Friday, 16 April 2021

Arts and Gardens


Thanks for visiting.

We're in Reading, enjoying being somewhere different for a change.  The sun is out, really cold one minute, hot the next - my coat has been in and out of my bag all day.

Forbury Gardens has put on a great display, so many colourful primulas crammed in each flower bed.

Taking the path down to the Abbey ruins, where you can enjoy the old and the new, it's good to see everyone enjoying their packed lunches sitting on the benches.

Leaving the ruins, out on to the path by the river, I can't resist another photo of the colourful benches and the abundant daisies and dandelions.

We're now walking around the old empty Reading prison, which may be turned into an Arts Centre - talks are ongoing, boosted recently by a new Banksy mural, sadly defaced already, the typewriter that was at the bottom having been painted over.  Oscar Wilde was famously a prisoner here.  (The very night after I visited, Street Artist Peachy painted a typewriter back in position on the wall.)

One last look at Forbury Gardens before we head for the river.

Have a good weekend.


Thursday, 15 April 2021

Off to Reading


Thanks for popping in.

Finally, with the shops back open, I've been on a train to Reading to drop off all the blankets I've made over Lockdown with my friends donated wool.  They can now go off on their way and hopefully keep someone cosy.

What a treat to be back to Reading!  People on the train were well spaced with masks and I avoided all the shopping areas apart from the one shop I needed.

Bluebells were out next to the church.

It was good to see all the old buildings again, The George Hotel . . .

. . . The old Barclays Bank building, now housing The Botanist bar . . .

. . . Jackson Corner, where I used to buy my school uniform, now empty.

The church of St Laurence had some scaffolding, getting a few repairs done and the Town Hall and Museum towers looked great against the blue sky, the leaves of a whitebeam in front just beginning to unfurl.

The marketplace itself was emptier than usual, no street food on sale.  I reminisced about my hen night nearly 40 years ago that took place quietly in an Italian restaurant in one of these buildings, sadly it has not stood the test of time!

Reading does a great job with its floral displays, we'll visit Forbury Gardens next time but now it's time for a hot chocolate and pain au chocolat outside a nice and empty Carluccio's.  With Covid and their recent takeover, they are no longer able to sell their fantastic hot chocolate with that thick chocolate custard and frothy white milky top.  It will be missed.

Nearby, the Roseate Reading, a hotel within the old Shire Hall Council building, has a secret garden for outdoor eating and a pop-up champagne bar.

I'll leave you there with your bubbly, if you made a booking and are socially distanced, and collect you next time.


Monday, 12 April 2021

What a Difference a Day Makes


Thanks for popping in.

The bluebells are out in the park, just a few but a very welcome sight all the same.  I was all set to take some artistic shots when the camera battery failed and I had to resort to my ancient phone instead. 

I just about made it home before the hail started, filling our bean and pea troughs with beautifully formed white spheres but luckily the dark clouds soon moved on and the sun was back out again.

This morning we woke to April snow. The garden looked wonderful under its fleecy coat, even the Christmas tree had the Christmas card sparkle it should have had in December.

Mr CK was straight out there building a snowman.

What is the best dressed April snowman wearing at the moment?

Ha! What a bit of fun!

Come back sun though, there are those that would like to enjoy a lunch in a pub or café garden and it's very cold.


Friday, 9 April 2021

Five in the Garden Mainly


Thanks for popping in.

I hope you had a good Easter celebration.  Despite a great catch-up with the family online, Mr CK and I had to enjoy our Easter egg hunts on our own, one at a time, as we would no doubt have chosen the same hiding places, still, it was a bit of fun.  The weather here is freezing again with a few spits and spots of snow, not really very encouraging for outdoor life.  Let's hope that it warms up next week when the outdoor cafés and shops open up again. Here's my five for this week.

1.  Trying to cut down on the amount of saturated fat we eat, baking has taken a nosedive over the last few years but I couldn't resist making some scones just for a treat.  Spread with blackcurrant jam, they are topped with 0% fat Arla honey yogurt, which is really thick, and worked really well. Yum!

2. In the garden, there is not an awful lot to see.  The bulbs are just going over, the heathers and primroses looking good.  A young rhubarb and a new fig are coming along.

3. Seedlings are getting bigger but are spending a lot of time indoors.

Last year a packet of foxgloves was accidentally tipped too quickly (by me!) into a trough.  They have had to be separated into pots and hopefully will give a nice display either this year or next.  There are 49 of them! 

A new peony has arrived by post curtesy of an offer.   It's starting to do something which is encouraging.

4.  My wild flower troughs have come into their own this year.  Various plants have seeded themselves into the soil and I've sprinkled a few seeds (not too many!) in too so we'll see what comes up this year.  Dandelions and buttercups are welcome!

Violets, forget-me-nots and honesty are also blooming at the moment.

A couple of friends are huddled together in the cold!

5.  It's very colourful around the area with all the blossom out, we haven't had any rain for ages to spoil it.

The best news this week though is that I have a hair appointment on the 19th!

Have a great weekend.


Friday, 2 April 2021

Five for Easter


Thanks for calling in.

It's been the warmest March day for 53 years today. Everyone's been out, even the butterflies.  They seem to be rather speedy at the moment, leading me a merry dance to get a photo.  The Peacock in our garden below, seems to have a Dracula shadow hanging over it but you can still make out its shadowy antennae on the log.

There have been loads of Brimstones this year flitting along the woodland paths and around the garden, this one came from the Malvern Gazette as I haven't managed to pin one down long enough for a photo yet.

The new seeds have germinated already.

There are bluebells in the park too.

After a year of staying very local, a trip to Wokingham was my treat on the 29th when restrictions opened up a tiny bit.  A whole new shopping area, park and flats had appeared on the large car park at Elms Field!  Most of the shops were closed of course but just a wander somewhere different was refreshing as was a visit to Waitrose.  Look at this strange tree with catkins hanging down at the top, a magnificent magnolia outlook for another house, monkey puzzle flowers, traditional Wokingham centre and the new area.

All the Easter decorations are out again.  I made a few tiny flowers to sit on some sticks in a vase.  They are the wrong sort of sticks really, far too straight and upright for dangling things on but there you are.

The garden centre was absolutely packed, mainly outside though, that's the sun for you.  The pick-your-own Farmer was also there and reliably informed me that broad beans were being planted that very afternoon - it's only a couple of months until the farm opens up again.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter.