Archive for category Life in General
‘How many kinds of decor can go
In an English country garden
I’ll show you now of some that I know
and a few you might find hard to pardon’
(with apologies to the original 18th century folk song ‘In An English Country Garden)
In part one, I gave you a glimpse of some of the ideas put into play in the garden by the previous owner of our new house. Mr. Tialys is less than enamoured by the use of the black plastic mulch and gravel everywhere but he has since seen signs of the dreaded ground elder so at least he understands why she might have gone down that slightly ugly road.
She also had some weird and (sometimes) wonderful ideas about outdoor décor and I’ve been having fun seeking them out in nooks and crannies all over the garden.
I’ve always wanted a weather vane and this one on the garage roof is appropriate considering we are in an area with much horsey business going on as they stable and train racehorses in this area.
That one was easy to spot but the rest have been placed in semi-hidden places around the garden and I’ve been, by turns, delighted and astounded (!) by some of the choices.
I’ll leave you to decide which ones evoked which reaction,
Which one is your favourite? Would you give any of them
house garden room?
I’ll give you a heads up and tell you that the last one is my favourite but that’s because we brought him with us from our garden in France much to the annoyance of the removal men because it weighs a ton.
One thing that has taken me by surprise now I’m back in England is that the days are so short- like my memory apparently seeing as I lived here for most of my life before my French adventure. It’s not properly light until gone 8 in the morning an,d it’s almost dark by 4 in the afternoon, even on a fairly sunny day like today. The days in France are also shorter in the winter obviously but, maybe because the weather was generally much better where we lived, the daylight seemed to last longer.
So, even though it was a relatively bright day today my photos of the garden don’t really reflect that.
As Cathy (of nanacathy blogging fame) did when she moved house earlier this year, we are looking at the garden and wondering what the changing seasons will bring. Some things are obvious but I’m sure there’ll also be some surprises.
This massive old oak tree rules over part of the front garden and is often full of huge black crows but there are smaller birds in residence too, lots of blue tits, blackbirds, wrens and we’ve seen two types of woodpecker up there too. A pair of binoculars has suddenly appeared from who knows where. I’ve become a twitcher – who would have thunk it?
The former owner, perhaps in a moment of madness, had two ponds built.
This is the large one and is full of fish. Also, the pond plants look as if they will be glorious come Spring/Summer.
Spot the badger trail leading down to the pond from the field behind.
Apparently,the pond is so well balanced she never fed the fish nor needed to mess with the planting so, hopefully, it will be low maintenance.
This is the smaller pond which has no fish but apparently has frogs and newts at the appropriate time of year.
It’s tucked away in a corner of the garden – I’m imagining a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses completing this picture in the fullness of time.
Mind you, a bigger surprise than the short days – well, shock really – is the price of wine. Lordy! I’ll have to cut back my consumption of the fermented grape or do without food.
Some things in the garden seem a bit ‘niche’ – I’m being polite here. The little hedge planted for no apparent reason and the shale path that leads nowhere will have to go (says Mr. Tialys).
Something else that will have to go is most of this black plastic stuff – stop me if I’m being too technical – I know it keeps the weeds down but it also keeps other things down and it looks a bugger (says Mr. T.).
Indeed, he has already made a start and uncovered some rather nice looking soil – but then we are used to soil full of rocks having lived in the foothills of the Pyrénees.
The empty greenhouse awaits
as does this ex-chicken run which was more recently put to use for growing strawberries.
Anyway, anybody would think it was me going to work my fingers to the bone in this new garden, Not at all. I might pull the odd weed, prune a rose and dead head a daff from time to time but anything involving spade, fork or shovel is not my forte. I would say it’s because fault would be found with anything I did in the garden by the head gardener but, although that is true, it is also a very good excuse.
I’ll just go off down the lane with the dogs for my exercise instead, dodging the horse poo and general mud – how I’ve missed hosing the dogs down after walks and wearing wellies. I have some rather dapper shiny black ones although it’s actually hard to make the colour out after five minutes of ‘mud, glorious mud’.
More in Part 2.
Well, we’re here at last.
Physically moving from France to England during lockdowns in both countries was actually easier than I would have supposed although it wasn’t without its ups and downs in the preparation stages!!
So, instead of seeing this view in front of my house
I’m now seeing this one
Fair exchange is no robbery as they say.
We’ve still got a lot of settling in to do and our internet connection is not yet sorted so I won’t be as visible in blogland as I usually am for a while but I just wanted you to let you know that mission has been accomplished.
Thank you so much for all your good wishes in the comments on my last post – they were much appreciated.
Trying not to totally disappear from the blogging scene whilst trying to buy and sell houses in different countries during a global pandemic, I remembered my ‘Tight Lipped Tuesday’ series of sparsely worded (for me) posts and, as luck would have it, it is Tuesday today and, as more luck would have it, I made something.
Home made granola because the commercially made stuff gives me terrible gas.
I know you’d want me to share that with you.
And if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, I made some oat milk to go with it.
Anything to get away from packing boxes for half an hour or so.
A word to the wise. When you accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’ the day might come when you need to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you can keep and I am here to tell you that getting rid of that ‘stuff’ is no easy task.
We are going to be moving from around 300 square metres into 150 square metres and, as I have a knack of expanding into the space available to me, something (or lots of things) will have to give.
Our furniture doesn’t owe us anything. We’ve had most of it for a long time and some of it was vintage/antique when we got it so that’s not so bad. It’s the ‘stuff’ that will be the problem. My ‘workroom’ is bigger than any of the bedrooms will be in the new house and Mr. T has an industrial sewing machine and rolls of leather as well as all the usual power tools, gardening equipment, etc. but at least he will have a large garage in which to disport himself.
Selling things is time consuming and annoying and giving things away is almost as time consuming and more annoying as there are more takers but the demands on your time are just the same. We only have one or two charity type shops and, soon, they will probably ban me. Mr. T and I take turns in our different cars so that they don’t realise it’s all coming from the same place. The déchetterie (rubbish dump) is complicated and everything has to be separated into categories – I leave those visits to Mr. T.
Anyway, more on that as things progress and, just to show that I am doing things other than trying to keep the house clean and tidy in case of viewings (few and far between in the current ‘situation’) and fretting about the sheer logistics of the whole thing, these are the blocks I did for Kate’s turn in the F2F block swap.
She asked for greys with pops of colour. I didn’t have much grey so, as it was for Kate, I ordered some special Indonesian batiks in dove grey and paper pieced all three blocks as paper piecing is a great way to put everything else out of your mind while you concentrate. Plus, I am much better at paper piecing than regular piecing for some strange reason.
So here are the three I made for Kate.
Are you worried about the amount of ‘stuff’ you have and what you – or whoever has to clear out your house should you unexpectedly drop dead – will do with it all? Or are you one of those enviable people who can keep a rein on their crafting supplies, crafting outcomes, pictures, clothes, shoes, bags, collections of ———–(insert whatever it is you might collect), etc. etc. I think I’m actually going to find the downsizing process quite liberating (she says hopefully) and, in future, will never acquire anything without thinking about how easy it will be to dispose of it in the future.
For a couple of weeks now the lockdown in France has been eased considerably and, from this week, it will be further relaxed with bars and restaurants opening. Why don’t I feel like going out then? I seem to have become a voluntary recluse.
However, after I WhatsApped a photo of myself to my daughter last week and she compared me to this character, I have felt pressured to make an appointment with the hairdresser.
I think if I took a leaf out of his book and put on a beret and some sunglasses I could carry off the look for another few weeks. What do you think?
AMONG the dwellings framed by birds
In field or forest with nice care,
Is none that with the little Wren’s
In snugness may compare.
from ‘A Wren’s Nest’ by William Wordsworth
Just sharing this perfect little nest of moss amongst the ivy in our lean-to shed right down the other end of the garden where we keep the lawnmower, the empty pots, saucers and garden wire.
We’ve seen the little wren hopping in and out but I don’t want to disturb her too much.
I hope it will be safe from the cats.
I took a break from sewing and felting to throw a ball for the dogs and indulge in a bit of outdoor photography for a change as there are some particularly pretty goings on in the garden at the moment. The photos are mostly in close up so you can’t see the weeds.
Rhododendron growing in a pot on the terrace.
Hundreds and hundreds of tiny yellow roses climbing up the terrace wall.
Capturing this beautiful peony before the rain spoils it.
Snowball Viburnum before it turns white.
Lilac Lilac going mad in the old chicken run
Phlox on Stone
Rhododendron again just because.
I’ve probably never appreciated my garden as much as I do at the moment as well as all the hard work Mr. Tialys has put into it over the years to make it somewhere lovely to be – weeds and all. We actually ate weeds the other day. He made a nettle and cleaver omelette served with garlic mustard leaves for lunch. I was a bit suspicious but he had some too and I’m still here and probably full of nutrients.
A bit of a change of pace for my blog today – a bit serious but, I hope a little bit informative and of interest.
Back in the day, I shared a flat with Sara. We both had full time jobs but also worked some evenings behind the bar in a local night club for a bit of extra money and some fun (mostly for the fun). We had lots of laughs and enjoyed each other’s company for a year or so before going our separate ways. I doubt we gave any thought at all to autism, if we’d even heard of it but, since then, autism has had an impact on both our lives to different extents and Sara has made it her mission to promote the understanding, acceptance, inclusion & equality of autistic people. One way she does this is in her blog ‘An Affinity With A’ and, with her permission, I wanted to share this from her recent post with you because it seemed so appropriate at this particular time.
Thanks for reading!