bEAching ~ rambling around the borders and New Luce

I must put plasters on the shopping list.

DH was making anti-bunny cages for the plants yesterday and had a slight argument with a hacksaw.  Ouch.  This is not unusual when he is doing ‘things’ in the garden – sometimes it’s his head, sometimes his fingers – luckily for him today it was only his finger.

This is why a flat tyre might prove fatal one day if we needed to get to A&E.

I continued in the trellis border….. all 40ft of it.  It is beginning to take shape, well some kind of shape – not exactly the shape I had intended but I can titivate it later;  flowing curves are not easy to cut so they look good from all directions…..…. but for now the hard work is done, the lawn edged, the bed weeded and the stones removed other than the ones that are there for decoration or bunny protection.

This is the end of the border before….and after……When I get the rest of the planting in and there is less bare earth and more colour it will start to look better.  As this is the seaside garden I am planting a mix of seaside plants – Valerian (a good spreader and so far anti-rabbit), lavender, Santolina, kniphofia, Erigeron and thrift.

No doubt by our next visit it will once again be covered in weeds and maybe bunnies.

Rag, Tag and Bobtail have now been joined by bibbity and bobbity, hippity and hoppity and what seems like many distant cousins.

But the sly old fox is very close on their tails – hiding in the gorse – just waiting his chance. I am still keeping a few bunny cages in place just in case…..

…and a few stones to prevent nibblers from damaging the roots whilst the new plants ‘settle in’ and grow stronger.

At last I have uploaded the photos of our little venture last Thursday.  After climbing the ‘mound’ we set off travelling north on the road to New Luce that runs on the eastern side of the Stair estates at Castle Kennedy just outside Stranraer.  Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a Hen Harrier flew overhead (Lord Stair had mentioned to DH sometime ago that they are nesting on his estate at Castle Kennedy), a beautiful bird and quite a size with a very large wingspan.  It came extremely close to us and swooped past gliding gracefully into the woods.  Apparently, there are not many in the UK so we are lucky to see one.  Sadly it was one picture that I didn’t manage to take.

New Luce is a tiny conservation village part of the Glenluce parish. It is on the road to nowhere and developed as a village through the necessity of having a meeting place for all the local outlying farms of such a large parish.  It is like an oasis in the dessert only here it is a lush oasis in the middle of moorland.  The locals affectionately call it Nineveh.  There are 62 homes and about 90 residents of all ages.   It is positioned where two rivers meet – the Main Waters of Luce and the Cross Waters of Luce.  Like the river the two main streets of the village form a T shape each of which has a bridge over one of the rivers.

Take any of the four roads to New Luce and you will not pass through any other village or hamlet on the way,  save Glenwhilly, which I believe is nothing more than a couple of houses clustered at the old station on the way north to Barhill;  strangely it boasts Scotland’s most remote signal box though goodness knows where the passengers would have come from in such an uninhabited place.   Like New Luce , the station at Glenwhilly closed in 1965.

Glenluce, a small rural village to the South of New Luce has a village shop and is the closest place 5 miles away, and where the younger children now attend school, Stranraer is 9 miles to the South west and Barrhill 13 miles to the North so it feels more isolated than remote;  surrounded on all sides by open moorland (that has not yet fallen to any great swathe of forestry planting) and where sections of the winding road are single track with passing places and cattle grids.  As you descend down from the moors towards the village the scenery changes into a more gentle landscape of farmland with farmsteads dotted here and there….– complete with grazing sheep…. lots of them and on the road too….. and in no hurry. We entered at the lower end of Station Street.Just to the left of the picture stands this old iron bath tub filled with an array of flowers.  Just one of the many repurposed artefacts around this village. At one time this old tub was to be found in one of three Inns as this notice tells me.  That is a lot of drinking establishments for such a small place.  Interestingly in the 1846 census there were not only 3 Inns but several village shops serving 278 villagers and a school attended by 50 children.It is a haven for the red squirrel;  sadly we saw none on our visit but I just love the way the locals in this area make the road signs their own and have added a cheeky little apple sticker – often the cow signs have been adapted to resemble the belted galloways with the white band. And just look at this wonderful play park for the handful of children who live here. Libbie would have loved to play in here for the afternoon.Over the Main Water bridge now and I just had to take a picture of this house with the sun pod in the garden – I have only ever seen them displayed in John Lewis before and wondered who bought them!They had a collection of rare breed sheep wandering about- the one at the back resembling a big teddy bear was so cute.

Opposite is the little village shop and Post Office offering free herbs in the window boxes, beside it is a red telephone box (mobile signal is poor) and a post box – all a good sign of a thriving village.With limited stock and limited opening hours and a bus service only on 3 days of the week and no train link you do not want to run short of anything living out here.At the top of Station Street is the junction with Main Street and what appears to be a little public garden, where a cottage once stood, no doubt lovingly tended by the local villagers.

It must be one of the best kept villages I have seen in ages and I love the way they reuse, repurpose and recycle so many discarded objects, turning them into planters and sculptures as you will see on our little walk around.

At the back of the garden was a flight of gravel steps leading up to this monument – we couldn’t quite read the inscription on the stone but given its position here it must be quite important to the village.The gravelled path continued along what seemed to be a little lane running high above Main Street at the back of the row of cottages.  Here we found some very curious allotment style gardens with sheds…..I have never seen so many sheds in such a tiny village….everyone had a shed, or two or three! The Ferrets Nest certainly appeared to be more of a weekend chalet than a shed.  And one or two had a caravan – possibly in use!And whichever wall you looked over everyone had a display of household artefacts and recycled objects …..or even an old ruin in their back gardens.Eventually the little lane came out onto the main street again.

Some of the cottages had quaint window displays inside and out….

and fancy wall plaques… sadly not all were delightful – this window is displaying a notice announcing a closure –It appears that the last of the Inns, the Kenmuir Arms Hotel, is also now ‘closed until further notice’ – the owners having closed up in the winter of 2018, gone abroad and as yet not returned.  Though noticing a skip outside the back with mattresses dumped in it I am thinking perhaps they are not reopening.  It was a popular Hotel – especially with walkers… and campers who could pitch their tents down at the bottom of the Hotel garden by the water ….with the midges. Going further along Main Street and over the second of the bridges (Main Bridge) I came across this cute little cottage with a recent extension… It is possible it might have been a Toll house.This garden outside this chalet caught my eye – where else in the world would you come across a scene like this on the road side where there is an open invitation to passers by to play with the little toy cars…….and no one steals them! There were so many unusual things to see in this village I will take a break here and continue in part two a few steps away at the church and village memorial hall.

Apologies if there are spelling mistakes, it is late, I am tired and WordPress spellcheck has disappeared off the editing toolbar.

Back soon x

 

 

 

Advertisements

bEAching ~ bordering on the edge

Another sunny day today but a little windy; rather more than a breeze and less than a gale.  I thought the trellis border looked quite calm from the caravan window.  I thought wrong.  But decided to carry on with it anyway wrapped up in a woolly hat, and my trusty fleece lined gardening coat ( with the hood up of course as I hate wind on the back of my neck it gives me a bad neck for days).

I actually got quite a bit more done and have nearly removed all the stone edging and re-edged the grass trying to give the border a nice flowing curve – not an easy thing to do as the curves look better or worse depending on your viewpoint in the garden.  I didn’t take any pictures today (other than the one of the plants I bought and are still waiting to be planted) – I will surprise you another day.

DH was on hedge maintenance all morning but at 11.30 precisely calamity struck when he discovered he had a slightly flat rear tyre (well the car had).  It was a slow puncture from a nail that had embedded itself in the rubber.  He went to change it for the spare but with limited tools here he couldn’t get the nuts off the wheel – he decided he would need help from a local garage.

Oh no…as you might know it was already lunchtime by now there is no garage in the village and when we checked most of the garages in town had closed for the weekend and the bank holiday on Monday.  We didn’t want to wait until Tuesday or we would be stuck without and car over the long weekend which is not a good idea in case we had an emergency on our hands.  We searched around on the internet and eventually found an MOT station open until 3pm  – so he pumped the tyre up a bit and drove carefully into town and they kindly changed the wheel for him but would not accept any payment and DH had to force a few pounds onto the old guy.  People are so helpful up here.

Whilst he was gone I put the tray of apricot Violas I had bought into the planter and then made some mushroom soup, just an excuse to use the new blender really.  The instruction leaflet gives the speed settings for different foods – soup or sauce, milkshakes and ‘carrots with water’.  Can anyone enlighten me on the ‘carrots with water’ – is this a new drink maybe?

I mentioned yesterday that after going to see (and climb) the mound we headed off up to New Luce.  The pictures for this are far more exciting than my garden but I am still in the middle of preparing them so as bedtime is beckoning I will have to have a go at finishing the post tomorrow. x

 

bEAching ~ borders and mounds

Yesterday was a wonderful gardening day, sunny and dry and not too hot.

I switched between the cooler shaded stream or burn border and the trellis border.  Neither are finished, nothing in this garden ever resembles a finished state, but as they say – ‘tomorrow is another day’.The stream border is on the northern side of the cottage.  Edged with pine trees, rosa rugosa and the Fatsia which needs pruning, it has become a bit leggy but keeps the border cool and shady and protected from any strong inland winds.  The buds on the rosa rugosa and hydrangea in the border are only just starting to unfold as they too were quite leggy and I cut them back quite hard this year.Meanwhile in the trellis border on the seaside of the cottage the plants I put in last year………have now been un-netted so I can weed inside (no doubt watched over by the bunnies on the hill pondering on their next juicy meal) and I am in the process of removing the stones edging the border for easier grass cutting.

It is slow work.  And a long border.Around the garden, especially in the lower wood and woodland walk,  things are stirring and beginning to flower. Solomon’s Seal

Dicentras and Tiarellaand apple blossom.

The sea yesterday was a beautiful indigo blue – such a contrast to the silvery grey earlier in the week.  I woke up this morning so late, it was a quarter to ten when I finally got up – I think I had gardened myself into a standstill yesterday so we decided a day doing very little was in order.

A long shower, the last of the tomato soup and then a little afternoon jaunt in the surrounding countryside.  Our only fixed point was to go back to Dunragit a few miles outside of Stranraer to see the ‘mound’. The Mound of Droughduil was identified only a few years ago by archaeologists from Manchester University as Neolithic dating back to 2500BC and not Medieval as originally thought.  In stone age times it was a ceremonial centre and meeting place for the local community.  We went to take a closer look today as it is magnificently covered in Bluebells.  We climbed up to the top –it stands some 30 feet high and is quite flat on the top – a lovely place to picnic maybe – just a touch draughty;  the summit being reached by a tiny trail path through the grass and bluebells.  Strange to think how many feet through the ages have trodden on this very turf.  Although not quite the dizzy heights of the Eifel Tower the view from the top is still worth the climb. Going down seemed much steeper than going up. Afterwards we took the road up to New Luce –  but that is a story for tomorrow.  For now it is my bedtime, DH is already tucked up in bed – I can hear the gentle wafts of snoring coming from the bedroom – no doubt I will be back in the borders tomorrow. x

bEAching ~ down the daisy path

A warm sunny day today so back out in the garden –  we decided that we should not go on too long like we so often do and end up having lunch well after 2 o’clock (and miss the Archers); so at 12.30 pm we stopped for lunch and then sat for a while afterwards just reading.  The new blender worked a treat on the tomato soup and we have enough to last us 3 days.

It was far too hot to weed in the trellis border as planned – it gets full sun more all less all day so I opted for the border I am renovating alongside the daisy path that leads down to the cottage from the lane through the little blue gate. daisy path

Originally there was a hedge of Escallonia here on the right of this picture above but it was badly frosted one year and only one of the plants has survived, which I am nurturing back to health.  The rest of it has been dug out and I will have to buy some new shrubs to go in soon.

As elsewhere in the garden the rabbits have been digging to try to get to the roots of all the plants – more stones are needed to protect them until things grow into a mass.

I promised an update on the cottage – I am working on this, trying to find the photos I have taken – perhaps I will get to do the post tomorrow.

No other photos tonight – not that I didn’t take any, they are still in my camera – DH forgot to pack my download lead and I have to mess about taking out the memory card – a bit of a faff when you are dog tired.

No other news tonight either –  it has been a very quiet day here just us and the birds in the garden ….well perhaps a rabbit or two as well.

Forgive me if I haven’t commented on your posts tonight – I need my sleep.

So I shall say goodnight x

bEAching ~ drip, drip, drizzle

Raining all day here today – the forecast was right, but it was not heavy rain more a constant drip and drizzle so it didn’t sound like we were sitting in a tin can as caravans often do in the rain, in fact we hardly heard it at all.

We had a lazy day.

In the morning we made tomato soup ready for tomorrow and then realised we didn’t have a blender here or tomato paste. I spent some time catching up with a few blogs and realised how many have fallen away recently – pressure of time, nasty commenters and some just run their course – but they are missed.

We made egg and cucumber in cheese rolls for lunch with ‘leaves’ on the side – a nice change as we hardly ever have egg sandwiches at home.  I say ‘we’ but actually DH made them.

After lunch we listened to the Archers and then drove into town as we needed fresh bread and more milk.  We overcame the lack of blender too – we bought a cheapish one from Argos and then a tube of tomato paste from Tesco.

Whilst in Stranraer we drove out to the local garden centre on the other side of town and bought a few ‘filler’ plants mainly for the empty pots but others to put in the gaps in the borders.  It is essential here to fill all the spaces to prevent the weeds and wild flowers taking over in our absence.  DH told the shop assistant we were buying rabbit food – we might well be if they get a whiff of them – I am rather hoping the plants I chose are not caviar to the rabbits.

More wire netting might be called upon.There is nothing so lovely as a few raindrops and I just had to take one or two quick snaps.  I absolutely love these little cones on this pine tree they are like tiny raspberries.

After a leisurely look around, stopping to chat to some friends we bumped into from the village, we had a cup of tea in the cafe and our treat for the day, some dark Scottish fruit bread, buttered of course.

The garden centre also sells cards, a few gifts and pots.  I solved a birthday present whilst browsing and bought a mug for my friend and former colleague Miss T – and that is what it says on the mug – it is identical to the one she bought me last year that says Miss V. It was always our greeting.   She would call out to me on arrival at the office ‘morning Miss V’ and I always responded with ‘morning Miss T’ – it stuck over the years and everyone else always addressed us as Miss V and Miss T like the shop assistants were called back in the day.  Some things I still miss about working!

To catch up on the gardening – yesterday I did no more than tidy the border by the gate.  A bit of a dark corner that the sun hardly reaches – perfect for the ivy but little else.  I was so pleased that the hydrangea I planted last year seems to tolerate the shade and damp well – it is filling out nicely and I have added a clump of pink geranium and ground covering periwinkle.  So far the rabbits have left them alone but I have to cover the roots of the hydrangea with large stones to prevent them digging and nibbling them.  I think the ivy needs a bit more of a trim tomorrow then, weather allowing, I will be moving on to the trellis border.

There is quite a bit to sort out here – a shrub to move and a lot of weeding.

A lot of weeding.

The valerian has grown well now so I am also going to remove the netting and the stones that edge the border.  It has been difficult to weed inside the netting and also difficult to mow up to the stones….. we are left with a bit of a grass fringe.  I will just edge the grass instead.

Ah well my cocoa has arrived now….coutesy of the catering department (as DH calls himself).

Time for bed x

dEAr diary ~ signs of new growth

Signs of new growth everywhere – Spring is well underway now.

Today at last was bonfire day, calm and sunny.  We couldn’t light it yesterday because as soon as the caravaners had gone home and it was safe to start the fire the weather turned and the wind was far too strong.

Once lit we burned the box full of old file papers from home to save having to shred it all and then I had to run round pruning everything in sight, that can be pruned at this time of year, to get it all on the bonfire before the fire went out.  I do like to wait until I can see some nice new buds appearing so I have something to cut down to – I am always nervous about pruning too hard lest I kill the plant altogether but most of the shrubs had plenty of strong healthy buds.  As usual I did not manage to get all the pruning done – we have far too many shrubs and so the rest will have to wait for another visit if it is not too late in the season.

I did give our new loppers a good testing though and my arms a serious workout.  I now have serious aches and pains too and extreme muscle fatigue and can hardly lift them to drink my cocoa tonight – but it did get me out of doing the washing up.

Hope they recover for the morning we have packing and cleaning to do.

After the mammoth pruning session I attempted to weed the stream bank border that is full of …you guessed it campion.  Such lovely wild flowers but a border full of campion is a campion too far.  Hidden amongst the campion I came across some more of those annoying wild garlic plants posing as bluebells, the leaves are similar, but their days are numbered as I have now become an expert at differentiating between them.

I managed to uncover the two Hydrangeas and Geraniums that I knew were somewhere in there and barrowed away 4 bags of weeds which will go to the landfill site on our next visit.  So by the end of today I have part cleared all of our borders but actually finished none…oh well tomorrow is another day and the weeds will still be there on our next visit.

DH has done better and has completed the ditch clearing and the water has drained away so quickly that in an instant the muddy puddle where the pond had overflowed is now completely dry again.  I can’t say the Primula are happy about that though as they were enjoying being waterlogged.

Tomorrow before we go home we need to cut some chicken wire to put around some of the more attractive plants (attractive to bunnies that is).  They seem to love nibbling the young new shoots of my Delphinium and Dicentra and chicken wire is the only way to stop them.

I didn’t even stop today to take photos – hopefully I will tomorrow when I try to get some pictures of the inside of the cottage to do my long overdue update.

A day painstakingly pruning – producing positive results. x

Thank you for all the lovely comments about my cards – there really was not much effort to it but I enjoyed making them and using up some of the craft mountain I have accumulated –  and will enjoy the savings I make too.

Welcome to my new followers – I hope you enjoy the journey.

dEAr diary ~ a simple life for me

If you want to live more simply then try living in a caravan and you will undoubtedly satisfy that desire.

There is no room for any extras on board – only the basics.

Clutter is not a word that I would recognise living here as there is none – everything in the caravan is a considered item and has to have a home otherwise you would soon find yourself falling over things.  The cupboards are few and none too generous in size so sometimes you have to be very creative with the space.

We have just enough dishes to make and eat a meal, nothing to bake with but then that must be healthier, although I did bring an apple cake with us, we just eat fruit or nuts, oat cakes, crackers.  No puddings either but we have the occasional ice cream treat.

We have only a minimum of bedding and towels – one of each in use and one spare, just enough clothes for gardening and trips to town and a few necessities like toiletries and cleaners. We do have a small Dyson, a small bucket and a tiny hand brush and pan…that just about sums up the cleaning aids.

We eat very simple food as we have no electrical equipment like a blender or food processor.  Our pans consist of a large 3 tier steamer, a milk pan, a medium pan with a lid and a frying pan with a lid.  We also have a colander and I might consider buying a lettuce spinner for the summer as my one luxury.

Above the fire-place there are three shelves for decoration and display.  I display only a few decorative items on here – a glass vase with a collection of tiny seashells inside, an empty vase for when I pick a few flowers, a little bowl full of dried rose petals from the garden, a lino cut picture of some geese by a local artist (our only picture) and a tiny set of wooden houses.  The other items come under the useful rather than decorative category – a small china mug, a water jug, some heavy stemmed wine glasses that we use for most cold drinks and a clock with a lovely soothing tick.

We keep a small selection of books mostly gardening books for information and ideas and a novel or two.   I also keep a box with a few stationary items – stapler, sellotape, scissors and the like, some coloured pencils and a notepad.  We have a folder for instruction manuals and another for the few bills we have, water, electricity, council tax and that is our filing system.  At home we have a large filing drawer with the archived papers in the loft.

Of course there is no loft here – instead there is a little storage space under the beds but they are empty – we have no need of anything to store – we use everything we have here.   I don’t even keep any spare bedding for the 2nd bedroom – I am not expecting anyone to stay.   I can look at something and think – yes I have used that in the last couple of days and it is a good feeling.  If I were a nomad and had to pack all this stuff up to move on I daresay we would have even less.

For entertainment we play cards, read, write blog posts, of course, or listen to the radio.  We have no television nor want one and at one time we had no internet connection so only brought the lap top with us if we just needed to access our documents and didn’t need to access the internet – now I can attend to my blog while I am here but that is all I do.

The mobile signal is quite pathetic at times so no-one tries to contact us and we rarely phone anyone other than my mum to check on her and my daughters just to let them know we are still alive.

Being so disconnected from the world might not suit everyone but I love our little retreat here – I could easily live here full-time but on the other hand I do not want to miss our new grandchildren growing up.

It is a dilemma not easily solved.

Today was another sunny day in the garden, slightly cooler but pleasant.  I have been on weed patrol again digging over boarders and filling in the rabbit holes where they have scratched the surface to get at the plant roots.  I will have to get more chicken wire to protect my young plants.  Funny they don’t like the campion – there is plenty of it.

DH did a bit more of the ditch – here he is with his shovel and barrow (he is a bit blog shy – so only half of him).Hopefully it will stop the pond overflowing onto the path, though the primulas quite like the water.……. And then he shimmied up the old apple tree to lop the top off. All our best apples grow at the top.  It is a half standard tree that was planted by the previous owners and was left to grow unchecked so it is a bit of a beanstalk and we have to wait for the apples to drop off rather than pick them.  Now it has been checked I have no doubt it will retaliate by not producing as many apples this year.

A day of pleasant pottering and pondering.

Total spend at the village shop for 6 yoghurts, a bag of peas and a  2 x Magnum £6.60

 

 

 

dEAr diary ~ mud, mud, glorious mud

We woke up to the sound of rain today and the power was off until Scottish Power could get their temporary generator going.  So with the weather and the power we had no need to rush as there was very little we could do and opted for an unusually leisurely breakfast.  The SP team worked all day renewing the transformer in the farmer’s field and the power went back on at 3.30 just as they had said in their letter.

I spent the morning updating my garden plants list – removing those that have not survived the winter or the rabbits and checking on the best pruning times for the different clematis and shrubs we have.  Most of them I can remember but I find that is beneficial to the plants if I refresh my memory occasionally.

After lunch we listened to the Archers followed by a play and Gardeners Question time (someone had the same problem as us with the over abundant wild garlic – there is no easy way to eradicate it apparently and eating it was their best suggestion – eating a few tons of garlic sounds like a killer to me!), by which time it had stopped raining and was dry enough to go outside.  As I went down the garden towards the Woodland Walk a rather large bunny scampered away up the banking quite shocked at my presence, I was more shocked at all the little holes he had left behind in the borders.

I decided to tackle the border that runs below the banking on the left side of the garden by the lane – it is a side of the garden that never comes together no matter what I do.

To one end of this border is the large conifer tree with spreading branches – nothing wants to grow under it save the Montbretia.  At the other end we have a Viburnum Tinus which is blooming well at the moment and a self-seeded Fuschia now the size of a small tree – but I like it so I let it stay.  The little group of Mahonia Charity are becoming a little leggy and I have threatened them with the chop – this seems to spur them on to producing some new side shoots – I will still sneak up on them and chop them down a bit though.A while ago we dug this patch over…and lay some grass seed… but it only partly helped for a while and now it is just another spot for the buttercups to take over if the campions don’t get there first.

It is heavily shaded for most of the day in summer and the water from the lane above filters down through the banking and ends up at the bottom making a very soggy patch with quite sticky heavy loam and it is really hard work getting anything to grow other than buttercups.  The banking itself is much more peaty.  Ferns of any type are attracted to take root here – but as I have said before you can have too many.

I am still not sure what possessed me to dig in this part of the garden today as the soil is usually squidgy here on a good day but with the rain it was even worse; the soil clung for dear life onto the roots of the weeds I lifted.

Meanwhile DH was on ditch clearing duty – the ditch separates the lower wood from the upper wood and runs at the back of the pond.  If the ditch gets blocked over winter with all the leaf fall and does not drain down to the burn it overflows through a pipe into the pond and then eventually the pond overflows.   He dislikes this job as intensely as his ‘waste management’ duties (the bins) at home.  The process of ditch clearing is to jump in and sink in with a large shovel and heave the mud up to shoulder height and over in one streamlined manoeuvre like a Golf swing and deposit said mud onto the bank of the ditch.  Quite a demanding job and one that can only be done in small doses before exhaustion takes over.  Of course he chose the light grey sweatshirt over the navy one and came out of the ditch splattered with specks of wet mud resembling a spotted dick pudding.

The bonfire is on hold at the moment as two of the caravans nearest to us have the owners in residence – Mr E who is about our age and has bad knees and prefers to drive the short distance up the lane in his car to the pub for his meals – (he lost his wife to a heart attack a few years ago she hadn’t made 60; she was  a heavy smoker), and Mr and Mrs Fixit who appear quite regularly and are always fixing something on the caravan – this time it was their satellite dish that had been spun round in the strong wind during the winter.  We politely asked each of them in passing how long they had planned to stay – Sunday seemed to be the favourite day to go back home – we dare not ask the exact time – so the bonfire will just have to wait until we see them pack up and leave!

After a couple of hours we ran out of light and good weather so made our way back indoors.  We had a no spend day too.

As you can tell we have such exciting times here!

A day of splodging around in icky sticky mounds of mud…

 

dEAr diary ~ bonnie Scotland

We travelled up to Scotland (to our wreck of a cottage by the sea) last Thursday it was a gorgeous Spring day.

We stopped for a picnic lunch close to the start of our journey at a place called Windy Hill just off the M62 not far from where we live rather than pull into the services.  The layby looks over a beautiful expanse of wild untouched moorland which if you kept walking from here into the distance would eventually meet up with the famous Saddleworth moor. Now look behind me – not so quiet and untouched as this is the busy M62 cutting through across the Pennines at its highest point.Now look again – every verge as far as the eye can see littered with rubbish. We drove 250 miles in all, mainly on motorway and a major ‘A’ road, and every verge revealed so much litter – even this lay by near Dumfries in bonnie Scotland!  Not so bonnie at the moment.Dumfries and Galloway Council in their wisdom have removed many of their litter bins from the lay-bys on the A75 down to Stranraer – a decision they may live to regret.

I am saddened – our journey was like driving through a landfill site – just who is it that is leaving this litter and feels the need to throw it out of their cars as they drive along rather than take it home and put it in their bin?

……On a brighter note we had a lovely few days at the cottage (staying in the caravan still).  We had not expected such good weather and we spent all our time in the garden.  It was so peaceful broken only by the sound of birdsong and the waves of the sea.

As usual even though I had rid the borders of every weed possible on our last visit it looked like we had done nothing.

The cottage garden is much further north than our garden at home in West Yorkshire but is much further on due to the milder weather of the Gulf stream.  Most of the daffodils are already out – each year new ones are springing up all over  – I am always surprised at some of the places they choose to grow – these are growing through some beach pebbles in quite a dark spot hidden from the sun but seem happy enough. The catkins on the corkscrew Hazel are just coming into flower.The big surprise was our family Rhododendron growing in the lower wood (named after DH’s grandfather who grew it for the Castle Kennedy estate, he was head gardener).  We grew this from a cutting, it is an early flowering variety but even this is quite early and the one at home in our garden is only just in bud. And some even more unexpected news – coming home late yesterday evening we left the M62 at Milnrow as usual and drove through New Hey, Denshaw and Delph towards Marsden and to our surprise came across about 8 fire engines and a few police cars parked on the verge side with flashing lights.  At first we thought there had been a bad collision on the road but as our view opened up we saw the mass of fire on the moorland (this is looking from the other side of the moor you see in the top photo).  It was quite bizarre as the fire raged in straight lines across the open moorland – some of the burning lines zig zagged across the moors way into the distance.We stopped on the side of the road with many other passers-by to take pictures and spoke to some of the fire beaters who were having a break.  They told us it may have started in the nearby lay-by and could have been just a cigarette.  Although quite spectacular it is sad for all the wildlife that will have been harmed by this.

….Today we have been busy unpacking, washing and shopping as tomorrow we travel up to North Yorkshire to collect my mum again and bring her back to stay with us for a few days – needless to say I will probably not have the energy or time to write very much for a day or two as mum is quite high maintenance now, bless her.  My sister is having her respite – she is feeling a little stressed trying to sort out all my mum’s recent health problems, she seems to have developed a lot of niggly complaints that need my sister’s constant attention.

Any plans we had are now put on hold once again for a few days – I am finding it increasingly hard to pick up where we left off on a project and we are ending up with a load of unfinished jobs.  Every time we turn into our drive I am reminded that we still have to paint the front door, then there is the shed waiting for a coat of weatherproofing paint and we must get in touch with the contractor who does the resurfacing for the driveway – that is just to mention a few but all of them require warmer weather and I think it is about to turn cold again according to the forecasts.

The plans for the pantry are progressing slowly – during the cold spell DH moved the cupboard in the garage housing our household cleaners and ‘stuff’ to a different position to make room for yet another cupboard to house the vac and outdoor gardening coats which are presently kept in what will be the new pantry.  We will have to have another visit to IKEA to get the new cupboard but that is no hardship for me – I love to have a browse around.  Once this is in place we can move the coats and vac out and I think we will be ready to strip the walls of the old wallpaper and put in the new cupboards and shelves.

So I will leave you there and I hope to be back in a day or two – unfortunately my constant coming and going at the moment on my blog is just a reflection of all the coming and going in my life.

Welcome to my new followers and sorry if my posts are a bit erratic at the moment and a bit of a ramble.

Back soon x

 

 

 

 

mEAndering ~ Glenwham Gardens and my garden

Yesterday we were both feeling a bit creaky and decided that a day digging in the garden would be a weed too far so we headed off to one of my favourite gardens around here called Glenwham.

I won’t go into much detail here other than to say this garden was created out of boggy moorland over 30 years ago when Tessa Knott and her husband bought 103 acres of land unseen and over the phone then subsequently on a visit to see the land discovered the ruined farmhouse.

You can read more of the fascinating story of how this garden was transformed here.

On one of the two small lochs they created they have a wooden cabin with a springboard attached to the jetty to jump into the water and a little boat tied up at the side.

Dotted along the banks of the Loch I noticed this dwarf variety of deep blue Agapanthus which I have made a note of in my notebook and will perhaps buy from their nursery another day.

Agapanthus

We had a very relaxing time just wandering up and down the many winding paths through these gardens.  It is quite a sheltered place and very peaceful even with other people wandering around.  There is a wonderful sense of calm and in one of the woodland glades there is a stone Buddha and a string of Buddhists prayer flags fluttering between the trees.

We have seen it develop over the last fourteen years and some of the shrubs and trees are quite large now and I noticed they have had to cut a few things back down to ground level and many of the borders have been overtaken by the more vigorous plants.  We have the same problem in our garden trying to keep everything in balance.

Revitalised after our day off yesterday we were back in our garden today.  I spent a good hour dead heading the rose and removing the dead leaves of the Fatsia that get caught amongst the branches.

Once I had finished I turned my attention to the patch of garden that we cleared last summer down by the stream bank in the lower wood.  It is a difficult corner that catches the cold winter winds and I have been nursing an old Holly back to life – it had growth only on one side due to a neighbouring tree starving it of light and which has since fallen down in the gales.  At last the Holly is sprouting on the bare side and will soon have a nice dense mass of branches and leaves.

The whole area has once again become overgrown with campion and nettles, so I set too to pull them out and clear the patch once again.  The trick of course is to get some plants in quickly and not to let the weeds take hold again but sometimes it is just not possible on a short visit.

I was so busy today that I forgot to keep taking photos – but DH did take a special one for Joy at Diary of a (retired) teacher who wrote about her thistle putting down roots in a pot of flowers… well this is my thistle Joy!!

I am not even sure what it is called – we get one or two each year they self seed so we never know where they are going to pop up next.  This year it has decided to grow out of a crack in the concrete paving just where we need to take the wheelbarrow round to the other side of the cottage – quite inconvenient but I wouldn’t chop it down we just have to work round it all summer and not get too close!  When we had the flood in 2014 there was a picture taken for the newspaper of our flooded garden and one of these giant thistle was the only thing still standing in four-foot of water.

If anyone wants some seeds just let me know.

Tomorrow we are homeward bound so may not post again until Friday if I have time before we travel up to North Yorkshire on Saturday morning to visit my mum and collect Little L for the week.  My internet connection has been a bit patchy here and I have not been able to read everyones new posts so I will have a bit of catching up to do along with the washing.

Back soon x