Location: Aquatics Centre Oxford Road
There are nearly 200 bees around the city. I’m off to find some more…
Location: Aquatics Centre Oxford Road
There are nearly 200 bees around the city. I’m off to find some more…
‘Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you miss the sense of where you are going and why’ Eddie Cantor, US Actor and Radio Broadcaster.
The very hot weather continues here in NW England, the ground is parched, we’ve had huge wildfires on the moors near Bolton and Oldham, we’ve got the threat of a hosepipe ban from early August (not that I’ve got a hosepipe) and everyone seems to be moaning about the heat. I’m not complaining about the heat – I’m cheerful as it means my arthritis pain is minimal, which makes a massive difference to my wellbeing and energy levels. So I’ve been doing more walking in the woods near us and getting out and about.
So I’ve been watering my plants with the watering can every evening; I find it a very relaxing, mindful activity. I’ve had a very relaxing time in July as I’ve got time off work – time for Wimbledon and enjoying the sunshine (with factor 50, shades and a hat).
I decided to go with a bright arrangement today. For my Vase, I’ve picked:
The print ‘Enjoy Today’ was designed by Becky Bettesworth. I bought it when I visited Cornwall for the first time in over 30 years in 2015. I sailed often when I was younger and it reminds me to be ‘in the moment’ and accept the direction of the wind (and/or life).
The jug and mug are made by charlottemacey.co.uk/
They have cute, stylised birds flying on the inner rim. I bought these in Cornwall too.
It was so hot, I photographed the vase in the early evening shade, so I am pleased the flower colours came out so well.
Location: St Peter’s House Chaplaincy, University of Manchester, Oxford Road
There are nearly 200 bees around the city. I’m off to find some more…#beeinthecity
This week I’ve been watching a lot of tennis. It’s definitely part of my summer schedule to watch Wimbledon, I’ve watched it since I was a child. My Mum loves watching tennis, so I caught the bug from her. We went to Wimbledon in 1977 when I was 11 – Centre Court tickets. We saw Billy Jean King and Martina, Ile Nastase, a very young John McEnroe. we had a brilliant day. I’d love to go again, need to remember to apply for the ballot 🙂 A friend told me she won ballot tickets for the Ladies Final in 2009, when Serena beat Venus, so it’s worth a go.
So for today’s vase, I thought I’d do a Wimbledon theme. There’s always plenty of flowers and plants around the Wimbledon site – and it all looks lovely from what you can see in on the TV/ I picked some dianthus (commonly known as pinks), some purple perennial wallflower (which is still flowering!), white pelargonium and a different lavender from last week. These colours sum up summer for me – pinks, reds, purples and whites. My strawberries are over so I couldn’t include them 😦 The plants aren’t looking very happy in the heat even though they’re in the shade.
It is very dry in our garden, as we’ve only had significant rain one evening last week and once in June. The temperature has been in mid-20s for a couple months now – with no cloud cover. Our houses aren’t designed for this level of sustained heat. I have the curtains at the front of the house and I am grateful for once for a north-facing back garden. I’d been gardening in the shade when I can too. As well as a lot of watering using the watering can – the water butts are full again from last weeks rain so that helps.
The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill, by Bolton and Dovestones, by Oldham are only a few miles from me – the smell of smoke hung across the city centre for a few days two weeks ago. The firefighters are still dampening down the peat, many footpaths and a few roads are closed. Grim.
The flowers are displayed in a small jug with roses on, that I bought at Bodnant Garden, a National Trust property, where My Chap and I got engaged in June 2016. We have picnics often so one of my small hampers is a prop too. I’ve written before about Bodnant, and the jug has appeared before, too:
I don’t have any dainty teacups to put in this shot, as I only have chunky big mugs for tea but I’m sure you get the idea with the mini jug, and the sign is a nod to the scoring in tennis and the small picnic hamper.
Do have a look at Cathy’s post in Rambling in the Garden – she has zinnias this week which I’ve never attempted to grow. Maybe next year.
I love Pimms – I drink it all year round, usually in pint glasses without fruit just mint and Ice. Drinking pints of Pimms is my Dad’s fault as he couldn’t be bothered to go back into the kitchen to pour more Pimms when we were sat out enjoying the sunshine in the back garden. I like the Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms too – it tastes like alcoholic Ribena. Yoda likes Pimms too 😉 For those that don’t know Pimms was invented in 1823 by James Pimm who owned oyster bars in the City of London. It’s a gin-based drink and even now the herbs and spices used are a secret recipe. He went on to invent a number of Cups based on different spirits including No. 6 Cup (vodka), No 3 Cup (based on Brandy) now available as Winter Pimms. I drink Winter Pimms too and that’s lovely as a hot drink on a cold, wintery evening. All the other Cups are phased out at the moment 😦
Here are some of my favourite Pimm’s recipes in addition to Pimms and lemonade. My dad used to put borage in our Pimms but mint is fine too.
Pimms and ginger ale
My Chap particularly likes this one with a quality ginger beer.
You can see that Yoda has aged a few years in these pictures too…
Do you have any favourite summer drinks? We love gin and tonic too. My Chap has a collection of gins.
What do you have planned for the week?
love Bec xxx xxx
It was Canada Day last week (1st July). celebrating the foundation of the nation in 1867 – it reminded me to look out a vase my former boss Bonnie gave me a few years ago. The connection is she is Canadian, and the vase was has a famous Canadian landmark on it. I have to admit I looked it up, as I’d forgotten it’s called the CN Tower in Toronto (553 metres 1815 feet high). It’s the ninth highest free-standing building in the world. The vase is abstract and not to scale 😉
For my vase, I picked lisianthus, lavender and a chive flower. I am really suprised I’ve managed to keep the lisianthus alive and thriving. But, their common name gives it away prairie gentian, it’s very happy in my front garden.
The Brits reading this blog, will know that temperatures have been over 25 degrees for over 2 months, and only two small rain showers here in Manchester. The huge moorland fires at Winter Hill near Bolton and at Dovestones, near Oldham are only a few miles away – the acrid smoke smell hung across the city centre for a couple of days. The firefighters, Mountain Rescue and the Army still dampening down the peat. Grim. I’ve been watering the pots and key parts of garden every night – luckily I find watering plants very restful and mindful. I’d really like some overnight rain though.
Please have a look at Rambling in the Garden hosted by Cathy where people from around the world post their links of the flowers and plants they’ve picked from their gardens. She has a riot of purple this week – inspiring for me as I love purple plants in the garden.
I think I’ve written a couple of times about Bonnie on my blog. She was a huge mentor in my career, and I often think ‘what would Bonnie do?‘ She has a brain the size of the universe. but is always kind, helpful and supportive to everyone she worked with whatever their role and expertise. She’s still missed around work; she’s happily retired now, walking the hills of Yorkshire and bird watching. I mentioned her in this blog:
Tea tasting with Cottonopolis WI – July 2018
We had a great meeting hearing all about tea – and tasting some awesome brews. Marcy from Parched Tea in Manchester came to speak at our meeting; we do our best to support local business and charities. As well as selling quality black and green teas, she has developed teas for Manchester central library and the Bronte museum in Haworth.
She even has a kettle that has different temperatures – green teas prefer 70 degrees not 100 degrees unlike black teas, like oolong.
I don’t think I’ve written much about my tea drinking on the blog. I love earl grey, lady greys sunshine greys, Empress grey, in fact, most gunpower teas – all drunk black. I think you might see a theme here – I’m lactose intolerant (I found out over 30 years ago). My Chap loves strong builders tea with minimal milk – strong enough to stand a spoon in 😉
Our competition this month was to make something flavoured with tea or coffee. I decided on earl grey biscuits, as they’re simple to make.
Earl Grey and Lemon Biscuits
Here’s the recipe – it’s adapted from an American one so it uses cups – Canadians tend to use cup measurements too. I adapted it a bit as I couldn’t find the vanilla extract.
Method – takes about half an hour
Amazing – I won! and all the biscuits were eaten – they didn’t look like much but the definitely tasted nice. There were only three entries though as everyone had been really busy. Not the best picture as they disappeared so quickly. I’ll definitely make them again.
Cottonopolis WI meet on the first Tuesday of the month from 730pm at Halle St Michael’s on George Leigh Street, Ancoats Manchester. Our next meeting is on 7th August when we will be going on a history walk around Ancoats and a quiz. Visitors always welcome and we’ll have cake. We’re a friendly bunch.
Are you doing any baking this week? or is it just TOO hot? I’ll be spending time in the garden, when I’m not watching the tennis, and watering pots in the evening. I’m going on a couple of courses this week, so I’ll report back on that soon.
Love Bec xx xx xx
To Dwell is to Garden – Martin Heidegger, (1889-1976) German philosopher
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Physicist and Nobel Prize winner for General Theory of Relativity
With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment – Nhat Hanh (1926 – he’s 91!), Buddhist Monk
For me, Gardening is mindful, being in the moment. It doesn’t have to be me ‘doing’ things, it’s about the scents, the rustle of leaves, the birds, the hum of lawn movers in the distance. For me, when I’m in the garden, I’m in the moment – I find watering, deadheading and weeding relaxing – and planting too. For me, it’s about peace and recharging.
About my garden – it’s small, it’s rubbly soil and north facing; the neighbour’s have huge conifers, which make it even more shady at the end of the garden.
I love it – our small, sanctuary from the hussle and bustle of the world
I’m content in the garden.
In high summer 2016… some of the conifers on the right have gone now – but those on the left are even bigger 😦
My garden is a work in progress – like me. I’m 51 – I definitely feel I’m in a new chapter with My Chap (my new husband) holding my hand, metaphorically too. To be fair, he does all the digging and heavy work as I have osteoarthritis. It’s a team effort in the garden.
and there’s always time to eat and relax.
Many pots planted (and watered), and always Yoda – any season… Yoda (and Star Wars have appeared many times on this blog).
I love lavender too – it figured very heavily at our wedding in September 2017 (it was our ‘confetti’ too) I have about 20 different plants around the front garden which gets sun all day.
Many crocuses and violas too. Always something for the birds too.
It’s not all purple flowers though – there’s lots of colour around the garden. Orange and yellow life my mood in Spring. I love tulips too.
Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank, American Botanist
Meanwhile, you’ll find me in the garden, drinking Earl Grey or a Pimms… you’re welcome to join us if you’re in the area 😉
Originally, I wrote about what my garden means for me for the April competition at Cottonopolis Women’s Institute. We were asked to suggest our mindful activities, there was a vast range including knitting/crochet, sewing, baking, art or drawing, listening to music, and a few people like me loved walking or being in the great outdoors.
Our speaker in April was Deb Connor – an all-round star who led some mindfulness exercises and stretches. She’s a trained mindfulness teacher, an acupuncturist and is a vegan too.
I’ve been doing mindfulness for a couple of years now – which combined with over 10 years of yoga has really helped my mental wellbeing. I’ll write about this another to
Women’s Institute – Cottonopolis WI
We have such alot of fun at WI meetings, in June we made beauty products from lavender, peppermint and coffee skin scrubs.
Our next meeting on Tuesday 3rd July (730 at St Micheal’s George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester) is tea tasting. I can’t wait.
If you’re local come along…
Let me know in the comments what you do that’s mindful? Do you have a garden? What does it mean to you?
love Bec xxx
We are all equal in front of a wave – Laird Hamilton – professional big wave surfer
My Chap and I were in Sydney for a few days ahead of travelling to Melbourne for my nieces 18th birthday party. I’ve been to Sydney seven times over nearly 30 years. It’s one of the truly great cities of the world – and I could never get tired of traveling around the city by foot, on the Ferries or the double decker trains. My Chap has never been, so we decided to see some of the key places. I’ll write some more posts about our travels around Australia, so do come back again.
Sydney has changed alot in some ways, and in other ways has stayed exactly the same. I’m not talking about the famous sights, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, the Ferries or the Opera House. Sydneysiders are still friendly, helpful and still have a really weird Australian accent. Though you’ll find, like most cities, the waiting and serving staff come from all around the world; we met Italians, Dutch, Germans, and of course, Brits and Kiwis.
On Monday morning we headed off to Circular Quay to catch the ferry to Manly, which is on the North shore of Sydney Harbour. Sydney has an amazingly cheap, integrated, transport system across trawith a top up card like the Oyster Card. It’s easy to add money and the fare system is very clear – it also extends right out to the Blue Mountains which are over an hour away on the suburban trains. I wish we had a system like this in Manchester.
The trains (which are double decker and also serve as Underground trains) and buses stop right by Circular Quay – I recognised lots of the ferry names from previous visits so I know they ‘recycle’ them. The Ferries come in various sizes and people ‘really do’ commute to work by ferry. You can easily ferry hop around the Harbour, including visiting the zoo. We didn’t have time to do this much, but will definitely be on the Ferries more next time we visit.
Manly is about a half hour ferry ride, which also takes you past The Heads, the entrance to the harbour and it’s very easy to see why Captain Cook sailed straight past, and made landfall at Botany Bay a few miles down the coast. It’s a very small gap for such a huge harbour. Both North and South Health are now part of Sydney Harbour National Park. Cook sailed on to Botany Bay which is now the centre of the Australian shipping industry.
Sydney Harbour is the fourth largest harbour in the world. It’s proper name is Port Jackson. The geographical centre of Sydney is Parramatta which is a 45min ferry ride to Circular Quay. Manly is 25 minutes heading east towards the Heads. So this gives you a good idea just how vast Greater Sydney is, each neighbourhood has a different character and there’s usually intersting things to p see, parades of shops, parks and markets. If you’re a ‘people watcher’ like me, you’ll enjoy pottering around and a trip on a ferry is always good fun. There are many bays and inlets, with harbour or sea views commanding huge sums, these are some of the most desirable locations in the world.
We saw incredible homes almost glued onto the cliff often with infinity swimming pools. They have alot of glass and huge family rooms and outdoor eating out areas.
Manly – an Autumn Day Out
Manly It’s the home of Australian board surfing. Everyone tells you to visit Manly and they’re right. It’s a lovely place with many 1920s Art Deco buildings, just head over the road from the ferry terminal up the Corso to the surf beach. When I first visited Manly in 1991, the Corso was full of seaside ‘tat’ shops, but it’s definitely scrubbed up now. There’s some great places to eat and plenty of clothing shops. The Art Deco pubs have scrubbed up too – no sign of the 100 dollars fruit machines like the first time I visited.
If you like watching Australian sport Manly have a Rugby League team – Manly Sea Eagles. I watched them cuff Parramatta, the last time I visit Sydney in 2004.
Manly Surf Beach
It’s the Autumn in Sydney, the temperature was a lovely 19 degrees, sunny and there were were 30 foot waves – but most of the surfers were out on a spur from the rocks by Shelly Beach – too far away to photograph though.
We had a lovely day pottering around Manly, which has some great walks which take you past the ocean swimming pool.
We walked from Manly Surf Beach, via Shelly Beach to North Head – about 3 miles. There are sculptures and heritage boards along the way – it turns out Manly surf beach used to be called Cabbage Tree Bay – there are a few of these trees on the foreshore.
North Head National Park – new setting for In a Vase on Monday
The hills on North Head were covered in Banksia trees, so I improvised with the ‘In a Vase on Monday’ – no plants harmed in taking the photograph 😉 and I look closer to the edge than I was. I hope Cathy from Rambling in Garden will let me off with this – and I promise to do a proper vase when we are in Melbourne.
Do have a look at Cathy’s post this week – roses! There’s always beautiful flowers from around the world.
I’ve been taking photos of interesting plants I’ve seen around Sydney – I’ve got no idea what most of them are, although I’ve spotted plenty of our house plants growing happily in gardens – seen some huge Peace Lillies.
We spent a relaxed half hour looking at the views and watching the surfers. There weren’t many plants blooming, there were many succulents around and it was very dry and dusty. Easy underfoot though and there are board walks too. Since this is a National Park, no dogs are allowed (with v heavy fines) – not a problem for most tourists.
I did forget that sunset comes earlier and quicker than in the UK, so we had to cut short our walk around North Head and head back as we didn’t have a torch and my fear of Australian critters would overcome in the dark.
We walked back to Manly and had dinner, and a pint or two, in Four Pines Brewery – thoughtly recommended. Then the ferry back to Circular Quay – it was very windy so we were the only people out on the prow – hardy Brits.
It was a great day out 🙂
Sunny Sydney – we will be back
It’s a whistle stop tour but we will be back to stunning Sydney…
Come back again for our next adventure around Australia – the Blue Mountains – an hour out of Sydn
Have you been to Australia? Where did you go? If you’ve not visited yet, what would you like to see?
Love Bec xx xx xx
I’m planning on writing more this year, getting a shorter URL and I’ve got plenty of ideas for blog topics. More photos of flowers too. This weekend I’m off to a blogging conference run by the team at BlogOn (https//BlogOnuk.com) – it’s only down the road at Hotel Football, in Old Trafford, in Manchester – about three miles from my house. I’d seen bloggers taking about how well run, and useful, the conferences are, so I signed up. I wanted to learn some new skills, update my knowledge, especially about Pinterest, and maybe talk about collaborations. I’m very much looking forward to meeting some other bloggers face to face, that I know via Twitter and other social media. It’s always good to spend time with people who do a similar role to you, and have some fun.
If you’re coming to the conference come and say hello 🙂 I’m hoping I’m not a fish out of water.
We’ve been asked to write a bit about ourselves and link up… So here goes…
I’m Bec, I live in Monton in Eccles, which is in Salford in Lancashire. Monton is on the West of Greater Manchester, about six miles from the city centre; it’s leafy round here, with Worsley Woods, a couple of golf courses and the Bridgewater Canal is at the end of our street – we’ve got a good cafes, bars and restaurants around here and a growing number of street art bees.
I blog about flowers, gardening, wellbeing and our adventures out and about, usually in the Great Outdoors . I’m a Southerner originally, born in Berkshire. I’ve lived here for 20 years, visiting since 1989, so I’ve seen lots of changes around Manchester.
I’m definitely in my spiritual home among the friendly Northerners. Also, I know the correct words to use to order a bread role in any part of Greater Manchester. In Eccles its a barm 😉 I eat my chips with gravy, but never mushy peas (Devil’s work).
This is the first picture of me I’ve ever put on the blog. I feel like I should tell you I’m wearing a White Stuff dress, with Razzle Dazzle Irregular Choice shoes – Outfit of the Day and all that 😉 The photo was taken just before I headed out to my Hen Do afternoon tea last September.
Olives, anchovies, prosciutto, tomato, mozzarella on a super thin crust.
I could easily pick three gardeners, three historians, three chefs, three novelists, three adventures, three musicians, three scientists, the list could go on. But, I’ll confine myself to a group who’d have so much to discuss and share – Nigel Slater, Mary Beard and Charles Darwin.
I’ve raised alot of money for charities to research Motor Neurone Disease (because My Chap’s brother died aged 49 in 2017 from MND) and cancer (because lung cancer took my Dad 18 years ago when he was 70). In my day job, I’ve helped academics win millions in funding for research with patients in the NHS – just about any topic or disease you can think of. I’m proud I help people make a difference – and make the world a better place.
I watched most of the classic Disney Films as a kid in the 1970s, Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, Lady and the Tramp, etc. My favourite is Jungle Book – I love the songs. I’ve never seen Bambi though.
However, since Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, I’m taking Leia at any age, as my character…
I was 11 in 1977 when Star Wars came out and I’d never seen a woman as the lead, a hero, in charge – it affected me deeply. The film was massive in the playground; I think I saw it three or four times that year. I was, and still am, a massive Star Wars and sci-fi geek. Wish I’d kept the light sabre though. In the recent films Leia, as a General, is only a decade or so older than me, so I hope I have her compassion, determination and wit.
I have a special love for Yoda; he has appeared so many times in the blog he has his own Tag.
Stretch! Wiggle my toes and fingers. I have osteoarthritis in my fingers, toes and in my back, so I often wake up very stiff.
A round the world airline ticket for My Chap and I, to visit friends and family, watch some tennis, go to some gigs and walk on beaches. Then we’d come back to Manchester, pay off and do up our house and garden. We’d stay here, as we love Manchester, but we’d also love a house by the sea.
‘Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future’. Yoda
Time travel – not only because I love history – but it would mean I could visit people in a instant.
When I was a teenager, My Dad used to talk about ‘Things a Girl Should Know’, most were practical like how to open champagne, how to shake hands firmly, tie bow ties properly, change a tyre etc. He taught me to cook too, but that’s a whole other story.
He told me to be true to myself, be kind, help people, when you can and say No to things you really don’t want to do.
And to trust your gut.
I’m absolutely bobbins at doing emojis, so I can only use three (typing the characters too) – 🙂 😉 😦
My Granny Dolly who was a country woman, a working class suffragette, dog breader, judge at Cruft and a terrible cook, said to use moisturiser every day. Her skin was amazing, even in her 80s, and I’m afraid I didnt take this advice. I realised the error when I turned 40 and have mostly remembered the moisturiser since then.
This is the bay at Flinders, on the Mornington Peninsula, just south of Melbourne. My Australian family live here some of the time. Flinders is a village, with a General Store, one pub and a few coffee shops – it’s a peaceful, sleepy and relaxed place. I love it there.
Be a guide around one of the great gardens, photographing people, places and plants – sharing and tweeting too.
I don’t have one favourite place – I guess mine is more about what places make me feel – a state of mind. Contentment, peace, relaxed but it would definitely have beautiful flowers.
And now to see if I can add the link button without a laptop. It broke on Monday so I’m using the tablet at the moment (TMI probably). Oops I chopped my head of on the link box.
Do have a look at the BlogOn X – linky for more blog and bloggers 🙂 I’ve found some new ones to follow.
Any thing I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments.
But, in the meantime, remember Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.
Love Bec xx