Monday, 5 April 2021

finding new footpaths...

I am currently 'between homes' - rather in the way that actors refer to being 'between jobs'... in so much as I actually have no home of my own at the moment. The last two years have proved unsettling in ways that I could not have envisaged and I had found myself increasingly longing for a proper bit of garden, easier access to the countryside and a reason to go home from work. Of course, I had forgotten what a trauma selling up and finding a new home is - and this time, I am conscious that I really don't want to be doing this again. Not least because it is so expensive to move, but also because I have to face the reality that this is probably it for me. The last couple of years have hammered home the unavoidable truth that life is finite. And at pushing 55, on my own for almost 10 years now, my options are undeniably narrowing. So this feels like a huge life step. Again. I have debated long and hard with myself about what I want and need, what I am just settling for (and there absolutely is a resigned element of that) and what my future looks like. I have no idea if I have found any of the answers yet or if I ever will really but I knew with certainty that I needed to move on from my little house in the city. It was right 7 years ago but not any more. I still struggle with not really having anyone to bounce ideas off - friends help and offer advice, sometimes very sound and rational, sometimes giving away their own preferences and insecurities. But they don't have to live with the decision and I do feel a little sad that life has not worked out for me so that I have someone not just to share the decisions with but also the dreams, the pleasure and the prospect of just 'doing nothing' with.

But it is what it is, so in the meantime, having sold my house very quickly and failed to find somewhere new, I am staying in a variety of empty houses while I hunt. It is giving me an opportunity to walk in new places and lots of thinking time...

Woodland paths with early bright flowers...



Daffodils alongside gentle streams...



And crossing a particularly bleak and blustery field, sudden movement ahead as a family of deer ran across the footpath...


A full rainbow over moody skies, which I wasn't quite quick enough to catch at its most vivid...


And today, though we started with a sprinkling of snow and the blue skies belie the bitter chill of the wind, it was good to get out and feel the sunshine. The hedgerows are frothy with blossom...



And, although you can't really see it here, there is the beginnings of fresh green in the branches...

The church looked striking against the sky...



With beautiful Easter flowers at the door...


Trying to just breathe and live each day...

S x







 

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Changing seasons...

I think this is called Chaenomeles. It is flowering away outside the kitchen door, almost a bit excessive in its blowsy, show off bright red against the gentle blues and yellows of the crocuses and early daffodils.


 But rather beautiful all the same. And so nice to see some colour.


The sunshine through the trees on a walk in the woods makes it seem warmer than the reported temperature of 5C and a seat in a sheltered spot in a patch of sun was lovely. After another day of house hunting this was a moment to stop and think, work out my priorities and next steps.


And with the evening chill reminding me it is still early March, this was the perfect place for a cup of tea.



S x



Sunday, 28 February 2021

Spring walk...

After weeks of lockdown, huge challenges at the hospital and then snow...a change of weather has brought a splash of colour to Mum's garden and a hint of warmth to the air. Better things ahead...

 



A walk through woodland, last week the track was deep in mud but this week quickly dried by the sunshine...



Bright silver birches, striking against the sky...



And way above, two buzzards circling slowly, for all the world looking as though they were just enjoying the chance to stretch their wings in the warmth...


Long shadows through the trees...


Small splashes of bright colour, as though nature has opened her paintbox and picked the most vivid hues to wake us up...





This county of Norfolk, that has felt so constraining for so many months, looking beautiful - who knew..?




So here's to things that lift the soul and happier days that must be coming...

Sx








Saturday, 26 December 2020

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Challenges & constants...

So much for my intentions...

The end of February, March and April disappeared with not much thought of daily photos. I made a rash spur of the moment decision to apply for a job in a hospital at the other end of the country, was shortlisted and visited to take a look at the place and the team, managing to coincide it with their first Covid-19 case. Amidst the ensuing flurry of reorganisation and planning, no-one had time to talk to me, I only met the outgoing post-holder and spent a couple of days trying to decide if the area was always that bereft of life and activity, or if this was the 'Covid effect'. 

I cut short my trip, returned to my unit and work family of 35 years and decided this was a completely ridiculous time to be thinking about such a massive move - combination of loyalty to my colleagues and complete disbelief that the place I was considering was pushing ahead with recruitment without any opportunity to meet prospective colleagues. I rather suspect I would have been 'interview fodder' and that there was an easy to appoint local candidate lined up. Decision made, application withdrawn and within 10 days we were entering lockdown with the prospect of difficult times ahead on the work front and in our personal lives.

It has been challenging - our usual roles and working patterns have been upended as services have been shelved, staff redeployed and we all focused on the 'job in hand'. In my nursing career to date, I have never seen anything quite like it and my heart goes out to those patients and families affected. The resilience and compassion of colleagues - both clinical and non-clinical has, so far, been admirable. We are a long way off from being out of the other side of this as yet but we are coping, we are, for the most part, retaining a sense of humour and we believe passionately that we will continue to do our jobs, whatever that throws at us, to the best of our ability.  

I have still randomly taken some photos - mainly in appreciation of the fact that the natural world continues unabated. The birds sing, the feeders are emptied apace, the Spring bulbs have come and gone and the bare tree branches are clothed with fresh green leaves. 

So these are my reminders of the things that continue, the reassurance that the default position is for life to go on. I don't think things will ever be entirely the same but the flowers will still follow their pattern, the seasons will move on and, who knows, perhaps there are opportunities ahead in some form or another...


These are in no particular order; wintery trees in early February and my eldest son's birthday - 31years since this precious and incredible new person appeared in our lives, and a container of geraniums and lobelia that has continued to flower all winter. Daffodils, hyacinths, anemones, grape hyacinths and tulips all a little ahead of themselves I think, thanks to the warm weather in March and early April. A jay that has taken to hoovering up the mealworms in the birdfeeder, clumsily hanging there but at less than 3 foot from my window a treat to see. Blossom opening on the tiny apple tree I planted last year and a froth of blossom on one of my walks against the blue sky. Pretty heuchera flowers, also one of last years newcomers - the pleasure I have had from these reliable perennials rewarding my efforts by reappearing is immeasurable. And a bunch of flowers from my lovely 31 year old for mother's day - a 3 months worth gift of flowers and the kindest words as he acknowledges that I can't 'do' mother's day for my Mum this year.


As April moves on the petals of the tulips take on a translucence in the sunshine before they fall, the garden is filling out and there is enough warmth for coffee at my little table in the courtyard. The tiny flowers of lungwort up close reveal a myriad of colour not immediately noticeable from a distance. I extend my walks to footpaths within reach of my city home I didn't know were there, negotiating the 'social distancing dance' around other walkers and trying very hard not to mind that I am always walking on my own. Another beautiful bunch of flowers from my son and the heady scent of wisteria around a local church. On my Mum's birthday, the first of the year of her favourite flowers, sweet peas from seed saved from her garden last year, subtle shades of cream and pink, with the tinge of pick blushing stronger one the next few days. And after I succumb to the virus and have to self-isolate at home - a rainbow appears on my living room wall and the milkman leaves an  unexpected delivery just at the point I ran out of milk.

These are strange times and there is much to feel sad about. But also things to be uplifted by and soothed by. Here's to milkmen, postal workers, bin men and all the other unsung heroes that keep us all going. And to the people who clap and sing and let us know all key workers are in their thoughts - the staying at home bit is not easy either so hats off to us all.

Keep safe and well. 
S x




Sunday, 9 February 2020

2020: Week 5 and 6...

29th January:
As always, can't concentrate on one project at a time! Found this pattern whilst hunting for something else so decided to give it a go. Have never crocheted anything to wear other than scarves and gloves. First few rows, my impression is that it makes up quite quickly but not sure it has the softness of knitted fabric. Going to keep going though, we'll see!


30th January:
Another photo gap. This is harder than it should be! Some days I look around and just don't feel that inspired by anything I see.

31st January:
Beautiful skies as I arrive at work today. 


1st February:
Pretty little iris in my courtyard garden. I have crocuses and snowdrops and these tiny splashes of blue. Little injections of colour into dreary winter days.


2nd-4th February:
Oops. These passed by me in a blur...

5th February:
A quiet space in our department for patients and their families who need time to talk, think or just take a breath before heading back out to the world. Functional but long overdue and so badly needed.


6th February:
Oh dear. Not doing very well this week.

7th February:
After having a bit of a moan about a string of meeting invitations without a clear purpose (I hate meetings for meetings sake!) a friend sent me this...which made me chuckle.


8th February:
Nope - no photos today either...

9th February:
On the day the storm hit, I can't help wondering what on earth is going on with the climate. I have spring bulbs in flower, there is blossom coming on the tree outside my window and the geranium and lobelia in this pot have flowered all winter...


I am resolving to do even more of my bit for the environment.

Week 7, I need to try harder with the photos - there must be something each day that interests, amuses  or pleases me!

S x 





Saturday, 1 February 2020

Thinking of Mum...

Today the sun shone, at least for some of the day. It was the sort of day my Mum would have pottered in the garden saying 'there's always something to do!'. I am struggling to see her beautiful garden beginning to fade. I know this time of year every garden looks a bit drab but the last 6 months have seen the weeds creeping across the borders and made me realise just how hard Mum worked to keep it all in check, even just a few weeks before she died. So today I headed over there and spent a few hours tackling the worst of the grass and dandelions that were choking the perennials and rose bushes. 

Several hours later...

There are crocuses and snowdrops in swathes. Make the few scattered flowers in my little patch of courtyard look paltry!


Mum always wanted a pond. I think she had the idea she would be able to relax beside it and watch a range of wildlife. It was a sort of work in progress for years and then last year it finally got almost to the way she wanted it. The edging never got finished and this winter we didn't get around to netting it but the water is clear and last summer we had newts and lots of water bugs. Cleared as much of the leaves and weed from it as I could and hope the plants all grow again this year. Just wish she could see it. 


One last look back at the sun sending ling shadows before heading home...


I miss Mum more than I thought was possible. Make the most of those moments with your loved ones. Laugh together and encourage the generation above to tell stories. There is so much more I wish I knew that I didn't know to ask about. I have lots of good memories but the sadness at times is overwhelming. This garden is just not the same without her presence in it.

Sx