Location:United Kingdom

An avid tea-drinker who likes nutmeg in her coffee and warm lavender-scented quilts. She knits, crochets and partakes in random acts of craftiness (and kindness). She likes obscure works of literature, philosophy and the idea that her mind exists separately from her body. She enjoys moving furniture around, literary criticism and baking bread. She writes haiku about nettles, would like to swim with seals and become completely self-sufficient. She writes as if her life depends on it, listens to beautiful music, and loves her darling husband Mr. VP.

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Friday 27 February 2015

This and That

Our native (and most beautiful) duck, the Eider duck, at home in these shores.  Spring flowers on the wood burning stove when it’s not in use.  Valentine’s Day roses from Mr VP.  Ringed plovers who share a home with the Eiders and the cormorants, the herons and the grey seals.  The black coal sand on the beach, light and easily swept away.  And a bit of Genesis as this song (and most the Genesis back-catalogue) has been on our playlist quite a bit recently.

Wednesday 31 December 2014

The Old Year: 2014 in Review

You’ll have to excuse me while I panic at the thought of 2014 being over – I was just getting into the swing of things, and last I heard, it was September!  Time it is a-flying.  It has been such a lovely, if challenging year.  It started by joining a gym and taking up swimming again, which I really enjoyed.  I took a lot of power-walks along the rivers of Cambridgeshire, we had an amazing weekend in Southwold at the beginning of March, and then we were thrust into the rush of packing up and moving in March/April.  Before we knew what was happening we had found a delightful rental house, moved, Mr VP had changed jobs and we were ‘back’ into our new and exciting life in Northumberland.  We arrived just as the last of the blossoms in Cambridgeshire were fading and the first of the cherry and hawthorn blossoms were beginning to flower up here – we had the longest, most luxurious spring in my memory.

Summer was a holiday for both of us, and just what we needed after a stressful move.  We visited Coquet Island and saw puffins and seals, we spent our wedding anniversary picking strawberries, we walked for many miles along our favourite beaches old and new, and we made the most of every spare moment we could.  At the beginning of September, we began the mammoth task of house renovation.  This turned out to be not only extremely stressful and difficult, but also very educational and I know a lot more about things I didn’t even know existed (like building regulations and how best to choose decent workmen).  After three months, we moved in to an almost-finished house and that’s where we are now.  We’re still mostly living out of boxes as we’re still waiting for the floor to be laid, but with the lights on, candles lit and the fire going, it is very homely indeed.

If 2014 was about movement, then 2015 will, I hope, be about growth.  Moving house twice in seven months is unbelievably stressful and having to pack-up one house and oversee works in the other is tear-your-hair-out worthy, so I would like to settle down in 2015, yet still grow and develop. At some point I plan to return to my studies, either this year or next, and I would like to increase the time I spend doing good and useful things.  It sounds obtuse, but it means me taking on more challenges and making more committments to myself and the life I would like to create.

I always have a bit of a panic at the end of the year, as I worry about the future and what is to come.  I suppose it’s the not-knowingness that New Year represents that worries me the most, but each year I keep trying to let that worry go a bit more and spend a little bit more living as in-the-moment as I can.  I have had such a glorious year in 2014 that I am eager to see how 2015 will pan out and how we’ll grow and change to meet the year.

So that’s it for 2014.  Here we sit watching Guardians of the Galaxy (Mr VP’s pick), having nibbled at some of the buffet food I’ve made (the homemade sausage rolls and olive palmiers have gone down a treat!) and toasting ourselves in front of a warm fire.  We might not be awake come midnight, but we’ll usually be woken long enough to welcome the new year by the fireworks going off around and about!

To all the lovely blog readers who stop by, I would like to wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2015 for you and yours.  Thanks for reading and see you in 2015! :)

Friday 19 September 2014

(Antidote to a) Grey Week

I am having a bit of writer’s block at the moment and blogging seems to have gone out of the window.  I don’t just think it’s blogging, either, as I haven’t picked my camera up in a week.  This week has been a difficult one generally as it has been dully, grey and mizzly and I haven’t felt 100%.  But as the week is coming to an end (though the grey skies are as grey as they have been all week), I find my energy levels picking up a bit and a desire to at least look at some of the photos on the camera, if not take many photos.

I had been meaning to do a weekly post about what is in the veg box each week and what I plan to do with some of the lovely veg, however that has gone a bit out of the window.  I don’t think I’d anticipated just how tiring and stressful the whole renovation would be!  I will make sure that I post more about what we get because it has been an exciting challenge to work out what to do with what and to plan our meals accordingly.  The potatoes have been used to make delicious salmon fishcakes (that I didn’t photograph – sorry!); the sweetcorn was boiled and eaten alongside some sausages and vegetables; those apples and plums?  Eaten in all of their glorious dribbly-juiciness, pretty soon after getting them!  The flowers were part of some of the flowers that Mr VP picked up at the end of August to celebrate our 11th year together (time is flying!).  I must post more, so I will endeavour to do so.

Thursday 12 June 2014

Sweet Williams and Lamplight

The other day I found a gorgeous bunch of sweet williams at the supermarket for just £2 and knew that they’d look lovely in the living room.  I love the vase – it is a jar-type vase, found at Ikea for just a couple of pounds.  The combination of flowers and lamplight just makes me smile.

I am also very fond of carnations and have been making sure to pick up a bunch every week or so, to brighten up the room.  These are a daring red-edged and butter-yellow mix; very pretty indeed.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Sunset, After the Storm

What a stormy week we had last week!  Whilst we weren’t as affected as certain parts, we saw some absolutely torrential rain on Saturday that made us get up to watch it out of the window.  The rain really was awe inspiring in its rumbly torrents.  These pictures were taken after the storm, as the sun was setting and everything was still dripping wet.

I am working hard to gather these brilliant summer moments up with me, because it has been such a glorious summer so far.  There are so many things I want to remember, for a time when there are not weigela flowers coating the ground but frost and snow.  Things like the smell of the garden after the storm had rolled through; the colour of the clematis flowers; the sound of the bees humming around the lavender; the peace and contentment I feel in the garden.

This clematis had fallen off its trellis and as it was so close to flowering, we decided to let it sprawl on the path before putting it back.  I’m so glad that we did!  I think it is possibly one of my very favourite clematises to date.  The bees certainly love it – and it makes me smile.

We brought this little echevaria (houseleek) with us from Cambridgeshire, because we liked it so much.  It has been great all winter and now into summer.  Such glorious moments of peace.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Days of Gratitude and Plenty

It has been a wonderfully quiet week or so.  After getting used to Mr VP’s return to work, I set about making the house a home.  The chair is one we found at the brilliant Tynemouth market.  I saw it and after quite a while humming and hawing, I decided that I loved it enough to want to take it home.  I’m so glad that I did and now Mr VP loves it, too.  I have been sprucing left, right and centre, trying to make it tidy (each box flattened is a little victory!) and more comfortable for both of us (and the visitors to come!).  Having a proper kitchen once more has been glorious and I vowed to make use of it each and every day, making sure that we have good, wholesome food and enjoying the process of long, drawn-out kitchen sessions (ah, bliss!).  As you can see, the results are looking pretty delicious: from homemade pizza to soups, scones, custard tarts, bread, and one of Mr VP’s new-favourite meals, this spring-inspired pasta dish with peas and proscuitto crudo, we have eaten well.

One of the first things I did after we moved in was to buy lots of pots and to begin planting them up, so that all summer we would have oodles of colour and interest in the garden.  This decision is already beginning to pay dividends as we find each day that one of the plants has opened a new flower, from ageratums to fuschias, marigolds and geraniums.  It is all lush and vibrant and not yet touched by the fiery fingers of summer.  In one corner of our garden, there is an acer.  I love its leaves and the colour and the dappled shade it throws over the rickety old garden bench when the sun shines.  It has to be one of my favourite shrubs, along with the white lilac growing over the fence.  Moving up to Northumberland from Cambridgeshire, which is one of the driest counties in the country, has come as a bit of a shock.  I had forgotten about the sheer amount of rain we get up here and how suddenly a sea fret can roll in off the sea and cloak everything in a grey-dark, cold fog.

I have a little story to share with you, too.  The other day, I saw an envelope pop through our door and thought it odd as the postman had already been round a few hours beforehand.  I looked at the card and it was indeed addressed to myself and Mr VP.  I opened it and found a lovely ‘welcome to your new home’ card from one of our neighbours, completely out of the blue.  It was so kind and thoughtful that it was one of those heart-swelling restoring-faith-in-humanity moments. The difference in friendliness up here is huge and so to say thanks for the card, I made our neighbours a batch of cheese and plain scones.  After not having needed it for the last four years,  I was greatly impressed that Mr VP could find my Be-Ro book (one of the most reliable baking books out there!) out of a mass of boxes, so my egg custard tart and both sets of scone recipes came from there.  Tomorrow holds more rain (they are more like April showers) and also a trip into the City of Bridges to explore it, as I haven’t been back since we moved.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

February Photo Challenge: Day 26 – New.

I have fallen rather in love with some of the spring flowers I’ve seen on market stalls and in florists’ recently.  These little primulas are a new-t0-me variety, with Delft-blue veins and such sunny yellow centres.  What a perfect way to mark this ‘new’ spring season that we’re almost into!

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