Posted in response to the Daily Post weekly photo challenge.  This weeks theme ‘Close Up

I’m glad to say we have gazillions of bees in our garden at the mo’ and they particularly like my lavender.  There are several different types, and lets face it, at first glance they all look the same, but with the help of a Friends of the Earth identification guide, I’m slowly beginning to recognise the differences. This one is a Common Carder Bumblebee (I think) which you can tell by his bouffant yellow ‘do’ and the yellow stripes that go right down to his bottom.

I’ve always rather fancied keeping a few hives, but really, having plenty of flowers in the garden has bought enough buzzy visitors in to satisfy my bee love.

You can find out about the FOE BEE CAUSE and get your own Bee Saver Kit by clicking here.

My world this Wednesday

  • The campaign for the General Election has officially started in England this week. You could say election fever has gripped the nation, but it’s the sort of fever that makes you want to tuck up in bed with the covers over your head.  The campaign so far (and I’m sure it will continue thus) seems to be a succession of party leaders sniping and making snide remarks about each other.  No one in the country has a clue who will come out on top, and it certainly looks like it’s going to be another hung parliament.  I’m just praying that the disgraceful UKIP don’t get a look-in on any coalition.
  • Yesterday,I joined the gym. No, I didn’t think I would either, but apart from their beautiful pool being just soooo inviting, I’ve been feeling generally blobby and lacking in energy, which I put down to being just a teeny bit heavier than I was this time last year. I keep reminding myself that I’m carrying the equivalent of several bags of sugar around with me all the time, and that’s why I’m feeling tired.
    I’m taking my first class today, Yogalates, which is the evil son of Yoga and Pilates.  I’m a little nervous – will all the others be young and fit? Will it be a bit too punishing for me? Will I make an absolute berk of myself (I usually do…should be used to it by now)?  I expect I’ll live through it either way, and I’m looking forward to a good swim and perhaps, a relaxing steam, afterwards.
  • I’ve been trying to tidy up the garden, but it’s so bloomin’ windy, it blows my eyes to the back of my head every time I venture out. It’s been like this for days now.  At the moment the sun is out and through the window it looks quite tempting, but having just got back from walking the dog, I know that that fierce wind bites right through to your bones. Nope, I’m just going to stay here in the warm and look through the window at all the new weeds popping up and thumbing their noses at me.
  • Lunching with a friend tomorrow. We are ‘ladies wot lunch’.  We don’t see each other often, but when we do we like to catch up over a glass of wine and some yummy food.  This is one of the great pleasures of retirement!  I can’t eat too much though, as I have my regular yoga class in the afternoon.  This is another reason I would like to lose a couple of inches from my waist…a spare tyre does get in the way of a good deep forward bend a bit!
  • Easter weekend is coming up. The weekend of chocolate.  I remember when I was little, on Easter Sunday we used to get chocolate eggs in pretty boxes, or wrapped in fancy cellophane.  Now all the eggs seem to come with some chocolate bar or other, in boxes that are basically, just a bit more garish advertising.

    Of course these days chocolate is the only thing that springs to mind for many people when Easter is mentioned.  We should however, spare a thought to it’s origins.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not religious at all, and don’t believe in all that stuff, but it doesn’t hurt to be a little generous to those who do now and again.  At the very least we should take the opportunity to remind ourselves that such barbarism as crucifixion should not be allowed to take place anywhere in the world here in the 21st Century.  As I was, I am sure you will be shocked, though not surprised, when you hear that yes,some terrorists groups still find it acceptable retribution. You may guess who. Whoever wins that General Election, we must hope that, together with all the other world leaders, they intensify their efforts to stamp this out. Soon.

Bores? I don’t think so!

Doing a bit of voluntary work sometimes brings the most surprising rewards.  I was assisting one of the ladies at the IT group where I teach a few weeks ago and happened to ask what her password was for something. ‘Hellebore****’ she said. Now, Hellebores happen to be amongst my favourite plants, and when we had the garden landscaped in 2013 I insisted on a bed planted only with them, so of course we got talking, and to my delight she told me that she was a Hellebore ‘breeder’ and had lots of unusual types in her garden.

This week, she invited me to go and see them and take a few ‘babies’.  Her garden is quite magical and bursting with Hellebores of all types and colours – spotty ones, double ones, ruffed ones, a quite gorgeous and rare bright yellow one… all currently in their full glory. She generously dug up seedlings and small plants and I came home with a car full!  They’ll take a couple of years to grow, but in the meantime I thought I’d share with you a few photos of those that I do have that are already in a profusion bloom!

Distractions Distractions

Sorry. I know I’m a bit tardy with this post. I’ve been a bit, well, busy. Busy-ish. I couldn’t really tell you what I’ve been doing all this time, just living I guess. But you know how it is, things get in the way of writing sometimes.

Of course, they shouldn’t. When I gave up work I was determined I was going to write regularly, and start earning a bit through it if I possibly could. Well that hasn’t worked out has it? It started off ok, stories were flowing, rhymes formed in my mind in the way other people’s minds form intelligent thoughts. But then I started doing other things. Cooking. Sewing. Crochet (am I someone’s granny for goodness sake?) and now….THE GARDEN…

Well, to be fair, I’m not actually doing anything at all in my garden, but the landscapers are, and I find it very, well, distracting. Even though they are busy working, bricklaying, pulling up, digging down, doing other stuff with big tools, even though they’re not spending they’re time peering in my windows, (and no, they haven’t got their shirts off), it does feel like I’m living in a goldfish bowl. And they’re noisy. Drilling, banging, concrete mixing, radio playing, electric something or other using…always with the noise..

Hah! The noise. The neighbours are getting a bit of their own medicine. Oh, don’t get me wrong, they’re not that bad. They are nice people. A nice family. A nice family who are a lot richer than us. A nice family who’ve got a pool.

Have you any idea how noisy kids in a pool can be? They screech. They splash. They shout. It’s never just a couple of them either, always dozens (at least it sounds like dozens) and the pool is right alongside our boundary, so we hear it all in glorious surround sound. Well, we did. We now have fence. BIG fence. MAN fence. And we’re hoping that it will bounce the sound back their way a bit.

Did I mention they have a jacuzzi too.

You’d think that would be quieter. A grown up thingy. Well, it is a grown up thingy. They certainly use it in the (very) late evening/very early morning. We know ‘cos of the giggling and the chinking of glasses.

Now, I’ve never really wanted a jacuzzi. They make me wrinkly, and the chemicals make my eyes sore. However, I have always, always, wanted a pool. I love swimming. I love the feel of the water slinking over my skin as I pull myself through along using otherwise rarely used muscles. I love to float (floating is my special skill… once in Tobago I was floating in the sea and a tiny girl came up to me and said ‘how’d you do ‘dat? Did Jesus teach you do ‘dat? I had to answer honestly ‘not directly’) or dive under the water and experience the other worldliness of it all, even in the local leisure centre swimming pool (top tip, never wear goggles in a municipal pool, it’s quite revolting what you can see in there). And I have been swimming there weekly for a while. For once using old age to my advantage. You see, they have an ‘over 50’s’ session, where everyone is wrinkly and odd shaped, everyone swims sensibly up and down, and no-one shouts. Almost perfect, but still not as good as having your own pool.

The irony is, that our garden is plenty big enough for a modest pool. And the amount the make-over is costing us would easily be enough to get one installed. Hang on a tick…just going to tell them to stop…Stop what they’re doing..what they’ve been doing for the last three weeks, stop with the landscaping, the bricklaying, the deforestation…stop….put me in a pool instead..!!

Nah, not going to happen is it.