Home: A rose by any other name

Here’s a rather lovely little thing. Last year I bought a tiny pot-rose from a discount shelf in the Co-op, mostly out of pity at the thought of any living creature being left all alone with its fate at the mercy of an orange “reduced” sticker. It had three tiny blooms on it and was small enough that when I repotted it, the whole plant could be cupped in my hand. I honestly didn’t think it would live all that long, but I figured I’d do the best I could by it for as long as it did.

To my amazement and delight, it lived, thrived, survived a change of address when we moved in December, and is now alive and well on my living room windowsill. To my even greater delight, this spring, it flowered! But look at this:

wm rose


Three deep pinkish-red blooms similar to the ones it had when I bought it… and one pale pink one that looks nothing like them! I gather that this can happen when a particular rose has been grown by grafting onto another stock; so not a miracle, just a bit of horticultural sleight of hand. The kind of people who grow roses as serious business would deal with this by removing any shoots that come up from the underlying stock instead of the desired, grafted breed.

But to my eyes there’s something far more magical about having two kinds of rose on a single bush, so I’m going to leave mine just as it is.


A quick return

Hello, everyone – I’m sorry I’ve not been posting for so long. I’m afraid I got caught up in some stuff, and just didn’t have the inspiration to come and post here. But hopefully this post will mark the beginnings of my return, and to begin with some good news: I passed my driving test last week!

Me with my pass certificate - photo ©Rob Anscombe of Rob's School of Motoring in Whitby.

Me with my pass certificate – photo ©Rob Anscombe of Rob’s School of Motoring in Whitby. [https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robs-School-of-Motoring/320851121370807]

I’m hoping that before too long I’ll get my own car and be able to see and do more things in the moors and beyond. The other good news is that I’ve also got a new phone with a much better camera than my old one, so I’ll be able to bring back better pictures, too! For now though I’ll leave you with this sample of the new photo format – a beautifully stormy sunset photographed a couple of nights ago from my front doorstep:

wm storm sunset

We’ve had some fairly terrible weather up here recently, like the rest of England, but I can’t find it in me to complain if I get views like this out of it…


Garden: Unexpected guest

So at around lunchtime today, I was rather surprised to look out of the window and find we’d been visited by a friendly local:


Visiting hen.

Visiting hen.

I don’t even know how she got in past the fence, but she was happy enough to wander back out when I went and opened the gate for her. Not quite what I was expecting when I put some bread out for the birds yesterday, I must admit…

Garden: Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Just got a comment here from a reader who asked me about the small pinky-purple flowers visible behind the daffodil in my first photo. Thank you Dawn for giving me an excuse to post about these, because they’re a new favourite of mine: lungwort, a traditional English wildflower that’s made its way into garden cultivation. Lungwort has pretty, white-spotted leaves and clusters of flowers that, magically, are pink when they first open but then slowly fade through purple to blue over the duration of their life. Historically it was used as a medicinal herb for the treatment of coughs and chest conditions, but now it’s grown purely for the beauty of its flowers and leaves:

Lungwort closeup

Close-up of a lungwort flower.

I admit that when I found these coming up in my garden earlier this spring, I didn’t know what they were either but I was charmed by them and knew I had to find out. Fortunately my mother, who is a keener gardener by far than I am, supplied the answer.


Aren’t they lovely?

Garden: Spring daffodils

It’s been quite a week here, weather-wise. Thunder yesterday, hail the day before that, and today it’s been rain and fog. But I still know it’s spring, because…

Single daffodil

I have my first daffodil!

Since we moved into this house in December, the garden at the time was an unknown quantity. All I could see then were the dead stalks of last year’s growth and some old and rusting garden ornaments, so I had no idea what was going to come up this spring. A few weeks ago I went out and cleared all the junk and dead stems to make space for the new growth, and since then I’ve been enthralled watching everything slowly unfurl and identify itself.

But while daffodils were a predictable feature – there’s hardly a garden in England that doesn’t have a few somewhere, and there are scores of them up and down the village already – there’s a special joy to seeing your very own first one open. Snowdrops tell you spring is thinking about coming, but the daffodils are the gods’ own golden trumpets to tell you it’s arrived. Even if the weather seems to disagree, it’s spring, everyone. I have a daffodil. And better yet, I’ve got another dozen or so that are still to open:

Daffodils ready to flower

Going to be lovely by this time next week, that is. Although I really hope the weather by then has brightened up again:

View over the valley

The view from my door this afternoon.

If it does, I’ll be going on some more adventures next week, so stay tuned!

Home: A moment’s peace

There’s something very special about living in a place where one feels spiritually healed just by stepping out of the front door. I’m going to be mostly working this week (I’m a freelance editor, so I get to work from home), but I had to go out just now to take something to the post office. As I opened the door and stepped onto the path, the whole valley felt silent – no wind, no cars, no voices. The air was still and neither warm nor cold, the sky a pale silver grey.

And it felt like someone had pulled the emergency brake on my soul. I’d been running at usual 21st-century mental speed, worrying about this, thinking about that, doing five things at once… and suddenly, blessedly, my mind just came to a complete and perfect stop. I stood for a moment, simply breathing, listening, looking around me, and felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders. It’s like having Heaven on your doorstep, living here.

Here’s a quick shot of the view over the valley, with the clouds breaking to show a flash of sunlight across on Danby Low Moor:


Danby Low Moor

The view from my doorstep.

And now, back to work…