'If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.' Marjorie Garber

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Bring out the Red, White and Blue

Before anyone points it out to me, I realise that I am always talking about the weather in my blog - how very English :)

But continuing with my Englishness...Phew, it's HOT!

Is it any wonder the British are preoccupied with the weather when it is so changeable? This May, we have gone from a rather cold, wet Spring to a hot, dry Summer, seemingly overnight. The garden is confused. I'm confused.

I'm not complaining, mind you. Long may this weather reign. And talking of reigning that leads me on nicely to that very, very historic day coming up soon, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. I'm loving all this patriotism. I wouldn't describe myself as a Royalist, but I love the design of the Union Jack. Always have done really. It's so bright and cheerful and whenever I see it, I smile. I ordered these the other day and they have just arrived ready for the weekend. Aren't they great?

I've had these cushions for a couple of years now and they have been christened Winston and Jock, obviously. I really need a welsh corgi and an irish setter to complete the set but I don't know if they are out there.


These cushions were a bargain about 18 months ago in Wilkinsons. Try buying them for the same price now - no chance.

And this union jack mug is one of my favourites. I have a matching apron too. They came from Tesco a few years ago. The Queenie mug was a bargain  I scooped yesterday at The Range, just £1.45!

So, you see, I am a bit of a Union Jack collector. The same cannot be said of the flag of St. George, the English national flag. I'm afraid the association of the far right in British politics and football hooliganism have put me off a bit.  Also, it is just a constant reminder of how our national football team fail to deliver at every tournament. I used to be a big fan of football. When I lived at my parents' home, we all watched football as a family on television every week and occasionally, live. I saw Georgie Best play :D 

However, being married to someone who isn't particularly a fan, (he'll watch the big matches but thats all; I suppose I should be thankful), and being present at friends's houses whilst the men in their lives watched football and they treat it as a very masculine concern, has put me off. I want to reignite my love of football this year - after all it is supposedly our national game. So come on England, show us you are still worthy! 

Back to flags, if you love that design,  St. George's flag, then there are plenty of examples out there to buy too thanks to the Euro 2012 tournament kicking off very soon.

Of course the other big event for us this year is the Olympics. I'm really excited. I think it is going to be a very memorable Summer. I can't wait...

Monday, 21 May 2012

Blooming Spring?

Goodness, isn't it cold for May? 
We haven't had rain yet today though so hopefully the weather is set to improve.

When the sun does shine, I'm hoping to make use of this beauty. I bought this gorgeous number on eBay. I'm a huge fan of eBay.

There are very few flowers in my garden at the moment. Everything is very lush and green, thanks to the rain, but the flowers are late.

The Auriculas are stunning.
However, our Wisteria has flowered for the first time ever this year. Just one flower, but what a beauty.

And this dashing chap paid a fleeting visit the other morning. 

I couldn't get close enough to take a decent picture but I was very pleased to see his colourful presence. 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

An April Postcard

April, what a washout! 
And I don't just mean the much mentioned fact that it was the wettest April since records began.

First of all, it started well. Hubby had a birthday. We went out for a lovely meal here, http://www.chinchinbarkitchen.com. A very laid back place where they do fab food and the staff are lovely - when or if you are in Bristol, I highly recommend a visit!

Then I caught a cold, a real stinker on Easter weekend! And all the plans I had for a very creative time almost evaporated, but luckily I got this bit of creativity in before the bug hit! Aided by my very artistic girls, I might add.

A few days were spent feeling sorry for myself and Youngest Darling Daughter, who also had the nasty virus, and thinking that as soon as the sun shines, we would feel much better. Did the sun shine? Somewhere, definitely, but not West of Centre.

'Oh well', I thought to myself, 'never mind we are off on holiday soon, at least I won't have a cold then.' We had booked a week in Sorrento and were very excited having never been to that area of Italy before. Sure enough by the time it came to leave for our holiday, I felt much better. 
Something inexplicable happened to Europe that week though. It rained everywhere. 

Sorrento was beautiful, even in the rain! But, oh how I wished we could see its beauty bathed in sunshine, instead of, well, just bathed!

We had rain everyday, most days it was heavy and torrential. We trudged round Pompeii in the cold and wet and it was flooded whilst we were there. It stopped raining long enough for the clouds to clear on top of Versuvius. The views from there were nothing short of breathtaking. And the sun did shine briefly at Herculaneum but on the way back to Sorrento, we spotted a twister in the bay - very impressive and very scary heading towards a cruise ship that had stopped there. Amazingly, we tried to get a photograph but it just vanished almost as quickly as it appeared, thankfully. I wouldn't have liked to be on that ship looking at a twisting tower coming towards me...

I thought of this poem as we faced the twister and floods:

 'O, To be in England
       Now that April's there...'

(Robert Browning. (1812–1889), Home-thoughts, from Abroad)

However, despite the damn awful weather, we had a wonderful time. Luckily, our Hotel was tip-top! Imagine how terrible it would have been if the Hotel was pants too! We ate far too much, drank far too much and generally took life at a slower pace. Beautiful, beautiful part of the world! Pompeii and Herculaneum are just fascinating. I hope to go back one day, maybe when Europe is in drought!

Then we had to come home. Darling Daughter First Born had exams to sit; Youngest Darling Daughter had to go back to school for her final term, gulp! And then Hubby got a cold. Poor thing, I sympathised having not long had one myself...

Then it struck again! Cold number two! How could this be, I usually only get one cold a year and here I was with two in a month. I was not happy! And it kept raining. I had all the holiday washing to do and it kept raining. Then Youngest Darling Daughter caught the cold too. We are obviously far too much alike and share far too much. I thought of this poem as I blew into a mansize tissue:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring 
Dull roots with spring rain.

(T S Eliot, (1888-1965), The Waste Land, 1922)

(Thank you to Darling Daughter First Born for the Easter Egg Photos)