Thursday, 28 May 2009


Right outside my patio door, on the other side of a tall wall that runs the length of my garden is a beautiful tree.

It is a Linden Lime and one Britains
rarest hardwood trees. About 100 years ago, it was not considered native to the UK but it is now fully established in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and the Chilterns in Buckinghamshire. It is a large tree and can easily grow over 120 feet high. It is apparently, far more common on mainland Europe and particularly favoured by the Germans as their "Linden Tree" and it is told that dried lime flowers make an excellent drink as lime tea.

When we moved into our 'new' home 17 years ago it was November, the end of autumn and on the brink of winter. Its branches were stark, bare and eerily naked. As spring announced its arrival so did the bud like leaves on every branch, opening and growing to create the captivating lime green canopy of shade over my patio area.

Around 5 years after our arrival the 'owners' of the neighbouring garden called in tree surgeons. Apparently the length of its branches were dangerous and it needed 'dealing' with. I listened to the noise of the power saws and watched its beautiful limbs being massacred, I wept when I stood and looked up at its remains, now dark raw stumps and wondered if my beautiful tree would ever recover.

Of course, it did. Over a few years I watched as each spring its branches grew again, thicker and stronger and longer and once again its lime canopy overhangs my garden.

Due to its delightful colour on a bright sunny day and the lending of its protective arms over the wall of my garden I have forgiven it the onset of never-before-experienced-hayfever each June/July as its fluffy lime 'flowers' come to fruition and infiltrate the air with pollen, I have overlooked the litter-lout dropping of trillions of tiny dried and wizzened flowers at the end of summer and I
have watched fondly as its leaves turn hues of gold and orange and then are discarded in their thousands over the length and breadth of my garden.

And then come winter it stands brazen in its nudity, offering no defence to the birds or squirrels that use it as a playground, but stands defiantly against the elements until spring returns.

I wanted to show you my beautiful companion through the seasons.

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Among all my family memorabilia is a beautiful photograph of my parents wedding. My Mum is a twin and finding themselves both engaged the 'Crewe Twinnies' as they were known locally decided to make it a joint affair.

So it was on a sunny Saturday afternoon on the 16th August 1952 that my grandpa walked down the aisle with a bride on each arm, promising the Minister that he would have them they 'right way round' for the awaiting grooms.

At a time when there was still rationing in place from World War II their dresses were handmade by my Dads youngest sister, both identical, with matching veils, head-dresses and flowers, the only thing they wore differently was the strings of pearls around their throats.

57 years on my Mum still has her wedding gown, now yellowed and very diminutive looking, boxed up at the bottom of a chest of drawers my father made for their home. I loved looking at it and imagining being a bride as a child and now it is a wonderful fragile piece of history, stored with love, hope and memories.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Simple Times

I am fortunate to have access to many photographs of a past age. My fathers family especially had a love of photography and I have pictures that date back to the late 1800's depicting my great grandparents.

The picture above is of 3 sisters. Millicent, Jessie and Augusta.

Millie is my grandmother, my fathers mum. I remember her as an elderly bedridden woman who smoked like a chimney, had a passion for playing cards and crossword puzzles and was the owner of the thickest dictionary I have ever seen!

Gussie was a school mistress and taught English. She was very strict and believed that children should be seen and not heard. As young children we quickly learnt it was better to still perfectly still and quiet until we could escape into the back yard of the small house where the fascination of an old mangle, outside 'privvy' and a lawn roller allowed our childish imagination to conjure games.

Jessie was the last to pass away, I was 17 when she died, she was 94.
She had the most beautiful snowy white hair and the clearest blue eyes almost till the day she died. Poinsettias and Advocaat always bring back memories of visiting her at christmas time, oh and walnuts and nut crackers.

But here in this picture, their youth and beauty are captured forever, such pure simple times.