Thursday, July 6, 2017

June - burstin out all over

Last month I was mostly tired, bitten by red ants and sweaty.... nice.

Gazania in the garden
Spotted an unusual library whilst drinking coffee in a lay-by
Home grown strawberries - Eddie's favourite
Thinking of making lettuce soup - not really

In June I saw:-

- a grey poplar on the farm covered in honey bees.  The leaves had a fungus on them which I later found the bees are attracted to.
- a muntjac deer on a drive home.
- a sparrowhawk on a dog walk.
- a great spotted woodpecker on our fence.
- a couple of dead moles at the bar of my local pub - don't ask.  They weren't drinking.
- a surprise fly past by the Red Arrows over my parents' garden on Father's Day!
- Eddie drink some of my home brew.  He is still alive.
- a play in a (very hot) caravan.  The audience numbered 8.
- Sarah fall down a hole outside the Cathedral (and this was before going to the pub).
- bats, toads, moths and snails whilst sitting in the garden at 11pm with a glass of squash - ha ha.
- an empty tap when we had no water on the hottest day of the year. 
- my Spanish hat float off down the river after a gust of wind took it off my bouffont of a hair do (hate humidity).
- and best of all - the European Space Station!  Yahoo!  All the times I have looked out for it and just when I stop looking there it goes.

June has been full of surprises.

This bearded iris appeared out of nowhere.  It looked a bit weird sticking up out of a pot but I didn't have the heart to pull it out.

Sarah's Mum Beryl having a proud moment with her prize dahlia

Esme turned 18.  Baby chick is now peeping over the edge of the nest, whilst I.....

try not to have too many of these.

It has been so hot trying to do gardening for customers.  When it is 32 degrees in the shade and you are sat in a car with a petrol mower, hair like Leo Sayer, no make up, sweaty and covered in dirt it is not funny.  Some days we have had to finish early but I try to make the most of it by cooking instead. What a wally.

I made celeriac remoulade for the first time.  It reminds me of France, sigh.....

Can't beat rock buns.

or chocolate chip cookies.

There is so much to discover at this time of year.  What on earth do I do in the winter?

A frog in a customer's pond

I found this whilst weeding a customer's border

and this in our greenhouse.  Agh!  It was huge.  Not good with flappy things.  Sarah had to go over the road and borrow a neighbour's fishing net to catch it.

Here is our woodpecker.  Pic taken from bedroom window but you can see what it is can't you?

I spent a lovely morning mooching around Wilton and the charity shops - me time.

St Mary & St Nicholas, Wilton.  I love this church so much.  
With that sky you could think you are in Italy(ish).

Charity shopping.

I bought this green jug for £2.

We have had some lovely flowers in the garden.  No long shots though - too many weeds.

Pick and mix from the garden

Astrantia near the log store

Gorgeous smelling peonies in the front garden


Another peony

But these South African gazanias really float my boat

See what I mean

We visited Longford Castle for the first time for an open afternoon in aid of the Horatio's Garden charity. 

The Elizabethan house is stunning - so wanted to go inside.

The gardens weren't too bad either!

Sarah blending in with the purple border

The produce is coming on.


Strawberries under the anti bird (and dog) netting

Trying lollo rosso this year

The cows have enjoyed eating the red hot pokers

and staring at me as I try and read my book at the end of the garden

I love being able to go for a dog walk later in the evening,

see blue sky rather than the usual grey blanket we live under.

But I don't like being woken at 5am every morning by the cows!  Grrrr....

We loved the few gardens we saw at Seend Open Gardens.  It was such a shame that it was too hot to see all of them.

The Manor House was beautiful

Eddie came with us but it was too hot for him too.

Eddie having a cool evening walk

Frank doing what he does best

Even the Cathedral was hot inside when we sang in a concert there.  That must be a first.  Usually you need your fur coat on, even in the summer.

Sculpture in the Cathedral close
Walking Woman (bronze) by Lynn Chadwick 1914 - 2003

I'd like to see the bunch of keys for the Cathedral!

The Walking Madonna by Elizabeth Frink

The countryside looks more August than July at the moment because of the hot weather.  Will Autumn come early?

Looks like an Angie Lewin linocut

Eddie and I want to hold on to these longer days as long as possible

But the baling has started already

I shall try and live in the moment like Eddie

Off for an ice cream and sit down with my feet up. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Purple May

In the garden:
Clematis 'Niobe'
Queen of the Night tulip

Last month I mostly -

- Looked like a French peasant - a customer's description of me, not mine.  I was aiming for this look.
- Drank flasks of coffee in lay-bys
- Watched half a play and went on half a city walk.  Life is too short to be bored.
- Heard a cuckoo
- Caught a bus for the first time in years
- Discovered the roof leaked
- Won half a bottle of prune juice at the village Spring Fayre
- Was doped up on Piriton for heat rash and tried not to fall asleep whilst mowing someone's lawn

May was a very jazzy month.  Clare Teal was fab as always in the Salisbury Festival and we were the youngest members of the audience at the Swing Unlimited Big Band concert at the lovely Regent Centre in Christchurch.

The Regent Centre is a restored 1930's art deco cinema

The runner beans, courgettes and broad beans are now in the veggie patch

It is nice to have empty window sills again!

Sarah took up golf which meant that I could visit the club house - yeah!  Why do I like club houses and working men's clubs?  Weird.

The High Post Golf Club do a good range of chocolate

There are advantages to only having one car now.  I get to hang around odd places or old haunts whilst Sarah does stuff.  Apart from the golf club I have had an hour to wander around Lizzie Gardens as the sun goes down and people watch.  I had forgotten how lovely it is.

The Cathedral from Elizabeth Gardens

Water meadows

Lovely oak tree in the background

I used to sit here and muse as an angst ridden teenager - not attractive

You would hardly know you were in town - so peaceful

I enjoyed charity shopping last month.

My sister made a new friend in Oxfam in Devizes

and I bought a toast rack in the Cats Protection League shop in Melksham

Eddie has had lots of cuddles

and warily watched the cows in the field

We bought lots of plants at the village Spring Fayre.  We also won a bottle of wine on the tombola which we swapped with a fellow villager for a bottle of sherry.  We left the half drunk bottle of prune juice that we won at the village hall.....

Village Spring Fayre goodies

Eddie is getting used to me constantly taking photos

Top of the hill (and breathe.....)

That boy has so much energy

We have had lots of irises popping up in the garden

These English marigolds come up every year

The Lilac that we cut down has come back with a vengeance

We planted violas and they are still going strong

Esme showing off her wheels when her mother has to catch the bus!

We bought Eddie two new balls

The countryside is littered with lost balls

It has been unbearably hot some days in customers' gardens.

This was the day I got heat rash

Lots of customers have had amazing poppies

I quite like these orange pots too - oops, the boss is coming

I love this time of year with the long evenings

and the bluebells in Grovely Woods

The person who chops the wood in Grovely woods obviously has a sense of humour

The garden has been full with purple flowers.

Chives in the herb garden


Shaggy tulips

and bluebells

My favourite cow parsley is bursting from every bank and roadside.  I always feel like a prisoner that has just been released when spring finally arrives.  After all those dark, grey days of winter I want to run amok!


Love that green and blue!

Bring me more!

Eddie come back!

Eddie likes the better weather too.

I am back to snurging in hedgerows with my camera, trying to keep one eye on the dog.

Hedge Woundwort on the left
Ground Ivy on the right

- Hedge Woundwort has an unpleasant smell (believe me, it really does), solid square stems of up to three feet and was once used to make plasters and ointments, hence its name.

- Ground Ivy is a creeping, hairy perennial from the mint family.  It is used as a salad green in some countries (must try it) and has been used medicinally for thousands of years.  It can be rinsed and steeped in hot water to make tea (must try that too).  It was used by Saxons in brewing beer, hence its other names 'alehoof' and 'gill-over-the-ground'.  It is toxic to cattle and horses.

As you can see I am always loitering at the back and running to keep up with these two!

Well, June has been pretty cold and wet so far (admit to putting the heating on a couple of times!) so I've got time to read my new Robert McFarlane book and fan my heat rash a bit.

'To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime's experience.  In the world of poetic experience it is depth that counts, not width.  A gap in a hedge, a smooth rock surfacing a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow, the stream at the junction of four small fields - these are as much as a man can fully experience.'

- Patrick Kavanagh 1904-1967 (from 'Landmarks' by Robert McFarlane)