The Friday Flower…on Saturday

Yesterday was the end of a particularly stressful week at work and so by the time I had fought my way through the traffic and got through the front door, fed Slipper and finished my chores there was no time or energy left to write my post. So, I decided to write it this morning. The sun is out and the garden is laying heavy with the overnight rain, although the rain is doing wonders for the flowers which are all looking lovely, it’s also bringing out the snails and slugs….the battle I fear is about to begin as I moved my rocket plants and tender lupins out yesterday ……..However, the flower for today just has to be my Clematis. This is Nelly Moser, a beautiful and relatively easy to grow clematis that favours my east facing patio as it gets both sun and shade throughout the day (sun when it decides to show itself I may add!). The flowers are huge at 6-8ins in diameter and it looks sub tropical when in full flower. My Nan loved this clematis and I remember that the one in her garden was simply huge, clambering over the other shrubs and trees. I bought it because it minded me of her, smiling as she enjoyed her gardening, something we can still share even though she is gone. When something holds a memory it is good to hold on to that something……

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The Friday Flower – After the Rain

Well Friday has rolled round again and what a week it has been. It started off on a positive note but unfortunately went down hill, however this seems to be the norm at the moment and so when Friday comes around it’s a relief. The tension in my neck and shoulders seems worse than ever and I think I need to see about some serious massage therapy, but until then I have my flowers to cheer me up and put the smile back on my face. Gardening has always been an outlet for me, more so now I have the greenhouse! This evening has been a treat as although it is cool, grey and damp the droplets remaining after the rain storms look beautiful on the emerging flowers and leaves, the plants seem as relieved as I do that it’s Friday, their stress has been lack of real water for weeks and so now they look refreshed and revitalised. Here is the sole surviving Allium, sadly last years terrible slug fest seems to have destroyed the other bulbs, but this one is a treat, I hope you like it! Have a lovely relaxing weekend and thanks again for all your views, likes and comments!

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Fitness Thoughts……

Having had a break from blogging and photography, mainly due to work, I have decided to get back to it! Why, because I have missed it and need an outlet for my creative side that has been ignored for too long!

So, what’s new, well for too long I have been eating all the wrong things and doing very little exercise, the perils of a desk job coupled with an eternal love of anything chocolate add up to a very unhealthy me. Ive never been overweight as such, although at only 5ft in height any additional weight is felt in an instant, but I have noticed a lack of energy and a general feeling of lethargy and so I have decided to do something about it.

Having an inbuilt dislike of gyms and the inability to run anywhere let alone a 5k run coupled with the memories of years of dance classes and rigid routines I decided to go with a fitness dvd, but not any old celeb based instant transformation package, no this is a real programme aimed at getting you to committ to getting fit and doing it at a pace thats right for you.

 

Tonight I commenced my second round of training, 25mins per day 5 days per week, rotating cardio with selected muscle group activities…..all I can say is after the last few months of working out I thought I was fit!! But one thing is for sure, after this I WILL BE!

But when youre working out its amazing at how your mind focuses on the job in hand, but also where it can wander. The thoughts you have whilst counting away the reps, I call this the Fitness Philosophy. What drives a person, what motivates a person, does it come from within or does it originate from another, all questions that we can ponder whilst our mind is focusing in on our body. Its true of many things in life, do we simply follow the lead of others or do we instigate the plan ourselves, do you do as you see others doing or do you follow your own path? In most of our lives we are told to do things, we follow instruction, we do as we believe others would want us to do, but does that make us happy? We can absorb what others deem to be a successful formula and fail miserably, yet we can make are own decisions and find happiness.

Yet here I am, following a programme that is sold as being one of the most successful fitness programmes available, the proof will be in 25 days!

Maybe following the crowd does have its benefits after all…………………

 

 

Follow the crowd

Faithful Friend

A tiny kitten pressed tight against¬† his brother, both dishevelled and a little scared. Uprooted from the comfort of the stable where they had spent their first few months, accompanied by a Shetland pony and the farms population of mice. Maybe that’s where they both learned the art of the pounce practiced so precisely on my duvet protected toes! Slipper, my slightly tubby tabby cat is the softy of the duo, his brother Finlay being the more feisty of the pair. As a kitten Slipper would hide behind his smaller brother and gaze up at me from soft green eyes, a hint of panic and the urge to flee suddenly quelled by the desire to be loved and fussed, which rapidly grew into an obsession. I call him my stripy tiger, his fur plush and dense, pale blonde mixed with every shade of brown form the most perfect of tabby markings, his eyes defined by dark sweeping lines giving him the look of Cleopatra, far too pretty to be a male everyone says. Patiently and somewhat regally he waits for my return from a long day at the office,¬† always ready at the door with a cry of excitement and a well rehearsed ballet as he dances on his toes in and around my feet. No sooner have I sat down then he is there, face pressed against mine, whiskers tickling and he nuzzles in as close as he can, claws stretched in pure delight and deployed to ensure I do not escape from his embrace. Slipper is 8yrs old now, yet still retains his kitten-like appeal, trusting and loveable, always accepting of attention but completely unselfish in his desire to love and be loved, a truly beautiful cat inside and out.

Slipper 2013

Resigned Misconception

Sometimes in life you form an opinion about something or someone, this could be based on information past or present yet it lives in your mind, surfacing occasionally to remind you or warn you. Yet sometimes we choose to ignore it, push on and move forward away from it, in the hope that we are moving towards something better and away from the past. A surface blur hiding what lies beneath. But just sometimes it serves us well, it was right all along, that gut instinct, that strange ominous feeling rising from within. Our brain may control function and fact but there is more to us than anyone knows, an inner guide that just sometimes we need to pay more attention to, from here on in I will listen.

The lake at Coombe

On A Wing and A Prayer

Last Sunday I was treated to lunch at my parents house which thankfully is only a few miles up the road from where I live. They have a beautiful garden with many mature trees and shrubs, but the most magical shrub is the Buddleia or to use its more common name Butterfly Bush. On first glance it looks to be the most unruly of plants, growing upwards in excess of 15ft and spreading sideways regardless of fences or sheds, with a somewhat bedraggled appearance as the weight of the flower heads lowers the branches towards the lawn. But you only have to look for a few seconds to realise it’s real beauty, it is a magnet for butterflies, bees and flies of all shapes and sizes, offering a one stop shop for nectar and pollen and a source of endless entertainment to the onlooker. Against the sunlight the butterflies appear like silhouettes, rising and falling onto the many flower heads, busy and energetic, some remaining still for a short respite, others fighting over territory and even the odd brief love affair in midair. After only a few moments my eyes were drawn to an unusual colour resting on flower head of pale purple, a much brighter visitor, almost yellow from a distance, not the dark brownish red of the Admiral or spotted giveaway that is the Peacock butterfly, no this was much brighter……approaching calmly towards the plant, phone camera at the ready, I realised that this was a Comma, the telltale shape of the wings, almost bat-like in design. After a few moments it took flight over my head and landed directly behind me on the twisted Hazel tree, without wanting to scare it away i managed to take several quick shots before it took to the air once again to return to the Buddleia where it was joined by another Comma. having never seen these at close range before I was overjoyed, Mum and Dad also really suprised to see them in their garden. A few seconds later we were treated to a second visitor, a beautiful Brown Speckled Wood butterfly which landed again right in front of me offering another opportunity for a photo shoot at close range! Both of these butterflies are making a slight recovery after years of being in serious decline, so it really was a treat to be able to get close to them. As they took to their wings once again lets hope that they continue to thrive, if you can plant a Buddleia bush, you will be helping these beauties to survive and will be entertained for hours.

My Favourite Insect of All

The humble bumble bee, threatened from every angle, lack of habitat and mites that destroy hives this little miracle of the insect world is struggling to survive. But have you ever watched a bumble bee going about it’s business? it really is a feat of nature’s engineering as when you look at the design of a bumble bee it really shouldnt be able to fly at all! With its large rounded body and tiny wings in comparison to its body size its a wonder they even get off the ground. But look a little closer and you will see that their wings don’t actually flap up and down for lift, they move backwards and forwards, creating a small vortex of pressure that enables them to keep airborne. I watch the bees working on the lavender bushes at my parents house, they work tirelessly collecting the pollen to take back to the hive, but to also feed their energy levels, no wonder when they have to put so much energy into simply remaining mobile. When you see a bee on the ground it probably one of two things, it is either exhausted and in need of nectar, or in the case of the bumble bee’s working on the lavender they are drunk! Many times I have seen them falling over trying to extract as much nectar as they can, dropping to the grass and rolling around for a few seconds before getting back on their feet and catching their breath, only to fly in a less than perfect line back to the flowers, and resume their feast! Simply fabulous!

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Barley A Breeze

It has been a quiet sort of day here today, the morning was misty and cool but the sun soon broke through to bring a glorious late summer afternoon. The breeze of yesterday has given way to the calm of today, the flowers stand motionless in the garden and the tree as still as a statue. Yesterday was quite different, the breeze grew stronger as the day lengthened and the fields of barley across the way from where i live were like a turbulent sea, bending and twisting at the will of the wind. The heavy ears full of grains acting like sails tied to the slender masts, the butterflies were having a difficult time trying to bask in the sun and the odd field mouse scurried along the ground, rather than clamber up the skinny stalks to the ripe larder cupboard at the top. Capturing the motion was difficult, trying to freeze motion without losing sharpness is a challenge, so i think here is a combo of the two, a slight blur from the softer edges of focus and a nice sharp capture of the movement, barely a breeze today but breezy barley yesterday.

Red on Grey

Red on grey? I hear you say…..well the reason is simple, its a really grey and drizzly day here and so looking at some photos taken earlier I just loved this cheery bright red flower shot taken at a garden centre. I think the flower is from the Crocosmia family, a stunning perennial flower from the iris family and perfect for growing in even the worst soils, completely perfect for my garden then! The garden centre is a wonderland for flowers and is was difficult photographing this one as it was covered in bees and each time I got close to the flower head the bee would crawl out and fly directly at the lens! So if the weather is anything less than cheery where you are I hope that this almost infrared flower will brighten your day!

 

A splash of red on an otherwise grey day

A splash of red on an otherwise grey day

Why Fit In When You Were Born To Stand Out

Its true, from an early age we are taught to conform, be like everyone else. We wear uniforms to school and to work, we follow the same paths that have been the norm for generations, the message is fit in. But what of those who choose not to conform, but to go their own way. They wear their hair different, choose a different way to look, their clothes are not from the high street but from independent outlets that appeal to the minority not the majority. We are led to believe that there is a right way and a wrong way to get through life, that if we don’t go the right way we will somehow end up on the outskirts of society…but what is this society? And do we truly wish to be part of it? At a young age I had a desire to become a dancer, but sadly due to being some what height challenged I was advised that I would not be accepted to the establishment, because I wouldn’t be the same height as all the other dancers, basically i didn’t fit in, literally. When i think about it I have never really fitted in anywhere, at school, at college, even at work, not for want of trying, but there it is again, trying to fit in! Why are we all so hell bent on being like everyone else? When you truly look at others do you have that strong desire to be like them? I guess we all develop the ability to role play, to act the part, to be what people want you to be, at home, at work and when out in public….but think of this…..when you are alone who are you really? Like the title says, why fit in when you born to stand out from the crowd.

A scarecrow stands out from the foliage at Calke Abbey kitchen gardens

A scarecrow stands out from the foliage at Calke Abbey kitchen gardens