Saturday, 23 April 2011

A Bit Fuzzy Round the Edges

A few years ago, a dear friend of mine emigrated to Australia and, although she lives in a stunning house overlooking Sydney Harbour and has a most wonderful life there, once a year she feels the tug of Blighty. The time of year that makes her go fuzzy round the edges for life in Yorkshire is when the crocuses are in bloom on the Stray in Harrogate.

For me, now is time of year of year when I go fuzzy round the edges. I hate the winter (as you may know by now) and the autumn makes me sad - although it is usually such a hectic time, crashing headlong from Halloween to Bonfire Night to number 1 daughter's birthday and then Christmas that I don't have too much time to be maudlin. I do love the summer when the children can be outside all day but the absolute best time of year is now and if I could bottle it and keep it for those dark days in each New Year, I would.

Without being too Fotherington-Thomas ('hello clouds, hello sky!'), our village green has been ablaze with daffodils, the woods down are lane are blue with bluebells (well, obviously) and my tulips are out in the garden. I am a sucker for tulips and dig most of them up after they have finished flowering, and then bag them up in separate colours so I know what I am replanting in the autumn. So why in my most tasteful flower bed do I have lavender coming up next to double white tulips and three orange ones? Anyway we also have the national collection of dandelions in the lawn so we will be addressing that problem this week - again. However, if we remove all the dandelions, will there be much grass left in between? They never ask that on Gardeners' Questions!

So it's very early on Easter Sunday and I have just been to the dawn service on the green in the village (not the most regular churchgoer but I like this one) and now I will hide the Easter eggs in the garden for what is the highlight of the children's Easter. If egg-hunting were an Olympic sport, this would be a national centre of excellence. Visitors look on amazed as my children (and anyone else's who are here) put their running shoes on and line up at the front door, ready for the dash into the garden. Handicapping is based on last year's performance which usually means that child 2 goes last (eagle-eyed sprinter with 22 years of experience under her belt - don't bet against this one!) Anyway it takes me ages to hide the eggs and a ridiculously short time for them to come back with their collection. But they never find them all and it makes weeding the garden all the more rewarding when you find a random egg weeks later.

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