Friday, September 18, 2020

Five from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park

I've been away from the computer for a while whilst I get used to the new situation with my eyes. A couple of weeks ago, when I was coming back from the hairdresser, I noticed that the kerb edges were running together and that our hedge was across the front of the house rather than down the side of the garden.  I was hoping it was just a temporary thing but going out in the car (as a passenger) the next day it seemed that cars on the opposite side of the road were crossing to our side not only that they were doubled.

  Panic set in, I was triaged to a local optician and given an eye test.  To cut a long story short I have double vision because the muscles in one of my eyes have failed and so my eyes are working separately rather than in unison.  I have to have special glasses made and they will be ready in a couple of weeks time so I'm struggling until then with an eye patch on one eye.

Anyway hopefully the new glasses will work.  In the meantime we had tickets booked for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, where we met with a couple of friends keeping the new rule of six down to just four and wearing masks most of the time except over coffee and lunch.

Here are five photos from the special exhibition there by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos.  She uses fabric, needlework and crochet alongside everyday domestic objects like saucepans, wheelhubs, mirrors and telephones.

Here is a - link - to more about her work. 

I'll add the photos I took below.  Five and then a collage of five more seeing as it is Friday.  No words as it is quite a struggle to see what I'm doing.

I'll catch up with comments both here and on your blogs when I have my new glasses😎

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

The week so far

I was so pleased to spot this Clematis flower as I'd thought the plant was lost after it had been put in a pot when we had a new front fence a few years ago.  It hadn't flowered for a while but this year it has.

The squirrels have been using an old tree stump behind the shed to crack open conkers from the Horse Chestnut tree just over the fence.

Three firsts this week.  The first time since lockdown that I have visited a post office, a hairdresser and a cafe.

I needed a haircut and I had to post a birthday present so we decided to venture to the city centre.  After I'd walked the circuitous one way route around W H Smith's to the post office counter I didn't have to wait long to send my parcel.  It was a good job I went in at that point as when I passed by just under an hour later the queue was around the shop and out into the shopping centre.  I'd toyed with going to the hairdresser first but was glad I hadn't.  I arived at Supercuts not knowing how the system of booking in and waiting may have changed.  Luckily I seemed to be the first there and went straight in.  I had to swap my mask for one of theirs and sanitise my hands, I was them covered head to foot with what seemed like a large plastic bag which was ripped off and disposed of as soon as my hair was finished.  The hairdressers were cheerful and glad to be back at work even though they couldn't have the radio on just in case they were inspired to sing along to the music. Whilst I was in the centre I noticed that The Body Shop store had closed down.  I've been using Body Shop products since the late 1970s and shopping at that shop for over twenty years.  As the next nearest shop is quite a few miles away in a designer outlet shopping centre, I may have to rely on online shopping for now. I feel quite disappointed and saddened by this.

The next day we went up to Bridgemere Garden World to buy a few breadmaking items from Lakeland but they didn't have what we had gone for.  We decided to try the cafe and see what the procedure was.  We had to wait to be taken to a table, once seated we gave our order and filled out the track and trace form.  We kept our masks on until we were seated and put them on again before we stood up to leave the table but many people had their masks under their chins or hanging off one ear. Anyway the coffee and tea cake were delicious.

Meanwhile in the garden the Hydrangeas at the front of the house are still looking good even though those at the back have lost their colour.

These last strawberries, from the farm shop, were still delicious and not watery at all.

The weather has been warm and sunny the last couple of days and I've enjoyed being out in the fresh air.  

Tuesday, September 01, 2020


Time has gone so by quickly and summer is meandering towards its end.  Yet, perversely, time seems to have passed by slowly too as many of the things we might have done with the summer have been affected by the inertia caused by the times we are living through. 

  Last Friday I reached the age of seventy and it doesn't seem real even to say it but I'm grateful to have reached that milestone.

Yesterday we ventured to - Ilam Park -which is looked after by the National Trust and parked at the Blore Pastures car park.  We walked down towards the village as far as the road but didn't venture any further as it was getting busy.  I expect nearby Dovedale was even busier. We took coffee and biscuits with us for elevenses which we had when we got back to the car.

The weather was just right, sunny and dry but not too warm with very little wind.  Just a gentle breeze blowing the branches of the trees.

It was lovely to travel just a little bit further afield than we had done for ages.

The views were stunning and there were lots of people walking up on the hills.
There were also lots of sheep.

Most of them ignored us

There is always a curious one who dares to stand and stare.


Some people like us meandered along the paths, others were very energetic.

Berries and Keys
 fluffy, feathery things

and lots of stone walls, wooden gates and seats. Blue skies too.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Gardening Influences

Last week a friend sent me an e-mail entitled 'How familial are our gardens?'  This was in response to an article he had read in The Observer by the writer and author Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.  It is a lovely piece which describes how her garden has helped her through love and loss.  I have put a link to the article on her name above.

In the article she describes the various gardens, owned by grandparents, aunts and uncles that have influenced her from childhood up to the present. Of gardening over the last few months when many of us lucky enough to have our own gardens have found peace and solace there away from all the daily happenings.

My friend has a photo of himself taken when he was a small child in front of the runner beans in his grandfather's garden.  He has grown runner beans in the garden of almost every home he has owned since then.  His sister also remembers their family garden being full of Japanese Anemones which she now grows in her own garden. 

I was looking back at what I remembered about the gardens I knew as a child.  I remember the gardens of both sets of grandparents.  The Shamrocks under the front window of my paternal grandmother's house, the London Pride and Hollyhocks in my maternal grandmother's garden.  I have London Pride and Hollyhocks at present in the garden but no Shamrock I must try and rectify that.  The Hollyhocks came from seed gathered at the home of Paul's brother's partner and this is the first year they havee grown sucessfully in this garden. Their sight is made poignant by th fact that we lost Paul's brother four years ago.

For years, everytime we moved we took with us a Fuchsia that came from my Uncle Wilf's allotment.  We always took cuttings each year incase the original plant was lost. This happened one winter when we forgot to bring it into the house from the greenhouse.  The cuttings went on for ages until last year we forgot to take cuttings and the last plant died.  I have happy memories of visiting cousins and running down the gennels (ginnel, jitty or alleyway, it depends which part of the country you come from) in between the blocks of terraced houses, across the road, down by the railway line to Uncle's allotment where he grew vegetables, Chrysanthemums and Dahlias as well as Fuchsias.

Our own garden at home was my playground.  The front lawn where memories of summers spent with mother's clothes horse covered with a blanket as a tent, with friends coming to play, with bears and dolls having picnics.  Also of buckets and spades brought back from the seaside being used to dig soil, add water, make blocks and leave to dry.  We called it making mud pies.

This lawn was surrounded by narrow beds on four sides.  At the top near the gate was a lilac tree. Other flowers I remember in that garden are dark red Peonies - I have some in this garden - Snapdragons and Red Hot Pokers.  The back garden was entered  through an arch in a high hedge by the back door.  This area streched quite a way and was always full of vegetables in rows and also gooseberry bushes, raspberry canes, strawberries and rhubarb. We have lots of these plants in our present garden.

I wonder what your memories are of family gardens?  I expect we all carry our memories into our present gardens, if we are lucky enough to have them, whether it be in layout or planting patterns or the growing of favourite plants or flowers.

Do you also have a favourite garden?  One you have visited several times and that holds happy memories?  Below is one of my favourites, Plas Brondanw, Llanfrothen, Gwynedd, Wales.


Friday, August 14, 2020


 We have lots of plums on the big tree this year and about half a dozen on the small one.

 The small tree is hiding behind the big one and has yellow rather than red fruits.

  Now we have had all the Leylandii trees removed from the top of the garden, the little tree has more light that is until the holly hedge grows taller now it too has more light.

Work goes on behind the shed to try and straighten the hedge as it was growing out sideways because of the trees.


  Where it has gone completely we are going build a fence and then eventually replace the shed.


          The yellow plums on the smaller tree are not as tasty as the others.  They aren't as sweet and juicy and the flesh seems denser and dryer in texture.



Even more plums came into the house last evening.


 The tree is still full with loads more to be picked.  Some of the plums will be given away and some we have frozen. I've been keeping old jam jars and we have a few kilner jars so the next thing is jam or chutney making and also bottling.

Monday, August 10, 2020

A Monday Miscellany

Last week, on a very rainy day before it got so warm and when it was impossible to either go for a walk or sit in the garden, we decided to tackle a job that has wanted doing for ages.  It didn't take as long as I thought it might, especially with a lunch break in between sessions.  It was so satisfying when it was completed.

We have a wall in the living room which is full of book cases.  We took off all the books, moved the book cases and cleaned and dusted behind them.

All the books were then dusted and put back in place on the shelves.

A job well done.  

We spotted this frog in the pond. We haven't seen many frogs this year so it was good to see one keeping cool as the weather got warmer and dryer.

 Our weekend newspaper had a free RSPB poster of garden birds.  We discovered that there were only a few birds that we had never seen in our garden.  We've never had visits from a Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Pheasant, Rook or Jackdaw.  All the rest we've seen either regularly or occasionally in the garden.  Birds are quiet at the moment as they are moulting feathers and need energy to do this.  Also food is abundant elsewhere in the natural world.  They will be back at the feeders in the Autumn and Winter.  We still see Robins and Dunnocks.  A couple of days ago I saw two Chaffinches feeding on the lawn and at the same time a Thrush popped out of the hedge and into the bird bath.  I didn't have a camera handy but it was lovely to see them.

 There are berries on the Juniper tree, I expect the birds will find them soon.

 Meanwhile over the last couple of nights we have set up the wildlife camera to watch for garden visitors.  It's amazing on the actual films how many moths, beetles and craneflies are flitting about whilst owls hoot in the background, but of course the main attraction is the foxes and badgers.

Badgers eat steadily whilst foxes have a tendancy to grab and run.

Foxes also cache food.  A few nights ago whilst we were sitting watching the vixen through the conservtory window she came close to us in order to bury a dog biscuit in a plant pot under the kitchen window.

 Nothing seems to bother a badger and certainly not a young, upstart fox.  I must find out how I can put some of the films on here.

I've noticed how the light is fading earlier.  Last week it was still fairly light at nearly 10p.m.  Last night it was almost dark around 9.30p.m.

As I type this the rain is pouring down whilst the sun is still shinning.  A short sharp shower which has stopped in the length of time it has taken me to write this sentence.

Friday, August 07, 2020

In the Garden

Flowers in the garden are all looking rather pink at the moment. The colour dominates from dark to very pale in shade.
Roses and Japanese Anemomes

Echinacea and Hollyhock


Do you have a dominant colour in your garden and if so was it by accident or design?  Do you have a favourite colour for flowers?  I must admit that my favourite colours for flowers are blue, white and mauve depending on mood sometimes a bright yellow or orange can be cheering.  I'm thinking of crocosmia and also marigolds and nasturtiums which haven't grown all that well in the garden this year.
Already as I type this it is very warm.  I've put towels out to dry but I'm staying in as next door neighbours are having all their hedges and trees trimmed, the noise of the machinery and the smell of both petrol and cut pine has given me a thumping headache.  I may sit out in the garden later this evening when it is cooler and quieter.  Take care and have a good weekend.