Home-Grown Hyacinths

There’s a lot of crappy stuff going on in the world right now and it’s a very stressful time for all of us, so I’m finding it’s necessary to focus on the little things in life to find my little moments of happiness…

Late last year I was given a pot and some dried compost cubes and three dormant hyacinth bulbs to try a grow-your-own kit thing, so starting early January I carefully followed the instructions and reconstituted the compost, planted the bulbs, gave them a good water and stuck the pot in the cold and dark under a bench in the garden shed for 10 weeks, checking it stayed damp but other than that, leaving it alone.

And to my surprise and delight, after the 10 weeks I found I had one little tiny nub of potential growth showing through the soil, so as instructed I placed the pot on the conservatory windowsill to get some sunshine. Another 10 days have passed since then, and look what I have now! Hopefully the plants will continue to grow and flower in the next few weeks – they should be a beautiful delft blue, so we’ll see what happens – fingers crossed!

So I’m really pleased to be learning to be a proper plant mummy at last, big smiles all round 🙂

Weekly Smile

Weekly Smile: April A-Z Challenge Sign-Up!

My weekly smile this week comes in the form of signing up today for the 2020 April Blogging from A-Z Challenge! I really enjoyed taking part last year, and have actually joined in on three different occasions before that on previous blogs long since gone, in 2015, 2016, and 2017. So this is only year two for me on this blog, but year five altogether!

If you haven’t ever joined in before, the idea is simply to follow the calendar and the alphabet, posting on given days throughout the month of April. You can choose to follow a specific theme, or you can be as random as you like. You can pre-plan every post in advance, or wing it at the last minute, or do both as the need arises – the choice is yours.

Next week brings the proper theme reveal, but I’ve already formulated a few ideas in my head as to what I plan to do for this year. As we moved from London to Inverness at the end of last summer, I’m going to share a photographic journey of ‘My Inverness, Past and Present’ highlighting my new life back home in Scotland.

Personally I always find it easier to decide in advance what I’m going to post for each letter and take it from there, so even though some of the pics may be taken at the last minute I find it best to have an idea plus a back-up in my head, just incase. It’s great fun to complete this challenge, and is such a great way to meet new bloggers.

If anyone is thinking about joining in this year, please do give it a go – there’s always a variety of people signed up and it’s open to everyone. And then we can all share a huge collective weekly smile at the end of the month for having survived the 2020 April Blogging from A-Z Challenge – woo-hoo! 🙂

Hide & Seek with Monkey

Meet Monkey – she’s six inches tall from the top of her head to the tips of her toes, has little magnets in her hands and feet, and she spends most of her time hanging around in our kitchen. When I worked in an office, she used to be my office monkey but for the last five or six years she’s definitely been a house monkey. I bought her originally in the Natural History Museum gift shop in London years ago, and since we moved back to Inverness from London, she’s found a new fun game to play.

Every time our grandchildren come to visit, monkey is deliberately hanging in a different place, so they all run through to see where she is this time – sometimes on the fridge freezer, on the washing machine, clinging on to the back struts of a dining chair, and once even hanging down from the kitchen ceiling light – cheeky monkey! Anyway, when the grandchildren come to visit, monkey likes to play hide and seek with them.

The seekers stay in one place and the hider hides monkey somewhere in the house. Then the seekers try to find monkey, using a series of clues as necessary (depending on age) to help locate her – first which room she’s in, is she on something or in something, is she high up or low down in the room, and eventually we resort to the old trick of ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ to indicate proximity, so the game never grows stale or stalls no matter where monkey is hiding.

On Tuesday, we had a wonderful double dose of grandchildren visiting – eldest daughter had a medical appointment so her two youngest came to us while she and her partner were at her appointment. Then as youngest daughter’s son also had a doctor’s appointment later that morning which both parents hoped to attend and schools were off due to in-service training, her two girls came to us too for the duration. Inevitably we played hide and seek with monkey, and oh what fun we had!

So my Weekly Smile this week is the sheer joy of playing hide and seek with monkey and several giggly grandchildren. Honestly, it’s so much more fun than people hiding themselves, because realistically there are only so many places even a small child can hide – but a six inch monkey with magnets can get into all sorts of creatively clever spaces, especially when either me or my husband are the hider – and well-placed vocal clues help even the youngest join in as easily and enjoyably as the eldest.

I remember reading somewhere that we don’t stop playing when we grow old, but we grow old when we stop playing, and with having our grandchildren around I can see just how that might just be true! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Motion Blur Mistake

Usually with photography it’s getting stuff right that makes me smile, but yesterday it was getting stuff wrong! I’d been playing about with long exposure settings to try to create arty-farty motion blur in images of water, and turned round to see a workman in bright orange jacket cleaning the pavement behind me. I automatically lifted my camera to snap a quick candid shot but forgot I had motion blur settings on, so got this wonky result for my efforts! He’d moved on by the time I reset my camera, but I kept the blurry shot to remind me of the moment simply because it made me laugh. Oh dear! 🙂

Weekly Smile

Weekly Smile: Simmering Soup

What’s definitely made me smile today is a big pot of soup simmering away on the stove – the pink bit at the front is a smoked gammon joint, and the rest is diced onion, leek, carrot, and swede with seasoning to taste (including a bayleaf). It’s pouring with rain outside, and I can hear the wind buffeting the swaying branches of the trees in the garden, but I’m warm and dry in my cosy kitchen with the wonderful wholesome smell of soup cooking for dinner tonight – yum! 🙂

Weekly Smile

Octet of Octopi

I’m feeling loads better today – still coughing but the sneezing has stopped, so I’m definitely on the mend!

I figured now was as good a time as any to do some more fiddly colouring in – so I’ve made a start on this octet of octopi plus other undersea items and individuals. It’s probably going to take ages to do, but it’s certainly keeping me engrossed for now and I’m having fun.

I automatically picked up the bright neon orange gel pen to begin with – not a very subtle colour but I realise I was probably channeling Hank from ‘Finding Dory’. With six grandchildren I’ve watched this movie (and also the original, ‘Finding Nemo’) more times than I care to remember! 🙂

So this week’s smile from me comes courtesy of spending quality time colouring in while I’m feeling under the weather, and also of having six very good reasons for watching (and thoroughly enjoying) children-oriented family movies so often – what’s not to smile about in that? 🙂

Weekly Smile

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Subtle