Thursday, 22 May 2014


After the rain comes the sun and after a day or two of heavy down pours, thunder rumbling across the island and flashes of lightening bright enough to hurt your eyes, it was very welcome indeed.  The sun was up and about before I was yesterday.  My alarm rudely interrupted my lazy dreaming and while I fumbled about trying to turn it off with my eyes closed, I became aware of a brightness in my bedroom; the sun was beating down on us and beckoning us outside.  I slid into my new summer dress and drove H2 to school with windows down and Luke Bryan up, much to his obvious distaste.  The world was awake, on the move and in no rush. 

Mother Nature had sprinkled a million tiny diamonds on all of her creations; the sun's rays making grass, leaves and flowers glitter and sparkle as they moved gently in the cool breeze.  Even the sky looked freshly laundered and clouds plumped and clean.  I came home, took the dogs into the garden and moved all of my young plants from the poly tunnel into the garden.  They will stay there now, in their pots for a few more days then we can start the fun of planting them out and watching them fill the garden with colour, scent and bees.

One thing I have noticed is how every one seems much more relaxed when the sun shines.  I spend a lot of time driving around country lanes in my car and wave and smile to everyone I pass.  I mean, why wouldn't I?  I am lucky enough to live on this beautiful island and enjoy everything about it every day, I imagine most of the people I pass regularly do too, so waving to them is like saying 'Hey, aren't WE the lucky ones!'  Most wave back happily but sadly some of them just don't get it, they look but they don't respond.  Maybe they are having a bad day, haven't really noticed me smiling or are just plain rude, it doesn't matter, it's annoying but I keep doing it anyway.  It makes me feel good and because of it I'm now enjoying the benefits of seeing people every day and exchanging a cheerful wave and a beaming smile.  It doesn't matter that I don't know them, I may do one day and a smile can be such a powerful thing.  At it's best it may be the only nice thing that happens to a person that day; a stranger smiling at them.  And the worse thing that can happen is that it leaves them wondering what you know that they don't!

I do admit to smiling and laughing easily, maybe a bit too much.  H1 has receded into his little shell where the walls are impenetrable by me.  He doesn't communicate readily with me much and finds me a major embarrassment.  I asked him why.  'Why can't you just be normal?'  He responded.  'Normal?'  I asked, 'What the heck does that mean?'  'I dunno, just normal.'  Well without a bit more to go on than that I will just have to stay me.  Sad and pathetic though I obviously am.  Somehow I will have to live with it.  It could have something to do with my taste in music, the way I sing, dress, talk, move, laugh (quite loud, actually) name it.  Pea thinks I am a delight and accepts my unique qualities, maybe because she possesses some herself.  To H2 I am still mam and still the best and he will still hold my hand in public and not care who sees.  H1 can barely bring himself to be seen in the same shop as me and being in the car together is nothing short of mild torture.  As there has been little altercation between the two of us beyond the usual 'How was your day gorgeous?' and his mumbled reply, I decided to try to reach my son on a deeper level.  He loves music and is always plugged into something but I never get to hear any of it.  When I was that age EVERYONE heard the music I was listening to, whether they liked it or not.  I asked what he was currently into.  He slowly raised his eyes almost to mine but they stopped short somewhere around my chin level. 'Why do you want to know that?'  he asked in a slightly suspicious manner.  'Just making conversation, don't panic.'  'Uh, you wouldn't have heard of any of it.'  Well no, I don't doubt that.  'Do they play any of it on the radio?  What genre do you like?'  (Hey, I sound really cool!)  He slowly began to relax a tad and uncurl himself enough to tell me a couple of things I may, possibly, have heard of.  He spoke quite fluently for about two minutes, his perfect shaped face and smooth skin flushed with the pleasure of talking on a subject he loved and was comfortable with.  For a brief period my son and I connected and then he remembered he was conversing with his seriously un-cool mother and ended the conversation while I was still half way through it.  Never mind, at least I know he's still in there and providing I feed and clothe him, I have nothing further to trouble myself with.  Thank God.

I am delighted he has music to escape to, we all need something when the strain of everyday life gets too much.  I love 'singing' loudly in the car as it helps me to release tension and actually prevents me getting too many dreaded migraines.  I also love wandering around my garden, weeding and just daydreaming about the way it will look in a few months time.  I daydream about most things to be honest; my garden, the country smallholding I will someday own with my gorgeous country loving boyfriend, the produce I can grow and the things I can make with it.  Some would say I am wasting time and should really be getting on with paying bills and scrubbing floors but daydreaming means I have something to aspire to.  It doesn't mean I'm not happy in the here and now; I couldn't be more so, but the secret to a good life it to keep it moving forward in a positive way that keeps you interested and excited about it.  A garden is the same, so is a relationship, a home, the things we eat and the way we dress.  Keep it fresh, keep it light and keep it fun.

Where ever you go today, smile and share your beauty with everyone you see.  Some may think you are mad but you never know, you could just save someone's life.  Have a happy day! xxx

Monday, 19 May 2014

Daydream Drifter

Another Monday morning has rolled round again.  The last week before the half-term holidays.  Pea has an exam every morning this week, but will be home most afternoons to relax a little before revising for the next day's exam.  I woke at five this morning to hear tiny feet scuttling about in the ceiling.  Just as I was wondering who I could bribe to go into the loft and put bait down, the rain began falling.  It came straight down like stair rods, heavily and steadily for a couple of hours.  I listened to it, cosy in my bed and let my mind carry me where ever it chose.  Two seconds before my alarm went off I began to drift into a peaceful dream as is usually the case after lying awake for hours.  The rain was still falling and later, as I was driving home from taking H2 to school, the sky turned a deep grey and cast a metallic glow over the landscape.  A flash of lightening lit up the morning sky before a crack of thunder echoed around the countryside.

This picture is a bit blurred as the rain was still falling heavily and soaking my camera. That or I just slipped.  I love the light and how fresh and vibrant the plants (and weeds) look.  By the time Middle Aged Labrador and I arrived home there was a brief lull in the weather so we took our chance and shot into the poly tunnel.  There are trays and trays of small plants that need to be carried outside to harden off each morning and back in again in the evening.  If the weather keeps mild, I will be planting them out over the weekend and next week.  MAL does not like thunder at all, so as I was dashing in and out with my hands full of plants, she kept trying to run back to the house.  The door was shut though so I kept calling her back to stay in the poly tunnel with me but she wasn't too impressed with this idea, so we both went in for a cup of tea (me) and a dog biscuit (MAL).

This week Mother Nature sent us lots of sunshine, so consequently, things in the garden have been growing like mad.  Pea and I had our very first vegetable from our new plot a few days ago.  We picked it fresh from the earth, washed it under the garden tap and then ate it between us, standing right where it was growing only seconds before.  A magnificent moment and one that was accompanied by us both squealing with delight and jumping up and down quite a bit.  Do you want to see why?  Do you want to see the superb vegetable we plucked from the rich earth?  Okay then, brace yourself.....

It's a radish.  With a face.  So exciting!  The boys looked at us with an unfathomable expression and then walked off to do something far more important than grow food from bare earth, no doubt.  Anyway, this somewhat small radish tasted fresh and sweet and then left a peppery bite in it's wake.  Gorgeous.  There are plenty more to follow and I sowed another row on Wednesday so these should be ready just when we have eaten the first lot.  We have had some casualties and failures with our seeds, but most things have germinated and are growing into fine young plants.  The saddest thing was that the mice ate both of my sowings of Crystal Lemon cucumbers.  I suppose I could have sent off for another packet of seed, but the postage would have made it a bit ridiculous, so I bought four small plants of two other varieties instead.  At least these are at the stage mine would have been sans rodent interference, so we should get plenty of fruit (vegetables?) off them.  Ditto with the tomatoes.  Mine have germinated, finally but even though they are languishing in the kitchen window they still don't seem to have done an awful lot.  I really don't want to have a huge poly tunnel standing empty all Summer, so the purchase of a few young plants seemed a more sensible option.  It would have been lovely to grow all of our veg from seed myself, but the main idea is that we have home grown food to eat all Summer and I have merely made sure we will.

All the glorious sunshine has meant that I have been spending almost every spare moment in the garden.  The house is taking a back seat for a while and not being cleaned as much as it was during the Winter.  Thank goodness for that.  A boring, thankless task if ever there was one.  At least with gardening I get to enjoy it while I'm working in it.  The birds keep me company with their constant beautiful singing; Swallows swoop over the garden and sit twittering on the wires near the house.  A blackbird sat in the damson trees and sang his liquid song all day and well into the evening until the sun started slipping from the sky, taking it's heat with it.  There is something about the song of a blackbird that stirs a memory from a thousand years ago.  It is like looking at a long forgotten photograph, fuzzy with age so that you can't quite see the people in it or remember their names, but you know they were once important to you.  For me the blackbird has the best voice of all our avian friends and I could listen to him for ever.

I quite enjoy hand weeding between rows of shallots.  It isn't so easy to use a hoe as there is always the danger you could slice them off by mistake.  I've done that before.  The weeds coming up round my beetroot and salad onion seedlings were like a sea of green.  I managed to carefully extract most of them, leaving the seedlings with more light and space to grow.  My parsnips may or may not have germinated yet, I don't know what they look like so I daren't pull out any weeds in case I find out, rather belatedly, that they were parsnips.  So I will just have to wait a while longer until I know for sure.  It does look a bit of a mess though.

I am getting a nice tan, tight muscles and a bad back ache from all this weeding, but I'm loving it anyway!

There are plenty of flowers coming up among the weeds (or wild flowers if you like) and these are a complete surprise as they were already here, sleeping in the earth when we moved in last Autumn.  They seem to be following my chosen colour pallet of pastel blue, pink and white.

All I want to accomplish this year is a garden that makes people smile when they see it.  A place where any person who drifted through the boarders could pick a bunch of scented flowers, a handful of salad leaves, pull a radish from the ground and pluck a ripe tomato from a vine.  I want there to be something pretty to behold where ever your eyes rest, scents and sounds to fill your heart with happiness and memories to last in my childrens' minds all their lives.  Just simple stuff that daydreams are made of that can be part of our every day reality.

Why not?

Love your garden and thank you for reading. xxx

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Let's Hear It For The Boys!

As I spend a lot of time with my daughter, I tend to write about her a lot too.  The boys barely get a mention, especially if they have been doing their usual 'boy' things of being zoned out on hand held gaming devices (no idea what they're called), not listening to anything I say and eating everything in the house.  But it is time to rectify that and therefore this entire post will be dedicated to the male of the species.  Not just my two boys, but some other boys that mean a lot to me too.  Here goes...

During the recent Easter holidays, H1 cleaned my car for me so it looked nice for my volunteer work.  He did a good job and I gave him some money.  Being slightly high on car wax he asked if I could give him a driving lesson.  Oh dear.  Well, no I replied.  Oh please, he begged, just to the top of the lane.  What?  Don't be silly, it's illegal and I'm not insured to take children out on the public highway while they are in the driver's seat.  He hopped about a bit and insisted he knew how to do it anyway as he'd watched Top Gear loads of times.  Oh for goodness' sake, alright then I said (rather stupidly) BUT I will reverse out of the drive and you can drive it back in.  His face lit up like a Christmas tree as he slid into the driver's seat and waggled the steering wheel about.  I then began to have second thoughts and decided that driving into the drive and heading straight for the garage door was maybe, on reflection, not such a good plan.  You can drive it straight forward on the track, I said, that way there's nothing you can hit.  Famous last words...

I told him which pedals were which and he proceeded to rev the living daylights out of my little car.  I had a bad feeling about this.  I tried my best to explain about pedal control and going gently at it.  He said OK, slammed his foot down and we shot forward at what felt like 90 miles an hour.  Break, BREAK!  I yelled.  WHICH ONE IS IT?  He yelled back.  I grabbed the hand break and pulled hard.  We skidded along, straight towards a small tree on the drive and stopped just before we hit the trunk.  That's it, get out!  I said.  I almost kissed the ground, I can tell you.  Oh wow! said H1, clearly pumped up and ready for anything.  I was dead scared but can we do it again?  Um, NO, I replied, never ever again.  You will have to wait until you can afford proper driving lessons with a man who won't pass out if you do that and who has dual control in his car.  I need a cup of tea.

End of lesson.

Fortunately neither H1 nor I were worse for wear, apart from me feeling a bit sick.  The tree had lost a lower branch but my car was unscathed.  Thank goodness' for that as I need it so much, especially on Tuesday mornings when I collect Mrs M and take her out for a walk somewhere nice and usually windy.  This week the weather was bright and breezy so we headed off for a walk along the cliffs nearby.  As she got in the car she bent her head and gestured to her husband standing at the door.  Would you just get out of the car so he can see you properly?  He doesn't feel as if he can get through the day otherwise.  Mr M was clearly embarrassed and flapped his hands about saying Don't tell her that!  I obliged and gave him a twirl, which seemed to please him. Mrs M said that would have cheered him up no end.  Happy to help!

We spent a good two hours walking along the cliff paths and sitting admiring the view when we felt the need for a breather.  Even though the wind was a bit stiff, the air felt so healthy and clear we didn't mind being buffeted about.  There were lots of people walking their dogs and a few stopped to chat for a minute or two.

We took shelter in a cafe to share a pot of tea and while away another half an hour before I took her back home, where she probably spent the rest of the afternoon asleep in her chair.  The combination of exercise and powerful fresh sea air is a sure fire way to make sure you sleep well!  On the way home I played one of my Luke Bryan CDs.  I ordered one from Amazon and the Postie pushed it through my door less than 24 hours later.  How did that happen?  Incredible.  The music is everything I could have wished for and I have spent a whole week driving through winding country lanes with my windows rolled down and the soft southern tones of LB blaring out.  I know almost every word to every song on those two CDs and believe me, I sing them loud.  It is doing wonders for the shape of my face, sculpting a nice firm jaw line and is a perfect way to release tension.  This is all fine and dandy when I'm driving alone, as no one can hear but I still do it when I have a car full of children.  They sit cringing in the back, pretending I am nothing to do with them whatsoever and they have never seen me in their lives before.  Why would they do this?  Well, it could be because I can't actually sing.  Really sad, wish I could.  The only good thing is that Luke Bryan has a lovely deep voice and I have quite a deep voice too, not in a butch way I must stress, but not squeaky and glass shattering either, so even though my notes may be a tad off, I can actually match his depth of voice.

We drove by an old lady standing at a bus stop and H2 reached over to shut my window just in case she thought it was him into modern country music.  I slapped his hand away and asked why he was so bothered about impressing an elderly lady anyway.  He admitted he hadn't thought of that.

He also hadn't thought how his distinct dislike of physical exercise will do him no good now or in the future.  Having had this pointed out to him many, many times, he finally agreed to come on regular evening walks with Pea and I.  On a fine calm evening we drove to the reservoir and walked the paths and through the woods.  He actually really enjoyed it once he stopped fretting about how far we were going and how long we would be.  There were plenty of sticks about for him to whack weeds and tree trunks with and he loved the woods and the disused railway track.  He has been walking an hour every night for a week and feels so much better for it.  He looks rosy cheeked and bright eyed and feels his muscles tightening. Hopefully it will be something that stays with him through his life and keeps him fit and healthy.

There is another really special man who came into my life in the Autumn; my gorgeous nephew.  Tomorrow is a very special day for him as it is his Christening day.  There will be lots of people there to cheer him on and give him lots of love and cuddles.  My brother (another very special man in my life) said he will either be so chilled out he won't care a jot, or he will become overwhelmed by all the attention and not enjoy his day at all.  Babies eh?  It will be a treat just to see his beautiful smile and  if I get chance to give him a hug that will be the best bit of the entire day for me.  My brother gleefully informed me of the wealth of handsome farmers and hunky guys attending the Christening.  He described their rugged features, bulging muscular arms and mud covered trucks, all stuff of my dreams, then flattened it by telling me they are all either married or old enough to be my grandfathers.  Great, thanks bro.

I will keep my eyes open though, just in case he missed one.

Have a lovely day and hug your boys! xxx