A Magical Winter Wonderland – Snow Pics

IMG_4286It’s been snowing for 4 days so far and we have now had 6″ fall in our garden. Every morning I open the curtains to another magical display of Nature’s talents and it takes my breath away. This was taken the first morning, the sky was very grey, a sign of things to come.

IMG_4342I am fortunate, I don’t have to struggle into work on icy roads or wait around for cancelled commuter trains, I have enough food in for a nuclear winter and I have someone who can brave the cold air and slippery paths to bring in the wood for the stove. I can sit back with a cup of warm golden milk* or chocolate and just marvel at the landscape framed by my windows.


I know many people struggle in this weather, especially when the snow melts and then freezes. My mum can’t leave the house, a fall would be disastrous given her age and distance from family, and I can’t go out the door and risk a fall given my back issues. But for now, I am enjoying the view.


The sun is shining today, making the snow sparkle like diamonds, the moon is still up too and the snow was still pristine when I took the photos (until my husband went in search of kindling, he’s not have an easy time lighting the fire).

Here are some photos taken over the last weekend mostly from indoors I’m afraid, too treacherous to venture out. We hardly ever have snow here so to have so much for so long is quite a bonus, my apologies if you have too much of it or you’re enjoying your summer! My friend in Perth showed her almost 3 year old daughter our snow pics and she is now watching out of her window waiting for the snow to arrive for Christmas – it’s 30C!

Yesterday at dusk:



This morning:  IMG_4332








The bonus of a snow weekend meant we bought a (tiny but cute) tree, decorated it and put up the lights. It all feels cosy and Christmasy now. We just need a few children to build a snowman and marvel at the lights. But we have to wait a couple of weeks for that. I finished all the cards for posting and the Christmas rocks had been delivered the day before the snow came.

Christmas, we’re all ready!

*Golden milk: gently warm some nut milk, tiger nut milk or other plant milk with some fresh ginger and turmeric, stirring all the time until hot enough to drink. Strain and add a teaspoon of maple syrup if liked.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Typical Holiday Weekend: Planting Flowers Between the Showers

We had beautiful scorching weather recently, into the high 20s Celsius. After hb had forced his creaking knees to comply with a tidy up of the garden, revealing lots of spaces where the forgetmenots and bulbs had died off, we bought some plants. This is typical Bank Holiday behaviour in the UK, oh and decorating and DIY, all of which we planned for the weekend. Then -also typically – the weather forecast was weekend storms. The plants took refuge under the garden table. We waited for the downpour and the winds. All we got, however, was a freshening breeze, drop in temperature and a few light showers!

Not complaining, we needed some rain and it certainly made it more comfortable at night.

So here are some photos of the gardens after hb’s hard work and also of the irises in the front garden which are in full bloom now, they make me smile every year – oh and some avian visitors and the feline neighbour who not only scares them off but also usurps my place!

We had our first dinner of the year outside, too. For those of you of a curious nature, I had spiralised carrot, cucumber and courgette tossed in a lemon, avocado and pine nut dressing on a bed of watercress, rocket and babyleaf spinach with baby plum tomatoes. All vegan and organic. The photo looks sharper on Instagram, in fact all of them do, not sure why.


The green smoothie in the photo of the irises I’m afraid I didn’t record, but from memory I think it was banana, blueberries, moringa powder, coconut water, chia seeds, live plain soya yogurt. There might have been some romaine in there too.

Now, a question for all you green-fingers out there: we foolishly allowed one wild aqualegia to take root at the back of the garden under the acer 2 years ago and now they are everywhere! They are growing in amongst the rocks, all over the patch to the left of the acer, in the cracks between the crazy paving up there at the back of the garden and under the forsythia near the house. They have made a lovely display at the top of the drive where nothing else will grow because the it’s choked by ground elder coming from our neighbour’s garden, but we don’t want our entire garden full of it. The roots are too hard to pull up from the stone once established and we don’t like using chemicals. Any ideas?

Here’s a better photo of the robin, this time paying an evening visit. I took it through the window with my iPhone after I’d written this post, but it’s sharper than the earlier one:


Copyright: Chris McGowan

In Which I Take A Shower & A Minor Miracle Occurs – Sort Of…

This is one of those inconsequential everyday-life kind of posts that talks about nothing of any importance, doesn’t pass on any useful information or set the world to rights. It doesn’t even have a video at the end (sorry) although it does have an interesting afterword. But it might make you smile. Just warning you before you commit valuable time to reading it.

Just now, something happened that changed my whole perspective on a so far gloomy, disappointing and frustrating day.

Last night my weather app had promised sun late morning and we had all sorts of plans for being outside. I wanted to take some photos and video for a friend who could do with some smiles. But I needed sun. And warmth. I can’t cope with the cold. Or the gloom. Or the wet.

For once, it was completely wrong: it was overcast when I got up, 14C and didn’t look like it was going to improve much any time soon.

As I drank my early (for me) morning cup of green tea with jasmine, I half-heartedly checked my blog, emails and social media. Nothing much going on there, everyone was going about their weekend thing with family and friends. Nothing to distract or keep me occupied.

The heavens opened.

I went in the shower. (The hot one where you wash your hair not the icy one outside!)

I was contemplating the next post I wanted to write and musing over the fact that a couple of months ago I was worried I would run out of things to write about but now, I can’t keep up with ideas and events.

I gradually became aware of something small and hard under my foot. I looked down but of course couldn’t see a thing because  after decades of wearing contact lenses, I had only recently discovered you’re not supposed to wear them in the shower! This was all well and good, I wanted to protect my eyes from potential infection but it didn’t help me see spiders nesting in there or what was underfoot or tell the difference between shampoo and conditioner in identical bottles! Have you ever done that, put conditioner on instead of shampoo and had to wash your hair twice? Anyway, at least I knew it wasn’t a contact lens!

My next thought was to check my earrings. How many times had I knocked one off when pulling a t-shirt over my head or wrapping a towel around wet hair then discovering the fact long afterwards and initiating a housewide search for same and banning hoovering for a month? In fact, that had happened recently and for once the search proved futile and I’d had to accept the loss of a precious silver earring back. It was off my favourite everyday studs that I’d worn for many years and goodness knows how many of their backs have been lost and found over those years.

But no, they were both intact. I could only think it was a small cinder or stone, although I couldn’t think how it had got in the shower. I hadn’t walked barefoot outdoors.

So, I struggled to reach my glasses from my dressing-gown pocket, put them on with soapy wet hands and look down as quickly as possibly through quickly fogging lenses.

No, it couldn’t possibly be. We had both looked in the shower tray, my husband had inspected the plughole, I had had several showers since… but yes, there it was, the erstwhile missing silver earring back!

I couldn’t stop laughing. I still have a huge grin on my face. Such a small insignificant event on a miserable Saturday morning changed my whole perspective on the day.

But I should have known not to doubt the universe’s powers of discovery. The number of times I have ‘lost’ a contact lens and given it up for good, yet somehow we always find it – even on the gravel-strewn verge of a busy main road on our way to see my inlaws, even in a dark furniture-cluttered bedroom where my husband found it flicked right into the corner of the carpet by the skirting board, even on our first date when I looked down at my coffee and first one dropped out and then as I leant down to look for it, the other followed suit and we both ended up on our hands and knees looking for contact lenses – or at least, I was dying of embarrassment and wasn’t  looking for anything, I couldn’t see! The one time we didn’t find one until it was too late was when I discovered I’d been walking around with it embedded in the sole of my slipper!

So, that was interesting wasn’t it? Did you smile or just sigh with disappointment in the knowledge that you just wasted a few minutes you’ll never get back?

I for one am still grinning. And it’s still raining.

Ps Just after I published this, I went on Instagram and instantly saw this thought for the day from The Secret:


Now, if the universe could just help me find my tweezers …

Copyright: Chris McGowan