Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Frog Fest, Bereavement, Reading and (not) Writing

 
We haven't had a frog pile up like these in the picture for a few years now.  When Spring/Summer was really hot, there would sometimes be up to 20 frogs in a 'tower'.  It's probably a bit difficult to see the half dozen or so in the image clearly, but over to the left there's a huge female frog, a smaller male to the right and then a few small ones in the middle.  They sit like this for ages in the sun, and you occasionally hear a quiet 'snap' when they attempt to catch insects.
 

 
The azaleas and rhododendrons are out.  We only have a small garden, so these varieties won't grow very tall, but they're colourful.  The yellow scented larger one to the right does have a tendency to get a bit carried away, but with the lovely smell it produces in warmer weather, it's worth leaving until after the flowers have finished before cutting back.


Our neighbour's apple tree is completely covered in flowers.  She is currently visiting family in Florida, so I sent this image to her.  In her 80's, she has never embraced technology, although her brother has.  This evening, I received a scanned handwritten letter thanking me for sharing the blossom, particularly as she hasn't been able to do much given the very high temperatures over there.  Unlike here - despite a bit of blue sky and what appears to be sun in the images, we haven't really had a lot of good weather yet.  I find myself feeling quite sad sometimes when I see all the plants and trees producing flowers and blossoms, with no insects visiting them.
 
Writing etc. has been on hold for some time.  Unfortunately, my partner's mum passed away in March and life has been very strange, probably since Christmas.  She enjoyed a few months in a lovely rest home prior to her death.  Whilst she had been ill for such a long time, when it actually happened, I did experience a level of 'shock'.  She and I had never been close, probably because I am so close to my parents, we'd never formed that sort of bond which other people are lucky/able enough to.  Since April, we have been trying to sort everything out.  Her flat had become a time capsule from 20 years ago when her husband died and she resisted any change to its d├ęcor or furniture.  Obsessive storing of various items like batteries, stamps, cleaning products, hidden in strange places.  Drawers and wardrobes crammed with old clothing, unwanted gifts, old make up and jewellery.
 
I must admit I've started looking at home here in a much different light - there's so much 'stuff' that we keep - for example I'm terrible when it comes to throwing away cards and letters - photos from years past with a promise that one day I'll scan and catalogue them, when I know it isn't ever going to happen!  And really, as I've realised through the treasures which my partner's mum held on to, they don't mean much to anyone but me.  I wonder, though, how it would feel to become more minimalistic in my approach - no bookcases stuffed with literature from past obsessions like gardening, psychology, science fiction?  After all, virtually everything can easily be found online, but someone that doesn't have a sense of 'self' attached to it.
 
A recent trip away and it was brilliant to download a few books onto my Kindle, rather than fill up my suitcase with heavy paperbacks (maybe minimalistic could work?!).  I really enjoyed all the books I read too - Robert Goddard's The Fault Line, Michael Connelly's Nine Dragons, Robert Crais' The Sentry and Douglas Preston's The Codex.  Such different writing styles, especially Robert Goddard's, whose 'jolly British' writing always makes me smile.  Quite a contrast when you follow that with Connelly's Triad inspired novel!  I still have a few free novels which I've been steadily downloading, in an effort to support indie authors by hopefully reading and then reviewing.  I have come across a couple of these which regrettably I haven't been able to finish because of poor or no proof reading and editing.  It is something which spoils the story for me, when there's a lot of repetition or spelling/grammar mistakes.  I used to cringe at the cost of Kindle books by shall we say 'famous' authors, but no, now, 'I get it' - you get what you pay for.