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Banishing the doldrums, Anglesey Abbey and a weekend with friends

February 1, 2011

Finding the sun

I’ve been in a bit of a funk this past month. I’m not sure what it’s about. I’m hoping it’s just January blues (I do get a bit sad in a lack of light and sun) but it could also be starting a new and uncertain job freelancing, struggling to settle down into a routine, the lack of sleep I’ve been getting or the complete lack of motivation and focus I’ve been feeling. It’s not like me. But I’m not one for moping so I’ve been going to the gym (probably not enough), I’ve been out socialising (maybe too much ­– I’ve not been home the last three weekends in a row), I’ve baked cakes, I’ve been out walking and taking photos, I’ve visited museums and gardens, I’ve been eating healthier. And, yes, amongst all that I have even been working. But nothing helped. I just felt grey. A bit like the weather. Last week in particular felt like the pits. But I know I have no real reason to be down. Other people have blogged (beautifully) in the last month about far sadder things – here and here. I know I have a lot to be happy about. So enough of the therapy session. I am starting to feel sunnier you’ll be relieved to know. Last month’s issue is done, it’s the start of a new month, I have a holiday to look forward to, it’s soon the start of a new [Chinese] year (it’s going to be the year of the rabbit – hopefully more mellow, gentler and softer than this last tiger year).

Here are a few of the little things that helped to lift me up over the weekend…

I went to Anglesey Abbey on Friday. I was a bit too early for the best of the snowdrops but it felt good to visit a place I have been meaning to for a while. I thought it was nice enough, although the garden wasn’t particularly doing it for me on this occasion. It might have been because I had high expectations for the winter garden and my mind wasn’t blown. It felt like there was no soul. A bit plonked, enclosed and linear. Am I being harsh? Perhaps it’s more reflective of my state of mind and the fact that I was freezing cold. I’d like to revisit. Despite falling below expectations, a garden stop and fresh air was a great set-up for the weekend. A few of my favourite views from the trip:

View towards Lode Mill

Birch grove of Betula utilis var. jacquemontii

The best section of the winter garden for me - one of my favourite ornamental trees, Prunus serrula, growing amongst my favourite winter cornus stems, 'Midwinter Fire'

Some snowdrops - well, it is Anglesey Abbey

Then it was onto a friend’s place for the evening. She’d shipped her boys and husband off for the weekend and the four of us girls had the place to ourselves. It was relaxed and comfortable – as only old friends can be (we’ve all known each other since school). We drank, we ate, we talked. T made us the most perfect beef Wellington for dinner:

Beef wellington

The next day we had a lie-in before going for rather more retail therapy than any of us had expected. My haul included finding a gorgeous scarf. Which I love. It was called ‘Garden Geek’ on the tag. I was sold:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011 12:41 pm

    Your pictures make me want to hot-foot it to Anglesey Abbey – although I know you probably just picked the best bits. I know January has been hideous…but we are all raising (and clinking) our glasses to a better February!

    • February 1, 2011 1:15 pm

      Hi Laetitia. Anglesey Abbey is definitely worth a visit – there are some lovely bits. I’m probably being a bit unfair on the winter garden – although I thought there were some scrappy parts that weren’t really working (I’ve yet to see Ophiopogon ‘Nigrescens’ looking really, properly good in a bed) and the enclosing linear thing wasn’t doing it for me.

      Am v. glad to see the back of January! Hope you and your family are doing well. I read you handed your next book in recently – how exciting!

  2. February 1, 2011 2:57 pm

    I love your garden pictures. It reminds me so much of the UK and makes me feel like I miss home less because I can see it and feel it so vividly in our pictures. Hope February is less blue and doldrumy.

  3. February 1, 2011 2:58 pm

    Sorry, should have read *your pictures. Typo…

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