Five on Friday: Hello February

img_1664
Violets under the front step.
img_1657
We had a wood delivery on Monday…
img_1659
Tulips! They’re coming ūüôā
img_1647
Snowdrops are starting to unfurl. They’ll be peaking in a couple of weeks.
img_1652
This is a very fine and hardy borage plant, sitting bolt upright in our veg patch. Frost? Pah.


One
¬†There’s a definite whisper of spring in the air, a tiny hint, a minuscule glimmer ‚Äď it’s warmer than it has been; warm enough to go outside to take some photos without wearing a big winter coat, hat, scarf, mittens… There are bulb shoots and buds galore and the birds are starting to get busy. February 1st was¬†St Brigid’s Day, or Imbolc, and marks the¬†start of the pagan festival of spring. I only know this because I read it on Sultanabun’s blog last year and looked it up. Her blog regularly makes me laugh out loud and I learn stuff, properly interesting stuff.

Two ¬†February is punctuated by half term ‚Äď a week off from the regular routine. There’s one more¬†week of school and then the children will be at home all day ‘resting’. It doesn’t seem five minutes since they went back to school after the Christmas holidays. My middle son has made it through this¬†week of school (early nights, no sports) and is hopefully fully on the mend but it’ll be good for him to have more time¬†to recharge soon.

Three  I went out last night for pizza, prosecco and pudding with friends. The friend who hosted the evening is an extremely Good Cook and produced a succession of delicious handmade pizzas while we all guzzled prosecco spiked with raspberry liqueur, chatted and laughed. The whole evening was a tonic and just what I needed.

Four ¬†‘You’ve got to pick a pocket or two…’ ‚Äď we’ve been treated to renditions¬†from ‘Oliver’ for weeks and weeks now. They are such ear-worms catchy tunes. My daughter is an orphan and an urchin in her school’s production. There have been two performances so far, we’re all going to see it this evening, and there’s a matinee and evening performance tomorrow. She’s loving every minute of it but I suspect she’ll be much quieter come Sunday.

Five ¬†I took a few photos of stuff lined up on the kitchen¬†windowsill because I thought it would make a good photo. It wasn’t until I uploaded the pictures that I noticed how filthy the windows are and I’m too embarrassed¬†to show you! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has to clear clutter or¬†wipe a surface before taking photos or artfully crop them afterwards. There’s an admirable Instagram hashtag called ‘reallifehome’ as an antidote to all the perfectly styled pics. I’m generally all for it but my mum reads my blog ūüôā

I’m delighted to be joining in with Amy¬†for her Five on Friday.

Have a lovely weekend x

 

Mrs Ford’s Garden

 

IMG_0802

One of the great pleasures of being a gardener is visiting other people’s gardens and admiring their plants, planting combinations, garden furniture and ornaments, and overall design. (In other words, Being Nosey and Getting Ideas.) One of my favourite private gardens belongs to my friend¬†Mrs Ford* and she very kindly agreed to let¬†me take some photographs this morning to show¬†you.

Her garden¬†wraps around¬†one side and the rear of her¬†house, with¬†an east-north-east aspect, and¬†is mostly shaded in the winter but sunny in summer. Over the years she has been creating a beautiful, generous garden featuring a romantic¬†English border which is at its peak in June. There is also¬†a kitchen garden area with four raised beds, a small wildlife pond, climbing roses and honeysuckle clothing the house walls, two seating areas (one covered) and several fruit trees. She has very cleverly planted around the boundary with roses and fruit trees which gives the garden a very secluded feel. It’s an oasis of lush greenery and gorgeous fragrant blooms, and is the perfect place to sit and chat over coffee.

IMG_0783IMG_0824

Inspired by many visits to Sissinghurst, the deep border is choc-a-bloc with hardy geraniums, lavenders, alliums, poppies, peonies (‘Bowl of Beauty’), grasses, roses (‘Boscobel’, ‘Charles de Mills’, ‘Thomas a Becket’), Philadelphus ‘Belle Etiole’, ¬†Alchemilla mollis, Osteospermum, aquilegia, gladioli, Acanthus mollis, Bergenia… Her gardening philosophy is to pack in as many plants as possible, preferably scented, with glorious colours and foliage. I love the abundant¬†planting¬†with its contrasting foliage and pops of vibrant colour. While I was there, the warm sun came out, a couple of butterflies fluttered among¬†the flowers, birds sang¬†and I wondered how long I could eek out my visit before I outstayed my welcome.

IMG_0798IMG_0818IMG_0831

The fruits in the¬†top left photo are mulberries¬†‚Äď although they look rather unappetising at this stage, they ripen to large berries that look like giant purple¬†raspberries.

Adorable springer spaniel Patch and Tortoise, who both like to be where the action is, enjoying the garden, too.

 

*Mrs Ford¬†writes the fabulous Mrs Ford’s Diary¬†. She hasn’t posted¬†for a while but is very much thriving and storing away golden nuggets of Village Life for possible¬†future posts. Fingers crossed ūüôā

Homeward bound

photo 4

Yesterday we visited our old home town Twickenham in south-west London. We were collecting¬†my daughter who’d been staying with¬†an old schoolfriend, David had an appointment and the boys came along too. Now, I was brought-up to be punctual, plan a¬†journey, leave with time to spare, but over the years, being married to my laid-back husband and with three children in the mix, this has gone totally out of the window. Why leave in plenty of time when you can leave late, have a stressful journey, have to phone ahead to apologise for being late, have back seat drivers telling you quite authoritatively (although they’ve never driven, are too young to drive) that changing lanes in slow-moving traffic on a motorway is pointless?

Well, we eventually arrived, dropped David off (he was the one who was late), then had a little drive round past the children’s old school, the park where they used to play, the streets where we lived. It’s a strange feeling being in a place that’s so¬†familiar but is no longer home.

photo 2 photo 3

 

What keeps us connected to it are our friends¬†‚Äď those lovely people we’ve known since the children were babies. We’ve seen our children grow up together, been through the trials and tribulations of life for many years. I do miss these friends and it is so good to see them, to slip into that familiar, easy conversation. And seeing the children ‚Äď how they’ve all grown! There’s nothing quite like seeing kids¬†you haven’t seen for a while¬†to realise how time is rushing¬†by.

We had a lovely day, chatting, laughing, catching up, making plans to see each other again soon, then it was time to return to our¬†new home. It’s taken us all varying amounts of time to feel rooted¬†here but we’ve made new friends, the children are¬†thriving at their new schools, we have fabulous countryside and views around ¬†us, we’ve¬†put our stamp on¬†this house and have a¬†garden to play and¬†grow¬†in. It’s good to be home.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 4