Tag Archives: garden

A Very Bon Soir Indeed

Bon Soir - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Mr Hello knows I love a good fire. I adore this time of the year, when now that the clocks have changed, we have lovely longer evenings before the dreaded darkness sets in.

My idea of the perfect fire, however, involves sitting in the garden chair with a glass of wine, occasionally throwing a log in the chiminea.

Mr H’s idea of the perfect fire, is getting the incinerator out and ploughing his way through the vast pile of logs we’ve accumulated since cutting down a few trees in our garden.

This mismatch of expectations has long been a source of discontent between us, and the odd teary strop thrown on *ahem* somebody’s behalf. Does it make me a crim to not want to spend every evening doing something to improve the house? No. No it does not.

However, we appear to have reached a perfect compromise. Mr H runs around like a loon, brandishing loppers and waving dry branches around, and I sit down in the garden seat with a glass of wine and watch. And throw the odd log in the incinerator.


January Joy :: Done and Dusted

January 2016 Instagram - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

This January has, far more than any since I moved to the UK in 2010, been about hunkering down and getting through. I’ve really suffered this year from the January blues, which I think is a combination of being halfway through my academic year, not exercising at all enough because of the pants weather, and oh yeah, the consistently pants weather.

Admittedly, however, it hasn’t been all bad. Here’s a minute collage of some of the nice bits of the first month of the year. Clockwise from top left:

  • An extreme buffet of cheese, crackers, veggie sticks, hummus and scotch eggs. A couple of episodes of Graham Norton with my husband and my Dad. Say no more, agreed?
  • Heading back to the allotment after a few weeks’ break. It’s grassy now, instead of muddy, but a lot better than we expected after such a mild winter. We feared our hard work in October might have been in vain. Once I’m on half term we’ll start terracing!
  • Achieving a goal: 30 days without a drink. As I said in my Dry January post, I don’t usually drink during the week, but when I found myself in social situations this month, it did take a bit more oomph to opt for a 0% lager instead of my usual glass o’ red.
  • ENGLAND vs AUSTRALIA. The Aussies won, by 15 goals (CCCCC’MOOOON!) and an English player was sent off! Never seen that before in a pro game. It was a messy game for both sides, but I really enjoyed introducing Mr Hello to my favourite sport.

I’ve got plenty of things to look forward to in February as well – a week’s holiday (which is 2 days in teacher-speak as I’ll spend most of it in my classroom!), a couple of friends going public with some GREAT NEWS, my first V-day as a married woman, which co-incides with 6 months of marital bliss!

So here’s to a great February. If you’ve had a kind of crap January as well, fear not, we’ll stand together in solidarity and flick the bird to it.  Then we can have a drink to celebrate! Yee-haw.

Rochester Lit Fest Garden Party

A couple of months ago, down in Kent we had a sunny weekend of truly remarkable proportions. It was a delight, and the hot-and-sweaty-ness made me reminisce of the days of yore back in the colonies. It was that very weekend that the launch party of the Rochester Lit Fest took place, in the gardens of Eastgate House. What fun!

The day was utter bliss to be honest, with readings by Philip Kane and Bill Lewis (two relatively well known Medway poets), and an open mic session where many members of the public – including the BF above – were able to perform their work in front of the audience.

There were a couple of lovely stalls, bunted! were there as well as the lovely illustrator Ben Cameron (more exciting news on Ben very soon!!) and we all got to sit in the sun, listen to music and sell some wares. What more could a girl want on a Sunday?

The BF Performs Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

What was most exciting of all was seeing the reception to the Lit Fest. It’s being run by three of the writers I respect most in Medway – Philip Kane, Jaye Nolan and my beloved editor Emma Dewhurst. I have complete and utter faith in them and look forward immensely to the events next year. I helped out on the day, and we all felt that there was this surge of interest in local literary events – over 100 people came to the event, and the majority of them stayed all day! Unheard of!

I felt so inspired, and so utterly pleased that I’ve found this lovely glorious vibrant nest of people on my doorstop who love literature and their community as much as I have grown to love them. I may even have jumped on the bandwagon and started a little literary event of my own….more on that soon…..

A Piece of Earth

For some reason, that phrase has always stayed with me, ever since watching The Secret Garden as a child. Well, I’ve been on the hunt for my very own piece of earth for just over 18 months now (who knew that allotments were so hard to come by?) and last week the chance to have one arrived.

The best part? It’s right on my doorstop. I could somersault there if I wanted to. I don’t want to, but it’s nice to have options. It doesn’t look like much right now but chuck in a few raised garden beds, some attractively helter skelter paths and it will look a treat!

It’s an initiative of Full Frontal Gardens (ooer), an organisation that is helping to greenify streets in order to reduce crime and foster community spirit. I’m super excited about it, although possibly-maybe-might-have-somewhat exaggerated the level of my gardening prowess. It seems I’m to spearhead the garden. Whoops. Oh well, nothing a few thousand emails to my green-thumbed father wont fix.

These awesome-looking arches are owned by the railways, and we want to approach them about possibly turning it into a SUPER cool shed, or even better, some kind of incredible music venue. Pipe dreams right now, but still….