Saturday, 22 July 2017

Light and shade (and a short rant)







Where it is acceptable -
the flaking paint on this walled garden door at Nostell Priory


And where it is not -
the flaking, chipped, blistered, rusting paint job in the bath
at our Airbnb.



Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Favourite Walk revisited



This was the view for a worryingly long time,
squashed into a hedgerow, wing mirror folded and holding in our stomachs
as caravans and 4x4s inched down a lane
wholly inadequate for the traffic, which had been diverted by a field fire.

'Go on, you could get a bus through there,'
was the helpful advice yelled from the car in front to each anxious
new driver as they advanced towards us grimacing.
'I only came out for a pie and a pint,' was the cheery and more typical
reaction from one man as he made it past us.


A huge sigh of relief went up as we saw the motorhome ahead of us 
accelerate away in a wider stretch.
The wide rolling hills of the South Downs as they hoved into view
were never more welcome.


I've checked back, and it seems to be six years since we last did this walk,
or perhaps I didn't record it here.


The V-shaped view to the sea


opens just as satisfactorily as it ever did,


and the view to the Seven Sisters seems little changed,
but for the fact that there were two large cliff falls
further along at Birling Gap recently.




Two military planes briefly shattered the peace.






It was still a lovely walk but something vital was missing.

It was the company of our sons.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

A walk on the wild side



This shrew - not alive sadly - but still looking pretty perky.
Like the mole I found last year.



I swear this hen was posing.
It froze until it heard the shutter click.


Human being herded by hens.


Bees love drumstick alliums.


I took out a huge dogwood which revealed the weedy mess 
that the site of an old pond had become behind it.
One thing led to another and we found we had cleared a corner without
a real plan, so we plonked down six bags of woodbark on weed suppressing membrane,
(two trips to the garden centre because one always underestimates)
and a few large logs from the cedar cut down  two years ago
and lo! all the disposessed frogs came hopping out.
This one hopped onto my bare foot which was a cold and clammy surprise,
but no more than I deserved for taking away its ancestral home.


This Red Admiral has taken to basking each evening during the last minutes
before the sun goes behind a tall tree and rapidly plunges the garden into shadow.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Doors and windows








I'd like to say something profound about
all the doors and windows opening ahead for this busy bee
but as we've just handed her back fed, watered, and in one piece after
a weekend staying with us while her parents went to a wedding in Cornwall
I may have to come back to you on that one.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Something in a vase



Most of my flower arranging is born of necessity
when thinning out heavy plants,
or pruning flopping ones.


These day lilies I brought inside because they were out of sight,
and as their name implies over so quickly.


Moon daisies continue to behave thuggishly in their over-rich soil
and instead of waving decorously in a delicate meadow, crash about
and lean heavily on anything else that struggles to show its face.


Such as this cornflower.
Although admittedly this was more a victim of my clumsiness.
I was weeding, when I simultaneously discovered it and crushed it.
I'm hoping it revives in water.

Ikebana it is not.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Unintended Kondoing



Well it needed doing admittedly,
but the matter was accelerated at the weekend while my back was turned.
My daughter-in-law, calling by to fetch a car seat in our absence
heard an alarm beeping and traced it to the freezer.
She wisely did not alert us to this 
as there was nothing that could be done about it until our return.

We ate the lamb curry with melted mango chunks lassi and binned the rest.
Luckily there wasn't any raw meat in it 
and I hadn't just batch cooked a month's worth
of delicious meals so I'm thinking of this as a fresh start.




Could have done with some ice cubes today though.


Monday, 12 June 2017

Poppylation explosion



I shook a pepper pot of poppy seeds


into an empty bed last autumn


and forgot about it.




Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Shout out for shingle



This unpromising, nay bleak coastal terrain bursts into life in summer.






Valerian.


Wild roses.





Just the other side of this hedge, people are working with nature


to make beautiful gardens.


They shared their efforts with us to raise money for the local hospice.





When I contemplate the sorry apology for a lawn at home,
I wonder if the way forward isn't just to scalp it
and ship in the shingle.
(My only caveat is that pebbles are
 so darned noisy and not barefoot friendly.)


Reminded me of this
and Freda's two gates.