Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whatever you are doing, either with loved ones or not, I hope it’s a lovely day for you.

ValentinesDay

Smile at a stranger – they’ll smile back, guaranteed!

Wave at someone you have never seen before, and I bet they’ll wave back!

And if something makes you happy, Laugh Out Loud – it’s good for you (and it’s catching too)!

ValentinesDay2

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day…”

(from an old Irish blessing)

Love, Cathy xxx

What IS a Garden?

I am reading a lovely novel at the moment about a botanist in 16th century Somerset (The Knot, by Jane Borodale).

I will write a review of it very soon, as I’m sure it will be of interest to many of you gardeners out there, but I have to share these lines from it today!

When asked by a botanist colleague what his garden is: “So if it is not a work of art, what do you call it?”

Henry Lyte replied:

“A garden is a deliberate gathering together of living things, partially governed.”

I think that sums it up perfectly!

Definition of a Garden

What do you think?

“Winter is gone…”?

Today, the 2nd of February, is Candlemas, Maria Lichtmess, or as many American friends will know, Groundhog Day!

If Candlemas Day is clear and bright, winter will have another bite. If Candlemas Day brings cloud and rain, winter is gone and will not come again.

Ist’s an Lichtmess hell und rein,
wird ein langer Winter sein.
Wenn es aber stürmt und schneit,
ist der Frühling nicht mehr weit.

Well, the weather proverbs always have some truth in them, and I have been convinced all winter that it would not get really cold this year. Today it is cloudy and rain/sleet is forecast for later… So now I am officially declaring the demise of winter! 😀 It may take a while for my snowdrops to open yet, and the Hellebore buds are still tightly shut, but I am sure it won’t be long until I can see pictures like this…

Spring2013Hepatica

and this…

Spring2013Hazel

I just need to be patient…

😉

How is winter progressing in your part of the world? Any signs of it coming to an end?

Tuesday View (28th January)

We had some snow!

Only a little, but nonetheless a taste of winter. It was a bit too wet for a snowman, but we had some snowy fun with the dogs. 😀

The view today is dismal, despite the snow….

TuesdayView28thJanuary

But look at this photo taken yesterday (Monday) in comparison!

TuesdayViewMonday27thJan

It’s amazing what a little sunshine can do… hope you get some this week.

😀

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you will never see the shadow.”
Helen Keller

Tuesday View (31st December) and a Happy New Year!

Alfred Tennyson’s famous words:

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow…”

What snow?! I think I need to change that line to “green, green grass”!

Here’s the view today, as the light faded at around 3.30pm (compare with the next photo, taken last summer!)

TuesdayView31stDecember

~~~

And my message for 2014…

Embrace the new year with upturned eyes and an open heart

NewYear2

Look forward, stride forward, over new ground

NewYear1

Leaving footprints behind you as you step into the unknown

NewYear3

It’s time once again for me to thank you all for a great blogging year.

Thank you for being there, for liking and commenting on my posts, for your loyalty and support, and for putting out such inspiring, interesting and positive posts yourselves. All this means an AWFUL lot to me!

So now I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year, full of joy and harmony, kindness and laughter, and good food and flowers! I hope it brings with it all you could wish for.

Talking of wishes, here are a few things I’m hoping for this coming year….

A sudden exodus of slugs and snails to the woods beyond the garden

Success with my poppy seeds

That our resident mole does not bring his family with him to settle down for good

A glimpse of a rare butterfly

To smell the elusive scent of Hepaticas in the woods this spring

Time for the hammock (and no mosquitoes!)

Plenty of sunshine

😀

~~~

What are your hopes for 2014?

~~~

Happy New Year!

 

Winter Reading

This hasn’t been a year for reading for me; partly a matter of time, but also because I have been struggling for months(!) with a novel I was determined to finish before starting something else. I failed! I’m still reading the novel: “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving, but have also started some short stories by Lydia Davis, along with some other short fiction.

The best book I’ve been reading recently was this:

Casting Shadows

CastingShadows

This is a collection of short stories, published by Word Machine Press, from new writers who developed them as part of their MA course in Professional Writing. These stories were immediately singled out for publishing.

Fancy a good chilling read by the warm fireplace this winter? You will feel your spine tingling, shivers on your goosebumps, your hair standing on end! Each of the eight ghost stories will draw you in making you feel as if you are really there. You can’t put this book down in the middle of a story. However, each is just a few pages long, and if time is short you could fit one in over lunch. You’ll be hooked though, and impatient to read the next! I found these writers all succeeded in making their stories very vivid, and very real… I am reminded of Roald Dahl’s “Tales of the Unexpected”, with a twist at the end – at times almost expected but not always.

An extra point – the illustrations are also remarkable.

The reason I chose this book was one of the writers, Danielle Charles. Danielle has a blog called

The Teacup Chronicles

which was the first blog I ever followed, two years ago. Since then I have taken much pleasure in her moving tales and prose, and her delicious natural recipes. There is something magical about the way she writes, and her photographs are also always a delight.

I hope you will drop by her blog, or even better – buy the book!

~~~

Another book I’m dipping into at the moment is also a collection of (relatively) short stories and writings, this time by an old favourite: Charles Dickens, and his Christmas stories in

Dickens at Christmas

Dickens

Of course, “A Christmas Carol” is in there, which I re-read at least partly every December. But you will also find all the Christmas Books as well as many other Christmas themed tales.

I particularly enjoyed the first story “The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton” from “The Pickwick Papers”. A miserable grave-digger is kidnapped on Christmas Eve and shown the error of his ways, in a similar way to Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”. This time it isn’t ghosts that “spirit” the character away, but a group of rather violent goblins…

There are several very short stories, and a few slightly longer. Perfect for selecting some reading for half an hour or a whole afternoon. Another attraction of this book is its binding and cover. If you are going to look at a book again and again, it has to be a hardback, and my Christmas Carol paperback was beginning to look a bit scruffy. This version is well bound and the cover is very seasonal. A classic.

So, what have you been reading recently? Any tips?

😀