5 happy things – the one with a bike basket

Well, this week has flown by! I had every intention of writing a post about Wonderwool, but that hasn’t happened just yet as I unexpectedly ended up working a couple of late shifts at work. I will get around to it soon, though.

In the meantime, here’s a recap of a few of the little happy things that are going on in my life at the moment.


  • Finally attaching my new bike basket

I know this isn’t the most beautiful of bike baskets, but I’m nothing if not practical, and this one looked easier to manage than a pretty wicker basket. It was a birthday present (that I asked for!) from R, and I’m really happy with it so far. I usually do our weekly shop using a shopping trolley as the nearest store is really too far to carry a decent amount of groceries back from comfortably. Last week I was finally able to do it on the bike, though! It was very exciting, and I’m looking forward to continuing to do so.

  • My reserved book arriving at the library

I reserved Lincoln in the Bardo as soon as I heard about it, but I was still fourth in the queue, so have had to wait ages for it. I can’t wait to get started!


  • Time outside with PippaP1080592P1080585
  • A provisional driving licence (almost)

It looks like I’m on track to get my provisional driving licence. I had to send in my passport and it’s now been returned with a letter say the licence should arrive in a couple of weeks. Driving is really not my thing, and we’ve no plans to buy a car yet, but for a whole host of reasons (both personal and professional) it makes sense for me to be able to drive here if necessary. I’m apprehensive about lessons, but excited to find out how it feels to be behind the wheel in the UK.


  • Elderflower

I spotted the first elderflower blossom of the year this week! Somehow that makes it feel more like summer is coming.


This post is linked up with Suzy’s Five Things That Made Me Happy This Week and also partially inspired by Miss Pond’s Five Happy Things, if you’d like to go read other people’s happy stuff.

Down at the plot: April

April’s always a busy month for gardeners. I had so much to do this month, but unfortunately I’ve fallen behind and only managed to plant 4 rows of potatoes. I haven’t even cleared an entire bed yet! It’s definitely coming along, though. There’s only this much left to go.

Whew! I’m exhausted just thinking about how much I’ve done this month. I’m not sure it’s been that much, but it certainly feels like it.

I have a couple more rows of potatoes to get in as soon as possible, and planting peas is also on the immediate horizon. The trouble is that it’s been so dry digging is an absolute nightmare/nearly impossible! I suspect we will have at least one late potato harvest as a result. It’s lucky potatoes are so resilient.

Beans and cauliflower have also been sowed in a mini greenhouse I bought to keep in our backyard. Unfortunately the wind blew it over the other week, and the flats got demolished. 😦 I did manage to scrape up a few, but I will definitely need to replant some of the beans at the very least. Also, the labels fell out and I was growing two kinds of beans. I’m going to have a surprise at harvest finding out which were purple and which were yellow! Not what I planned at all, but actually I think it may be kind of fun.


5 Happy things – the one with a mention of Wonder Woman socks


The caravan site I stayed in for the wool festival.

Hello! I’m very sorry for my unintentional hiatus. I’m not really sure what I’ve been up to, but somehow I’ve been very busy recently; as a result, I’m pretty tired in the evenings & haven’t been able to formulate my thoughts into any sensible form. Hopefully this post will get me back into the swing of things.

  • A month with lots of time off

Ironically, I have had loads of time off in April. First there was my birthday, and the concert we went to to celebrate; then Easter, then a wool festival…you get the idea. My only full week of work was the last week in April, then we had a bank holiday! I am loving it. I’d love to say I’ve gotten lots done, but the truth is I’ve been sitting around not doing much. I did have a few day trips, though, which I’ll try to write about sooner rather than later.

  • A visit from a friend from home

A former co-worker from my college library is travelling the world at the moment, and last weekend I was lucky enough to have her come see me. It was lovely to see a bit of home. It was also nice to introduce her to a few of my favorite places in England, and maybe one or two things she might have missed on her own.

  • My sister’s successful knee surgery

My sister’s had knee problems since she was a teenager, and continues to have them in spite of having had surgery on both knees. She’s just had an experimental surgery (don’t ask for details; I get queasy thinking about it so haven’t asked for them!) which seems to be a success so far in spite of quite a lot of pain for her. Overall she’s doing well, and that makes me very happy!

  • Getting started on our bedroom curtains (finally)

I bought the fabric for our bedroom curtains last year, but have been too scared to cut it. It was expensive, and also vintage. If I messed up, that was it! I’ve now cut the fabric. Everything seems okay so far…more on this soon.

  • The Big Geeky Craft Swap

One of my favorite things is finding presents for other people. Another is superheroes. How could I possibly resist The Geeky Knitter’s superhero-themed gift swap? I had so much fun thinking about what I could make my recipient, who happened to be Jenny (whose blog I’ve been reading for quite a while). After much pondering, I settled on a pair of Wonder Woman themed socks – I originally planned to make gauntlets, but as those vary in color depending on the version of Wonder Woman, I thought making a sock version of her boots would be ideal. While they didn’t turn out absolutely perfectly, I was pretty happy with them. Sadly, though, I forgot to take a picture of them! Hopefully I can persuade Jenny to share some on my behalf.

I’m linking up with Suzy, who’s also written about what made her happy this week. How about you? I hope there are nice things happening in your life, too.

An afternoon at Westonbirt Arboretum

I’m sorry for being so quiet. I haven’t been up to much and as a result haven’t had much to write about. However, last week was absolutely lovely. It was my birthday, so I took the day off and also took a couple of days off to go to a gig in Bristol (British Sea Power, for the 4th time!). Funnily enough, a bookmark I bought there was a nice link to my weekend plans – a trip to Westonbirt Arboretum with friends. We couldn’t have picked a better day to go. It was stunning, and I would definitely recommend a visit if you’re in the area. Personally, I think arboretums are nice year round, but I was pleased we got to see some blossom as it’s one of my favorite things.

My favorite merch from the British Sea Power gig.
The elevated walkway. It was so lovely!

The crow’s nest was quite cool. I like heights, but even I got a bit freaked out as it wobbled slightly!

Magnolia tree.
Japanese cherry.
Japanese maples.
European larch.
A cute little seat in the middle of the arboretum.
Such lovely blossom!

Have you ever been to an arboretum? I hadn’t, but left wishing I lived close enough to merit a membership!

Down at the plot February/March

I haven’t been feeling particularly well, so I’ve not been at the plot as much as I would like this year. I’ve tried to go for a few hours a weekend, but unfortunately that doesn’t equate to the weeding that needs to be done.

Happily, the plum tree needs no attention & is budding all on its own. This is definitely the best part of fruit trees.

The same is true of this jostaberry.

Alas, there is still a lot to do. This is where the beans will be planted this year.

I did manage to get one part of it dug over. I’ve planted 2 rows of early Rocket potatoes. The plan is to add a few rows each of Desiree (a red-skinned variety) and Kestrel potatoes. It’s nice that at least one part looks tidy!

I will soon be planting out beets & carrots, and I’ve got a mini greenhouse in my yard where I’ll be sowing beans, peas, leeks, and onions. I feel like I’ve left something off that list, but I can’t remember what. I’d love to know what you’ve already planted.


5 happy things – the one where I can’t stop singing Belle & Sebastian songs in my head

I think we can all agree it’s a relief that it is now officially spring, right? I am so not a fan of winter, and although this has been quite a cold spring so far, brighter days are here and that makes me happy. On a personal level, I’ve been quite stressed recently, but I’m trying not to get bogged down in that. Last week also had plenty of things to make me happy.

  • An afternoon in a sunny garden
  • We don’t have a suntrap of a garden, sadly, but I spent Saturday afternoon round at a friend’s. We drank lemonade, chatted, and ate crisps all afternoon. It was pretty perfect. And because it was sunny two days in a row, I of course spent the whole weekend singing “Another Sunny Day” by Belle & Sebastian in my head. Worse things have happened. 🙂
  • Playing with Pippa in the mornings
  • I’m sorry if you’re all sick of hearing about Pippa, but she’s just so lovely. One of my favorite things right now is our morning routine: I get up, feed her, get dressed, then we spend a bit of time playing with her favorite yellow ribbon. She’s definitely getting more energetic now that the weather’s a bit warmer.
  • The daffodils opening in our garden
  • At last!
  • Submitting my application for Permanent Residency (finally!)
  • I’ve been worrying about this since long before Brexit, to the point where I got so anxious I really couldn’t think about it. I’m still convinced it’ll be rejected initially & that I’ll have to appeal. But it is a huge weight off of me to have it submitted – metaphorically as well as literally, given how much paperwork I submitted! To be honest, I probably went a bit overboard, but I am feeling super paranoid about it.
  • Booking a trip to Wonderwool Wales
  • Whoo, wool festival! This isn’t until the end of April, but I am really excited already. I’ve decided to think of it as my birthday treat to myself. My birthday’s actually at the beginning of April, but it never hurts to extend birthdays. 🙂

This week I’m linking up with Suzy’s happy things. Better late than never, right?

5 happy things – the one with buds of spring

It’s been a little while since I’ve done one of these lists. Actually, it’s been a little while since I posted on here. Things are pretty busy at the moment. I’m working on my final module for a PG Certificate, which involves a lot more work than previous modules, and I’m gathering all my documents for my Permanent Residency application (and being grateful to my mom, yet again, for her German citizenship so I didn’t have to worry about this until now, because it is really stressful), there’s lots to think about in regard to the allotment, and we’ve got plans for house stuff (bookshelves, at last!).

But in spite of all this, I have been reasonably content. There have been lots of little things to make me happy. Here are five of them.

  • Daffodils

I planted some daffodils in our front garden late fall, but hadn’t seen any sign of them. I was already starting to assume they just hadn’t made it through the winter for some reason. But on Saturday morning, there they were! Granted, they’re still tiny, but it’s something to look forward to.p1080229

  • Local bookshops

Cheltenham didn’t have an independent bookshop when I moved here, but a couple of years ago The Suffolk Anthology opened. It’s a lovely shop, with a carefully chosen selection of books. They also sell tea & coffee & cake. I stopped by on Saturday & left with Exchanging Hats, a book of paintings by Elizabeth Bishop. It was there when I visited late last year, and I didn’t buy it. The fact that it was still there tells me it was fate. Right?


  • Morning cycles in the daylight

I love my morning  bike ride to the train station. But it is so much better now that it’s light when I leave the house.

  • More books

Oops, I bought some more books. This is my favorite illustration from one of them, 365 Penguins.


  • Time with R

I do think Valentine’s Day is a load of rubbish, but it was nice to have an excuse to go out during the week. We are both prone to inertia & very rarely do. A Tuesday evening out broke up the week & made it fly by.

How are things going for you at the moment?