Merry is Maytime

culinary patchOr it was. The last few weeks have been delightful, warm and sunny. This week has been cooler and cloudy, and today the only word for it is dreich. But the garden has bulked out, and I’ve already harvested and dried sage and thyme for the winter. And I’ve achieved an ambition I’ve had for forty-five years, in that I’ve candied angelica stems.

angelicaTo be exact, I’ve cracked how to candy angelica stems, just not why. They smell fresh and sweet and inviting when you cut them, but the after-taste is definitely weird.

knot garden

Many birds have fledged in the last fortnight. One day there were blue tits everywhere, then the lawn was full of squawking starlings. There were robins and dunnocks hopping among the herbs and fruit bushes, and yesterday some new and shiny goldfinches on the greenhouse roof. And I’ve already seen  more butterflies this year than last, including orange tips, which are extending their range into Scotland as the earth gets warmer.

I haven’t been out and about as much this year as last. Some of this is down to family events – illness, house moves, a ballet exam and an escaped snake (don’t even ask, it’s been re-homed now) – but some of it has been actual poetry. I’ve had poems accepted for four anthologies and for the on-line journal Interlitq, which will be out shortly. I’ve written a couple of reviews, and there’s another in progress. The results for the Vernal Equinox Poetry Competition which I’ve been judging are in and will be made public as soon as the winners are notified. I’m very excited to find out who they are, because the standard of entries this year has been very high. And the Federation of Writers (Scotland) very kindly gave me this:

shields

I am so honoured and so grateful.

Also, two new writers’ groups have been started in Stirling, one for writing poetry and one for supporting and promoting creative writing, which will meet some long-felt needs. After a long period of turbulence and transition, I’m beginning to feel that my writing life has some solid foundations, and it is such a satisfaction.

So, in spite of today’s drizzle and the wall to wall grey outside, I’m looking forward to the summer!

peonies and rocket

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