Were you happiest at 16 or 70?

Were you happiest at 16 or 70?

snowdrop 30

There has been a lot in the UK press recently about the newly published results of a study into happiness.  Called the ‘Happy now report’, it suggests that the happiest ages are 16 and 70. 

I’ve written before about when I was 16, “Back in ‘63” and it certainly was a good year for me.

And, now that I’m just over 70, I have to say that I am happy more often than not.  Like everyone, I’ve had my share of ‘ups and downs’ over the years.  I have grieved for family members and close friends who have passed away.  I live with chronic illness and pain.  I worked hard for most of my life and I have a very simple home.  But my happiness is not based on anything physical, financial or material.  It is based entirely on spending time with friends, family, or my dog, and as often as possible, being surrounded by nature.  I think being over 70 brings a certain acceptance and resilience that enables me to set aside any niggling fears, anxieties and disappointments, and just ~ be happy!

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote,

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared with what lies within us.”

This weekend for example has been wonderful.  I met 2 dear friends for a walk amongst the snowdrops in Painswick Rococo gardens.  We do this every year around this time and it is always a joy whatever the weather.  Friday was perfect, cold but sunny with no wind. You can enjoy our photos below.

snowdrop 18

Then, on Friday evening I met another dear friend to celebrate her birthday, with a simple fish and chip supper.  The company and conversation were more important than the food, although the fish and chips were divine too!

Lastly, on Saturday I had an impromptu ride on a big wheel in Cheltenham with 2 of my wonderful grandchildren and their mum and dad to see the town lit up.

Simple pleasures but honestly, they made me extremely happy.




snowdrop time


One of the best things about this time of year in the UK is the abundance of spring flowers that battle their way through the cold wet earth. In my garden the hellebores have been flowering since Christmas, the snowdrops all through February, and the daffodils popped out as March poured in.  This is something of a miracle as I was sure my little puppy had destroyed them all with her frantic digging.  But thankfully they survived her and Storm Doris.

In the park opposite my little bungalow there are banks of snowdrops growing beside a stream, clumps of crocuses among the trees, and a touching display of daffodils that appeared in 2010 spelling out, “Will You Marry Me?”  I walk my dog there every day.

But for a really impressive display I have to go a little further into the Cotswold countryside and take a walk around the Rococo Gardens at Painswick  or Colesbourne Park.


This year the road taken had to be meticulously planned and carefully executed as my husband came with me to both places. He has been using a wheelchair for the last 18 months due to his medical conditions and the debilitating effects of his treatment.  But over the last two months he has made great progress and started walking indoors with some mobility aids.  He has done so well that I was determined to take him to see the snowdrops.  This would be his first walk in the great outdoors.  It was a bit difficult in some places due to uneven ground or slopes, but together we did it.  Fortunately there were lots of places to rest on the road taken.  It was a lovely afternoon out for us both.


Leaving my husband to rest on a seat in the Rococo Gardens, I wandered down a gravel path and came across a most unusual sight.  A fairy castle inspired by Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria was carved on top of a fallen birch tree.  According to the label it was created by chainsaw sculptor, Denius Parson.  It really was impressive.

I was joined on my walk, as I often am, by a friendly robin.  I enjoyed the sights as he hopped about bending his head to watch me.  There were banks of snowdrops in every direction, with little clumps of cyclamen and hellebore dotted about, and daffodils just beginning to show.

Enjoy my spring photos from the Rococo Garden.  It was dull and drizzly and the sun was setting by the time we left but the photos show the abundance of snowdrops …





Thanks to reading one of my favourite blogs I remembered that the flower of the day is the snowdrop. I already have snowdrops and hellebores appearing in my garden as the weather is so mild here so I thought I would repost some of the photos I have taken of these flowers in the past. I live near the Rococo gardens at Painswick, a place I have blogged about several times. According to The Independent Newspaper in 2008,

The Rococo Garden has one of the largest naturalistic plantings of snowdrops in the country and is in many ways the spiritual home of Galanthus Atkinsii.

Although many believe the Romans introduced snowdrops they are more likely to have been brought to England in the early 16th Century. Galanthus nivalis is native to a large tract of mainland Europe from the Pyrenees in the west, through France and Germany to Poland in the north, Italy, Northern Greece and European Turkey.

Most of the other species Galanthus come from the eastern Mediterranean, though several are found in South Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Galanthus fosteri comes from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Israel.
More photos are at the following links:
Springtime http://wp.me/p2gGsd-MW
Snowdrops and Hellebores http://wp.me/p2gGsd-ET


The weather is so beautiful today and Spring is so exquisite that I just have to repeat a quote from Thomas Traherne  the 17th century Poet & Mystic

“Heaven! is not that an Endless Sphere
Where all thy Treasures and thy Joys appear?
If that be Heaven it is Evrywhere

Heaven surely is a State and not a Place
To be in Heaven’s to be full of Grace
Heaven is wherever we see God’s face.”

I recently took a walk in Painswick to see the snowdrops at the Rococo Gardens.  By the lake children were playing and birds were singing.  The sky was blue and the soft breeze blowing through the trees was chilly but welcome.  The snowdrops were beautiful and the company was great.  It is one of those special places, a sacred space filled with peace and natural beauty, which justify Traherne’s words.

Small stones 7 ~ snowdrops and hellebores

Spring was in the air today.  The hellebores flowers are just about open in my garden and the snowdrops are already out at the Rococo gardens.  I love this time of year.

Our local newspaper (Gloucestershire Echo) today reported that,

SNOWDROPS have started to bloom at a garden in Painswick following a mild start to the new year.

With temperatures hovering around the 10C mark so far this January, dozens of the white flowers have emerged earlier than expected at Rococo Garden.

  1. blooming:   Snowdrops on the hidden slopes of the  Rococo Gardens, Painswick. Inset, Paul Hervey-Brookes.
  1. blooming: Snowdrops on the hidden slopes of the Rococo Gardens, Painswick.

Paul Hervey-Brookes, garden adviser at Rococo, said: “They usually start to bloom around the second week of January and the last to flower finish by the end of March.

“But because it has been mild this year so far, they have been tricked into thinking it is later in January than it is, and they have started to come out.”

Temperatures are predicted to plummet in Gloucestershire this week, but Paul says the snowdrops will survive.

He said: “The cold weather will not kill them, it will just stop their bloom, and then they will continue when it starts to get milder.”

Forecasters are predicting a progressive drop in temperature as the week goes on, with a night time low of -1C possible by Thursday.

There should be a let up for areas affected by flooding, as no heavy rain is predicted.

Snowdrops at Painswick Rococo Garden
I happened to be at Painswick when the sun was shining, the views long, the trees magnificently silhouetted against a blue sky. I like trees better in winter than summer. The form becomes the chief point of them, not just the mass of green that is all we see in summer. And because the situation of the Painswick garden is so extraordinary, you get long views both across and down, snowdrops clothing the steep banks below the renovated Eagle House, snowdrops, many of them fat doubles, thick on the grassy bank that leads up to the viewpoint above the maze, snowdrops down by the fish pond and the square, rather dark plunge pool where surely only the most muscular of Victorians would have wanted to plunge. A bonus at Painswick was the best bank of winter-flowering cyclamen I’ve ever seen, pink and magenta Cyclamen coum seeding itself through the grass with an abandon I could only envy.

The Independent 2008