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Posts Tagged ‘gardens’

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Sometimes Dear Reader we have to do what is expected of us. And so it came to pass that TG and I found ourselves spending a couple of days in Ireland – where I had not been for 5 years (as my Mother has reminded me at length). We travelled a couple of hours south from my old home for a day out to Dunmore East where we spent holidays as children and to where I had not been for over 30 years!

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It’s a pretty little spot and very Irish

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And brought back many memories of holidays which consisted of beach, hotel pool and chips. It was a nice reminisce and we even had sunshine which was one thing that I didn’t remember!  We also visited a rather lovely Wicklow public garden which made for a peaceful meander.

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It was just the thing before we had part two of our holiday in Amsterdam (more of that another time)

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Sublime and ridiculous came to mind! It was a nice short break which included in no particular order, Guinness, tree felling and wood chopping (not unlike being at home) before we sallied forth to Holland which was a different kettle of fish altogether…..

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Well now Dear Reader, it has been the week  to end all weeks. During daylight hours there were small people and there was work and during the hours of darkness there was variously Cowes Week, a play, the hosting of book club and some rather wet fireworks…

By the time Saturday hove into view, the week, which had been stuffed like a badly packed suitcase, threatened to make a bid for freedom. The other brother and his family came for a visit and we had a great afternoon of cremated food (TG not me) and some garden fun and games.

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It’s amazing how much pleasure (and arguments) a £15 swing can create!

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The tiddly toddler managed to just about catch the older ones up just in time for them all to run off in the opposite direction and so she wandered off to do her own thing

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The boy child was the proud demonstrator of just how much bigger the sunflowers he had planted yonks ago were in comparison to him

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He is such a handsome boy isn’t he?

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It was such a lovely afternoon.

Fast forward a few short hours and there came the arrival of Bertha. Biblical rain, unbelievable gusts of wind and it seemed perhaps the end of the world. By lunchtime the rain had stopped so TG and I took ourselves off for a drive and a little walk and found ourselves on the cliff path above Compton Bay. The photos do not do justice to the boiling sea and the howling winds but suffice to say that the cobwebs were most definitely blown away!

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SONY DSCDon’t be fooled by the blue sky! The rain reappeared just as we got back to the car…

And so that was the weekend that was. I will leave you with one other image which is of the latest theatricals – Inspector Drake and the Time Machine (at Shanklin Theatre every Tuesday in August). To say that it is silly would be a gross understatement. See?

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Don’t say you weren’t warned!!

This week thankfully is much calmer so there will be time to catch up, to write some copy and an article for a new venture and just generally have a spot of breathing space which is much needed. The sun is shining (at the moment) and all is well on the sunny Isle. Enjoy your week Dear Reader.

 

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I am speaking to you Dear Reader in conspiratorial tones. If I don’t, then I fear that this golden orb which has appeared in our skies for the last week or two will skedaddle back to Timbuktu or wherever it was it has been hiding for the last God knows how many months. It has been truly glorious here on the sunny Isle and we have been making the most of the garden which is looking rather splendid (if I do say so myself) if a touch wild in places. There are more self seeded Foxgloves that you could shake, well a Foxglove at, in every possible shade of purple, white and pink and the walkway down the garden is looking lovely with those and the Aquilegias in full flower. Everything is so very late because of the pants Spring we had but it’s a riot of colour out there.

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I have been remembering Summers long gone as well over the last few weeks. I don’t know about you Dear Reader, but in my Summers past it never really seemed to rain and the days seemed endlessly long and warm. I remember the farmers cutting the long grass for hay and the dusty smell and tractor noises that were the backdrop of hot late August days. My father used to drag us out for walks on a Sunday afternoon always with a plastic bag in our pockets for anything that we might find (I do still do that) and my bedroom always had a nature table of sorts groaning with our finds. I fancied myself as a sort of Gerald Durrell / Diary of an Edwardian lady type for a while but my fear of birds (or in fact anything fluttery) and my lack of ability to draw at all soon put paid to those notions.

I have also been remembering the Summers that we spent with my maternal Grandmother. We would drive over (my Mother, brothers and I – never my Father) and stay with my Nan in her little red brick house on the side of a busy road in Hither Green. Coming, as we did, from the middle of nowhere in Ireland, this was a huge novelty for us and I can see us in the shops buying cream soda and penny sweets and fish and chips and going swimming in the local baths. My nan was almost childlike in her way and she delighted in milk jellies, scrumping pears from the next door neighbours standing on the bin and laughing her head off and having all of us (my cousins too) to stay. We squished ourselves into whatever beds or sofas were available and listened to her old 45s on her ‘radiogram’ whilst reclining on her ‘studio couch’. I remember the hot Summer of ’76 when she made houses and hideaways from old sheets and blankets and we played with all my Mother and aunt’s old dolls and prams. Happy days indeed.

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Fast forward 40 odd years and I am doing the same as my Nan did but in my own garden and with my own grandchildren. When we bought our house with its third of an acre of garden our children were really too old to use or appreicate it and so it’s wonderful to now have these small folks running around and enjoying it.

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We have assembled a motley assortment of hand me down toys and books, bikes and scooters and there have been many happy days spent colouring, having stories or running round the gardening flapping our arms, screeching and pretending to be birds (or was that just me?). We have planted seeds, watched them come up and become beans, sunflowers and all mannner of other things. We have spent rainy days in the greenhouse (WHY is it a greenhouse Nanny? It ISN’T green!!) chatting and planting and doing. And so finally, the garden has come to life again.

I like to think that when these little folks grow up they’ll have fond memories of Nanny’s garden like I do of my Nans. That they’ll remember having fun and laughs, dancing and singing silly songs, playing hide and seek in amongst the washing and that they’ll appreciate butterflies and flowers and the nature of things. If that’s the best memory they have of me when they get older then that’s ok by me. I’m sure we’ll get to a stage in the not too distant future when it all becomes a bit boring and that’s also ok by me. But I know that somewhere in the back of their minds there will always be a little something that triggers thoughts of good times. For me it’s the smell of Lemon Balm and Magnolia trees both of which instantly transport me back to Nan’s garden in the seventies. A time of simple pleasures, laughter and childhood fun and games. And as we know Dear Reader, it’s the simple things that mean the most.

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We were up in Linclonshire a few weeks ago. The weather was awful. The Other Child’s grandparents have the most lovely garden but it was so dull, rainy and grey that it was pointless taking many pictures of the flowers and plants.

Instead I took some ‘still life’ pictures (which I had completely forgotten about). These are they….

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A different sort of garden look…..

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I came across this quote in my travels:

“By the time one is eighty, it is said, there is no longer a tug of war in the garden with the May flowers hauling like mad against the claims of the other months.  All is at last in balance and all is serene.  The gardener is usually dead, of course.” –  Henry Mitchell, The Essential Earthman 

And it made me chuckle. Thinking ahead to the bank holiday weekend, gardening is top of the agenda. Everything in the greenhouse is getting very leggy and needs planting out, but with the suggestion of frost in the air, I’m feeling a bit nervous. I have managed to get a load of horse poo from up the drive for the ravenous beans and there is digging, weeding and planting to be done. The Smallest Baby Girl’s seeds have sprouted (she’ll be so pleased!) and so we may do a little transplanting and there will be AT LEAST 500 questions as to the whys and wherefores of seed growing (must remember not to mention wrinkles!).

As the lovely Mr Titchmarsh says – whatever the weather, enjoy your garden (and have a lovely long weekend…)

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Well, Dear Reader, I think we can all be agreed that Autumn has arrived. The weather belies the fact that it is almost Winter and because of that Autumn seems to have been a little tardy.

Down here on the sunny Isle it’s been a bit of a mixed bag. We seem to have had everything – monsoon rains, days warm enough to sit outside with a cuppa, chilly although not frosty mornings and enough incentive to light the fire and have a pint of gravy with everything. But it hasn’t been really cold as yet. It’s still jacket weather here and my lovely, recently purchased, red coat is still on its hanger in the wardrobe waiting for a chillier day. I picked the Smallest Baby Girl up from nursery with the Other Child yesterday and she loved swishing through the piles of fallen leaves and thought it was the greatest thing ever. That’s the best thing about being two, everything is new, everything is exciting and an adventure. What a shame that we can’t stay in that state of wonderment for a bit longer. Having said that, I quite enjoyed swishing through the leaves with her (there was an amount of giggling and throwing leaves up in the air and shouting wheeee – and that was just me!) – grace in small things and all that!

And what would life here be like without a few photos for your pleasure and delectation. Everywhere I look there seems to be the juxtaposition of the zingy yellows, reds and oranges of the Autumn…





…with the faded glamour of the Summer

And then, when you aren’t paying attention, nature throws a curve ball and brings you this

The Winter Cyclamen in all its simple elegance. A splash of colour in the porch and something to be enjoyed for many weeks to come. Autumn may be here, but Winter will be knocking at the door all too soon. Brrr.

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Well Dear Reader (and those others who follow this drivel), I have as promised stuck to my weight loss principles. But before I reveal the outcome of a week of salad and soup with only a soupcon of vino collapso, I thought that I’d share the following images with you.

We have had a wonderful Summer have we not? Yes, I know it’s been boiling at times, I know that my lawn resembles the Sahara on a bad day and I know that the sight of too much sunburned peeling British flesh has made us all go ‘eeeeuuugh’ at some point or other, but it has been brilliant to feel some heat in the bones and to look anything other than pale and insipid interesting. Despite the brown lawn, the rest of the garden is looking lovely with everything in its prime just about now. Gardens are like people really aren’t they? From the infancy of tender seedlings, through to the teenage years of  pushy growth, the mid years of looking in one’s prime – all showy blooms and glossy leaves to the inevitable middle age when everything droops and bits drop off until…well, you don’t need me to tell you the end of the story Dear Reader do you?

Well, my garden is in its early 30s by my reckoning




and very lovely it looks.

So, let’s not put off the evil moment any longer. The first Monday weigh in is as follows:

Weight 10 st 7lb (- 4lb)

BMI  25.2 (-.6)

Body Fat  30% (-1.9%)

I’m a bit chuffed actually!

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