Hello! Welcome to my corner of the world in West Sussex. I have been here all week, apart from yesterday when I was up in London for a meeting. It’s great for me, as a mum, to don a summer dress, heels and make-up and stride through the streets of London in the sun occasionally. It reminds me of walking through Soho B.C. (Before Children), Chinese food and chopsticks in hand, wolfing down my supper while tottering on heels that made my legs look longer than they are. Those were the days when I’d finish work and about twenty minutes before I’d walk out the door I’d get a text from one of about thirty people checking in to see where I was and whether or not I was up for a drink. The answer was always yes and that would be the start of a very fun evening. It didn’t matter that I had work the next day, I was only temping to make the rent. This was my life, it was fun, it was to be lived and if there was a party I was going to be at it.
That was eight years ago in the long hot Summer of 2003. London was my playground and at that time it gave me everything I needed. Now I get a lot of my strength and my fun from other sources but yesterday as I walked through well known streets I remembered those times fondly and was so grateful to have had them, both good times and bad.
But then I hurried home to the scrunched up faces of my children, which is where I get my kicks from nowadays. Although we still had Chinese food last night. Old habits die hard.
My trip up to town yesterday got me thinking about my changing tastes and how if I don’t like something I REALLY don’t like it but if I fall in love with something I fall hard and will try to convert everyone around me to my way of thinking. This happened with hydrangeas. There was a time when I really could not stand the buggers. They reminded me of campsites that I didn’t want to camp at. Big, blue, over-sized, cheap looking bushes, employed by the owners of caravan parks to fill borders. Bleugh!
And then I changed my mind.
And since changing my mind I’ve played about with them. I started work on a Hydrangea hedge but it was in the wrong location, so I potted them all up and they are now with me awaiting further instruction.
I fell in love with the Autumn hue the flower-heads adopt and I now bring them in for the Winter to add colour throughout the long grey days.
And in the heat of last Summer, when I baked Peaches and Apricots I had them drying inside and I loved every second that they were there. I didn’t once think of a campsite in the 1980′s (camping is clearly much better now or I wouldn’t love it so much, but way back when…BLEUGH!)
As Hydrangea’s do very well in pots I decided that for this Summer only a Hydrangea that I picked up from the garden centre would be going in to this plant stand. I say for this Summer only because I want it to thrive and my belief is that it will soon be too big for this sized basket. I spoke to our landlord when he was with us recently and asked if I could re-plant the basket up, to which he told me to go for it. He’s clearly a very cool guy and when the Summer is over I’ll pop something else in.
I lined the basket using old liners that I had in the shed and added some extra compost.
It’s actually terrifically lopsided but I care as much about that as I do about that latest footballer scandal, not a lot.
I’ll keep you posted on where I put the potted Hydrangea’s. And as soon as the Autumn months arrive you’ll see me cutting them and bringing them inside.
Something I do care about, a great deal to be honest, is noticing where the days are going.
My twins turn one a week tomorrow.
Er, yes, so where did that year go?
Almost exactly a year ago they were inside. We didn’t know them, hadn’t seen them, wasn’t even certain of what they would be called. We’d never been parents before only an aunt and an uncle. Who were these people, theses actual human beings, that would arrive and immediately look to us for everything?
We needn’t have worried.
And by that I mean that we managed to keep them alive. Because believe me, we didn’t really have a clue.
Just our instincts I suppose. Which we’re learning to trust more and more now that we’ve managed to keep them here for a year!
But with time passing by so quickly and my head screaming at me that if they are almost one year old in no time at all they’ll be two and then three and then before long we’re staring down the barrel of an empty nest and NOBODY wants to bring that on before its time. So I’m making it my mission in life to ensure that nobody who comes in to my orbit misses a thing.
Take this bench for instance. It sits underneath a Damson tree in the corner of the garden and is quite possibly the calming center of the entire house and garden.
It doesn’t care what it looks like, it doesn’t care that it’s old and a little tired, it just is.
And that is what I want to give my children on their first birthday, a deep sense of just being.
Because, you know what?
It is always OK in the end.
I love you and I thank you very much for reading.
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