June ... is the month for roses, warm sun, tea in the garden and light evenings when it is hard to be early in bed.
From Something to Do, a Young Puffin Original edited by Septima and beautifully illustrated by Shirley Hughes, published in 1966, the year I was born, and the constant accompaniment to my childhood.
It's hard to believe that we are already nearing the end of the month. Despite all the rain and stormy weather, I'm pleased to say we have had roses and warm sun and the other things mentioned above, although perhaps less abundantly than we might have wished for. There certainly hasn't been any shortage of Something to Do:
Tea in the garden - and perhaps more importantly, cake - has featured very prominently, since June is the month when my best friend Anne opens her garden for Didsbury Open Gardens (as well as the NGS) and we serve tea and cake in vintage teacups and best pinnies. Fourteen large cakes had to be made and iced the week before, with one or two extras for 'testing', of course. It's always a lovely day, and fun to meet friends and old neighbours.
This weekend was a special anniversary and so we battled through the torrential rain for a three-night stay in beautiful Northumberland. The beaches, castles, gardens and gentle rolling countryside are so lovely, and we had the most gorgeous and elegant afternoon tea at the Earl Grey Tea House at Howick Hall as well as lots of rambles and pottering about, a wonderful few hours at Barter Books, and lots of time scuffing about on beaches collecting limpet shells to string into a little whirly wreath.
Earlier in the month, of course, we were all treated to a couple of days holiday for the Golden Jubilee here in the UK, and we decided to pop up to the Lake District to see the Jubilee beacons being lit. After a lovely sunny afternoon drinking tea and reading the papers overlooking Coniston Water at the Jumping Jenny Tearooms at Brantwood, we climbed up Hampsfell near Cartmel and watched the sunset over the Lakeland Fells, followed by the lighting of the beacons. It was a truly magical experience to watch one pinprick of light after another gradually appear on the mountainous skyline until we were surrounded by a ring of tiny distant fires. It was just like Lord of the Rings. Then, suddenly, out of the cloud bank, the full moon rose majestically above the expanse of Morecambe Bay, creating a moonlit path across the water. Wonderful, except then we had to get back to the car down a rocky path with only our wind-up torch for company... a little bit of a Laurel and Hardy ending to a magical day, as is so often the case in our household I'm afraid!
So that was June. Hopefully there will be a bit more art in July.
Goodbye Mary Fedden, whose work I have so much enjoyed. I hope you are happy and reunited with all your cats and objects and beloved people in a magical place with zebras and teapots and vases of brightly coloured flowers. Thank you for all your beautiful paintings.