I often compare life and feelings to the weather; April has illustrated this perfectly I think. It's been unsettled, stormy and at times it's felt as though we were being tossed about on the high seas. Other times have been sunny and serene and still.
Thank you all for the support you've offered through your kinds words. I'm sorry I haven't been able to respond to all your comments. There's been a sense of keeping our heads above water and just trying to maintain a bit of normality. Difficult to do during a time of crisis, but we're slowly getting there.
April has been a month of walks. Sometimes alone, sometimes with Joe and sometimes with the three of us. These photographs were taken whilst walking along the interestingly-named Michael Wife Lane. It's a strange place - I think this is maybe where autumn comes to reside each year when it's time is over.
A landscape of faded colours and bare trees, lichen and stone.
Family walks seem to require a little bit more by way of entertainment. If Joe's little legs are going to be carrying him any distance we need to factor in animals and paddling and trains and pine cone hunts. So more often than not it's a trip to the 'Deep Dark Wood' as he calls it (a pine plantation on the edge of the village) or 'Durdle Dale' (Irwell Vale). The latter has all the requisite attractions - ponies, chickens, splashy puddles and a little station.
The recent spell of warm, breezy weather resulted in much washing being dried on the line. And lunches eaten outdoors (with ice lollies for dessert). Joe's new Favourite Thing.
The house purchase seems to be going well so far; we're both most excited about the prospect of having a proper garden again. A little garden, granted, but we'll squeeze productivity out of every last inch.
The new garden also has a gate leading directly out into a field where Herdwick sheep graze. And apparently the farmer (our soon-to-be next-door neighbour) is fine about children playing there. So fingers crossed the more detailed survey we've just arranged doesn't come up with anything too frightening...
How sweet is that little woodland garden in the picture? It belongs to the village primary school. What a great place to sit and listen to stories.
There has been much pottering at home too. Planting and growing and planning. My geranium cuttings are now flowering so we have bright red blooms on the kitchen windowsill. And the chilli plants are beginning to bear fruit. Jay has planted beans and pumpkin seeds and we have some dark red sunflower seedlings reaching towards the light.
My magnolia Stellata has been beautiful but is now losing its flowers. The daffodils (we planted a variety pack of bulbs) are still going strong and some of them are so pretty, particularly the smaller ones. The fern's starting to unfurl and our huge Hosta has put out lots of tightly-curled leaves.
I visited my stepdad, Alan, on Monday and his pond was a-squirm with tadpoles. Joe was transfixed. I was so pleased to see little violets, my mum's favourites, dotted about all over the garden.
Alan also has some envy-inducing peonies with big fat buds. I adore peonies. He said I can have one for the new garden (I know they don't like being moved but apparently, if not planted too deeply, they'll flower quite happily).
So, April has been a busy month. A hard one in many ways but also a joyful one. Joe's so inquisitive and it's lovely to go exploring with him as the spring progresses. To look at lambs and birds, to examine flowers and to touch and smell.
May is almost here. One of my favourite months of the year when the hedgerows really come to life and everything suddenly becomes green. We still have bluebells and wild garlic and hawthorn to enjoy, a trip to Scotland and my birthday (a Big One)...
Again, thank you for your kind words during what's been a very hard time. I really do appreciate them.
Wishing you a wonderful May.