April is one of my favourite months as it usually feels like winter has finally receded and spring has sprung. It’s been a month full of blue skies, sunshine and warmth, and our little garden is bursting with new growth and colour.
Last autumn, I planted bulbs for some early spring cheer, though my planting was a bit haphazard so there are clusters and gaps that I’ll try to fill in next autumn. The Narcissus Apotheosis have flowered and I love the two-tone swirl of petals, but I was a little underwhelmed by Narcissus ‘Rip Van Winkle’, which are pretty but don’t last long.
There are tall, bold ‘Red Impression’ tulips in the bamboo border, and fabulous ‘China Pink’ tulips in the flowerbed, but I’m still waiting for any of my favourite fiery orange ‘Ballerina’ tulips to flower.
In previous years, we’ve filled the flowerbed with annuals and wildflowers, but last year we planted some perennials and it’s paying off as the hardy Geraniums, Geum, Potentilla and Aquilegia have all grown back and their foliage is a welcome change to bare earth.
Geum ‘Mrs J. Bradshaw’ has already burst into flower, and the first flower on the Geranium ‘Blue Sabani’ has opened with many more buds promising colour for months ahead. As you can probably tell, whites and pastels are wasted on me and I’ve filled the garden with bright tones.
As the lockdown wears on and the novelty of being housebound wears off, I feel incredibly grateful for our little garden. More so than ever the garden has become a place to sit and gather my thoughts or to lose myself in some seasonal task during these extraordinary times we’re living through. Take care. X
For a couple who met in a bookshop, my husband and I rarely swap books, but he’s been nagging me to read Mitch Albom for years, and while he’s been reading the newest Finding Chika, I decided to read my husband’s favourite, Have A Little Faith.
The gist of Have A Little Faith is that Mich Albom is asked by Albert Lewis, the Rabbi who has known him since childhood, to give his eulogy when he dies. Albom reluctantly accepts but realises that he’d better get to know his Rabbi as a person first, and what Albom expects to be a short series of interviews, becomes regular visits and a close friendship spanning eight years.
The narrative switches between conversations with the Rabbi, the writer’s own thoughts and experience of religion, and the life of Henry Covington, and at first it’s difficult to see how they all intersect.
Henry’s story is one of redemption, as he goes from a Brooklyn drug dealer to the pastor of a dilapidated church in Detroit where homeless people congregate for food and shelter.
This isn’t a book trying to convert agnostics and atheists, but covers a range of topics that will resonate with those of all faiths and none, such as family and community, tolerance and prejudice, charity and gratitude, regret and forgiveness, mortality and grief.
Have A Little Faith was probably an unusual choice to start with but it won’t be the last of Mitch Albom’s books I read. Hope everyone reading is safe and well. X
Easter weekend coincided with spring sunshine and warmth this year, and normally we’d be heading out for day-trips or visiting family, but with the country still in lockdown we’ve spent most of the weekend at home, savouring the simple pleasures and little luxuries of hot cross buns and cherry blossom tea in the garden.
This isn’t how I expected to spend my maternity leave, and although I’d planned to join the bookbug sessions at our library and the local baby sensory group, I’m quite content to potter around the house and garden with the wee one. I feel very fortunate to be able to stay at home with my daughter when so many others are risking their health at work during the pandemic. My husband had only just returned to work after a month off on paternity leave before the lockdown began and he’s been working from home since, but it’s been lovely having him around to help out and enjoying more time together.
Luckily, our little daughter is too young to understand what’s going on and it’s easy to entertain her at home. We’ve been filling our days with tummy-time, singing nursery rhymes and reading picture books, pulling faces at each other, and she’s been rewarding us with lots of smiles. Now nine weeks old, our baby is so alert, her blue eyes wide open observing the world around her.
We’ve also been venturing out most days for our government-approved walk around the neighbourhood for some gentle exercise, zig-zagging across the street to avoid others we encounter, and spotting all the rainbows in the windows and decorating the streets for the NHS staff and other key workers still working hard.
The last few weeks have been disorienting and overwhelming at times, but we’re trying to make the best of it, enjoying our time together and embracing a slower pace of life. Wishing everyone a happy Easter and a lovely week. X
The City of Brass (reviewed here) was the best book I read last year, and I loved slipping back into this world inspired by Arabian mythology in The Kingdom of Copper.
Set five years after the first book, Nahri has been forced to marry King Ghassan’s eldest son, Muntadhir, while Prince Ali has been exiled, and Dara has been freed from Ifrit enthrallment by Nahri’s mother, Manizheh.
Generations and tribes clash in a conflict that pits husbands against wives, parents against children, and siblings against each other. Ali is caught between his scheming relatives, as much as Nahri is caught between the rival factions of daeva and djinn. Nahri and Ali try to ease tensions between their rival tribes and improve conditions for the persecuted half-human shafit, while their parents’ generation seek vengeance, power and control over the city of Daevabad.
Despite the fantasy setting, this story explores universal themes of love, loyalty, family, idealism and fanaticism, prejudice and revenge, and I’m so looking forward to finding out how the story resolves in the final part of this trilogy. Have a lovely week. X