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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Wednesday 22 May 2013

National Botanic Garden of Wales

If an attraction has the word ‘botanic’ in it, there will usually be squees of delight from me, interest with a modicum of indifference from Mr VP and a whole day devoted to said attraction.  The National Botanic Garden of Wales is no different and was a much-anticipated day out for both of us.  Having heard about it on various TV programmes and had it recommended to us by lots of people, we knew it was somewhere we had to go.  My last botanic garden was, I think, Benmore Botanic Garden (back in May 2007!) a majestic place nestled in a deep-sided valley in the far West of Scotland.  Obviously, given my excitement about visiting this garden, I was well overdue a visit!

The National Botanic Garden of Wales is different to Benmore in many ways.  Whilst Benmore was concerned very much with trees, shrubs and particularly old and interesting samples of flora, its Welsh counterpart is a real show-garden in the truest sense.  Of course there are large open areas to explore, with plenty of trees, but it is not as dense or as rich as Benmore, which feels more like a garden than a museum.  The Welsh garden is a sprawling estate, with a giant biome-like greenhouse and various themed areas to explore.  It seemed to me to be a cross between the hugely popular outdoor museum The Eden Project and Benmore, but missing a little bit of the personality and thrill-inducing awe of either.

That’s not to say that it isn’t a splendid place to visit.  Far from it.  Once into the garden, one winds their way from the gatehouse up an enchanting, lightly-sloped path upon which a cobbled-bottom rill runs down, flowing in curliqueues from a pond up at the top to a water feature at the bottom.  I love water features that are cleverly implemented and this one was undoubtedly a statement about water’s importance to the whole garden.  Almost everywhere you go in the garden you will find ponds or water features, reinforcing the message that water is vital to life.

The first stop for most is, of course, the Great Glasshouse.  It has entered the record books as the world’s largest single-span glasshouse and approaching it you do begin to notice how epically proportioned it is.  From the moment you step inside, your senses are assaulted by the varietyof plants, the twittering of some of the birds who have made the glasshouse their home and the sheer size of it.

The glasshouse is divided up into six main sections, which each represent an area of the world; such as Australia, California, Chile and South Africa etc.  Despite thinking it would be much warmer, like the biomes at the Eden Project, the great glasshouse maintains a fairly constant ambient temperature, with heating in winter to prevent it getting colder than 9ºC and computerised windows, which open and close as necessary.

Knowing what I do about plants, I already knew that most of our much-beloved garden favourites are naturalised from South Africa.  But whilst this glasshouse enlightens those about just how much has been brought over, it does a stellar job of displaying plants that simply can’t be brought over or introduced.  Such as this amazing King Protea.  Each of these flowers is the size of a dinner plate and we were incredibly lucky to be around at the right time to see it open.  Gosh, how wonderful would it be to have one of these growing in your garden?!

I want to call this plant below a sempervivum, but I’m not sure that it is.  My mother had one this colour, I seem to recall, but hers wasn’t quite the size of this one!  My only niggle with the gardens was that their signage wasn’t as rigorous as it could’ve been.  Signs were either hidden by growing foliage or missing entirely and weren’t always directly next to the plants that they were supposedly naming.  The addition of common names, even sporadically, rather than the purely Latinate names used, would have given people a better connection to the plants that they were seeing.  Regardless of its name though, isn’t it spectacular?  When a plant’s leaflets are tightly formed like this, you can see the Golden Ratio perfectly at work.

Speaking of golden ratios in action…

Ahhh, one of my favourite cut flowers: a gerbera!  On anything else, I wouldn’t like this pink.  But on a gerbera?  I’m in love.

Bottle-brush plants!  How can anyone walk past this and not smile at its largesse in size, colour and joy that it offers to anyone willing to look?


These unidentified pink flowers, below, had the most wonderful blue pollen, which when I put some on my finger, could have been used as eyeshadow, so pretty was the hue.  Not only does it have pretty pollen, its size was immense.  I think that’s what is most alien about these plants – it’s as if everyone who walks into the great glasshouse has shrunken in size.  This plant was over ten feet tall and was so wide that I would struggle to get my arms around it.  Yet it still retains its grace and delicacy.

Apparently, the strawberry below was one of the original wild cultivars which was hybridised to create the modern garden strawberry plant!  I would love to see what its fruits look like once ripe.

Despite being out of the worst that the Welsh weather can throw at us, (on the day we went, driving rain…), a swift look out of the window reminds you that you are not in Chile or Australia or South Africa but are in the depths of rural Wales.

This is my kind of travelling!  No need to be frisked at airport security, or spend days packing and unpacking and re-packing.  Continents can be hopped in mere moments.  Who needs an aeroplane?

A clever little signposting system was in place to remind people which area they were browsing.  This lizard is based on the art of Indigenous Australians, whilst each area had stylised rocks and carvings depicting their nation’s own art.

It was nice to be able to say that I had grown some of these flowers in my own garden.  The plant below, a Helichrysum bracteatum – or everlasting flower – is just what the name implies: a straw-textured flowerhead which, when cut, will last indefinitely.  I grew white and pink variations and kept the flowerheads in a jar.

Whilst there were lots of plants that were easily recognisable, there were some that certainly were more alien than native!  Isn’t the colouring on this plant odd?  The pink is where the green should be or vice versa.  Very odd.

Golden ratio in action again.  Both Mr VP and I loved this bush, in the Californian section, for its perfectly fractal, geometric shape.

I do love aquilegias.  This one is a particularly pretty salmon colour with such dainty yellow heads!

Oh, irises.  Renowned throughout the world for their uses in medicine and perfume, their beauty is almost second to none.

Another iris from another part of the glasshouse.  This one is, if memory serves, from the South African section, whilst the one above was from the Californian.  The Californian is much less showy than the South African.  Both absolutely stunning though.

There is something very unnerving about calla lillies.  I don’t know why, but plants with hoods are a little spooky.  Some people believe that they are the plants of death and other hooded plants are also associated with death.  Perhaps it’s to do with the grim reaper’s hooded figure?  Who knows.  I do think this lily is a bit spooky.

Outside the great glasshouse, it was hard to take a good photo as rains pelted us and winds were blowing gales around us.  I did, however, manage to get a picture of this glorious tulip.

Escaping from the rain, Mr VP and I ran into the hot house.  This place is a joy if you like orchids (particularly dendrobiums, of which they have many, rather than the usual phalenopsis!), calatheas and all things tropical.  It’s not a huge hot house, by any means, but it was interesting.  I saw a camphor tree and a banana tree with lots of proto-bananas first-hand.  Not something usually seen in rural Wales!

This water sculpture marked both the beginning and the end of our tour through the gardens.  I managed to come away from the place with only one plant (their shop is lovely and very tempting); a gift for my mother of a miniature azalea.

I did, of course, take photos using my trusty 35mm camera.  I think these were on a cheapy Agfa, though they might’ve been on a Lomo 100.

One of my favourite places to be is around pelargoniums and geraniums.  They are some of my favourite plants in the world and this not-so-little beauty was no exception.  It is an epically-proportioned cedar-scented geranium.  It smelled amazing.  If it was up to me, I’d have a garden filled with these and I would make wonderful scented pouches to line drawers and scent wardrobes.

And a bit more colour to finish off with.  All in all, we had a marvellous day and would highly recommend visiting if you’re ever in Carmarthenshire!

Tuesday 8 April 2008

The Patient Gardener

You can tell a lot about a gardener, and therefore to some extent the person, by which gardening media they choose to watch, listen or read. As a child it was almost a religious event that on Friday evening, at 8pm, we’d watch Gardener’s World, with the lovable Alan Titchmarsh, Geoff Hamilton and Bob Flowerdew. Though there would usually be protestations from me at the beginning that, on a Friday night, I’d rather be watching something far more interesting (usually something like Challenge Anneka, of which I was a huge fan). But as soon as Alan or Geoff got going I’d already have forgotten the lures of fast-paced TV and was settled in front of the box looking at the plants and watching their garden features.

Since I got my own garden however, my mindset has changed. No longer do I watch Gardener’s World with any glee – it seems far too driven to be ecologically-friendly in a way which almost seems mocking, Mr. VP won’t watch anything with Carol Klein in it, and I always feel dreadfully out of the loop, and disparaged when they show their immaculately-maintained Berryfields plot in comparison to my own slightly-rough-around-the-edges garden which I love nonetheless. It’s almost turned into Facebook for the nation with trials of this, that and the other, and “Gardener’s World Live” events every five minutes. I want Gardener’s World to be as good as it used to be, homely and traditional, and whilst I applaud the organic ways with which they garden and grow their mountains of vegetables in preference of pretty flowers, it just doesn’t have the same oomph it used to have. I was discussing this with my mother, who can remember the inimitable Percy Thrower, and she said the same thing.

However when it comes to Gardener’s Question Time on Radio4, I could listen to that forever. If you haven’t heard Bob Flowerdew and Anne Swithinbank bickering over why someone’s rhododendron is turning yellow, you’re missing something great!

I think I’ve got a foot in each generation of gardening. I consider many of the “old ways” to be the best – simple hard work when it comes to weeding, not the use of unnecessary weedkillers or insecticides. And what I suppose is now the most “modern” way of cultivating veg and flowers – with as little interference as possible. But for me, modern represents some bad things too. I definitely don’t agree that you should abandon your lawn and have nothing but gravel and raised beds – à la Ground Force of the late 90’s. I suppose I’m somewhere post-Dimmock-era, into the old-fashioned and traditional gardening, that I believe is the most natural (and therefore best) way of doing it.

I don’t think I could live without a garden. There is something very gratifying about having somewhere that isn’t inside, to call your own and to be able to take refuge in, be it in a busy city centre or a countryside idyll. My ideal garden has to have some sort of tree growing in it. Something blousy which casts pretty shadows on the ground in Summer and also has some blossoms hanging daintily from their branches, the hawthorn does this wonderfully, as does the Snowy Mespilus. I like the lawn – it doesn’t have to be completely grass though – anything generally flat and green will suffice (ours is mostly moss and chicken poo), something nice to walk on (avoiding said chicken poo). And flowers, scented ones. Roses, lots of them! Herbs and vegetables are a must. Something to attract bees and butterflies and fauna of all kinds.

Because the garden was such a blank canvas to start with, all grass and weeds, the odd peony and a very overgrown hawthorn, we did what came totally naturally to us. We weeded and strimmed, we cut ourselves on sharp things found in the ground (ouch!) and we toiled out of love for the place. It came like second nature to want to restore the garden to a useable state – and one in which we could grow and cultivate, much like our relationship. It was and still is full of endless possibilities.

Our garden is such a metaphor for us as a couple. Boy does it take some maintenance these days – there are dandelions springing up everywhere, which we duly dig and give to the chickens as a hearty snack, but just keeping the place tidy takes a lot of effort. Much like the maintenance of a relationship – though with less mud. But I think the thing I enjoy the most, apart from sitting back and simply enjoying it, is the sense of satisfaction at our achievements.

I often take a step back and look at where we’ve come so far. I waiver at the bad times, laugh at the good and fondly remember those things that we’ve had but which may no longer be. I look forward and wonder what the future will bring and we smile at the happy times we’ve had and are sure to have again.

Gardening is a labour of love. It is our National Pasttime and it’s one we love deeply. Watching the broad beans show their frilly green leaves above the soil is a reminder that nothing is permanent, the Winters come and go and always make way for Summer, the birds still make their nests and nothing is still for long.

Watching the garden grow, almost in front of my eyes today, made me remember just how wonderful a patch of earth and determination really is. Kinda’ like a relationship – but with more mud.

Friday 7 March 2008

From all of these days

This time it really has been a week since I last blogged. Time is flying, and this week I’m glad it’s flown by as fast as it has – a nasty hospital appointment started the week off on a bad note that I didn’t want to continue. On the good side I’ve been swimming 4 times this week, an hour a time, and am burning off calories a-plenty. That could account for the 2.5″/ 3 inches off my waist – definitely something to smile about (and yet another reason for skirts and trousers never staying where I put them…).

So, the last week in brief:

Last Saturday we went to Durham. It was our first time because, for some strange reason, we imagined it to be much further than it actually was. We had a lovely time, tea and travel, bus rides and cathedrals (not keen on churches/ cathedrals who don’t let people take photos), charity shopping, students-doing-ridiculous-things-watching and enjoying being lovebirds in a new city. The covered-market has to be the best market I’ve been to in years – it sells the most wonderful selection of things from a haberdashery, general-household shops, healthfood stalls, and even a gourmet food stall (with very nice chaps running it).

The blossom is coming out in abundance, even in our town the trees of pink and white are billowing with blooms. We saw the first sign of this around Durham cathedral. Everyone is commenting that this is very early, it must be the sun we’ve had recently. We even got to mow our lawn the other day!

I love gerberas. Simple as that. They are such bright, happy things. Ours is residing in our dining room, taking pride of place at the dining table.

Another colourful addition to the VintagePretty household has been these potatoes. Grown locally and in a nature-sympathetic manner, they taste gorgeous and look every bit as strange when cooked as they do raw. I made some of ours into potato wedges – just imagine that, purple chips!

Today has been the day when I started planting in earnest. The sowing began with broad beans and ended with scarlet kale. Whilst turning the bed over I found numerous little caches of peanuts, buried by an enterprising little squirrel. I think he’s hoping for a bumper crop, little do they know that peanuts only thrive in tropical climates! Perhaps I should get him a peanut piggy-bank?

The crocuses are beautiful. Of course I say it every year, but they are one of the first things to emerge and one of the most colourful. The veining is lovely to look at and their unique triangular shape has always fascinated me.

Blue skies, smiling at me, nothing but blue skies, do I see (I very much hope it stays this way too – grey clouds on the horizon are something I don’t want to face right now)…

And me in my slippers. Don’t you garden in your slippers, too? I find it quite… liberating.

Friday 29 February 2008

Going (paper) potty

[We did indeed get the washing line up. This is my favourite photo of the year so far. I love it!]

It has come once again. The time of year when, at Chez VintagePretty, I relinquish the use of our back bedroom for the sole purpose of growing beautiful plants. It’s actually surprisingly easy to grow-your-own and so much cheaper than buying seedlings from garden-centres. For instance, a packet of tomato seeds is usually £1.39 and from that (much to my surprise) almost every seed came up, leaving us with almost a hundred little tomato seedlings – about a third (20-odd) of which we kept and grew on (if you’re an allotment-holder you can barter readily with neighbours for other seedlings), producing a bumper crop despite last summer’s poor weather. Before that we used to buy the tomato plants themselves, costing £2.99 for 6 plants, with at least a couple not surviving. It makes huge financial sense to grow from seed, and as there is very little equipment needed to grow them, it is a sure-fire way of growing your favourite varieties.

Last Christmas my MIL bought us, as a joint present, a paper potter. A wonderful invention it allows you to make the tiny cell-like pots from old newspapers. I’d completely forgotten we had it until the other day when I wanted to start planting some seedlings – it flicked into my head and, raiding the recycling bin for old newspapers I got cutting. You make the strips and wind them around the handle-bit, once done you fold the ends over the bottom and press hard into the stand. It makes lots of beautifully-formed cell pots which biodegrade naturally.

I made a start with the leeks. I tried growing leeks from seed a few years ago and it failed horribly – nothing seemed to come up. Since doing some research on the subject in my many gardening manuals, I’ve come up with a better way of doing it – almost everyone recommends filling pots with compost and sowing the seeds on top, allowing them to grow a little bit before planting them out. The packets tell you otherwise, but I’m going with what others say works. We’re trying “Castor” this year.

I also planted half of the butternut squash seeds. These are my first butternut squashes I’ve grown and according to the packet they are the only truly “born and bread”UK butternut. Apparently suited for all weathers and will produce a prolific crop whatever our British summer throws at us. They are called “Butternut Hunter” and as I love anything from the curcubita family, I hope I won’t be disappointed by this crop!

Yesterday saw me listening to the Afternoon Play “Ghandi’s Goat” by Matthew Coombes, drinking a cup of Rooibos tea (as well as sugar-free and calorie-restricting, I’ve now dropped caffeine too!) and scribbling lists on pieces of paper.  This is the best way to organise onesself – write a list of what’s got to be planted when, in chronological order.  You can tick off what’s been done and what hasn’t and how it’s got to be planted (indoors or out).

Vegetables still to be planted are: parsnips, perennial (!) broccoli, broad beans “Express”, French beans “Lazy Housewife”, pumpkins, tomatoes “Moneymaker”, mixed salad leaves, spinach “Mediana”, kale “Scarlet”, swiss chard and potatoes. We’re also hoping for a small but plentiful crop of raspberries whose canes are now starting to bud.

And as for annuals this year we’re growing an array of new ones. Of course I’m still going for things like godetia and some sunflowers dotted around, but we’re also trying asters, lupins, aquilegias (had problems with these before), mixed butterfly-friendly seeds, poppies, phytostegia “alba”, antirrhinum “Monarch mixed”, stocks “Ten-week mixed”, malope and some more whose names escape me.

But now a little break in the proceedings to show you chicken-related cuteness for today:

It’s also been the weather for tulips and narcissus to show their faces. Only a day later than its neighbour, the crocus, this little tulipa bakerii “Lilac Wonder” showed its beautiful pink face.

On the swimming front I’ve just come back from a 70-minute swim managing a very lush 50 lengths. That’s 1.25km or 0.77 miles! Unfortunately the weight doesn’t seem to be “falling off” as I had hoped, but nonetheless I’m feeling better for it!

Now playing: Chris Bathgate – Serpentine

Monday 18 February 2008

Feeling ready to face the world again

It’s been a bit of a funny road that I’ve been down recently. But if one thing has helped at all it has been the immense and blindingly bright days that have for me, shone like a beacon amongst the dark. Of course there are still lots of hurdles to overcome, a diet I’m fighting very hard to keep up with, and more hospital appointments in the near future. Though I’m feeling more positive that I can eventually get on top of things after letting things slip – around the house and in the garden – for too long. The sun seems to have brought out more than just the buds on bare branches – I saw my first Queen Bee the other day, and Mr. VP saw the first wasp. Unfortunately it doesn’t look good for them as we’ve been having harsh -6ºC nights for the last week.

My Mum came up for a visit – the first time since Christmas – and we got lots of things done. She bought us what will be a very snazzy washing line, which Mr. VP spent some of Saturday digging the (first of three) holes for. While she was here we also got some gardening done on a grand scale. I excavated the last bed in the garden – the so-called feral bed. It’s now covered in some not-so-snazzy “weed-supressing membrane” until the last of the grass and prodigiously-sized dandelions are dead, at which point we (notice I do say “we” quite a bit!) will fill the bed with some pretty perennials that tolerate the lack of mid-day sun and the privet hedge. It doesn’t look much, but that bed has been referred-to many times as being the bain of the garden. I’m pleased over the moon that it has gone from knee-high grass and weeds to something that will finally resemble an ornamental bed. Any suggestions for shade-loving, hardy perennials?

And the best £10 I’ve spent recently? Buying some ecologically-friendly bark mulch for the garden. It’s excellent at retaining water and supresses weeds too. It has made our cottage-garden bed look beautiful and will even let the daffs and tulips through.

I also found some Aquilegias ‘McKana Hybirds’ and a beautiful scented peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ going for a song, so my Mum treated me. They were planted this afternoon – I hope they survive the frosts!

A couple of weekends ago Mr. VP and I made fat balls, or rather “fat rectangles” (not to be confused with a quilter’s fat quarters!) using beef suet and a mix of seeds and oats. It was quite a while before the birds came to them – we didn’t see any blue tits for ages, and then all at once, we have coal, great and blue tits visiting. Today I watched as an intrepid coal tit ate from the block in a very contented manner. Perhaps he’s got some eggs on the way – who knows?

He was close enough that I could see every single feather on his little black-capped head.

Even the chickens have welcomed my outside presence. They love it when I’m out weeding and I let them out too. Gooseberry is like a heat-seeking slug-eating missile. She can sniff out a slug at 100 paces and gulp it down before it knows what has hit it! Marigold found a cache of slug eggs and picked every one up, looking so pleased with herself. I’ve got to say I’m pleased with them as well – but they will need a good worming soon.

Have you ever seen a more inquisitive chicken?!

And from top to bottom. Marigold’s egg, Gooseberry’s egg and Nutmeg’s egg (who happens to lay nutmeg-coloured eggs!)

And last but not least, the sunset this evening. I love being able to make the most of these lighter evenings but the skies of late have been incredibly eerie. A shade of orange not usually seen, permeating everything as the last rays of sun dip beneath the skyline. As I sit and type this there is still the merest hint of light, and it’s almost 6pm. Lovely.

It is true, I am back. I will be making tentative steps towards posting and commenting again. Until then, I’ll leave you with my recipe for some cupcakes I made the other day. Chocka-mocha cupcakes, no less. See what I mean about stuggling with the diet?

Friday 8 February 2008

A little bit of everything

[Sunset last night that turned the whole room pink]

I’m not wholly sure where the time goes anymore. It seems to rush past me in a blur of things done and things still to do. I have emails left to answer and chickens to muck-out, people to phone and appointments to sort. The hormone tablets are now a distant memory, and they seem to have had the required effect, which means that one hurdle has been jumped and overcome. I’ve had another round of blood tests, which had to be done on an empty stomach, the nurse was amazingly speedy at doing the blood-taking itself, and gave me a knowing look when she saw my medical records and my consultant.

After 17 hours of not eating I walked home from the Doctor’s surgery and made mental comment to myself at just how warm it is today. Not just mild – in the sun it was warm. Too warm almost for a coat; definitely too warm for February (heating off, windows open). I got home and made myself a splendid breakfast of orange juice and poached eggs on granary toast. I took this, on my new (and dearly beloved) Ikea tray, to the dining table where I breakfasted like a queen.



I’ve also been busy in the garden, getting lots of exercise in the best way possible – watching the hens devour grated carrot and swede, and planting raspberry canes left, right and (slightly-off) centre…

[Nutmeg, devouring carrot]

[Raspberry ‘Glen Clova’, one of 10.]

I also found an Esca-pea(!), one that survived the mice and the frosts. Clever thing.

[An Esca-pea!]

On Monday I got a knock on the door from our postie (which made me jump out of my skin and almost fall down the stairs) who delivered this lovely parcel from Jane. I won her bag giveaway, and she sent this wonderful Bag ‘o’ Bags, absolutely perfect for the weekly Farmer’s market, supermarket shop and brilliant to keep in the car for any eventuality. She chose the most beautiful fabric – exactly my sort of pattern. I adore them and Mr. VP thinks they are the height of eco-bag sophistication! One doesn’t get a better recommendation than that!

(I have photos of the bags in use, but they are on Mr. VP’s camera, I’ll nab them off him tonight!)

And as I was sitting for a brief rest and a play with G, I glanced the rainbows moving around the walls, it was the sun on our solar-powered rainbow-maker again.  For a brief moment it stopped; I opened my hand and caught this little shard of rainbow in my palm.

I’m still an absentee at the moment – I’ll post here and there, whenever I can.

Now playing: Jane Siberry – Calling All Angels

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Brighter than Sunshine

It has been a long time since I have been in the garden to do anything meaningful. I’ve tended the chickens and used the garden as a through-route onto the fields and hills beyond, yet I haven’t done anything “gardening-ish” in a long time. I kept procrastinating and looking at the bewildering amount of things to do – there are weeds appearing daily, weeds and dead stems, litter from the storms. So much to do. Today was the first day for a while that it was bright enough to go out and do something. I donned wellies and took my Opinel knife out with me, my favourite gardening knife bought on honeymoon in Poole almost two years ago, took a roll of garden refuse bags (as our compost bins are well and truly full) and attacked the weeds and plants in a methodical manner.

It would probably be a good time to point out that I’m on large doses of hormones at the moment and so am prone to mood swings far in excess of anything known to me before – Mr. VP is considering purchasing a hard hat, as health and safety legislation dictates whilst in hazardous environments. Which is why I could be seen muttering under my breath often as the wind decided to whip my hair up so it was in my face and also send the refuse sacks billowing across the garden in a big gust. But it really is true that being outside can help your mood. When I came in an hour and a half later, I felt renewed and proud of myself. OK, I haven’t done my 10,000 steps today, but I was definitely exercising with all the bending and heaving that got done.

I could see the beginnings of tulips, buds and daffodils. And the wallflowers, bless them, had opened. The only flowers in the garden apart from the primulas who are also bearing the cold to show their faces.

Here are the before and after photos – and although it doesn’t look much different, it is. It being winter and a damp winter at that has meant that pulling up perennial weeds like grass and dandelions is very easy. No digging or trowels necessary – just a pair of rubber gloves and a little determination.


[After – it is better, honest. Everything just looks a bit dead.]

I have also had the time, during the days and days of relentless rain, to finish the Rainbow Blanket. This blanket stands for a lot of things – it’s become quite symbolic of things that are happening and have happened of late. And because there are rainbows involved, it has a lot of hope intertwined in its threads. We did actually see a good few rainbows the other day – but I’ll post about them later.

We also saw my car’s 11,111th mile – something that Mr. VP documented (I may be moody, but I’m not mad enough to take photos whilst I drive!)

And there’s a tuna-mayo and salad pitta bread just for fun – to show you I really am eating healthily.

I’m currently going through a bit of a blogging dilemma. There are certain things I would very much like to be able to post about – such as the hospital appointment and reasons behind it. But it’s funny because talking about things like that isn’t exactly what VP has come to represent. I’m having to do a lot of soul-searching these days and it would be nice to be able to document my journey – but until I’ve worked out how it’s going to happen, I’m keeping Mum!

But I’m posting and that’s something, so I’ll leave it there for now. Thanks for your comments and messages of support from all of you.

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