Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Lost April, where did you go?

It was April's last Sunday, the month slowly cruising towards its end. And what a month it had been. If in his poem The Wasteland, written in the wake of World War I and published in December 1922, T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruellest month, then how cruel this year's April has turned out to be!

If we're talking about the weather, April was quite uncharacteristically unfickle this year, the proverbial April showers only making an appearance towards the end of the month. But the string of mild and sunny Spring days were quite juxtaposed with the cruelty of the pandemic which is taking the world as we know it by storm.

April was a month of constantly adapting to new realities, of finding new rhythms to our lives, which we found to be changed almost beyond recognition.

Not being good with change, to put it mildly, I was quite surprised at my own flexibility and perseverance. But while I am reasonably content inside Dove Cottage's cotton wool bubble, I am longing to be free and without fear again! It's the only wish I'd ask the Fairy Godmother to grant me.



I'm so thankful for our garden in these days, and I think our garden is thankful too, relishing the fact that we've got so much time to spend on it. Time which, in that other life we had before the C word, we often didn't have to spare. 

Anyway, back to April's final Sunday.

But wait, didn't you leave us with a bit of a cliffhanger in your last post, I can hear you think. That's right, when signing off I did tell you that Saturday still had a surprise up its sleeve ...



It was on Saturday night, when I was catching up with my blog comments, that I heard a shuffling sound in the street. Intrigued, I glanced through the window, to see that our opposite neighbour was dragging a cupboard outside, which he proceeded to tape a handwritten note to.  By that time Jos had joined me upstairs as he too was keen to know what was going on. We then saw Daniel, our neighbour, put an old enamel advertising sign in front of the cupboard. Turned out he was emptying his rented garage box and giving away some stuff for free.

It goes without saying that we wasted no time in getting hold of that sign, which is advertising Simoniz car wax, proclaiming to motorists that Simoniz protects car paint!

It's fairly big and quite rusty, and it's getting a place in our  garden!



Although Sunday still had a sunny outlook, it was a tiny bit chilly, so I covered my short-sleeved blue floral frock with a cropped red cardigan, piling on a host of red accessories to keep it company. Perhaps even to harmonize with the red lettering on the sign! 

The accessories in question consisted of a beaded necklace, a mix of bangles and bracelets and a cat brooch.


The small courtyard at the end of our garden, between the big shed - which has even more junk in it than the potting shed - and the garden wall, is a bit of a sun trap, but has been sorely neglected over the years. There's an accumulated layer of twigs and dead leaves and the honeysuckle growing up the wall at the end needed a lot of dead wood removed. Let's make a start with that, shall we?

The carpet of hardy geraniums in the side border is treating us to the first of  its many, delicate pink flowers (top right), while one of the hanging baskets is delighting us with intricately veined Petunia blooms.


While I was pruning the honeysuckle, Jos was tending to the compost bin, and then sat enjoying a chocolate mousse under the awning outside our back door. It's alright for some! 

And all the time, in a never-ending cycle, flowers come and go. Here's the last of the trumpeting daffodils and the first of the climbing Hydrangea flowers!



Bees are always flocking to our garden at this time of year. The main attraction seems to be the tiny and nondescript flowers of our Cotoneaster bush, which is teeming with a variety of bees and bumblebees. Nevertheless, they do seem to appreciate a change of diet and often make a beeline for our butterfly lavender.

Some even try to land on me when I'm dressed in florals! 

Dandelions do not get pulled up in our rustic garden, into which I'll be planting out these grape hyacinths after they finished blooming in their pot.



It was back to work on Monday, always a wrench after my four-day weekend. On our way to our garage box, I snapped these weird but beautiful clouds with my phone's camera.

While we are renting a separate garage box, the complex also has communal parking spaces, and we often make use of the nearest one for outfit photos. Much to our surprise, the area has recently been repainted, so that you will no longer get to see the brick wall with its picturesquely crumbling paint.

When the complex's owner told the guy who parks his car in this spot that he would be painting the lower half in a darker colour, the guy begged him not to since he knew we were using this area as a photo studio! How amazing is that? 


My day at the office was an extremely busy one, so that I was more than ready for my in-between day off on Tuesday. 

It was a bit of a dismal day, and I didn't feel up to doing much, so I just indulged in some pottering and reading.



If Spring had still been very much present on Monday, there had now been a considerable drop in temperature, which was accompanied by some of those late April showers I mentioned before.

Time to wear this long-sleeved frock which hadn't seen the light of day all Winter.

Admittedly, its sky blue colour, with a scattering of white flowers and dots, does lend itself more to Spring than Winter.  I added an enamelled peacock feather brooch - charity shopped in Llangollen last Summer - and pinned a yellow hearted brooch to the dress's tie collar.


Oh, and it's got a wide pleated skirt, perfect for twirling! 

On top went a charity shopped checked and striped cardigan in yellow, orange and turquoise, which I adorned with a felted flower corsage.



We had to be quick as the first drops of yet another shower were starting to fall while we were taking outfit photos. 

I couldn't resist taking some final snaps of the garden, in all its lush green finery, from the back door.

After a damp and dreary office day on Wednesday, there seemed to be a slight improvement in the weather on Thursday.



Still chilly enough for long sleeves, it was my plan to wear a skirt and blouse that day. The skirt in question is one of my all-time favourites, vintage 1970s with diagonal black, grey, brown, orange and coral stripes dotted with flowers. It had become a tad snug, which is why I hadn't worn it at all since January 2018. Or so my blog tells me.

Needless to say, I was more than overjoyed when it turned out to be a perfect fit again. Must be  all the worrying and working in the garden. Oh, and no mid afternoon snacks at work! 

The blouse I selected is from the same era and repeats the browns and oranges of the skirt. 




More orange was added with my belt and beaded necklace. You may also recognize the brooch with the green mottled stone which I already wore in my previous post. The long chartreuse cardigan was swiftly thrown over to combat the chill of the day.

Another bad hair day (#coronahair) prompted another head scarf trial. I clipped a hair flower to it to keep it in place.

We'd initially planned another trip to the garden centre on Friday, but when we realized that it might turn out to be too crowded as 1 May is a public holiday in Belgium, we went on Thursday instead.


Inevitably, we brought home another cartload of plants, mainly consisting of annuals, with one or two perennials, destined for our new border,  thrown in.

And kitty grass for Phoebe, who was pleased as punch and wasted no time nibbling it.

Will be back with further home and garden adventures soon. 

In the meantime, I hope you're all staying safe, wherever you are!


36 comments:

  1. The irony of a rust treatment sign covered in rust!
    Your garden is looking so beautiful. I'm glad it provides you some enjoyment with the world as it is.

    Lovely outfits as always. I have a very similar blue dress to yours but mine is a maxi without pleats.

    I hope the week goes smoothly for you.

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    1. I guess you're right :-) That maxi dress sounds lovely! xxx

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  2. There are nice people out there. :-)

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  3. Those enamel signs sell for a bloomin' fortune, thank goodness you got to it first, it's perfect in Dove Cottage's garden.
    I'm not surprised the bees make a beeline for you and your fabulously colouful outfits, you give the Spring flowers a run for their money! Love that groovy orange cardi, the marvellous pattern mixing in outfit number three and the super fresh looking blue and red combination. You've mastered the headscarf I think, I love how you've tied it.
    What a wonderful array of plants for the garden, Phoebe and Jos seem very happy with them, too!
    xxx

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    1. I know! I'm sure it wouldn't have taken long for somebody else to come along and grab it! We've made a nice little sitting corner with it as its main feature! xxx

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  4. What a cool sign! Those are often worth quite a bit, as Vix notes - I see them on those "Pickers" shows where they go antiquing in the US and Canadian countryside.

    Your garden is so lovely! I am glad my work days are Mon/Wed/Fri - if I only worked Tues/Wed/Thurs, it would be so hard to come back off a 4-day weekend.

    Your red cat brooch is beautiful - I love that "cat pose." And I am in love with every cardigan you're wearing in this post, including that wonderful chartreuse one at the end. Phoebe likes her grass, eh? :) Such a queen she is!

    I like your headscarves - they look great on you, and suit your face. That was so nice of your neighbour to keep your "photo studio" all white for you!

    Where did April go?? I feel like we just lost a month.

    Hugs to you, my dear! Take solace in your garden, your wonderful clothes, and the coming sun!

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    1. I know those "Pickers" shows, my Dad used to watch them all the time! Working only Monday and Wednesday is very strange indeed, and not something I'm getting used to. I love the time off, though, if only it was under better circumstances! xxx

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  5. Sooo many wonderful flowers! What a luck we have a garden too.
    I loooove this orange Cardigan you wearing with lightblue dress. It's my favorite outfit. Great match together.
    Have a nice day, a very huge hug Tina

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  6. What an incredibly apt piece of poetry for the month that we just parted ways with. April was strange and solemn, heavy and harsh. It felt slow as molasses at times, fast as a raging river at others. No matter what may lay ahead in the uncertain months to come, I don't think many of us will soon forget how this April felt, the lives it impacted, and the challenges it housed.

    With all my might, I hope and wish that you guys have an extremely safe, serene and sunny month of May - let us hope that, somehow, someway, it is at least a tad brighter than April.

    Autumn Zenith ­čÄâ Witchcrafted Life

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    1. You are spot on about the month of April, and I don't think that initially wonderful first full month of Spring will ever feel the same again! xxx

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  7. dove cottage´s garden is still in awe how much love he gets lately :-D
    here is back to chill too sice a week we even fired up the oven for 2 nights....
    but your flowery, colorful attire warms my heart and i´m glad to hear that you´r adapted so well to the restrictions - having a cosy home is helping a lot i guess.
    although i would like to have a change of path - we´ll see........
    xxxxx - and hugs!

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    1. I've surprised myself with how well I'm adapting, although I would love to have some perspective. I do miss going to flea markets and going for longer walks a bit further away. And not being afraid all the time ... xxx

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  8. I love the 70's style outfit and your hair looks great with the headband. The sky blue dress is very pretty too.
    Your garden looks lush, it's so relaxing watching the bees buzz amongst the flowers isn't it. I'm champing at the bit to get some new plants, seeing all the trays you've got has brought on a bought of flower envy ;)
    I hope you'll show us where you put the enamel sign, it will look great in your garden.xxx

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    1. Thank you Sally! It is indeed very relaxing spending so much time in the garden, watching it grow and watching all the insects it sustains. We've found the perfect space for the enamel sign, which will soon feature in a post!

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  9. May? It's May already? How can that be?

    Love your pictures, as always.

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  10. What a bit of luck getting that wonderful sign!

    Your garden is certainly blooming - isn't it wonderful? I had no idea there was a climbing hydrangea; I must look out for one.

    Your outfits were all lovely it's very hard to pick a favourite but I did like the blue dress with orangey cardigan on you; very flattering and all your accessories are fab. I have a similar cat brooch but in pink; I must wear it soon.

    I'm loving your headscarf look, too!

    Take care
    xxx

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    1. I know we very lucky indeed, as it wouldn't have lasted very long out there! I'm glad you love my headscarf look, although I am still experimenting. Do show us the cat brooch! xx

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  11. Hello Ann. April was definitely a month destined for the history books. So much fear and sorrow for so many people worldwide, and yet on the opposite scale, there's also so much joy with people finding the time to do all the things they've always wanted to do but never had the time.

    Your garden is looking magnificent. So green and lush! All the new floral plants are certainly introducing so much colour. Your fabulous new sign adds that little bit of pop. You have busy bees in your garden; I have white butterflies everywhere. Isn't it lovely we have the time to stop and admire them?

    Your outfits are gorgeous. Love the combination of the pale blue dress with the orange cardigan. The diagonal striped skirt is beautiful too. I'm on the look out for something similar.

    Look at Jos enjoying his chocolate mousse - he's making me hungry! Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thank you Suzy! April was indeed a month destined for the history books. I often wonder how we will look back on it all, afterwards. We have white butterflies too, and lots of dragonflies and damselflies, which I love! xxx

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  12. How fantastic of your neighbour to leave that wall White. That is very thoughtfull! Our garden is so beautiful right now! I love the gorgeous clematis that is in full bloom right now. And all the birds singing. That makes me so happy. What a good thing you can wear that skirt again! Love your headband too.

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    1. Thank you Nancy, and yes, that was so kind of that guy! I love Clematis, but we lost the one which used to be in our garden. We'll certainly replant it once we've cleared all the mess away! xxx

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  13. April has been odd this year to say the least...but we must adapt to what ever life throws at us, I guess. We had some really windy days this April, at times it felt like February was warmer and mabye it was, I'd have to check the stats.

    I love that outfit with the blue dress and red accessories. The red bracelets are lovely and that red cat brooch is so beautiful.

    Your garden looks great. So many flowers...it seems that your hard work has payed off.

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    1. Thank you Ivana! With all the dry and sunny weather we've been having, it has been quite a job to keep us with the watering! Yes, we must adapt, we have no choice! xxx

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  14. What a stunning sign! A rusty sign for rust treatment :) It'll look lovely in your garden.
    I planted some cat grass seeds but as they were a few years old they didn't come to anything, but my cats seem to find enough grass to munch on so they haven't missed out.
    How lovely that your 'photo studio' was saved and remained white floor to ceiling.
    From what I've seen your garden looks every bit as intriguing as inside Dove cottage, you clearly have a gift for creating inviting spaces.
    Take care
    xx

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    1. They should have used some of that rust treatment, that's for sure. But we've just discovered that the sign is from 1932, so I'm sure we can forgive an 88 year old being somewhat rusty :-) xxx

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  15. I am adoring seeing your beautiful garden!!! You have such beautiful plants!
    That sign you got was a corker! How great that was to get that from your neighbour. Speaking of neighbours- what a kind guy to ask for it to be kept the same way for your photos!
    The outfits are all gorgeous but the first one is my favourite as I think pale blue and red is such a dreamy combination!
    Very pleased that the snug garment now fits better!

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    1. Thank you Kezzie! Sadly we've quite neglected our garden over the last couple of years, due to lack of time and other commitments. At least, time is not an issue now, and I'm definitely rediscovering my love of gardening! xxx

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  16. Love the sign!, it's going to look fab in your garden!. Actually, your garden is looking more and more luxuriant!. Love to see you enjoying your own lush green corner!

    And you rock in your blue dress and red accessorizing, so delightfully matchy!. The bracelets and the cat brooch are particularly cute!. Also love the floral white and blue dress with the yellow cardi, such an amazing combo!.
    And I have a weakness for your orange accessorizing and the cute headscarf with the hair flower, I think it adds a 20's vibe!. No wonder that this skirt is a favourite of yours!, so fabulous piece!
    Lovely to see your posts!
    besos

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    1. Thank you so much Monica! The sign has definitely added a new dimension to our garden. We've created a lovely sitting area, which I'll be posting about soon! xxx

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  17. It was nice to see "our" bracelet again, Ann! You have so many wonderful accessories! I'd love to play dress-up at your place, Ann! Sorry to be so late catching up with comments! Hope you're well! :) XXX

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    1. Haha, yes! I've actually got two more of these now, in turquoise and purplish blue. No worries about late comments! xxx

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  18. It's lovely to see what you are doing with your garden, I love the enamel sign. I'm one step away from the headscarves for the corona hair too!

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    1. I've definitely rediscovered the joys of gardening, that's for sure. The hairdressers have re-opened, and I've grabbed an appointment for June 3. What a relief! xxx

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