Spring Musings

It's  supposed to be spring but the temperatures are high enough for it to feel like summer. While most of Europe is drowning in rain storms and hit with unseasonal hail, over here it looks like we're going to have an early and unwelcome summer. But apart from the vagaries of the weather it is clear that things are changing and life is slowly inching back to normal. I should be happy about it but I seem to have grown accustomed to lounging around the house and 'hiding' away. It seems as if I've become quite happy to shelter within the walls of our home but I know it will all start to change soon. It will have to unless I'm planning on becoming a hermit. So I hope you indulge me as I share some frivolity and fluff that will tide me over to the better days to come.

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

I've done quite a bit of gardening this spring. I've planted marigold, sunflower and aster seeds around 5 weeks ago and nothing's growing yet. So I can safely assume the seeds were rubbish. But I managed to grow basil and morning glory from last year's seeds and also a plant that I don't know the name of whose seeds I collected from around our town. The seeds are as big as peppercorns and they are growing nicely. Once they start to flower I will take a few pictures maybe someone can tell me what they are. I've also managed to bring our roses back from the brink of perdition. Last year and the year before that they developed big black spots on their leaves. The leaves would then turn yellow and fall off. We got a spray for it (I think it's a type of fungus) but it didn't seem to help. This year i decided that I would cut off every leaf that had black spots. Fingers crossed, it seems to have worked and they now seem to be healthy again. Our crazy hibiscus were flowering way into the winter months. Then in late February they decided to drop all their leaves. Now, one of them decided to flower even though it is practically leafless.  We also have a cactus whose roots aren't even in the soil but is flourishing happily. Plants are a mystery to me and I have no idea why some live and others perish inexplicably.

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Sincerely Loree: Flowers in my garden

Beautiful even in death.

I'm really happy to have a day off this coming Friday. It's going to be a 'me' day and I'll be spending time doing a few things I like.  I'll probably stop at a few of my favourite stores like Zara Home, Benetton and Mango and get a quick snack from somewhere. Then I'll read and read and read. 

We went to a book sale this past weekend and I came home with 9 new books. I also have another 6 books (one of them a trilogy) still left over from my Christmas pile. At the moment I am reading Captain Corelli's Mandolin. I'd seen the movie when it first came out but it was sufficiently long ago for me to have forgotten most of the details and I have no idea how it ended. While the movie (if I remember correctly) seems to have been mostly concerned with the love-story between Pelagia and Antonio Corelli, the book introduces us to a whole supporting cast of  memorable characters that broaden its scope considerably.  I have been finding it slow in some places but I think that my overall rating will be positive. I'm also reading The Tigress of Forli, a biography of Caterina Sforza. I love to have a fiction and non-fiction book going at the same time. Does anybody else do that? I'd love to know.

Sincerely Loree: Book stash

In other news, my hairdresser has chopped 3 inches off of my hair. I hate to cut it because it tends to defy gravity when it's shorter and bunches upwards, causing me a lot of frustration. This time round it seems that it's at the perfect length. Now I just need to find a product that works on my frizz-prone hair. I used a product called Avon Advanced Techniques Overnight Elixir in the past. But they have discontinued it and I am still looking for an alternative that works. Suggestions are welcome especially from anyone with wavy/ curly hair that is prone to unruliness and frizz.

We've seen Etna's cone three times from our balcony these past few days. It's not the first time this has happened and it's usually most clearly visible on very cold and clear winter days. On the contrary, it's a bit hazy at the moment but it seems that the sun is at the best angle for us to be able to see the it. Sunday night it was clear enough that we were able to spot the volcano late in the evening and, after the sun went down, the twinkling lights of Sicily. The immensity of Etna always manages to leave me rather speechless. Even though we are about 90 miles away it gives off an aura of incredible power. 

This photo was actually taken some years ago in April and heavily zoomed-in.

I'll end by sharing a link to the cake I baked for Mother's Day. This year I was able to invite my parents over. We had a simple meal of pasta and salad and I made a very special cake. I found the recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Cake from Two Cups Flour, an account I follow on Instagram.( For those that are lactose-intolerant the milk can be substituted with almond milk. I noted one small error in the recipe as vanilla is  included in the ingredients but is not mentioned in the instructions. I just included it when I added the milk and lemon juice). It's a pretty easy cake to make but it looks really special and it tastes so delicious that I couldn't stop eating it (no surprise there really, I 'm never one to skip dessert). My photos do not really do this cake justice. Note to self: I need to improve my food photography.

Sincerely Loree: Strawberry Lemonade Cake

This was supposed to be a short post so I'll leave you here for today. I hope to be out and about more and will try to go to some interesting places so that I can share them with you. I've only been to Mdina lately because I never get bored of that place and it's still so quiet without any tourists around. It's a place that I have many fond memories of and you can read more about it in A Twilight Stroll Around  MdinaTen Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit Mdina and  Mdina: Childhood Memories of the Silent City. 

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

Sincerely Loree: Mdina, Malta

And that really is all for today ...

Pipistrello said...

Love your flower pics, Loree, the colours are luscious! For some reason, I never twigged that you could see Sicily from Malta - a glowing Etna must draw your eye at night. I've been to Sicily when you can see lava flowing and it's rather mesmerising, like watching a fire in a grate.

I still have Captain Corelli on the shelf from when it was the In Book but have only read it once. I remember being charmed by the British spy who thinks he's well disguised as a shepherd speaking his Classical Greek. You've got quite a bit of reading to be getting on with. Enjoy!

Parnassus said...

Hello Loree, Summer also arrived quite suddenly in Taiwan--like someone turned on an oven. There has been a slight uptick in Covid cases here, so the lockdown-type rules have become very strict--you have to sign in every time you enter a store. I think your food photography skills are fine--that looks like a real, appetizing cake, not a plaster model, and when I looked at the original, what were all those flowers about? Even if they are edible, they don't look appetizing or appropriate on a cake.

Loree said...

Pipistrello: the spy's name was Bunny Warren and he provided the right dose of humour. Although I think that, I. Real life, spies would have been much better prepared.

@Jim: thank you. I can be my own worst critic. Many bakers decorate their cakes with real flowers for the pretty visual effect. I figured I wouldn't try it or I would have messed up the frosting.

Debbie Nolan said...

Loree when you get the question why certain plants and others do not - let me know. Over the years I have found the ones I fuss less over do better...maybe God is telling me He is in control :)!
Looks like you have a wonderful list of books to read this coming summer. I too have fiction and non fiction books going at the same time. Makes reading fun. Take care and thanks again for such a lovely post. Hugs!

Gattina said...

When I look at your pictures I get holiday feelings ! They are beautiful ! No wonder that the little streets make me think of Italy ! And you can see the Etna from your window ! Wow ! You are lucky to have almost summer I don't know what we have because it's only 12° but it's green everywhere and the flowers are blooming ! But when it rains I don't go out just walk around under an umbrella !And there is nothing to do. The poor owners of terraces have no clients because of the cold and the rain and the inside of the restaurants are still closed ! I think iif nothing changes the lockdown will be completely lifted on June 9th !And now that I am so used to be inside I have no energy left to go outside especially with all the worries I have with Mr. G who is still in hospital !

La Contessa said...

90 miles from SICILY!
I DONOT HAVE THE FRIZZY PROBLEM..........so no recommendations for YOU!

Loree said...

Debbie: I agree. Sometimes it's best not to fuss and let nature take its course.

Gattina: hope things start to improve for Mr G and also that your weather will get better. It must be nice to see a lot of green things growing though. Here is is like a desert and they keep c hopping down trees. It's awful.

Elizabeth: the ferry from Sicily takes around 2 hours but the plane only takes 20 minutes. They generally use a normal plane not a small one because Sicily is a favourite destination with the Maltese. I guess you can say we feel very much at home :)

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