Sunday, 22 April 2018

Earth Day

Earth Day is a day to celebrate our beautiful world.
     Some Witches have an invocation which begins all rituals which goes 'The Earth is my Mother, I know no other.' This is not dismissing our human mothers at all, it is acknowledging that all of our component elements come from the Earth, and to the Earth they return, only to be reborn as new creatures.
     Everything on this Earth owes its very existence and continuing life, to the wonderful bounteous and generous nature of Mother Earth.
     The weather this weekend has been glorious, and the Earth Goddess seems to have really decided to go for it in a big way. The orange pompom flowered plant by our front door seems to have more flowers this year than ever before*.

 Yesterday was large, stupid bumble bee day. Graham rescued four from various places around the house. One was trying to nest in the clean washing basket, two were in windows buzzing amongst the glass ornaments, and one was in the bathroom, apparently deciding that flying was too difficult and had settled for the bathmat instead.
     This morning he has rescued a blue tit from the kitchen - at least it wasn't another pigeon, although I have heard them cooing in the elder tree at the back of the garden, it is covered in ivy and is a favourite nesting place for them. I expect the toads will be next to appear.

*Just looked this up on the internet, it is apparently a Kerria Japonica or Japanese Rose. I never knew what it was, but my mum gave it to us when we moved in here, and it looks better than ever this year.

Oh and this is a picture of my new shoes which I got for my birthday in March, and have worn for the first time today!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Return of the Native

Well Graham is home from foreign parts and had a lovely time, by all accounts.
     He and Mike spent the first afternoon in Mulligan's the Dublin pub recommended by the chap who Graham saw when getting his passport (and having to prove he was who he said he was). They sampled the Guinness and also hot whiskey (several times each) and got back to the hotel at around 4 pm. And spent the next 16 hours in bed.
     The next day they visited the Guinness Experience, which has a huge trek through a large building with floors labelled for the ingredients of Guinness such as 'Water', which, if you have never seen water before might have been exciting. The best part for Graham was the floor telling you about Arthur Guinness the founder of the factory and the museum of Guinness memorabilia. But after the long trek through airless rooms filled with crowds of people, Graham was longing to get outside so they missed the top floor, and did not even claim their FREE pint of Guinness.
     The third and last day they visited National Gallery of Ireland, Trinity College Library (to see the Book of Kells) the Museum of Natural History (and saw a skeleton of an ENORMOUS extinct deer) and the Museum of Archaeology which had fab exhibitions of cauldrons and Celtic artifacts such as golden torcs. All of these were free, except for Trinity College which cost them 14 euros each, and Graham reckons if you have ever seen photos of the Book of Kells you will have had a better look at it than they saw.
     Graham says that all the Irish people he met or spoke to, Taxi drivers, waiting staff, even the security people at the airport, were all lovely and friendly, and he had a smashing time. On the way through the body scanner, whereas in Leeds he had had to stand with his arms over his head while he was checked to see if he was carrying anything offensive about his person, in Ireland the security guard told him to hurry through the scanner 'Otherwise the damn thing will go off!'

     He brought me a couple of little gifts, a Lucky Black Bog Cat (made from '5,000 year old black turf from Ireland's deepest boglands' - I am of course quoting from the header card it came with) and a magnetic Frida Kahlo! Well of course, what else would you buy for your loved one?
     And in the great tradition of family gift giving, he forgot to take the prices off, so I took great joy in the telling him that the Bog Cat was 8.95 euros and Frida 4.95 euros.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Home Alone

It is 9 am on Sunday morning.
     At 6.30 Graham and our son Mike set off on a great adventure. They have gone to Ireland for a mini break. This has been planned for a long time.
     Do you remember last year when Graham had to have a hernia operation? I wonder if that sort of gave Mike the sudden shock that his dad might not be around for ever, and suddenly he came up with the idea of them going on a boys hol to Eire. And particularly to Dublin - and even more particularly to visit the Guinness factory!
     Well, what with one thing and another, the trip was delayed, until suddenly this year Mike decided to put all the bits and pieces into motion.
     Graham already had his passport, Mike had sorted that last year, so it was just the travel arrangements that needed .... arranging. Today they fly from Leeds to Dublin, so they should be there by lunch time. Mike was already planning his first hot whisky after breakfast this morning.
     I must admit I do hope there will be a little more than just drinking going on, but this will be a complete break for the pair of them, so whatever they get up to, I hope they have fun.
     Graham is not good with things that are 'new', so the last few days he has been worrying about the trip. He has also been giving me instructions on what I must do while he is away. We are not talking about work here, these are instructions such as 'Can you manage to light the fire?, you won't just sit being cold will you?'. Yes I can light the fire. No I won't starve. Yes I can make a hot drink for myself.
     Mind you, I have threatened to use every piece of crockery in the house and leave all the washing up for him when he gets home.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Primroses? Primulas?

We have just been out in the garden planting fifteen primroses or possibly primula's - the chap on the Farmer's Market didn't seem to want to commit himself on this.
      Seeing as they are a variety of colours, not the pale yellow of wild primroses, I think I'd go with 'primulas'. Although primroses and primulas
are really all varieties of the same plant - primroses are primula vulgaris. Also I've just looked at pictures on the internet for 'primrose' and there are multi-coloured ones on there.
     Right, so we have been planting plants of the kind of primrose like types.
     I was going to say that it is a beautiful Spring day. But it isn't. It is one of those grey days when it looks like it might rain any time. And the reason we didn't plant them yesterday was because it tipped it down all day - resulting in two very soggy dogs whenever they ventured out into the garden.
   When I say 'we' have been planting, what actually happens is I point and Graham digs. And try to keep him from walking on the plants already there, which he can't see as to him everything is merely 'green' (and therefore potential weed) at the moment.
     For a couple of years we have been trying to bring a bit of colour and interest into our side garden. This is difficult for several reasons:
1) There is a canopy of hawthorn tree over the whole of it.
2) The gap between our house and next door seems to act as a wind tunnel and it is the coldest, windiest and shadiest part of the garden.

     So we have to try and find plants which can stand these conditions - woodland canopy, is how the gardening guru's describe it. At the moment there are some ransoms, wild garlic, showing their leaves. They seem to love this bit, so that is one triumph (yay!) especially as they spread (even more yay!) and have pretty white pom pom heads of flowers.
     Another success is foxgloves. They love woodland conditions, so we shall be putting some more of them in later in the year.
     These primulas were a bit of a bargain - fifteen plants for a fiver. They are in flower, but also have buds to come, and are making a very cheerful show at the moment.