Hello from Sunday night, yes I know it’s Monday morning

You know what I discovered recently?
I actually only have two hellebores in my garden and they’re not very exciting hellebores at that.

Out at my favourite nursery, Southlands, Thomas had all sorts of these beautiful guys. I love winter bloomers.

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Is it me or have I blinked and suddenly there are about a million exciting new cultivars from the boring old Winter and Lenten Rose types? Look at the ruffles and spots and variegation! Have to look around my own hood for houses which will be demolished this spring and go steal save a few.

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The Southlands neighbourhood is a very bucolic country gentry life neighbourhood, with horses and stables and rural life right in the heart of a big cosmopolitan city. It ends at one arm of the Fraser River and the Vancouver airport is on an island just beyond.

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It might look bucolic and country charming, but the average price of houses starts somewhere around $5,000,000 and goes up from there. One particular house overlooking the path and river is listed at $12,000,000 and has 5 bedrooms 5 bathrooms, about 5000 square ft, and an average city lot. Buying a house in Vancouver means that you can probably afford a house anywhere else in the world…except maybe New York, London or Tokyo.

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But it is beautiful here. Blooming trees and pussy willows and horses in back yards.

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

Hello from Sunday night

Hello from Sunday night :D

I’m so excited to report that I saw the first bee of the season this week!

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And the sun continued to shine that cold, brave light, but out at the river it still looked very wintry.

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We had a brave alfresco lunch, seduced by the sunshine and the fluffy red patio blankets, we thought we might be a bit cool, but we were fine. And we love eating outside any chance we have.

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There was also a large home and garden expo downtown, so C and I spent a couple nice hours mooching around.

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There were the usual lovely home displays, but a large amount of the booths were really hard push, hard sell things people never knew they needed. To tell you the truth, it reminded us a little of that “as seen on television” push.

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But there were some lovely bits too.
In the home…

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garden…

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and personal love department. Actually, C and I really loved these bracelets and bought ourselves one each.

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At my local river park the Oemleria (Indian Plum) is blooming. This is always the first native plant which blooms and it blooms everywhere, all over the place, every park, every forest, every little bit of wild land, and, it’s a super good thing because it gives so much value to the first bees and the resident hummingbirds.

river finds

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It’s been an incredibly mild winter and there is virtually no snow pack on the mountains. The rivers are pretty low and I worry that there will be water shortages later on in the year.

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But for now the sun is still shining. :D

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Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch.

Five minutes of peace…with tea

The roof is done! Hooray!

Oh my gosh that was a couple of days of the loudest, most inescapable noise.
That was two days of scraping and hammering and dropping huge bundles of roofing material, which sounded like an earthquake and made my 1920’s windows rattle. That was two days of nervous, hiding, hissy cats.
That was two days of keeping vigil over workmen who don’t know garden beds from foot paths, don’t know that if you step on the irises and peonies there won’t be any flowers come May. That was two days of not getting much work done at all.

But, hey, minimal disasters, and maximum benefit of a new roof. By the way, a new roof only takes two days! Who knew?

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So never mind the backlog of work, time to take a few minutes and enjoy this peace and quiet.

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All winter I’ve been working on my little collection of indoor plants, but now that it’s so unseasonably warm, my thoughts are with the garden.
So for my little tea break I went downstairs into my library and picked a book.

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Do you have precious books in your collection?
This one is very precious to me.
It used to belong to my grandfather.

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It’s a 1969 edition of Gardening for the West by Robert A Nicholson.
It’s a good and practical book, but what makes it precious is that it’s stuffed full of my grandfathers notes.

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They’re mainly about flowers. The notes are written in English on one side and German or Latin on the other. He translated words, phrases and whole sentences. He made notes and wrote down his thoughts. He underlined tons of words and phrases in red in the book and numbered them with his complicated system of filing.

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His notes seem random, but they’re all organised with another number system, which I suppose, corresponds to his daily entries in his journals and the numbered system in this book. There are tons of notes throughout his books. There are plenty of journals too. Mostly I can read them, mostly they’re in a familiar language I understand, sometimes I can’t.

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But I feel incredibly lucky to have some of his books, his journals and his notes, and I always love to spend some time reading thru them.

One more cup of tea and I’ll put away grandfather’s book and look to see what I can do about seeding some radishes and have a think about starting the beets.

I understand it’s pretty miserable and wintry in some places. Hope you’re all thawing out a little this week. Sending some mild, blue skies and warm sunshine your way. :D

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Hello from Sunday night, and, we have a winner!

Hello, hello post Valentine’s! :D

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I do hope your Valentine’s Day was a special and a lovely one.
As you probably know, I didn’t have Robert here this year, but we spoke for hours and exchanged cards and love greetings from across the great, big pond. Some years are like that, and, while we’re determined to spend every Christmas together, Valentine’s Day is a bit hit and miss.

But I did wear my red shoes!

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And went for a lovely walk with my mom on the beach.

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I tell you what; the rain let up, but the fog rolled in and stayed over Vancouver. I was looking out toward Vancouver Island thinking of my new friend The Hostess of the Humble Bungalow, and her sunny walk, and thinking, “Typical! And I chose to live under these bloody mountains!”

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But then Kerstie sent me Valentine’s photos of our precious three, Binky, Bunny and Ziggy, and it didn’t really matter if the sun wasn’t out, there was a smile on my face a mile wide. Thank you my baby.That was the loveliest surprise.

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Valentine’s eve was a special time for C and for me. We had a simple supper of great, big artichokes. Nothing so good as that for us.

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Then, what a difference the night makes!

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From gloomy, leaden sky, to morning sun!
I must admit I took a photo and stuck it up on my Instagram with the caption of something like, “What the hell is that bright light!!!”

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Things are just so much better with the sun, aren’t they? For days now I’ve been living vicariously thru my friend Daryl in New York and her sunny, blue skies!

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But now I have a bit of blue skies of my own!

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Oh my gosh it makes such a difference to my seasonal affect disorder brain!

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And to the garden…and to the hummingbird who zips around scolding my cats and trying to get sips of this spirea.

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And I’m able to take stock of the garden. (that’s a lot of garlic)

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And pick a posy of tiny, sweet violets for my bedside table.

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Even though it’s Sunday, I still had a bunch of work to do.

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And so did C, but really, who cares on a day like today where the sun is streaming in thru every window.

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We all get to luxuriate in the sun for a day or two now, and we’ll all take full advantage of that. :D

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And now for that random generator thingie:

Congratulations Julie, from Forest Poppy.

random number Congratulations Julie! Everyone, if you have a minute, drop by Julie’s. She the most amazing knitter, quilter, all round super girl, mom to four, including the cutest forest baby, (who she’s always taking photos of running away down some forest path), living in the highlands of Scotland.

Such wonderful people as we are, should really know each other. :D

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch

Hello from Sunday night

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Hi everyone,

Happy Superbowl Sunday. Did you watch the game? Did you have a party?
We did round here. That is to say, we had the party, but we didn’t really watch the game. Football, as it turns out, is not really our thing. We watched the newest episode of Top Gear, and the movies A Girl Most Likely and Long Way Down. I read the book Long Way Down a couple summers ago and really loved it. The movie was fantastic. Actually, both the movies were fantastic, and Top Gear is always hilarious.

I did buy some cupcakes with the Seattle Sea Hawks logo though; actually for no other reason except that we like Seattle. :D

It’s been a most uneventful Sunday round here and that was really good because our Friday and Saturday were a bit of a nightmare. Morgan has become such a sickly cat lately, and has developed some kidney/bladder condition which necessitated an overnight vet stay. Well, over the night she managed to rip out one of her claws and in the morning no one could get close to her. So I came in and calmed her down, and just as she was calm enough for a urine sample, she freaked out and got me with her remaining claws. Two deep gashes, one on each of my wrists. My poor little cat. She got a couple injections, some more medicine, and I took her home Saturday morning and closed her in my bedroom, where she was nice and calm all day and over night. She’s much better today.

Enough drama round here!
But nothing that a little retail therapy can’t fix. :D

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D

About the January drive for fresh, new, spring, clean

You know what I do when I need to clean up?
I buy flowers!
And what’s better than one hyacinth? Two! :D
At the moment they are gracing both sides of the kitchen sink, but they might want to move to follow me around the house.

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So I swept the floors and got to the dining room floor and suddenly the cat hair and dust stuck to the hardwood. I thought, “what the heck?” I thought it’s my miracle orchid. It tends to drop sap drops from its blooming spikes. So I washed the wood underneath it and kept going.

Imagine my surprise and then imagine my horror when I discovered sap under my saved palm! “Oh, oh”, I thought, and had a good look and my worst suspicions were confirmed. The dreaded scale!

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Oh boy! I’ve thrown plants out for less. But this palm is already four feet tall and luxurious and I actually love it. But scale is so hard to control…and there was a huge infection! Right here is the reason I don’t really do house plants! So what to do? Save or compost?

Oh alright then…Save!

I got a large (2′ x 3′) plastic tub and filled it with warm, soapy water, stuffed newsprint into the pot to stop the soil from falling out, and tipped it sideways into the soapy suds and grabbed an old toothbrush and scrubbed the living daylights out of each and every piece of that palm for over an hour!

After the palm, I really wanted to put away the few Christmas decorations which got missed…

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…but ended up playing with Morgan instead. She commandeered the box anyway.

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Last night C took down my spotlight and vintage tripod to take some photos for her work.

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She finished her photography and said, “Mom, I think your spotlight might have an electrical fault because it really smells like it’s burning.”

Oh no! Not another thing wrong round here! :D

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Then we investigated and guess what we found!!!
A wasp nest? What? A little wasp nest was burning under that super strong light bulb.

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Well, that makes sense. I haven’t actually touched this spotlight since since last May or so. (Counting back, May and June were fine for light, summer I was in E, and since Sept there has been that other bit of nonsense happening…so that makes sense)

I should really get back to work, but today is cold and rainy, and so we all feel like Morgan looking out into the drippy world. Well, maybe I’ll put the rest of those decorations away since Morgan is out of the box. :D At least I will have accomplished something today.

Boy, I really have to get back into my strong work ethic.

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We all live under the same moon

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beach love

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Yesterday I took a walk on the beach at sunset and I thought about how intensely I miss Robert now that he’s had to return to E. Then I looked to the West, into the setting sun, and then at the rising moon, and thought, “that’s the same sun that warms him, that’s the same moon that lights his way at night.”

It’s a comfort of sorts.

Christmas day warmth

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Christmas day

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home

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Christmas day warmth.

Here on this dreary, rainy West Coast, the sun came out for Christmas. It came out and warmed up our spirits and the neighbourhood pussy willows.

Our Christmas day was full of roasting and baking and icing. It was full of quiet moments, sleepy lap cats, candle light and open fire. It was full of The Queen’s Speech, Doctor Who and James Bond.

It was merry and bright and warm. :D

Sharing all this Christmas warmth with the WordPress photo bunch :D

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas

There’s so much excitement round here. Do you all feel like that Christmas eve?

Christmas eve is the traditional Czech Christmas celebration, and, as my mother is coming to celebrate with us, I’m making a traditional Czech feast which includes a carp.

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And here is the beast!

Robert thinks carp is a big joke. I explained that one must eat the carp to have the right to put the carp scales into their wallet, to insure that one won’t run out of money for the whole of the next year.

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And he said, “Let me get this straight. At some point millions of years ago, some Czech officials said, ‘How are we going to get our good people to eat this horrible, bony, but prolific fish?’ ‘I know, let’s make up a superstition!'” :D

Lol, it might be true! It’s as big a pain to prepare as it is to eat. See that scale in my hair? That one chose me!

This particular fish came completely intact, which meant I had to gut it! (Brave girl me!) I have to tell you something. Inside carp is a sort of hourglass shaped sac which is its swim bladder. It looks like a balloon, and, as children, my cousins and I were given these “balloons” to play with while our grandmother prepared the fish. (there were usually three or four carp swimming in the tub over night) I told R this story and he laughed and said that next jousting day, I better not say anything about the little British children marching around holding fake severed heads if I played with fish organs as a child. I guess he has a point.

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There was a little last minute prezzy wrapping.

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And, as usual, Morgan did her best to help.

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Then, then all the wrapping was done…

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…Morgan took up station in the kitchen to keep an eye on supper.

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The evening came and we sat down to our Czech Christmas supper.

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And Morgan took up residence in the dining room.
Yes, she was given hand-outs under the table. Spoiled cat. Milo was under a blanket in the TV room and so he missed out on the carp.

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We had a bit of wine and exchanged prezzies with my mom. She gave me the most beautiful and huge amethyst geode. It’s just so glorious that it now has pride of place in the middle of the mantle. I’ll take a photo soon and show you.

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Then we kicked off our shoes and went into the family room to watch a movie. R picked You’ve Got Mail. I’ve never seen it and it was lovely.

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All the prezzies went under the tree…

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…and off we went eager to wake up for our traditional British Christmas morning.

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Just as we were in bed, there was a soft thump from the kitchen. That scrubby little Morgan climbed up on the counter and dragged a whole loaf of bread out of the bread basket and onto the floor!!!

But now all is still and all is calm. I wish you all a wonderfully merry Christmas day with loads of love and warmth to sustain you for the whole year. I thank you for your loving support and friendship. It means to world to me and you’re all in my heart.

May you be loved.

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Hello from Sunday night

Hello from Sunday night my dear and so loved friends.
I can’t even begin to thank each and every one of you for your deep and loving wishes on my last post. You’ve all moved me to tears and I treasure every sentiment of good will.

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And even though the weather is our typical dreary wetcoastness, my heart is warm and shiny.

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Inside there are flowers. Beautiful flowers. Beautiful Christmasy flowers. The top bouquet of red roses and green chrysanthemums came from mom as a happiness prezzy and the beautiful one below came from Chloe as a wonderful surprise for me when I came home from the last treatment.

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I have an old book from 1908. It’s one of my favourite books in the whole world. It’s bound in suede and is called “White Hyacinths”. The author, Elberd Hubbard, writes, “If I had but two loaves of bread, I’d sell one and buy white hyacinths to feed my soul.” Flowers do feed the soul, don’t they?

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The house is shiny with Christmas warmth.

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I’ve hung up my Oxfrodshire Christmas map above the mantle so I can see it every day. I really love this map. I painted it over Christmas at West Cottage a couple of years ago.

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One one side of the old Craftsman mantle is an old, (but new to us), Christmas village. We’re into watching Murdoch Mysteries and, when I saw this little village in the local thrift store for something ridiculous like $14, I though it reminded me of that gentle Canadian era, and beside, I always wanted one. I haven’t figured out any lighting for the houses and lamp posts, but give me time and I will.

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Also on the mantle are these two ancient alabaster cups. I love how they glow with candle light.

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The last of the autumnal apples are keeping cool on the back porch. They are still delicious and crisp. Inside, in a big wooden bowl, are cookie cutters ready for this year’s gingerbread. I think it’s about time I got my act in gear and made some, don’t you?

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Last time I looked Milo was sacked out on C’s bed, but I’m not allowed into C’s room right now because of the Christmas prezzie situation, but here’s Morgan, eyeing the baubles on the Christmas tree. One of my ornaments, a beautiful glass peacock, came apart this year. Not a big deal, just the bottom clip separated from the glass base. Before I could glue it back together, Morgan grabbed the peacock feather part and made off with it to play. Luckily she didn’t break it. Scrubby little cat.

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And, just in case you think it’s all beautiful and bucolic round here, here is a photo of the kitchen table, where we are hanging out at the moment. R is researching replacing a missing lead to some headphones and I’m writing this post. Please note the sculpey, the tape, the sheep’s wool duster stuck behind the table, the camera lens cover and other detritus of life. :D

Happy solstice and big hugs to everyone.

Sharing with Judith and the mosaic bunch. :D