Friday, 30 March 2012

Spring in the North of England

There are flowers everywhere; we have had amazing weather so March 'in like a lion and out like a lamb' has not happened in 2012.

The trees are in bud- the hawthorns have flushed the hedgerows with a fresh flush of green.

Hawick Hall gardens are full of daffodils in the undergrowth below shrubs & trees.

The cyclamen are vivid and hanging on for weeks in bloom.

Durham Botanic gardens are filled with hosts (not just clumps!!!) of golden daffodils

and narcissi of various sorts.

Primroses are snuggled against a south facing wall.

Their tubs are filled with tulips and in the glass houses tarantulas survey huge triffid looking water plants.

There are some strange visitors to the greenhouses too!

How come their shoals of goldfish thrive while we are having difficulty keeping any goldfish alive?

Whitley Bay (near the Spanish City which has changed so much from the FunFair of old)

has the most beautiful formal beds of narcissi, primulas and pansies- worth a visit & a stroll along the beach.

I have been given a gift from my friend M- summer bulbs- which I have never planted before as they have to be lifted (I think) as winter draws in- like dahlias- so I usually do not bother- but I must get more adventurous.... with Liatris, Acidanthera,Triteleia,Sparaxis- and since my eternal sweet pea (one of my favourite but elusive flowers!) has died (& over a relatively mild winter!)- I have planted plugs of sweet peas.
Ooh! I can't wait to see what emerges to cover the soily bare plot where the old lavender was.
Meanwhile as we looked at cars! I bumped into one of my exstudents from a special class- and out of the blue he sent me a beautiful bouquet (which as his mum and I recognise the significance-) is of course pink and is scenting our family room with a fragrance of stocks and stargazer lilies.

Meanwhile the little bottom which wiggled out of the court at 8.15 a.m. has not reappeared yet (22miles intended today by Lady Windermere!)in preparation for the Marathon of the North. Her Ladyship gave me a lovely bunch of flowers too so the house reflects the garden!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I need a gun!

Robert is making love to Roberta and I need a gun!
Our 'resident' pigeons have decided it is Spring and time for mating - right outside our bedroom window - at 5 a.m. She is, of course, playing hard to get and fluttering coyly all the time he is cooing softly in her lugs!! Aaagh!

Saturday early: a back wheel and a slim pair of buttocks disappear at the end of the Close and off into the early morning sunlight; H1 on his bike and D3 in her shorts and Breast Cancer Campaign T-shirt are off for their LONG run in preparation for her entry in the Marathon of the North. They run/cycle (her security guard!) 3 times a week- medical treatment prevents me from my usual cycling/training/minder role; nurses must know that my vigilant, backward glance (to check the huffer is still puffing ie my daughter is still alive) has caused Gosforth Park sandstone wall to contain lots of my DNA. 17 miles and lots of blisters before I see them again. But lots of friends have sponsored her on Virgin Money Giving so she ploughs on valiantly.

I have finished 'The Brightest Star in the Sky' by Marian Keyes.... now which book to read?

My potatoes are chitting in the garage; I am told it is traditional to plant (earlies?) on Good Friday.

Tomorrow is Mothering Sunday and the Equinox is round the corner; sunshine has been with us all week and is promised to shine on all good mums tomorrow!The evenings are now light and next weekend the clocks SPRING FORWARD an hour and British Summer Time begins.

I am going out to hang washing on the line. Drying outside saves so much energy & money- and sunlight has a natural 'antiseptic' power. I don't know how true it is but I have heard that New York streets contain lots of germs because the sun does not get down to ground level (due to skyscraper buildings blocking light at ground level)so there is no natural sterilisation by the sun. An urban myth?

Blue skies drifted lightly with a little cloud and lit by sunshine..... and a garden full of daffodils.
What is your day promising?

Saturday, 10 March 2012


I must be quick as there is a mince pie in the oven downstairs & friends arriving any time.
In previous blog entries I didn't have time to recount the fun of D3's murder mystery party. Such fun with Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot, Miss Scarlett, Rev Green, Dr Black, Prof Plum, The Lady in Black, Nancy Drew, Sherlock......Yes, they were all there solving mysteries and playing 'kazoos' feverishly!!

D3 had organised food and games (Remember the Mars bar Game?)- we laughed like drains all night.

What is surprising is, in spite of the invitation AND reminders some folk did not even reply. The height of bad manners- how long does a text take??

Our walk with D&M around Felton saw our first Spring lambs; also Felton Hall and Felton Chapel (stonework, especially gargoyles, was incredible) and the village church- all beautiful buildings. We called in at The Running Fox for lunch- and sampled the breads for which their bakers are renowned. Delicious!

D3 and I went back to Hawick Hall; though the snowdrops are going over, the gardens are filled with crocus (you can just see the line of the ha-ha behind the crocus- what a way to keep the animals in the fields away from the gardens without spoiling your view with a wall or fence!)Apparently yellow crocus disappear first because they are 'hit' by birds after the saffron they contain?

and the daffs are yellowing up so there will be 'hosts of golden daffodils' very soon.

All sorts peek out at you whatever the season and whether in formal gardens or wild woodland- AND the arboretum awaits you on THE LONG WALK. Already there are early rhododendrons out.

D3 spotted a frog? toad? moving in the bottom of the pond so he must have been under all that thick ice of a few weeks ago.

Evening overlooking the Coquet and a cottage pie with friends is just the end of a perfect day.

We lunched at the Fish Quay during the week with E & B- Sambuca's meal deal and quality of food were surprisingly good.

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