Monday, 16 March 2015

Spring, in detail




Despite the seemingly endless gloom - if it's not actually raining, it's threatening to - and the oppressively low clouds which keep the house in semi-darkness, there's now no escaping it: spring is here. The snowdrops are over; the crocus are flagging and daffodils are lighting up verges.

Weekend was an emotional one. Mother's day fell exactly six months after my mum passed away. We visited the grave and sank a pot of daffodils into the ground. Joe hunted for pinecones. We stayed for a little while then went away again, to Astley Park. They used to hold the Royal Lancashire Agricultural Show there but several wet summers put an end to that.


I hadn't been for years. We entered through a door into walled kitchen gardens which were so meticulously kept and beautiful I kicked myself for leaving the camera at home (although I did post a few snaps onto Instagram).

The gardener - how I envied him his job - was having a quick tea break in the oh-so-fleeting sunshine. I wandered around admiring the raised beds and perfectly-trained fruit trees.


At home, we've been trying all kinds of new recipes: meatballs from The Ginger Pig Meat Book; laksa from The Kitchen Diaries; coppa and bean salad from the same. On Friday evening we had mushrooms on toasted ciabatta which was lovely but rather insubstantial. A tub of stewed apples from the fridge and some blackberries (picked back in the autumn and frozen) made their way into an impromptu crumble. With custard, of course.


I received a sweet Mother's day card and some flowers from Joe. He'd even been coached to say 'Happy Mudder's day' when I came downstairs from my lie-in. And Jay bought me a bunch of pussy willow, which I love.

It even inspired me to do a bit of drawing.


I spotted this book the other day in the local craft shop and put it on my wish list. Drawing's one of those things where (for me, at least) you can get a bit out of practice. I plan to draw if not every day, then a few times a week. It doesn't take long and it doesn't need much equipment. A selection of pencils, a rubber, maybe a pen if you like using ink (I do).



I had a little poke about outside this afternoon once Joe had gone up for a nap. Other than the hellebores (which I've photographed to death) and lots of green shoots, there's not too much to get excited about. Although it was interesting to spot the ghosts of last year: sycamore keys, magnolia leaf skeletons, dried Chinese lanterns. The heather from the window boxes has dried out and faded. Only the ivy's doing much in those now - it's time to re-plant.


My beautiful, deep plum-coloured sedum didn't survive the winter. And we have some scratchy palm-type thing which Jay likes but it's very tatty and the points are a bit sharp for Joe to be near. As soon as the next mild morning comes along we'll be emptying pots, cleaning them up and readying them for new plants.

I may not be photographing hellebores at the moment but there was a section on them last week on Gardener's World - did you see it? Gorgeous things, particularly the dark purple-grey ones.


The skies are clearing a little now. Maybe we'll get a brief walk in before tea. There's a spectacular magnolia tree in the churchyard which I'm keeping a close eye on. It can't be too long now before those buds burst open...

Have a wonderful week.

P.S. Thank you for your comments on my last post, and all your compliments on my handwriting - it's not something that's been mentioned to me before!


22 comments:

  1. Wow, you're amazing at drawing! It's been raining and snowing for a couple of days now here, so it doesn't really feel like spring, though if you look close you can still spot some flowers trying to bloom... : )

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  2. I love your beautiful drawing Sarah. It's perfect. I saw the hellebores on gardeners world....it was a lovely feature. The lady obviously loved them and was very clever at developing new strains.
    Jacquie x

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  3. What a lovely sketch Sarah, you are rather talented I think! The garden at Astley Park sounds wonderful. Maybe a trip back there with your camera..? I'm sorry mother's day was difficult for you. It's sad for a lot of people I think, and rather hard to escape, with all the commercial hype. I hope the sketching book finds it's way to you, I think you should nurture your talent, you're really very good. Wishing you a good week. CJ xx

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  4. Hey Sarah,
    I used to enjoy sketching with pencils, but have not done so for years. You draw very well. I adore your photographs today. We laid flowers for Marc's Mum at Godrevy yesterday. It's nearly four years since she passed away, and this year we were able to joke and laugh at her endearing ways. There wasn't sadness as such. Just sweet memory. I wish that for you in the passing of time, my friend.
    With much love,
    Leanne xx

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    1. Thanks Leanne. At the moment memories seem to be either happy ones or sad ones - I'm hoping the sad ones from last summer will gradually give way to all the good things I remember. There are a lot of those.
      x

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  5. So dark here too, but the hills make it worth while - it definitely is a different kind of grey from the one I hated on the south coast...that was a nothing kind of grey. Fingers crossed the weatherman has it right this week and we are in for a spot of sunshine, I could do with some pottering in the garden, instead of wistfully looking out thinking I'd really like to be out there...doing stuff. x

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  6. Lovely words and photos. I have linked you to my blog. Do you read in French too? We could do a French book club. I'm reading Suite Fran├žaise atm.

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    1. Hello! Oh, no - the pages are from an old copy of a French book I was given. My French is very basic indeed. Interestingly, I tried reading 'Suite Francaise' but couldn't cope with the impending sense of doom from the beginning. I was recently lent 'All Quiet on the Western Front' and am avoiding it for the same reason.
      I'm now reading something frivolous by Nancy Mitford...

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  7. I was photographing flowers on open books yesterday ... it's fun isn't it. I wasn't drawing them though ... I may have an art degree but I can't draw for toffee. You on the other hand are jolly good at it.

    I've caught up on your last post too and now know that you are far more organised than me. I'm finding the blogging and the making the stuff that finds its way into the blog particularly onerous at the moment. If I can't find enough time for crafting I often don't have anything to blog about. So, I'm rethinking a few things, and I've taken that as a good excuse to start a brand new blog notebook.

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    1. Do! You can never have too many notebooks - I have such a weakness for them.
      I always find your blog great reading, particularly your musings on nature and landscape and so on. I hope you find the perfect notebook and it gets filled with wonderful ideas :)

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  8. 'The ghosts of last year.' I like that. I'd forgotten I'd planted another hellebore in the garden here last year until unexpectedly coming across it as I did a bit of pottering. Very envious of your drawing skills. My dad and my brother were proficient with a pencil and pad but sadly I didn't inherit their ability. They couldn't tap dance, though.

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  9. Lovely drawing. I find too that I get out of practice. I once joined a 30 days of drawing group on Facebook, last May. It was so good for making me just get on with it and lovely to be inspired by other's drawings.

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  10. I'm in the same place as you, 7 months since my mum passed away she had Alzheimer's so hadn't understood Mother's Day in the same way for a while, I missed taking her a card and present though. I'm hoping the latter memories will be replaced by those of when she was well, one day. Beautiful images, and your drawings are wonderful :) xxx

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  11. I do like your drawing, it's lovely. I also like that bowl it looks like it is made of leaves, am I right? How is it put together I wonder? Hope you have a lovely week.

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    1. Hello! The bowl was a gift someone bought me for Christmas from a craft fair. Apparently it'll only last for a year or so (probably a good job I photographed it). It's quite dry and crumbles in places so you need to be very gentle with it.
      I think it was made using some kind of bonding agent and moulded between two bowls... that's my guess, anyway!

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  12. I really like today's photographs Sarah, and your drawing, too. The gardens you visited after visiting your mum's resting place sound lovely and I hope it brought you some distraction on a difficult day. I wonder if I could stop by for dinner one day soon, your cuisine sounds so much more exiting than what we manage at the moment. x

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    1. That might be an option at some point - Jay's still applying for jobs north of the border!

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  13. That kitchen garden sounds wonderful and your drawing is beautiful. My sister is very good at drawing and watercolours, but that talent seems to have passed me by! Mother's day can be very sad for a lot of people and I'm hoping that slowly the happy memories will outweigh the sad ones for you.

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  14. I used to have a bowl like that, I wonder what happened to it.......
    your pussy willow drawing is gorgeous

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  15. What a lovely drawing - and those photos are dreamy. I love taking a small sketch book to local gardens in the Summer months, sitting on the springy moss and drawing what I see - perfect down time x

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  16. Another lovely post Sarah! Your drawing is beautiful and your photos too. I was thinking of you on Mother's Day. I really hope that as time passes your sadness lessens, making way for the wonderful memories you have of your Mum. Enjoy the weekend lovely, Bee xx

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  17. My mother died very suddenly sixteen months ago and although I think I am becoming used to the sadness and have so many great memories to focus on I did find myself intensely aware of Mothers' Day and of her absence. This is ironic in a way as we never celebrated it. My mother hated the commercialisation of the day and I don't celebrate it either with my own children now they are adults. Of course we did when they were children and wanted to! Anyway, it was odd to find my sense of loss sharpened by a day which had never been part of our family life. Perhaps it was simply seeing other people thinking about and spending time with their mothers. I think it does get a little easier, particularly if you had a good and close relationship with your mother. I sometimes feel I have coped with her loss in part because of how very very well she mothered me, if that makes any sense at all.

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