Tag Archives: yoda

In a Vase on Monday – in the pink with Pimms (and tennis)

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.

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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.

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Pimms 
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 😦

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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.

Cranberry Pimms 

  • 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

yoda collage with pimms

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?

Carpe Diem

love Bec xxx xxx

 

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My ‘Mindful’ Garden – I’m in the moment

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.

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Before I bought my house – Summer 2009

In high summer 2016… some of the conifers on the right have gone now – but those on the left are even bigger 😦

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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.

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Many pots planted (and watered), and always Yoda – any season… Yoda (and Star Wars have appeared many times on this blog).

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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.

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Lavender and a cabbage white butterfly

Many crocuses and violas too. Always something for the birds too.

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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.

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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 😉

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What do you do that’s mindful?

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?

Carpe Diem

love Bec xxx

In a Vase on Christmas Day – what no snow? 

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share ourselves blessings, all the snow in Alaska won‘t make itwhiteBing Crosby (19031977)

I’ve been thinking about blessings alot this Christmas One of my favourite Christmas songs is the duet between the mighty very missed David and Bing – The Little Dummer Boy. Though, I don’t consider Christmas season has started until I hear Fairytale of New York. 

We have music on most of the time when we are in the house.  We’ve got modern Christmas songs at the moment, as we’ve been opening presents, reading cookbooks and drinking coffee.  My Chap is reading Lisbon and I’m reading Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles.  I think I might be writing about food more on the blog next year – My Chap says he’s going to bake more too.

For my Vase today, I have snowberry from a neighbour’s hedge (I love living in #Monton), some curry plant leaves (as food is integral to our Christmas and life), the Son of Tom hardy fuchsia by the kitchen window (#fuchsias a long time love), bamboo which came in a pot from My Chap’s garden when he moved in with me,  and some sticks (red)  from the one of the few shrubs in our garden when I got moved in.  I’d never noticed before how red the bark is, as it’s usually pruned before now.  It’s a bit of a mishmash but that’s a bit like life, isn’t it? We become sum of all the parts.

25 December 2017 – In a Vase on Monday – snowberry, fuchsia, bamboo

Cathy over at Rambling in the Garden has bright red Cornus around a candle, on a bed of pine cones and rose hips. Very festive – do have a look at the ‘vases’ from around the world added by the #IAVOM team, they’re added at the bottom of Cathy’s posts every week. These flowers have lifted my soul in the dark times.  Thank you everyone 🙂

Cathy will probably fall off her chair in shock, when I post my link as I’m on the right day! I’m usually at least a day late!

So Merry Christmas to all my readers, especially all the In A Vase on Monday gardening bloggers from all around the world – may your gardens’ grow well in the direction you want with few pests (especially slugs!) 🙂

May your days, be merry and brightWhite Christmas (composed by Irving Berlin in 1942) 

So let’s have merry and bright days, not just at Christmas but everday. It’s the little things, that make the memories.

So, especially today, I am thinking of all those no longer with us; my darling, unforgettable brother Matt,  my wonderful Dad Jay, the man mountain Steve, and the force of Nature, Uncle Fred.  All loved cooking and often made turkey curry on Boxing Day :-. My Husband does that too 🙂 I’ve written about them before at Christmas, and will write about them again, I’m sure.

Bright memories – Forever in my heart xx xx xx

25 December 2017 – Yoda loves Christmas too

I loved ‘The Last Jedi’, it‘s complex, dark and funny. Leia, Luke and Rey showing the way (and yoda too).

 ‘May the force be with you’Star Wars IVII (1977?)

The sun is shining, so my Husband and I are off for a walk, along the Bridgewater Canal, holding hands as usual  🙂 #365daysofselfcare

Today’s photo on Instagram for #blurtmerrycalmness.  Day 25: CONNECT – thinking about all our friends and family from around the world who came to celebrate our wedding in September with us 🙂  It was a wonderful day 🙂

Instagram @becmonton56

Carpe Diem,

Merry Christmas everyone,

Love Bec xx xx xx

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

 

In a Vase on Monday – violas, primula and pelagoniums in the snow

The weather has been very wild, wet and windy here in Salford for the last few weeks. It’s been very mild so it’s rained ALOT and confused all the flowers.   The River Irwell flooded on Boxing Day, in Kersley and Lower Broughton elsewhere in Salford (only a couple of miles from me) wrecking Christmas for hundreds; the clean up and repairs are still going on.   Hebden Bridge, home to qwirky, independent businesses was flooded yet again, Todmorden just down the river in Calderdale. Cumbria and York, even though more flood defenses have been built. Good friends of mine in Scotland were flooded out in mid December, when the River Forth burst its banks in Stirling – their house is a real mess.   Thousands of homes, businesses, schools, churches and other public buildings wreaked.    I really feel for everyone affected and I’ve been doing my bit to help.  Climate change is happening for sure.

Pelagoniums, primula and viola 1

Pelagoniums, primula and viola 17 January 2016

It’s been incredibly mild here since the autumn – between 9 and 15C most of the time. Only one even vaguely frosty morning.   Finally, we had some snow over Saturday night into Sunday morning – the first of the winter – only an inch or so. It lasted into the afternoon before it melted.  Many of my friends who live in the hills around Manchester had quite a bit of snow – lots of happy kids sledging and building snowmen.  As it’s been so mild many flowers in my garden have continued to flower way longer than they should have (and appeared in vases too) – dahlias into November, fuchsias into December and many of my bedding plants are still flowering a little.

This week, for my ‘In a Vase on Monday’, I went for a hunt around the garden – and I found some tiny flowers lurking.  It was very sunny so I took these flowers on Sunday morning.

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In a vase on Monday – A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

It’s an exciting week for a couple of reasons, I noticed that some of my hardy fuchsias, in pots in the garage, are still flowering.  An obvious choice for my ‘In a Vase on Monday’. They made my day so are my #100happydays photo as well.  I’m not sure which ones they are as they’re gifts from my Mum – one is relative of Tom Thumb.   They really shouldn’t be flowering in December but it’s been very mild.   The fuchsias that are planted out in the garden have all gone over now as it’s been very wet and windy.

Star Wars – Force Awakens’ opens in the UK on Thursday. If you’re a regular reader you might have noticed Yoda appears on my blog now and again.  Continue reading

#100happydays challenge 21-28 friends, food, drink, flowers and yoda too

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief – Cicero

Here’s an update on the #100happydays challenge (from late October 2015) – you can see my latest photos on my twitter account (@becinmonton).

As usual, I seem to been busy but one or two things stand out for me; fun with friends, my love of sci-fi and also once again, how important my garden is to me.   I’m so fortunate that I’ve got lots of friends who I’ve met via work, studying and outdoor adventures.

I’ve made lots of new friends too, since I joined the Women’s Institute a few years ago.   I’m a proud member of Cottonopolis WI in Ancoats, Manchester. I guarantee the WI isn’t what you think it is and it’s not about Jam, Jerusalem or calendars either.

star wars cookie cutters, lunch at Kro, Batch Gin, suffragette film

21/100 star wars cookie cutters, 22/100 lunch at Kro, 23/100 Batch Gin, 24/100 suffragette film

21/100 A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

These are my favourite cookie cutters; my friend L bought them for me a few years ago; I tend to make ginger biscuits with them. We are both big Stars Wars fans. I was 10 in 1977 when the first film opened. I think we went to see it about six times that year, played with pretend light sabers in the playground. I think there were toys the following Christmas and I wish I’d kept the toys my Uncle gave me.  I think Princess Leia being a kick ass warrior helped my view of the world too. I’ve loved the films ever since (apart from Jar Jar Binks).  I am VERY excited for ‘Force Awakens’.

I had a good chat on the phone with my friend L who I’ve known for nearly 20 years. Continue reading