Category Archives: 100 happy days project

Happiness – one week & five things that helped #3

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.

Red and white lighthouse, with two canal barges by the Bridgewater Canal

19 May 2017 – the lighthouse by the Bridgewater Canal, at Monton, Salford -30 miles from the sea!

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 🙂

What have you been grateful for this week?

Carpe Diem

Love Bec xxx

This weekly gratitude post covers:

  • Week 3 – Friday 12 May – Thursday 19 May 2017
Coreopsis – sunfire, red dianthus, Achillea, sweetpea milk bottle vase

In a Vase on Monday – A change is as good as a rest

A change is a good as a rest – proverb

A change of work is the best rest. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four (1888) – 2nd Sherlock Holmes novel

The more regular readers of this blog will have noticed that MOST of my flowers vases contain purple, pinks, lilac and white flowers with red appearing now and again. So perhaps people might think that’s the only colour scheme in our garden – it’s not.  I walked round looking for flowers to pick, it was a very overcast day here in Manchester, a couple of different yellow flowers popped out from the gloom.

Definitely time for a change!  So this week’s In a Vase on Monday, in a milk bottle vase, has many yellow flowers and a bit of red too.

Coreopsis – sunfire, red dianthus, Achillea, sweetpea milk bottle vase

In a Vase on Monday – Coreopsis – sunfire, red dianthus, Achillea, sweetpea – 26 September 2016

It looks so cheery, even though it’s feeling very Autumnal:

  • Coreopsis – sunfire – I really liked their raged edge.
  • Pansy 🙂
  • Red dianthus –these flowers have appeared in ‘In a Vase on Monday’ before:
  • Achillea – it comes in many colours and sizes. This one starts as yellow and fades to pink/yellow.  It only grows about 18 inches high.  I don’t know its name as it was a gift.  Its common name is yarrow and it’s appeared in a vase before.
  • White sweetpea – this is the very last flower from the plant at the end of the garden.

Yellow is associated with happiness and joy especially for flower bouquets it represents new beginnings – so that seems appropriate too – since I’m about to enter a new decade.

Coreopsis – sunfire, red dianthus, Achillea, sweetpea milk bottle vase

Coreopsis – sunfire, red dianthus, Achillea, sweetpea – 26 September 2016

Do have a look at Cathy’s flowers over on ‘Rambling in the Garden’ – she has one vase with very architectural pink Nerine which look stunning.   She has another vase which has dahlias, zinnia and Persicaria amplexicaulis as well as foliage from oca –  It’s  a New Zealand yam – I’d never heard of this before.

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In a vase on monday - daffodils, wallflowers, helicrysom, curry plant and rosemary - 22 February 2016

In a vase on Monday – daffodils and dreams

You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days.
Alain De Botton – Philosopher

It’s been an eventful few weeks – all the changes at work are becoming very real now, and all the legal issues around my friend’s death are nearly done.   I’m recovering well mentally and physically, though there’s a while to go yet – I know I’ll get to where I want to be – and can regain my inner and outer calm soon 🙂

I’ve always loved Daffodils.   I lived in flats for many years and often had vases of daffs around the house.
Once I got a garden (with a house) they were the first things I planted – there are many species around by garden.  My tête a têtes are always the first to flower (in late January this year!) and when they do – I know Spring is on its way.   There’s a great show from my crocuses and irises so maybe they’ll be in the vase next week.

I’ve also got some wall flowers still flowering from last summer (in a very sheltered part of my garden) – so I wanted to showcase them too.

In a vase on monday - daffodils, wallflowers, helicrysom, curry plant and rosemary - 22 February 2016

In a Vase on Monday – tête a tête daffodils, wallflowers, helichrysum, curry plant and rosemary – 29 February 2016

I picked dark green rosemary and silver grey curry plant because, I liked the contrast of colours and textures.  I thought they all went well with the blooms and Vase.

Herbs and spices are a huge part of our cooking. We’ve got 10 different kinds of mint in pots so it doesn’t spread around the garden.    My chap has been taking care of me by cooking great food – it’s one of the ways he shows his love for me (and others).  I wrote about him and all the other ‘chefs’ in my life in December.

The helichrysum had very small yellow flowers, and it was only it seems appropriate, that it is used in  ‘Everlasting’ and ‘Immortal’ Essential Oils.

The Vase is actually a recycled glass tealight holder which I bought at The Eden Project in 2014.  It’s made an appearance before:

My Chap and I have been making plans – we’ve booked a holiday to Cornwall in May.  I’m sure we’ll be visiting The Eden Project again, Heligan, Caerhays and some of the other great gardens of Cornwall – we didn’t get to Lanhydrock last year but will go there definitely.   I think we’ll be spending alot of time by the sea too.

I’m hoping I can get some more garden ornaments on our trip.  I’ve got quite a few rusty iron flowers and other decorations around the garden.  I really must write about them in a blog – as they’re carefully chosen, with memories and love associated with each one.

Collage 2016-02-22 daffodils

In a Vase on Monday – 29 February 2016

Cathy at Rambling in the Garden has a wonderful vase this week in a Japanese style and has written about weddings and promises.   Do have a look at everyone’s vases from around the world and join in if you can.   These vases and all the blog writers lift my mood and inspire my planting 🙂 Thank you so much everyone – I’m trying to comment more in 2016.

iron daffodils and tete a tete

tête a tête daffodils, helichrysum,  and a new variety of Daffodils 😉 – 29 February 2016

Today I am thinking of promises made both long ago, and more recently but most of all – promises for the future.   I’ve only ever tried to do my best – I hope I have.

It seems appropriate to dream on the ‘extra’ day we have this year.  My ideas about what to do this year are coming together – which is helping me feel more content, but it’s scary at the same time.   I just know I need to be brave – and take the first step.  I know I need to believe in myself and ‘seize the day’.

As ever,  My Chap is always holding my hand (sometimes metaphorically) through all of life’s adventures on the ‘nice, uneventful days’ as well as the most challenging days.   I would have been in a real pickle if he hadn’t been here in 2015.

I am dreaming of the sunsets by the sea in Cornwall.  I hope things will be clearer by then… and I’ll be feeling less ‘bashed about by life’.

Have a lovely week – what have you done with your extra day?

Carpe Diem

love
Bec xxx

Happy 1st Birthday – views from my garden bench

Time moves in one direction, memory in another

William Gibson (novelist) b 1947

I won’t ever forget 2015 – the most physically and mentally demanding year of my life – it all changed in late April when my friend died.  I have so many good memories from our adventures together over 25 years – we remained friends to the end.  I’m glad he and my Chap were good pals too.

All that happened last year stretched my resilence to its limit, but I’ve come through the other side.  It’s reminded me to stick to my principles, take care of myself and that there’s always a way forward, even if it’s tiny steps.   Counselling, mindfulness, tai chi, yoga, and walking in the great outdoors, espccially time in my garden, have all helped me top up my resilence.   My Chap, my family, and my friends all helped too. It’s a long and complicated journey to recovery but I’ll get there.

I started my blog a year ago today – here’s my first post  – much of what I said I’d write about is still just as relevant now:

  • where we visit – I love history as well as time in the garden
  • what’s been happening in our lives
  • cooking and crafting too
  • my thoughts and dreams for the future
  • many pictures of the garden, plants, flowers and the veg plot.
  • And maybe, just maybe, some campervan adventures…(well that didn’t happen – the campervan went on its way in July 2015)

William Ford Gibson coined the team ‘cyberspace’ in 1984 and wrote about the principles that govern how something like the world wide web might operate.   Tim Burners Lee ‘invented’ the internet in 1989 (at CERN).  Cyberspace has given me so much over the years, I’ve worked with academics, since the early 1990s so I was an ‘early adopter’ of email and the www – I’m fortunate.  Most of all the web has given me ways to stay in touch with my friends and make new ones – and I met my Chap on an internet dating site five years ago.

Alot of the time last year, I’ve really struggled to write, which is a bit of an issue when I write for a living.  But my blog has helped as I can write about things I love.   I’ve found a lovely, friendly and helpful blogging community too – especially all the gardening bloggers.   I’m still an amateur gardener compared to most of them but that doesn’t matter.

I’ve joined a few topics which have helped me in the dark times:

  • In a Vase on a Monday

I’ve really enjoyed contributing to ‘In a Vase on Monday’ hosted by Cathy from ‘Rambling in the Garden‘ which involves picking flowers and plants from your garden or the local area and putting them in a vase.   Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is – so do join in.

I love looking at everyones vases, from across the world.  It’s given me so many ideas what to plant in my garden too. The flowers and vases have lifted my spirits in the dark times.
Most of all, everyone is so lovely, friendly and supportive.  I’m going to try to comment more this year on people’s vases.  I’ve appreciated every single comment on my vases, and I hope my vases and flowers have lifted someones mood too.

in a vase in monday

In a vase on Monday

See more of my Vases – 2015

  • #100happydays

The #100happydays challenge has helped me look for positive things every day, even when I’m having an exhausting day. My favourite part of the 100happydays challenge was writing about Lisbon – a wonderful city which I know we’ll visit again.

lisbon guide (6/100), fish stew (7/100), tram (8/100), wine at the castle (9/100) #100happydays

lisbon guide (6/100), fish stew (7/100), tram (8/100), wine at the castle (9/100) #100happydays

Castle de Pena (10/100), don't panic (11/100), funicular railway (12/100), bed rest (13/100)

Castle de Pena (10/100), don’t panic (11/100), funicular railway (12/100), bed rest (13/100) #100happydays

I’m a bit stuck with my updates from December for #100happydays  at the moment – as 7th December was a very, very tough day but I got through it.  And frankly, I was glad to see the back of 2015.   You can catch up with more of my #100happydays photos here

Life IS better in the Garden
My garden continues to be my solace.  I know it, my pals and family, but most of all my wonderful Chap will help me get to where I want to be.

yoda in the snow and plaque Life's better in the Garden - copyright R Jones 2016

yoda in the snow – Life IS better in the Garden taken 17 January 2016

I think yoda will be making a few more apprearances in 2016 too…

Happy 1st Birthday Cottonopolis Women’s Institute – January 2015

I’m a proud member; I’ve tried so many new things this year, met lots of new pals and had fun too.    I’m going to write more about my WI adventures in 2016 too.  If you’re local join us… if not have a look for a local group.  There are Men’s Sheds too.

#100happydays for 2016 from Coed-y-brenin mountain bike centre

#100happydays for 2016 from Coed-y-brenin mountain bike centre

Blogging in 2016… Carry on carrying on

There’s alot of changes ahead at work but I’m going to try to look for opportunities, be positive and try to make a difference – and give everything including my blog, my best efforts – as I continue my recovery.  In 2016 my blog will cover:

  • where we visit – I love history as well as gardening
  • what’s been happening in our lives – we’ve got a holiday planned in Cornwall in May
  • more cooking and ‘crap’ crafting too.
  • my thoughts and dreams for the future – and to be braver!
  • more  pictures of the garden, plants, flowers and the veg plot
  • yoda
  • This year I promise to write a bit more often, improve my photography skills, answer ALL my blog comments but most of all ‘Have fun blogging

Thank you to everyone who’s read or commented on my blog – I appreciate it more than I can say = I’m still surprised where you all come from.

I hope you’ll all tag along with me – Life’s an adventure – Live it

And I’ll be ‘seizing the day’ this year for definite, once I can find some more energy…

Offically Spring is around the corner (even though the daffodils and crocuses are already flowering)

Love

Bec xx

 

Wordless Wednesday -My first Blackberry and Apple Jam

Collage of Blackberry and Apple Jam - Inc Jars and Toast

#100happydays – Blackberry and Apple Jam For Cottonopolis Women’s Institute – 3rd Feb 2016

My first ever home made jam – for Cottonopolis Women’s Institute meeting 3rd February 2016 – http://www.cottonopoliswi.com/

See my #100happydays photos here