The First Signs Of Summer

A picture of a swinging bench in an garden. There are potted plants on the patio

With summer just around the corner, I take a trip to one of my favourite gardens.

First of all, I apologise that I didn’t write a ramble on Wednesday like I should have. I think, between not having a lot to write about and somehow being extremely busy at the same time, I decided that I will only write a ramble once a week – on a Saturday – from now on. It’s nice to be able to catch-up, it’s nice to be ble to check-in, but it’s also nice to be able to get some other stuff done.

This past week has been much more about my recovery. I no longer care about who is right, I just want the pain to go away. I fill my time with quiet reflection, but also time for doing the things that I know and love. There have been damning moments of realising my own imprfections, of realising that I didn’t speak up when maybe I should have and kicking myselfbfor that, then wondering whether it would have been worth the risk. The key to a successful relationship, of course, is that you both have to want to make it work.

The Depp-Heard case isn’t helping. We’d have talked about that, now we can’t. Sucks. I don’t even care which one is like who anymore. True to form, sometimes there are no winners.

The moments of missing him are much stronger now, but just as much, I also remember the reasons I broke away. Even if I miss him, it’s not enough for me to disregard my intuition. Any time that I have a little hope in my mind that things might just be different this time round, I remember the pain and frustration, and I’m unwilling to try. It hurts, and it sucks, and I often wonder how he is and I’m sad that things didn’t work out differently when they started out oh so good. Oh well, I’ll survive. I have to.

The truth is, I’m just not very good at not hoping. At failing. At giving up on people.

I’m stubborn to a fault – it’s a Virgo thing.

On Tuesday I made another of my beefburgers with a little more gusto than usual. I forgot the chorizo two weeks ago, and so this time, I made damn sure I added a few slices. I swapped red onion marmalade for tomato and red pepper salsa too, and I gave the whole thing a little bit more love. For my readers, for my audience, for the people who uplift me when I’m feeling a little bit glum, here is the burger that I put together with you in mind. I promise I’ll share with you my personal beef patty recipe soon!

My homemade beef burger in a brioche bun with chorizo, onion rings, skin on fries and salad
My homemade burger and seasoned skin-on fries – yum!

On Wednesday I lost not less than eight shrimp. I spotted three around, but as I moved out the ornaments, so more and more carcasses showed up. In a panic I whipped out my API Freshwater Master Test Kit and performed every water test thart I could. Everything came back reading just as it should: Ammonia – 0, Nitrates -0, Nitrites – 0, TDS -360ppm. What on earth then was the cause?

I used the ‘macro’ camera on my Samsung A21s, convinced that maybe I could spot some planaria worms sliding along the glass. Having observed only some harmless copepods and a couple of detritus worms, I was stumped. What in the world was going on?

That was when I spotted it – the white ring of death.

Two of those most recently passed had the ring, so I knew then that a lack of calcium was the problem. Determined not to lose anymore, I immediately sourced some mineral blocks and added one to each tank. Maybe, just maybe, I can even keep them alive long enough now to get the damn things to breed.

On Friday, I saw my family for what was supposed to be a barbecue, but wound up being a ham & chicken savoury cobbler with vegetables instead. Feeling my Mum pull onto the A4 Portway, I felt the anxiety kick in. I couldn’t do this. Not here, not now. I needed out, or I needed off.

As we pulled onto the main road, all of my anxiety dissipated. Cruising at a comfortable 50mph, I relaxed into the ride.

“See? I told you you could do it, and you can do it!” I whispered to myself. First I’d made headway against my anthophobia, now I’m making progress against my amaxophobia. This girl kicks ass!

But despite my feat, I had one bigger goal in store.

I took a deep breath of the first scents of summer and I smiled. The jasmine was growing rapidly in the corner and the sound of the pond fountain drowned out the motorway bridge in the distance. This garden? This garden holds memories. Lots of memories.

“It’s perfect” I smiled to myself. Matt looked at me as tears filled my eyes.

“You know… right here” I said softly, taking his hands in mine.

“Oh, yes” he replied, kissing me and wiping away the tears.

I ummed and arred for a while about how to have that conversation. What would Mum say? Would she say yes? What if she said no? A lot hung on my nerves, but with time ticking and me not knowing when else I could ask, I decided to bite the bullet.

“Mum,” I began, “as you know, Matt and I are talking about renewing our wedding vows next year.”

“Uh huh” she replied. Well it’s a good start.

“We’d like to renew our vows in your back garden, if it’s okay with you. It was Nan’s back garden, and now it’s yours, and it has so many memories of our relationship, from right at the start” I said. No going back now.

“… only if you help me tidy it up first” she replied. I hugged her.

“Of course! That was all going to be part of the offer anyway, and we might let you do the cake if you want to, but there’s no way you’re catering. We know a little place out in St Pauls, we’ll get Cornish pasties delivered for the wedding breakfast part and a caterer for an evening party. The pasty shop is sort of a new part of us now, post-lockdown.”

Cosy. Intimate. Homely. Outdoor – perfect!

“So which one of your broke the wedding vows then?” my brother joked ad the dinner table.

“Technically, we both did,” I replied coolly, “but then we learn, we adapt and we grow.”

“Fair enough, put me in my place then” he laughed. Damn girl, who ARE you?!

On the same evening, Mum also showed me her new candy floss machine, and I got to have a go. My technique was absolutely hopeless at first, but when I tried standing side on to the machine, it was surprising how quickly I picked it up. Here is my homemade candy floss – it’s bigger than Mum’s cherry tree!

My homemade candy floss in my Mum's garden on a lovely sunny day
So whispy and tasty!

That’s it for me this week Twisties! How has your weekend been? What are your plans for the rest of the weekend? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see you back here for TMI Tuesday!

Until next time,

Stay safe & have fun,

Helen xx

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