Sunday, 31 August 2014

Lazy Sunday Morning ~~~

Gentle Reader ~~~ oh! it is a glorious Autumn morning in the Shire ~~~ the sun is shining, warming and brightening everything it touches with a golden glow; the sky is blue and giant cotton puffs billow in the breeze.  This is the kind of morning that makes my heart sing, waking up to, and greet with a smile, breathing deeply of the air and the view as the curtains are drawn back from across the window panes.

I have yet to put a photograph on this new laptop ~ which is proving somewhat of a headache for a techno~phobe such as myself.  Why, just this last week I discovered {in addition to all the mystery of Cloud storage ~ which still defies me} the laptop does not come with any kind of word processing programme.  This, to me, is a necessary part of technology, for in the progression from typewriter to word processor, on again to computers that connected by way of cables and jacks to printers with daisy wheels, and now by wi~fi connectivity to inkjets and laser printing devices, it goes beyond my limited and reluctant acceptance of advancing technology why the new laptop has no form of recording words other than to use in emails or blogs.  It troubles me deeply that, even if it is electronically, I am denied the pleasure of typing!  As I suffer with arthritis, typing is much easier for me than holding a pen, and I am, frankly, aghast at this lack of word~smithing technology! {have I just made up some words?}

Fortunately, I have my old disks from way back when and they, with much ado, are recognised and loaded on to the hard drive, so I will, hopefully, from today, be able to type documents {isn't that what we used to call letters?} and with a tiny bit of luck and a prayer as I wade through the mire of passwords and other mind boggling traps, next time there will be fresh photographs.  I'm crossing everything and hoping videos will be back on the menu too!  Rather than leave this post void of images, I think I will recycle some of the older photographs from the beginning of this blog.

So, today, it is the anniversary of my Grandmother's birth in 1896. She passed in 1977, but is still much loved and greatly missed.  She is one of the people who I always wish those who have come into my life since she passed could have met.  It is to her, I believe, I owe much of my love of gardening, walking, and appreciation of the natural world.  The poem in the sidebar {please do read the whole poem, for many know the following stanza well ~~~

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,--
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

but few know the rest of the poem.  It was her favourite, and I often recite little bits of it when I am gardening.  I often wonder what the neighbours think, if they can hear!  Crazy, word muttering, gardening woman in a large, floppy hat!  Maybe they think I'm a witch! 

Nanna was as a mother to me when I was a small child, and until her health deteriorated very rapidly when I was aged around ten years, we spent many a Sunday afternoon traipsing along the country lanes and byways of the Shire.  A devout Christian, the order of each Sunday commenced with church services for her, Sunday School for me, then home for Sunday roast dinner with Mum and Dad.  Between church and sitting down to Sunday dinner she would rustle up one of her delicious apple pies, served with hot custard sauce.  She made the best pastry ever, and for many years worked as the pastry chef for one of the local restaurants.  My Mum has inherited her ability, but mine is more for baking cakes than making pastries.  I digress ~~~ it was after those Sunday dinners we would take off into the wilds ~~~ and I would be taught the names of every flowering plant and grass encountered on the way.  During the week, when I wasn't in school, we would be gardening in our own garden, and indoors tending her many house plants and cacti. In those days we also kept hens {something I long to do again today}

She was just nineteen years of age when World War One broke out, and this picture is of her, sitting, with her younger brother Jim {who lied about his age so that he could go and fight for King and Country} right before he left for the trenches in France.  


She was a fine looking woman, but, oh! my! doesn't she look so young here?  

During both World Wars she did what she could as a volunteer.  In WWII she joined the Women's Voluntary Service {WVS} and played an active part in preparedness exercises within the local community.  Thankfully, she was never called to do more than prepare and support, for, mercifully, our little corner of Britain was, for the most part, spared the horrors of that war.  My mother recalls, with some horror, her fear at seeing her own mother taking part in the fire drills, shimmying over the high and sloping rooftops of the cathedral, which would have been a major target for bombers.  It would have burned for days giving the Luftwaffe a bright, guiding light in the night sky.  Additionally, she joined the St John's Ambulance and British Red Cross to become fully prepared, as a volunteer, should the need arise.

She took over the newspaper delivery round of the man who was called to the Front, and rain or shine, in all weathers, she went out making sure the houses of the community received their daily papers.  She learned to cook on a budget of rationed food, and I still have some of her handwritten recipes {see, if the photography was working I could have shared them} and continued to make hedgerow wines, such as blackberry, as well as making use of every scrap of vegetable peelings into a variety of palatable drinks. She did 'make do and mend' long before it was fashionable. Nothing went to waste until every last ounce of use was squeezed out, and then some!

Also, during WWII, she, with a group of friends, organised a weekly Friday night dance in the local community hall for the squadrons of Royal Air Force {RAF} personnel stationed locally. She became an active member of the local branch of the {Women's} Royal British Legion and remained so until her death.

After the war, she became housekeeper at the local Deanery.  She lived with her husband {the Cathedral Verger and Caretaker} and my mother, first in the caretaker's house by the cemetery, and later in a cottage close to the Deanery {which came with the job of housekeeper}.  During her time in the Deanery, Their Royal Highnesses Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh visited. My Grandmother prepared, cooked, and baked the refreshments, and due to short staffing also waited upon the royal party.  The Duke was particularly taken with her skills as a pastry cook, and delighted in her Cheese Straws, asking if he could have more!  She was an active member of the local branch of the Mothers' Union for many years, and was an integral part of a team women who work so hard behind the scenes to present sumptuous teas and buffets to visiting chapter, and other church and community groups on high days and holidays, such as Easter and Whitsun.

I would love to have her back, to share the gardening days growing and tending for plants and flowers in our garden ~~~ she would love the new garden, I am sure, at the new cottage.  I do regret that I did not write down the knowledge she imparted to me.  It wasn't the sort of thing I thought to do as a child, and she was gone before I realised the value of doing so.  Some I remember, much is lost.  For this, I am deeply sad, but keep her near in my heart and memory for the wonderful person she was, and every so often I remember some snippet of wisdom she gave me.  

Gentle Reader ~~~ little has happened in the Garden this week, and the reason for a lazy Sunday is that, once again, I have pulled my back and must rest, taking things easy to allow myself time to heal.  I have managed to keep on picking courgettes ~ which have gone into end of season overdrive ~ the tomatoes, I hope, will start to ripen again {for they have slowed down drastically in the recent bad weather} and I picked my last cutting of salad leave and my first picking of Swiss Chard {very small, but the more you cut, the more new stems are encouraged}.

For now, I will leave you with some images from recent years ~~~ there isn't a flower that my Grandmother didn't love, and many of them are shown here ~~~ let's begin with a beautiful clematis in her favourite colour of purple ~~~ 


These are Rose Bay Willow Herbs, known to me as 'The Lovelies' which was Nanna's favourite nickname for them after seeing bank after bank of them on a train journey one day ~~~


All is safely gathered in ~~~ I love to watch the harvest in progress across the land ~~~


Ferns of any kind were loved by Nanna too ~~~


She would have loved this place, a hidden secret in the walled cloisters of the cathedral ~~~


Few things say Autumn more loudly and clearly than the fruits that are ripe for the picking, such as these giant rosehips ~~~


Another of Nanna's favourites ~~~ the happy, friendly, always gently nodding pansies ~~~


I know she would have loved the clashing hot colours of these lilies and roses as much as I do ~~~


I am not a particular fan of annuals, such as these petunias, but I know Nanna sowed seeds of annuals continually for that splash of colour in a border ~~~


Purple Monkshood {Aconitum} ~~~ her favourite colour and mine!


One of my favourite, shady spots to sit, but I do not think I ever saw Nanna sit down in the garden, other than at three o'clock for a break and a cup of tea, for she was always doing something ~~~


I know she would have adored this dwarf clematis as much as I do ~~~

I know you all are very familiar with my Frances E Lester rambling rose, which brings me much pleasure, and which I bought in Nanna's memory.  She adored roses, especially ramblers, and her first name was Frances ~~~


She always left plants to seed and sow themselves wherever they willed ~~~ and so do I ~~~ with another of her favourites ~ the sweet, shy violet ~~~


Again, like me, she loved many so~called weeds ~~~ such as this beautiful Morning Glory, growing rampant and often cursed in the Garden, but also bringing such beauty with the pristine, white blooms in late Summer and early Autumn ~~~



There I shall leave you, Gentle Reader ~~~ until next time, remember ~~~ 



~~~A Gardener's Work is Never Done~~~


28 comments:

  1. Oh Deborah... what a beautiful, loving post in honor of your dear grandmother... she sounds like such a special lady and my goodness what a full, rich life she had!... you must miss her terribly, but of course she is always there with you, close by, forever in your heart.... your post brings back so many happy memories of my grandmothers, especially my great~grandmother, who I would tag alongside in the garden as well... your poem is one of my all time favorites as well, and yes, I do know every single line to it... there is a lovely song you may or may not have heard by Gail Davies called "Grandma's Song"... one of the lines is "there was not a living thing that she did not love... and I pray that there is a little of her in me"... I am sure there is a little of your grandmother in you too... I do hope your back is better soon... I so enjoyed all of your photos and prose, xoxo Julie Marie

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    1. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet I have found a Youtube recording of Gail Davies singing that very song. It is, indeed, lovely, as you say. Thank you for sharing that. ~~~waving~~~

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  2. Dear Deb, so very sorry to hear that you are laid up at present...backs can be agonising things. Do take care. I loved this post...history is very close to my heart, as you know, and I really enjoyed reading some of yours. Your love for your grandmother shines through. Gorgeous garden pictures too. Sending love for a quick recovery xx

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    1. Thank you Rachel ~ would that I knew more of my ancestry ~ I know there are some fascinating tales out there ~~~waving~~~

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  3. Deb, It's good to hear that you have decided to remain 'open' to Facebook, as I and many others would miss seeing you there when time permits. Your grandmother certainly lived a life of service to God, country, and family; how wonderful for you to have benefited so richly from her love and experience. It is always fascinating to me when I read of home visits by royalty in your country. Sending positive thoughts and best wishes for your speedy recovery, with hugs from Alabama ...

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    1. Thank you Sharon ~ yes, I hope I emulate her ways, and that she is smiling when she looks down, not shaking her head at me! ~~~waving~~~

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  4. Dear Deb; what a lovely tribute to your grandmother. It brought back many fond memories of my own, as I was close to her,too, living on property backed up to my grandfather's with a path worn under the huge elm trees on which I would run "down to grandmother's" to visit. She, too, was always busy, baking bread or her wonderful sugar cookies, and making home made root beer; tending the chickens. I loved when she let me help collect the eggs. Thank you, too, for those pieces of history about the Wars. I love to hear about that period and the courage and honor displayed back then. So sorry about your back, and hope you are fully recovered soon. Take care

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    1. Hello Jane ~ thank you! You paint a lovely image of happy memories of you grandmother ~~~waving~~~

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  5. A lovely remembrance of your grandmother on her birthday! I have a plague in my garden with that portion of the poem. Do you eat rose hips? I've not known they could be used for anything except, I have heard of rose hip tea. I'm sorry about your computer problems not only for your sake, but ours!

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    1. Good Morning Cathy ~ rosehips are one of nature's storehouses of vitamin C. As a child, I remember a daily dosing of Rosehip Syrup to boost my levels. It was delicious! Have you ever eaten rose petal sandwiches, or tried rose petal jam {jelly}? ~~~waving~~~

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    2. No I haven't. I did not know that the petals are edible. We are told to deadhead our roses, so the only rosehips I have are on the wild roses and they are quite small. I collect them for decoration, though. :-)

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  6. P.S. Yes, you must take it easy and rest that back!

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  7. BEST POST YET!!!!!! I love this one for so many reasons, but instead of trying to list them all, I will just repeat...BEST POST YET!!!

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    1. Thank you my dear friend! ~~~waving~~~

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  8. I really enjoyed reading about your grandma, I love the picture of her and her brother. I love hearing my grandma's stories as well, and she is the one who passed on her love of gardening to me, we would work in the garden together when I was little. I also remember her teaching me different recipes when I was a teen, and I would copy her recipes onto cards of my own, she too was an amazing cook and baker. Such good memories, thanks for sharing about your grandma, such rich history! Wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you April! I love how we all have such memories of our grandmothers. ~~~waving~~~

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  9. Deb, it was so lovely to read your grandmother's story. What an amazing woman! You have followed in her footsteps in so many ways. She would be so pleased that you are carrying on her gardening tradition! Your flowers are just stunning. I spy a beautiful stone wall, too! Wishing you a healthy, happy start to Autumn. Feel better soon, Deb! ♡

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    1. Hello Dawn! Yes, amazing is one of the words that always comes to mind ~~~ especially as she was born in that time when women really began to emerge ~ she loved her flowers and I think she would like the ones I chose for this post ~~~waving~~~

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  10. Another lovely post, my sweet friend! The story of your grandmother was wonderful...What a life she had! And, previous pics or new, they are always so nice to look at. Take care and rest that back. Hugs from across that deep, blue sea. ~ Donna E. =)

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    1. Hello Friend and thank you! I often try to conjure images of her on top of the cathedral during fire watch and drills, or some of the other adventures she must have had ~~~waving~~~

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  11. Oh it felt like autumn on Sunday (our wedding anniversary my wife and I). Your pictures make me feel even more in an autumnal mood.

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    1. Congratulations on your Wedding Anniversary! ~~~waving~~~

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  12. Deborah, I am so happy to have found your blog. It is just lovely! When I think of your grandmother I am reminded how very important that job is! Being a grandmother myself, I enjoy sharing my knowlegde about gardening and all things with all of my grandsons. I loved how you spoke of your grandmother. What wonderful stock you are from! ♥

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    1. Hello Martha Ellen ~ I am happy you have found it too! Thank you for your kind words. It must be so rewarding for you to share all your knowledge with your three grandsons. ~~~waving~~~

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  13. Hello Deborah,
    I just LOVED to read all about your Nanna! Such a dear who is in Heaven!!
    My Grandmother was a gardener who was born in August too! Imagine the reunion that we will have someday!! This is a lovely post filled with many DEAREST of thoughts and memories! Thanks for sharing!
    (And thank you for coming by)
    Many many Blessings, Linnie

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    1. Good Morning Linnie ~ thank you ~ yes, there will be so many reunions one day ~ wonderful reunions indeed ~ My only regret is not writing down what I chose to commit to memory instead ~~~waving~~~
      p.s. I can hardly wait to see what you do with that apple press!

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  14. Dear Deborah,

    We so enjoyed this wonderful post about your Nanna! What a lovely inheritance of gardening your Nanna has passed on to you! Such a delightful story of your Nanna cooking for and serving the Queen and the Duke! Your Uncle looks amazingly like my Uncle! Your flower photographs are beautiful! So sorry to hear that you have back problems. We hope you heal soon!

    Thank you for visiting our blog and for your kind words!

    Your friends,
    Diane and daughter Sarah, and the dolls and Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe

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    1. I'm delighted you stopped by, and thrilled you enjoyed the post. Thank you for your kind comments. As one who has immense respect for Tasha Tudor, and am always eager to learn more about her, and about Hitty dolls {a recent discovery via an online friend} I do so enjoy your online diaries! ~~~waving~~~

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Thank you for stopping by today ~ I love reading your comments