Sunday, 2 April 2017


First bee of the year (24th March).
This second day of April is absolutely glorious, and I'm afraid I don't have any batteries in my camera to take pictures! I do have some pictures from last week to share, but for now trust me: it's lovely! Blue skies and white fluffy clouds, warm, breezy, and many of the flowers are out: the crocuses on the left there have now gone, but the daffodils are still very plentiful. Tulips are beginning to grow (no flowers as yet) and there's a hint of a promise of blossom on my cherry tree and apple tree, as well as a new (tiny) tree I bought last week - a Fuji Cherry tree. One of the lilacs is just beginning to show itself and all the trees around here have tiny little pearl green buds. If it stays like this I'll share some pictures later in the week when I have batteries.

I'm very happy spring is here to bring some cheer. Life in Britain this past fortnight has been rather unsettling to say the least. We had the Westminster terrorist attack on the 22nd, which managed to feel both shocking and inevitable. Despite the horror it did bring a great sense of unity, albeit brief, when everyone joined to condemn it and felt a determination to carry on despite it. I don't think anyone summed it up better than Andrew Neil. And then of course Article 50 was triggered on the 29th. In four days we're back into hard austerity, seem to be on the point of losing Gibraltar or if not some great unpleasantness with Spain, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, has asked a second time now for an independence referendum, and meanwhile various companies are beginning to leave the UK. To be frank, it's not going too well so far and I doubt the Tories will make a good job of it.

But, on to more pleasant topics, I've been fairly productive these past few weeks. I managed to finish decorating the computer room, not quite the colour I thought it would be but I do love it (there's a picture below), it's a blue-green mint colour (I thought it would be more of a green mint but no matter) and, best news of all, I managed to sort my books out! I was getting rather irritable at the situation of having to do battle with a pile of furniture to get access to the M - Z section but I finally got the extra bookcase and everything bar gardening books is in order, perfect blissful order. I also cleared the vegetable patch and planted my potatoes and onions, and cleared out the greenhouse and cleaned all the glass. There's not much in there at the moment, just some garlic, night scented stock seedlings, mint, Florence as you can see, and one other thing: a bath. In March we replaced the bath, sink, and toilet, and the old bath is waiting to be turned into some kind of water feature that will stay in the greenhouse. I've always wanted to grow waterlilies and now's my chance! As for other gardening plans, they are plentiful but I do tend to be very much off the cuff, just seeing what's around and what I can afford at the moment. It's quite rare for me to actually plan anything! I do have some new seeds to plant this week, though, some I've never grown before:

Left to right:
Morning Glory (Heavenly Blue), Petunia (Confetti Mixed F2), Foxglove (Excelsior Mixed),
and Aquilegia (McKana Giant Mixed).

I do have one old favourite, though: sweet-peas. Here's last year's (taken on the last day of August 2016):

I'm so looking forward to long days of sun and flowers - I hope so much we have a good summer.

As for reading plans: I've decided to call it a day on my Classics Club II list: since I started it in summer 2014 I've read 315 classics, the original goal was 350 but I feel like I'm spending too much reading energy trying to push through the final 35, so once I've blogged about the five Chekhov plays I read last week I'll finish my list on 320 (I'll probably put a post up on Chekhov either tomorrow or Tuesday). I had no fancy for reading the remaining titles any time soon, but I would rather start a Classics Club III list instead of altering the II list. Besides, 320 is perfectly respectable for a Classics Club list I think! With that in mind, my reading plans are pretty limited for April! I have five definite posts on the horizon: The Lion and the Unicorn by George Orwell, Paradiso by Dante, the play Sir Thomas More (partly written by Shakespeare), Chekhov, and A Flash in the Pan by Émile Zola, all (except Zola) I read in March. I only have one book planned for April - Le Morte D'Arthur by Thomas Malory: I'm determined that it'll be one of the first titles I finish from my new Classics Club list! What else will be on that list I'm not sure, but I do know it won't exceed 200! I'm looking forward to doing it, and those last titles of the II list were dragging me down a little. So, when I put up my Chekhov post, I regard my Classics Club II list as finished! 

And now, I'm going to enjoy some sunshine. Before I go, here's a few pictures of the new computer room and how the garden looked in the third week of March (as I say I'll no doubt put some new pictures up later in the week or over the weekend):

Computer room.
Daffodils and camellia.

Daffodils in the rain (yesterday).

Florence and Meg enjoying one of the first sunny mornings of the season.

Bamboo, pansies, irises, and hellebore.
Happy April, everyone!


  1. what a glorious place you have! we have a fairly large yard also, and are very aware of the amount of work it takes to keep it nice looking...

    expect a new computer on Tues; can't wait; this one is making ominous sounds and creaks and grumbles a lot...

    1. Thank you! It's still a very young garden: only took an interest in gardening a few years ago when I heard the bees were in decline in the UK. There's only a few mature plants in there, but in a few years all the little ones I've planted will be filling the place out :)

      I'll be thinking of you tomorrow! A knackered computer is a miserable thing... :)

  2. Hey, my comment got eaten. :( Anyway, it sure does seem like it must be pretty worrying in the UK just now -- kind of like us, too. But enjoy those daffodils :)

    1. Sorry your comment got eaten! I looked in my spam folder just in case but it's not there. That's happened to me too, went through a phase a few months ago of happening every day. I always 'copy' my comments before posting now.

      Anyway, yes, thank you. It's all very worrying, same for you too I've no doubt. If people would just be a little more... measured, moderate? Something along those lines. I think we've had this conversation before about how there are decent Tories, decent Republicans, etc, but then there's the louder awful element that seems to dominate politics at present.

      And yes, I am enjoying the daffodils! I must say Meg destroyed a whole section (a host!) yesterday but there's still plenty more :)

  3. I love seeing the hens and can appreciate them more now that I've been to my friend's farm. You can't beat animals to lift your spirits!

    I can't believe that you've almost finished your second CC list. Brava! I'm still struggling through my first but enjoying myself.

    I hope your April is more wonderful than you could hope for!

    1. Thanks Cleo :) I do love the hens (though, as I just said to Jean above, Meg did dig up and / or snap about 12 daffodils yesterday - THAT didn't raise my spirits! ;) Aside from that little moment, yes, hens are marvellous little dinosaurs!

      Glad you're enjoying your CC list - I actually stopped enjoying my 2nd one, made it too long and rather 'heavy' if that's the right word, which is why I'm stopping after those Chekhov plays. Made a tentative start on the third one, going to make it shorter and I will challenge myself, but not so as I'm reading then writing about 5 difficult works a week! It was a good experience in a way but I'm done :)

      And thank you, I hope you have an excellent April too! :D

  4. You shouldn't read what you don9t enjoy. Good for you. Having just left Tasmania's autumn for 2 weeks in spring here in Japan I am getting a second spring. The cherrry blossoms just coming out. Looking forward to seeing some gardens. Yours looks great. I love tulips. Enjoy your new cleaned up spaces and those wonderful hens.

    1. Thank you :) Spring in Japan must be very beautiful with all the cherry blossom - how lovely! Will you share some pictures on your blog?


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