Friday, 17 January 2014

2013, That Was The Year That Was - Part 1

How do you see a year when it's past? A whole twelve months have just whizzed by and I have some memories, but its fuzzy in parts. In previous years I've had a tendency to focus on only the negative aspects of the previous year, and sometimes, I've even forgotten when something happened, or that it ever did! I find it useful to look back on the previous years photos, its said that photos never lie, I don't think that's the case, how often have I put a smiley face on in a photo when I feel like crap, I hazard to guess.What photos can do, is remind you of places, dates, meetings and moments be them good or bad. So here thanks to my phone and digital cameras is a look back at 2013, its highs, lows and in-between bits.

January 2013 started out like most years have done since I was about 30, my seed boxes and gardening books come out and I started making plans for the new years growing season. By January I'm usually mentally starving for growth and greenery. Last year the bright fragrant flowers of my bargain witch hazel shrub greeted me on my birthday and there were rose buds on the rose bushes, they didn't last mind, the bitter cold weather we got and the snow saw to that. Plans were made for writing a variety of new articles for Garden News magazine and my contract got renewed, albeit for a shorter time than I thought, but that's life.

February 2013 saw the 3rd and final part of the article I wrote for the Herb Society on their founder Hilda Leyel, her life and the books she published be printed in the society's journal 'Herbs'. The article was well received and I really enjoyed writing it. So much so, it inspired me to get back into my research on the lives of Dr W.T. Fernie and several other late 19th and early 20th century herbalists.
March 2013 was a sad month, we had to say goodbye to our elderly cat Fuzzball, he had wormed his way in to our home and hearts back in 2006. He was old when got him, although we never knew just how old he was, but he was a sweet little character, who could be a bit of a thug, especially to his sister Poppy. I still miss him, and as sad as it was to let him go, I know we did the right and kind thing. RIP Fuzzy <3 March also saw me meet James Wong for a second time and he remembered me and my rose geranium cake :)
April 2013 was a first for my hubby, he got his first ever brand new car, nobody but him had ever driven it before and it had that new car smell. It wouldn't have been possible if I wasn't working now, and it felt good to be able to go and pay for something knowing that we had the money to do it. We timed the purchase to coincide with his birthday, he was grinning like a loony the day we went to collect it and the smile stayed on his face for days after. Money well spent :) It was scary to witness being so grown up though. We'd made cut backs to save up for ages then spent it in an instant.

April saw Poppy have to make some adjustments and not for the first time last year, for a good few weeks after Fuzzy was no longer with us she mooned around at a loss. It hadn't been easy getting the two of them integrated, Fuzzy just didn't want another cat at all, which is ironic as he came in to the house when we had Pyewacket, so being a two cat family wasn't an alien concept. Poppy slowly adjusted, although she did take to sitting in Fuzzball's favourite spots for a while.

May 2013 was a busy month, spring had finally arrived and we started getting out and about again, after the very damp start to the year and the dreadful weather of 2012 it was nice to start being able to make garden plans. My first big outing was to Oxford, it was a duel visit, the hubby met up with some R2D2 robot building friends who were having a gathering not far from the National Herb Centre in Warmington. Lots of new herbs were purchased and ideas for articles blossomed.

The following weekend I had the pleasure of finally meeting the Lemon Verbena Lady, she and I became herbal sisters several years ago via our herbal blogs and kept in touch via emails and facebook. When she came to the UK for a holiday it was the perfect opportunity to get together, and where did we get together? A place where herbs abound lol! I met up with her at Hardwick Hall in Hardstoft, Derbyshire for a wander around the herb garden and hall. Then back to my house for tea with my homemade Lemon Verbena Cake made in honour of my special guest's visit.

The 26th May saw the icing on the cake of the month of May, along with my hubby I went to the O2 Arena in Birmingham to see my favourite band of all time play an outstanding concert. Their 'Clockwork Angels' tour lived up to all my expectations and left me glowing inside.

I've been a Rush fan since I was about 15 which is coming up to 35 years now and I've seen them in concert 7 times and every time was an experience, you feel, see and taste the music as well as hear it when you're in the same space and time as the band.

June 2013 arrived and we had some glorious sunshine, my young niece Zoe came to visit for a week, we had fun going to the beach, visiting National Trust properties and going for walks. On the walks I taught her how to recognise some wild herbs and trees. We baked, and I taught her how to blanket stitch a felt doll. Zoe was also keen to help me with a herb project and posed for photos for a series of blog posts that I'm working on 'Herbs for Children', over on my Herbal Haven blog.
The fine weather continued and in late June I attended the Discovering Herbal Medicine seminar on the subject of "Nutrition and Herbal Medicine for Allergic Conditions", as ever I had a superb time, learned new and interesting things about herbs and enjoyed wandering around a wonderful garden of unusual herbs. I was gifted with a lovely Vitex Agnus Castus shrub, more on that in part 2! I'm halfway through the year so will take a break now and work on July - December next. More from me soon... :)