This morning I went for a walk, slowly and carefully, around the gardens of Chambercombe Manor.  It was mizzling and muddy, but I placed each step with caution, and managed a much longer walk than I had first envisaged.  The camellia were full of fat buds, there was a lone flower on the hypericum, the cornus was laden with succulent baubles and the prostrate rosemary was heavy with dewy flowers.  As we walked I distributed our stale bread and soft apples under shrubs and in borders, an early Christmas present for the wild things.  Soon I will be running, that’s for sure.

Happy Christmas you lovelies!  Hope you have the best time possible.  I will see you on the other side.

Six on Saturday – For Joy

Aunty Joy

Today is damp and dismal yet again.  According to the Met Office, and they are quite trustworthy, Devon was the wettest county in the UK in March, being the recipients of a generous average of 192.5mm of precipitation.  Yep, a lot, unless you are reading this in the Amazon or monsoon country when I expect you are thinking “moaning minny” and I wouldn’t blame you one iota.

This morning the incoming tide carried the mist with it and then the rain began in earnest.  Oh the wonders of a maritime climate!  It is also, of course, time for our Six on Saturday contributions.  Headmaster Propagator will be expecting our homework, and he is too cute to fall for my feeble excuses anymore.  Therefore, I will not shirk my duties, but you will forgive me if I put a little twist on proceedings.

Yesterday afternoon my Aunty Joy died.  She was a couple of months short of 102 years old and had lived independently up until the last year or so of her life.  Nothing to complain about there, a long and healthy life is a blessing indeed and I am aiming for one myself.  Still, sadness is inevitable, celebration most necessary.  Don’t worry, there will be no gloom here, just beauty and devilment, which is so much more appropriate.  I believe she would have been thrilled to be written about, so this week’s Six on Saturday will be for the wonderful Joy.

It was only recently that I discovered that her real name was in fact Irene.  I was rather shocked.  Had she been a secret agent, was she in a witness protection scheme?  No, her pseudonym was given to by her doting father because she brought him such joy.  My dad called me Gin.  This is true, but not for the reason you are thinking.

My first photo is of course the lady in question aged, I would imagine, about 2 or 3 years old.  She looks like an urchin fallen straight from the pages of Dickens novel.  For those who know me, not unlike yours truly.   Dishevelled, hair in the air, mud on the pinny, looking defiantly into the camera.  And just a little bit faded.

London PrideShe was a London girl, born and bred, and proud of it.  To recognise that, we have Chas and Dave singing ….. not really, I’m not that cruel, here we have Saxifraga x urbium otherwise known as London Pride.


Joy was very fond of Italy.  She visited frequently, took Italian lessons and recounted tales of her travels, including walking on the glorious beaches eating gelato.  This conjured up, to the little girl that I was, the most exotic images I could imagine.  Actually, sounds pretty attractive to me now!  This prostrate rosemary represents Italy.  I couldn’t find a picture of an ice cream, they don’t last long enough around here to be photographed.

pelargoniumA couple of years ago I bought her a Pelargonium called Joy.  In Joy’s later years she was quite hard of hearing and had a hate/hate relationship with her hearing aids.  I was never quite sure if she understood that the plant had the same name as herself, or not, as it comes to pass.

Fuchsia macrophyllaDriving was not Joy’s forte, I believe it took her 7 times to pass her test and then it might have been on the proviso that she only drove to the shops and not very often at that.  She drove a natty purple mini, for a while anyway.   For that reason I have included a “mini” purplish fuchsia, Fuchsia macrophylla.

roseOnce, as a wet behind the ears lass from Cornwall, I travelled across London with Joy during the rush hour.  This was Joy’s world and took the pushing, shoving and general chaos all in her stride.  A kind gentleman offered me his seat, much to her astonishment and amusement.  Apparently no one gave up seats to anyone during the rush hour, NO ONE!  I must have looked so terrified, uncomfortable, unqualified, that I melted even the hardest commuter heart.   Joy loved roses, we bought her one for a birthday and she would always report back on how well it was doing.

We will finish with another photo of our star of the day, taken at the end of 2014 with the ceramic poppy she was so proud of.  This was one from the installation at Windsor Castle, a sea of poppies, one for each of the UK fallen in the First World War.  Including Joy’s doting dad.

Shall we celebrate this strong, resilient, funny, kind woman who I was so proud of?  I think it would be wrong not to.

Thanks for keeping us all in order Mr P, could you do something about the weather for next week please.  Pretty please?