So the hot, sunny weather is over for the moment. It’s been raining on or off in Manchester all day, so I ran out into the garden to pick some flowers for the vase, you can still see the raindrops on the fuchsias. It’s a good thing it’s been raining, as the reservoirs, the farms and the gardens need it. The drawback for me is that my arthritis starts aching again; it’s been glorious having three months pain-free. Continue reading
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:
- In A Vase on Monday – good enough when not in the Pink – 13 December 2017
- Our engagement at Bodnant – June 2016
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
- 1 part Pimms and 3 parts ginger ale over ice
My Chap particularly likes this one with a quality ginger beer.
- 375ml Pimm’s No.1 Cup
- 1litre sparkling lemonade, chilled
- 200ml cranberry juice
- 1 sliced lemon as garnish
- Mint leaves as garnish
- Redcurrants or fresh berries, as the garnish
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
‘Be happy for this moment, This moment is your life’. Omar Khayyam (1048-1132) Persian mathematician, astronomer and poet.
Over the last month or so, I’ve been concentrating even more on my mindfulness practise – and being more in the moment. But, it feels a bit like groundhog day at the moment, Winter (and snow) re-appearing and Spring receding into the distance again (much like it was at the beginning of March). Once again it was a very cold weekend, with snow forcast, so I thought about what I might find the garden; most of the plants are looking a bit sorry for themselves (especially the Camellias) but plenty of bulbs coming up.
On Sunday 18th March, there was about 3inches of snow in our garden, the sky was blue, but it was very cold. It certainly concentrates your mind when you have to bundle up in your thickest coat, scarf, hat and gloves (and walking boots), just to explore what flowers are out in the garden. So I dashed out, and I found more than I was expecting. It made up for the pain from my arthritis, which doesn’t like the cold at all. I’ve struggled with the cold, with pain, which makes me tired all the time. That’s probably why it took over a week to write this blog – oh well I’ll try to be quicker next time.
‘No Winter lasts forever, no Spring skips its turn’ Hal Borland (1900-1978) American author and naturalist
No one in Britain can have missed the weather the last few weeks, #thebeastfromtheEast, #StormEmma and more snow due this weekend. I hope you don’t mind, but some of this post was written a couple of weeks ago, and the rest today, as another wintery weekend looms. Also I’ve been a bit stuck, very tired and osteo-arthritis aching but I’ve been plodding along. I feel a bit like Spring, stuck around the corner, nearly in reach but not quite. I saw something on twitter today, which made me laugh:
Winter this year, is like a person who leaves the room in a huff, only to come back in ‘and another thing…’ only to leave again… and return…
#theBeastfromthe East brought about 4 inches of snow to Monton, it’s very unusual to have this much, usually it’s about two inches, as it’s very flat around here with many canals. It was THAT cold and icy our local Parkrun (Worsley woods) was cancelled… this never happens as its under trees and very protected compared to most Parkruns. Fortunately my Chap was OK about this, as the air was far too cold for running – you wouldn’t think to look at him that he has asthma 🙂
The wind chill dipped to minus 12 during the night, and minus 8 during the day. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cold in the middle of the city. I’m very used to cold, when I’m up a mountain and layered up. It reminded me of the very cold day in January 2015, when we went to Neuschwanstein, in Bavaria with my Brother and his family, who were visiting from Australia – happy memories 🙂
A very cold, snowy day in Monton on 4th March 2018
It wasn’t lost on me that 1st March was the start of the meteorological Spring – so I layered up with my thickest, longest waterproof, gloves, hat, scarf and boots and ventured into the garden to see what flowers I could find. I was surprised to find some tête-à-têtes, and some purple perennial wallflower so I quickly picked the flowers, and put them in a vase with some lavender. The vase has appeared in ‘In a Vase on Monday’ many times, I wrapped ‘bee happy’ washi tape around it. The print is part of a series – the Winter print with descriptions of moons has appeared too (Worm Moon, Pink Moon and Flower Moon) at the start of metreological Winter. Butterflies and bees seem a long way off at the moment, but like most things, they’ll be back.
- In a Vase in Monday – winter childhood memories (and fuchsia too) – with the same vase, and a fuchsia (5th December 2017)
- the perenial purple wallflower has appeared a few times too
- The iron daffodils have appeared on the blog before too 🙂
‘Hello, Hola, Ola, Bonjour, Hallo, Bongu, Ahoj, Namaste, G’day’ – International Hello Day 21 November was set up in 1973 to promote international peace after the Arab/Israeli conflict.
For this week’s vase, between heavy rain, I went looking for the hardy fuchsias in the garden, which have been pops of colour, amoung the greenery. It’s been raining on and off for most of the week. Though we did have a light frost on Sunday, which was just typical as The Chap was up early for a local, muddy, trail half marathon. He let me off going to watch 😉 as my arthritis was giving me gip. I’ve got all the gloves, hats, hand warmers, blankets and thick socks ready for the winter. A spot of Hygge and #selfcare needed.
Following on from last week’s post on International Kindness Day, I’m doing my best to be kind to people I know, those I don’t know and being kind to myself too. It can be really difficult to find the time and energy to do #selfcare but it’s worth finding the time even if it’s only a few minutes.
It’s International Hello Day (21 November) which stresses the value of communication in daily life, including saying hello to 10 people you don’t know. Its ideals are to encourage greater understanding and peace.
I found more than the hardy fuchsias flowering; the perennial wallflower is still going strong but there was a pink pelargonium flowering! The pink vase often has sweetpeas in it 🙂
- The three fuchsia are Son of Tom which grows about 3 foot high out side our kitchen window(small crimson flowers) Wharfdale (light pink and dark crimson centre) and is about 2 foot high, and the final one came from Morrisons – it might be Mrs Poppleton (crimson with a purple centre) it’s about 4 foot high at the moment. Fuchsias have appeared many times In a Vase on Monday – have a look at #fuchsia
- The pink pelargonium in a pot, in a sheltered spot in our garden for about five years. It’s appeared in IAVOM many times too. #pelargonium
- The perennial wallflower also appears often, most recently last week #wallflower
Picking my vase is definitely part of my #365daysofselfcare, it definitely helps me both choosing, photographing and writing about flowers but also it’s looking to see what Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and the people all around the world who join in. This week Cathy has got a vase entirely of green foliage which has got me thinking. In my head, I say hello to them every time I read a blog post, their pictures and words lift my soul. Maybe one day I’ll get to say hello to them face to face – I hope so. Their kind words have helped me though some tough times – so a Big Hello to everyone who’s reading my blog today 🙂
So my plans for #365daysofselfcare and #bekind this week are:
- #bekind especially to myself – and not to beat myself up about being late/disorganised.
- Doing some dream mapping from my Stigu Planner 2018 – I don’t do New Year resolutions, I do them in December instead.
- I love my Stigu planners, they’re in between a Planner and Mindfulness journal – I’ve had one for the last two years – you can follow them on Twitter too @SticktoStigu
- Finishing our thank you cards from our wedding. It was lovely catching up with people and I’m writing letters about what’s been happening and our plans for 2018 🙂 So many people have supported us though so much this year.
- Reading The Little Book of Kindness by Bernadette Russell* She suggests acts of kindness for yourself, friends, the environment, community, those you love and what to do for free…
- Shop less – use your money to DO stuff not have stuff – I was stuck by this but i’m hoping buying plants and bulbs doesn’t count 😉
- #bekind #thelittlebookofkindness I follow Bernadette on Twitter @betterussell
- I received the book as part of my Buddy Box for September from Blurt Foundation – www.blurtitout.org they describe them a hug in a box. The boxes are great and really lift me; there’s often books on self-care and mental health in the box.
- You can purchase them monthly, there’s the full version and a lite version. www.blurtitout.org/buddybox/
And in case you’re wondering the languages at the start are – Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Maltese, Czech, Hindi and Australian ;-). I can speak varying amount of these languages – but definitely Hello, Goodbye, Please and Thank You 😉 I’ve visited all these wonderful countries and plan to visit again soon.
So who have you said ‘hello’ to today? And what about tomorrow? and how will you #bekind
Love Bec xxx xxx
*I paid full price for my Buddy Box from the Blurt Foundation and my Stigu Planner. I haven’t been asked to blog about them or been paid for this content.
The future depends on what you do today.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
It’s been an incredibly busy Summer for us. The organisation I work for has been through a complex restructure; I’ve moved team, building and started in a brand new role – so there’s been alot of reading, meeting new people and setting up projects and activities. I’m enjoying the new role and all the new challenges – rather tiring though and my arthritis and back pain have been giving me gip. I feel like I’m trudging through treacle at the moment but I know all the knowledge and processes I’m setting up will help me later on.
I’ve been so busy, I’ve not contributed to the ‘In a Vase on Monday’ theme since June which I’ve missed very much. I’ve picked flowers fairly often, and even photographed them a few times but have always run out of time writing the ‘actual’ blog post. I’ve been looking at everyone’s vases though – the vases and the people and their stories bring me much solace.
I’m hoping I’ll have a bit more time to blog as we head towards Christmas. There’s less options for flowers/plants for vases but I’ll do my best.
1. In a Vase on Monday
For this week’s vase, I picked some purple, lilac and pink ‘Spencer’ sweetpeas – they’ve from two different locations one at the front door (you can see them in the background) and the other near our decking at the bottom of the back garden. The flowers have smelt wonderful. I didn’t fare quite so well with the dwarf sweetpeas – no flowers at all so I don’t think I’ll bother growing them again, I’ve tried growing them for three years but no success. There’s so little space in our garden everything has to pull its weight.
There’s also some mini red dianthus, some white and red margarite flowers. Also some pink Pelargonium from a huge plant which I’ve managed to overwinter three times. There’s some purple wallflowers which survived our mild Mancunian winter – they’ve been flowering all summer too. And of course, some lavender. Lavender is one of my favourite plants, I adore the smell. I’ve got about 15 plants in the sunny front garden and a few in the sunniest part of the back garden. Most of these plants have been flowering most of the summer and have bought us alot of pleasure. We eat out in the garden as much as we can – mind you the weather in Manchester this year has been very changeable (and wet alot of the time).
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.
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.
- In a Vase on Monday – Love and rosemary for remembrance – 31 December 2015
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.
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.
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?