Todays post is going to be a bit of a photo fest - no apologies really, these are just things I want to be able to look at again to remind me of my brief respite from the daily routine.
Got back today from weekend away with The Girls which was bliss. Don't get me wrong, I love my boys but there is something very different about living with other women. I don't doubt that for longer than a few days we might all drive each other nuts but we have been going away for these weekends, just once a year, for so long now that the friendship is easy. Everyone feels able to relax in whichever way suits them best - some walk, some go to lots of fitness classes, some just chill out and read, some do a bit of everything. We never spend any more than the cost of the accommodation (apart from the odd sneaky bit of shopping..!) and all take one meal and cook lovely food for each other.
And guess what...NOBODY has to be asked to help clear up! So it all gets done really quickly and no-one has to bang pots and pans in a generally grumpy bad tempered way! Whereas at home, it has to be said that I may occasionally be prone to a bit of harrumphing and crashing in the kitchen whilst the menfolk are beached in front of the TV - I have tried soooo hard to encourage my sons to be considerate helpful men, and they are lovely kind boys, BUT they don't seem to be able to intuitively Get On with what needs doing and have to be asked and sometimes that is just so wearing.
Anyway, I did come back feeling recharged - only slightly tainted by the fact that I returned to a house that had 'blokes alone' written all over it. I'm not a perfectionist as far as the house is concerned (far from it!!!) but having to spend 2 hrs cleaning the remainders of the Sat night party from the bathroom, downstairs toilet and kitchen did threaten to undo 3 days of good!
However, I've just sat and played with putting together photos from the weekend and could feel myself unwinding again as I relived those little captured moments. Heather from Little Tin Bird wrote about her feelings about blogging on her post yesterday and for me it is as much about having a place for me to look back at and enjoy as anything else. Life is far from perfect - but I think this is helping me to put the things that make me unhappy into perspective with the things that do bring me joy. I am conscious I am only a month into the whole blogging Thing but at the moment I am enjoying the opportunity to say what I want, when I want and to go back and look over those little frozen in time moments and thoughts. Whether I will feel the same in a few months, or whether I will keep this up... who knows?
So... having said this is a photo fest, I should stop going on and get on with the photos!
Elveden in early February was surprisingly mild. Blowy and a bit grey but lovely to just get out and walk in the forest - catkins and red berries, tall, tall pine trees and lots and lots of cones underfoot of varying shapes and sizes. I walked for a good hour each day, just for the sake of walking, sometimes with company, sometimes on my own - lovely.
The forest is just full of creatures and they are so used to people that you see them all the time. I know I've said it before but I sooo want a better camera! It was impossible to capture the detail of the birds and animals. From the bird hides today we saw pretty little yellow-green and black siskins, bossy chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, coal tits and long-tailed tits, a striking red-faced goldfinch and a brambling, which you can just make out with the chaffinches in the top left photo. I had never seen one of these before and wouldn't have spotted it had it not been for the very knowledgeable gentleman birdwatcher who pointed it out. In day to day life I forget to appreciate the beauty and variety of things like the birds that visit the garden. Made me think I must have another go with niger seed to attract the finches!
The little muntjac deer and the squirrel were daily visitors to the villa and these pictures were taken through the window, which they came within just a couple of feet. I know grey squirrels are considered a pest (and having seen red squirrels years ago, they are definitely the bolshy big cousin) but they were entertaining, with one carefully burying food and another digging it up as fast!
Essentials for Girls Weekend Away... crochet (progress on the daisy blanket!), a little drop of something to drink (!!!), gorgeous candles on the shop shelves, chocolates, magazines, lovely hand creams and flowers (only a group of girls would think it necessary to take a bunch of daffs on holiday!), coffee & nibbles and a whole shelf full of CK goodies. LUSH!
And these are the 'girls'! As you can see, girls might be pushing the descriptive barriers a bit but we are all young at heart and had such a great time! Shower caps for the hot tub were the de rigueur item for this year, taken on spectacularly by the more extravert among us!!!
All in all it was a fab weekend - we laughed a lot, ate too much, watched films, drank more than we would usually and generally 'escaped' from the mundane. Definitely to be recommended!
Something else to be recommended was the therapeutic massage I treated myself to yesterday - it was not gentle (she gave my shoulders a thorough pummeling!) but I felt as though my neck and back had been freed up and last night I slept for 6 1/2 hrs!!! (This is unheard of for me! 3 hrs is usually a good night - I have been a chronic poor sleeper for years and years) I am trying to work out if I can justify the regular expenditure on health grounds of massage more than at center parcs once a year!
Mm...have just reread this and seems it has turned into a bit of an epic post! Just one more set of pics...
These - with the exception of the fir cones - are back at home this afternoon when I had my ritual wander round the garden looking for signs of spring (oh, not the daffs! They were in a vase!). Found the first few crocuses pushing their way through (couldn't show you any wider a shot - the weeds are spectacular already! Work to do there!) The others are a shrub I have in a pot on the patio (I think its called viburnum but can't quite remember just now...) - it has lovely shiny evergreen leaves and clusters of tiny red buds that turn into pale pink flowers, and (sorry!) more snowdrop pictures. It was so blustery that they were flapping backwards and forwards in the wind and it seems amazing that such fragile looking blooms stay on their stems. I can't tell you how it excites me to see this little patch of white flowers - it seems we have finally cracked the duff performances of the past umpteen years!
So...back to reality in full glory tomorrow when I go back to work - must go now and get myself organised!
Til next time,