Be careful what you wish for(2)

Is something I come to realize again and again.

You see, I have been telling friends how I used to wake up to birds chirping, in Leeds, while here, I have the melodious tones of horns honking to wake me up(and keep me awake, sometimes). So fate decided to take away my compliants. Now I get to hear baby pigeons in a nest somewhere, but they just can’t stop chirping! I wonder if there are multiple nests there – I can’t see it , it’s somewhere hidden away… I feel sorry for the poor mum and dad pigeons. Actually not so much. If they are the ones who break off my saplings, well, they deserve it. I just wish their nest was at another floor!

And remember how I find Americanisms everywhere these days? I found some more. Our good old ‘zed’ has become ‘zee’ and Maths has become ‘Math’. Zee I can still accept. Math, somehow, feels incomplete to me! I know, I sound crazy, but it still feels foreign to me 🙂

In other news, I am having a ball doing container gardening. I’m so tempted to plant more/buy more planters. The only reason, I have been holding back is the uncertainty of our situation. How I would love to buy some colourful planters, and some hanging ones, to add to my balcony. Hoping hard that things turn clear, and I can go to town with my gardening 🙂

Can someone inspire me to bake again? Although my heart jumps in excitement at the idea of baking, for some reason, I don’t seem to be able to get down to it. Anybody up for a baking challenge?

Autumn walks and summer flowers…

You guys know, how much I like to walk. And living here, sometimes it feels even more wonderful to be able to escape to woodlands within minutes of one’s house. Last weekend, however, it was the parking of a nearby pub, that drew our attention.

Apple trees laden with apples.

And they fall all over the place! I don’t know why but fruit laden trees make me jump with joy. Be it mango trees dotted with mangoes, or cherry trees full of cherries or apple trees groaning under the weight of apples. How I long for a house where I get to plant my trees and get to literally ‘eat the fruit’ of my labour 🙂

For now, I am just going to have to be satisfied by the sight of the first sunflower that I managed to grow 🙂 Sunflowers seemed to elude me. Last year the birds ate up my sprouting sunflower seeds. Early this year, snails and slugs ate up my tiny plants. Finally, I planted some indoors and transplanted them when they seemed strong enough to withstand birds and slugs. All through summer, I waited and waited, pestering husband when I was in India to check on my precious sunflowers. Not a bud in sight. The plants grew nice and tall, though, taller than my garden shed. Finally, finally, now, we have one solitary sunflower!

Give us some sunshine – Again!

Most of you guys know how much I love the sun these days. Every time I see a ‘Sir Sun’ post at PNA’s, I go green with envy.

Getting to see sunlight once in a week(if we are lucky), sure makes one understand how precious a commodity it is! I think that is behind the British travelling so much and exploring(and colonizing) other countries. They must have been ready to do anything to get away from the dreary weather here. Husband had once read a book about how the economic success of the Western countries have a lot to do with factors like the weather. I have to get my hands on that book – sometime.

Getting back to how the weather makes such a lot of difference to my life. Remember how I had just two of my precious plants left after the big freeze killed the rest? Well, look how my rose plant is thriving in the sunlight!

If someone could bottle up sunshine, that would be an instant bestseller, wouldn’t it?

My begonia basking in the sun 🙂

And we go berserk. We rush off to be outdoors, so what if it is still biting cold. We go for long walks in the sun, so what if we are all wrapped up, top to toe. Playgrounds are full of children, who can’t believe their luck! And some people do this.

Others do this..

Yet others try and capture sunlight, in a frame, if not a bottle.

Today is one such day. I have sunlight streaming into the house from every window. Every person I met on my walk today had something to say about the weather!

Thursday Challenge – Food

All through my childhood, I recall my parents having potted plants or a garden where it was possible.

I grew up in a colony, well, it was more of a township, and we moved houses several times. Basically, as you get promoted, you become eligible for bigger/better houses. And in every house/flat we lived, my mother would work her magic and have lovely plants. Painstakingly watering them and pruning them. Some of it was rubbed off on me, although I am nowhere close to her. How I long to live in a place long enough to have a little kitchen garden of my own. All I have now is a bunch of post.

There was one house where we stayed for quite a long while, because it was very close to school. It had a garden with two mango trees, and two guava trees. The mangoes were the tastiest ever and in such abundance too. We used to get them plucked, and would distribute them in bags to all our neighbours and friends – and we has quite a few of them, and yet would have loads left for us, I think those mangoes were the best I have ever tasted. My dad added some banana trees to the garden, and mom added a lot of plants.

When they finally retired and settled down in Kerala, they had more space that they ever had to plant. Within a year, they transformed the place with a kitchen garden as well as all sorts of flowering plants. Now they grow so many fruits and vegetables, that they rarely buy vegetables. I think onions and potatoes are the only things that they need to buy.

When I saw this week’s Thursday Challenge((Farmers Market, Vegetables, Meat, Cooking, Restaurant,…), I had to post the pics of some home-grown veggies from my parents garden!





Blooming marvelous!

Is there anything prettier than flower blossoms all around?

These days, it is rose season here. Every house has roses blooming. Some even have roses on their hedges. I keep seeing some lovely, lovely roses on hedges. The only preventing me from clicking pictures is the fear that I might offend somebody.

Roses everywhere reminded me of a poem we had in some class in school. I think it was Class4. My school principal handled the English class just for a day, and she was going through this poem. I don’t recall the name or the poet, but I remember the way she explained the context of the poem. She explained how in England, roses were found on hedges, and they bloom everywhere. Knowing how much trouble my mother used to take to grow and tend to her roses, I remember being amazed that roses could bloom like that! And that stuck in my mind, for all these years.

When I first came to the UK, I was stunned by the beauty of the place in spring and summer. It looked like every plant bloomed and my teacher was right, there are roses in hedges. I have some in my garden, which I did nothing to nurture, it was probably planted years ago, and then they bloomed, and  I could not believe my eyes. So many blooms, so many buds yet to bloom. Leaving you with a few pictures.

Roses framing my living room window

A mid-summer morning

This morning, I spent some quality time with my garden. Well, it was screaming for attention, so I had no real choice.

When we moved here, I started hunting for gardeners, only to find that every gardener around here was super booked for spring and summer. My neighbour’s gardener offered to come by, if he comes across some free spot, but that hasn’t happened so far. So I had to take matters into my hands and tidy it up. I had done it once before and in no time, the garden is over-grown again. I was hoping against hope that one of those numerous gardeners would get free, but that does not seem to be happening, and my garden looked ready to grow into a forest, so I had no real choice.

We have a little front garden and a little back yard, and believe me, it did not look so little today. What with Poohi’s running commentary about how she can’t talk louder than the lawn mower and us finding a little baby snail, which then turned into a conversation about how we could build a house for the snail, with her building blocks. I had been absent-mindedly saying ‘yes’, when she ran in to get her blocks and I realized what I had just agreed to.

So then it took some story telling(around the snail) to explain why the snail does not need a house. Then off madam went to find the rest of the snail family. Anyway, here is the all-important snail. And in case you guys, don’t remember about this obsession with snails, it started quite a while back. And will someone please tell me, how a child who loves snails can be scared of bees or any insect for that matter?

And a few pictures of my garden in bloom. These are plants that had been planted before we came here. And I love the roses! The one in the picture is one the first of the season, and there are so many buds, I can’t wait for them to bloom.

And these are my contribution to the flora around here.

By the way, there seems to be something eating up some of my plants. I had planted some marigold and dahlias in the garden but something seems to be eating them all up. I can’t see anything but some slime near the plants. Any idea what it might be? I took a couple of marigold seedlings and planted them in a planter and kept it in the conservatory, and so far, it seems alright.. So I do think that there is something that is eating up my plants in the garden. And eating selectively too! It leaves all those weeds untouched!

And oh yes,before I forget, I have started associating summer and sunny days with the sound of lawn mowers. Every lawn mower in the area gets used during the few sunny days that we get.

Where have you been?

Is what I am getting asked by friends – real and virtual.  So I thought, I would tell you the story in pictures.

We did a lot of packing and unpacking. The picture below shows the kind of chaos that existed t home those days. Unpacking thankfully, was much quicker.  The only thing that took time was the broadband setup. Why it should take 4 weeks is beyond me, though.

Some one has discovered the joys of writing. And she could spend hours ‘writing’. That really helped during the packing/unpacking madness.

And then, my latest craze, gardening. I do have a helper, as you can see.The little yellow flowers are actually weeds but look so pretty that I have no heart to pull them out. We had a landscaped garden in our previous house so there was very little we could do, here it is a blank canvas, we are having a ball.  We(Poohi and I)  check on all our plants on an hourly basis driving husband to distraction.

We have been having strings of birthday parties and all weekends until May 2nd are currently booked by birthday parties to attend. At this rate, I will become an expert gift wrapper, if not anything else , not to mention, all the weight I have put on, with all the cakes and yummy food that I have been polishing off 😉  Toys R Us must be mighty pleased. We have been spending a lot of time( and money) there.

And finally, I have learnt that even without the internet, I can find equally effective ways of wasting time 😉

Everything had not been great though. One of our close friends passed away after a massive cardiac arrest leaving behind a wife and a 4.5 year old son. It was a huge, huge shock to all of us and I think reminded us of how transient life is. How everything could change in a second.

In other general news, volcanic ash has played havoc with a lot of friends, we have friends stuck in India, in the US and Europe, thanks to it. Never had I thought that a volcano could have such far-reaching effect. It has even managed to over-shadow the general elections here.

Amidst all this, the Tharoor/Modi drama provided several entertaining days with me checking the news, the first thing everyday.  What do you think of it? Ekta Kapoor should stop making saas-bahu soaps. Sports/politics based soaps have so much more scope/masala.

So that’s about it, from my end? How have all of you been?

PS: I haven’t been blog hopping, will start in a few days time – hopefully.