colours of spring in March

Driving across the island this morning – I’ve decided this is Cyprus at its most beautiful.

It was just after 7am, warm and sunny with blue skies. The air was fresh like an English summer morning, with the scent of grass and flowers and the promise of a bright day ahead. The grass was glistening with dew and along the roadside there were bright yellow flowers everywhere. At one bend in the road a perfect picture of yellow flowers in the tall green grass sprinkled with scarlet poppies shouted to be noticed. I wanted to stop and take a photograph but airport check in time was calling and you never know what delays could be ahead, so I didn’t risk it.

This is a Middle Eastern spring and very beautiful it is too. We hardly experienced it last year, as the winter had been little more than a blip of cold snap with very little rain. Then almost without warning February and March had slipped into summer. But today the fields are lush and green, the trees are bristling with new leaves and wild flowers of yellow, red and blue lace the roadside at every turn. I’m worried that while I’m away the sun will burn up these colourful blooms and dry out the grass – returning the fields to parched mustard plains of scrub and dust. Please stay spring-like a little longer, just till I get back.

Cyprus has had one of longest and wettest winters for a long time, with piles of snow in the mountains too. Now just as the rain has done its magic and it looks like brightening up properly – I’m off to the UK.

A few hours in the air and this afternoon England feels a lot more brown, but beautiful in its own way. Here the trees are still bare, the sun is hiding behind some clouds, but there are patches of blue sky visible from the windows of the train. It seems like winter hasn’t hung up its coat yet.

I wonder why colours affect us so much? What is it about a blue sky early in the morning that makes us smile and happy to jump out of bed and start the day? Why are green fields more peaceful and relaxing on the eye than sand or desert? We love blue seas, but grey or brown waters look uninviting. There is no denying I like to live my life in colour and it definitely has an affect on how I feel.

Although England won’t offer as many ‘blue sky’ mornings as Cyprus, there are compensations. The sunsets are often spectacular with amazing cloud formations that are simply heavenly. There’s a soft light across the countryside here that we don’t get abroad – the difference between the gentle strokes of a water colour and the deep vivid shimmer of an oil painting. I was touched by nature’s beauty early this morning now I’m being wowed again from the train as the sun gilds a rippling cloud with gold and pink edges and spills its copper beams across the sky.

It really is true – ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.’

Fact: Whether you’re in Cyprus or the UK.

below: spring flowers and blue sky at Salamis on Sunday

photo salamis


paper boats and bunting

Today I have ‘wedding withdrawal symptoms’ which sits uncomfortably between my perfectly manicured French nails and the pastel decorated invitation positioned on a ledge above the fireplace. I can hardly believe that just six months ago, after a surprise engagement announcement at New Year, we were discussing dates and venues and now it’s all over.

The wedding day, rather like Mary Poppins, was ‘practically perfect in every way’, which is a little surprising considering…

After flying in from Cyprus in the early hours of Saturday morning, we arrived at our adopted home for the week. This was a spacious, country house, surrounded by the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside – rolling hills, cornfields and green hedges. Every morning when I woke up it was a delight to roll up the blind and see blue skies (most days) with the garden and fields beyond bathed in that gentle golden morning light.

But less of the mesmerizing view, because there was work to be done, scones to be baked and decorations to be prepared. I had volunteered myself to make 50 scones, which didn’t seem too bad until I realized baking in someone else’s kitchen can be tricky. It also helps to read the recipe properly. After a long hunt for kitchen scales (hard to find when you don’t know what they look like) and even longer working out how to put the mixer together, I had two trays of scones laid out ready for the oven. Glancing down at the recipe on the ipad, I suddenly saw the word ‘sugar’ leap out at me from the page. Sugar indeed! I hadn’t added it…but not too late to put all the carefully cut scones back into the mixer and add the sugar, roll them out again and carefully lay them out on the trays again…several hours later and sort of miraculously scones eventually appeared from the oven. They were a little like ‘Sellafield scones’ – absolutely massive and odd shapes, but hopefully not radioactive. Never mind, I let them cool and put them in the freezer…hoping everyone else baking for the wedding had created scones with less stress.

The next day there were paper boats to decorate, polo mints to thread on strings for lifebuoys, cocktail sticks to fix onto mini flags and a pile of orders of service to be strung together. A talented team, laden with craft skills, made light work of this, while I hovered between assisting with lunch, making coffees and excitedly hugging the bride-to-be in my patchwork dungarees.

The day before the wedding we headed to the reception venue, via the flower people, where bunting needed to be hung, and tables decorated, jam jars and driftwood had to be unpacked and arranged. At lunchtime there was a rough picnic, while everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Amidst cake and tea later that afternoon, there was excitement in the air and everyone was hoping the pile of umbrellas in the corner were just a precaution. Late that night, the delayed arrival of the bride’s elder brother on his motor bike, was the icing on the cake and we were all set for the big day.

On the morning of the wedding, after a stroll to a local lake and a delicious family brunch, the house started filling up with bridesmaids and photographers. Everyone needed, hairdryers, mirrors, ironing boards and cups of tea all at the same time, and just when I thought it was safe to jump in the shower, there was a call that the flower people had arrived. Meanwhile, while I ran around the house in search of nail varnish, there was shouting in the garden, where the recently showered ushers were attempting sweaty acrobatics and summersaults on the trampoline. I now have it on good authority that the clock really does speed up on the day of the wedding…the hours between 11am and 2pm disappeared in a flash and suddenly we were helping the bride into her stunning dress, fixing on the veil and before I knew it, I was watching her walk towards me down the aisle with her father. It was wonderful, perfect, special and all ran smoothly from the paper boats and bunting to the tea, scones and pimms on the lawn.

car wedd

But today, I’ve got the post wedding blues. The planning and preparation is all over and the bride and groom long gone to a secret destination. My Mother-of-the-Bride day is done, so I suppose it’s time to shake out the dungarees and get back to work. It’s not all about the wedding anymore, but that very special time with family and friends has left me pining for ‘home’ and green fields and England.