Posts Tagged Dorset

The Long and Winding Road

The past week has had some ‘irksome’ moments and I’ve been feeling a bit stressed.  Nothing to do with health – just so you don’t worry about me – but stressful nonetheless.  Which is the only way to explain me being a complete numpty the other day.

After my craft group meeting finished I realised I needed to put some fuel in the car and for the first time ever in my whole driving life – which is quite a long time – I put in the wrong type.  I realised after about 30 litres and £42 and then stopped, rushed into the garage shop and asked what to do,

I had a vague idea I could just top it up with the right fuel and all would be well but no! I wasn’t even allowed to start the engine for fear of damaging it  After much umming and aahing, the charming mechanic at the garage said I could leave it there and he’d try to fit it in but they were extremely busy due to Monday being a bank holiday and everybody wanting their cars ready to cram up the roads for the long weekend.  This is the downside of our decision, now that Mr. Tialys works mostly from home, to manage with one car between the two of us.

Luckily, I had waited until the garage nearest home to fill up mess up big time so I started on the walk of shame, knowing I’d have to ‘fess up to Mr. Tialys that 30 litres of fuel would have to be pumped out and recycled, for which we’d have to pay the best part of £200  and then pay to fill the car up again with the right stuff.

So, in clothing chosen on an overcast morning, I set off up the hill in an afternoon of full sun with a handbag suddenly seeming to be full of lead weights,  my knitting bag and no water.

but at least the scenery is nice.

After what seemed like forever – although it was only about half an hour – I saw ‘the girls’ who are enjoying the grass in the field opposite our house at the moment  – and prepared to spill the beans to Mr. T.  who was absolutely fine about it of course.

Just in case you think I’m a wimp, we did an 8km (5 mile)  walk this morning which included an Iron Age hillfort at the highest point in Dorset (279m/915ft) and took a couple of hours but then I had water, no heavy bag and was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and walking boots which makes a difference.  Plus I wasn’t all hot and bothered because I’d made a mistake and wasted loads of money.

Lewesdon Hill from the west.jpg

Lewesdon Hill, Dorset

So, be honest with me, how many of you have put the wrong fuel in the tank?  Surely it can’t just be me.

Most expensive diesel in the UK ever hits 154.9p a litre despite falling oil prices | Metro News

I won’t be doing it again.

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An Unexpected Easter

This time last year we were still in France and had got as far as house hunting online for our move back to England.  For various reasons, some related to Mr. Tialys’s work commitments which have only became apparent since, it appears we made the move at the right time.

So, Easter in England for the first time in sixteen years was a lovely warm and sunny surprise and  I was sufficiently moved to leave my sewing room and go outside to help the gardener (aka Mr. Tialys) with some outside renovations.

You might remember me telling you that the previous owners, in a bid to outwit the ground elder, had buried untold quantities of black plastic – some ‘proper’ stuff, some pond liner and some old plastic compost sacks!! – all pinned down with hundreds of plastic pegs.  For the most part, this was all covered with gravel and sometimes pieces of wood.  In some places although, to be fair, mostly those places not planted up decoratively, there are old house bricks, spare ceramic tiles and paving slabs.

This, for instance, is part of the bank above the fish pond.

Mr. T. is on a mission to remove most of the plastic and gravel and says he’d rather deal with the weeds than see the earth being choked with the plastic, some of which is breaking up into the soil.   Here he is revealing the soil on the bank.  Ground elder roots – and there are plenty – are being drowned or burnt.

Just the start of the eventually huge pile of plastic and the wooden planks, etc. that were laid haphazardly on top, for some reason best known to the previous occupants.

Even this old sawhorse had been pressed into service, folded flat and laid on top of the bank – now rescued and ready to be used for its original purpose.

Perhaps they didn’t like going to the tip/dump.

Stan and Flo were helping by staring plaintively until one of us would relent and throw the frisbee for them.

(for Sandra – spot the old rusty plough we brought back from France with us)

As I was in the garden I was able to nag advise on where to place the gargoyles which had been languishing and looking grumpy up by the garage since we arrived

Now this one already looks as if he’s been atop that wall for years.

This one has swapped the side of a swimming pool in S.W. France for a fish pond in S.W. England and, personally, I think he looks happier in a gargoylish sort of way, unlike Mr. T. who nearly did himself a damage by carrying it there from where the removal men had dumped him up the other end of the garden.

This area to the side of the driveway gates  was also covered in plastic and gravel and is now cleared and ready to be planted up maybe with rose bushes.

The greenhouse is very much not my domain – I am only invited in at H.M. the Gardener’s pleasure to ooh and aah at the various things in pots that he’s sewn from seed.

Coriander

Nasturtium

I like nasturtiums.  They remind me of a time long, long ago (or the Stone Age as one of my daughters calls it) at primary school when they used to give (sell?) us a  little a packet of candytuft or nasturtium seeds to take home and plant in a pot and take it back to school at a set date where, if you had been successful, you would get a pretty coloured certificate.  I never got one.  We lived in a first floor flat in London and neither of my parents were gardeners of any description.

Just a little memory I thought I’d share with you there for no good reason.

Outside again – there’s a pretty flowering currant.

We’re not sure what fruit tree this is – any ideas?

So, today has clouded over a little.  Maybe I’ll get my bathroom shelves put up but I’m not counting on it.

I might get the drill out, wave it about inexpertly and ask where the rawlplugs are – something that has worked a treat in the past 😉

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A Walkie Round The (New) Garden Part 1

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.

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A Change of Scene

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.

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