I mentioned Henry Donald's charming little book A Bunch Of Sweet Peas a few years ago, but I read it again the other day and it doesn't fail to delight. It's a true story, about a sweet pea competition run by a national newspaper in 1911 and specifically about one of the entrants, Denholm Fraser, minister of the Borders village of Sprouston. As I said in my previous post, "what is staggering is the scale of the competition which Mr. Fraser went in for: 38,000 bunches of sweet peas were sent from all over the country for judging at London's Crystal Palace, the boxes unloaded from horse-drawn Royal Mail vans by 500 Boy Scouts "with Scout Masters to preserve discipline", all of whom were accommodated on the site in tents. Can you imagine the like of that happening today?" It's an uplifting tale, guaranteed to make you smile.
My sweet peas wouldn't win any prizes, but this first bunch of the year gives me a lot of pleasure. These were autumn sown (I have another batch of plants which were sown in the spring and are yet to flower), and they are from Sarah Raven's Onyx, Venetian, and Vintage Silk collections. I wish you could smell them!
- Danielle's talking about Outlander; I haven't read it or seen it, but I must be in a minority of one in that regard - ditto Game of Thrones. Are you a fan of either series (books or television versions)?
- What I have been watching and absolutely loving is W1A: brilliant stuff!
This is Wild Edric, the first of the roses to flower this year.
As you'll see if you follow that link, "Wild Edric was a Saxon Lord in Shropshire, who was said to have married a fairy Queen. He reproached her one day and she disappeared. Legend has it that his ghost is still to be seen searching for her in the hills." There's a lot more on him here.
I'm posting a lot on Instagram at the moment. I signed up a couple of months ago and am enjoying its immediacy - and everyone's lovely photographs - very much indeed. If you're there, do come and say hello: I'm 'Cornflowerbooks'.