We’ll gather lilacs


There’s a lilac tree in our garden which has flowered this week and looks lovely.

I have a collection of Ivor Novello songs which I stumble through on  the piano occasionally.

You know where this is going!

My rendition of “We’ll Gather Lilacs in the Spring” prompted a Youtube search for Ivor Novello performing the song. I didn’t find anything but there is this film clip of Novello’s funeral in 1951.

Lots of sprays of lilac and the lilac song for a soundtrack. And huge crowds.

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Spring Fashions from the 1950s

fashion 1955

Enjoy the Fashion!

Cringe at the Commentaries!

Spring Fashion from the 1950s.

Some odd styles in this set from 1958.

Lots of footage of empty chairs in this one.

And this is mercifully silent!

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Hope you found something you might like to wear!

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It may be May Day for you but it’s Camellia Day for me!

It’s May Day: the day the fleece comes off my potted camellia.


I’ve been hanging on

and waiting for any last vestiges of Spring frosts to disappear before risking the fleece’s removal.

I concede that my arrangement of the fleece is a little bizarre.

It took two packets of clothes pegs and half a ball of garden twine to get the camellia bagged up. There have been moments during winter storms when the fleece has billowed like old sails. But some judicious  re-pegging has kept the fleece in place since last October.

It’s bright and sunny. There’s only a slight breeze. The temperature is about 11 degrees.

Time to pick off the pegs.

Time to get out the scissors and cut the strings.

Time to unroll the bubble wrap round the pot.


And, yes, there are buds!

And even a couple of flowers already.

I’ve watered the camellia with some diluted ericaceous plant food.

Now, watch this space! I’ll let you know what happens.


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‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’.


My camellia is still swathed in sheets of fleece.

I’m waiting for the early morning frosts to end.

Last year I removed the fleece too soon and none of the buds flowered.

The previous year I kept the camellia wrapped in fleece until the end of April and there was a profusion of blooms. I counted over two hundred and the plant made a stunning display.

The weather forecast is none too specific about where late Spring frost is likely to occur so I’m erring on the side of caution.

And taking account of the old adage:

‘Ne’er cast a clout till May be out’.

I’ve always assumed that the saying refers to the month of May. Meaning May is out – the new month has begun.

In other words, don’t pack away your winter clothes until May 1st at the earliest.

But according to a BBC News Blog the reference is to May blossom: the blossom of the hawthorn hedgerows.

The Phrase Finder explains that the earliest known version of the rhyme dates from 1732 from a Dr. Thomas Fuller. Although it may have existed in word-of-mouth form well before that.

The same ambiguity is found in

April showers bring forth May flowers

which can also be read as either the month of May or as the May blossom of the hawthorn.

As it was Shakespeare’s birthday a couple of days ago it seems appropriate to quote Sonnet 18 although I’m more bothered about frost than rough winds.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

Elyse Bruce of the Historically Speaking Blog has an 1855 version of the rhyme from the Whitby Gazette and some more fascinating information on the subject of May blossom.

What to do about the fleece on my camellia?

The May hawthorn blossom is already looking spectacular in the Yorkshire Wolds yet we had a sharp early morning frost this morning with a sprinkling of snow.

I’m sticking with my original understanding of the saying.

I’ll wait until the month of May has commenced and then remove the camellia’s winter clothes!

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Spring forward!

Hope you’ve remembered to put your clocks forward one hour.

Most of our time-pieces just moved on automatically:

mobile phone, land-line phone, iPad, laptop. We’ve only got four actual clocks: a watch each, the clock on the cooker and an old fashioned, battery operated carriage clock. They didn’t take long to alter!

I have an old 1930s mantelpiece clock

that belonged to my grandparents but that doesn’t work any more. Sometimes I think I’ll take it to the clock repairer in town and get it mended. But then I remember its loud tick-tock and church-bell chimes on every quarter plus the striking of the hour and I’m glad its silent. It has a lovely polished walnut case and although rather plain it’s quite attractive so I keep it on the window-sill for old times sake!

I love Spring flowers.

We went for a walk round the gardens of our local “big house” yesterday and the daffodils were glorious. Masses of primroses were out too and their dainty flowers and delicate creamy-yellow petals were beautiful. The flower beds had all been cleared of last-year’s growth and there were all the signs of burgeoning plant life. Scarlet miniature tulips in one of the main flower beds were a stunning new addition since last year. And the full size tulips were well developed and should be out into full flower soon.



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Hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

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