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… out in the midday sun! Phew! We’ve had an arctic Spring so far and then suddenly we’re sweltering in mediterranean temperatures with no chance to gradually acclimatise. I’ve been on the verge of complaining that it’s too hot but have caught myself in time and just made the most of it. I’m never more certain that I made the right decision to work for myself than when the sun is shining, I no longer have to commute to work and I can choose to be outside whenever I want. This week I’ve done several outdoor shoots – watch this space for more on twin boys with a lively puppy and a Weimaraner called Bez who took rather a liking to me! I’ve also been to three different gardens – 2 in Cheshire for my Picture It in the Garden Challenge – and one in Derbyshire.

If you are a keen gardener or visitor of gardens then you’ll know that the flowers of the moment are azaleas, camelias and rhododendrons. Yesterday we went to Lea Rhododendron Gardens with Nana Maggie (the nanas in our family have to adopt the name of their dog to help the children know which one we are refering to and Maggie is a black lab owned by my stepmum Ann). We last visited Lea (nr Matlock) about 10 years ago and Nic has never let me forget that I shoved him (gently!) in the back and caused him to go head over heels down a path. Steep paths wind their way down the hillside through rhodendron bushes as high as single storey buildings and laden with stunning blooms of every hue. The kids really enjoyed exploring, hiding from each other and occasionally calling out “I’m down here, you numpty!”
Back to almost complaining about the weather – it was stinking hot in the gardens with hardly a breath of fresh air but luckily lots of shade under the rhodendron bushes and plenty of little shady benches to sit awhile and drink in the view. Shade was a scarce commodity in the tea gardens though and pensioners are particularly spritely when they spot a table with an umbrella suddenly becoming vacant! I’m usually a champion at elbowing my way over to a free table before anyone else but I was no match for this bunch.
We’ve enjoyed the sudden arrival of Summer in lots of other ways. The kids have almost lived outside and the hose pipe seemed to be a good substitute for a paddling pool (which fell foul of Daisy’s claws last year). We’ve all had a lot of fun – me especially – with a bubble set which created enormous irridescent bubbles. We’ve spent ages swinging in the hammocks – until Nic and Daisy somehow put their feet / claws through the big one – it now has a yawning hole and I’m replacing it at Tatton in July (Nic’s paying!). And we spent an interesting hour or so at the lake which has become a mecca for people far and wide on sunny afternoons.  The heat did get the better of us by the end of the afternoon and we came back to find shade in the garden. Anyhow, I’m really not complaining and it’s not often I can blog outside at 9pm – it’s been idyllic this weekend and long may it last (as long as it cools down just a bit!)
By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I’d love to hear your comments too!

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