dear diary :: come what May

A very apt quote at the moment for these strange times – not quite the rough winds we think of but we are certainly being shaken at the moment…to the core. Everything we took for normal in our lives has been turned upside down – but May is here – one of the loveliest months of the year and hopefully with a promise of a wonderful summer ahead, even if we are still in lock down or social distancing.

After the party it was recovery time. Sometimes it might seem that our family life is just one celebration after another….and looking through our vast photo collection that is probably a fair assumption, and it pleases me to think that even in these difficult times we managed to come together as a family to carry on and celebrate as we always have done.

Thank you for all your kind comments about the party – we did have a fun time – but I look forward to the day when the whole family can gather together for a grand summer picnic – even if we have to keep 2 metres apart.

Since Sunday I have been doing the usual washing and ironing, dusting and hoovering and tending to some of those little tasks on my list; I was determined not to carry over too many of my unfinished April tasks into May; so I had a big push to tick off as many as I could from the list – such a pleasurable task in itself.

So I am left with those ‘don’t like to do jobs’ such as cleaning the coals and jets on the gas fire, tackling the shredding pile and cleaning the car – but these can be spread amongst the feel good tasks of making a blackberry and apple crumble to use up the fruit in the freezer, finishing the tea cosy I started goodness knows when and sending for the Doves Farm organic flour recipe book.

The cleaning of doorknobs and counter tops has become a little ritual now each day. I had stopped using most commercial cleaners other than an eco cleaner but most of the research says that many cleaners like vinegar will not kill the Covid virus and that a cleaner with bleach is the most reliable. So not leaving anything to chance I am resorting to a kitchen cleaner containing bleach to wipe down with but I certainly won’t be injecting it! (This is not an advert for Flash either – it is the only cleaner containing bleach that I could find on the shelf at the supermarket).

There might be extra little household jobs to take care of at the moment but it has been a time of leisurely breakfasts – I always start the day with some creamy organic yoghurt and a little fruit whatever we have managed to get at the supermarket. This week it has been bananas, grapefruit and oranges.

My pantry is still quite well stocked – there are plenty of meals I can make using all these dried goods – it is only the baking flour that remains unobtainable, but cutting down on the cakes and pastries will be no bad thing and now the warmer weather is here we are turning to lighter meals of salads and slaws. DH does a wonderful job of chopping up the grapefruit and oranges and saves a slice for my morning ginger tea with a blob of manuka honey.

I have spent some time updating my garden folder – here I catalogue all the plants bought and seeds sown with notes on the care they need. I bought the very last packet of small plant labels in Sainsbury’s to mark some of the plants in the garden where I need to remember the variety and also to remind me where some of the bulbs are planted so I don’t inadvertently dig them up! I saw some lovely metal daisy bulb markers on the internet but they are £10 for only 5 markers so I am looking to make some wire ones of my own when inspiration falls upon me.

I had been so busy with the party I had forgotten that the Easter decorations were still out; whilst I packed them away I removed a few bits for the charity pile – like Christmas baubles it is easy to accumulate too many decorative eggs. I also had a quick look through my box of summery decor to switch things about – there are all sorts of goodies in here, mainly shells and oddments I have found on the beach. I have in mind to do a series of shell sketches but there are so many beautiful flowers starting to bloom in the garden I rather think when the weather improves again you will find me doing a little sketching out there.

It has not been all work in the garden this week – I have found time to sit awhile – lock down has certainly generated a very calming and peaceful atmosphere; one where you can stop and hear your own thoughts for a while, put them in order and generally have the time to ponder and daydream a little. It appears that the merry-go-round has briefly stopped and it has revealed a new life, one that I could buy into very easily and it has also raised many questions of where we go from here – what shape we want our lives to be in the future, and as the world is itching to get back to ‘normal’ now, the big question is will it be the normal we once knew or a very new normal of our choosing?

For many people who have lost loved ones it will be a frightening time – adjusting to life without a wife / husband / parent and possibly without financial means. My heart goes out to them.

The state of the economy is such a large and complicated matter – it seems to rule the world now and is (as we see from the Trump briefings and American demonstrations) more important than people. Our spending keeps so many people in work, clothed and fed but in fact I have not been at all bothered by the lack of shops open and have not bought anything but food and a few toiletries…oh and the plant labels of course. I could quite happily carry on along this road – for me lock down has highlighted even more that there is so little we actually need and I am no less content because I cannot spend. My bank account has never looked so healthy, even though food is costing a lot more – but will we be damaging the economy and other people’s livelihoods if we don’t spend again after lock down?

It is such a dilemma, one that I have been thinking about quite a lot recently. I expect the inevitable recession will actually prevent us from overspending anyway and so it may be even more important to recycle, and repurpose rather than buy more needless stuff. In my new Country Living magazine is an interview with Kirsty Allsop – she is a great campaigner for sustainability and grew up with the idea that you never buy anything new. Over the years disposable has become the norm and even now in lock down so many people have taken the opportunity to declutter as our houses are stuffed full and some of that decluttering is sadly being dumped on our country lanes and harming the wildlife. It all feels such a huge insurmountable problem as large as the mountains of waste we produce.

At the beginning of the week the weather began to change….so much cooler with quite grey skies so I decided to bring a little of the garden inside. The cherry tree blossom is fading fast now and the petals have fallen like snowflakes onto the lawn, but there are still a few heads of blossom to cut and I have drifts of self-seeded snow white honesty, aquilegia and forget-me-knots and a very profuse clematis montana.

Just a few snips of each and my window sill is now like a mini garden.

I have also been pressing a few of the flower heads and petals ready for another card making session.

I planted five bulbs of this frilly little narcissus with its delicate apricot ruffles in a pot last November – they have taken a long time to open but what sheer delight when they did – I absolutely love them – they remind me of the time when I made weddding dresses and I was surrounded by flounces and peachy frills.

The strawberry pot full of chives not strawberries (don’t ask!) are growing so well at the moment it seemed a good time to make my Cheesey Leek ramekins. Needless to say when I came to make the recipe we only had the one leek left so in usual lock down style I had to improvise and tossed in the remaining few button mushrooms and a chopped courgette to bulk out the mixture.

It worked out quite well and if anything they turned out even nicer than usual and I will definitely be using these adaptations in future. I will add the recipe to my collection for anyone wanting to try them. They are quick and easy and hot or cold go well with any salad.

My mum continues to get a little brighter each day although she still has some weepy moments when the situation becomes too overwhelming for her and she worries for the future and wonders if she will ever get her hip problem assessed. I promise her as soon as we are allowed to travel we will be up to see her and if possible take her out somewhere to escape the four walls she has now been looking at for the last few months.

Meanwhile younger daughter, coping alone with two young children 24/7 finds a few moments of peace by leaving the girls occupied and safe in the garden and taking 5 minutes to go inside and just sit and stare at the wall!!

And just before I go welcome to the many new followers….was it something I said??

19 thoughts on “dear diary :: come what May

  1. You photograph everything so well – your food looks especially delicious and your flowers are colorful and lovely! I might have to walk around my yard this afternoon to see if anything is blooming and snip a few to bring inside. I agree with your thoughts about not needing so much. This lockdown has shown us how little we can get by with and how we need to be kinder to each other and to the earth. Thanks for this beautiful post!

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  2. Thank you. This is a lovely post. I do wonder what the new normal will be. Will people rush to buy, buy, buy stuff? Will they be hungry for stuff? Or will people enjoy the slower? The less rushed life without seeking meaning in fast fashion or cheap tat? Our environment is recovering without the pollution from travel and manufacturing of unnecessary stuff.

    I love your little mis en scenes in the garden!

    And my heart sang when you said May is the most beautiful month. If not next year then in 2022, I will have a May in England.

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  3. thank you so much for this lovely post viv. tis a pleasure to read and realize we are all here and all humans and all trying to do our best. love the photos and your lovely writings. thank you so much.

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  4. I love my teapot – I bought it especially to make loose leaf tea but it works equally for tea bags.
    I love the way the honesty, aquilegia and forget-me-nots roam around the garden each year. The next flowers that will suddenly pop up everywhere will be the Welsh poppy and foxgloves – I love the way they grow in places where I might not think to plant them.

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  5. Covid has a lot to answer for – but good always comes out of bad and I feel this should be the window of opportunity we need to make use of to save our planet. This virus has shown that no man is an island we are one people on one planet. The boundaries between countries are just man made and like being in blogland those boundaries don’t really exist – in fact they would prevent us from having wonderful friendships and meeting wonderful people.
    I look forward to your visit whenever you can make it and May will continue to be a beautiful as ever. x

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  6. Thank you Deb – I actually feel quite fortunate that I have been given this breathing space – of course it is different for the frontline workers and those dying of the virus but sometimes drastic things are the only way we stop and have a rethink and I believe this is that time for the whole world.

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  7. Your photos are wonderful as always Viv, I can get quite lost in them at times. I’m glad to hear your Mum is feeling a little better. Hopefully we will hear some news this week about how we can all go forward in the future and that may include seeing family and friends again.

    I do wonder if people will have different priorities when all this is over, but I’m doubtful. We seem to be a nation built on borrowing money for big houses, big new cars, expensive holidays etc. which all have to be paid for. Maybe some enforced time at home will make people want more of that way of life and adjust, even just a little. I’m a great believer in each to their own though.

    Have a lovely weekend. xx

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  8. Your photos are wonderful as are your flowers. I am hopeful that people will have different priorities, be less wasteful would be a good one. Perhaps it will make people more mindful. I am glad to hear that you Mum is doing ok, it must be so hard to be on your own at this time.

    I use old lolly sticks for plant markers. When the children have a lolly with a stick I get them to wash them and put them in a pot in the kitchen, I have a good supply now. They last a couple of years before they start rotting and then they go in the compost bin!

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  9. Unfortunately I ran out of lolly sticks, but as you say they don’t last long and I wanted something a little more permanent. I love being able to drive into town to the supermarket in under 10 minutes now, usually it would take us more like 30minutes with all the traffic. It is also nice to see everyone out in their gardens and at home – normally it can be like a ghost town here on a weekend where we live as everyone goes out.

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  10. Looking at China it seems it is business as usual over there – the roads are as busy as ever so I think it will be the same here when lockdown finishes. I wonder if there will be rush on Tattoo parlours – I think there will be for the hairdressers! x

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  11. Having so much time to focus on things we find uplifting, joyous and creative is a real golden lining in all this and something I hope won’t get lost again over time.
    xx

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  12. A superb post Viv, and like Suzanne I can get lost in your photos 🙂

    I think you have summed up the economic situation extremely well.

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