Thursday 31 March 2011

The Enchanted April

Every March I feel miserable, the result of months of low light levels and cold weather. It seems to have been an especially long winter this year. I found a paperback copy of 'The Enchanted April' in the mobile library earlier this month. I've read this book several times and given hard back Folio editions as presents to friends. I don't have a copy of my own as I never intend to read it repeatedly. But I borrowed the book from the library once more and thoroughly enjoyed it.
The story is about a mismatch of female characters, living in London, who answer an advertisement to rent a castle in Italy for the month of April. London in early spring is wet and miserable while Italy proves to be a riot of flowers, obliging servants and restorative sunshine. It is pure escapist, female literature and makes you long for warmth and beauty! It prompted me to plan a holiday in Sorrento. Then common sense and memories reminded me how bitterly cold it can be in Italy so early in the year and I chose a different destination, Tomorrow we go to Madeira for a short break. 
I've just looked at their weather forecast for the week ahead - it does not look good! 

Strong winds have snapped the stems of the narcissi, a good excuse to bring them into the house and enjoy their perfume.

Auriculas are flowering their socks off in the greenhouse.

When I get back home the pear trees should be a mass of blossom.

Sunday 27 March 2011


Here is the door to my garden shed where I store innumerable pots, cloches, tools and the summer furniture.
The 'St Patrick's Day' daffodils have finally deigned to flower. Better late than never!

Yellow is the over-riding colour at this time of year. Marsh marigolds edge the pond 

and quiet corners of the garden are carpeted with the common primrose, seen here underplanting a quince bush.

The primula denticula alba came from my Aunt Elsie's garden in Kilcreggan, Scotland. She died last year, the last of my parents' generation, and I am pleased to have this springtime flower to remember her by.

In the greenhouse my auriculas are starting to give a far more vibrant display than their garden relatives. Mine are all un-named varieties.

Other colours are just coming into bud.

I picked and made my favourite rhubarb pudding for lunch,  rhubarb and orange meringue, the recipe is in my June 2010 'Vegetable Garden' posting.
The rhubarb pieces are cooked in a custard before being topped with meringue

and cooked again until golden in colour.

This recipe is equally good eaten hot or cold. It can be served in individual ramekins for dinner parties.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Spring at last

It has been a perfect spring day with a clear blue sky and sunshine. There was no cold wind and the garden at last is coming to life and bursting into colour. One of the nicest things, which my blog cannot share with you, is the birdsong. Every size of bird seemed to have something to say today, from the blackbird at first light to the owl deep in the woods as we walked at sunset.

This is a favourite camellia bush just opening out of bud.

This small vinca tops some of the garden walls. It tends to wander very readily, but is kept in check with a good haircut every now and then.

The garden seat has been renovated and today, at least, it is warm enough to sit in the sunshine for a while.
Himself is very pleased with the interior of the garage, still clear of all the junk that had accumulated there before the rebuild.
Where is the junk now? 

Take a look at what remains of the old dog pens.
We can't get in to find a thing - an absolute disgrace! 

Sunday 20 March 2011

Sunday Lunch

A group of us met at a friend's house today for Sunday lunch. It isn't possible to park the car on the narrow street where she lives, so we left it a little distance away and sauntered back along the road with  our contribution of pudding and wine in a basket. We passed a strange window display. What was it all about? A very odd mixture of old teddy bears, phrenology and Second World War ephemera.
As I was photographing this curious display the owner came out of a doorway.  His appearance was also rather eccentric.
The large bear, he told us, was wearing his father's  Home Guard uniform from the Second World War. The window display was there just for his own pleasure, it wasn't a shop with anything for sale, just an odd collection of family memories. 

Our friend's house is an old weaver's cottage, full of character. 

The sun shone and the tiny walled garden was a perfect sun-trap. We were able to sit outside for the first time this year!