Archive for April, 2011

April has been an absolutely cracking month so far. It started with lots of ‘meeting friends’ and driving to Glasgow (reported on my EduVel blog) and hasn’t yet finished: there’s much more planned. The weather has been unseasonably brilliant.

girl skippingBecause we have Sharon’s mum Pat staying with us until almost the end of May, Steven and Rosie popped up the other weekend to stay with us and to attend the Wake that was planned in Honley for Steven and Sharon’s aunt (Pat’s sister – try to stay with me). Betony joined us for what was a really pleasant afternoon in the sun. No one wanted it to be a morbid affair although many had missed last week’s funeral in Scotland. And it wasn’t.

It was a great pleasure having Steven and Rosie stay with us, but as soon as they had gone Emma and the girls came round for a fabulous afternoon playing in the garden. I’d just cut the grass and hidden some chocolate rabbits in the garden, so we spend some time looking for those, before playing hide-and-seek together. I’m not sure that Charlotte quite gets the ‘hide’ bit, but she loved the ‘seeking’ bit. This was a lovely day.

Then on Thursday last, Maundy Thursday, Martin and Lin came along to stay with us for Easter. We had a few beers at the Commercial in Slaithwaite after they’d arrived before coming home for dinner. On Friday, after a relaxed morning we set off with a picnic for a drive around Holmfirth and Upperthong before returning home and walking up to the Golcar Lily for more beers and dinner.

Beer Train Trip

On Saturday we had planned to meet John and Carol in Slaithwaite before all six of us set off on a day-long train ride. We rode to Stalybridge first of all and then had drinks at the Station Bar (and in town) before catching a train to Greenfield, where we alighted once more – this time to The Railway, just across the road from the station. Its namesake in Marsden was the next to welcome us. Once again this pub is right outside the station and like all of the others we visited, serves a selection of Real Ales – which of course if the real reason behind the trip, although we also ate (after a fashion) here. Next stop was Slaithwaite and The Commercial. Here we met Joanne and Paul with their kiddie Florence. There’s a train from each village every hour. So once we’d caught the 17.04 from Slaithwaite to Huddersfield (our next and final port of call) – we’d been on the go for five an a half hours. In Huddersfield we avoided the two on-platform pubs and visited The Sportsman and The Cherry Tree, before going to Kebabish for a right nice curry.

The following day, we were invited to John and Carol’s for a barbecue, something you can’t usually plan even a day in advance, but the weather held well and we had a brilliant afternoon with all of yesterday’s crowd as well as Debbie and Ian.

Martin and Lin left yesterday and we picked Pat back up from Brighouse where she’d been visiting over Easter.

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I have a large peony in my front garden. Every year, it manages to surprise me by seeming to come from nowhere and suddenly being ‘there’.

Two weeks ago I was out washing down the PVC and the windows when I noticed that the peony had begun to sprut. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsugden/5542203199/. I photographed it and told myself that i would (for once0 chart its growth over the coming weeks.

At first (see link above) it’s like asparagus growing ever upwards, but it does so at a pace you wouldn’t believe. The picture alongside, shows the plant just two weeks later – an amazing growth rate of just less than 1″ per day. You could (as Claire Bradley also suggested) almost watch it grow.

I fell in love with peonies in a former life, when one grew wild in the back garden. For a short while, whilst in bloom, they are the showiest, most blousy of all the plants I know. She soon falls over, but hey – who’s to criticise!

I found this one in the back garden of the house we’re now trying to sell, over seven years ago when we moved in. I moved it to the front garden, so that I could more easily watch her grow – our kitchen is at the front and the back garden slopes away from the living room.

Wait for the final picture!! (Provided the wind and rain doesn’t get to her before I do).

Peony ‘set’ on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dsugden/sets/72157626315206872/

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