Lightening Up

Thanks for your comments on yesterday’s post. I hope I didn’t offend anyone who comments here regularly and that was something I should have considered before posting. However, it would look a bit stupid if I took it down, so just see it as one of those things and feel free to comment as you always do. I am very fond of you all.

Thanks for bearing with me, as they say at the call centre, I am sad and low right now but hope to pick up soon.

When we squint towards the light in the gloom of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter occasionally we see some lovely things right in front of our noses.

Here is the senecia gone to seed, looking a lot like a mini dandelion clock, but also quite snowflake like. It mostly lives in the bathroom in the window, liking the warmth and damp no doubt.  Not one wisp of snow so far has drifted this way, but winter has a way of popping up quite randomly these days…

Here is the lime marmalade that I made in December from Thane Prince’s recipe which she kindly sent me. You cook the shreds separately and reserve them while you do the rest and then add them in at the very end. I am going to have to make more as we gave most of it away.

Just a taste? oh all right then…

and here’s something from B’s treasure chest…. he has a whole bunch of these in different sizes, his Dad used to go to auctions and had a fondness for picking up old tools. The other day I found a pair of big old warm slippers (OK the dog had eaten a small piece of one of them, but basically they were still good, only the sole was flapping about and I asked B to mend it for me; he likes mending things) and out came this and the glue and he fixed my slippers for me.

and the early crew are already up in their privileged and sheltered spot with their backs against the patio. I say words like ‘frost tonight’ to them but they ignore me. That geranium too should still be under the ground…

Anything surprised you lately?

40 thoughts on “Lightening Up

  1. Debra Kolkka

    These are beautiful photos! I hope you cheer up soon. Take a look at the worm catcher on my latest post, and the face of the lovely fisherman would cheer anyone up.

  2. jan trounce

    Joanna, please don’t “sod off” – my inner ‘Mrs Happy Chatty’ has been sat on her bum with her feet dangling in the Slough of Des Pond’ for a while, but I’m still looking, reading, appreciating all and every little bit of your posts as well as the other blogs I love, like Celia’s and BDL and CHFG and more – written by generous, intelligent women. I love following your doings and writings. I’ve always dealt with life by being flippant and there are times I can remember when Mrs Happy Chatty should have put Daffy Duck’s Black Hole on the ground and jumped right in and shut-the-doodad-up. But, I is what I is and I appreciate your writing and photos and I do appreciate the generosity of spirit behind all the effort that goes into to keeping it going. Right, I’ll go and blow my nose now and put the kettle on!

  3. jan trounce

    Actually, come to think of it, there are sooo many times I should have put
    DD’s BH on the ground and jumped in!!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I kind of think it’s a mistake to let this stuff out here, cat out of bag and all that old chum (edit me, not you!) – I also know that other people have far worse things going on in their lives than me and drivelling on here isn’t very productive for me. I was reading a book called ‘Complications’ by Atul Gawande last week. My sister gave me all sorts of interesting books for Christmas. Over thirty percent of people have mental health issues during their working lives. That’s a very big number, reassuring on one hand and kind of makes you stop and think on the other. But yes please put the kettle on and we’ll do our best to carry on. xx

      1. jan trounce

        Indeed, I couldn’t agree more Joanna. Some people really do have the sky fall on them and also start from a very low point to begin with. A good nose blow, a cup of tea, a walk with the dog – and someone to laugh with – then life is never so bad. XX

  4. ceciliag

    You have daffs already!! and can i send my gumboots over for a quick shoe repair AND lime marmalade!? I made a 3 citrus marmalade last week but Lime.. that sounds awesome.. love love c

    1. Joanna Post author

      I don’t know if he can do gumboots but I’m sure he would enjoy the challenge. I did say it takes up to two years sometimes to get a repair done didn’t I? Marmalade season is well underway here now, though every time I sit at the table with a batch of squishy sticky peels trying to cut them up evenly I wonder why on earth do I do it? Three citrus sounds gorgeous!

      love to you too :)

  5. Sincerely, Emily

    Beautiful photos. I see the sun shining down on you and I hope you tilt your face up to it and let it warm you inside and out and smile with it.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Emily! I think I need to take the dogs for a long run on a beach somewhere in the wind.

  6. Abby

    Love the hint-of-spring photos and enjoy all of your posts (especially the bread and cakes ones!). ;) Sometimes feels hard to stay cheerful this time of year…too little sunlight (at least for me here in the frozen north). Hope the sun shines on you soon! :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s pretty impossible for me at the moment, not quite sure why but I am sure it will get better soon, your comments are all very cheering, thank you !

  7. Kari @ bite-sized thoughts

    Just read this and your last post in one hit – I like that you posted the last entry :) As you say, this is your blog and your interests in cooking / baking and more generally are what will suit you to blog about. I’m certainly a fan of what you post, and people who aren’t should probably find a different blog!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I sometimes feel that people just consume blogs, like walking past shop windows, and maybe they just read too many. I can only read so much too and usually have to just look at a few each week though I try very hard to visit all the people who comment here as often as I can. :)

  8. Just A Smidgen

    There can be nothing more disheartening than writing with joy and wild abandon :) and having someone “trample on your daffodils” so to speak. There is a group of people like this in the world… when I come across one it is so helpful to stop and say to myself “Oh, you’re one of THOSE”. They appear in every walk of life. I’m not sure why these people feel the need to be negative… they must lead purely miserable and evil lives:P
    Bravo to you for being courageous.
    Enough said on that… that marmalade is so gorgeous, glistening shiny and the pieces in it are all delicate and lovely. I’ve never made marmalade and this is an inspiration:)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think everybody has moments when they are less than the person they want to be, find themselves wanting in some respect or other. If you are neurotic like me, you then proceed to beat yourself up about it some more. Not a very clever strategy, and then of course, if you have a blog, you can beat yourself up in public and this time I did. So maybe that post was all about me and not about anyone? I kind of lose the plot.

      Making marmalade is far worse than the bread thing, if it goes wrong then you have 8 jars that no one wants to eat. If you ever do it, make small batches!

  9. tom

    haveing a rant is good for the soul but lime marmalade sounds better, a fatty friend

  10. Suelle

    Hi Joanna – hopefully thing will lighten up permanently soon. If you can still see the beauty around you to take these lovely photos all is not lost!

    You’ve mentioned the darkness and gloom of winter several times but we’ve had a really sunny winter over here in the east, and that can make so much difference to how I feel on a daily basis. In particular we’ve had some spectacular sunrises and sunsets, which always cheer me up for a while.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Everything changes Suelle and nothing lasts forever, in that I place my firm belief and trust. Thanks for the encouraging words :)

      The morning is certainly backing you up here! Clear blue sky, a ferociously hard frost and I did warn those daffodils when I wrote this last night…. did they listen? Time to put out some extra bird food this morning, for my robin and the dunnocks. Brrrr…

      I rarely see sunsets, my garden faces South South East and the sun sets down the end of the road at the front of the house. I have to be out somewhere like Kingsweston House to see it set across the Severn over Wales.

  11. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I was surprised at how well Pete’s crabapple jelly turned out today.

    I was surprised to find that the golden nugget pumpkin plants are setting fruit!

    I was surprised that Small Man ate my tiger cake with relish, as he’s usually fussy and will only eat straight chocolate cakes.

    I was surprised by how much more I like Rose Tyler now that I’m watching reruns of Doctor Who.

    Oh, and I was surprised to find out that ELO wrote and sang “Xanadu” – I always thought it was Olivia’s song. :)


    1. Joanna Post author

      Life is full of them isn’t it? Thanks for sharing Darling.

      BTW Have you seen ‘The Artist’ yet? There is a wonderful actress in that who would make a great Doctor Who companion, I am fond of Rose too. Are you watching the Christopher Eccleston re runs in your travels? I did like him a lot.

      Going back to the Artist though… I like the dog (in the Artist) best of all ;)

      1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

        Oooh, that does look good. I hadn’t seen the trailer before, thank you! ABC2 here is replaying the DWs from the Christopher Eccleston ones onwards – I haven’t had a chance to watch them all, but I really am warming to Billie Piper as Rose!

  12. Ruth

    I love your blog Joanna – and have also read this and the last post in one sitting. It is very easy to sit and comment on other people’s words without thinking, but much harder to write all the blog posts in the first place, so I understand your frustration with the ‘too much butter will make me fat’ brigade. Perhaps they should be thinking less about their own health (or reading something else) and more about the feelings of the person behind the blog they have *chosen* to read…

    I would very much miss you if you disappeared from blog and twitter land, although I don’t always have as much time to read and converse as I would like.

    Perhaps it will cheer you a little to hear that spring is coming to you much sooner than us in the frozen north – my snowdrops have only just flowered!

    I hope you have a really lovely day. :-)

      1. Joanna Post author

        It’s all hard, whether you are writing or reading, anything that involves communication is fraught with potential misunderstandings. That’s why countries have diplomats :) My snowdrops are being very coy, either that or they have been eaten by mice. I think those daffodils are just showing off. They were some very cheap bulbs that I chucked in the very corner of that bed when we did the garden and they have come up early, (though not this early) for five years now :)

  13. C

    That lime marmalade looks stunning, especially with your photography and the light shining through it.

    I was so pleased to wake up this morning to frost and bright blue skies, I almost sang a happy little song! I really don’t like the cold (poor circulation) but I think I’m even more fed up of the grey, drizzly rain we’ve had for weeks and weeks. I hope you find joy in little things, but it can be hard to do xxx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you! I think everyone should make lime marmalade this year. It’s so fresh and tastes really thrilling, if that makes sense.

      We should fly south like the arctic tern and have double summer time :) I feel better for hearing all your nice words, you know, really I do!

  14. heidi

    You have such encouraging friends. I’m feeling a little better having read through their comments. :)
    Actually, I think being down is just a part of the pattern. You trudge through the dark days, keeping your guard up and look forward to the sunny days and smiles ahead. At least that is my life.
    I love your pictures, love your bread, dog, posts. I think you are so sensitive and inquisitive and aware and alive- and deep- I like knowing you are out there- walking Zeb, baking with Brian, watching for trains.
    Sorry- I’m in my own little funk- not very encouraging- but caring from afar.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Oh Heidi it all gets very tiring doesn’t it sometimes? We are still here, the neurotic small dog with his cold feet and his tendency to stamp and huff when he doesn’t get his own way, Brian doing his best, though we haven’t seen any trains for a long time now. I think I owe him some train time you’re right. I think you are a very kind and sensitive being too and sometimes it would be nice to be thicker skinned or just a bit oblivious to the small things that upset us and to be able to forget the big fears and old hurts as well – or at least put them carefully and respectfully on a neat shelf somewhere and draw a quiet curtain across them. I hope you emerge soon from the funk, Joanna

  15. Jeannette

    I think if you are a nice person you attract nice friends/people to you and that certainly seems to be the case here, what lovely responses you have had to your latest posts! We all feel ‘down’ at times, it is part of life, not very nice at the time but I am sure in your case it will soon blow over, I hope so anyway. Your blog is one of my favourites along with Celia’s, which I found through reading yours, and I have learned so much from both of you even though I could give you both quite a few years I am sure. We are never too old to learn new tricks. I hope to be able to continue reading your blog and learning from your experiences with sourdough. By the way I love the picture of the lime marmalade, I made Seville Orange marmalade for the first time last year and it didn’t look as attractive as yours, but it did taste good.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Jeannette, i appreciate what you say and thankyou for reading the blog all this time :) I think Dan L is a great marmalade enthusiast, and as we all know enthusiasm is catching, hope you are back baking and feeling better too xx Joanna

  16. Elaine F

    I also enjoy your blog – not that I add anything very often although I often wish I had! The pictures, recipes and discussions add a real sense of joy to my day. Since I was made redundant I could have become very morose but reading your blog brings lots of smiles and pleasure so please don’t stop!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Elaine – I am so pleased that we stay in touch and delighted that you enjoy this blog. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the right post comes up for you, in the meantime we will have to meet up again soon xx Joanna

  17. Misk Cooks

    What surprised me this weekend was seeing a plump bumblebee sleep walking very slowly across the patio. It actually made me quite sad that Mother Nature could play such a trick. It seems that when nature goes into a spin that we all go into a spin, and perhaps holding on to one another for support and balance is the best way to get through it.

    1. Joanna Post author

      I haven’t seen a bee out this side of Christmas, but there were a few around in December. Sometimes I lift them onto the windowledge to have a warm in the sun. Different bees have different habits I believe, maybe yours was enticed out by some winter flowering tree, after all those trees must be flowering for someone.

Comments are closed.