Sunday, June 16, 2024

Days Not at Home


Last Wednesday morning we boarded a plane for The Netherlands, landing midday on Thursday, Amsterdam time. After figuring out our e-sims and the trains, we trundled our luggage through the cobblestone streets of Leiden to find our lodgings, situated in the medieval part of the city alongside a canal. 
Although it was 2 am according to our bodies, and we hadn't slept much on the flight (me not at all), we felt pretty good and managed to stay up until 9:30 pm by wandering through the town. Such a pretty place. I loved the irises growing in a park. 

We visited the Hortus Botanicus at the university (Botanical Garden) and saw bees buzzing about the old-fashioned bee skeps. There has been an apiary in this very spot for several hundred years. 

Narrow cobblestone streets with canals criss-crossing the city make for very charming places to wander. This morning, in another canal, we watched a swimming competition - the larger canals do not have the water plants in them. It's been a bit wet and windy, but we came prepared with rain jackets and just pull up the hoods when the showers descend. 

Canal houses big and small. Each has its own character. I'm collecting stories to tell when we get home - there are so many things to see and do here. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Days at Home


Last night after dinner the sunshine illuminating the bouquet of peonies prompted me to grab my camera. I love the frilly elegance of the blooms and their faintly spicy scent. They have not been too bothered by the wild winds we've had again, unlike the petunias whose blossoms are pulled loose occasionally. 

We celebrated two birthday girls this week, a 12-year-old and a 5-year-old. Each one celebrated with their friends and we got together for a family party on Sunday afternoon. The 5-year-old's mother, Ashley, made 11 stick unicorns for the guests, with rainbow manes. Each guest was able to choose flowers and jewels to glue on - Nana manned one of the hot glue guns. The girls were enchanted and rode their ponies aka unicorns around the garden. Ashley said she knew it was a bit over the top, but she's been studying all year for a master's degree and craved doing something creative. 

On a very hot July day in 2016 Tim and I walked in Frith Wood, part of the Laurie Lee Nature Reserve. I had not heard of Laurie Lee prior to our visit to the woods, and have been looking for his memoir, Cide With Rosie. When Tim's sister visited a week or two ago, the two of us spent some time in a used bookstore. I picked up a couple of books and then on my way out the door spied this lovely, like-new hardcover illustrated Cider With Rosie. I went right back to the cashier. It's a lovely tale, so far, of life in the early 20th century. I am looking forward to spending more time with the book. You can read about our visit to Frith Wood here

Dear Paris, by Janice MacLeod, is a collection of illustrated letters written by a Canadian woman living in Paris. Her observations of Parisian life are delightful to read. Makes me want to return to that beautiful city. 

Here at home Lichfield Angel rose (a David Austin variety) is just stunning. Such a proliferation of creamy pink blossoms. I wish I could have you all over for tea to show her off. The rose is named for a very old Anglo-Saxon carving discovered at Lichfield Cathedral in 2003. 

What's blooming in your garden these days? 

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

Early June Days


Our across-the-back-fence neighbour leaves part of his garden to grow wild. He'll whack it down once or twice a summer, but it is currently filled with waving grasses, a smoke-bush tree, wild blackberries, and overgrown forsythia bushes. From my kitchen window I spied something enticingly bright and ventured through the gate to inspect it. A beautiful red poppy blooms where none have bloomed before. Today I noticed two blooms. They are a fitting bloom to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasions in France. I sporadically watch How to Renovate a Chateau How to Renovate a Chateau on Youtube and just this week, Anna and Philip posted a D-Day special. Both of them had great uncles who were in France then, but the two soldiers were on opposite sides. 

In my last post I was expecting house guests. They've come and gone, leaving behind memories along with a pair of tiny socks and two picture books. This puzzle was a gift, brought from Boulder, Colorado. The pieces are made of wood, and cut into intricate shapes. It was a fun challenge to put it all together. 

A few of the unique puzzle pieces. Great for the mind!

Oh, the wind we've had these past few days. Tree toss wildly, and petals are ripped from delicate flowers. The accompanying rain has nourished the earth and sunnier, warmer temperatures, along with less wind, are expected by the end of the week. Only one foxglove is currently blooming and I'm hoping there will be more of this delicate pink.

White peonies are looking a bedraggled by the wind, but still beautiful. The pink buds open more slowly thanks to the continuing cool weather. I'm hoping to cut a luxurious bouquet of them tomorrow. 

Fresh radishes are a treat these days, sweet and slightly peppery. I'll eat them just washed while still outdoors, but also enjoy them in a salad. They're also good roasted along with carrots or squash. 

This is a busy week with two granddaughters' birthdays, a family get together, a couple of appointments, and working in the garden. I'm hoping to get around to your blogs soon. Meanwhile, enjoy these early summer days. 

Living Alongside Medieval History

  Several people have asked why we chose Leiden for our visit to the Netherlands. We've found it's easy to stay in the large cities ...