Sunday, June 16, 2019

A Stroll Through An English Garden & Life...

Hello my lovely friends. How has your week been? Mine has been a bit of mixed bag. I started work this week at a lovely law firm in Chester. There is so much to learn but I am enjoying the work and am getting crucial law work experience which will stand me in good stead further on down the line. It feels strange to be away from home all day and in truth, I would have preferred to only work part-time but those jobs are just about impossible to land without any law experience. So I have resolved myself to putting in my time for a year, then hopefully I can discuss going part time with my current law firm or look elsewhere. I want to take two modules instead of one from September 2020 so I will need to have that part-time position in order to devote the time needed for my degree.

Fortunately, I am enjoying the work I'm doing, the people I am working with and the firm I am working for so it's all good 😊

Last Sunday, we visited Tatton Park in Cheshire, a lovely National Trust property. The plan was to do the gardens and then the mansion. Well...the gardens were so extensive and so lovely that that is all we managed to do. We will go back to see the mansion but we were more than happy to slowly stroll through the magnificent gardens and gather some inspiration. I thought I'd take you on a little wander through Tatton Park's gardens while we chit-chat about gardening and things.

The kitchen garden was my favourite, as always. I would love to have a walled garden, wouldn't you? There is something quite magical about them. I always find a sense of peace and tranquillity come over me when I'm in a walled kitchen garden. I think that it is because, at our core, we are meant to have contact with the land. Adam and Eve were created in a garden, it was their home and provided all the nourishment they needed. Yes, there is something about a kitchen garden that speaks to me.

All those lovely neat rows of vegetables ready to be picked and prepared for your table. The glass houses, greenhouses and piles of terracotta pots just waiting to be used. Bliss!

This garden had chives lining the walkways which proved to be pure heaven for the bees. I love that, planting for the insects. I remember having large bushes of lavender outside my bedroom windows in Cape Town which were simply buzzing with happy bees all day every day. This is what I am hoping to create in my garden here. A place where insects and wildlife visit.

One thing I would love to try out is training fruit trees along a wall. I think it looks so lovely and great for those who don't have space for an orchard. As it turns out we do have space for a small orchard and it is something we certainly plan on doing in the near future. Just a few fruit trees, nothing on a great grand scale.

I love this idea too...hives in the orchard. These ones were empty but imagine adding a bit of beekeeping to your set of country skills. I have a friend in Chesterfield who keeps bees. She was kind enough to show us around her hives a few years ago when we were focusing on bees in our nature studies. I have a few garden projects in the pipeline at the moment so the bees will have to take a back seat for a year or two.

There is something about red brick that I love. When we buy our own home one day, I want it to be a red brick house, preferably Victorian, with a little orchard and a garden where I will plant flowers with vegetables together, a typical English garden. I love that, a mish-mash of plants scrambling over one another, all bustling for a position, one mass of happy colour.

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that this weekend I spent some time with a dear friend of mine who is dying from cancer. She lives about two hours away from me so I haven't been able to see her since her diagnosis in January. Instead, we have been in daily contact. We've had long conversations of the things of the Lord. Deep conversations on trust, on healing, on the Lord's will, on surrendering. But our conversations began to get shorter about two months ago, she became less chatty. About a month ago her responses took much longer to come, often I could see that she had seen my message but nothing else. I contacted her husband and he confirmed my worst fears, she spends most of the day asleep, she's gone downhill and it happened fast. I knew I had to see her.

So yesterday my husband and I made the long trip over the Pennines. My dear sweet friend lay in her bed, so small, so skinny. My heart broke. She drifted in and out of consciousness. I held her hand. Short sentences were whispered to me. "Please keep in touch with T"(her daughter). "Of course". I promised.

"Do you want me to read God's Word to you?" I asked. She nodded.

So I read her favourite book to her, James. She lay still, listening. She is frail and weak, barely clinging to life. But she is strong, so strong in her faith. She loves our Lord with every bit of her being. I know that reading from God's Word brings her comfort.

I pray over her, asking God to draw close and give her His peace that transcends all understanding. I thank Him for this wonderful woman, for her life and all she means to so many. She squeezes my hand with a firmness that surprises me.

I tell her how much she means to me, how her friendship helped me through those hard days in Devon. "You are stronger than you think!" she whispers to me. I can feel the tears spill down my cheeks, I stay silent, I don't want her to be upset. I'm glad her eyes are closed. She drifts off for a short while and I compose myself.

She's back. I tell her I love her and how glad I am that God brought her into my life. "Me too". Her voice is barely audible. 

Soon it is time for me to go. I give her one last hug and say goodbye.

This is the first time I have watched someone precious to me lying in bed slipping away. I realise that really when it comes down to it, there are only two things worth anything in life...our loved ones and our faith. While it is painful for me to have to say goodbye to a friend I love, I feel blessed that I had that time with her. I will see her again one day and when I do, she will be free of suffering, free of that awful cancer that has ravaged her body. 

Life is precious and sometimes fleeting. People are what matter. Our friendships, our relationships. Time. So often we waste so much time on meaningless things rather than spending it where it really matters.

This modern world seems to offer many distractions that seem most important. All these thoughts have been swirling about in my mind for the last 24 hours. Things that I worry about seem so trivial when viewed through the lens of someone else's reality. I am humbled and resolved to not focus so much time on silly things that don't matter.

Anyhoo my lovelies, I wish you all a blessed week. Thank you as always for popping in here to visit me. I shall see you back here very soon.


  1. I'm sorry about your friend but I'm glad you were able to visit and spend some time with her. Now about that full time job, egads! That is a lot of work - I worked two days a week babysitting at their house a 1/2 hour commute one way and that sucked out the life in my day. I'll be praying your year goes fast and you get that part time job that gives you wiggle room, you have a great attitude and will be successful in whatever you do!

  2. So pleased to read that you are enjoying your new job, I hope it all continues to work out well. Prayers for you and your friend too. My dear friend and adopted Aunty died of pancreatic cancer four years ago and it was heartbreaking having to make that last goodbye. She was an amazing prayer warrior and I know she still intercedes for me in heaven. I used to pray with her on a weekly basis and now I have the privilege of praying with her husband, Uncle Bry instead. God is good, even in the dross he is there, wherever we go, He is xxxx

  3. You took us on a beautiful tour of the garden, such a lovely sight. Like you I admired the borders and the stunning red brick, such a relaxing tour. I am so sorry to read about your friend. I am sure you were a great comfort to each other and are in my prayers at this difficult time. Take care.


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