Ripening Plums

My Weekly Smile this week just has to be the sheer delight on my husband’s face to actually be picking fat juicy plums daily from his own plum tree! I grew up with a plum tree growing in my mum and dad’s garden so I guess I just don’t share the same novelty factor of having an over-abundance of fresh plums available on the doorstep. We’ve already had a yummy plum crumble made with the first batch, as well as just eating the plums au naturel of course! Plenty more where they came from… I’m sure we’ll both be sick of the sight of them before long, but luckily we have plenty of family who have offerred to help eat as many as we can spare 🙂

Tea and Cake

What better way to cheer myself up on a restful, rainy summer afternoon off than enjoying a refreshing cup of tea and a freshly baked fairy cake, light and fluffy and only an hour out the oven… And the icing on the cake is that the kitchen still smells of warm, sweet vanilla – Yum! 🙂

Weekly Smile

Sunflower Smile

When our five year old grandson was given some giant sunflower seeds earlier in the year to plant in little pots on the kitchen windowsill no-one expected any miracles to occur but to his delight three grew into little plants.

He gave one to us, a gangly foot-high skinny stalk, carrying it himself so carefully to deliver it safely, so I duly planted it in a sheltered spot in the garden by the back fence and promised him I’d look after it.

We live in the chilly North of Scotland, and so I had no idea if a giant sunflower plant would even survive up here, never mind flower. I’ve watered it and watched it, fingers crossed it didn’t die, and here it is now with a proper yellow head.

It’s not fully opened as yet, and at 2.5m the plant has over-shot the fence and has grown way too tall for me to capture face to face without the aid of a ladder, but look, we actually have a real giant sunflower growing in our garden!

Big smiles all round for our beautiful Scottish sunflower 🙂

Weekly Smile

Flower of the Day

Sea, Sand, Sun, and a Smile

OK, so maybe it was a bit cool and sea-breezy rather than baking hot, but what a lovely afternoon yesterday for an impromptu trip to the beach at Nairn. Not the usual busy seaside town tourist spot with the white dunes and proper beach-front, but along the coast a little at the other side of town where it is much quieter, with far less sand and far more rocks.

But it was certainly warm enough for a leisurely paddle in the outgoing tide, for finding a few special rocks and shells, for feeling the cold wet sand squidge so solidly between my toes and then letting the warm dry sand powder my feet afterwards, drying them off… Altogether a perfectly natural setting for my slightly windswept smile 🙂

Weekly Smile

Me and My Dad Out for a Walk

More than anything else this weekend I really wanted to go out and visit my parents at long last.

Although I’ve kept in touch by phone what with one thing and another I haven’t actually seen them in person for six months, and during the four solid months of lockdown they not only both celebrated birthdays, but Dad actually spent five weeks in hospital with a chest infection and urine infection – thankfully not Covid after all, but with his spiking a high temperature and developing a bad cough, for a few worrying days we were all so scared we might lose him.

My Dad is 84 years old and has survived four strokes, and he now also has vascular dementia so not only is his mobility not great any more, but he also has good days and bad days memory-wise. Mum and Dad live in the beautiful Scottish countryside in the back of beyond, miles away from the rest of the family. So today was the first day since I went back to work three weeks ago that my husband and I could manage to go out to visit, and we all had such a great day together.

Dad walks indoors with a rollator, but struggles to keep his balance outdoors so a fortnight ago he was given a wheelchair to use outside – but he wouldn’t use it, he resisted all Mum’s efforts to get him out for a walk and refused point-blank even to try. Up until about five years ago Dad was always fit and healthy, easily walking several miles a day for pleasure, but since then sadly it’s been one thing after another for him health-wise and his walking world has shrunk accordingly.

However I’m very much my dad’s daughter, I have inherited his stubborn temperament and can often find just the right thing to say to get through to him when others fail. And so it was today – thankfully a good day dementia-wise, too. About five minutes after I learned that Dad had a wheelchair, he was in his jacket and hat and sitting comfortably, ready to go out for a walk. Mum chose to stay at home, and although my husband came with us, I pushed Dad in the wheelchair.

It felt so good to share that experience with Dad. We didn’t go far, but went along a well-known route from the past and Dad thoroughly enjoyed having a good look around to see what had changed since his last proper outdoor excursion (last September, also with us, just before the cold weather set in). We chatted and reminisced and he soon got over his initial emotional discomfort at being pushed in a wheelchair – I pointed out to him that he used to push me often enough in my pram when I was young, so it’s only fair I push him in return now he’s growing old.

To me this is the stuff of life that matters, these are the precious moments that count the most. My husband took a few lovely photographs of Dad and I together while out for our walk, and I’ve shared my favourites above. I feel so lucky at my age to still have my Dad, however old and infirm he becomes. He is, and always has been, my hero, and to be able to do something so simple for him that brings such a huge smile to his face brings me nothing but happiness wrapped up in a lifetime of love ❤

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: More

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Precious

Weekly Smile

Weekly Smile, Running Late!

It’s almost time for next week’s Weekly Smile, and here I am only writing this now. I did think about just skipping this week and just posting tomorrow for the new week instead, but I realised if I link up today I can also use it as my Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, which is only a day late. So this way, any nonsensical ramblings that follow can simply be construed as unedited random brain-to-finger-to-page thoughts… 🙂

Work days and Days off – Now I’ve been back at work for a full week I can really appreciate the simple joy of a proper day off. The trouble with lockdown was having lots of time on my hands, but none of it felt like productive time off because there was nothing in place to have time off from… 🙂

My husband’s birthday – My husband turned 59 this week, and although we didn’t fancy risking going out to eat in a restaurant yet we cooked ourslves a lovely meal at home with some nice wine and chose a rich chocolate cake for a birthday dessert – yum! 🙂

More grandchildren hugs – We had a visit from my youngest daughter’s family on Friday, and my husband and I spent a lovely day mainly in the garden with the three grandkids while their mum and dad faced the gauntlet of shopping for new school clothes for everyone. And this afternoon my eldest daughter is coming to visit with her two youngest, so our sorely-depleted hug-tanks will have been filled to the brim this week! 🙂

Hugs, Hope, and Happiness

Today my youngest daughter, her partner and their three children came to visit, and to my delight I was able to have grandchildren hugs for the first time in four months!

It’s been a beautiful sunny day so we pretty much stayed in the garden, apart from the kids nipping in to use the loo or for one of us to make a cuppa, but now that lockdown restrictions here in Scotland have eased enough to allow us to meet indoors as well as outdoors (with adults still social distancing, but children not having to any more) it makes a family visit so much easier.

And I’ve been back at work since Friday, helping to get the store set up for customers returning when the business re-opens tomorrow, so altogether this week it feels like we have some forward movement in life at last – not too much too soon, but about right for where we are in the pandemic. I’m hopeful all goes well as lockdown lifts even further, and we can begin to find our way out of this coronavirus crisis as a community without causing any more harm to our health.

So my weekly smile this week consists of huge hugs, a heart full of hope, and the happiness of taking a cautious step or two in the right direction at last. Sending peace and love to all of you, because right now I feel like I have more than enough to share 🙂

Garden Birds

No pictures, I’m afraid, just words today. Since hanging a small bird feeder on the plum tree outside the kitchen window last week, we’ve been paying far more attention to identifying which birds we see (and hear) in our garden.

Squalling seagulls swooping here there and everywhere are a given, of course – after all we live by the sea – and crows and wood pigeons are never far away with their cawing and cooing. We have blackbirds – both black males and brown females – and sparrows and dunnocks aplenty. I’ve occasionally seen a great tit or two, and there are coal tits and blue tits, and the other day we spied two goldfinches with their red heads and flashes of gold on the wing.

So my smile this week is not only that we can see and hear all these different species of birds in our garden, but also that I’m learning to recognise them again – I love living so closely attuned to nature, it feels good to be part of it every day 🙂

Weekly Smile