I hope Richard Jackson won’t mind me borrowing the name of his fabulous plant food for my blog this week but it seemed very appropriate particularly as spring seems to have sprung and the plants will need feeding.
It is such a pleasure to see the primroses and daffodils brightening even the dullest days with their cheerful shades of yellow.
There is already quite a lot in bloom in my garden. I love this row of white camellias under the olive trees, which have amazed me for a second year running by surviving our British winter.
I was also surprised to see this little white cherry bush already in bloom. My mum bought it for us last summer so we hadn’t seen it in flower before and a couple of weeks ago I was worried that it might have died as it looked very twiggy… now look at it!
I also took a snap of my skimmia which Julie Bates and I were discussing the last time we had a Peony flowers show together – our next show together is on Easter Monday at 6pm.
But it is not just the flowers in my garden that gave me the title idea for my blog. That happened last Saturday when I was in Leicester for the British Polio Fellowship Indoor Games gala dinner. I was disappointed not to be able to attend the games on Friday due to my regular shows on QVC, Fashion on Friday (today featuring Susan Graver) and Spotlight on Jewellery (today with Bronzo Italia and Nour). Today is the final Spotlight on Jewellery for this season so do join me at 6pm if you can. I digress… back to last weekend.
Chris and I travelled to Leicester last Saturday after a last-minute viewing on a flat for Sophie, which was perfect but had sold before she managed to view fifteen minutes after us – she is still not having much luck in that department!
We had decided to go in my car, a two seater Audi TT Roadster – the reason I am telling you this will become clear shortly. Our second misfortune of the day was my oil light coming on halfway up the M1. This wouldn’t have been a problem IF I had remembered to replace the container of the special oil my car needs the last time I used it.
I figured it was better to put some oil in than not so we stopped at the services and ‘improvised’ with what was available. Just as an aside, why is petrol at the motorway services so astronomically expensive?
We arrived at the hotel without any further hitches and in time to see the football results – another win for Crystal Palace moving us up to 11th in the Premiership.
The gala evening started at 6.30 and it was lovely to meet so many people who had clearly had a great time socialising and competing in events such as darts, indoor curling, cribbage and scrabble… I might have to enter that next year as I like a game of scrabble. I had been asked to give a short speech before presenting the medals during which I asked if anyone watched QVC – a large cheer went up!
Many of the people at the dinner were in wheelchairs or on crutches so have been left much more disabled by polio than me, but we all have one thing in common. Having ‘beaten’ the original disease we all run the risk of being affected to some degree by post polio syndrome, known as PPS, and we are talking large numbers here, potentially 120,000 people.
It’s easy to forget how devastating and frightening polio was, particularly the epidemic years, but now there is a safe vaccine it has been wiped out in this country and most countries around the world. Unfortunately the paralysis and disability caused is something polio survivors have to live with on a daily basis.
One of the ladies from the Northern Ireland contingent said my speech had resonated with her when I mentioned that, until a few years ago, I never admitted to anyone that I had had polio. It is almost like we were ashamed of something that we had no control over contracting when in fact which should feel very proud to have fought and survived it.
Another lady said she remembered as a teenager all her friends going shoe shopping in Dolcis on a Saturday. She felt so excluded from such a simple pleasure because, like me, she can’t walk in high or slender heels. It’s only a small thing but how good to be able to share with others in a similar situation.
So to the funny bit of my story. After the medal presentation I was thanked and presented with a HUGE basket of flowers. Chris and I looked at each other. How on earth were we going to get them home? We had visions of Chris sitting with them on his lap, his face peering out from the blooms, for the two hour journey home.
Fortunately we managed to bend the handle of the basket to one side so that we could squeeze them in the boot of the car and the only casualty was the two top flowers of a stunning orchid… phew! They have looked beautiful in my fireplace all week, a lovely reminder of an event I was delighted to be part of for the first time.
Well I really must dash now as I am on air earlier than usual at 3pm to celebrate the first anniversary of Tarte make-up on QVC – hope you can join me.
Remember to put your clocks forward tomorrow night and I’ll see you all over the Easter weekend.
p.s: Does anyone recognise the dress I was wearing for the gala dinner?