Pull up a Pew!

Please, help yourself to a slice of cake! Would you like milk in your coffee? Sit down and I’ll let you into a secret.

Being barely permitted beyond one’s home does not need to result in ennui … many emotions have featured in our household these last months but boredom has not been one of them!

Rather the days have been packed with various activities, as a family or solo. From intense Scrabble tournaments (I’m still on a winning streak) to walks galore. More on these and our garden in the next post. From language studies to piano recitals (not by me). From ‘The Artist’s Way’ to photo filing! Outdoor projects delayed for years have been completed, indoor decorating starts this month!

Below are just a few images giving a hint of our new lives.

Jigsaws have not been on my radar for many years, yet with long evenings indoors looming we invested in a few new ones – surely 1000 pieces wouldn’t prove to be too much of a challenge!?

We loved the quiet companionship of rejoining the tiny pieces, deciphering the colours and hints of images, creating a wondrous whole. In the silence a new united resilience developed within us. Our son would pop in now and then, praising our efforts, or a quick nod if we had not had much luck. Of course, he’d reach out, pick up a piece or two, slotting them neatly into place!

The first jigsaw was a nostalgic scene from the picturesque North Yorkshire coastal town of Filey; a place I visited often as young. Unfortunately one piece went missing during construction – can you spot the gap?

Being keen, although more dabblers than professional gardeners, we couldn’t resist the flowers in the jigsaw below and thought we might learn something along the way. We did, mainly don’t get a 1000 piece jigsaw with many similar hues including purples, reds and blues! We are pleased however with the final completed ‘Gardener’s Palette’ taking in cottage garden herbs, vegetables and flowers in all their various hues and shades … and might even add a couple to our own haven!

Mother’s Day was bittersweet; a beautiful morning shared with my son, adoring the wonderful and thoughtful 3-D card, spending a couple of hours discussing life and music! Yet I was not able to visit my own mother in person, but fully aware I was only one from so many around the world missing hugs with their loved ones.

Creativity has flourished and I think more than ever we appreciate the simple art of making … something … anything!

My son and I have bonded ever closer over cakes, scones, buns; the Victoria Sponge of the first image was inspired by Charley and her recipe at Books and Bakes. Thank you so much!

The amount of butter and sugar is quite horrifying and in the end we forewent the buttercream; the cake still tasted sublime! Recipe books have been brought out of hibernation and we’ve experimented with new dishes, revisited old favourite ones forgotten along the way of busyness!

A busyness that seemed so-all-important, so-all-consuming, suddenly showing its true colours … there is nothing more important than family and friends. Here lies the richness of life.

A friend, working from home and no longer spending hours commuting, took that time to enjoy her knitting, sending us some of her creations! I love flamingos and these here are treasured by me!

Faced with the cessation of garden rubbish collection, my husband extracted unused wood from the garage to make this cute compost heap! It’s snuggly tucked in between a coupe of bushes.

The Eurovision Song Contest has been traditionally celebrated as a family all my life! First thoughts were that nothing would be shown in its place, instead the most amazing and heartwarming evening of the year (so far) lit up our hearts!

Determined to make it a party, even if only the three of us, I spent a morning making flags of the 41 participating countries. Many will be aware of the number of non-European countries allowed to compete … let’s not go there!

The specially organised show in the Netherlands entitled ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’ was inspired by the song ‘Love Shine a Light’ by Katrina and the Waves which won in 1997 for the UK. During the evening there were special features by old winners and a montage of 2020 performers who did not have a chance to compete.

The pièce de résistance was the incredible finale, singing alone at home, the performers as a whole sung ‘Shine a Light’. There was not a dry eye in the house as the full impact of the one joining forces to create a unity shone out across Europe!

Finally, amongst the frivolity of home life, the seriousness of life beyond is never far away. My only excursions for weeks were the forays to the pharmacy for medications for the family. These trips saw my skills at remarkable adeptness and speed develop, my evasion of others reach another level.

Touched by my worries, amused by my description of the dash through the shop, my husband penned the ‘article’ below. The most precious of gifts are not those of the highest monetary value, rather caring, thoughtful and loving actions and deeds! This made me laugh out loud and I recall it every time I visit Boots (name of the pharmacy).

(Well of a squirrel anyway)
Star of stage, screen and local Boots

Annika is an up and coming impressionist, currently appearing monthly at her local Boots, amazing customers and staff alike as she weaves her way along the isles avoiding contact with any unwary member of the public. In doing so she is amazingly lifelike as a squirrel jumping from side to side, speeding up and slowing down as the situation demands.

Her pièce de résistance is her amazing stopping, turning and reversing speed, enhanced by her clenched little fists held under her chin, if anyone gets too close. People cannot believe her performance, and neither could the staff, who have called the police on a number of occasions. (The police later described her performance as unbelievable.)

Annika is now looking to increase and amaze her audience and is available for children’s parties, local fetes and beer festivals. Cash payment (in a brown envelope) is preferred but hazelnuts will be considered as an available option where appropriate.

Annika can be contacted at Squirrel Nutkins Residence, Hole in The Old Oak Tree, Next to the big pond, The Nature Reserve!”

To finish the post, I would like to shared the 2015 winning song ‘Heroes’ by the gentle-hearted and humble Swedish singer Måns Zelmerlöw which he sung from the garden of his home in London and was featured on the Eurovision Song Contest show this year.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” Anaïs Nin

Beak of Life


A dull thud against the glass kitchen door broke my morning reverie.
Blissfully I had been admiring the daffodils dancing in the breeze.For a second I muttered at the four bull-finches, vexed at their monopolisation of the bird-feeder.
‘Let the others on, you bullies,’ my mind signalled to them. Did they listen?
Three BirdsNot a chance. I espied an eager robin fluttering below the feeder, then with sudden decisiveness he darted to the fence post. My patient gardening buddy, who alas has a long wait until I weed the borders and he can scour for worms left behind.
Then thwack.
Standing by the door I looked down and spotted a little grey-blue bird lying still on its side.
‘A nuthatch,’ my husband told me confidently. ‘Made a bit of a hatchet job there,’ he added, chuckling at his own witticism. I glared at him before examining the bird again.
He moved, ever so slightly, still alive!  His head and body twitched and his beady black eyes stared accusingly at me.  ‘It’s a door, to our house,’ I retorted telepathically, ‘we need those things, doors!’
Another nuthatch flew down to join his friend and nervously he hopped in circles around him.
Braving my silhouette he approached the stricken nuthatch before abruptly leaping upon him. Swiftly he gave his friend the ‘beak of life’. A couple of pecks on his head, then some around the beak of the injured bird.
It was humbling to witness this love of the avian variety.
However soon I became alarmed as the first signs of affection turned to violence. The pecking intensified to vicious jabs at the now seemingly lifeless bird.
I knocked forcefully on the glass and reluctantly the fit nuthatch skittered away to the lawn. There he  stopped and looked at his friend. I too glanced down.
A wonder! The dazed bird wobbled uncertainly on it’s two feet. Would it soon be strong enough to hop around? Was there a chance he could fly away?  I remained hopeful and giving him peace to recover I moved away – after all there was breakfast to prepare.
With the three assorted cereals tipped into their bowls, toast ready, orange juices poured, tea pot overflowing, I cautiously edged towards the door.
Outside on the bird feeder there was the normal feeding frenzy – but on the patio or lawn there was no sign of our two special visitors who caused the morning’s excitement.
Robust and fit enough to fly away; they had departed. A little nuthatch rescued by his fellow friend.
What love, courage and devotion. My heart stilled for moment. Maybe here was a lesson for us all.
To finish a quick message on this special Sunday here in the UK to all Mums out there –  a Happy Mother’s Day to you all and have a thoroughly enjoyable day being spoilt! I am!