Sunday, 25 May 2008

The End of May #2

Ever since I can remember we've trooped down to the pretty village of Endon at the end of May for the Well Dressing.
I've been in the Brownie, Guide and May Queen parades, been burnt to a crisp and soaked to the skin and every year I've so enjoyed being part of the ancient service to bless the miraculous spring water that's never dried up and celebrating being part of a country community.
Well dressings are a beautiful tradition, local to pretty much Derbyshire and a few of the most northen Staffordshire villages around us.
Every year in May and June, volunteers, school children and talented artists, put hours of work into producing amazing depictions of biblical and historical events with flower petals, seeds, foliage, grasses - pretty much anything natural to hand really and colour fills the countryside for weeks on end.
Most villages have just the one well - Endon has two - but others have as many as seven and they bring coach loads of visitors out to see them. Oh, I could've spent hours gazing at this wonderful creation but the tomobola, hook-a-duck and maypole dancing called in the end.

Yesterday was glorious - blowy but glorious. Much ice-cream scoffing, helter-skeltering and fun was had by us all, followed by a slap-up tea and mooch around my parents fabulous garden. What a day! I love a well-dressing.

P.S Thanks to Catherine & Heidi Ann for tagging me - if its ok I'll do that on my next post - thank you! Better get thinking.

Friday, 23 May 2008

The End of May #1

Six years ago today, Woody and I stood together and made the most special of promises. It was a blustery day then too that blew us and our dearest friends and family here for a wonderful day. Life's moved on an awful lot since then but still he's everything to me and more. Thanks for being my Woody, love you always and forever. Sx

My anniversary flowers - just

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Summer Haze

Is there anywhere better for a bit of r&r than a bluebell wood on a still summer's day?

They may be on the wane but the haze remains and their beautiful scent lingers in the air.
It's been a busy old week for one reason or another and the garden has been my retreat. If you can ignore the unkempt lawn and the weeds, things are beginning to brighten up. I even kept up with Gardener's World this week and did as St Carol Klein recommended, weeding and mulching with dad's marvellous homemade compost.

(That's where the trowel went then.)
And here's the assistant gardener. Most adept at digging holes, falling off fences and generally flattening anything that looks vaguely comfy (especially if it's on the point of flowering!)

Wednesday is a soft old lady who hasn't chased a thing in her life and enjoys a place in the sun to watch the world go by. When I bought my first flat she was part of the fixtures and fittings and since then she's moved out from South London, up North into the countryside, never batting an eyelid.

Poor girl doesn't get much of a look-in thesedays and because they enjoy being outside so much in the garden, (especially as she and her partner in crime Alf have decidedly dodgy tummies), there's not as much knee-sitting time to enjoy, so instead she likes to follow me around the garden for a mid-weeding stroke and keep an eye on what I'm up too. She's a lovely friend, a little bit dozy and the sweetest cat in the world (but she'll never have a career as a model, terrible pose!)

And a quick show of my treasures this week. I'm so chuffed with them, a lovely pair of vintage pillowcases with a sweet pink, stripey frill that'll look beautiful with my embroidered, floral pillowcases. They look a lot nicer now they've been ironed honestly, but not bad for £2.50 all the same!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Summer Treasures

So the rain has finally come and I must admit I was rather pleased because we still haven't managed to get the outside tap working and lugging the watering can about to tend my precious plants is a bit too much like hard work.
Even though today was grey an drizzly it was full of hapiness for me because I had a wonderfully rare treat, a couple of hours of Barney and mummy time on a trip into town. It doesn't happen often and I worry a lot about our special bond diminishing now that he's at school and because on work days I hardly see him at all. Thankfully, even though he's fighting off a cold, we had a perfect time today being quiet together, holding hands, spotting elephants in the town quiz, wondering about things and chatting.

(A treat from mum's garden, aren't they fabulous.)
A trip to the old fashioned sweet shop in the Butter Market is always the first port of call. The lady there always talks so kindly to B and he's ever so polite back that it makes my heart want to burst! While munching plenty of chewy teeth, white mice and fried eggs we pottered around the collector's market looking at the wonderful treasures on display.

B was given a small, vintage-style toy car because the chap was selling it in a tray of various bits and bobs and didn't really want anything for it - it made B's day. I found an ancient galvanised bucket to use as a planter and this sweet tiny cake stand for just £1. I think I might use it to display my few strings of pearls or save it for vintage baubles at Christmas.

My most favourite find were these wonderful watercolours. There was an enormous pile of floral and country scenes that had come from a house clearance and we rummaged through the lot to find this lovely pair, again £1 each. They're quite big so I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for some bargain frames. I think they're glorious, just what I was looking for to add some colour to our rather plain, cheerless hall and stairs.

And as soon as the sun comes out again I'm going to be skipping through the fields in the most lovely skirt I think I have ever owned. The minute I saw it I knew it would be coming home with me - sorry for displaying this on my dresser again! It's the best place in the house to take pictures as the light floods in through the conservatory but everyone must be so bored of seeing these plates!
And finally a rather dull, everyday picture but one that makes both me and Woody so thrilled. After living here for six months we finally have somewhere to display our books!

Our funny triangle shaped house with huge windows means that there are very few places to put up shelves or bookcases, but that big blue & yellow Swedish shop came up trumps and delivered two of these slim, bargain bookcases which finally make our place feel more like home. They need a bit of prettying up but for now I'm so pleased just to have got rid of a few more boxes!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Cottage Garden Love

What a week. Blissful, balmy weather that's seemed never ending. All week I've gazed out over the countryside and my breath's been taken away by the beauty of it all. Outside my door the pots are in bloom and I just wish I could share the scent of my bargain pinks I found for just £1 each at the fruit shop in town. Unbelievable, the most enchantingly sweet and vanilla-infused scent I've ever smelt. Just lovely.
Readers of this blog will probably know by now that I dream of creating a cottage garden here at the new house. I'm an old fashioned girl at heart and dream of soaring spires of colour and frothy borders, overspilling with flowers. Well, my patch is slowly getting there but it'll be a while before I get there so in the meantime I've been collecting pictures of cottage gardens for inspiration.
This vintage hanky box from This Vintage Life was such a find. The colours are much more vibrant than they look on the picture and is my favourite.

I walked past this picture on a stall on the collectors' market for weeks, umming and ahhing about whether I should ask how much the chap wanted for it. Why didn't I do it sooner - £4, for an original watercolour! I love it and now it sits on the frame above the dining room door.

Couldn't resist this old advertising sign, the cardboard is a bit spotted with mould but just adds to the charm I think.

I bought these, almost a matching pair, from a charity shop a few weeks apart. There's admittedly more garden in the top one, which I've posted about before but I do love the lady carrying a baby on her shoulder into the house in the one below, it reminds me of myself with my boys on a warm, sunny day.
Hopefully we'll have a few more days of this early summer to enjoy but if not, my plants - and me too - will enjoy the rain when it comes and look forward to the flowers appearing in my own little cottage-style garden.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Glorious May

Wasn't today just the most lovely, lovely day. After a crazy day yesterday spent haring to Sheffield and back, a busy day in the office then whizzing off to dancing for my jive class, today was just what I needed.
Nothing more hectic than strolling to school with the boys then a couple of hours pootling about the steam railway at the end of the road and the river and canal below it with Little A.

Sun beaming all day and a soft gentle breeze to accompany it, bliss.

May is probably my favourite month of the year (well outside November and December!). I love so many things about it, this beautiful month when nature truly seems to burst into life;

***The smell of garlicky ransoms down by the river

***The return of the swooping, diving swallows and house martins

***May blossom and horse chestnut candles

***Butterflies on the wing

***The first well dressings of the season

***Drifts of bluebells through the beechwood

Little A and I spent all day outside playing in water, racing up and down the slide and then a quiet half hour in the churchyard of St Edward's, me with my new Susan Hill book (thank you for all the recommendations, I got this in a charity shop for £1!)

and Little A taking a well-earned rest.

The boys bathed their dinosaurs together outside in the late afternoon sun and I've finally got around to mowing the lawn.
So here I sit, slightly sunburnt (oops!), cherishing a dream of a day, the joy of nature and the simple things in life. (Fingers crossed, maybe getting to sit outside our local to watch the barges slip by as the sun goes down).

Friday, 2 May 2008

Reasons to be Cheerful

1) Fab new bag
Not really Cath Kidston but not all that far off, my £1.50 bargain seriously cheered up the run to the veg market this week. I don't 'do' blue all that much which is odd because its one of my favourite colours so I am rather chuffed that this lovely bag is bringing a splash of spring to my shopping.

2) Painted prettiness
I couldn't resist the painted roses on this pretty glass jug and ... well... I think I think its a nightlight holder but I'm not sure the glass is quite thick enough. Any ideas?

3) Favourite flowers
Hurrah, there are stocks in the flower shops! Its our wedding anniversary at the end of the month (6 years already - blimey) and their most heavenly scent takes me right back to our special day and my beautiful bouquet of cream stocks.

4) Fabulous bloggers
Thank so much for all the lovely get well wishes (pretty much back to normal now) and sweet comments about my teeny garden. Not so sure my roses will rival those gorgeous David Austin pictures but all your positive gardening thoughts are sure to help.

And this special treat to myself arrived while I was feeling under the weather. My beautiful corsage made by the very talented Kim at Ragged Roses (ooh more blue!). Sorry it's taken me a while to post about it Kim but I truly love it and it looks smashing on my spring mac. Thank you!
Have a lovely Bank Holiday all. I'm off for now for a spot of Friday night curry, Gardener's World and hopefully a car boot at a village over the hills on Sunday. Yippee!