23 June 2009


A bee at work in our garden.

Perhaps surprisingly, I love the British climate. I love its unpredictability - whereby we may experience lovely warm days in mid-February, freezing winds in July, rainstorms in just about any month, mild green winters or arctic tundra. You never know what you're going to get - rather like Forrest Gump with his box of chocolates. And so unsurprisingly, weather is a popular conversation theme with British people. I can't imagine that in Alice Springs, Death Valley or Saudi Arabia where weather patterns are much more predictable.

Today it is quite lovely. As I sit here typing, the outside temperature is already a pleasant twenty degrees and rising with the afternoon scheduled to reach twenty four. The sky is clear blue and bright sunshine is beaming down on our garden - a little green oasis in a big northern city. The other day I found an abandoned blackbird's nest complete with four little eggs in an overgrown bush I was hacking back. It seems that only one in ten blackbird nests in urban areas successfully produce fledglings.

A big slimy frog was living under that monstrous bush. He looked at me as if to say "What the?" before hopping further into the undergrowth. Shirley had been asking me to tackle the offending border for months. I created a new space for plants and enriched it with our own household compost - from the bin where the spaghetti worms writhe their lives away in black plastic darkness. We went up to Wentworth's magnificent garden centre and to B&Q to pick half a dozen new plants which I have promised will not be smothered by the re-advancing bush that had over the years turned into the shape of that massive stone ball in the "Indiana Jones" movie.

Walking out in the sunshine. How lovely it is to live in Yorkshire, England. You can keep your apartments on the Costa del Sol, your rural retreats in Tuscany, your condominiums with pools in Orlando, your Sydney Harbour views. Why can't people make the most of what they have got, appreciating the world around them?

Looking up the garden from our upper decking.

The border I have been working on.


  1. Nice garden. I always wanted an upstairs balcony. Another thing I appreciate about this country is the glorious mass of trees nearly everywhere ... regretfully trees and lawns are not respected by those who dig them up for the sake of having paved areas for cars.

  2. Verily, thou hast entitled thy post correctly, judging from the first photo. It is *absolutely* glorious.

    Methinks that thou art using a Celsius thermometer. At least, mehopes thou art using a Celsius thermometer. Otherwise, thou must have bats in thy belfry.

    Everyone in fair Yorkshire shouldst talk this way.

  3. Anonymous11:34 am

    I love that garden! The upper decking is something I always wanted.

    Just to let you know that I will be in Sheffield myself for 6 weeks come this Saturday (though I won't arrive in the UK til Sunday). Jeff and I got married this past weekend, and I have to come get my passport renewed.

    It's going to be interesting to see what's changed and what hasn't in the years I've been gone.

  4. Anonymous9:09 pm

    Hear, hear! Three cheers for the glories of Yorkshire!

  5. Yes, I love Yorkshire, and gardens, and this time of the year!


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