With Renewed Enthusiasm

May I offer you a delicate Hellebore
seen in the park last week.

A huge thank you to all those people who have taken the time to leave very kind
 and heartfelt comments on the last entry here. entitled: "Why Blog?"
It was a great pleasure to hear from you all and I hope you won't be shy in the future!
It is these exchanges with you all which makes blogging such a fun and rewarding occupation!

For the past week, we have had a huge change in weather.
It has gone from grey and dreary to sunny with blue skies
and our temperatures have increased from -5C/23F to + 13C/55.4F

In the collage above, you can see the still frozen pond with tree reflections 
to the first wonderful signs of spring:
the yellow Aconite, white and purple crocus and snowdrops.
Even tiny green leaves were unfurling.

One day on my walk, I saw these young agile men. making me think of acrobats,
working together to prune a very tall tree.
Do click on the photo to make it bigger!

Here is one of the tree surgeons leaning right over to cut part of a branch.
All three men worked together, holding the cords and pulleys to created counter-weights.

This was the branch he was cutting.
I was very impressed and it was fascinating to watch.

One of the tulips in a vase which just happened to be the same colour as my tablecloth!

A walk in my neighbourhood took me past this lovely garden
where some wild primroses were growing at the base of a tree trunk.

Aren't they the most tender sign of spring?

Tiny crocus which have opened in the sunshine

and some darker ones that I saw in another garden.

Yesterday, I decided to go for a walk just before sunset.
I went up the hill in my neighbourhood, climbed up a rather muddy little slope
and just managed to capture the mountains and a slice of lake
as the colours were starting to change.

Less than fifteen minutes later, the sky had changed completely 
and took on a warm glow.
I must start going out more often at this time of the day and try and find different points of view.
That's sometimes a little tricky in a built-up area!

The flowers on the three Hyacinth bulbs have started to open.
Their fragrance is delicate and not too strong.

Here they are in their pretty pot.
My local florist's shop has a wonderful choice of flowering plants
and since Christmas, my home has never been without colourful flowers.

I made a collage out if my tulips as they started to drop their petals.
Just as beautiful as when they're fresh!

A little colour therapy in the form of two bright and colourful crochet doilies.
One can never have enough doilies, don't you think?
I usually go for fancy edges and often softer colours, but these two
rather glow in a joyful sort of way!

I'm still waiting for the arrival of my heart-shaped cushion filler
and in the meantime, I'm crocheting the other side of the heart that I already showed last time.

I hope you have all have a good week
and that you're keeping your spirits up
and finding time to do things which bring you harmony and well-being.

Next Wednesday, I go for my second Covid-19 vaccination.
To combat the pandemic, each one of us must do what is necessary.
In the meantime, stay safe and be happy!

Why Blog?

Rooibos tea and a homemade brownie

For some time now, for at least a year,
I have been asking myself why I bother to keep on blogging.
Is it for myself?
Is it for others?
If so, then why?

I started my blog with much enthusiam some years ago.
I met so many interesting people from all over the world.
But blogging has changed.
I can see that many people visit me here,
but very few of them interact or leave a comment.
It's as if the soul has gone out of blogging.

Do I want to continue?

Maybe not.
I may decide to make my blog private, 
just for myself, my family and chosen friends.
After all, they are probably the only ones truly interested in the photos I show
or the words I write.

The above photo is some of my crochet work:
A new hearts garland
and the beginning of a heart-shaped cushion.
If you crochet and are interested, you can buy the pattern at at Apple Blossom Dreams
I have ordered a heart-shaped cushion insert as the one I have is not big enough.

Here is a close-up of the heart with the centre for the reverse side already done.

I have enjoyed buying potted bulbs which develop into lovely flowers for my apartment
like this tiny tête-à-tête Narcissus.

The tulips are always beautiful and exist in so many beautiful colour combination

The Peach Blossom is particularly dainty

One day, I went down to the lake to walk with a friend.
We both wore masks and kept a suitable distance from each other in the open air.
The day was dull and it was cold,
but it was lovely to socialize with someone for an hour or so.

The weather has been particularly gloomy, dull and cold
which makes the present situation  more difficult to bear.

One day, a strong north.easterly wind blew away the clouds 
and we got some sunshine.
I liked watching these bamboo leaves madly blowing all over the place.

On Sunday, our cold snap broke and instead of day temperatures of -5C
We suddenly warmed up to zero Celsius!
I'd arranged to meet the same friend at the lakeside and took down some brownies to share
and we bought a takeaway coffee.

The sparkles on the lake were particularly lovely
 even though the mountains on the other side of the lake were hidden by the hazy sky.

Unfortunately, the gorgeous weather attracted far too many people down to the lakeside.
Next time, it would be wise to go on a weekday and maybe get there rather early and take breakfast!
There are plenty of benches along the lake.

It is a pity to see all the restaurants closed, with the chairs on the tables.
One wonders how soon life will get back to normal.

I did love to notice the Magnolia buds swelling up in the sunshine
It won't be long till they start to open if this warmer weather continues.

A good blog should create a sense of community
It's also a living archive of what is happening in our lives-
A blog requires regular updates.
Am I able to fulfil these things?

If you visit my blog and don't leave a comment,
maybe you would like to tell me what you feel about blogging.
if you have one yourself and/or if you like visiting other people's blogs.

It might help me decide if I am to continue to keep my blog public
or if I shall close it to the public and just offer my photos and my words
to family and chosen friends.

Heartfelt wishes,

On Remaining Positive

Here we are in the second month of a new year.
Not much has changed.
The pandemic is still rampant worldwide
and we need to find every way possible to remain positive and safe.

Having colourful plants and flowers in our homes is certainly very uplifting.

Going for daily walks, whatever the weather.
Good for our minds and bodies.
I particularly liked walking in the snow when it came!

This was an invigorating walk alongside the torrent in my neighbourhood.

This part holds a plantation of trees sold at Christmas time.

This map shows where the water takes it source as a small stream way above the town,
it gets wider as it travels down towards the lake. It runs over a distance of 8km.
Right now it takes the form of a torrent  because of melting snow
and plenty of rainfalls.

I tend to look up quite a lot of the time during my walks, searching for mountain tops
between the buildings and sometimes a single bird on a tree
makes us feel joyful and glad to be alive!

The winter-flowering Viburnum is looking so lovely and springlike.

So pretty when seen close-up

This one too against a background of grass which I used for my February header.

As I was coming back home from this particular walk,
I had a sweet brief encounter with a young lad, of about nine or ten, on his skateboard.
He looked up with a smile and said: "Hello!" to my silly masked face!
What a darling...
It made my day!
"Hello", I said back to him!
Human connection
is everything!

It's good to remember this and also think of initiating it too!

Reading is something that I have been doing even more of lately.
I've just started this book.
Reading brings us out of ourselves
out of our minds
out of possible ruminations about things.
It certainly opens our horizons.

I've been making these crochet hearts.
I just need one more before I make them into a garland.

The first hyacinth bud opening on my four hyacinth bulbs in a little box

Here they are opening more and more flowers in the morning sunshine

I love taking macro shots of these tiny blooms

I like the touch of green still on the unopened bud.

A Swarovski crystal star hanging in front of a Christmas card
brings in some joyful colour.
I still have the cards from my children and grandson on display.
They make me feel happy!

Cooking and trying out new recipes is also a way of remaining positive.
The photo above shows my individual apple and cinnamon mug muffin.
It's made with almond and coconut flour.

Baking bread has been part of my life for a long time, but when I swtiched
to eating gluten-free, it became more of a challenge.
I finally found a mixture of flours which worked
and here is my latest loaf, still warm from the oven.

Cloud gazing.
I see an Easter bunny jumping over the clouds in the lower centre.
I feel sure you can see him too!

The first tiny Narcissus opening in my box of spring bulbs!
We only need to look at nature to be reminded that life carries on
whatever else is happening around us.

Let's remind ourselves each day of all the positive things in our lives,
despite Covid-19.
I had my first vaccination in January and will get the second in three weeks' time.
The only way to stop this virus from continuing to spread is to get vaccinated.
In the meantime, we continue with our masks and hand hygiene and social distancing.

The most challenging part for me, and for many others also living alone,
is the lack of social contact.
Giving phone calls to friends in a similar situation is helpful.
Keeping in regular touch with family members is so important too.

I hope that you are finding lots of things to remain positive in your own life.

- the daily walks
- reading good books
- watching uplifting films and documentaries
- cooking and trying out new recipes
- phoning or writing to friends and family
- if you have hobbies, do them...
I love doing crochet, crafting and photography
and buy yourself some flowers!
All the tiny things we can do make a world of difference!

Now all I have to do is practice what I'm saying here!