Sunday 28 June 2020

Bubbling up

If working only a two-day week might have given me oodles of time, one thing that hasn't changed is that I'm still lagging behind with my blogging time-line. As a rule, I'm writing about what I did and wore a week or more ago, but where in pre-Corona times my posts were firmly centred around my weekends, almost inevitably including my charity shop and flea market finds, my musings now cover weekdays as well. In my life as it is now, there is little or no distinction between weekdays and weekends anyway.

My none-office days are usually well filled, and I have yet to come across a boring moment. All the same, at the end of a day I'm often left wondering where the time went and what I've actually done with it.

Take Friday before last, for instance. My photographic record tells me what I've been wearing and, as it was a Friday, it must have included a visit to the garden centre. The rest is a bit of a blank as once again I forgot to make a journal entry.

With no further rain clouds on the horizon, and the weather's cruise control set to default sunshine, I dug this green embroidered peasant-blouse from my drawer of Summer tops. With its short, scalloped trumpet sleeves, it is an absolute joy to wear. A sales bargain from New Look about two years ago, this certainly isn't its debut on the blog, as it has proved to be surprisingly versatile. Here's how I wore it in August 2018 and again later that month.  It also came on holiday with me in June 2019, when I wore it to visit Powys Castle.

The skirt I decided would be its companion this time around was a cotton retro print circle skirt I'd found in a charity shop back in December. The black and white necklace was charity shopped as well, while the multi-coloured bracelet was a flea market find.

The stretchy belt, with its funky triangular pattern and mock tortoiseshell buckle, on the other hand, is brand new. It's one of two belts I picked up from an accessories shop in Antwerp during a rare lunch break outing the other week. 

Let's have a closer look at hat skirt, which is something of an oddity.  In spite of the fact that a label has been sewn in, I am sure that the skirt is handmade and that the label is a personalized one. It's got a visible red side zipper and features random felt circles and visible stitching on the front left side only. An unfinished project, perhaps? Whatever the case, it's quirky and I love it. On the off-chance that whoever created this skirt ever reads my blog, I'd love to hear its story! 

Our shopping list for the garden centre that day included a bag of compost as well as some plants to replace the unfortunate Tagetes which the slugs and snails in our garden had stripped down to some sorry looking stalks and one or two droopy half-eaten flowers.

Being a self-confessed plant-o-holic, we bought more than we'd bargained for, but we did get some Pot Marigolds (Calendula) and trailing Wax Begonias, which research ensured me weren't on the slimy creatures' menu.

There were some perennials to add to the new border as well, and I couldn't resist a shorter stemmed variety of Agapanthus, some Ox-eye Daisies and a pot of pink Snapdragons.

I'm pleased to note that the other Snapdragons which are dotted all over the garden have started blooming again after I'd cut them back a couple of weeks ago.

Back at home, I removed the remains of the Tagetes and put them into the compost bin, planting the Calendula in the space they'd vacated in the border. The trailing Begonia replaced the single Tagete which I'd been foolish enough to put in a planter teamed with Echinacea and purple and cream striped Petunias. A week later, and there's still no sign of any slug or snail damage. However, as if to spite us, the gastropods - as apparently they're officially called - have now moved on to the Petunias. Oh dear! 

On Saturday, I took advantage of the morning's cooler temperature to add the perennials we'd bought to the new border, noting that the lavender flowered Clematis had opened its first blooms.

As we expected our first visitors since before our semi-lockdown, I then changed into something celebratory for the afternoon, opting to wear one of my maxis.

I promised Vix first dibs on it in case I should I ever get tired of it, but somehow I don't think that will ever happen.  It's a 1970s Indian cotton Ritu Kumar for Roshafi dress with a quilted bodice and the most massive sleeves and was a lucky find in a charity shop back in November 2018.

My accessories of choice were a multi-coloured wooden beaded necklace, which was another charity shop find. The lilac suede shoes were an old retail buy from C&A, while the pink owl brooch is modern and came from a delightful little shop in Antwerp.

Now that we are allowed to extend our bubbles, it was about time that we met up with our friends Inneke and Maurice. 

We kept our distance as much as possible (in Belgium, this has always been 1,5 meters rather than the 2 meters which seems to be the rule elsewhere), and obviously we didn't hug or shake hands, but Inneke and I couldn't resist having this happy photo taken while sitting on our garden bench surrounded by a riot of flowers.

The eagle-eyed might have noticed that both Inneke and I are wearing the same brooch. She loves owls - she even has a face mask with an owl print - and she'd admired my brooch when she spotted me wearing it on Instagram a couple of weeks back. With her birthday coming up, I walked to the shop where I'd bought it one day during lunch break, crossing my fingers that they would still be stocking these.

I had to queue outside for a while as only two people were allowed into the shop at once, but it was definitely worth the wait, as I managed to snag the last of the owl brooches!

Inneke came bearing a gift for me as well: a gorgeous scarf clip tucked away inside a crocheted lidded box.

A lovely afternoon was had by all, involving coffee and cake and the mother of all catch ups!

As is often the case, I was feeling a bit morose on Sunday, but I've learned to my advantage that once I start tackling a job on my to-do list, I soon start feeling better.

With a heatwave forecasted for the week ahead, I wanted to be prepared and have a choice of lightweight cotton clothes at my disposal.  As most of them were still residing inside a suitcase from which they emerged all crumpled and creased, there was nothing for it but to have a good old ironing session.

Meanwhile, Jos had picked all the ruby red gooseberries, a whole colander full of them, from which he proceeded to make no less than five pots of jam!

I'm leaving you for now with the outfit I wore that day. 

Again, the odd one out was the raffia stretch belt with its round multicoloured buckle, which was the only retail purchase in my outfit. The denim button through skirt and floral cotton/polyester mix shirt were from Think Twice, while the bracelets and the brooch were charity shop and flea market finds respectively. The Clarks slingbacks came from a charity shop in Bridgnorth which we visited in June 2019 and, finally, the yellow beaded necklace was another gift from Inneke.

And then another four-day weekend was over, having passed almost as fast as a two-day one.

With another week in my so-called "new normal" coming up, all that's left is for me to bid you goodbye for now. Please do stay safe and positive, my friends!

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Leaps and bounds

Given the circumstances, life has been coming along just fine lately, rising and falling in the gentlest of undulations. The future may be one big question mark, but as long as I keep taking things day by day, and keep finding pleasure in the little things, I seem to be coping pretty well and taking the unavoidable little ups and downs in my stride.

It was on Monday before last that our single Oriental poppy finally burst into life. Admittedly, it had needed a tiny bit of help as its bud seemed to be stuck in one place, endangering the unfolding of the neatly origami'd flower petals inside.

I was slogging away at the office when Jos sent me a photo of the freshly opened flower with its ruffled scarlet petals.  As its life expectancy greatly depends upon the weather, I asked him to take plenty of photographs, in case I wouldn't be able to see it in real life. I needn't have worried, as it's only starting to lose its petals as I write!

It had been muggy all day and I was feeling decidedly sticky by the time I got home. Before hopping into the shower, I thought I'd go and water the plants, so I stepped outside carrying my watering can, which I'd filled with fresh well water.

The minute I stepped onto the cast iron boot scraper, however, it slid away from under my feet. I dropped the watering can, splashing water all over and, in a bid to maintain my balance, my flailing arms almost knocked over the plant table outside our back door and sent some of the poor plants flying.

Neither the plants nor myself sustained serious injuries, but when I surveyed the plant table, which was basically a decrepit old wooden crate, I had to admit it was time we found our plants a new home.

Scouring both the shed and our basement though, we couldn't find anything remotely suitable to be used as a plant table. In normal circumstances, this would have marked the start of a mammoth charity shop trawl, but as this wasn't an option, I looked at the website of a homewares shop, where I came across some recycled wooden plant tables in two different sizes.

So, on Tuesday, we drove down to their nearest brick and mortar branch and bought both tables, as well as a set of seat pads for our garden chairs and a recycled wooden crate.

It was only when I'd removed all the plants and took away the old crate that it became apparent how much in need of replacing it was!

I had a massive clear up of the accumulated garden waste which had lodged itself between the crate and the kitchen wall, making quite a few spiders homeless in the process. We even had to re-home a tiny wild strawberry plant, which had escaped its mother growing around the corner.

There, doesn't it look neat? There's space for all the plants and more, including those poor plants which were living their lives on top of upside-down flower pots. 

The dress I was wearing is neither vintage nor second hand. In fact, I bought it at a sample sale of Belgian retro label Wow To Go many years ago, when I was able to snap up several of their dresses at ridiculously low prices. 

I ditched the self-fabric belt it came with, replacing it with a brown leather one with a tortoiseshell buckle. My other accessories echoed the brown and turquoise colours of the dress as well. There's nothing new here, even my turquoise Miz Mooz sandals were a charity shop find from last year.

It had been another warm and humid day but even though rain had been threatening all afternoon, nothing had happened by early evening, so that there was nothing for it but to wield my watering can again.

The forecast for Wednesday's office day was more of the same sunny but sticky weather, with warnings of heavy rain and thunderstorms in the late afternoon.

At one point, I needed to flee the stuffy office for a breath of fresh air, so some time around midday I donned my mask and took the lift to the ground floor for a walk around the block. I might even have gone into an almost deserted shop and bought two belts which were on sale.

By 4 pm, however, clouds had started gathering and gearing themselves up for a fine spectacle. Sure enough, less than 5 minutes later we were treated to what I can only call a deluge. By then, Jos had already left home and was on its way to our pick-up point in Antwerp. With a strong wind to accompany the rain, there was no way I would have made it without getting drenched, as my measly little umbrella definitely wasn't made for weather like this!

So, while Jos found a parking space a couple of minutes away, I waited it out in the office building's entrance hall, only venturing outside when the rain seemed to have lessened. 

How wrong I was. I had barely crossed the street when it started pelting down again. Briefly sheltering under a shop's awning, I then decided to just go for it, slipping and sliding in my half-open shoes and literally getting soaked to the skin.

Oh, my poor shoes! I thought they'd be ruined, but stuffing them with newspaper and putting them out to dry seems to have done the trick, as they survived unscathed.

It continued raining on and off all through the evening and night, but mercifully the sun was out to greet us on Thursday morning. 

The garden was a soggy mess, but nothing seemed to have drowned. Even our Oriental poppy  survived the watery onslaught.

While Jos was doing the food shop and the sun was working her magic on the garden, evaporating the last of the raindrops, I tackled another one of those little jobs I never used to have time for.

These two small sets of IKEA drawers live on top of each other in our cramped little bathroom, offering room to a myriad of miscellaneous bathroom essentials. As I am in the habit to multiple buy any tried and tested cosmetics or other lotions and potions, some of the drawers were crammed to the limit.

That morning, when I went in search of a product I was sure I'd only seen the other day, one of the drawers got stuck and refused to budge in spite of my swearing. There was nothing for it but to give it a complete overhaul and reorganize its contents, ditching quite a few things which looked well past their sell by date. You wouldn't believe how many lipsticks I've come across!

I also cleaned all my brushes, which live in a small lilac painted tin bucket on top of the units, accompanied by our beloved Pear's Soap mirror.

By the time I'd finished, Jos was back with the groceries and, after helping him unpack and put everything away, he made Thursday's batch of soup.

Then, after lunch, it was time to finally plant up the new border. Digging the plant holes for the Clematis was even more back breaking than we'd envisioned, as there was a big chunk of old Holly root to be removed. There used to be not one but two huge Hollies here when we moved in. Having grown far too big for their boots and generally being a nuisance, we had them felled about ten years ago.

The rest of the planting was straightforward. Apart from Verbena rigida - a smaller cousin of Verbena bonariensis - we added sage, pink Coreopsis or tickseed, and a grassy plant with pink starry flowers called Rhodoxis 'Fairytale'.

The Clematis will have cream and lavender flowers respectively and, as they do like to have a cool root run, I provided some shade with shards of broken planters.

And this is what I wore that day, although I briefly changed into leggings and a t-shirt for the gardening work. No photos of these, obviously!

By pure coincidence, the blue, red and white dress I'm wearing is from the same label as Tuesday's. Again, it is fit and flare, with a row of tiny blue buttons at the bodice.

I accessorized it with a red and white beaded necklace and bangle, a red woven belt and a blue beaded bracelet. A pearly pink-hued brooch was pinned to the dress. 

The hat was primarily worn to hide my hair, which was in desperate need of a wash.

There were three more days left to complete that week, so I'll be returning with further adventures in a couple of days' time.

In the meantime, dear readers, so stay safe, sane and fabulous!

Sunday 21 June 2020

If you go down to the woods today

After a rather restless night, I wasn't at all ready to get up at our usual time on Saturday before last.

I had been tossing and turning, jolting awake every hour to check the alarm clock which is at Jos's side of the bed. As I'm obviously not wearing my glasses at night, I had to squint really hard to decipher the digits, by which time I was far too awake to go back to sleep instantly, resulting in more tossing and turning.

It was the night when we would have set our alarm clock for 3.30 am to start our annual trek to the UK, which of course this year isn't happening. All through the day, I kept checking the clock and imagining where we would have been by then. As we have made the journey countless times before, I kept seeing the landmarks we would have been passing in my mind's eye. Always a nerve-wracking experience, we would even gladly have tackled the M25!

Oh Corona, so much to answer for ...

But back to Saturday, which not only had a slow start, but needed the wearing of a favourite outfit to cheer me up. Clothing as armour, as the wise Sheila would say!

Is she, or isn't she, you may wonder. Well, yes, I am. Wearing a jumpsuit, that is! After having scoured the charity shops for months, I found this one in a high street shop just over two years ago. I definitely haven't regretted my purchase as it has earned its acclaim as a wardrobe staple by now.

The fruit-and-veg necklace, which has a matching bracelet, was a charity shop find, as were the two bangles. Both the orange belt, which is an old favourite, and the yellow flower corsage, were retail buys at one time or another.

It had been raining on and off since Friday evening and overnight our garden had received a good soaking. The perfect weather, of course, for our garden's population of slugs and snails to have a field day. The one on the top left was preening itself in the mirror in the passageway after gorging on the gourmet food on offer.

The one and only flower bud in our Oriental poppy was getting itself ready to reveal its precious cargo. I inadvertently photographed an alien playing hide and seek behind it, with its eyes on stalks spying on me. It really pays to click on the collage and enlarge it. Isn't it scary? I wonder what it is!

We'd been gearing ourselves up all morning to put up the trellis in the newly cleared border and add the plants we'd bought on Friday. But by the time we finally made it into the garden, the sun had decided to put in an appearance, turning the spot in question into a heat trap.

Nevertheless, Jos persevered in putting up the trellis against the old and partly crumbling concrete wall separating our garden from next door's. Some of the tangle of Euonymus and gooseberry stems had to be removed, so we picked the poor berries, which were in their first blush, for further ripening inside. Don't worry, we still have more than enough berry-dripping stems left.

With the trellis in place, I already positioned the plants in their designated spaces, deciding to keep the actual planting for another day. We weren't exactly relishing the thought of the serious digging we would have to do before we could plant the Clematis. 

Instead, we gave in to our lethargic state of mind and just let it be. 

Little black rain clouds to match our moods were trying in vain to chase away the innocent whites. 

A host of Fuchsia ballerinas who were dancing with the blue sky as a backdrop were joined by two of the Echinacea flowers who'd donned their fancy tutus, with the soundtrack provided by the busy buzzing bees.

Yes, I was in that frame of mind!

Fooling around with a cheap fish-eye lens for my phone's camera, I made some otherworldly snaps of the garden. The fish-eye effect makes our garden looks much bigger than it actually is!

Still feeling jittery - and doing Jos's head in - on Sunday morning, I desperately needed to get out of the house for a soul restoring walk.

In order to avoid meeting too many other Sunday walkers, we drove down to a park in a neighbouring village around mid morning.

The park in question is one those semi-neglected leafy places, originally landscaped in a style greatly influenced by Capability Brown.

We needn't have worried as apart from some people sunbathing on the main lawn, we only met a handful of other walkers, often accompanied by their dogs, as well as a lady who sat reading a book on one of the benches.

Of course, now that this silly restriction was finally relaxed, we had to sit down on as many benches as possible, making up for lost time.

The winding woodland paths lined with patches of ferns and dotted with delicate pink foxgloves were a delight to walk along, with the sun filtering through the canopy providing a delicious dappled shade. 

Walking on the park's less trodden paths, it was quietly humming with life. Sudden bursts of birdsong mingled with the drowsy buzzing of insects, the snapping of twigs underfoot and the gentle rustling of the leaves.

My short-sleeved cotton vintage frock was a Think Twice bargain back in February. As it still had its tags, this is its very first wear ever. 

I accessorized its indigo, lilac and pink floral pattern with a pink beaded necklace, two pink flower brooches and a lilac vinyl belt. And look, it's got pockets, their tabs as well as the dress's collar made up in a solid indigo with contrasting topstitch.

A sunhat was a necessity but I didn't need the sunglasses I was carrying in my wicker handbag. As you can see, I am wearing my pink floral sneakers again. They have the longest pink satin laces, which have to be tied carefully to avoid tripping over them. I am also wearing socklets to prevent blisters. I'm sure the shoes would have been fine without them, but I thought I'd better be safe than sorry. 

We were making our way towards the park's folly, an ancient ice house with a gazebo on top.

The gazebo can be reached by a narrow winding path spiralling around the mound into which the ice house is built, almost completely hidden behind a barrier of yew hedges.

As passing people on the paths is impossible and would have been extra tricky in this age of social distancing, we had to make sure nobody else was up there.

We'd just reached the top and were about to make some photos when a lady walking her two dogs came up. We chatted while she patiently waited at the end of the path until we'd taken a few snaps. Then we traded places and made our way down the mound again. There wasn't much of a view to be had at this time of year anyway. We were also quite appalled at all the littering, the viewing plantform disfigured by empty beer cans and cigarette butts. 

Back on solid ground, we started walking back towards where we'd parked our car, crossing one of the bridges over the moat - the park was originally part of castle grounds - in order to take a slightly different route. 

Passing through a clearing, we were entranced by the fallen tree on the top left, which we thought  had the look of a long-necked but friendly faced dragon!

Soon we reached our car, but before going home, we stopped at a small open-air garden centre along the way. There are always bargains to be had here, but as it shares its car park with Aldi, we expect it is far too busy to go there during the week. With the supermarket closed on Sunday, all was fine, though.

Of course we couldn't resist buying some plants, which included some shade loving annuals for the passageway, which is hardly getting any sunshine.

The watering can is actually a flat-backed planter we've had for years. Vacated by the remains of the chives it had housed before, it had been languishing empty in a corner. Perfect to disguise the broken back of the old garden chair I've roped in as a plant table, I planted it with a Lobelia and a Begonia, making the sight that greets us when having breakfast even more cheerful!

I'm happy to say that our walk managed to chase away the remainder of my non-holiday blues and that I spent the next week feeling much happier.

Life goes on as they say, and I'm doing my best to grab it with both hands. I do hope that you are doing the same and staying safe!

Wednesday 17 June 2020

The Ides of June

Sometimes, my mood is as fickle as the weather in June, when sweltering Summer days are followed without warning by those with a definite chill in the air, often going hand and hand with leaden skies and a shower or two.

Take Tuesday last week, when we woke up to what looked set to be a grey day, with temperatures to match. Oddly enough, I was in a cheerful mood and ready to take on the world.

In compliance with the weather, however, I ignored the call of my Summer frocks, and opted to wear a skirt and long sleeves.

The skirt with its exotic fruit print was charity shopped back in July 2018 and with its midi length and lined cotton fabric it was just the ticket for the day ahead. It's from the German Basler brand - perhaps not the hippest of labels - and would have retailed at well over € 100, so those € 4 I paid at the charity shop were well spent!

As I had gardening plans for the day, I combined the skirt with another charity shop find, a long sleeved shirt in a sturdy 96% cotton fabric from the defunct Belgian Wow To Go label. And no, you don't have to adjust your screens: for once, I'm wearing an item of clothing which hasn't got a print!

I kept my accessories pretty simple, opting for red for both my belt and beaded necklace and a tiny red and white check for the plastic flower brooch, which was a retail buy back in the mists of time.

The snake print ankle boots were bought new as well. They were a bargain from New Look bought in their closing down sale in Belgium early last year. I didn't wear those for gardening, obviously, changing into my charity shopped ankle wellies instead!

The day started off with our usual fruit and yoghurt breakfast, which included the first of our gold tinged white currents. We have to be quick, though, as a gang of fruit thieving wood pigeons are loitering on the garden wall. They are waiting until our backs are turned and then make their move, lowering themselves into the bush and stripping it bare from the inside out.

Phoebe isn't any help here. As they are quite big and there are usually three of them, she flees inside the minute they start flapping their wings and looking at her with their beady eyes!

But there are good things happening with our long suffering currant bush too. As usual, it is being plagued by greenfly, which are kept under control by ladybirds and their hungry larvae. On the bottom left is one of many which have entered their pupa stage.

And now that we're on the subject of fruit, look at those gooseberries, which are slowly but surely ripening to their ruby red colour.

The gooseberry bush which we planted eons ago are one of our garden's success stories, offering a hearty profusion of berries year after year. Left to its own devices, it has put out its straggly and painfully prickly stems all over the place. In fact, I needed to stake some of these to go ahead with my gardening plans.

These started with clearing the first part of the border on the top left of its carpet of sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) and wild shoots of variegated Euonymus. The next step will be digging it over, removing roots, and digging in compost to accommodate a new batch of plants!

On the bottom left is the Nepeta I planted out last week, which much to my delight has started flowering. Phoebe still hasn't given it another look, so I think it's quite safe.

After lunch, it was Jos's turn to do some backbreaking work as our kitchen tap needed replacing. This involved him lying on his back with his head and most of his upper body wedged inside the cramped cupboard under the sink. Obviously I was at hand to assist him by handing over the required tools. 

Job done, we took the opportunity to clean and reorganize the cupboard. No photos were taken, as this was hardly the most exciting of tasks, so I'm treating you to some more flowers from the garden instead.

Meanwhile, our postman had arrived with a letter from Sheila, all the way from Canada! How exciting! And look, she made the most enchanting Zentangle tile for me! Can you spot Phoebe?

I'm skipping last Wednesday's office day, arriving at Thursday, when the weather was looking somewhat brighter. 

It was definitely warm enough to peel off the pink cardigan I'd started the day with, and which picked up the pink bits in my Diolen dress. I'm quite stumped as to why I hadn't worn this delightful dress for years. I mean, what's not to love  about its pattern of red and pink roses and their green leaves on a royal blue background? 

Apart from my pink perspex ring, I used nothing but green for my accessories, being a green skinny leather belt and green beaded necklace. Even the Bambi in my brooch is frolicking on a palest of green backdrop.

Our privet tree - it started out as a topiary ball but soon got out of hand - is in flower, emanating its cloying, childhood nostalgia inducing scent all over the garden, and attracting busy bees from far and wide.

Phoebe is clearly not amused! 

While Jos was doing the food shop, I pottered around house and garden, doing this and that but nothing much at all. Then I thought I'd continue with the reorganization of the book and CD shelves I started on Sunday.

This is how it looked after I'd finished. And yes, these are good old Billy's from the Swedish furniture shop

As any good shelving unit should, it has some decorative objects on display as well.

Lately, however, we'd added anything we didn't have space for elsewhere and, together with the untidy piles of books we'd brought back from the paternal home, it was looking decidedly cluttered. Chaotic clutter, as opposed to the usual Dove Cottage clutter, that is!

I've treated some of the CD cubby-holes as giant printer's tray compartments, adding some vintage cameras, an inkwell set with some boxes of loose pen nibs, and a photo of my Mum as a girl.

Then I tidied the piles of books, re-homing some of them, and added a selection of objects.

Sheila might recognize her Zentangle tile, which is now taking pride of place in an Art Deco frame. I'm sure she'll appreciate that a volume of favourite poems is keeping it company.

The afternoon was spent going to the DIY store as we were in need of a new blind for our bedroom window, one that is actually easy to pull up when we need to water those boxes of lavender!

The weather being its usual changeable self, our latest garden project was once again postponed.

The mercury kept rising on Friday, so I opted for one of my short-sleeved cotton frocks. This gorgeous green Paisley print one was bought from a vintage shop in Welshpool back in 2018.

It is true vintage and quite fragile. In fact, I had to mend the fabric around the lowest button twice that day, as it kept tearing. In the end, I left the button undone in order to prevent further damage.

I added a hessian belt and accessorized it with a blue butterfly brooch and a long, multicoloured beaded necklace. The green bangle is Bakelite and was charity shopped for a pittance.

It was quite humid and thus a thunderstorm was imminent, which once again put paid to our plans of revamping the new border. We did go to the garden centre to pick up some plants, including two different varieties of Clematis.

As usual, I'm leaving you with some of our current garden successes. The honeysuckle - which is a dwarf variety called Honey Baby - has been a garden stalwart for almost 20 years. 

The cabbage white on the top right couldn't get enough of the Scabious flowers, while the delicate yet sturdy Iceland poppies (bottom right) are a firm favourite with the bees.

The pink flowers o the bottom left, another bee magnet, are a new addition. I can't remember what they're called and it's far too wet in the garden to go and have a look.

Until next time, my friends. I do hope you'll keep staying safe!