Sunday, 24 February 2013

Daffodil Dreams, Snowdrop Shivers

Last night, I dreamt the daffodils were flowering. Every garden was filled with them, and everywhere I looked, there were gold heads nodding in the breeze. Perhaps it is because I fell asleep to the scent of a gorgeous bunch of pale creamy narcissus that my lovely sister gave me on Friday. Today was destined to be a day filled with flowers, the first heralds that winter is nearly over and the start of spring is nearly here - but not daffodils, snowdrops.

If you have been visiting here for a while, then you will not be surprised to know that we wrapped ourselves up warm, and drove to the Gardens of Easton Lodge to walk among the snowdrops there. It is about a 30 minute drive from where we live, and as you get closer, it feels as though you are entering Midsomer Murder Country. Today was bitterly cold, and even as well wrapped up as we were, we were still chilly. It is worth it though, to see the carpets of snowdrops spread out amongst the grounds.

I can't capture in words what it is about these pretty little flowers, perhaps it is their simplicity, their short season, or the fact that they are the first green shoots of hope after winter - whatever it is, I love them. We explored for a little while on our own, walking the length of the Japanese Glade down the little lake. The wind was biting though, and we decided to warm up with some lunch. The volunteers were serving lunches out of a little hut, with no electricity or running water. I think they did an impressive job (although one lady was horrified they were serving instant coffee, and didn't have a barista!) and we had freshly cooked on a gas ring bacon rolls and coffee. The only other menu option was homemade vegetable soup, or a variety of homemade cakes. I really like the simplicity of it - a few things, done well.

After that, we were just in time for the guided walk and talk about the history of the gardens. I knew a few bits from previous visits, but our guides really made the place come alive, and I must remember to look up a biography of Daisy, Countess of Warwick, whose home it once was.

We were so cold that when we got back to the car, we had to have the heaters on, and a blanket over us! Back at home we have enjoyed a gentle Sunday afternoon of Miss Marple, pots of tea, the Sunday papers, and one of my favourite Sunday evening suppers - Nigella's smoked haddock. You bake it in a bath of milk, sprinkled with peas, anointed with a large vine tomato halved, and an egg cracked in. When it is done, you serve it with soft white bread, and it is so simple, warming and comforting, it is unbelievable.

Poor Carl has come down with a cold, so we have eucalyptus oil burning, and I am about to go and make him another hot honey and lemon drink. I don't think it will be a late night tonight. I like sleepy Sunday evenings, but they seem to follow Sunday afternoons so very quickly!

I am hoping to make a little more time to post a bit more regularly over the next few weeks. I love writing, and I miss it when I don't. Coming soon, a review of An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. The lovely Alison at Brocante Home has mentioned it once or twice, and I was intrigued by the blurb on amazon. I have to say, it is a long time since I have fallen in love so hard and swiftly with a book, and I think, even half way through, that this is a book with the power to change lives.

Wherever you are, I hope you are warm and cosy this evening,

Love Mimi xxx

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