Spring has sprung

My cousin Jill scolds me if I'm late in writing my blog. We were out for dinner with her brother Paul last night so I promised I'd get down to it today. My excuse is that I've been so busy with commissions lately. After quite a barren time now I'm working on five miniature portraits and three oil portraits. I just love being busy and after spending 8 or 9 hours a day painting I relax in other ways rather than writing blogs.
My knee is still swollen but at least I can drive again and only use a stick if walking more than half a mile or so. I needed it on Sunday as my young friend and I decided to pay a visit to Kew Gardens. It happened to be the perfect time to see the magnolias - a few days later and the cold nights would have turned the petals black. This tree, for example, is at its peak.

There is a whole grove of many types of magnolias.

I'm sure some of the trees in Kew Gardens could tell a story. This one looks as if it's come right out of a Harry Potter film.

Sunday was a very cold day so it was a relief to go into the Palm House and feel the warmth and humidity there.

Nearly twenty years ago a good friend of mine died at a young age in early April. So to commemorate the occasion I planted a magnolia stellata tree in my garden. It's thrived over the years and is one of the first sights of spring I see from my garden balcony. This is it today.

My young friend bought me a really good machine the other day. Victoria, the physio, recommended I use an excerise bike to improve the muscles and give my knee a better chance of reaching a better angle of bend.

I can use this any time. While I'm listening to The Archers I can normally manage about 500 revolutions. I aim to do at least 1,000 revolutions every day. Although my knee is almost free of pain now, even though it is still very swollen, my opposite hip is giving me the most trouble.

I hadn't realised it's been such a long time since my last blog - nearly a month. I can't believe it's that long. We've seen some good films - amongst them The Viceroy's House, and last week Beauty and the Beast. Amazing effects.
Well, that's all for now. Here's a view of our garden as of half an hour ago.