Little shoots of hope....

2014...the year has started mostly beautifully. We had a lovely Christmas, full of the memories we hoped to make. It was quiet but there was much laughter, many presents and way too much food!

If Christmas was about family, then New Year was friends...we hosted a fabulous (if raucous!) evening that got everything off to a wonderful start...

And since then, we have interspersed heavy & prolonged rain with periods of beautiful, mild sunshine...barely any of the frosty mornings we expect in January, let alone snow! These pictures are especially for my friends across the Atlantic..I know that so many of you are shivering under blankets of snow and ice right now. I hope these restore your faith that Spring will arrive, the grass will be green and the birds will sing in trees full of day soon...

In the churchyard, the signs are everywhere...

I planted those bulbs last September. Many of the residents here do their bit to keep the churchyard beautiful...we plant bulbs, pull weeds...not enough to make it too tidy, but enough to stop it getting choked and overgrown...

Snowdrops are everywhere in little groups...

I love the bright, shiny aconites that shelter under the huge old beech...

More snowdrops are under the laburnum. In our garden, too, there's plenty going on..I even have a couple of purple anemones flowering!

The hellebores have to search a bit for their beautiful flowers, but they're there...

And bulbs are sprouting everywhere....

The honeysuckle that climbs the pergola is sending out new leaves and shoots...

And I have left the beetroot's safe under that rich earth and we can pull it when we need it to make soup or to roast with goats cheese and garlic...

Although the garden is mainly green & brown right now, there are splashes of colour from the winter jasmine that grows up and over the wall..

I bring colour inside. This beautiful primula was a New Year present from a dear friend...

& these little tete a tetes are a reminder of their larger cousins that will soon bow and flutter just outside those windows...

Of course, it IS still January. There is plenty of time for surprises. It may freeze & snow in February or March...but for now the sun is warm and mellow as it lights up our living room...

And I will know what is under that snow, if it comes...and that it can't be too long before it bursts out again!

We are all sad Mum & Dad's little rescued Cavalier, JoJo, died very suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of only 7 overnight. She had been fine on Tuesday night but yesterday morning she was gravely ill with some sort of terrible infection and despite the best vet care, Mum received the saddest call when she woke up today.

She had the sweetest character...not a bad bone in her body. Her long, feathery tale would wag for anyone and she would look up at us adoringly with her huge eyes, especially if we were holding something tasty! She enjoyed a wonderful life on the farm and we're so thankful that her final illness, though shocking, was mercifully quick.

Goodbye, little girl... will be sadly missed xx


  1. Oh dear, sad news. I was just about to say, glad to hear that all was well when I got to the bottom of the post. It's always so hard to lose a family member.

    I'm impressed with all the bulbs you have coming up there. We're meant to be the warm part of the country and I haven't seen a single one.

    Happy New Year

  2. Thank you for the taste of Spring from the other side of the Atlantic! It's frigid today but the robins are back from their winter vacations so warmer weather shouldn't be long now.

    Sorry to hear about JoJo. Looks like she was a very sweet dog.

  3. Lovely post....sweet and bittersweet. It looks like JoJo was well-loved! The little guy in the picture sure is a cutie! Is that a nephew? (or could be a niece...sometime the clothes is hard to tell at that age.) I can't believe that all those flowers are blooming by you! Gorgeous! I MUST plant some snowdrops one of these years. I love them! Thank you for the hope of Spring today! xo

  4. So sorry to hear about your mother's pet. So sudden and not expected is quite shocking.
    Your lovely bulbs popping through the earth is a welcome sight for me on this very cold day in VA. Spring is not far away for sure! Enjoy all the joys of your mild winter. xoxo ♥

  5. Dear Rachel, What a beautiful post with signs of the lovely Spring to come, 'though touched with the sadness of losing such a sweet companion.
    Last year I was in England during Springtime, 'though it was a bit late coming. Nevertheless, your pretty photos remind of that wonderful experience.
    Keep warm and stay well. It has been a hot summer here lately.

  6. Dear Rachel: What a lovely post! I so admire your customs there of caring for the churchyard together. It is sad that in a country that was begun for the worship of God, there is so little thoughtful belief and caring for these things now. But on a less somber note, your photos do certainly show the delights of spring first emerging. It is very cold here, but as you say, it soon will be coming forth here, too. Our condolences for your Mum's sweet pet. So glad she did not suffer. Prayers all around. xoxo <3

  7. Oh, sweetheart, I am so sorry to hear about JoJo! Thankfully, she spent her last years in your parents' loving home and farm. The fact that she did not suffer for long is a blessing, too. On a happier note, thank you for sharing your photos of promised spring! The signs are everywhere in your little corner of the world! I can't wait to see bits of life and color appear in my garden! Love and hugs to you and your darling parents! Love you! xoxo

  8. Glad to see you blogging again. Lovely pictures, as always.

  9. Once again, something so often in your wonderful posts, the circle of life. Goodbye little Jo Jo -- I'm so sorry, Ray please tell your mom. xoxo And hello snowdrops. Just unbelievable that you are so far ahead of us...we won't see them for 2 months! Kisses to the family xoxo

  10. Oh Rachel, I'm so sorry to hear about JoJo. It's so heartbreaking I know. My daughter lost her little Rescue dog a few years ago, a tiny little Pomeranian she named Coco, who had been used as a breeding dog in a puppy mill. When she was rescued, her fur was almost gone and teeth, too, and she could barely stand because she'd been kept caged up most of her life. My daughter Angel only had her for 3 years and then she was gone. But those 3 years for little Coco were heaven on earth for her compared to the life she had before, and I'm sure little JoJo felt the same way. Your mom and dad gave her heaven on earth, too. A big hug to all of you from Sharon in Florida.

  11. Loved seeing signs of Spring! Little bits of color shooting up and saying hello under the sunshine! It's freezing here today and your post made me warm : ) It's a sign of good things to come (fingers crossed!)

    So sorry to hear about JoJo. She was so adorable! I don't understand why things like this happen. Thankfully she didn't suffer and spent her last days happy and loved! xo

    Have a wonderful weekend! : )

  12. Hello Sweet Rachel,
    I am so sorry over the loss of the pet, such a sweet dog.
    I am hopeful that your Spring will be a lovely one. I can still remember all the daffodils in England, so many of them and so beautiful. Take care.

  13. Ah Rachel, the post is lovely and poignant. We see the complete circle of life and rejuvenation, then the loss of your mom's dear pet//friend. I am sorry for the loss, it is so hard and dogs just don't live long enough. After I lost my last one I decided to just wait for awhile.

    I loved enlarging your photographs and really enjoying your windowsill, the churchyard (I can't believe I actually saw it in person), and the emerging signs of spring.

    Our fruit trees are beginning to bloom, our figs are starting to send out leaves, bulbs are popping up everywhere, just like in your world. I know Sue is still under snow and I know our little Maine place is covered too.

    Thinking of you and please give your mama my regards and my sympathy.


  14. Hi Rachel, Congratulations! I've nominated you for a Liebester Award! Pop on over to my blog for the details! Happy Friday : )


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