The Secret Garden

It’s Sunday, and here I am with my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, a day late and a dollar short – yesterday just kinda ran away from me! This week Linda has asked us to take the name of the last movie we watched and write a post inspired by the title – sounds fun, except I haven’t really watched many moves lately. My TV watching has been in more bite-sized chunks.

Anyway, the last movie I watched that I can think of immediately is ‘The Secret Garden’ – it was one of my favourite books as a child, and although I’m not usually keen on films of books this particular 1993 adaptation has always hit just the right note for me. I hadn’t seen it for years, but it was on over the holiday period so I indulged myself with a trip down memory lane.

So onto my interpretation of today’s prompt… My new garden is proving to be a bit of a secret garden at the moment. We only moved in last October, so very much at the end of the growing season, and have no idea what’s under the soil waiting to surprise us. I know we have roses, and a fuchsia bush, and a very old, woody lavender. There’s a largish rhododendron (I recognise it from the leaves) and a couple of fruit trees, apple and plum. But other than that, it’s a bit of a mystery.

I’ve long ago tidied up the flower beds for winter, pruned stuff back and removed dead and dried foliage, but other than that have left it all pretty much alone, dormant for the duration. And here we are into a new year, and already I can see spring bulbs coming through in the front garden – no idea what they might turn out to be, so it’s going to be fun waiting to find out! 🙂

Three Words Saturday

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is to pick up the nearest book, open it to a random page, and use the first three words of the first full sentence to create a post… so here goes…

The current book I’m reading, sitting on the coffee table in front of me, is ‘Flesh and Blood’ by Patricia Cornwell – a Kay Scarpetta thriller. I opened it on page 252/ 253, and amazingly the first full sentence begins at the top of the page, with the words ‘There’s still plenty…’

So… there’s still plenty of… what? Ummm… Plenty of scope for having fun with this prompt? Plenty of time to think up something to write? Or is it simply the hope that there’s still plenty of crap left in my head to successfully complete JusJoJan this year! 🙂

'How Now Brown Cow' and Other Silliness

Howdy. Wow, well whaddya know, I’m already showing myself up. Not such a wise owl after all, more like a headless fowl.

The random flowering of abstract craziness grown from seeds blown in on the wind and sown far below the surface of my rational thought has come up with the all-time low of repeatedly howling ‘How now brown cow‘ and other silliness in a powerfully rowdy voice for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and JusJoJan 4 prompt, drowning out all potential slowing down of this fast-flowing ‘ow‘ crowded post.

Editing is not allowed and I feel my furrowed brow frown. What a blow. Hardly a glowing success or crowning glory. So I guess I’ll just bow out now before you all throw me out and disown me…

PS Hopefully in due course there will be far more sensible posts to follow 🙂

My 2020 Vision

It seems like a good time to look ahead to consider my plans for next year… I’m not keen on resolutions as such, but it’s always good to have a review of where I’m at and update my intentions for the future. So… where do I see myself in 2020? It’s hard to tell, really…

I definitely want to get our house looking the way we want it, one little change at a time – let the whole process grow organically step by tiny step as we go along rather than total transformation en masse in one giant leap. I mean, apart from everything else we need to experience all four seasons in our new home to get a real feel for it all year round, year in, year out. How does the natural light flow through the house at different times of the year, where are the hot spots and the cool spots, how do we use the rooms, the outbuildings, the garage?

And me – what about me? Hmmm… I’m a 56 year old grandmother, temporarily ‘just a housewife’ again until I find myself a part time job locally. I’m looking forward to taking up gardening again, now we have a garden, so after 18 years living in an upstairs flat in London that’s a whole new challenge in itself. And further exploring our wider environment here in Inverness on foot with my camera once the weather improves a bit in the Spring, that sounds good too.

But personally? Well, the get-fit/ healthy-eating/ looking-as-good-as-I-can-do hopeful dream is always there on the horizon, never getting any closer, but maybe one day I’ll get there. I do keep trying, and failing, but at least I haven’t given up yet. I’ll keep working on my emotional eating issues, and tie that in with sorting out my physical digestive issues – so you never know, this might just turn out to be my year! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Year

Leek and Tattie Soup

So here I am on a typically damp and dismal Scottish Saturday morning, with a pot of leek and tattie soup simmering away.

I’ve always loved cooking, but since moving back to the North of Scotland from the South of England four months ago I’ve been finding myself drawn back to the practical and economical dishes of my youth, traditional tastes of the past all suddenly clamouring for attention again in the creative culinary section of my middle-aged memory banks.

Mind you, living with my parents for the first ten weeks we were back in Scotland meant inevitably cooking only the sort of meals my dad can eat – he’s 83, with mobility issues after four strokes and memory issues with ongoing vascular demetia, so keeping to an easily-recognisable-to-him menu is an important part of his ongoing care. And at least he still has a good appetite and enjoys his food!

So I cooked (and we ate) a lot of soup – lentil, leek and tattie, Scotch broth – and variations on a theme of mince and tatties or stew and tatties, and stovies, often with fruit crumbles and custard or bread and butter pudding for afters – yum! And now we’re here in our own house, with a big enough kitchen to cook in comfortably, I’m continuing in the same vein a lot of the time, sticking to the heart-warming farmhouse cooking I grew up with.

It makes me smile to be hearing my paternal grandmother’s satisfied voice so loud and clear in my head ‘Aye, that’s fine soup – gings roon yer hert like a hairy wurrum’ (Goes round your heart like a hairy worm). She was a typical North-East-Coast farmer’s wife, and much of my knowledge of traditional cooking and baking has come from spending quality time with her as I was growing up.

Although sadly she’s long gone, it speaks volumes to her quiet, steady influence on me that not only do I still use today the culinary skills developed years ago by her side, but also I’ve taught my children those same skills, and now my grown-up children are teaching my grandchildren in their turn. Too many people are unable to cook from scratch these days, and I’m proud that generations of my family can make a meal out of traditional ingredients, then, now and on into the future… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Loud

Keys and Cup Hooks

When we first moved in to our house, we were astonished to find locks and keys in pretty much every door, internal as well as external. OK, so you expect front door and back door keys, and one for the door going out into the garden from the conservatory – but to find keys dangling in the doors from the hall to the living room, to all three bedrooms, and to the kitchen?

And in the double doors from the kitchen to the dining room, and then again from the dining room to the conservatory? I understand our house once used to be used for a Bed and Breakfast business, so that explains why locks on the bedroom doors may have been a sensible option there, but who locks up their living room, or their kitchen, or their dining room and conservatory? And why, for what possible purpose? Welcome to my home, but at the same time keep out?

Anyway, the superfluous door keys are now safely stored in an old tin in an old alcove cupboard (unlocked, but also with a key!) while our internal doors are all enjoying a new-found freedom in a rather more relaxed household security regime. But our next surprise was the sheer volume of cup hooks screwed in around the house. Cup hooks of all dimensions were everywhere, with the greatest density appearing in the kitchen – even lining along the insides of all the cupboard doors, as well as under the wall cabinets.

I have been known to employ the odd cup hook myself when needs must, but not to that extent! So after we’d removed and stored all the excess keys, our next job was unscrewing all the cup hooks from everywhere – we even found some very small ones spaced at regular intervals around some of the door frames! Curiouser and curiouser… For holding fairy lights in place, we wondered? Doesn’t really gel with the idea of requiring mulitple locks and keys though, does it? I guess we’ll never know 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Key

When Dreams Come True

My husband and I used to dream about buying our perfect home – or rather, buying a house that had the potential to be turned eventually (however creatively) into a home that is perfect for us. And here we are today, living in the dream house we fell in love with the moment we walked through the door… ❤

The funny thing is, looking through our pot of potential viewings, on paper this house wasn’t in any way near the top of the list. We’d spent a lot of time making practical decisions on the age and style and size of house we’d buy based on very sensible, rational criteria, having a favoured wish-list but understanding the likelihood of achieving everything wished for would be far-fetched in the extreme. So we worked out on paper which things we thought we would be most prepared to compromise on, and started viewing those houses that most closely matched our criteria.

Indeed, every house we viewed we could easily have lived in had we chosen to, there was nothing specific in any of them that completely ruled them out of the running. But somehow there was an over-riding bland ‘sameness’ to them and one after the other they just didn’t feel right – we just didn’t feel ‘at home’ in them. And yet with this one – the oldest and most needy by far – we booked the viewing not quite as an afterthought but certainly more as a determination not to rule anything out that met our basic criteria, however unlikely it may be to suit our specific needs as we’d calculated them to be…

But the minute we crossed the threshold, we felt the warmth of welcome. The house itself invited us in, enveloping us in its embrace and encouraging us to explore further, offering spacious well-proportioned rooms and loads of natural light, with a lovely sense of flow throughout. Even with someone else’s decidedly-not-to-our-taste decor and furniture in situ, it felt immediately like this could potentially become the perfect home we had dreamed of, list or no list.

Later that night we found we spoke animatedly of nothing else but what we would like to do to the house if it was ours, what changes we would make to it, where we would put our current furniture and what we would buy new. We were already considering possible colour schemes and flooring and window coverings and felt inspired to action in a way none of the other perfect-on-paper houses had done for us.

So after a second viewing we put in an offer that was accepted, and we bought our dream house! It certainly needs a lot of TLC but we’re more than happy to give our time and energy to fixing it up. We’re the kind of people who like to do things ourselves as far as possible, so we’ve got a long-term plan of action in place covering the next few months to slowly transform the house from the previous occupant’s home to our home, and so far are thoroughly enjoying the process!

We’re just absolutely delighted that for us, our dream of a perfect-for-us home is definitely coming true 🙂

Stream of Consciouness Saturday: Dream