Posted by: christinelaennec | June 13, 2016

June blooms

Hello again and thank you so much for your lovely comments on “Crossing the Finish Line”.  It is just marvellous to have that particular cloud of uncertainty and stress lifted from us.  For the Dafter, exams were not the Finish Line.  Prom, last week, was the equivalent of the final exam of social life.  She’s not the sort of person to relish the prospect of a formal dinner dance at a swanky hotel, but she wanted to spend the night with her friends.  It was very warm indeed for Glasgow: 28C / 82F and very humid.  But she went, on her crutches, and was glad she did:

The Dafter on prom night, June 2016.

The Dafter on prom night, June 2016.

All growed up!   Blossoming, even!

The beginning of June has been full of appointments, since I delayed all the May ones.  Last week the Dafter had four appointments and I had one, within four days.  And as I mentioned, it was very warm.  Good drying weather.  I discovered that Tilly, who like most cats will hop in an empty box or basket in the house, is equally happy to do so outdoors in plain sight.  Here Tilly is having a sun-bath:

Tilly loves being in a basket, even outside in the garden. June 2016.

Tilly loves being in a basket, even outside in the garden. June 2016.

The garden has required watering, which is a very unusual thing here. But it has rewarded us with wonderful flowers:

Back garden: Boscobel shrub rose, foxgloves, 'Bowl of Beauty' peony. Early June 2016.

Back garden: Boscobel shrub rose, foxgloves, ‘Bowl of Beauty’ peony. Early June 2016.

When the rains finally came two nights ago, some of the stems of my Kansas peony snapped.  Next year I will have to stake them higher up:

Peony 'Kansas,' early June 2016.

Peony ‘Kansas,’ early June 2016.

The roses are all blooming.  I don’t think I ever had a rose in bloom before the very end of June in Aberdeen, so this is such a treat.  (The number of times we drove to Harris in July with a bouquet of roses in the car – because I had waited so long for those roses I wasn’t about to miss out on a week of them!!)

'A Shropshire Lad' climbing rose. Early June 2016.

‘A Shropshire Lad’ climbing rose. Early June 2016.

I’m sure the animals can feel the drop in tension level in the house:

Happy cat.

Happy cat.

We continue to work with the rats every evening.  We now understand that they were quite neglected at the pet shop where we bought them, where they were probably never handled except to be caught.  They are highly strung and even after eight months in a loving home, fearful to leave their cage, and reluctant to be handled.  They’re about ten months old and a lot smaller than it seems they ought to be.  Who knows where they were bred or under what conditions.  I am a bit sad, as I see photos of rats happily exploring and going on their owners’ shoulders – as my childhood pet rat did.  However, I know we will continue to make progress if we persevere:

Artemis enjoying a little cuddle.

Artemis enjoying a little cuddle.  He stayed there for five minutes.

The Dafter loves them so much, and says she feels so much less lonely with them in her room, during the hours she has to rest every day.  I find them beguiling and can’t go past their cage without a wee hello or a visit.

The first bouquet of the summer went to friends:

First bouquet of the summer: 11 June 2016.

First bouquet of the summer: 11 June 2016.

Knitting continues, of course.  (Scroll down for Scottish evening photos if knitting construction isn’t your thing!)

Body of the Oregon with the sleeve seams grafted but steeks not yet cut: front.

Body of the Oregon cardigan with the shoulder seams grafted but steeks not yet cut: front.  The cardigan narrows towards the top because once the centre steek is cut, it will form a v-neck.  (The safety pin secures a dropped steek stitch that I found too late to pick up.  I’ll secure it later.)

Body of the Oregon cardigan with sleeve seams grafted: back. The poochy bit is the back of the neck, with stitches on holders and a small steek for a few rows of decrease to make a rounded curve.

Body of the Oregon cardigan with shoulder seams grafted: back. The poochy bit is the back of the neck, with stitches on holders and a small steek for a few rows of decrease to make a rounded curve.

Grafted shoulder seams with steeks still uncut. I didn't actually graft them, but used three-needle bind-off with wrong sides together.

Grafted shoulder seams with steeks still uncut. I didn’t actually graft them, but used three-needle bind-off with wrong sides together.

It’s not long now until the shortest day, and the evening light is very special.  The flowers, especially light-coloured ones, seem to be lit from within.  Here are two photos of the garden taken at 10:15 pm (no flash or any adjustments):

Early June, Glasgow, 10:15 pm.

Early June, Glasgow, 10:15 pm.

Early June, Glasgow, 10:15 pm. The peonies are closing up for the night!

Early June, Glasgow, 10:15 pm. The peonies are closing up for the night!

So that’s us at the moment.  I’m enjoying not having a tight chest from stress.  I seem to have a long list of jobs to do, and that is because I have deferred so much for so long, with the focus on helping the Dafter get through her Highers.  The Dafter is pretty tired out but has had a few chances to see friends, and has some summer projects she wants to get on with.

Mostly, I just feel so very, very grateful for all that has gone well.  I wake up in the morning, and then I remember we don’t have to worry about exams!  There will be future challenges of course, but the relief is great just now.

I wish you all a good week!



  1. Beautiful flowers and a really beautiful daughter!

  2. The Dafter is looking fabulous!
    And I am fascinated by the construction of the cardigan. Working with wool is such a pleasure because it has so much elasticity. And your colours are beautiful.

  3. What a thrill for your beautiful and very grown up daughter to make it to her prom, a great achievement. You are certainly blessed with a beautiful garden, the roses are stunning and such a wonderful array of colour. Take care and look after yourself.

  4. Prom night! I know the Dafter must have been so excited to go. Beautiful daughter and garden! I love the roses especially. The cardigan is amazing. Soft colors, and it looks very warm. Enjoy your week! ♥

  5. Dafter, garden and knitting…all looking lovely!!!

    Not so sure about the rats :))) xx

  6. Oh I’ve been eager to see a picture of the Dafter from Prom. She is just beautiful!!!!! So glad that she managed to go!!!! Thought of her that evening…. Your garden is so very beautiful. I love the view you have of it from your windows. It would bring me so much joy so I imagine it must to you. I love the color palette of all the flowers. And look at those very deep red roses. Wish I could smell them all. I do love this light in the evenings and can’t believe it is almost the time to start losing light again! no!! Am spending every spare moment trying to paint the childrens’ bedrooms as we are doing a huge switch-around and after 9 years the walls must be painted (and caulk fixed and baseboards painted, etc.) We don’t really have time to do this but must find time. 🙂 It will be so wonderful in the end and everyone will feel good having a lovely bedroom to relax in.

  7. So lovely to hear the Dafter managed to complete her exams and make it to her Prom- she looked stunning!
    Love your cardigan -the colours are gorgeous. I am so intrigued with the whole idea of steeking- something I had never heard of until a couple of years ago. I really will have to find a suitable pattern and give it a go. Looking forward to seeing the finished item:)

  8. I agree with all the above comments; the Dafter is stunning! She is absolutely beautiful and I’m so, so happy for her with all that she has accomplished. I so enjoyed seeing your beautiful flowers. My flower garden (which is almost nonexistent) is coming along slowly but nothing like yours. I so enjoyed seeing the construction taking place on your beautiful sweater. It will be fun to see it when it’s completed. (I need to ask you advice later about my knitting and the uneven stitch pattern). Wishing you and your family all the best for the upcoming weekend. It’s suppose to be super warm here with highs reaching 100! Pat xx

  9. Prom! How wonderful for the Dafter, and she looks lovely! Hope she has a really nice rest and recharge over the summer. Glad you are feeling more relaxed too. I can’t believe how far along your cardigan has come, it’s gorgeous! I’m feeling the thrill of vicarious steek cutting coming along soon! Shame about the ‘wee, sleekit, cowerin, timorous beasties’, but I’m sure in your family’s care they’ll soon thrive.

  10. Meant to add, your flowers are so beautiful! I love the peonies.

  11. Quel plaisir de vous voir revenue à une vie “normale” et de savoir que votre fille a pu profiter de quelques bons moments avec ses amies. L’année dernière vous parliez de pluie et de froid alors que je vous répondais soleil et chaleur. Cette année tout est inversé : il n’arrête pas de pleuvoir par ici et les températures sont si basses que la pluie est devenue neige cette nuit à quelques centaines de mètres au-dessu de chez nous. En plus d’être toutes deux des mères adoptives nous avons un autre point commun : les pivoines “bowll of beauty”, qui fleurissent aussi dans mon jardin et que j’attends chaque année avec impatience. Bravo pour votre splendide tricot et bon courage pour tout ce qui vous reste à faire !

  12. How wonderful to hear that the Dafter was able to go to Prom–and she does look so grown-up and pretty. Glad to hear that things are relaxing a bit after the exams. Enjoyed this glimpse into your life, beautiful flowers and even white rats!

  13. It’s great to hear you’re feeling so relieved and happy after stressful times. The Dafter was stunning on her prom night, did she do her make up herself? It looks amazing. The flowers are wonderful and your knitting is coming on leaps and bounds. What a lovely, uplifting and colourful post. 🙂

  14. Of all your June blooms, Dafter is the loveliest! Thanks for showing all the good growing around you, Christine, and I am so pleased you are feeling less stress.
    Yesterday a friend drove me to a warm mineral pool near Bonneville Dam. The weather was perfect, and the setting for the pool with evergreens and flowers and sunshine, puffy white clouds in a deep blue sky stirred by a gentle breeze was wonderful. They played some sort of soothing modern music while we swam for an hour…the best swim I have had in my 65 years!
    I wish you could have enjoyed the relaxation and celebration with me. xx

  15. Beautiful photos! I love cats and rats. You have a lovely blog. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. 🙂

  16. Thank you all so very much for your kind comments, and for sharing my relief. I have passed on your compliments to the Dafter! It does seem my wee lassie is growing up. I am just thrilled that she has been able to take part a bit more in life. Annie, how funny that once again our weather is the opposite – but the other way around this year. Gracie that swim sounds amazing! Linda, thank you and welcome! I have happy memories of Montreal, a great city.
    And for the knitters, I will keep you updated with steeking and knitting!

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