As a small child, in the primary school playground and at birthday parties, I used to play a ring game with my friends called "In and Out the Starry Bluebells". My surname then was "Starkey", so needless to say the words were usually changed to "In and Out the Starkey Bluebells"!
In those days I had never seen bluebells en masse, but now I am fortunate enough to live in a village where there is an ancient wood which is full of bluebells in Spring. They are finally in flower, a good fortnight later then last year. Sadly my photos don't do them justice, but I wanted to try to capture something of the loveliness of the blue carpet they make...
...by this book, which I borrowed from the library this week:
I know the book has been out for some time, but I had not looked at it until now. The lovely photos, projects and the clear way techiques are described has re-enthused me about dressmaking-type sewing, which I haven't done for many a long year ( apart from my recent enforced school-play-costume-making). I even got as far as pinning and cutting out one of the patterns I'd bought recently, although I found that our dining-room table was far from ideal for this.
I used to love dressmaking - I'm going back to my teenage, post-exams, long summers years here - and have many happy memories of the rattle of the sewing machine , the lovely smell of the steamed fabric when pressing seams, and the joy of immersing myself for hour upon hour in a project. I'm hoping to recapture some of that joy, although I fear that it may be a little more elusive now with family, work, house and garden all clamouring for my time...
A sad footnote to my "missing hen" post - I found a small pile of speckled grey feathers at athe end of our garden this morning - proof positive that our local Mr or Mrs Fox has taken Beryl. This is the first hen we have lost to a fox in nearly 6 years, though, so I suppose we have been lucky up to now.
One of the first things we did when we moved here 6 years ago was to plant some apple, pear and plum trees in a roughly triangular area beyond our pond which we now (laughingly) call "The Orchard". Yes, I'm still dreaming of floating around my Sissinghurst-like garden in a long frock and taking tea on the terrace...
But today, even in the real world of my rather scruffy, weedy and overgrown garden, the sight of this apple tree in full blossom is uplifting to the spirits. I'm not sure what variety it is as we managed to mix up the labels after planting our fruit trees - I think it might be Jonagold. This is the most blossom it has had so far so I'm hoping for a really good crop of apples this Autumn. We had our first real crop last year, which was the 5th season since planting.
Elsewhere in our village, the bluebells are finally out in The Ancient Wood - I walked back from school that way with my friend L. and saw (and smelt!) the gorgeous carpet of blue. There were a lot of orchids too - seems like this Spring is a really good one for all kinds of flowers. I'll take my camera with me down to the wood either this afternoon or tomorrow to try to capture a picture of the bluebells.
I hope you are all enjoying your own display of blossoms and blooms in the gardens, streets, woods etc of your own neighbourhoods..
Sorry to have been absent this week - somehow too much has been going on with teaching work, family ( and the General Election!) to make it on to here.
One highlight of last week for me, though, was that this little country mouse went down to London to meet up with a friend who I hardly ever see nowadays. It was great fun for me as it's such a change from my usual life. As another, local, friend said to me, even sitting on the train reading the newspaper or a magazine for an hour and forty minutes was a blissful break from my real life!
I met C., my friend, in Oxford Street and we spent the next 4 hours or so talking, having coffee, talking, having lunch, talking and window-shopping and in all that time didn't stray more than a couple of hundred yards from where we met up.
As you can see we did make it as far as Selfridges - and what is in the bag?
This gorgeous Guzzini mug which C. bought me as a early birthday present and which is perfect for drinking my daily Cappucino out of. Thank you so much, C.!
With the busy-ness in my life this past week, crafting has unfortunately been rather pushed out, but I did manage to make my Sister-in-Law a card for her 50th Birthday:
It seems that we have lost Beryl, our Speckledy hen, leaving us with just one hen, Edwina - who is looking rather sad and lonely.
Chickens will always return to their house to roost at dusk, so normally both hens are waiting for me when I go out to give them some corn as dusk approaches. On Thursday Beryl was unusually nowhere to be seen, but after a few minutes of calling and corn-box rattling, she appeared from the next-door garden. But on Friday evening she simply didn't appear at all and has not been seen since.
It is possible she's been taken by a fox - Edwina had an extremely lucky escape from the very jaws of a fox last summer, but I haven't seen any foxes at all this year. It has also occurrred to me that Beryl had not been laying any eggs in the nestbox for a couple of weeks before she disappeared - she may have laid a clutch of eggs under a bush or hedge somewhere and be broodily sitting on them. The problem with this is that they will never hatch and she is quite capable of not coming off the nest to eat or drink. I'm not certain, but I think she could end up dying of thirst or starvation. We've looked everywhere we can think of in our garden and next door, but no sign. So I think it may be "Bye bye Beryl", even though I still hope maybe it's only "Au Revoir"...