Saying goodbye to 2015 has not been hard for me, a difficult and challenging twelve months. It is odd how the not so good bits are often more established in your memory than the good bits. It was only when I came to upload photos of my year that I realised I had many good bits and below is a quick tour through my year with some of my highlights and only a few lowlights!
In January almost at the start of the year my mum-in-law died unexpectedly – she was only a few days away from her 91st birthday. I love this picture of her leaning out of the upstairs window way back in the early fourties.
At the end of 2014 the cottage was stripped out ready to be re-instated – all our hard work over 10 long years ended up in a skip. They removed the kitchen and bathroom and the place is now just a shell – even the wooden floors have been removed and temporary boards put down.
On Mothers Day we baptised my granddaughter in a beautiful little church in Heeley near to where my daughter lives. It was a bitterly cold day but full of sunshine and daffodils. We unpacked our treasured family Christening robe – a very delicate cotton voile dress with tiny pintucks and embroidered flowers. I think it was made by my grandma who was a fine seamstress.
Here is baby L with her great Grandma – she was 7 months old here – a bit old for the size of the dress which only just fit and we had to have one of standby that I bought in John Lewis just in case – but all was well and she managed not to put a hole in it!
We celebrated the day amongst family and friends and everyone had one of these gorgeous cupcakes made by Caroline a girl I used to work with until she set up her own business making cakes.
I managed a few clearing out days at the beginning of the year spurred on by the wave of Kondoism sweeping blogland. I have just to finish the rest of the house now!
Even though the cottage is looking quite forlorn inside the garden continues to flourish and after the flood it just sprang back to life – no doubt helped by the heap of cow manure brought in with the flood water from the nearby fields!
Even my new long border was full of unexpected colour as Foxgloves and Poppies had self seeded here and there.
My greatest surprise though was uncovering more stones at the side of the pond – buried under a few years of leaf mould.
Uncovering these led me to get on and clean out the pond which lies behind those Irises. Below is a picture taken before I cleaned it out – no water (a suspected leak) and full of mud from the falling leaves which I had to remove by the bucket load – but I persevered to the end and what a joyful moment when it was all cleaned up and the hole in the concrete that was causing the leak repaired by hubby.
after – just waiting for some rain now to fill it.
after a few days the pond was full and the flowers surrounding it a joy to behold.
In August another kind of pool was up and running – this is our new leisure and sports centre in town – it has been long-awaited as our nearest leisure pool was in nearby Barnsley and the old sports centre was way past it’s sell by date. I got to go on the Private Viewing tour with my architect hubby and the rest of his team who put in such a lot of hard work over the years to bring it in on time and on budget. Friends and family of everyone who worked on the design and build as well as the people now running it were able to sample the pool and fitness suites before it was opened to the public. I just went to take photos but I am thinking of joining soon as it is only up the road from my office and I could do with a bit of exercise!
Another day of excitement when we had a two-week break in Scotland and took a ferry ride across to Dunoon to go and see Freda and her Open Studio.
We had the most delightful time with Freda – she provided afternoon tea and cakes and we had a long chat, a wander round her beautiful garden and studio. Her pictures of the garden do not compare with how stunning it is in the flesh. We left of course with one of her pictures and it hangs in our bedroom at home – a reminder each morning of our wonderful day. Find Freda here at Live Simply, Simply Live.
I can’t remember just when but at some point during the year hubby had a meeting down near Cambridge and we took advantage of this to go and see the Potton Self Build homes – you can actually go inside four different houses to get a feel for what it might be like if you design and build yourself. I won’t say very much here because nothing as been finalised but watch this space.
A very different self build home – I think this cute Tree house would be every child’s dream – it was near to some gardens we were visiting in Derbyshire when my mum came to stay.
We also took her to Gawsworth Hall near Macclesfield – one of my all time favourite places.
They just happened to have craft fair event with a Punch and Judy show.
We couldn’t go into Derbyshire without going to see one of the many Well Dressings that are held during the summer. Middleton by Youlgreave always have plenty to do and see and such a cute little church in the middle of the village.
On our way we also stopped at Cromford Mills for lunch and found that the nearby St Mary’s church was open for viewing. Inside the walls are decorated with wonderful wall paintings and stained glass windows by A.O.Hemming to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.
So maybe it has not been such a bad year after all – although I feel like I have spent most of my time at work and my promotion in May has meant a lot more responsibility when I was actually looking to reduce my hours – I must be mad but I could never ignore a challenge and it has been just that at times. Faced with a huge backlog of work to sort out when I took over and two trainees to train it has proved almost impossible at times. However, going forward I feel we are in a much stronger position at the beginning of this year than last. I still miss Helen my colleague and life at work will never be the same without her.
I am looking now to choosing my new word for 2016 – many of you have already announced yours. I struggled at first to decide and then it was there on the screen and I couldn’t ignore it – in fact it is two words that are both very appropriate for my situation at the moment in so many ways and I think they link together quite well…
Restore – to brink back, re-establish, to repair or renovate. I definitely need to restore myself, the house, the cottage and my free time.
It is very much linked with Replenish – to fill up again and I feel like I need to recharge my batteries ready for the year ahead and all the plans I have.
Happy 2016 everyone x