Friday, 8 May 2020


May - my favourite month. The weather is usually reliable and there are Bank Holidays. It is also my Birthday month. All good things. I'll miss our traditional camping weekend later this month but otherwise, I am happy at home. Here a few moments of this first week of May.

Still Exploring the local woods and river. We found some good climbing trees for the boys, which they love. There is a deep ditch under the one that you can see in the photo. It added to the general excitement. 

Cooking roast vegetable risotto. I had planned an asparagus risotto but wanted more vegetables and I roasted courgettes, peppers, red onion and asparagus in seasoned olive oil. It was delicious.

Celebrating my 50th birthday. I was a funny old day, I had to work and but I still was able to enjoy all the nice things my children and husband organised for me. I felt really loved, not just by my family but also friends. I found several cards and presents on our doorstep, including a Bakewell tart, which was really delicious. I also had many phone calls and two Zoom sessions to celebrate with friends. Crazy! I was exhausted by the end of the day. And full of cake.

Trying out my new Garmin GPS watch, a surprise birthday present from Richard. It is a smartwatch that monitors heart rate, stress levels and sleep and probably bowel function as well but I am only planning to use it when out running so that I can keep an eye on my pace. I don't want to be a slave of the smart watch but I do want to be able to run faster. I am slow, very slow but knowing exactly how slow at any time surely must help.

Enjoying our beautiful garden, front and back. There is so much to see every day and so much to do. I take short breaks during the day and potter around the garden for a bit.

Digging up a much disliked alchemilla (Lady's Mantle) to make space for a few strawberry plants that arrived in the post this week. I can't stand that alchemilla, it is so invasive, pops up everywhere and takes up a lot of space. The roots are like concrete, not fun do dig out. Alas, I persevered and succeeded.

Loving my little quince tree. It is still tiny but it is in blossom. I love the slightly furry leaves and the shape of the leaves, too. The flower petals are a delicate pink on the outside, a creamy white on the inside. Fingers crossed the bees like it and little quincelets will grow.

Looking forward to eating fresh salad and later in the year, courgettes and carrots and whatever else grows. Richard and I shared our first garden artichoke today, it was tiny and very delicious but not very filling.

Feeling overwhelmed with reading I have to do to keep up a fast pace with producing learning material for my courses.  I am now two weeks behind schedule and I know I'll have to work this coming weekend to catch-up a little. In fact, I worked all day today while the rest of the country was celebrating VE Day. Alas, all is ready for next week.

Watching "Unforgotten" on Netflix and "The Great British Sewing Bee". Unforgotten is a British crime drama in which DCI Cassie Stuart and DI Sunny Khan solve cold cases. I love this gentle, slow slow series, not too much excitement but plenty of story to mull over. I am not sure if I love the Sewing Bee, it irritates me a bit for reasons I can't put my finger on but of course I'll watch it all the same.

Stepping on far too many pieces of Knex. Alistair loves to build weapons with Knex. I don't know why children are so fascinated by weapons (maybe it is just mine?). He made a cross bow, a pistol and bow & arrow. All fully functional.

Not making anything. I missed creating something with my hands this week. There just hasn't been time but I am optimistic that I can finish my anorak this weekend (just the snaps to do). I also would like to make a t-shirt or two. I have mandarine and dark purple coloured Tencel jersey fabrics that I really want to cut into.

Supporting another local charity this month. I chose a charity that works with care experienced young people that do not have families to rely upon when life gets difficult. The charity offers support  with all aspects of life, including accommodation and education and, importantly, mental health.

Listening to Mr Blackbird sing. It is my most favourite birdsong, that early evening celebration of life. Also listening to my two youngest bickering. This is a far less uplifting sound and difficult to ignore.

Planning my first supermarket trip in 8 weeks. Richard hurt his back and can barely move, let alone carry grocery bags. He is drugged up to his eyeballs with pain medication, driving might not be so good either. I am almost excited. I think I'll go to the Lidl in Yoker for a bit of extra excitement. It is quite new and has a generous layout.

Preparing mentally for another few weeks of lockdown. I am good, we all are, if a bit frayed around the edges.

Thanks for visiting today xx


  1. Nope, not just yours, we love a weapon here as well, we can make one from almost anything. Wishing you a very happy birthday, I'm glad it was a good day despite lockdown. So sorry Richard has hurt his back, it sounds nasty. I hope it is all better very soon. Your garden is looking beautiful, the quince flowers are very pretty. The middle boy and I were listening, from his room at the top of the house, to a blackbird singing from next door's television aerial yesterday evening. It was divine. We were close enough to watch his beak opening and his chest puffing out. Then another one joined in from an aerial over the road. It was a magical moment, as the sun set over the river. Wishing you a lovely weekend. CJ xx

  2. Mine yuongest two a boy and girl have always preferred making weapons with Lego. Sorry to read that the extra workload associated with work is stressful but yay for family and friends making your special day extra special. Happy Birthday :-) x

  3. The flowers you are growing are just gorgeous! I harvested six artichokes today. Once they start producing, they go crazy! Happy 50th!

  4. Haha my boys did the same - a whole arsenal with Lego indoors and another made from sticks, leather, nails, whatever they could find in their dads workshop! Then they'd play 'armies' in the long grassed paddock for days! Our girls didn't have the same urge to make weapons but they did join in the 'killing fields'!
    Your garden pics are so lovely. Today is grey and rainy here so some colour is always appreciated. I can hear some ravens calling - they are probably the only bird out and about today.
    Wishing Richard a swift recovery :o)

  5. Happy Birthday lovely! So glad you were spoilt and enjoyed your day. Your garden and blooms are looking so refreshing. My boys are forever making weapons - I think it must be a boy thing. sending healing for Richard. Rob has hurt his ankle and is battling a little too. have a lovely weekend my friend xx

  6. Glad you had a good birthday and a few surprises! Your clematis looks like mine and I will feature it in my post in a few days time. I am managing to keep up with home schooling for both my own children and supplying for my class but luckily I work part time so I get to breath and catch up every couple of days. Children will always make a weapon as long as they have two fingers to hold together and point at someone. Have a great weekend my friend. Jo x

  7. Happy 50th, glad you had a great day. There’ll be no stopping you now with a running watch. Sounds like you are well settled into your new routines which is good. Enjoy your shop and I hope Richard recovers quickly. B x

  8. Happy 50th birthday! Glad you enjoyed your day!
    My boys did the same when they were young. I did not allow toy guns but they would always find ways to make weapons - legos, sticks, construx! Used to drive me crazy but they are all now terrific grown men so...
    In the USA, we celebrate Mother's Day this Sunday, so Happy Mother's Day to you!

  9. Just - thank you.
    I like you because - despite what it says at the bottom here - you are SO reliable!
    (The fifties are a great decade, by the way!)

  10. I loved Unforgotten. I think there are 4 series, but they are a year late in coming to Acorn. We just watched series 3, and it was great. We ended up watching the last two parts past our bedtime. Past Sue's dedtime anyway.

    Also, belated Happy Birthday.

  11. First, belated very Happy πŸŽ‚ Birthday wishes, Christina. I do remember that age πŸ™‚and it was a good one too! it sounds like you had a wonderful day and I hope you also have a great birthday year as I do believe we're all entitled to celebrate that long! You have so many wonderful things blooming and growing in your gardens. I miss our strawberry plants as we always enjoyed the fresh fruit. yes to Unforgotten and we watched it on PBS when it weas first broadcast, such great acting and Cassie and Sunny were great together. Boys and weapons do seem to go together, which may explain the popularity of GI Joe.

  12. Happy Birthday dear Christina. It sounds like you were properly spoiled and you deserve everything because you are so wonderful. Hope shopping went well, we are still trying to navigate social distancing but when I went to the store today I was shocked to see so many people just wandering around, not six feet apart and not wearing masks, it is crazy. Stay well.

  13. It’s lovely to read your updates Christina and so pleased to hear you had a good birthday. I’m struggling to get the enthusiasm to write a blog post. I’m keeping busy but just not sure I want to write about it... or if anyone would want to read about it! And it’s not just your boys... mine would construct weapons out of anything. It was what they used Lego for!

  14. *H*A*P*P*Y* * *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y*!*!*!* - it sounds like you had a good celebration. Your garden is looking good. We've been planting veg and flowers here. Kind of a great pastime. I'm with you on this is getting old.. but we must hang in there and stay safe. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  15. Belated birthday wishes and so very relieved to hear that, despite flour shortages, there was cake aplenty. Your garden is looking lovely. Have to agree about the alchemilla but it's about the only thing that grows in the garden here (that and dandelions). Hope the supermarket trip went well. I've come to dread doing our weekly food shop. Wonder if I can train the dog to go with a list.

  16. Dear Christina, Happy 50th birthday! It sounds like you had a very special day. I love you clematis photo, such prolific, pretty flowers. It is Autumn here in New Zealand, so there's not much flowering in my garden. I can't wait until Spring arrives. Keep well. Hugs, Rose x

  17. I'm so glad you got to enjoy your birthday with lots of lovely treats. Also in agreement about Sewing Bee, I vowed off it last year as I can't help finding it annoying and a little bit fake. That is in no way aimed at the contestants but just all these types of shows in general. I loved the first series of it when it was all new, but then... I don't know like you it's hard to explain. All my friends just assume I must love it because I sew! Much rather be reading all the creative blogs out there like this one with plenty of real life thrown in. I am looking forward to the big reveal on your anorak. Have a lovely week. x

  18. I have a tree climbing boy too! He'd love a tree like that and over a deep ditch would definitely add to the thrill of it! I am always glad to see children up in trees, balancing and problem solving and seeing the world from up high.

    Happy belated birthday to you! It sounds like you had a most lovely day. MegXx

  19. Goodness how did I miss this lovely post! A rather belated Happy Birthday - it sounds like you had a good time even with limited celebration opportunities. I also that picture of your boys on the tree. And your garden looks gorgeous. I have a blueberry bush that looks like that too. Sorry you are stressed about work - I would normally be at peak stress time work wise because of external exams but not this year - very strange I some ways. Feel sorry for the kids. After the first wave of relief they are a bit fed up not having their end of term events. XDoris

  20. Goodness how did I miss this lovely post! A rather belated Happy Birthday - it sounds like you had a good time even with limited celebration opportunities. I also that picture of your boys on the tree. And your garden looks gorgeous. I have a blueberry bush that looks like that too. Sorry you are stressed about work - I would normally be at peak stress time work wise because of external exams but not this year - very strange I some ways. Feel sorry for the kids. After the first wave of relief they are a bit fed up not having their end of term events. XDoris

  21. A belated happy birthday. It's a shame we're in lockdown but it sounds like you managed to celebrate with loved ones all the same. That geum is gorgeous, such a pretty colour.

  22. I'm glad you managed to have a good lockdown birthday :)
    I hope your work pressure eases (or gets under control!) soon and Richard is soon feeling better.


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