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A pet bee

2 May

On 24 August 2021 I wrote:

One of our pet bees, having a snack.

Some days you get to just sit back and enjoy life. I feel enormously lucky that I live somewhere I have such easy access to the life enhancing properties of nature.

In the late summer of 2021 the flowers on our terrace were glorious and we were regularly entranced by the gentle hum of the bees that hopped from flower to flower, drinking in all that nectar. Whichever bee was nearest us was called our Pet Bee. Just recalling this, I can feel the heat of the sun on my skin, and feel I’m blinking with the sunlight. And the bees, I can hear the bees, gently buzzing in my background. Such a happy wee sound.

And, we are selling this lovely haven, so if you or someone you know would like this lifestyle for yourself, here’s the details. Mauldslie Kennels, for sale.

Posies of flowers

5 Feb

This stitching is from the 7th day of my 100 days embroidery project. It was early June, and this is what I wrote when I posted this pic.

This wee swallow hasn’t changed much since yesterday, but that’s part of the point of this project I think. It just takes its own time and gives me time to unwind, to think, to lose myself in the slow stitching.

Mum was brought the most beautiful bouquet of flowers this morning by a friend who knows she has dementia. Mum loved the flowers but, somewhat amusingly, immediately sent her out to forage in the garden for more blooms to augment them.

Mum was so good at always having a wee posy of flowers from the garden in the house. After I’d left home, whenever I came back to stay there was always always a mini vase of flowers on my bedside table. I’ve only just remembered this… so tomorrow I must remember to put a mini vase of flowers on her bedside table.

Looking through and finding all these pictures of flowers from Mum’s garden reminds me of a moment a few weeks earlier. In addition to Mum’s dementia, she had also become increasingly frail. She required a walking frame to get around – she had one with 4 wheels which she called her Dancing Partner, and this helped her get about the house safely. But she hardly ever ventured outside any more. One evening I mentioned that as I had walked across to her house that evening, I had been overwhelmed by the smell of the honeysuckle which grew over the gable of her house, by her bedroom window. She missed such pleasures.

I took her secateurs and picked a small bunch of sweet sweet honeysuckle. When I came back in and placed the flowers in her hand, she seemed not to know what to do with them… so I held them up to her face so she could breathe in their smell. Her face immediately relaxed, and broke into the widest of smiles. That perfect, pure joy!

It felt that there were relatively few pleasures left in Mum’s life – she no longer painted, or drew; she couldn’t garden any more; she struggled to read; and because of Covid she had spent the last 18 months in social isolation. But she still loved her food, and she adored flowers from her garden. I can’t tell you how good it felt to find something that genuinely gave Mum joy at that point. I think, perhaps, we were all seeking some joy.

Knowing that someone you love has dementia, or might have dementia, is frightening. You fear the worst. And actually you don’t really know how it will impact your lives, though you are pretty sure that it won’t be good.

There is help and advice out there, including from Alzheimer Scotland, who provide a 24 hour helpline. Please help them keep that helpline free for anyone who needs it. You can donate here: Alzheimer Scotland, and I can tell you that you are an absolute star for supporting all of us who have feared the worst when faced with the prospect of someone we love having dementia.

Hope. And love in a jar.

1 Feb

Snowdrops are my absolute best and favourite flower. I love how they battle through the cold, and poke their delicate wee heads up, often through snow, and wind and rain. But always COLD. I love their soft gentle colours, their crushable petals, their amazing scent, and how they look just perfect in a wee vase with an ivy leaf.

I love how the represent hope. Hope that Spring will come, that life goes on.

But most of all I love how, for me, they represent so much more. They mean love, and kindness, and knowing I am loved.

I left home at 18, and moved to London, where I lived for over 20 years. Every year I received a small cardboard box, containing scrunched up newspapers (for padding). Carefully, carefully I would open that box and then gently remove the newspaper… to reveal a bunch of snowdrops with a couple of ivy leaves (a plastic bag over the flowers and another secured tightly around the stems, which were wrapped in wet newspaper). The scent of snowdrops still takes me back to that homesick longing to be where they grow, under Mum’s magnolia tree in her ‘winter garden’.

Today I have picked snowdrops from Mum’s winter garden and will take them down to her this afternoon. I hope she recognises the love they represent.

Let the growing begin….

8 Feb

Chitting my seed potatoes

Chitting my seed potatoes

Spring might be round the corner. Or it might not. Today was the first day since 16 January when the garden wasn’t covered in snow – it has finally melted. And of course it looks a right old mess. But never mind, we’ll get it tidied up, and nature will help soon, with things beginning to grow, and bud and a general coming back to life.

I headed into the greenhouse this afternoon, and set out the potatoes for chitting. I bought a ‘chef’s collection’ with three varieties: International Kidney (salad/second early); Anya (also salad/second early) and Ratte (maincrop). I think we’ll grow most of them in bags or tubs this year.

I also sowed some seeds in one wee seed tray: cosmos, rudbeckia and basil finissimo.

I know, flowers! But if we’re thinking of having bees, we’d better grow them some flowers to enjoy.


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