So to get back into the swing of things here's a picture of my startlingly lovely clematis last week.
And here are the violas, going like gangbusters and putting up a brave fight against the encroaching nasturtiums.
I also came up with a rather lovely roasted aubergine dip recipe:
Roast a couple of aubergines in a hot oven until blackened all over. Cut them in half and scrape out the insides into a food processor. Add a tbsp of pomegranate molasses, 1-2 tbsp tahini, a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper and a little olive oil and blitz until smooth. Be careful how much olive oil you add - it can make the dip a bit runny. Check the flavourings - I particularly like the tanginess of the pomegranate, but you may want more tahini and more salt. Scatter with chopped parsley and pine nuts et voila.
Given the lovely weather, I've also been reading like crazy. To prepare myself for Sylvia Beach's letters, recently published in the States, I've gone back to Noel Riley Fitch's biography of this extraordinary, selfless, generous woman who acted as a personal interchange and bank for many of the foremost writers of the earliest 20th century who found themselves on Paris' Left Bank, in particular James Joyce who, without the personal and financial aid, commitment and sacrifice of Sylvia, wouldn't have been published at all. A re-visit to writers such as Hemingway and F Scott is made all the more satisfying for another piece of the jigsaw pushed into place.