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)

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.