Archives for the month of: July, 2015


June 1922 – July 2015 

Sleep now.

The battle is not lost but won.

A life well lived, full of years

“Well done”


Our dear Mum, slipped away yesterday, surrounded by family, the glue that held us together and now we are orphans. Coming to terms with our loss but for mum, rest… Quietly watching as my sister kept vigil, whispering in her ear, “it’s all right, we are all here, everyone is fine.”  As our large family came to sit with mum, grandchildren, great grandchildren and children. So grateful to be able to say “goodbye”.

So thankful to a wonderful, caring staff at Creggan Bahn and the care they lavished on mum and all of us “Thank you”


Maybe Dad’s there still singing –

I’ll see you again whenever spring breaks through again
Time may lie heavy between but what has been is past forgetting
This sweet memory across the years will come to me
Though my world may go awry, In my heart ‘t will ever lie
Just the echo of a sigh; goodbye

Noel Coward

Bye Mum


Rosa Gallica "Versicolor"

We wait at the side of your bed

Taking turns to hold your hand;

Watching the rise and fall of your chest

With rising anxiety until you inhale

And we exhale in long, slow breath.

And the sea of faces in the room changes

Like the ebb and flow of tide,

Laughter, tears, confessions, fear, 

Kisses, hugs, exchanging worried glances; 

but at the side of your bed, we wait …


My Canadian sister usually checks my Blog on Monday finding nothing there she found a blunt email instead stating mum was ill. Since then we have gathered as a family to sit with Mum. The care staff have been exemplary, you couldn’t wish for better care. Watching as they have each come in to hug and kiss her and take their leave – in tears.

So please forgive me if I do not blog over the next few days as we sit with our indomitable mum

Cooling off

A surprisingly hot day, a bit of a gift really – good time for cutting the grass, hanging out the washing and cleaning the chicken coop…

Good housekeeping

While reading posts on chicken keeping, kept coming upon articles on red spider mite -what do they look like?- I wondered. So imagine the horror while cleaning the coop last week, to find little groups of mite hiding in the nest box. Yeuch! And “My poor chicken ladies!” So we have been in Good Housekeeping mode, scrubbing, cleaning, dusting, baking in the sun. Anything that will get rid off the little pests.

The girls have been under par recently, moulting and laying soft eggs and nothing seems to help. ACV in the water, vitamins in the water, adding baked egg shells to the feed, adding oyster shell to the feed. They very carefully pick it out. Try adding their scratch corn to feed, they really like that but as yet to no avail. Two lay beautiful eggs and two don’t.

Making the most of the sunshine, the coop was thoroughly cleansed and dusted once more. Bundles of Southernwood, Rosemary, Peppermint and Lavender have been strewn around the coop. Nooks and crannies sprayed with a mix of essential oils known to deter lice and mites. Appears to have been reasonably successful, as there are far fewer mites. Thank you Herbs 😀

Dust bathing

Well, it may not be great for the garden but the girls love their dust baths. Usually under the old hedge but sometimes lying in the warm, fragrant air of the rose bushes. Roses are cooling fragrant and restoring – good for self acceptance, love and trust. Every now and then a chicken will come and courie down beside a human, closing their eyes and leaning in, perfectly relaxed.  Ah, chicken love – it’s not always one sided!

Rosa gallica

Wishing you an itch free day today – thanks for dropping by again

morning wood

Even the garden is quiet; 

chattering swallows fallen to reverie.

Crossing the rain-soaked grass

Black rook stalks.

Etude in grey

And deep within the silent house

 a floorboard creeks, a muffled snore, 

sullen Sunday morning, wreathed in grey,

waits for sun to break the day.


‘Tis strangely quiet today, wagtail swaggers across the wet lawn stabbing the grass. More boldly, the shining black rook struts gallusly, his bright eye observing the empty food bowls. Overhead kestrel hovers against the foreboding sky, as small birds courie in the shelter hedge. Clouds cling to the hills and mountains as the weak sun struggles to penetrate the rain-plump clouds.

Gradually the house stirs, radios come alive, mobiles buzz.  Above the trees, a high pitched “cree” four kestrels fly, parents teaching young. A quiet country Sunday morn…

Thanks for dropping by, hope you enjoy a quiet Sunday too

Go, lovely rose,

Tell her that wastes her time and me,

That now she knows, 

When I resemble her to thee, 

How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Edmund Muller – Poems (1645)


How sweet the garden smells at eventide, when falls the sun and yet the summer ‘s warmth lingers in her perfume. I would happily fill the garden with roses, from the sweet simplicity of the wild rose and the burgeoning scent of the Apothecary’s rose. The gentle charm of New Dawn and Compassion roses. Sappho called her the “Queen of flowers”; Margaret McDonald Macintosh (one of the Glasgow Girls) filled her art works with stylised roses. Roses inspire both artists and poets alike.

In my little work room there are rose petals drying to be added later to bath mixes or herbal teas. Rose nurtures love, self-acceptance and trust; cooling, regulating and calming. It takes 60,000 roses to make 28g of rose otto; I think a rose syrup or rose water is more within my capability 🙂

As J. M. Barrie reminds us “God gave us a memory so that we might have roses in December

Thanks for stopping by today; take time to smell the roses or remember their understated beauty.

And please can we have some more?

I’m so sorry, I have no idea where this past week has gone, all I know is here we are a week later catching up in the garden! A mixture of fine days and appointments and suddenly – the days have passed!

2014 planting growing well

Following a lo-o-ng cold spring the garden has erupted into flower, with pinks, roses, sweet peas and Shasta daisies. Sage (Salvia officinalis), catnip (Nepeta cataria), in full flower, bees, heavy with pollen, visit the fragrant blooms. Hard to believe this bed was planted up in May 2014 but will need to do something with the rampant wild strawberries! But it is nice to harvest them and the chooks are yet to discover their deliciousness.

Finally flowering

Having cut this bed out last winter, piling on leaf mould and hoeing off the fresh weeds, it was eventually planted up late spring and nothing happened. Everything stood still until the recent warmth and rain showers. Our first summer here (2012) herbs were planted wherever there was a space but now some have outgrown their home and have been moved to new areas more suited to their needs. Lady’s mantle will be enough to harvest next year as this years baby plants mature…

New circle, new planting

Bargain violas edge the bed as the lavender hedging (Lavandula compacta) begins to settle in and flower. The sea hollies (more bargain plants) are budding too, in panic at the lack of growth,  I planted Borage (Borago officinalis), to add height Cardoons  (Cynara cardunculus)  – grown from old seed – are putting on leaf. Apparently they can be cooked like a vegetable. While in Sweden I loved the way herbs were planted in swathes so I’ve tried to mimic that with silver leafed plants.

Spencer sweet peas

Sweet peas, another “bargain” buy, they too stood in the ground looking unhappy but at last have flourished and come to flower. Not as fragrant as Cupani, but wonderful shades and marking. Each bed has a cane wigwam, most with sweet peas but last years circle has nasturtiums instead.

Last years potato patch

I’ve allowed myself more flowers for cutting this year adding Zinnia (I grew lots in Africa but they are not very happy here) and Cosmos. More Borage in here too – I may live to regret that 😀

Wild roses flower in the hedgerow gently perfuming the evening air. Heavy with blossom, the Apothecary’s roses droop to the ground, the still air filled with their fragrance. A little rabbit has moved into the garden not a problem yet unless he invites his friends too.

Thanks for stopping by today

WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?— …

Grey skies, silver linings

Our dad was fond of this poem, standing at the kitchen sink, surveying the garden, waiting for the watering can to fill before returning to the veg patch. He grew veg, lots of it and we grew up enjoying fresh produce, cooking lots of it for Sunday lunch…The novice veg patchEven my chard is struggling to grow, if it looks verdant – it’s a herb! Leeks look like chives and are only just beginning to grow as the weather warms.

Peas & Beans

Peas and beans are beginning to shoot up, I’m glad I sowed them late in the season.


At least potatoes are managing to flourish!

Fighting off the birds

Blackbird still wanders in to savour the strawberries but at least the net perplexes the chickens! 😀

Tiny Tomatoes

Seeds planted in February are stunted by the cold grey months, maybe we will still get fruit. The smell of green tomatoes will always be a reminder of our dad.

Cloud scape

We spend a lot of time staring at the sunsets, cloudscapes, wildlife, flowers. Watching the kestrel hover over the long grass, whirring wings and fan-tailed moving over the boundaries in search of prey. Storing up memories, reminded of old memories, green tomatoes, strong hands, warm, freshly picked vegetables, waking up a rather grumpy father at five in the morning to wish him a “happy birthday”… Happy birthday dad!

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Leisure – W H Davies

Thanks for stopping by today – make time to stare…