Friday, 24 June 2016

Scents of the Season ...

I wandered to the top of the garden on the evening of the summer solstice; the last of the sun was shining on the sheep a couple of fields away.  It was one of those moments that you felt you wanted to remember.  As I leant on the fence I could smell the scent of newly mown grass; a tractor had been trundling up and down the field cutting down the patches of nettles and thistles that were rampantly growing.  The smell of grass that is drying in the sun is sweet and took me back to the days when we cut our own hay for the goats and sheep - hours spent turning the rows in sweltering heat; praying that it wouldn't rain till all was gathered in.

The garden is full of scents right now - impossible to choose a favourite.  Roses take some beating; but then there is lavender, sweet peas, sweet William, dianthus, honeysuckle - even the strawberries are fragrant.  And though the garden looks like a jungle right now - overblown and blousy - a walk round in the evening with the air full of different fragrances is proof positive of why we garden - the perfumes that assail us being a reward for all the hard work it takes to get to this point.


It is also the time for poppies- although not fragrant, they add an ethereal beauty, the petals falling almost as soon as they arrive.  We have a field of them nearby which catches our eye as we drive past - stunning.

These are the poppies in the garden, but below is Mother Nature's contribution - she does it so much better!


The enticing view from the road as you pass by.
Fleeting moments in a poppy field.

p.s. thanks to husband for the field poppy pictures.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Paring Life Down ... The Bare Necessities

Over the past few months our life has been pared down to bare necessities.  No curtains or blinds at the windows; no carpets or rugs on the floor; no pictures on the walls; no ornaments or nick-nacks for decoration.  Just four bare walls and somewhere to sit in the evenings.  You sort of get used to it. 

Everything that was in the room has been packed and stacked  - minimal living, though not by choice.   Now that all the restoration work is almost complete we are beginning to try and get some sort of order back in our lives. But it does make you wonder just how much 'stuff' you actually need to live a comfortable life.

We have not really needed anything that has been packed away.  The question now, is, as we gradually unpack the boxes - is it worth filling all the cupboards and shelves with the things we haven't really missed, should we just keep the useful and beautiful and get rid of the rest.  I am opting for the latter - whether I can do it or not is another matter.

We have begun to hang the pictures and already it feels different.  A vase of flowers on the mantle; new shades on the lamps (the others were water damaged, in fact, everything was water damaged) and already it is beginning to feel more like home.  With the window blinds re-hung it is sounding less echoey in the main room and the replacement carpets and curtains will be the finishing touch.

So this will be my last post on the subject.  Thank you for bearing with me during this period of unrest in my life - I wouldn't wish a flooded house on anyone - it turns your life upsidedown.  Yesterday two men turned up to replace the windows where water had soaked through the double glazing and for some reason we were inordinately happy about this - it's the little things that keep you going.  In the big scheme of things it wasn't life-threatening or anything - it was just stuff that was damaged and that can all be replaced - but I wouldn't want to go through it all again - no siree bob!

From this ~

This is the culprit that started it all whilst we were away.
The radiator was only two years old!
You can see the tide mark of the water level in the bedroom.

This is what we found on our return
water still dripping through the ceiling

Ceiling removed
driers installed

Plaster removed from  walls to speed up the drying process and ceiling replaced
To This ~

I have written this post as an aide memoir so that in years to come husband and I can look back and say  "remember when we had the flood - what a nightmare".


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Going Away and Coming Home ...

Just a quick post today.  We have been away to a cottage by the sea for a short break.  A break that was badly needed.  We returned refreshed and rejuvenated - just what the doctor ordered.  Thank you for the comments on my last post - much appreciated - I didn't have time to answer them as we left pretty much as soon as I had published it.    I took a few photos while we were away (well it was more like 150, but who's counting :).  I promise not to show you all 150 but have picked a few choice ones to share with you.

Gulls, with the evening sun catching their wings, making such a commotion as they scrabbled for quayside scraps.

A wildflower meadow full of oxeye daisies.

Spotted a muntjac deer through the binoculars - can you see him (bottom right)

Father goose guarding his goslings while they pecked around - never straying far.

A captive red squirrel at a nature reserve - adorable.

A great shot of a robin on the wires taken by the husband.

We had some lovely weather, the early mornings were calm and still, the sun shone on the water at high tide, no wind - perfect in its tranquillity.  One day a sea fret rolled in - locally they call it a haar it was amazing to see tumbling across the lagoon like steam rising from the water.  A natural phenomena as the warm air hits the cold sea.

Friday came round too fast and we had to return home.  Not with trepidation like the last time (after the flood), but with anticipation, as we had left the workmen to complete the decorating in our absence.  They have done a great job; the furniture is still piled up and we have to be careful which surfaces we touch - and the smell of the paint is eye-wateringly strong - but we are almost there - the end is in sight :)

The garden has burgeoned in our absence.  Flowers that were only in bud have now blossomed - jungle is the word that comes to mind - so, since our return I have been very busy trying to tame it into acquiescence, ruthlessly pulling weeds and trying to get some semblance of order - a great big thank you to my friend J for all the watering she had to do during the mini heatwave that occurred while we were gone - not sure what I would do without her help.

'Til next time - enjoy this little spell of fine weather.


Friday, 3 June 2016

Buried in Books ...

“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.”  ― Agatha Christie, The Clocks:
"It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way round.  Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down." ~ Agatha Christie, The Clocks.
My library is small compared to some, but when you have to move all your books, it might as well be the Central Lending Library.  The house has been overrun with men this week; men banging, hammering, drilling, painting, plastering and causing general chaos.  All the furniture was moved until D and I were squeezed into a tiny space that was left while they got on with whatever it was they were doing.  Thousands of cups of coffee were made and pints of milk disappeared at an alarming rate.  But best to get it all over in one hit, then we can begin to put everything to rights.  There is not one thing in our house that is in the right place.

Which brings me to the point of this post.  Books.  We had to clear them all from the shelves whilst the room was painted.  Piles of them towering, threatening to topple if we breathed too heavily when near them.  And as I was moving them all back I couldn't resist opening them one by one, remembering when they had been read, and what had inspired me to keep them.  This made the job a lot longer than it should have been; but seeing them all laid out on the bed whilst I was sorting I came to the realisation that they were my history, that all my likes and interests were there; the things that made me, me.

Books on gardening; writing; poetry, wildflowers; nature, novels; vintage; classics; philosophy etc.    Do I really need to keep so many - the answer is yes.  I draw inspiration from my books, read them over and over - they are part of me - books that have been collected since I was a child.

They hold so many memories - have kept me entertained for hours - have taken me to places I could only dream of - filled my imagination with wondrous things.  Yes, it is a pain when you have to move them, sort them all out and return them to the shelves - it took about five hours, give or take - but the shelves looked so lonely without them and I am glad they are back where they belong.