Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Show and Tell Friday

Only a short post today, I'm having problems(temporary) with my back and the pain is sufficient that concentrating for any length of time is beyond me. The lead crystal dish above once belonged to my grandmother. It only came out once a year and that was when it held the trifle that she always made for Christmas Tea. My aunts,uncles and cousins all gathered at my grandmother's house on Christmas afternoon and, as it was in the days before television got a grip on the life of the nation, we all had a lot of fun. My Uncle John played the accordian and we sang carols and songs and played games and all the cousins had to do a 'turn'. My cousin Terry and I both hated this as neither of us were very good at that sort of thing. We always hid under the long red chenille tablecloth that covered the dining table hoping to escape - but, guess what, they always found us! Whenever I look at this dish I am instantly transported back to those happy childhood days and I can still taste the trifle - gran made the best one I've ever tasted and she took the secret with her to the grave, not one of my aunts had the exact recipe. I suspect there wasn't one really, but I do know it included a generous dollop of sherry:) Maybe that was why I liked it so much - I know that I have always include a good spoonful of Cointreau in the syrup for my fresh fruit salad and, when they were little, the children always asked for 'more juice, mummy' :):)

I've just made these little Mary Jane shoes for Kaitlyn.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Birthday Girl

On Sunday it was my grand-daughter Kaitlyn's 1st birthday and there was a small family party at her other gran and grandad's house to celebrate. All her aunts and uncles and her cousin Gabriel were there.

The wrapping paper and labels proved far more interesting than the contents:)

Kaitlyn's little friend Eden also came to the party, they found Granny B's vegetable rack more exciting than anything else that was on offer.

The first photo we have of the two cousins together, Kaitlyn on Aunty Jules' lap and Gabriel with Granny.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

St George's Day

We English aren't very good at displaying patriotism these days but as April 23rd is St George's Day and St George is the patron saint of England I thought I would fly the flag and post this rather lovely poem written by Rupert Brooke in World War 1.

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

An English country lane.

Alas, there are all too many corners of foreign fields that are forever England.

Happy St George's Day to all of you.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Kelli's Friday Show and Tell

Like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland I'm afraid I'm late for Kelli's Friday Show and Tell. However better late than never so here is my offering for this week - short and sweet.
This is a lovely Royal Copenhagen plate that I bought in an antique store somewhere in New England many years ago. I bought it because I love the picture on it - it's Danish but nevertheless seems to me to be a quintessentially English scene - a hare in a winter landscape.
It isn't a very good photo because I've taken it in electric light but you can still just about tell that it's blue and white. There are lots of other show and tell items that you can reach via Kelli's blog 'There's No Place Like Home' which you can reach via my sidebar.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Visitor

Bilbo's young friend Pip came to stay with him yesterday, she is only 14 months old but is very friendly and adaptable. She brought her own bed with her and is having a little lie down while she weighs the situation up.

Life is good, two dogs having fun together in a doggy sort of way. They spent a lot of the day wrestling and playing with squeaky toys which belong to Bilbo but usually never get played with. It was like having two little children, I found myself calling out 'what are you two up to now?' and 'You're getting too excited, settle down and be quiet'. They were both very good though, there was no trouble and Bilbo loved having someone to play with. I think he's really missed her today.

There was alternative entertainment on offer for some of the time though, Kaitlyn and her daddy came over and we went to Bakewell to see the ducks on the river - armed, of course, with bread to feed them.

There were some enthusiastic volunteers for the consuming of bits of dry bread - including Kaitlyn:) It quickly became obvious that daddy and granny would have to feed the ducks while Kaitlyn watched. Three of them, including this one, would eat from our hands. Kaitlyn loved it as my three did when they were young. The little prairie bonnet that Kaitlyn is wearing originally belonged to her Aunty Jules, I bought it for Jules on our first visit to the US when she was also a year old. I saved it because I loved it but never thought of it actually being worn again.
Poor Cousin Gabriel wasn't having much of a fun day though, he had his first set of immunization shots yesterday and has reacted quite badly to them and has been feeling a very poorly little boy. He was much better when I rang this evening though.

This lovely five arched bridge over the River Wye is 700 years old.

These ducks are just common mallard but when the sun shines on the drakes' spring plumage it shows how very lovely the colours are. The feathers on their heads are a mixture of irridescent greens and blues. The blue only becomes obvious if the sun shines on it at the right angle.

A new cardigan for Gabriel.

I daren't even tell you how long this sampler has been on the frame, it's months since I last put any stitches into it but now I've decided to get it finished finally. It's progressed a little since the photo was taken and I'd like to get it completed by next week. There's a space for initials and date - good job I didn't put them in as I worked, the date would have said 1990 something I think!

For those of you still awaiting spring:

Spring is sudden; it is her quality,
However carefully we watch for her,
However long delayed
The green in the winter'd hedge
The almond blossom
The piercing daffodil,
Like a lovely woman late for her appointment
She's suddenly here,taking us unawares,
So beautifully annihilating expection
That we applaud her punctual arrival. Gerald Bullett(1893-1958)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A View from the Window

First of all I've been tagged by Patty of Morning Ramble to do this MeMe.

1. Go to Wikipedia and type in the month and day you were born. (in my case it's September 7th).

2.List three events that occurred that day:

1191 - Third Crusade: Battle of Arsuf - Richard 1 of England defeats Saladin at Arsuf (King Richard is Richard the Lionheart)
1907 - Cunard Line's RMS Lusitania sets sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York City
1940 - World War 11:The Blitz - Nazi Germany begins to rain bombs on London. This will be the first of 57 consecutive nights of bombing.

3.List two important birthdays:

1533 - Queen Elizabeth I of England
1936 - Buddy Holly
(I knew about these two but was interested to see that I also share a birthday with Grandma Moses, Anthony Quayle and Paul Getty)

4.List one death:

1548 - Catherine Parr, final wife of Henry VIII of England

No tags but if anyone would like to do it, feel free. I actually found it rather interesting.

I thought I'd post some more photographs from my garden to encourage those of you who are still beleaguered by wintry weather. At the top is the view through the open French window in the dining room, taken at about 8.30am this morning. At that point it felt really warm but as the morning progressed a cool breeze sprang up and the temperature dropped though it was still sunny. And the French window was closed!

A lovely green and white tulip called 'Spring Green' - one of my favourites.

A pretty cottage tulip whose name I don't know but which holds memories of my friend
Margaret who gave them to me as a present several years ago and who has since died.

Comfrey flowers - a reminder that I must pick the young leaves and make comfrey ointment in the near future.

Narcissus poeticus and snakeshead fritillaries - almost all the fritillaries are selfseeded, I started a few years ago with about half a dozen bulbs and, as I leave the grass uncut until mid June while the daffodil leaves die back, the fritillaries also have chance to set seed. I have quite a few white ones among them now I'm pleased to say.

Finally a cottage garden in cross-stitch - a Prairie Schooler sampler that I stitched some years ago. Unusually for me I didn't include my initials and the year on this one. It might be clearer if you click on it to enlarge it. Time for bed now, I shall need all my energy tomorrow as I'm having Bilbo Baggins' young friend Pip to stay while her owners go down to Bedfordshire for a funeral. She's 14 months old and a lovely dog but I'm not sure how Bilbo will react to having another dog in the house......

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Home Thoughts From Abroad

Oh,to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees,some morning,unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

And after April,when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops- at the bent sprays edge-
That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups,the little children's dower
-Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!

Robert Browning 1812-1889

And that is just how it is in England at the moment, the sun is shining and almost overnight a soft green haze has appeared and the wind flowers and celandines are scattered through the woodlands and by the river.

Wood anenomes(windflowers) are predominantly white but it isn't unusual to find pink ones like this among the white.

There is something about the pure white ones that is especially beautiful though.

This photograph was taken in the early morning before the flowers had opened properly so doesn't show them at their best.

Lesser celandine - so bright and pretty withn their heart shaped leaves..

I love the bronze and green of these beautifully pleated young leaves - I'm not sure what kind of tree but it's a maple of some kind - probably a young sycamore. If anyone knows for sure please tell me:)

Young nettles and grass sparkling with dewdrops. I hope the dewdrops show up, clicking and making it larger might help.

Skunk cabbage (or lysichiton americanus)growing by the river - there are only a few of them but they are rather splendid looking. The slugs obviously thought so too!

The very first bluebell I've seenthis year, just one all by itself among a sea of green leaves. It's a little blurred but you get the general idea of the wonderful colour.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Thinking Blogger Award

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter,we had family here yesterday, this is Gabriel with his Uncle Matt....

...and his Aunty Jules.

I made my daily call at Rel's blog 'under the microscope' and found to my surprise and delight that he has chosen me for one of his Thinking Blogger awards. In my turn I have chosen the following five blogs for the award.

1. Cate at Beyond The Fields We Know is an incredibly talented photographer and writes prose that at times is almost lyrical, mostly she is writing about the wildlife and natural world in the area of eastern Ontario where she lives. Cate, more than anyone else, makes me think about the subjects she writes about. Do go and visit her, you won't be disappointed.

2. Val at stepping stones of truth is a recent addition to my favourite blogs, she lives in Dorset in the UK and her blog is full of interesting things -gardening, travel to wonderful places like Kyoto in Japan,Sinai,Iona and a little closer to home for her, Glastonbury. She does brave things like abseiling down the Hardy Monument too! It'a blog full of interest and beautiful photographs.

3. Kate at kate smudges in earth paint and life is a musician, gardener and artist who always has something interesting to say especially on the subject of gardening and famous gardeners and planthunters. There are plenty of other gems in there too.

4. MariNanci at smilnsigh has a visually beautiful blog especially if, like me, you happen to love cottages and cottage gardens. There are pictures I'd love to just step into and others that I could gaze on with pleasure for considerable amounts of time. The archives are well worth looking through too.

5. Tash at VintagePretty is the young lady who inspired me to start my own blog, she is a keen cook and grows her own vegatables and knits and crochets. Her site has some beautiful photographs and the archives contain a myriad wonderful recipes and there are some thoughtful essays on ecology and similar themes.

If any of the five ladies mentioned above wish to make their own awards then
1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think - and I hope you are better at it than I am!

2. Link to this post so that people can find their way back to the origin of the meme

3. Display the Thinking Blogger Award

The photo at the beginning of this post is of the Village Green at Astbury in Cheshire. I thought the daffodils looked wonderful.

I've decided to go ahead and publish this as it is and if my husband ever gets round to helping me then I'll add the Thinking Blogger logo and add proper links to the sites I've chosen, something else that I don't appear to be able to manage. I've used the link icon but although it appears when I'm writing nothing happens when I preview it. If only I knew what I was doing :( Right now I'm thinking that anything is better than nothing! I'll try to edit it properly asap.