There is a Christmas Market on Cathedral green. The grass is flattened by rustic buildings and baby Jesus has his own, fresh from B&Q, right at the front. This is all a call to spend money, but first I have to take a closer look at that baby.
We got to the best part. Sunshine pouring in through new windows, flooring going down, shelves going up, fresh paint licking corners and the excitement of ‘carpet day’ on the horizon. Even the sliding door, that kept getting stuck, started working. I was gloating over that door, thinking how silly I was to worry about it, all winter, when Building Control turned up. Then things went wrong.
I lost a friend. She wasn’t well, so I was vaguely thinking about visiting, and then, suddenly it was all over in that bleak, unfair way that makes no sense, and generates questions.
Daffodils, a symbol of new beginnings, and a reminder of the first spring lockdown. Key workers carried on while some of us got to clap helpfully, and maybe volunteer, or just panic buy wine to fuel our anxiety. Supermarket deliveries were fully booked, so that meant subscribing to wine companies. If that was you, read this and learn.
According to Wiccan beliefs, a geranium near your front door is useful for warning you when strangers are approaching. Oh, the wonders of Google. Is the geranium going to bark like a dog?
Advent Sunday. A day to light a candle, and think about shopping. Exeter this week was full of city noise, bus fumes, and Black Friday frenzy. I went there to meet someone, not shop, so it was easy to despise everybody else for being too consumerist, but then I had to hang around waiting, and that changed.
The Japanese Anemone glowing in the shadows. It is a symbol of anticipation, which can be a cause of SAD. Nobody needs that back-to-school, winter-is-coming gloom but, if you are sensitive to seasons, the first ripe blackberry is enough to set it off. Time to stop looking ahead and do something about now.
The hedges are full of cow parsley, and the ditches are full of rain. Midsummer is the time to party and we were allowed up to 30 people. So we did. There were a couple of glitches and we learnt some lessons. Here are the tips.
Lily of the valley, the birth flower for anybody born in May. We celebrated my son’s milestone birthday this week, with a beach walk, chips in the rain, and a bit of baby nostalgia from me. Meanwhile, my phone was filling up with other babies. Two friends have become first-time parents and are about to discover what a game-changer they are.
Bluebells symbolise, gratitude, humility and love. Do chickens feel these emotions? I doubt it from the look of this one.
The dreaded Blackthorn Winter. The one that ancient farmers warned us about. When the blackthorn bushes flower, spring flips back to winter with east winds, snow, wind and hail. You must scuttle back indoors, clutching your seedlings, and take up an indoor hobby like Sorting Out. There are bad scenes in the kitchen.
In Japan, cherry blossom is a symbol of new beginnings and is celebrated with parties under the trees. Good idea. We are bristling with antibodies so the invites went out to come and party. Would we know how? And what would we need?
Einstein suggested that time is not constant. He probably started thinking about this after a tough slow winter. One day he was glad that February was done, the next he was staring at his Camelia bush wondering where the hell March went. I know how he felt.
It’s magnolia time. These flowers are a symbol of perseverance, which is a strong trait in rats.
Hyacinths and the sweet scents of spring. Google said they are a symbol of jealousy, but then it suggested power, peace, happiness, and pride, until it was all nonsense. The internet keeps spewing stuff out, but there are ways to avoid being overwhelmed.
The east winds are biting and the crocuses bite back, stubbornly forcing their way up through frozen earth. Crocuses symbolize a Brighter Tomorrow, which means planning. Time to think about February jobs in the garden.
The White Narcissus is so tidy and dainty, catching the sun on its way to the pond, which has too many leaves, and no frogs. Where are the frogs?
The winter Jasmine is speckled yellow. A hint of spring, a promise that more splashes of colour are coming soon. But not yet. Storm Christoph turned the lawn to a soggy quagmire and it’s best not to go out. What to do? Make a pizza.
The Begonias are making an effort. In summer they will do a takeover bid, swamping everything nearby, but in winter they are welcome. Collapsing under the weight of frost one minute and presenting bright pink flowers the next, Begonias are a symbol of caution.
The Heather is flowering. Perfect for lucky posies. The village freecycle system has exciting daily doorstep offerings, with anything from cabbage steamers to vanilla candles. This week it’s busy with everybody trying to Fengshui horrible presents away. I could put a pile of posies out in case anybody needs extra luck, but it’s best to leave the flowers on the bush. They are, right now, what bees like best.