I was very pleased that I had when the dog and I took one of our usual walks through Sankey Valley Park to Old Hall (where there is, in fact, an old hall - Bewsey Old Hall - a 13th century building which is now luxury apartments. It used to be haunted so I don't know what the new occupants think of the old ones). The walk goes past the Sankey Canal at Bewsey Locks and it was here that we saw the swans. I've been watching the swans grow up for months now, from these tiny cygnets in June last year ...
to this beautiful grown-up family. I suppose it won't be too long before they are heading off to find families of their own, so it's nice to see them around while we can.
Once back home, whilst the dog snored gently in front of the Aga, I headed out into the garden. I wrote the other day about my tentative resolution this year to do less and achieve more, and one of the things that I want to concentrate on is our garden. My tax return declares that I'm a professional gardener but you wouldn't necessarily know from the state of ours at the moment! I know that gardens generally look pretty bare at this time of the year, but I've got a lot of clearing out to do in ours and there's no point in waiting until the weather gets warmer and the weeds go mad.
One of the patches that needed clearing out was this one: it's full of wild strawberries which have grown all over the path and are making a break for it across the garden. Wild strawberries are lovely; a miniature version of the strawberry plants more usually grown in gardens, complete with tiny flowers and edible berries! They spread really quickly which is great if you want some speedy ground cover, but if you're not careful they're growing everywhere before you know it.
Once I'd done some serious cutting back, I was able to see these tulips starting to peep through (more to the point, I was able to see the dish they are in!). It's still a bit early for them and I hope that we don't get a really cold snap which will finish them off. I like tulips; I can't grow them in the front garden as the squirrels like them even more than me and eat the bulbs without waiting to see the flowers first.
Finally, just before I ran out of steam, I managed to plant up these bulbs which I picked up at Aldi yesterday. They should all really have been planted in the autumn, but I find it hard to resist a plant bargain and they fell into my basket - I'll just see what happens and hopefully if they don't grow this year they'll grow next year instead.
I'm hoping that next week is going to feel like more of a "normal" week - I'm still very aware that I'm recovering and whilst I've managed to do plenty, it's been quite hard going sometimes.
One of the things I want to do next week is share with you my pattern for 6ply boot socks; it's been that kind of weather recently and everybody needs thicker socks in the winter. What do you think?