Sunshine between the showers

 A mixed week for the weather, with a few wet days. Although they may have forced us to be indoors more, the gardens and fields soaked it all up. The elder tree in our front garden is heavy with blossom tight now. I always think it looks like a Japanese painting.

 It's been a week for hearty food. This was a scrummy healthy take on mac 'n' cheese by Jamie Oliver from his veg book, called mac 'n' greens. 

 It's been a week for listening to music in our basement den. Latest sounds include Nadia Reid (especially the song 'Oh Canada'), Family Selection Box and the wonderful happy breezy Sea Zoo album, 'Joy'. All guaranteed to wash away the blue mood.  

 We are doing our bit to try to keep local business going. Here's a delivery we took from The Grayston Unity in Halifax, England's smallest gig venue (it holds 18 people). 

 Sam appreciated the paper bag that the order came in too.

This photo shows our bijou garden from the house. It's tiny but lovely - this was a miserable, rainy day but you can see how lush it is. On the lower tier is a paved seating area surrounded by fruit trees and bushes. On the top tier we have our raised beds, a potting shed and a rather useless playhouse (which is hidden from view here).

Thankfully the weather cheered up by the weekend and we were able to have a long Saturday walk up our favourite hill. On the first photo you can see the hill in the background. Parkin is our reward for getting to the top!

 And here are the books I have got through since lockdown began back in March. I have probably read a few more than usual, although I've still been working from home.
Here they are (from the top):

Delia Owens - Where the Crawdads Sing (everyone's fave lockdown read)
Paul Auster- Oracle Night (my all-time favourite novel, a re-read)
Kate Atkinson - Big Sky (a great thriller)
Richard Powers - The Overstory (why trees matter)
Kevin Brockmeyer - The Brief History of the Dead (about a pandemic...)
Sally Rooney - Conversations with Friends (not as good as Normal People, but still good)
Olga Turkarczuk - Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead (great whodunnit)
Ali Land - Good Me Bad Me - Psychological thriller, fairly standard stuff
Ali Smith - There But For The  (fabulous comic situation)
Taylor Jenkins-Reid- Daisy Jones and the Six (Rock-umentary style novel)

Maybe I might be on course for my annual 'try to read 50 books in a year' challenge, we'll see.

We managed to avoid the rain on our walks too. The hedgerows were looking so pretty, laden with delicate blossom. 

 We met Mr Snail on our travels. He was out looking for his lunch. He wasn't in a rush; there was plenty to choose from.

    I wish I could say this is the hydrangea that I have growing in a container in my backyard, but that would be lying. Unfortunately mine is refusing to flower this year, but it might look like this if it wasn't sulking. I love all the different hues and tones together.

To add to last week's stone lion, here's another! This fine fellow and his twin guard the door at Astley Hall in Chorley.

Unlike Jan, I haven't been able to lay hands on macaroni since March - her mac and greens looks delicious!  Still, my take on Bella Italia's Lenticchie  is a very acceptable alternative on a wild and stormy week night. 

And to end, here is my virtual lockdown book pile : not as photogenic as Jan's I admit, but the books were every bit as memorable to read! I read Robert Harris' post apocalyptic The Second Sleep (which is set in a future some hundreds of years after  a  catastrophic global pandemic)  weeks before lockdown, when none of us knew what was in store for us over the following few months. Needless to say, the story has stuck with me. Starve Acre by Andrew Michael Hurley is also an unsettling read, that ends on a decidedly chilling note - I loved it! I also managed to fit in a couple of library ebooks : Kate Atkinson's Big Sky, which took me back to the familiar territory of the east coast of Yorkshire, Stacey Halls' The Foundling and Philippa Gregory's Tidelands. I'm definitely on track to meet your  "50 books in a year" challenge Jan!
 I know you're a faster reader than me, but maybe I can do it this time!


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