual) new friends, finding a community and developing a network of people all around the world. I’ve been very grateful for them all these last couple of years.
Here are five things that helped bring me happiness this week:
1. Hen Do arrangements
Officially, according to tradition (recent tradition, mind you), I shouldn’t be organising my own hen do – but I am. It’s because I have friends from various parts of my life work, locals, friends from uni, women’s institute and friends I met for random reasons over the last 30 years. My two UK bridesmaids have a lot on in their lives at the moment. One lives in London and is doing a Masters. The other is local to me in Lancashire, but she has a very hectic family life, busy life and her own 25th wedding anniversary do to arrange. I thought I’d get the ball rolling so I asked everyone what they might want to do… So I’ve done a survey – I want to give people a chance to get to know each other, potter around Manchester, and also have some fun. No dressing up, no tackiness, no clubbing (I’m too nackered). I am quite sure an Afternoon Tea will be involved 🙂
2. A visit to Salford Angels Women’s Institute
I’ve been a member of Cottonopolis WI (since it started in January 2015), we meet in Ancoats, just north of Manchester city centre, on the first Wednesday of the month (7.30pm). Do come along if you’re a local. There’s always cake 🙂
I’ve written a few times about WI means to me; the fun, camping, adventures and excellent meetings and speakers – it’s most definitely not jam and Jerusalem – it’s been a campaigning organisation since its inception in 1915, lobbying for equal pay, The WI were founding members of both the ‘fair trade’ and ‘Keep Britain Tidy’.
One of the great things about all the new WI’s around Great Manchester is we do lots of joint activities and people attend other WI meetings – so I know ladies all over the city. So on Thursday I went off to see the Salford Angels and had a lovely evening, with plenty of cake.
3. A walk around our neighbourhood – Monton in Salford
My Chap and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood after we’d had our tea. It’s something we do often in the summer evenings. We have a good look at all the flowers and plants in front gardens, noticing plants for our garden. It was lovely to chat about this and that, nothing complicated or heavy, just a good chat and a laugh or two.
We are lucky to live in Monton, in Salford. It’s very green place, the Bridgewater Canal is at the end of my street, Worsley Woods are a mile, or so away, and there’s a couple of golf courses (not that we play – but there are many footpaths). There’s even a parkrun at the end of our street.
It has a lighthouse that’s 30 miles from the North Sea (it’s really a garden shed) – just another reason why Monton is a bit quirky.
4. Lunch with my pal C
I had a great time catching up with my good pal, hearing all her news and discussing my news – it really lifted my spirits. She’s a good listener. I’ve known C for over 12 years, we shared an office at work. She’s an IT geek and I’m not 🙂 Our birthdays are a couple of days apart, we usually go out to celebrate our birthdays, involving cocktails. Annual trips to Manchester Christmas markets, days out to Dunham Massey. Shes part of the Cottonopolis WI posse too – and obviously, she and her husband will be at our wedding in September.
5. My Gardening magazines arrived
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I love our garden and gardening. Ive been a bit lax about take part in In a Vase on Monday recently, but I’ve got my eye on some margarites for next week. Bloggers get involved from all around the world. Their beautiful flowers lift my mood when I’m feeling low. This link hosted by Cathy at:
This week my Gardeners’ World and Royal Horticultural Society Magazine arrived. I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking through deciding what we might plant, or if money and space were available. The Gardeners’ World is very accessible for beginner gardeners like me, the RHS one helps with plant pests, plants that might suit our shady, north facing soggy back garden – and Latin plant names too.
We’ve been to RHS Tatton Park garden show most years (we are going again this year), but I only got around to joining RHS last year. I can’t tell you how excited I am that the 5th RHS garden Bridgewater will be a mile or so from our house up the canal (hence it’s name). It’s great for Salford in so many ways, not least employment and training. Watch this space, as it develops – work has started, it opens in 2019 – the plants need time to grow 🙂
- RHS Bridgewater – www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/bridgewater
What have you been grateful for this week?
Love Bec xxx
This weekly gratitude post covers:
- Week 3 – Friday 12 May – Thursday 19 May 2017
It’s been glorious weather for most of the week here in Manchester, I’ve managed to get out in the garden every day, even if it was just to water things. It’s been bone dry and both our waterbutts are empty. I could, of course, show you a picture of plants in my garden, as that always makes me happy. Likewise, My Chap lights up my life :-). But, this would be a bit of a cop out for a weekly gratitude post, so I think I’ll feature them on special occasions only.
I was inspired to write a weekly gratitude post by:
- Suzy – www.fromthefringe.co.uk – she had a new nephew arrive this week how exciting 🙂 – her latest post on five things happiness is here
1. Choosing music for our wedding
We aren’t having a DJ at our wedding, instead we are going to have a digital playlist. We spent a happy Saturday night in listening to tunes old and new – and thank goodness for digital download sites. We’re going to have lots of different playlists for different parts of the day. They’ll definitely going to reflect our somewhat ‘eclectic’ music tastes. Lots of indie classics too.
2. Lost a stone
Given everything that’s been happening since Christmas, I’m really pleased to have managed to lose some weight, without going nuts on a silly diet. I’m fortunate to go to supportive groups and have a great consultant who’s a really good cook. Ive got no number in my mind, just to fit into smaller jeans, help my arthritis pain and not look frumpy in my wedding dress. Onwards and downwards 🙂
3. Rock and Roll Bride magazine arrived
As I mentioned before ours is a very unconventional wedding, I was a bit lost looking for inspiration in the wedding magazines – all stick thin, 20-somethings with huge flouncy, sparkly, strapless, ivory flocks – and everything very expensive. None of it was what My Chap and I wanted for our day. We had very clear ideas about what we wanted, and what we didn’t, but didn’t know how to find suppliers apart from trawling the Internet…
Then I spied a magazine front with a lady in a gold dress and her husband in tweed – both with plenty of tattoos – so I found Rock and Roll Bride www.rocknrollbride.com/ – a blog, and the ‘most’ supportive Facebook group – lovely, helpful and kind people. Diversity at its best 🙂
So I would say Have the wedding you and your partner want 🙂 Although, it’s a lot easier when you’re paying for everything yourselves 🙂
4. A barbecue at a friend’s house
My Chap and I went to a lovely barbecue/house warming at friends we know from mountain biking and running. My Chap ran man v mountain with the chap last year and has mountain biked with them all over the Lake District, Pennines and Peak District. Ive eaten alot of cake and gone on plenty of walks in beautiful locations. We caught up with lots of friends which was lovely. The host M is a very handy, he made the firepit from an old washing machine drum.
5. New shoes – my first ever Irregular Choice
I’ve bought my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes – no sneaky peeks as they’re for my wedding outfit. They are absolutely beautiful and so comfortable. I don’t really do heels either so these are perfect. My Chap loves them and encouraged me to buy another pair for ‘going out’ 🙂 This could be an expensive passtime.
How has your week been? And what have you been grateful for?
Love Bec xxx
This post covers week Friday 5th May to Thursday 11th May – next week I’m hoping to be more prompt with posting – Thank you, as ever, to Suzy for hosting the link up – www.fromthefringe.co.uk
The human mind always makes progress, but it is progress in spirals.
Madame De Stael (1766-1817), a woman of letters, at the heart of European romanticism and a leading opponent of Napoleon.
This year has been very tough, I’m not ready to go into details at the moment, but I’m beyond fortunate to have my family and friends around the world, supporting us all – but most of all My Chap whose been my rock since the day we met. Im SO excited to be marrying him later this year.
My health hasn’t been great, including much increased arthritis pain too, contributing to bad sleeping and chronic exhaustion; but I’m working on all sorts of strategies to help me. I am grateful to everyone who supports me, the NHS staff, colleagues, friends and family – I’d be in a pickle without them.
Amongst these tough times, there has been times of happiness, things and people that have made me happy. As part of my mindfulness practise, I’ve been noting them down, more systematically, in my diary.
I’d been thinking for a while that I’d like to start writing a regular post about what I’ve been grateful for and/or what’s make me happy. I was inspired by:
- Emma (PhD 🙂 ) from Miss Pond – misspond.com – Twitter @MissPond
- Suzy from Beyond the Fringe – www.fromthefringe.co.uk – Twitter @suzyfringe
They’re great ladies – one I’ve known for years in real life too (first in Manchester and now she lives in Worcester) and the other lives round the corner from me – though we’ve not yet met face to face. That’s the Internet for you – hopefully we’ll meet up soon. They write thought-provoking blogs, touching on wide ranging topics including feminism, life with a chronic pain condition, running, the outdoors, food, cooking, life in Manchester and the West Midlands – many adventures and plenty of gin 🙂
Please have a read of their blogs
1. Journals – gratitude, health notes and ‘to do’ lists
I love my Stigu Planner*** (http://sticktostigu.com/); it’s a combination of a diary, note book and to do lists. They describe it as a rest and zest handbook – there are themes for each month, weekly practise activities – some of them are really funny cartoons. I had a stigu journal last year too – it’s not too ‘full on’, supporting my wellbeing, without being all about ‘rules’.
The Calm Book – calm the mind, change the world*** is great for suggestions on Nature, Sleep, Travel, Work, Creativity, Relationships, Food (www.calm.com), with affirmations and visualisations (there’s an app too). The daily questions are:
- What made you feel calm Today?
- What are you grateful For?
- What were three highlights of today?
It’s so beautiful with wonderful illustrations and pictures; I can’t write in the book – I tend to write in my stigu journal instead.
For well over a year, I’ve been making a note of my arthritis and pain symptoms, as participant in Cloudy with a Chance of Pain, (www.cloudywithachanceofpain.com); it’s a citizen science project run by the University of Manchester investigating if there’s a connection between weather conditions and chronic pain. For me, warm, dry weather definitely helps my arthritis pain; I’ve been tracking it with an app as part of the project. I’m looking forward to reading the wider results.
Also, I’ve been doing daily mindfulness practise for a couple of years now, and reflecting on what I’m grateful for each day – so I’ve decided to be a bit more organised about writing them down, so I can look back in the future, as my situation improves.
I’m grateful for all these things these things, and yoga too.
2. The Garden (and Gardening)
I managed to get out in the garden every day this week, sometimes it was for only half an hour to water the plants. It’s been v windy and dry here. We’ve managed to sort out, cut back and clear alot of the ‘dead wood’ from the winter. We’ve planted some shrubs too. Ive written before how my garden is my solace; I know I ‘need’ to spend as much time as I can outside – even if it’s just drinking tea in the garden – when I’m too exhausted to do anything more. I’ve been planning which flowers to cut for next week’s In a Vase on Monday too.
- A summary of my ‘In a Vase on Monday’ offerings since 2015.
- Cathy hosts the meme over at Rambling in the Garden – here’s her summary. Each post will have links to people (and their vases) contributing from all around the world.
3. Afternoon Tea with a pal
I spent a lovely afternoon with my friend, and her beautiful baby girl, we talked about life, the universe and everything – wedding planning too. I met her at Cottonopolis Women’s Institute (www.cottonopoliswi.com) She’s wise and kind, much more crafty than me, and makes great cakes too. The afternoon tea at Vintage Ambience*** in Monton was top notch (www.vintageambiance.co.uk)
4. Smoked Salmon Salad
It was a bank holiday weekend here in the UK , and, the weather was lovely, so we had lunch in the garden everyday. My Chap is a great cook, and makes a great salad – this one had lovely heritage tomatoes too. My Chap and I talked about what what veg we might grow in the garden this year; cherry tomatoes haven’t grown well these last few years, we don’t have a greenhouse, so I don’t think this helps.
The smoked salmon reminded me of all the men in my life who’ve loved it. My Uncle Fred introduced me to it when I was about 18 months old. He, my Aunt, and my Dad grew up in Hackney in East London before, and during, Second World War with many Jewish neighbours so it was a staple food for them. My love of cooking comes from them, I feel their influence and love every day, even though they’ve all passed on a good few years ago.
5. Wedding Planning
We’ve been trundling on with our plans – we’ve spoken to our friend about invitations, I’ve met my dress designers, bridesmaids dresses are on track and we are meeting our florist soon too. Our photographer is great too and every time we go to our venue, we love it even more, they make luscious cake too. Ours is going to be an unconventional wedding – just the way we want it. My Chap is doing so much of the arrangements as I’m under the weather, it’s a team effort – Roll on September 🙂
The quote from Madam De Stael, was in my Stigu Journal, reading about her reminded me, we must persist. As Stigu notes elsewhere , life moves in spirals, only you can decide in which direction. I’m moving in the right direction… Slowly but getting there.
What have you been grateful for this week?
I’ve mentioned activities in Friday 28 April to Thursday 4th May 2017
***Please note: I paid full price for both journals and afternoon tea, I wasn’t asked to write a positive review.
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
Ann Landers (1918-2002) American Advice Columnist
For various reasons, which I won’t go into right now, we have barely been in the garden this year – it’s been tumultuous to say the least – no time for much apart from pressing issues, let alone gardening or blogging. From the patio window, I’d seen various bulbs flower and go over, during late winter and early Spring, dwarf irises, crocuses, various daffodils and narcissi, and the early tulips. At Easter weekend we had a bit more time and some dry weather, we ventured into the garden to see how things were and start tidying up – there were quite a few tulips around. so I picked some which reminded me of fire. There was also tête-à-tête daffodils and some orange wall flower.
My Chap and I have got back to arrangements for our wedding in September this week 🙂 we’ve got a flowery theme – and regular readers won’t be surprised to know it features purple. I CANNOT WAIT to get married to him and continue our life together – happily married.
They’re are in a vase which I found in the house of my friend, who died in 2015. It was his mother’s but I never saw any flowers in the house, in the 25 years I knew her. I have used this vase on ‘In a vase on Monday’ before and had flowers from My Chap in it regularly. It’s a 1960s crystal style triangular vase – it wasn’t her taste at all so I think it might have been a wedding gift. She was a very determined lady – a Northern matriarch with a love of crosswords and opera. We always got on very well. I miss her too, she died in 2013.
- Red glass vase
In a Vase on Monday – sunny yarrow, oranges and reds – 10 August 2015
- tête-à-tête daffodils
In a vase on Monday – daffodils and dreams – 29 February 2016
- In a Vase on Monday: yellow and purple in bottles 23 March 2015
- In a vase on Monday – tête a tête daffodils and mini iris – my first ever In a Vase on Monday – 15 March 2015
I’m joining Cathy from Rambling in the Garden who hosts this worldwide link up of people picking flowers and foliage from their gardens or locality – she has a lovely fresh pink and blue vase – with a tulips in it too (as Cathy says – a hazard of this time of year but I don’t mind as I love tulips). It SO helps me to look at other people’s flowers and arrangements- it lifts my mood even in the darkest times (metaphorically as well as physically). Cathy, and the other gardening bloggers, have been been lovely to me during all the tribulations I’ve had over the last few years – so many supportive and positive comments. Thank you everyone – it means such alot to me.
Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of.
Bethany Hamilton (1990 – ) Professional surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack aged 13.
I’m a grown woman and many people would say I’m a determined person, with bucket loads of resilience – but gosh it’s been tested recently, with everything that life has thrown at My Chap and I over the last few years – once again I’m feeling chronically exhausted, with a lot of physical pain, especially from my arthritis.
I’m channelling all these attributes Bethany speaks of, and the determination of my suffragette granny, to keep going one day at a time, gradually getting better again. All the women in my family are resolute, tenacious women – whatever their age 😉
I am SO looking forward to spending our wedding day in September with these women, with my female pals from all across the world some I’ve know for decades and some much more recently. The blokes I know are pretty awesome too. It’s going to be a day of fun, flowers, cake, music, dancing but most of all love and laughter. Fingers crossed for no rain as we are planning an outdoor ceremony.
I am grateful every day for my family and friends, but most of all I am grateful my wonderful Chap pitched up in my life nearly seven years ago. I would be in a pickle if he wasn’t here holding my hand. Fire in our hearts always – I definitely agree with theAnn Landers quote.
I’m determined to get out in the garden more too – It’s my solace and I know it will help me. And pick some more flowers for vases too.
Have a lovely week.
Love Bec xx
A falcon hovers at the edge of the sky.Two gulls drift slowly up the river.Vulnerable while they ride the wind,they coast and glide with ease.Dew is heavy on the grass below,the spider’s web is ready.Heaven’s ways include the human:among a thousand sorrows, I stand alone.
Du Fu – Influential Chinese Poet (712-770) – Also he wrote often about azaleas