The wheel turns.
The days are growing longer, the sun when it shines feels warm on my face, green shoots are appearing, lambs are being born, robins are singing and the Candlemas bells are flowering.
Spring is coming. It'll be several weeks yet before it is properly here but it is coming.
To celebrate I search the hedgerows for catkins and arrange them in a jug next to some candles.
Last year on Candlemas day I took a photograph of my Candlemas bells using my little Canon Ixus. Looking at these shots taken today with my Canon EOS 550D plus a macro lens which together cost 9 times as much as the Ixus I'm not at all sure that they are 9 times better.
As befits a feast of purification I have been clearing out and freshening things up around the house recently. The storecupboard has been cleared out, old and outgrown clothes have been bagged up, unwanted books have been weeded out and piled ready to be taken to Oxfam. I sorted out the linen cupboard yesterday placing each duvet cover plus a sheet in their matching pillowcases and stacking them on the shelves (thank you Martha Stewart Living for that brilliant idea). A dark, ugly old chest of drawers which stood in our dining room has finally been replaced by new a sideboard. The contents of the chest of drawers have been turned out and decluttered and the dining room now looks pleasant, warm and friendly. The children have been allocated cupboards of their own and have been forbidden to dump stuff on top of the new furniture. Charlie has been gradually working his way round the house with a pot of magnolia paint too. Things are looking clean and orderly around here.
This is our dining room. The new sideboard is on the left and on the right is my beloved pine chest of drawers which I've had for donkey's years. The picture above the sideboard was my Christmas present to Charlie. I had some of the photos I took on holiday in summer printed, then I mounted them in this frame. In the middle space is a map of where we stayed (cut from an old OS map). I painted the frame blue to match the blue in some of the pictures.
The other picture is one I made about 10 years ago -everyone in our family is on it but they all look a lot older now.
In the other half of this room (just out of sight on the left) is a pine table serving as a desk for the computer, an old saggy sofa, new cupboards for the children's stuff and a drumkit. There are also big windows in this half of the room. The idea is that the dining area remains 'adult' and the other end of the room is where the kids can entertain their friends, play on the computer and make a noise.
The other side of our dining room and our map wall. We like maps. These maps are really great for dinner table conversation. The world map is a Peters Projection.