Monday, February 24, 2014

A foretaste of spring

The weather here in Wales may still be grey, windy and showery, with yet more heavy rain forecast for overnight, but in my kitchen it’s spring, thanks to my youngest sister. Outside the only sign that spring may be on the way is a scattering of pussy-willow and hazel catkins, but on the kitchen table stands a blaze of tulips, vivid against the walls and cupboards.

She and her husband called in on Friday morning after DH had left to visit his mother, and they didn’t come empty-handed. I have a lot of time for visitors who arrive bearing not only tulips but extravagantly delicious carrot cake. We sat in the conservatory over coffee and cake, putting the world to rights as we usually do, before they left, taking home with them my brother-in-law’s pride and joy, which has been overwintering in our garage. You can tell it’s almost spring when the Little Green Dragon takes to the road again.

Now I’m heading back to the kitchen and the tulips, to make a big pot of soup ready for DH’s return from his weekend away. That's what I call a warm welcome...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Three years ago today

It was a cold, grey February day and DH was away visiting his mother for a few days. With no car to take me further afield, I was spending my time catching up with the spring-cleaning, in my experience a job best done when you have the house to yourself. In between bouts of cleaning, I was reading blogs, an absorbing pastime I’d discovered some time before and which fascinated me more and more.

That day, however was different. Almost on the spur of the moment, I decided to stop fantasising about starting a blog myself and just do it. It took surprisingly little time to register with Blogger, find a name and set up a very basic template and that evening I wrote my very first post and set it adrift on the world-wide web.

That first post must have looked very austere – no images, no links, no videos, just text. It only took me a few days to master posting images and a few weeks to work out how to post a link. Videos however had to wait for several months and of course there was always the spice of danger involved in learning to live with Blogger’s vagaries. J

I always knew I would enjoy writing posts and to my surprise I even enjoyed the technical challenges. What I could never have foreseen was the enormous, life-changing enjoyment and satisfaction I would gain from interaction with other bloggers and their blogs. Moving from passive reading to active blogging, commenting and replying was one of the best decisions I've ever made and three years on, blogging is still one of the great joys of my life.

So thank you all for reading and commenting and generally encouraging me, for giving me so many insights and so much pleasure though your own blogs, and for being as nice a bunch of people as one could ever hope to meet and count as friends.

As a small token of gratitude, here is one of my favourite songs by those masters of words and music, Flanders and Swann. Enjoy….

P.S. DH is off to visit his mother tomorrow, so I'll be catching up with you all very soon.

Image via Google

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

It made a nice change…

…to wake up to this, though I’m not sure my North American readers would agree. J

This winter has been almost continuously grey and extremely wet and windy, with catastrophic results for communities along our two biggest rivers and southern and western coasts. With another two severe storms due to hit us between tomorrow and the weekend, I couldn't help rejoicing at the sight of proper winter weather – just for a little while.

The rain has been so heavy and prolonged that it could be weeks or even months before all the flood-waters subside, since the water table has reached the surface in many places and the excess water has nowhere to go. My heart goes out to those who are struggling to protect their homes and carry on with daily life in the face of nature’s extremes.

This afternoon we all had a respite and the sun even shone. Tomorrow DH and I will be battening down the hatches and hoping the wind speed doesn't reach the 70mph gusts being forecast for our area. Fingers crossed - replacing roof tiles isn't really what we want to see on our to-do list at the moment...

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The fog is finally clearing

I’m speaking mentally, you understand, not meteorologically. The almost endless cycle of wind and rain which has been battering the British Isles for the past two months hasn’t allowed much fog to form, though today’s welcome lull between two storms has seen the hills look misty for once.

The mental fog after my general anaesthetic has been a different matter. I don’t ever remember taking so long to shed the effects of an anaesthetic and I’m still finding it hard to concentrate for any length of time. I seem to have slipped into a kind of suspended animation, so that time drifts by almost without my noticing it. Only now am I starting to feel a bit more awake and ready to tackle things, as long as they don’t involve heavy lifting.

The past two weeks have been been filled with a random mixture of blog and book-reading, knitting and TV-watching - hardly the stuff of a riveting blog-post. The weather has been almost unrelievedly terrible, with the countryside too sodden and wind-blown to tempt me out for a walk. The real sign of hope is the noticeably lengthening days, which reminds me that, despite all signs to the contrary, winter is passing and spring can’t be too far away.

Until then, perhaps what I need is a mischievous cat to keep me on my toes and stop me nodding off. All that mending would certainly help the time pass productively.