Friday, 31 May 2013

5 years of blogging, making friends and getting abuse on twitter...where did the time go?



Five years. FIVE YEARS!

I started this blog in May 2008, and although the first 6 months worth of posts have been deleted (don't ask)  and I took a couple of short breaks it's been a continuous stream of nonsense ever since.  What started off as a place to rant about this, that and the other has become...well, actually it's still the same but with a bit of home decorating and gardening thrown in for good measure.

We've had some brilliant adventures because of this blog - Los Angeles, Milan, Cologne - and met some amazing people, many of whom have become real life friends (you know who you are!)  I would never have dreamt that the blog would have such a big, positive impact on our lives, but it has and I'm very grateful.



I'd like to share some anniversary messages from some of the fantastic people I've met through blogging:

'Happy Blogging Anniversary notSupermum! 5 years already, how did that happen? I love this blog and frankly covet your garden, please can you come and sort mine? Here's to another 5 years! Violet Posy Xx'

"Imagine if Hattie Jacques, Wonder Woman, Charlie Dimmock, Cilla Black and Nigella Lawson created a child together, well that child would be notSupermum. And her blog reflects all the beauty that is within her - it is a delicious chronicle that is full of heart, wisdom, opinion, observation and wit." ~ Caroline Smailes

'I love notSupermum. I've been reading this brilliant blog since it started and like to think that our blogs have grown old and wrinkly together.   Happy birthday notSupermum.  Here's to another five years failing horribly at parenting, but doing it together.  I love you lots xx' ~ English Mum


'I started reading notSupermum's blog more years ago than I can remember and it's been on my list of top blogs to read ever since. I'm not sure nSM realises what an excellent writer she is, or how helpful I've found it to read her blog as a fellow single patent. It takes commitment and perseverance to make your 5th blogging anniversary. Many congratulations to nSM. Looking forward to the next five blogging years and much continued success. 
Rosie x ~ Rosie Scribble 


I've also been inundated with had a couple of messages on Twitter.  I asked if anyone could sum up my blog in a tweet.





and finally a tweet from my mate Dom Joly, you know that bloke off the telly? Used to be funny? Here's what he had to say during one of our recent conversations:


Okay, so I exaggerated slightly when I said we were friends...


I remember when I decided to start this blog, and after writing the first few blog posts wondering "Who on earth would ever want to read this?"  And if I'm perfectly honest I still ask myself the same question every week, but here you are and thank you. THANK YOU!

Here's to another five years of mad adventures, making new friends and getting into trouble on twitter!

Understanding the changes to Legal Aid


This Government has made drastic changes to Legal Aid and who qualifies for help. The new guidelines came into force on 1st April this year and for many people free legal help is no longer available. When I recently sought legal advice I was told I no longer qualified for Legal Aid and was given a breakdown of the likely costs instead. Needless to say the legal route is now closed for me and many people on a low income.

Read on to hear about the changes and what they mean.

~~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~~

Even before the new rules around the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act came into place on 1st April 2013, the controversial changes wreaked havoc on the UK law sector. Just months before the deadline for the changes, unhappy couples across the country who had been thinking about divorce suddenly moved into separation proceedings, claiming their legal aid before it was too late, and overwhelming many law firms in the process. However, with the new rules now in effect, those that seem most likely to be most affected are people on low income.

While the government in the UK hopes that the new rules will help it to cut its expenses in the sector to £350 million a year, down from the massive £2 billion currently spent, this saving could be at the sacrifice of victims of crime who rely on subsidised legal support for fair representation in court, which could include people earning minimum wage, pensioners and single parents.

What is Legal Aid?
The cost of court fees can be astronomical and not everyone has the financial means with which to pay for the services that they require. Legal aid is the subsidised support given to those who would otherwise be unable to afford the legal representation. The service, although funded by tax, is usually provided through private firms of solicitors and barristers, as well as from not-for-profit organisations. As well as representation in court, people can receive mediation and advice.

Under the old rules, legal aid would be available in most cases, particularly to people unable to pay for their own representation. However, the changes of 1st April mean that the goal posts have now been moved so that even the fiscally incapable will not always receive the legal aid that they need. The new rules are detailed below.

New Rules
One of the major areas to be affected by the new rules is family law. Where as before, divorce and separation proceedings, as well as financial proceedings on divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, were covered for legal aid without question, this service has now been relinquished. Also gone, is legal aid for proceedings for contact and living arrangements of children, disputes between unmarried couples and personal injuries claims.

There will also be more stringent testing as the government attempts to clamp down on those who are able to afford their own legal costs but who abuse the relaxed system. To qualify for the service, a person now has to complete a means test, a eligibility test that considers closely a person's income, savings and domestic situation.

Despite the sweeping cutbacks, service are still available to those who have suffered domestic violence, as well as for proceedings for child abduction, child care, child abuse and forced marriage protection orders.

~ Sponsored content ~

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The May garden ~ rain, rain and more rain.

This week has been a bit of a wash-out gardening wise, literally. It has rained most days which is great for the garden, but not so great for us!

We did have a glorious day on Sunday but, call me crazy, I spent the day with my daughters instead of gardening. So very little actual work has been done in the garden apart from a bit of weeding between the rain showers and....actually, that's about it.

However I did manage to take my camera out one day.


This peony is in the front garden and it's on the verge of opening. Any day now! Can't wait to see its gorgeousness in full bloom.


The aquilegia in the back garden are poking their heads up and should start flowering this week I reckon. I love these cottage garden flowers, so pretty.


If there's ten minutes sunshine Tessie always wants to go out and lie on the grass, and not just any bit of grass - this exact piece of the lawn. This is her spot and woe betide anyone who gets in her way.


I can't remember the name of this shrub but it's in flower at the moment and looking very pretty.


The honeysuckle  is rampant again and covers one side of this trellis work completely.  I still haven't decided what to do with this raised area, it gets quite shady and so far just has a bird table on it. I'm open to suggestions, anyone?

I planted this azalea next to the back door last year and it has flowered for the first time this week. I do love a white flower, they always looks so pretty against the foliage.


I absolutely love this black acer, I love the contrast against the green of the other plants. I haven't pruned it at all since we came here but I think it might need a haircut later in the year.

Update 2/6/13: I found out yesterday (quite by chance after looking in a magazine) that this isn't a black acer after all, it's a black elder Sambucus nigra. Sorry for any confusion, it was the previous owner who told me it was an acer and I didn't know any better. Do now though!


And finally, I bought these three forget-me-nots at a plant sale the other day. There wasn't very much left when I got there but I snapped these up for 50p each. They're sitting on the potting table at the moment waiting for me to decide where they should go.

I'm linking up to Mammasaurus' blog again this week for her How Does Your Garden Grow linky. There are some gorgeous gardens linking up every week, if you like gardening (or even just pretty photos) it's worth a look.

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Am I wrong to tell my daughters they're beautiful?

raising confident children


I happen to have two very beautiful daughters and I tell them how beautiful they are all the time.

Well, when I say all the time I don't mean I am constantly shouting affirmations at them. No, I do it quite matter of factly, in a 'you're such a beautiful girl' sort of way. No fuss, no sarcasm, no emotional grandstanding.

However, according to Jo Swinson, the Women's Minister, I'm getting it all wrong. In an interview with The Telegraph last week and speaking ahead of the Body Confidence campaign report, she said that parents who tell their children they are beautiful are sending them the wrong message.

According to her research  25% of all 11 to 15 year old boys and girls are unhappy about their appearance. 70% of girls think there is too much emphasis on how celebrities look and Ms Swinson was quoted as saying:
"Parents that praise their sons and daughters for looking “beautiful”, wearing a pretty outfit or having a nice hair do risk sending the wrong message to children that looks are the most important thing to succeed in life."
And yesterday the Body Confidence Campaign published their report which found the following :
Evidence shows that popular culture places burdens on people’s wellbeing and self esteem, often resulting in low confidence and self-consciousness. This can contribute to lowered aspirations and psychological wellbeing and heightened vulnerability to risky behaviours. Boys and men are affected as well as girls and women, but there is a particularly marked impact on women’s choices and life chances.
Well, here's the thing: I agree with most of what Ms Swinson said and the findings of the report.  I also whole-heartedly agree with their decision to launch a teaching pack for primary school children to teach them how media images are doctored.  It's sad that today's children are obsessed with appearance and are conditioned daily by the media perception of how women 'should' look, but I also disagree that it's wrong to tell your children they are beautiful.

I used to work with someone with three daughters who said he would never dream of telling his girls they were pretty because he didn't want them to be 'big-headed'. Yes, okay he was a bit of a prat, but if your own parents can't tell you then who can?

Going up as I did with little self-esteem, I was determined it would be different for my own daughters. And I believe that one of the ways building self-esteem is to let them know that they're beautiful - which they are, obviously.  I didn't want them to become teenagers and to have their heads turned by the first boy who told them they were pretty, I wanted them to already be confident about that.

Of course I don't just say it about their looks. I tell them how smart they are; I tell them how proud I am if they've worked hard at something, handled a difficult situation well, or when they get good school reports; and I praise their achievements and efforts.

But of course if you're going to praise them there also has to be constructive feedback too, and I let them know if I think they could have done something differently, or worked harder, etc. And it's a two-way conversation, they are happy to give their views on things that I might have done better - which hardly ever happens of course.*cough*.

I remember an interview Dawn French did years ago where she explained how she owed her self confidence to her father:
 “It was my father who taught me to value myself. He told me that I was uncommonly beautiful and that I was the most precious thing in his life.”
How utterly perfect to hear those words from your own parent. That's what I want for my girls, and even though they don't always believe me I'm still going to say it. Because they are beautiful.

Over to you, do you tell your children they're beautiful? Or do you think it panders to media and society's view of what's important in life?

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The one where I panic about what to wear for Cybher

Last year I missed out on all of the blogging conferences and meet-ups for various reasons (mostly financial) but this year I'm going to Cybher next weekend (1st June).

moo.com cardsI'm only travelling down for the day - early morning train down to That London and evening train back home again - but I'm hoping that still gives me plenty of time to meet up with old and new blogging friends.

For the occasion I've had some new business cards printed by Moo.com - I've used Moo before and they never disappoint with their quality.  I even ordered some of the mini cards for the first time. I'm really impressed with them and think they're excellent value for money.

Please let me know if you're going to be there I'd love to find you and say hello, whether you like it or not :)

And just in case you're wondering what I look like think less Nigella Lawson and more Hattie Jacques (but not as sexy).

Now I just need to hyperventilate out what I'm going to wear...

Monday, 27 May 2013

The £50 Room for Improvement challenge is on!

I'm always up for a challenge, especially something to do with the home, and so when I was asked to take part in Money Supermarket's Room for Improvement challenge I just couldn't say no!

The idea is that you get £50 to revamp a room of your choice and take before and after photos and then tweet about it using #roomforimprovement. If you fancy joining in you can find the details here.

I was going to use the money to finish off the utility room, but then I realised that I actually have nearly all the things needed to finish it off - I just need to get my act together and do the work!

room for improvement challenge
The very brown dining room

Then I thought this could be the impetus I need to get cracking on the dining room. I haven't changed anything in there since we moved in and although it's okay it's not quite right.
 
room for improvement challengeThe main problem is that the woodwork is a dark varnish which is totally out of keeping with the rest of the house. Everything else in the house is white so when you walk into the kitchen and dining room the contrast seems a bit at odds with the other rooms.

I quite like the dark wood, but I think it'll look fresher and brighter if it's all painted white - well, the woodwork anyway.

So here's the plan. I'm going to sand, prime and paint all of the dark wood in the dining room and paint the walls a different colour. Haven't decided what yet, but the brown has to go.

I just hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew because the challenge has to be done by next Monday - eek!  Better get on with it then...

Kerry LowLow: clever advertising campaign or same old, same old? You decide.

This is a sponsored post but raises a very interesting question.

This week I was asked to watch a video for a new advertising campaign. It's for LowLow, a new low fat cheese made by Kerry. The video is very clever and explodes some of the many advertising clichés aimed at women when promoting diet or low fat foods. I particularly liked the line "it's all about mood, 'cause we gotta keep you girls from feeling bad about food" which does seem to be the base line in all food advertising aimed at women.

But isn't this still advertising a low-fat product? Hmmm...




I'm not sure about it. What do you think?

Sunday, 26 May 2013

The garden in May ~ How does your garden grow?

The weather this week has been rainy and windy, so I didn't get a chance to get into the garden until yesterday when the sun appeared. I had a wander around first to see what was growing and if there was any damage from the high winds, but the only damage was from the parasol which had fallen into the border and damaged the flowering nutmeg slightly. Not a disaster though. The rest of the garden is looking vibrant and the borders are filling up nicely.

The border next to the patio is full to bursting with plants ready to flower any day now, there's aquilegia, alliums, irises, veronica, lavender, and plenty of other - as yet unnamed - plants.






The grape hyacinth (muscari)  is one of my favourites. I love how they're so delicate yet make a big impact with their stunning colour.


I only planted this dicentra spectabilis quite recently but it already has a fantastic show of flowers on it.


I plonked these tulip bulbs in a pot and their growth is a bit wonky,  but just look at that gorgeous, deep chocolate colour.


And the alliums are looking better all the time, the purple ones are opening up a bit more now but the white still have a little way to go.


One of the dahlia shoots
In this bed under the living room window I made the mistake of planting some dahlia tubers too early, and I thought the subsequent frosts and snow had put paid to my dahlia border.

But look what appeared this week! The dahlias seem to have survived and there's four of them, which is a surprise because I only planted three. But hey ho, the more the merrier!



And here's the garden from a different angle than usual, to show how the trees lend some dappled shade to the garden. There's a tree in our garden next to the shed, but the rest is borrowed shade from the trees in the park behind the house. It makes it much more pleasant to sit out in the hotter weather (touch wood).

I'm joining in with Mammasaurus' gardening linky again this week, a bit later than intended but better late than never, eh? Have a look at some of the other inspirational gardens on there.


Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Tips on how to keep your house tidy ~ despite having a dog!


 ~ Sponsored post ~ 

Keeping your home in good shape can be a difficult enough task as it is - let alone without adding a dog into the equation! But do not despair, having a dog does not mean that your dreams of an ideal home are over. Well not quite….In truth, keeping your home spick and span is going to be more difficult with a dog roaming around, but with these quick tips you should be able to keep the mess down to a minimum.

Regular Grooming
Dog hairs get everywhere. This is simply a facts of dog ownership. The best way to minimise the mess is to make sure that your dog is brushed regularly. A proper grooming schedule is part of maintaining a fit and healthy dog, but by removing shedding hairs, you are also helping to maintain a clean and relatively hair-free house.

Lint Rollers
No matter how well you keep your dog groomed, there are going to be hairs. We have found that by far and away the best way of dealing with them is with a lint roller. We currently have lint rollers in three different rooms- as well as in the glove compartment of the car. Truth be told we can’t quite remember how we coped without them! However, we have come across other dog owners who feel they simply aren’t enough- they prefer to get more hands on and wrap adhesive tape around their fingers!

Table manners
Dinner time can one of the messiest times of day- especially for dogs with a big appetite. One of the problems is that you will want to be serving dinner on an easy clean surface, such as in the kitchen. However, these surfaces can be slippy and a moving bowl can quickly lead to dinner up the walls! The best way to manage this is to invest in a non-slip bowl with rubber grippers on its feet, or alternatively, put an easy clean dinner mat beneath the bowl. Another reason for dog flood flying around the house is the ferocity with which your dog attacks its food!

Eating too quickly is not good for your dogs, so if this is a problem you may want to invest in a ‘diet bowl’. These bowls have a central island, resulting in a doughnut-shape, which forces dogs to eat their dinner more slowly. Good for both digestion and your floors. A wide arrange of feeding equipment, including diet and non-slip bowls, is available at Dogscorner.co.uk.

Muddy paws
The best way to beat muddy paws is to create a system and stick to it. With military-style rigour! When our dogs go out, they only ever return through the utility room. We like to think of it a bit like a decontamination unit! In there, all feet can be wiped, mud chipped off and slobber towelled away. No one gets into the inner sanctum until they are smelling clean and fresh….well at least until they aren’t dripping with mud.  

Flea free zone
A few hairs and muddy paws can be annoying, but they are nothing compared to an infestation of fleas! You must always make sure that your pets are adequately protected against these critters - we speak from experience - you do not want them in your home! You can find a range of flea protection products, including anti-flea dog collars..

Friday, 24 May 2013

Weirdos, bad jokes and gay marriage


So today I was at the perfume counter in John Lewis with my daughters when a man in his twenties came over.

Almost immediately my inner weirdo-alarm went off.  "Why should marriage always be like a ruler?" he asked. I didn't wait for the punchline but tried to walk away, but not quick enough. He ran around to the front of us and shouted "Because it should always be straight!"

"Not funny" was my reply.

"I'm only saying it because I have strong morals and I believe in traditional marriage" said The Weird One.

He continued to follow us, shouting about how gay marriage was wrong and how traditional marriage was meant for procreation but we were less interested in listening than doing our best speed-walk to get away.

Aside from the fact that you just don't accost strangers to make a daft joke about gay marriage, he made no concession for differing opinions or the fact that one day someone is going to punch his lights out.  Hopefully.

I realised that my girls were slightly freaked out by him so wanted to get away and I didn't get a chance to give share my opinion - but just for the hell of it here it is anyway.

First of all, I have two sets of friends who are in same-sex relationships. One couple has been together for over 20 years, the other has been together for about 18 years give or take a year. They are both in committed, loving relationships that have stood the test of time. My marriage was over before our 7th wedding anniversary. So much for traditional marriage.

Secondly, the argument that traditional marriage is all about procreation is, quite frankly, a dud. What about infertile couples? What about older couples who marry in later life? Does that make their marriage any less valid? No, of course not.

And let's not forget that gay couples can adopt or have children by donors or surrogates which would make them - oh yes! -  a family with children.

As Tall Daughter said as we discussed it on the way home: "Some people are gay, get over it!"

Monday, 20 May 2013

Recipe ~ Buttermilk pancakes with berries


I don't know about you but I have dozens hundreds of recipes I've cut out of magazines with the intention of making them one day. Except most of the time that day never comes. But no more!! I'm sick of cooking the same meals day in and day out, but I'm loathe to try new things if the girls don't like them because then it's a waste of money.

So I've decided that at least once a week I'm going ask either Tall Daughter or The Teenager to choose one of the forlorn and forgotten recipes from what is laughingly known as the Recipe File (or a random stack of torn out recipe pages shoved into a cardboard file) and I'm going to make it. Oh yes I am!

To kick it all off, here's a recipe I picked up just last week in the free Tesco magazine. Both of my girls love homemade pancakes, so I thought I'd give this a try. It's also a good way of using up any berries that are past their best - I used up some raspberries, but strawberries, blueberries, apricots or peaches would work well.

Buttermilk pancakes with berries.

Makes 12 pancakes

350ml (12fl oz) buttermilk
1 egg
3 tbsp maple syrup
50g (2oz) melted butter
125g (4oz) plain flour
half tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tbsp sunflower oil
500g mixed berries
25g caster sugar
2tsp arrowroot

1. In a bowl whisk the buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter.
2. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Tip half of the wet ingredients in and mix well. Fold in the remaining buttermilk mixture to form a thick batter.
3. Heat a large nonstick frying pan and wipe with sunflower oil. Ladle some of the mixture onto the hot pan to make small pancakes measuring about 7cm (3") across. Reduce the heat and cook in batches for 2 minutes each side (I found they needed a little bit longer, just check and see if they look cooked). Repeat until all the batter is used.
4. Meanwhile, place the fruit in a pan with the sugar and 3 tbsp of cold water. Cover and cook for 5 mins, mix the arrowroot with a further 2 tbsp water and stir into the fruit. Cook, stirring until the juices thicken a little.
Serve the pancakes topped with a spoonful of hot fruit.


I also drizzled a bit of extra maple syrup over the top of the pancakes to finish it off. Sweet tooth, moi? There would have been a higher stack of pancakes but everytime I started stacking them the girls kept taking them, but that's good!

We enjoyed these, although next time I'm going to put some vanilla ice cream on top of the hot berries and pancakes which would make it even better.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The one where we try canoeing for the first time


We were recently invited by Go Canoeing, the Olympic legacy initiative from Canoe England, to try a bit of canoeing at Salford Quays in Manchester and we went along last weekend to give it a go.

Okay, so I've exaggerated slightly....I didn't try it but The Teenager and her boyfriend did. I thought they'd like to try something new and they were up for the challenge.

I, of course, was needed on the quayside to take photos, that's the only reason I didn't try it. Well apart from my mortal fear of being in small boat in open water, obviously.

It was windy and a bit nippy when we got there, and The Teenager was a bit shocked that she had to put a wetsuit on but even that didn't put her off.

After a safety briefing from the canoeing expert Dave (and our guide for the day) they were ready to go.




After a bit of a nervous start, they soon got the hang of it and were canoeing confidently across the quays.  I reckon they could be in with a shout for the 2016 Olympics. Not that I'm biased, of course.


They both  enjoyed it - much more than they expected to, and they're already planning to have another go at canoeing and after watching someone else on the quays doing wakeboarding, they fancy having a go at that too.

Go Canoeing Week 2013

The eight-day initiative will give the public a chance to pick up a paddle and discover what’s on offer at over 400 canoe and kayak clubs and centres across the country, with the aim to get as many people on the water as possible.

Through offering a wide range activities, the initiative will ensure there is an experience for everyone to easily get involved with, whether they are a canoeing newbie or experienced paddler.


Participants of all ages and abilities will be offered a range of easily accessible and sociable activities to get involved in; from Starter Sessions, Demo Days and Guided Tours to give beginners their first taste of paddling, to Canoe Trails for the more advanced seeking adventure, the initiative also offers a number of mass participation and social events.

National Go Canoeing Week will be taking place across England between Saturday 18th – Sunday 26th May 2013. To find out what activities are taking place at a club near you, whatever your ability, click here.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

My friend Tom



I've always liked Tom.

I first got to know him as a school friend of my brother. They were both two years older than me and very alike - rough diamonds if you like, cheeky chappies with an eye for the ladies.

I got to know him a lot better when I was working in a pub during my days as a mature student (does that make other students immature?). He travelled a lot with his job but when he was home he'd come in at the weekend and stand at the end of the bar chatting and flirting with the women. He was good-looking too in a David Essex sort of way, all twinkly eyes and tousled hair that was slightly longer than it should be.

He had a fantastic sense of humour, just like my brother, and could make me laugh more than anyone I'd ever known. He found humour everywhere and his delivery was so dry he could just stand and watch as everyone else was bent over with laughter. He was one of those people that everyone liked: men, women, kids. He saw the funny side of everything and he was just bloody good company.

We even went on a few dates, Tom and I. He persuaded me, against my better judgement, to go out a couple of times and even though I had a great time and laughed more than was decent on a date, I knew he wasn't for me. His roving eye was a real no-no but we always remained good friends.

As the years rolled by I saw him less and less until he bought a house down the road from me and opposite the village shop. Every few weeks when he was home we would bump into each other in the shop and have a chat.  He'd never married and so I always hoped he would flirt and ask me on a date. He never let me down and I could never quite tell if he was joking or serious, but even after my divorce it was still always a no from me.

A few years ago I heard a rumour that he was having an affair with the woman who lived opposite me. She was married with kids, and a bit stuck-up for my liking and I just couldn't see her with Tom. They seemed so different - she was all designer labels and namedropping and he was, well he was still the twinkly-eyed, rough around the edges Tom. I did wonder if it was true.

One day, when I was out in the front doing a bit of gardening, Tom walked up the neighbour's drive. It seemed a bit odd considering the rumours and sure enough moments later when her husband appeared at the door there were raised voices and scuffling.  In seconds Tom and the husband were wrestling each other on the front lawn while she screamed for them to stop. It was all over very quickly but I'd seen enough to realise that the rumours had been true after all.

When we moved to this house I didn't see Tom in the corner shop anymore. And as the new house was further down the village I no longer saw him walking past on the way to the the pub.

But I still drove past his house every morning on the way to work and when I noticed that his car never seemed to be outside I assumed he was working away more than usual.

Last week when I was out walking the dog I bumped into one of the neighbours from our previous house. She asked me if I'd heard about Sylvia. Sylvia lived in the the bungalow at the far end of the village and I knew she was Tom's mum. I said no, I hadn't heard.

"She died a few weeks after her son."

And that's how I heard about Tom's death. After making a couple of phone calls I found out that Tom died of cancer nearly two years ago, six weeks before his mother.  He was 52.

I'm still in shock, mostly that he's gone but also that it took me so long to find out. We must have moved house around about the same time he died and so somehow the news didn't filter through the usual neighbourly channels.

Yesterday, I made a point of taking the dog for a walk down to the other end of the village to where Tom lived, and as I passed his house I said my own silent goodbye to him. I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to see you one last time Tom. We would have laughed.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The garden in May ~ Verdant

ver·dant  

/ˈvərdnt/
Adjective
  1. (of countryside) Green with grass or other rich vegetation.
  2. Of the bright green colour of lush grass.

I love that word, and it's the one that sprang to mind when I was out in the garden today. 

Everything suddenly seems so lush and green and ready to explode with colour. This is possibly my favourite time of the gardening year.



There is something very other worldly about ferns and the way they grow.


One of my favourite plants, allium christophii is ready to burst open any day. Can't wait.


The bluebells in the front garden have only flowered in the last couple of days.


Every garden should have a frilly tulip.


This pale yellow tulip was almost transparent with the sun behind it. Gorgeous.


The beds are starting to fill up and everything is growing so unbelievably fast, but then we've had such a combination of rain and sunshine for the past week it's no wonder.

How's your garden coming along? What are your favourite plants in your garden? 


p.s. I've just found this gardening linky via Mammasaurus, and there are plenty of gorgeous entries to enjoy.


Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?