Sunday, September 10, 2017

August - Autumn arrived early

Butterflies in the garden
Combining in the village
Eddie enjoying the seaside
Our first apple

In August I was mainly:

- working in all weathers, even a thunderstorm!  You've never seen me weed so fast.
- walking the dog in clouds of dust - see combining.
- killing flies.
- making courgette soup (after washing one's hands).
- filling the freezer with beans (various).
- trying to get a bat out of the bedroom at 5am.
- spotting three barn owls, one hare and a polecat!
- reading in my steamer chair at the end of the garden under the lilac tree and then falling asleep.

I had a self indulgent trip to London on the train to meet up with Maisie one Saturday.  We had our favourite vegetarian fish and chips in the Chelsea Potter pub on the King's Road.  Apparently the pub was built in 1842 and Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones were once visitors.

Chelsea Potter pub.

Nice pint.

We strolled up Bywater Street

We then went on to Notting Hill

Love this shop!

It was very busy

By the end of the day we were exhausted.

Back in Salisbury for a very grey, cold picnic outside the Cathedral whilst listening to big band music.

Swing Unlimited Big Band with dancers dressed in 1940's gear

The weather has been so changeable that we haven't sat outside as much as earlier in the summer. 

Summer colour


Oi!  Get off!

Cosmos - Pied Piper Red

Achillea brightening up a grey day

I was determined not to waste a single home grown courgette, no matter how many we had!  The freezer is full of soup for the winter.

Courgette and lemon soup
Courgette and Parmesan soup
Courgette and ginger soup (favourite)

I made a (stiff!) batch of marmalade.

We took Eddie to Hengistbury Head again

It was freezing, windy and raining but it didn't dampen Eddie's enthusiasm

I picked a few things to identify once back home in the dry.

Pink Sea Aster - common on salt mashes, cliffs and rocks
White flower is some kind of mustard, cress or cabbage plant.  Forgot to bring a leaf home so couldn't identify it!
Rock Samphire - not very common plant of rocks and cliffs by the sea.  You can use the thick, fleshy leaves for making pickles and the carroty taste makes it good in salads.  The leaves really smell of lemon oil.

I've also been in the hedgerows at home.  This is Old Man - before the beard

Basil brought over delicious chocolate brownies and had a cuddle with Frank

We have been inundated with house martins.  One morning there were hundreds in our tulip tree, on all the telegraph wires, even on our washing line!  The next day they were all gone, back to Africa. They've got the right idea.

House martins getting ready for the off

The roses seem to have survived being moved when we had the front garden re-done.

Gertrude Jekyll

Alderley Park rose

We have been arty farty whilst listening to tunes.

Esme helped with the 'cuttin and stickin'

Oliver came over for a gossip over a massive dish of maccy cheese

A typical August sky!

Autumn has arrived early - I don't mind in a way as there's more to spot on my walks.


I would love to try making rosehip syrup.  Add to long list of things to do!

The strange Bedeguar Gall or Robin's Pincushion on a Dog Rose

I'm now on the lookout for fungi and looking forward to woolly cardy and scarf wearing - yes!

Looking down in to the valley and I've lost the dog.....

'A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places.'  

- Isabelle Eberhardt (from Tristan Gooley's 'How to read water')

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

July - drowning under a pile of courgettes

Eddie basking in the evening sun
Hengistbury Head
Summer colour
Making courgette ratatouille for the freezer

In July -

- I learnt that 5 home grown courgette plants are too many.

- Customers were getting a free courgette with every hour of weeding!

- I blanched runner beans and french beans every evening.  This is what my social life has turned into.

- I found a radio station that plays 80's tunes that I can dance to (surreptitiously) whilst weeding customer's gardens.

- I joined Salisbury Museum. 

- We sang Brahms' Requiem - twice, once in Shaftesbury, once in Salisbury.  Major ear worm ever since.

- Part of a tooth fell out (again).  I am amazed that I haven't got mercury poisoning.  I am slowly falling apart. 

- We have heard lots of strange screeches and snuffling noises in the garden at night.

- I saw a red kite whilst working in the village and we had rather odd looking hummingbird hawk moths in the garden.

- I have become a bit of a twitcher.  This month has seen a profusion of greenfinches, swifts and starlings.

I thoroughly enjoyed lunch on my own one Saturday at the Arts Centre (Tuna sandwich washed down with posh lemonade) followed by an exhibition at the museum 'British Art: Ancient Landscapes' and the subsequent talk by artist Anna Dillon 'The Draw of the Ancient Landscape'.  They made me want to rush out in to the countryside straight away and sit on top of a hill with some paints, an itchy blanket and a flask of Earl Grey tea.  I didn't.

The view from Salisbury Museum

Sculpture outside Salisbury Museum - 'Head' by Julian Sainsbury 1996

Eddie has barked at the cows

and enjoyed late evening walks in the village.

Hard to believe that the month started off so hot and humid.

Lovely boy.

Back home to cool off.

We have had some lovely skies

and sunsets.  I just wish that we had more than a couple of weeks of this weather.

Still, if it rains you can always make beer!

Another Saturday I had tea and shortbread at the Antelope Cafe at the top of the antiques market,

Image result for antelope cafe salisbury

The Antelope Cafe -

followed by a leisurely waft around Mompessan House in the Close.

I hadn't been in years.

Dahlias in the garden.


I've never seen an artichoke thistle before!

Unfortunately, the weather was not kind the day we visited Horatio's Garden charity open afternoon at the Spinal Unit, Salisbury Hospital.

It was a flying visit before the heavens opened and we got soaked!

I loved it though - gorgeous soft colours in the planting

with the odd splash of colour

and sculptures in amongst the grasses

and verbena.

Last Sunday we decided to be brave and take Eddie back to Hengistbury Head.  The last time he went there wasn't long after we got him from the Dogs Trust and he was rather over excited.  He managed to leap out of the boot before we could get the lead on his collar and made a mad dash across the car park. We caught up with him but then discovered why he had probably spent his whole life in dogs homes as he proceeded to try and hump every dog on the beach!  Agh!

I love this place, so wild and windswept and only 45 minutes from home.

You don't have to walk far to get away from the crowds as most people stay near the car park.

Eddie stayed firmly on the lead!

Eddie back in the village waiting to play football - his favourite.

Gladioli season in the back garden

The gazanias just keep on going


We tried a new walk at Marleycombe Hill.  It was covered in wild flowers, butterflies and little birds - note to self, must get better at bird watching.  I think they were linnets).  Looking at the map later on, I found out that the area was once the scene of a battle between the Romans and Britons.  Quite interesting.....  I also noticed a place called Kit's Grave marked very close by.  More interesting..... It is supposedly the final resting place of a woman who committed suicide by jumping down a well.  I must go back soon and search for it!

New walk - Marleycombe Hill, Bowerchalke

Gorgeous Dahlias

Eddie up the drove on the last evening of July

The sun came out but alas, the heat has gone.  But has it gone for good?

Scentless Mayweed or Corn Feverfew

Earlier on in the month we walked down by the mill (all our dogs' favourite) but the grass is so long that Eddie has to be checked for tics on our return home.  And he had one.

The landscape is definitely taking on an autumnal hue and the combines are out every night.  I wonder what August will bring.

'Few people in this overcrowded country have not some favourite heath or common or moor to which they retire when they need solitude, or unpolluted fresh air, the glimpse of wild life, or the sound of water falling over stones.'
- W. G. Hoskins (from 'This Birding Life' by Stephen Moss)