Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Reflecting on 2015


Roundhay Park

Reflecting on the past year gives me just as much pleasure as planning for the year ahead.
Here are some of my new experiences from 2015:
I joined a new writing group, have continued to write short stories and articles which have been published online and which I have presented on local radio.  I managed my first story in print and won a book token for my first ever book review of “Finding Mr Goldman” which I read out at the launch.  

Family and friends play a significant part in my life and I think it important to mark occasions with a celebration whether it be a birthday, holiday or just a time we can get together.  
We have welcomed one great nephew and two great nieces this year and attended a same-sex wedding of a woman who has been a friend of mine since our first day at primary school.


Gardening brings me much enjoyment.   I am still volunteering at the community allotment and we held a successful garden party to raise funds for it.  My granddaughter offered my services to both her school and Brownie pack to teach them a lesson on gardening.

Gardens I visited for the first time this year included Felley Priory, Burnby Hall, Clumber Park, Ellicar Gardens and Nowell nursery.  However, Breezy Knees, Harlow Carr and my local park, Roundhay, remain firm favourites.
I was privileged once again to see some delightful areas in East Yorkshire when judging for Yorkshire in Bloom in Spring and Summer.

I visited Lincoln with my sisters for our annual weekend away, included a walk round Bolam Lake on our yearly trip to Northumberland.
  



As well as spending a great deal of time at the coast where we have a caravan, we visited Whitby, Ravenscar, St Anne’s and Blackpool when my son and his family came over from Sweden and finished the year with a week in the sun at Lanzarote with my daughter and family. 
 


Other “firsts for me” this year were having one of my photos included in a Swedish calendar,  indulged in a thermal spa with massage jets, whirlpools, waterfalls and steam rooms (photos not available) and completed a shadow frame with a coastal theme.

There are still many items left on my “to do” list which I wish to fulfill.
I would be interested to know what new and exciting things you have done during this year and your hopes and dreams for 2016.



Luxury in Lanzarote




 The beach next to the hotel
Winter sun was a first for me but hopefully not a last.  The hotel was wonderful for all three generations of us and the weather was glorious.  I just couldn’t believe we were by the pool and on the beach in December and it didn’t get dark until sixish.  Summer in the sun means staying indoors between one and four with no let up from the heat all day.  On this holiday, no part of the day was lost and it was comfortable enough to walk about and explore in daylight hours.  Happy enough to spend summer at the Yorkshire coast and not being a celebrator of Christmas, this was a luxurious week for all of us; swimming, sunbathing, reading, spa, sightseeing, dancing, eating and drinking and eating and drinking more .....
 The volcanoes which have been inactive since the 1800s.  There is an option to reach the area by camel but we stayed in the air conditioned rented car.  A bus took us for a closer look on a bendy, narrow road.
 A visit to Playa Blanca



 The hotel was decorated with wonderful wood carvings, both indoors and out and was built around a central courtyard

 






I did want to visit the Cactus Gardens but there were plenty of  plants in the hotel gardens and on the walkways and there is always next year!

 
Santa arrived at the pool on a camel
It’s hard to get back to routine!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Family weekend in London




Spent a busy, family weekend in London for the baby-naming of my very latest great niece (I had two in a week!)

Took the opportunity to do a bit of sightseeing in London

.... and back in time to light the first Chanukah candle

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Harlow Carr in November

 
Just had time for a whistle stop walk around the gardens to blow away the cobwebs.  It gets dark so early at this time of year. Very few notable plants and shrubs apart from some early hellebores, dogwoods and viburnum blossom.
However, there was seasonal decoration
 






 Plenty of interest and colour in the Alpine House

 gentian

 dianthus
 

 






Beautiful bark on the Winter Walk

Colour by the pond

Attractive pot planting for this season

.... and garden features
 






 On balance, a pleasant couple of hours.

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