Taken first thing this morning. It looks like I have a blue filter on this but actually it's unedited!
It's a wet and misty start to February up here. It's warmer than it has been, yet yesterday I felt colder than I had for a while: it's all the damp, I think. I got rained on yesterday lunchtime and it wasn't until I actually went to bed that I warmed up! Never in my life was I so warm and cosy last night!

The first thing I want to say is that this post won't be about politics. Like no doubt a lot of you I'm exhausted by it and have had many late night discussions on the dark and depressing matters we face, and I've not the time right now to say anything productive. There is so much out there, so many articles and opinion pieces, that there is absolutely no need for me to say how horrible things are if I'm not going to be productive about it. I would think later in the month when I have time to write something carefully thought through I'll say something then, but for now this is more of a usual first day of the month personal post.

So then, January has been and gone. We had a little bit of snow but nothing too exciting, mainly it's been grey and wet. The poor chickens are still on lock-down: the Prevention Order has been extended to 28th February, and as the chickens have been going a little nutty (the older ones have been miserable, the younger ones have, and I kid you not, twice been seen throwing themselves against the side of the aviary) I've maintained feeding them indoors but I've been letting them have supervised garden trips a few times a day. It's not ideal by any stretch, the whole thing is getting pretty frustrating now, but it is what it is. They are enjoying a little walk in the garden and being able to act like chickens instead of being locked up on paving slabs. I can't wait for this to be over!

In garden news, things are starting to happen! Apologies for these blurry photos, but here are some shoots peaking through:

Meg and a recently planted azalea.
Florence, a bare willow tree, and a dead-looking greenhouse. 
Bare apple tree, spiraea, buddleia, and a plant (the green leafy one) I don't know the name of!
(Agnes, when I took these photos, was laying an egg and Ruby was having her dust bath, hence no pictures of those two)

I also planted snowdrops, which don't seem to be showing up: I planted them rather late so really I'm expecting them next year, and also some bluebells (I'm not sure what they're doing either!). 

I'm so looking forward to spring and summer, even more than I usually do this time of year! The picture of the apple tree: that part of the garden is lovely I think in the warmer months. It'll be nice to compare pictures.

And aside from gardening, I'm reading plenty. I started The Hobbit today for Brona's Lord of the Rings read-along, and I also have some Chekhov, Marlowe, and Jacobean revenge tragedies on the go (I won't read them all this month of course, I'm thinking one of each plus Love's Labour Lost by Shakespeare). This month I would love to finish Aristotle's Ethics, but so far I've not even finished Book I. It's partly avoidance: I am firmly planning to read it all in the coming weeks. I also hope to read The Cowards by Josef Škvorecký, In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus, Ninety-Three by Victor Hugo, and The Eternal Husband by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. And speaking of Dostoyevsky, I had a disastrous time with The Brothers Karamazov: when I first read it I loved it, and so I thought this time around I'd try a different translation. I battled, procrastinated, and complained through Book I before I finally gave up and returned to my original translation, but alas the damage had been done: I hadn't kept up, was lost, and didn't want to read it any more. I've decided to leave it until November when Adam is holding his read-along and also abandon The Devils which I planned to read more out of a feeling of obligation to revisit. I'll leave that for a year or two. Finally, if there is time (which I doubt!) I'd love to at least start Felix Holt by George Eliot. That may be a March read, though.

So there's February planned! I'm most looking forward to seeing changes in the garden and planting some seeds - I'm so excited for sweet peas. Last year I planted white ones and a few pinks and purples, this year I'm simply going to see how many I can feasibly fit in the garden - I want thousands! I'm feeling rather sombre at present (hard to avoid in the current political climate) and I'm trying to stay positive, and spring, the very idea of spring, is exciting. 

Ah, and one more February plan: I'm hoping I'll go to Barter Books in the next week or so. I'll be sure to let you know what I come up with there!


  1. recently i had the same experience with Herodotus... i had an OUP edition, fairly new, and tried it but the writing was awful... like it was translated by an ignorant freshman... so i went back to the version i had read many years ago, an Everyman edition translated by George Rawlinson (in the mid-19th c.) and it was like a different book - very readable... but by that time i'd lost my impetus and went on to something else; i'll get back to it sometime... maybe... nice to see Florence and Meg; they're looking well as i hope Agnes and Ruby are also... too bad they're in jail... Bookstore trip ahead! YES! i'm tentatively planning one to Powell's pretty soon... it's still winter here: not even the alders have begun budding yet... spring will spring soon, we all hope... best wishes to all....

    1. Agnes and Ruby are both well, too. Agnes more so, Ruby does seem down. She's ok, eating fine, not lost weight, looking well, but she seems fed up. I think she's missing the warmer weather as well to be honest. And Meg and Flo are well, active as ever. Florence is adorable, such a cuddly chicken. I love them all, but Florence really is quite special :)

      My Herodotus was Aubrey De Selincourt - I'm sure I've read something else translated by him too... I'll look out for the Rawlinson translation (as I've said I enjoyed reading it, but it was so very hard).

      Have fun at Powell's :)

  2. I love your pots ..... pots like that are very expensive here. Many people go with plastic unless they are willing to put out the money to be decorative. I hate plastic so I've tried the terra cotta types but usually forget to bring them in and they crack and split during the winter. :-Z

    Today is just beautiful outside so you've inspired me to go out and take some pictures if I can get home in time. Such fun to see your garden.

    I am dying to have a book shop, because it's been soooo long. Yes, please, let us know what you find. I'm very envious of Mudpuddle's planned trip to Powell's ....

    I actually remembered to compile my February post in time! Shocking! Ha ha! ...... ;-)

    1. Actually I was lucky with that big blue pot. I think it was £25 full price, but in the autumn it was on sale for £5. I wish I'd bought more! I'm not keen on plastic either but it's more affordable. Most of my pots are plastic. Also, with the small pots, Meg broke loads last year so I have to stick to plastic, really. I love Meg, but she's very destructive. You can see in that picture she's actually digging up the lawn and she continued to do so as I took Florrie's picture...

      I haven't been book shopping for ages either! I honestly think my last big trip was for my birthday last March. Surely not, though.... I hardly bought any books last year. Surely can't have been that long though...

  3. Love your chickens! And I hope you have a very happy February. :)

    1. Thank you! And same to you :D

  4. I think we all understand how you feel about the political climate. It is quite debilitating at times. All the more reason to read books we love and to get into the shops, spend time with our animals and block the rest of the world as long as we can. Nice of you to not take pictures of your hens when they are laying an egg. :-) Travellin Penguin

    1. Debilitating is the word. It's so depressing and frustrating. It's one thing to debate issues with informed people with other political views, it's quite another to see people rage on inanely with completely false logic. Being with the birds and reading, yes, it keeps me sane :)


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