Tuesday 26 July 2011

Time for a Rest

Wherever there's a crochet blanket around our house, you'll find a cat. Bertie is spending the good weather  sleeping things off and I wish I could join him some days. Thank goodness the holidays are here. The past few weeks have been an endless whirl of plays, concerts, trips, fairs, open gardens, maypole practices, fetes, services you name it. We're shattered!
And rather ambitiously we thought we were up to dashing off up the motorway with the caravan for the weekend just as school rolled up. Luckily it was a smashing time but tempers were a bit frayed and I think tiredness had a big part to play in it. Not all the time though thankfully. On Saturday afternoon we sat by the cooling water of Windermere enjoying the return of summer at long last. Bliss.
A weekend in the busiest corner of the Lake District with thousands of other people isn't exactly our usual recipe for relaxation, but the chance for the boys to see the Air Show again, over the Lake, was too good to miss. We managed to find a few more peaceful havens (honestly the lakeside did a very good impression of Oxford Street on the first day of the sales!) and enjoyed the peace of a grand hotel's gardens with space to play, demolish several ice creams and marvel at the aerial acrobatics.
Most brilliantly we finally got to see the Battle of Britain memorial flight which was cancelled thanks to bucketing rain the last time we came up.
Seeing the immense scale of the Lancaster and the agility and speed of its Little Friends, the Spitfire and Hurricane, was immensely moving and very spine tingling for a girl who hails from the same neck of the woods as the Spitfire's memorable designer, Reginald Mitchell.
But the highlight of our 48 hours away was being out on the water. The people, noise, queues and bustle all disappeared while we (well Woody actually I was far too relaxed!) rowed some of the long reaches of this famous Lake, sliding past huge, great gin palaces, secret islands, old fashioned elegant yachts and smaller pleasure craft.
I'll remember our relaxing hour on the water for such a long time. Now we're back home and a more peaceful air is slowly descending on the house.
Summer is high, the relaxing can begin and goodness its not before time. But look, someone is awake and ready for tea. Better push off or I'll never get a minute's peace. Take care. Xxx

Saturday 16 July 2011

In lieu of decent weather...

Well its July so therefore we are experiencing the traditional unseasonable weather of British summer time. Its absolutely tipping it down today and the forecast is set the same for the whole weekend. Such a shame for everyone who's spent forever organising fairs, fetes, weddings, country shows etc, etc. We all expect summer showers but this is an utter deluge.

I've really fallen out with summer. I wear myself out hoping for a good forecast and then seething when its dreadful. Let's hope it perks up for the holidays. If my boys' birthday parties are rained off again I think I might weep. Poor A will be 5 at the end of August and he's never once had an outside party. Not fair.
So to cheer myself up I'm remembering a lovely visit to our favourite hilltop farm a couple of Sundays ago. We went to enjoy the Wool Experience, a day all about sheep shearing, but realised we'd gone a day late. Ooops.
Anyway we still had a wonderful afternoon saying hello the animals, wandering the woods and fields and eating their delicious Hilly Billy ice cream. Blaze Farm is such a simple place to visit and we get so much out of our outings there, up high on the hills, watching the swallows dip and dive around the farm buildings and taking in the views.
I got quite carried away imagining us buying this farm over the fields when our lottery numbers come up. I can just see us cosied up on a winter night, Aga keeping everyone toasty, jumbled crockery on the dresser, big old enamel bath in bathroom and a roaring fire in the sitting room....
A's favourite friend, Blaze the donkey.
Lovely memories for a soaking wet Saturday! Stay dry if you can.Xx

Thanks for all your sweet comments on my Midsummer trio posts. Glad you enjoyed them as much as me.

Thursday 7 July 2011

Plants in the Post

The garden is going through it's annual slump. After bursting into loveliness in May and June, everything is looking rather exhausted and a bit bedraggled thanks to the heavy rain showers we've been having. It happens every summer and it deflates me a little after things having looked rather nice for a while. I've learned though that the key is not panic or get too dejected, but to plan for a bit further ahead.

I've chopped back some of the more ropey looking perennials (hardy geraniums, lupins, lady's mantle etc) and now I need to wait for them to come back for a second show in  a few weeks time, along with the late summer stars in the borders like heleniums, echinacias, rudbekias, asters and crocosmias and things. But I've been hankering after adding something a little grannyish to the garden to round off the summer.
Late last autumn on a trip to lovely Ludlow I brought back this beautiful bunch of blooms that just sings harvest festival to me. I've grown very fond of (and rather addicted to if I'm honest) brightly coloured chrysanthemums.

The Sarah Raven catalogue got me all inspired earlier in the year but its rather too pricey for me on the whole and I looked everywhere locally for seedlings in the colours I fancied, but no luck.
But joy of joys, I was sent an email for the 50% sale at Sarah Raven last week and the stunning, glorious Jewel collection was still in stock. I've only ever bought a rose by post before and was a little anxious about how these teeny plug plants would reach me safely, but they arrived in tip top condition with a very comprehensive and straightforward planting/cultivation guide.
And haven't they got such lovely names, Payton Blaze Red sounds very impressive and Littleton Red rather grand I think! I can't wait to pick them and see these rich, clashing shades on the kitchen table in a battered old enamel jug.

I bought some sweet pea seeds from SR and they've all germinated and grown on very well so I've got high hopes for armfuls of harvest chrysanthemums, at my favourite time of year, for a fair few years to come!