Its some time that I have visited this page, so much so I wondered if I should just start a new thread or blog. Holding onto what has been is a theme for me, letting go has been a revelation. Excepting change is both inevitable but at times painful, but like the seasons their is always the promise of new experiences, growth, decay and renewal.
So that was summer! My blog along with many other projects and plans have laid neglected as time slipped through my hands like fine sand.
But I wont dwell on the things that I didn’t do and instead celebrate and give thanks for those things that I did manage to fit into my busy life.
I enjoyed spending time with family and friends celebrating a special occasion or sharing a meal or even a good cup of coffee with them.
Progress was made in teaching myself to crochet and I completed a small blanket, another is a work in progress. I appreciated the mind calming effect the crochet had on me and satisfied the need I have to create something.
Some how I found time to sit and read a few books, something I pledged to do at the start of the year, but didn’t believe I would make time to do.
I gave up the best part of a nights sleep to watch the Red Moon, but it was worth while the cold toes and any sleep deprivation.
Somehow I have lost the time to spend outdoors either enjoying my garden and allotment or just appreciating nature and the seasons and boy have I felt the poorer for it. I did venture out on a couple of rambles into the Kent countryside with friends this summer and yesterday rode my bike along the Thames on a Charity bike ride. It was during this ride after I had released my companions to accelerate to satisfied a good time on their phone app, that I stopped and looked at the scenery, felt the warm autumn sunshine, listened to the silence and admired the autumnal leaves on the trees which resembled small pieces of stained glass twinkling in the sun.
So whilst we do not celebrate Thanks Giving here in the UK, I am pausing to give thanks for the good times I have spent so far this year and to make myself a promise to slow down and make a great deal more time for the important things in life
I know it’s only August but the other week I got to use the voucher I was given at Christmas for a massage at Castle Farm Lavender Festival at Shoreham Kent. I often take a drive out to their Farm Shop throughout the year to indulge in my love of their lavender products and browse in the gift shop. But this year I was one of the lucky people to book a session to have a massage out in the lavender fields..”Heaven is a place on earth”!
I have to admit to being slightly apprehensive prior to the session…a newby to massage and the element of public nudity didn’t appeal to me, much to the amusement of my friends, but I decided to overcome my misgivings and embrace a new experience and that my knotted shoulders deserved a treatment…so I tried to relax and enjoy having an overdose of lavender as the warm oil was rubbed into my back and the heady blue scent swamped my senses. So ok a tub of their lavender ice cream was a bit excessive afterwards……but I think I will be back next July for another massage treatment.
Whilst our backs were turned the trees have suddenly filled their branches with greenery. May has given us warm sunny days, strong winds and heavy showers. I have grown tired of the wind testing my fence in the garden, but welcomed some rain to refill the water butts and soften the ground at the allotment.
One of my early morning visitors.
Yesterday I set off for a good long walk and a good long chat with an old friend. Our walk took us through woods and farmland with fantastic clear views across the Medway Towns. Much of the area around Chatham and the River Medway is heavily built up, but how refreshing it was to step back and walk in so much beautiful countryside.
What amazed me was how few people we encountered on our walk, if you didn’t include the section down through Capstone Country park which was full of families enjoying the sunshine and a welcomed pit stop at a pub, virtually the only person we encountered on route was a lone courteous mountain biker on a steep downhill path.
It did occur to me that it might be slightly irresponsible to walk off into the ‘wilds’ of Kent reliant solely on my companions local knowledge, perhaps I should invest in a good map of the area.
Despite our constant chatting we did stop to draw breath and appreciate the many wild flowers along the way, making me wish I knew the names of all of them. Along with the fields of rape and the Hawthorn blossom there was plenty to sneeze about as the air was heavy with flower and blossom scent. No doubt enjoying the feast of pollen was a colony of buzzy builders. Sorry the photo is a little fuzzy and I didn’t get close enough to even begin to identify them.
All in all a very enjoyable day.
I think it fair to say I have had better weeks. Work left me feeling more worn out each day and I was starting to feel mentally and physically exhausted. Then the other morning as I forced myself out of bed I glanced out into the garden admiring the apple blossom just as a fox trotted down the lawn. The next visitor arrived was a Greater spotted Woodpecker looking spended in his black and white plumage and bright scarlet underside. He was feeding on the fat feeder hanging on the rose arch. My visitors made me smile and helped lift the little cloud that had hung over my head all week though I had to resist the temptation to stay home and enjoy the sunshine and garden some more.
Today I went for a walk in the woods to enjoy the Bluebells. The blue scented flowers edged most of the woodland paths and in the clearings covered the banks. There are few sights that match these little flowers and the scented performance they put on for such a brief time each year. I’m happy that some of them have migrated into my garden.
At last some rain, hopefully enough to soften the thick crust on my allotment. I won’t moan if we have a little more this week to help me get on with some work that need doing on the plot.
The garlic and onions I planted are starting to grow well, but the early peas have had a little trim around their first set of leaves giving them a frilly appearance. I thought I would try a few early sowings straight in the ground and have started off back up plants at home in the greenhouse.
My rhubarb is flourishing and I have already harvested several lots. Not wishing to sound a ‘lush’ I have attempted a batch of Rhubarb Vodka, having seen a recipe posted on an allotment site.
1 litre of Vodka
Two sticks of Rhubarb cut into small chunks
2/3 tablespoons of caster sugar
Grated rind of one lemon
2 cloves and a stick of cinnamon
Shake jar every day for two weeks
filter through muslin
store for two/three months before drinking
(I dont even drink Vodka but was intrigued enough to give it a go)
The old Bramley Apple tree in the garden is heavy with beautiful blossom and the promise of apple sauce, pies and crumbles in months to come. In the past I have lost the whole crop to a sudden cold frost in late spring, so finger’s crossed! Originally bought as a small stick from Woolworths many moons ago and having survived its companion a Cox it has served us well. It did fall victim to the Great Storm October 1987 and was uprooted and laying sadly on the lawn by morning. Ropes and a lot of effort managed to pull the tree back to a standing position and it ‘lived to tell the tale’.
A few weeks back I mentioned that I was taking part in a project called a Month of Letters.
I regularly write to family and friends and enjoy the odd piece of mail that comes through the door that isn’t a bill. It was a busy month of writing and posting letters, pity I didn’t set out to be a little more organised so as to remember exactly who I had already written to. But as a few replies started to trickle back in it reminded me of the pleasure of receiving personal handwritten mail.
Clearing out some paper work I came across and re read several old letters sent from relatives now gone and thought how lovely it was to see their familiar handwriting. It made me wonder what had become of the ‘bundles’ of blue note paper in lined envelopes written in black ink and fine handwriting by my mother and said to have been kept for me by relatives. Sadly these little treasures were probably lost in the process of various house clearance.
So the letter writing challenge might be over but I intend to attempt to continue writing at least one peice of personal mail a week for the rest of the year.
I am often drawn to visit the local churchyard at St. Paulinus in Crayford which is perched on top of the hill overlooking the town with views stretching as far as the horizon.
The 12th century building with its flint bell tower sits in the old churchyard describe as a ‘living’ churchyard where the aim is to preserve the natural ecology of the area. Whilst some people complain that the grass is left to grow for part of the year and that the graves look unkempt and scruffy I find this place a haven of calm beauty.
Throughout the seasons if I’m passing I like nothing more than to wander around marveling at this serene oasis while the busy traffic outside goes past unnoticed.
Day fourteen of the challenge ‘A Month of Letters’ and I caught up with the number of letters sent. Well strictly speaking todays was delivered by hand not posted. But I guess it counts.