Georgia, and a surprise in the laundry


I whizzed up to London on Tuesday to see the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at Tate Modern (which is on until 30th October). I was familiar with some of her paintings – the big flowers and skulls – but I didn’t know that she also painted cityscapes when she lived in New York and some amazing landscapes when she lived in New Mexico. Anyway, the exhibition was fab, and it was wonderful to have some time in London (taking the bus over Blackfriars Bridge, watching the world go by) but the best thing about the day was that I met up with fellow blogger, Jenny from Duver Diary. It was the first time I’d met a blogging friend in Real Life and I confess to being slightly apprehensive beforehand (I realised on the train that I had no idea what she even looked like!). But I needn’t have worried; she’s lovely and we got on like a house on fire and didn’t run out of things to talk about. Blogging, hey? So many benefits.

Back to domestic life – picture the following scene, if you will – there I was last night, calmly folding laundry that I’d brought in from the washing line in the late afternoon, chatting to my eldest, when he stopped mid-sentence. “Mum, those pants are buzzing…” They were indeed. A soft buzzing. I gave them a slight shake thinking a bee might have settled inside for a nap and been rudely awakened. Nothing came out. The buzzing got louder. I shook them more vigorously. The buzzing sounded distinctly cross. I put the pants (my husband’s underpants, if you’re wondering) on the kitchen table and carefully looked inside. Nope, I couldn’t see the source of the buzzing so I opened them out. A pair of antennae appeared. “Mum, that’s not a bee.” No indeedy, it was most definitely not a bee… It was an enormous hornet – a very cross hornet. “Quick, put something over it NOW!” I grabbed a glass and managed to capture the angry insect, trapping one of its legs in the process. It was REALLY angry now. I manoeuvred the glass and carefully slid a card underneath, carried it outside and laid it gently on the patio table. Then I grabbed the glass, scarpered indoors and shut the door quickly. Needless to say we didn’t stop to take a photograph(!) but this is what a hornet looks like:

hornet-md And it was about this size. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration 🙂 (Only ‘slight’, mind you.) So, let that be a cautionary tale. Check your pants for dozing hornets….



Five on Friday and one year on

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One  There must have been a massive downpour last night. Water was running off the fields and streaming onto the main road this morning; there were rivulets of soil and leaves along the lanes, and big puddles everywhere. It was also distinctly soggy underfoot on my way down to the beach with the dog. I walk there more and more these days, pulled by the sound of the waves on the pebbles and the possibility of being the only person there. I wasn’t there long before a couple arrived with two very energetic spaniels and a portly man pitched up with two equally portly labradors. He stopped halfway to the water’s edge, stripped down to his shorts, donned a swimming cap and gloves, then bounded into the sea. Yes, really. It may be a gloriously sunny day but that sea is blinking freezing. He wasn’t even wearing a wetsuit. Bonkers. He swam along close to the shore while his dogs, obviously more sensible than he is, ran along the beach barking. Probably telling him there was no way they would be joining him.

Two  Spring is most definitely in the air here in our coastal plot. I watched a pair of blue tits checking out the old nest box in the cherry tree earlier. It would be lovely to have birds nesting in it but our two city-turned-seaside moggies will probably deter them and, anyway, I’d hate the cats to catch any fledglings (the mice, shrews and other assorted creatures are bad enough). Alfie spends a lot of his time down by the pond and during our first summer here, he kept bringing a newt into the kitchen. He would catch the newt, carefully carry it up to the house and deposit it gently on to the kitchen floor. I’d scoop the still-very-much-alive newt into a tub of water and take it back to the pond. This happened several times over the course of a couple of weeks and I’m sure it was the same newt each time.

Three  You can almost hear the plants growing in the garden. Buds are swelling on the fruit trees; gorgeous blue grape hyacinth flowers are studding the path edges; tulip and narcissus bulbs are shooting up; and crinkled rhubarb leaves are pushing through the soil. It’s all heart-swellingly life-affirming. The primroses I picked for my ‘In a Vase on Monday’ are still looking lovely. I forgot to tell you about their scent – they smell deliciously honey-like which is something I’d not noticed before I picked them. I’ve photographed them next to an apple to show you how tiny the little jug is.

Four  I’ve been working my way through last weekend’s sourdough loaf. David has got into a great routine of weekend bread-baking. Sometimes bagels, sometimes baguettes, always a sourdough loaf or two. I’ve taken some photos of him in action and he’s ‘thinking about’ writing a guest post about his new passion. Watch this space.

Five  Wordpress informed me a couple of days ago that I’ve been blogging for one whole year. More often than not, I am late to the party (in all senses of the phrase) and I’ve read that many people think that blogging may have had its day, whatever that means. Well, as far as I’m concerned, it’s still relevant, hugely  enjoyable and creatively satisfying. I love reading your blogs and making connections. I have laughed out loud, been inspired, had a lump in my throat, been full of admiration and learnt a lot. Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting and thank you for your friendship.

I’m once again joining Amy for her Five on Friday weekly round-up. Do pop over to see her and for links to many other Fives from around the world.