Thursday, 4 April 2013

Thursday musings . . .

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Springtime this year has been a little bit like a first love . . .with the odd sunny day having been garnered with lots of bitterness . . . cold and snow.  Three years ago when we moved into this house on April first we were greeted by the Camelia bush outside the front door having been covered to the hilt with beautiful blooms . . .whereas this year it is just covered quite profusely with buds . . . being late to bloom.  I should not complain as I still have all that beauty to look forward to . . .

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There has been a cold wind blowing through each day though, a biting wind from the North East which cuts through you to the bone.    Our pond each morning has been covered with a thin sheet of ice as if Winter, not wanting her scarf anymore,  has flung it across the water . . .  a glance over towards the Welsh hills shows us that they are still snow covered, and with these cold temperatures, likely to stay covered.

Todd spent a good part of yesterday while the sun was shining, turning over the soil in the front garden . . . a shivering robin his only companion.  Robins often accompany garden work . . . hoping for a fat worm to fill their insides.  Alas yesterday it was a worm-less world . . . poor little  Robin Redbreast . . .

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Todd worked very hard in the garden yesterday.  There's always a lot to do after the Winter months . . . leaves to clear and earth to dig over.    He also cleaned the pond yesterday after the ice had melted.  It was quite clouded and full of silt.  He discovered we have at least eight frogs, if not more!  He saw four quite large ones and four small ones . . . we were quite thrilled to discover them.   In fact he had scooped up what he had thought was mud at one point, only to discover they were two frogs in an intimate situation.  He quickly put them back, not wanting to disturb them overly much.

Nature is a beautiful thing . . .

All of our goldfish have survived the harsh winter, even the babies.  It is a miracle to me that they do so each year.   It is a miracle to me that the birds survive the harsh weather each year as well . . . but God in all His wisdom has provided the means for them to do so with cold blooded-ness for the fish and layers of feathers for the birds.   We do our bit to help in feeding the birds with suet balls and seed and nuts . . . their buffet being served twice a day no matter the weather.

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A buffet for which we are richly rewarded in birdsong and other things . . .

"April, April,
Laugh thy golden laughter,
But, the moment after,
Weep thy golden tears!"
~William Watson

Yes April showers . . . so far this month has been blessedly dry after a one very wet and cold Winter.  We are not complaining.  I know that April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, but we do so enjoy the sunshine for what it brings.  It somehow lifts the spirits in a way like nothing else can . . . the sun . . . there is no prettier place on earth than England on a sunny day methinks . . .

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I think it was Monique who asked the other day what did the Manor look like on the outsides . . . and this is it.   A view down from the Rose Arbor, the herbaceous border so loving tendered by the Estate Gardener stretched out towards the ancient stone arched gate which guarded the big house and it's Elizabethan Knot garden at the front.

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The stone gate was dated and said to have been the finest example of Renaissance stonework in the UK . . . having been commissioned to and created by a stonemason friend of Michelangelo . . . .  I'm not sure how much of that is true and how much is not . . .but it does sound good.   When the lavender was in bloom in the knot garden it was most beautiful . . .

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It was a very beautiful and imposing place to live and work . . . and I am most grateful for the good bits, and yes . . . even the bad.   It is the bad things which we experience in life which help us to grow I think . . . and it is the bad things in life which make the sweet things even sweeter.  One thing which I learned through the whole experience of living and working in that place was . . . that for all the riches and material things these people owned . . . Todd and I were far, far richer . . . 

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Respect and love for each other and for our God . . . integrity and peace of heart and  mind . . . real friends and friendships based on the parts of life that truly matter . . .  these things are priceless treasures, and these we had and have in abundance.  These are things you cannot buy.  It is one thing to have much and not even notice what you have or to take it all for granted . . .

Gratitude is a gift.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

If you see the funny side,
You'll always walk the sunny side
and come out smiling through the stress and strife.
So cultivate the power to see . . . 
the little touch of comedy
behind the trials and tragedies
of life.
~Patience Strong

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There are some tasty things afloat in The English Kitchen today . . . Grilled Steaks with Stilton Butter accompanied with Stilton and Spinach Stuffed Jacket Potatoes.

Hope your Thursday is filled with joy!

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