Friday, 31 October 2014

The Last Smiles of the Year …

They came dressed in black and red, hard hats, visors and ear protectors; carrying chain saws, ropes, sacks, rakes, leaf blowers and ladders.  The day had arrived – the Willow tree trembled in anticipation of being denuded, shorn – the branches that once reached for the sky would soon be gone, shredded and pulped to oblivion.


One last picture taken as a reminder of  how much it had grown and how beautiful it looked in the early morning sun.


They toiled and tarried until dusk threatened; sawing, chopping, carefully lowering branches, taught ropes  and the coarse rasping of the saw – at last the garden was silent the chain saw stilled, dangling from the woodsman’s waist – it’s work was done – the hand-saw sheathed.  Out came the rakes and sacks, evidence of destruction removed.  Branches, leaves and twigs dragged to the shredder, the noise of the machine echoing round the village on this calm, sunny day.


The next morning we see the results as the curtains are drawn back – the mist across the fields highlights the bare raw stumps – all that is left of the poor old Willow that had provided somewhere shady to sit in summer, somewhere for the birds to perch waiting for us to fill the feeders.  I shall miss the swishing of the branches when the wind is high and the changing colour of the leaves as the season turns.

It will grow back – I know that – but for now I will have to get used to the change of  light in the garden – seeing more of the sky and the view beyond.


Whilst out and about in the village later in the day everything was bathed in sunlight giving a golden glow  as the light filtered through the trees

“ I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne”






“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” ~ Joe L. Wheeler


“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons” ~ Jim Bishop


“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn – that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness – that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” ~ Jane Austen



“The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools” ~ Henry Beston


All in all a good week

– we can  see clearly through the windows now - some that were suffering from condensation have been replaced – the sun is shining again today – it is mild and the sky is clear – a good day for gardening and thinking happy thoughts.

See you next week – same time, same place.

Friday, 24 October 2014

My Week in a Nutshell …

Rain and strong winds have kept me indoors this week – so my activities have changed somewhat.  I have been doing a lot of sky-watching.  Seeing the sunrise and sunset come and go.



Reflection of the sunset making the house and greenhouse windows seem aflame 

When being outdoors and gardening isn’t an option I turn my creativity elsewhere.  Each winter I aim to complete a needlepoint cushion – last year I finished two crocheted knee blankets and a cushion.  This is what I have chosen for this year, something to while away the long dark evenings.



A lot more reading goes on too – I have a stash of books waiting to be read – the one I am reading at present is not  the type of book I would normally go for but I am finding it fascinating – it is a novel about the thirteenth-century Sufi poet Rumi and Shams of Tabriz and his forty rules of life and love.  In the present day Ella reads a manuscript about these people and she embarks on a journey to meet the mysterious author.  It is a quest infused with Sufi mysticism and verse, taking Ella into an exotic world where faith and love are heartbreakingly explored. 

I have to say it is a very special book which I am sure will stay with me long after I have finished reading it.

Taking a daily walk around the village is on the agenda too – there is so much to do in the garden in the summer months that I don’t seem to have time, but in autumn and winter, if I don’t get out each day I begin to feel imprisoned.  Below are a couple of pictures of autumnal finds whilst on  my nature walks.



A few plants in the garden have decided to flower for a second time which is an added bonus.



And a morning session in the kitchen produced a couple of jars of carrot chutney to use up some carrots that were on the turn.


Whilst I sit  typing I can hear a couple of Wagtails cheeping from the roof tops – they love to run along the ridges and call to one another – you never seem to see them other than at this time of year.

The weekend will see more tidying in the garden, weather permitting, and a lot of leaf collecting, the high winds have brought loads down, especially the willow which seems particularly vulnerable.

So that’s it – my week in a nutshell.  Have a good weekend and don’t forget to turn the clocks back – personally I hate the dark mornings and short days.   See you next week.





Friday, 17 October 2014

Seeking out the changes ...

Some photographs to show the beauty I have found in the garden this week

The garden is damp and shining with early morning dew
Bathed in sunlight showing through petals
 and throwing long shadows across the grass

Water droplets on purple ribbed cabbage - a different kind of beauty
Whilst the bright sunshine-yellow stems of chard
light up and cheer the soul
Autumn is a time for seeking out the unusual
something to catch the eye
as the flowers fade and disappear
Shadows thrown against a fence
The slow changing of the leaves - beautiful
in their dying colours
Tomatoes hanging on to their withered branches

Change is upon us
Step by step autumn arrives - stealthily
snatching the last glories of summer
bite by bite
Some plants flower in the face of all this
The last rose petals fall at a mere touch

Thank you for the comments on my last post – they go unanswered due to a busy week and not much computer time.  I have been preoccupied with tradesmen.  A boiler service, a plumber to fix a leaky radiator, tree surgeons to manicure the trees, a window man to quote on replacing some units of the double glazing – all these things take time – and patience.  Hopefully everything will soon be back to normal.
See you next week - same time, same place

Friday, 10 October 2014

Trying Not to be Boring … Indecision is a terrible thing …

Everything will be okay in the end – If it’s not okay – It’s not the end.

I couldn’t decide what the topic of my blog post would be today – I ruminated over it all week – and thought,  maybe I should post about …

Bring in the Surgeons …

We have three large trees in the garden that need annual attention – last year husband and I tackled them by pruning as much as we could and shifting all the debris to the tip.  But this year the trees have excelled themselves and the job was just too big for us to handle.  So I called the tree surgeons in for an estimate – but no, too boring ~ perhaps I’ll leave that for another day …


or maybe a post about …

The Day That The Rains Came Down …

The wind was stronger – clouds racing fast across the sky – then it happened – the heavens opened.  The thirsty garden soaked it up gratefully – but I felt sad that the weeks and weeks of warm, dry weather, were over.  It seemed strange to pull out my waterproof jacket and dig into the depths of my handbag for my umbrella – it also seemed weird to be fully dressed.  I don’t adapt well to an indoor life and as the weather turns I have to motivate myself each day to make the most of my time – I guess I’m just an outdoors kind of girl – no, that’s boring too …


Okay, so what about …

The Great Autumn Wardrobe Changeover …

I spent time changing my wardrobe over from summer to winter.  Putting away the short-sleeved T-shirts, shorts, skirts and sandals and bringing out out the long-sleeved, sweaters and sturdier boots and shoes.  All of which resulted in two bags of clothes and shoes to be taken to the charity shops.  I am not quite sure how I accumulate all this stuff as I don’t buy very much – they just seem to multiply when I’m not looking.  Very strange … no, everyone else is doing that one …


Maybe a post about …

Re-charging my batteries …

Saturday morning was a wash-out  so I took some down-time to re-charge my batteries.  Reading, watching a film, more reading, a bit of cooking and generally relaxing – did I feel guilty – not a bit.  No, not that one either – a bit of a flimsy premise


I thought about sharing the results of a personality test – but that is a bit self-indulgent, so no, that one went in the rubbish bin too ..

Personality Test …

I do like a good personality quiz – if I see one I just have to take it – to see if I am what I think I am. This one at 16 Personalities – is very comprehensive and pretty darn accurate too.  Apparently I am an empathic and idealistic individual who enjoys exploring interesting ideas  known for my poetic nature, intuitive skills and pure, childlike enthusiasm.  Having a talent for self-expression, revealing my secrets through fictional characters.So far so good.

Strengths  - Idealistic, Seek and value harmony, Open minded and flexible, Very creative, Passionate and energetic, Dedicated and hardworking.

Weakness - Too idealistic, Too altruistic, Impractical, Dislike dealing with data, Take things too personally, Difficult to get to know.

So how does that fit in with who I perceive myself to be – most of it is spot on – not sure if I like what I read though.

By this time I am running out of ideas …


A Sure Sign of Autumn …

Is when we oil the patio furniture and store it in the shed keeping it safe and dry till the summer returns.  Goodbye languid days sitting beneath the umbrella reading, watching the comings and going of birds, bees and butterflies, drinking tea and eating cake – definitely not this one - what was I thinking ! …

In the end I  made the decision on a greenhouse post, surely everyone loves a post about the greenhouse -  telling you about …

Bringing the Outside In …

When the weather outside is less than perfect – cold, wet and blustery – I retreat to the greenhouse to get my gardening fix.  Tender plants have been brought in ready for cuttings to be taken – an insurance against a hard winter – a job that I always enjoy doing.


And my thoughts turn to indoor gardening – planting bulbs in pots for the house.  When the Cyclamen season is upon us I buy loads of cheap plants and put them in old white serving dishes where they provide colour, scent and charm for a few weeks before going out into the greenhouse then being planted outdoors in a reasonably shady place – even if they don’t survive I haven’t lost much as they are so cheap at 50pence a plant – that can’t be bad.




But it doesn’t stop there – oh no!  I also plant bulbs of Snowdrops, Muscari, Tazzetta Narcissus (multi-flowered), Crocus, Chionodoxa, Iris, Hyacinth – in any decorative container I can lay my hands on.  Most need to be kept in the cold and dark for about 10-15 weeks to simulate winter – I do try to do this to get some flowering by Christmas – a ploy which isn’t always successful, but worth trying.  Some years I just can’t get my act together in time – and always regret it.


So even though the weather is atrocious and no real gardening can be done – at least I can ensconce myself in the greenhouse and do a little pottering – in the hope of cheering up those drab winter months – bringing the outside in.

Hope you didn’t find all this too boring!

See you next week – same time, same place.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Happiness is …


Just a few random pictures that have been taken over the last week - a photo journal of how I have occupied my time.


Picking the last of the summers flowers


Sky-watching as the sun goes down


I think women just have a primeval instinct to make soup, which they will try to foist on anybody who looks like a likely candidate.~ Dylan Moran


Enjoying a bowl of home made tomato soup which was totally tomatoey and quite delicious.


A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in straight rows. ~Doug Larson


Spending every afternoon in the garden trying to make an impact on over-enthusiastic shrubs, over-enthusiastic weeds and planting bulbs in borders and containers.


It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.  The rich colours of grass and earth were intensified by the mellow light of a sun almost warm enough for spring. ~ P.D. James


Making the most of the last bit of colour before it disappears.


If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens ~Robert Browning


Turning this delicious Sour Dough Boule into this


Happiness is … marmalade on toast


Breakfast toast – crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside - with rich Tawny Orange Marmalade.


It is a greater act of faith to plant a bulb than to plant a tree ~ Clare Leighton


Did I mention planting bulbs


still more to plant


Marvelling at the Primulas that have started to flower


I was drinking in the surroundings: air so crisp you could snap it with your fingers and greens in every lush shade imaginable offset by autumnal flashes of red and yellow  ~ Wendy Delsol


And watching the wonders of Autumn as the leaves start to change colour and fall silently to the ground.


And finally, gathering the last of the Blueberries – their best year ever.


Hope you enjoyed your week as much as I did.  And as an extra special treat I give you the colours of autumn.






See you next week – same time, same place.