Monday, 30 March 2020

one week in

Here we are, a week into the restrictions placed upon us to slow the spread of Covid-19. We are allowed out once a day for exercise, a run, walk or cycle of our usual length and as infrequently as possible for shopping for food. Since retiring, on days we spend at home, we  have been in the habit of walking for an hour or two in the morning and then a shorter walk in the afternoon. This week we have had to be content with just the one walk but I am very grateful for that.

Spring is here and walking from home is a pleasure. We see many more people than we normally do whilst walking but everyone is being very careful to maintain the required 2 metre gap as we pass.

The warm weather has brought out the spring flowers, wild cherry blossom and buds on the horse chestnut.

In a sheltered spot I found bluebells and wood anemone.

The hedges are turning white with blackthorn.

Walking this week, I have been very grateful for the countryside around our home and for having a garden, there are many less fortunate. In the coming weeks there may be more restrictions to being outdoors brought into force but for now at least we can enjoy our daily walks.

Thursday, 19 March 2020


I thought I'd post a few photographs of my garden. In this strange new world we are living in, it is comforting to notice the unfolding of spring and realise that in nature and in our gardens things are continuing much as normal. Shortly after taking these photos I saw the first butterfly of the year, a yellow Brimstone - always the first one of the year round here, the natural cycles continue.

There are masses of celandines in this shady border. Although they are considered a rather invasive weed I appreciate the show of colour carpeting the ground and in a few short weeks the leaves will have died down and the area will be full of lily of the valley. I also think they might be a good way of smothering early weeds but that might be wishful thinking!

I haven't posted for months but hope to show up a bit more frequently in the coming weeks, connection online is going to become more important to us as we are inevitably isolated from family and friends and missing our social activities.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Edinburgh in November

A few photographs from my visit to Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago. We were blessed with lovely weather, cold frosty mornings and bright blue sky days.

We are lucky to be able to visit the city several times a year and like to revisit favourite places as well as find something new. This time we went to Holyrood Palace - no pictures as photography was not allowed. The photograph above is Holyrood Park with Arthur's Seat on the skyline.

The skyline of Edinburgh is very distinctive and you often get glimpses of parts of it as you walk around the city. Above is a view of Carlton Hill from the Royal Botanic Gardens.

The Botanic Gardens are one of my favourite places to wander and look stunning at any time of the year. I am always drawn to the rock garden with its little paths and amazing array of plants,

still beautiful in November.

There were a few roses flowering in the Queen Mother's garden.

Although Edinburgh is a busy bustling capital city, quiet and calm spaces exist within it. The Water of Leith runs through the city providing another habitat for wildlife.

And of course right in the middle of the city, in the shadow of the castle, Princes Street Gardens are the perfect place to relax in the late autumn sunshine.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Early November

The woods near us are beautiful at any time of the year but especially so in the autumn and I wanted to share a few photographs. Now that we are both no longer working we are able to walk several times a week when we are at home and watch the seasons change.

Autumn is my favourite season, I love the colours of the trees but also the feeling that everything is quietening down for winter. No longer having to set an alarm for 6:00am, I am trying to slow down a little too.

A year into retirement, I'm still in the process of finding a routine to suit. To find a balance between going out, going away and filling the days because I have the opportunity to do so or staying at home and enjoying the house and garden. Between my preference for quiet time alone and the need to find new friendships and activities now that socialisation doesn't occur as a by-product of work. To decide whether to take part in regular activities such as classes or enjoy the freedom of not being tied to a time-table and being able to make plans at short notice.

I'm not sure I have it right yet but I am learning. When we are away visiting my mother and looking after her house, we add a couple of free days onto our stay and have a mini-holiday. The same when we visit our son in Edinburgh, a weekend with him, then a day or two to explore on our own. Also the importance of "white space" between activities at home, time to catch up and restore enough order to the house and garden to enable me to enjoy our next trip away.

These last two photographs were taken at the National Trust garden at Stourhead a couple of weeks ago. We made a stop there on our way down to Devon to visit mum - grateful for the opportunity to turn a routine journey into a day out.

Next up, a trip to Edinburgh where I am expecting the temperature to be a few degrees colder and the leaves to have already fallen from the trees.

Friday, 8 November 2019

The fairy tree

Back in the spring, some fairies arrived in an old beech tree in the woods.

They seemed very happy sitting there surrounded by their flower garland.

This week I was pleased to see that they were still there. Some butterflies arrived over the summer. The newest addition though was not placed by humans, these toadstools popped up by themselves providing a magical backdrop to the little scene. With all the gloomy news at the moment, its good to know there are still fairies in the woods.