Monday, 29 May 2017

Late May Bank Holiday

Who does not, dear reader, enjoy an English Bank Holiday? The late May Bank Holiday is all the more joyful for announcing that summer is around the next corner with the advent of the month of June and the longest day. Oh how the seasons flit by, barely a breath taken and we turn from spring to summer.

My dears, it has been a busy and fruitful week; you may recall the decision earlier in the year to continue with final push to update our little home and lo, it is all in order with plans discussed, dates negotiated and sections of the work already completed. Both the male guardian and I have undertaken small projects over this long weekend to assist in the final push. Such excitement I cannot tell. I find myself inspecting colour samples of paint with gleeful anticipation and not a little concern, for one wishes to ensure a practical yet inviting environment in which to reside. The male guardian is oft to be heard muttering "looking, looking",  a habit I do believe he has picked up from a certain element of the Australian contingent of the family, as he considers the options before him, much to my amusement.

We have tidied and sorted to our hearts content, such a cathartic busyness. I do so enjoy a sorting, tidying time, do you?

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Welcome breeze and weather warnings, the great British summer is here!

Well, my dears, there is nought like a weather warning to make one realise that the great British summer has truly arrived. We have endured or enjoyed, depending on your particular weather persuasion, temperatures of 25 degrees this last week and I, for one, am grateful for the gentle caress of a warm breeze this very day. The week before was a most becoming rolling thunder that resounded above my head - I do so enjoy a thunder storm. My late father was also inordinately fond of a good gloriously riotous thunder storm. I remember many a late evening, lights out, kneeling on the bed with curtains flung back, my twin sister and I with my father between us, an arm firmly round each of us, delighting in the crashes and flashes of natures full force. The rain drops seemed bigger, the lightning brighter and the booming crashes wild and hurricane like. Oh, how we delighted in those moments with my father explaining how the gods were throwing rocks at one another. To this day I have a vivid picture of the scene within my minds eye, my darling Father with the biggest smile upon his face, enjoying the spectacle unfolding before us. I do believe, dear reader, that my twin sister and I both still enjoy a good thunder  storm.

Summer was also a time of joy for my parents oft erected an enormous old army tent in the back garden for us to shelter under, eat under, sleep in at night and generally enjoy. The chickens and rabbits, if they had escaped again, wandered in and out as would the various dogs and cats, plus my siblings and I, six in number. The only creatures not welcome were the pair of albino rats my brother kindly added to the menagerie. Such joyous, fun, memories of growing up and the how the seasons formed part of those memories. I am most fortunate to remember them so well, like an old film roll in my head, albeit in the glorious technicolor of the particular season.

One memorable year my parents afforded our one and only family holiday which comprised said army tent and the whole family decamping to a place still dear to my heart along the coastline, barely fifty miles as the crow flies. Reader, we believed that we were in heaven, particularly the second week, which was afforded with much consideration and counting of hard earned pennies on my parents part. I cannot tell the joy of the moment as my twin sister and I realised another week was secured. Such simple delights, fishing, cooking on a simple stove, sleeping, living, laughing under one roof and the freedom, oh the freedom of sea, sand, countryside and spinney. Such innocent, joyful times that memories are made of.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glorious sunshine

Why, dear friends, I do believe we have had our first taste of summer this very day. The sky was a most becoming shade of blue and the sun shone brightly. As is the habit of the great British public, every inch of grass, garden and park bench displayed a recumbent form lapping up the warmth of the sun lest we see no more and to feel the warmth upon their bones. The  look of sheer bliss upon their faces really was a sight to behold. I only hope, my dears, that a certain element of caution was also undertaken by those of a fairer complexion for the heat of the sun can fast turn a golden glow into a burning fire upon a fair skin. 

On return from our professional toil, windows have been thrown wide and the sun warmed air allowed to circulate through our home; why one can almost feel the deep breath of fresh air it inhaled, the warm scent of summer pervading every room - I do believe the male guardian was in heaven for he is somewhat fond of the warmer climate.

We have spent time in the sanctuary garden, enjoying the fresh breeze, and admiring the cottage borders, tending to plants and generally pottering. Our farming neighbours are tending the land, toiling early and late in the day; the familiar sound of the tractor part of everyday life. 
Tomorrow is forecasting another warm day; oh my, will it last until the Bank Holiday is upon us? I do fear, my dears, the curse of the Bank Holiday weather may beset us.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Literary completion...

Dear reader, I am quite beside myself with happiness for this very morn I have completed my little project. As I write, the male guardian is transferring his collection of literature that has erstwhile sat on the floor (so tardy my dears, but what is one to do) in to his "new" bookcase. I cannot tell the joy it has given me to take up the mantle again and upcycle a piece of discarded furniture. It really does give one a delicious frission of delight to see it completed and, importantly, in use. I have a firm feeling that this will not be the last project that I undertake. Chalk paint is a very nice medium to work with and gives such a becoming finish; I thoroughly recommend it, my dears. 

The knitted garment currently on the needles continues apace and the front section of the garment is nearly complete. I have no doubt that the first sleeve will be in progress before the weekend has passed. Such an enjoyable pastime and important to continue the craft through the generations as those have done before us; why, my dears, my darling twin sister is even showing signs of interest - so exciting to think that all of my mother's daughters will continue in her knitterly footsteps. Only time will tell but I am confident that I see a glimmer of hope twinkling. 

Much to my delight and hilarity, a dear friend and colleague sent me a moving picture of one of her gorgeous bantam chickens making that most delightful "racket" they elicit when excited - my dears, it did so make me laugh. I am very fond indeed of chickens having grown up with them and find their "chuntering" and "clucking", as they go about their business, really quite relaxing. A neighbour also has a few chickens in her garden and one can often hear them throughout the day clucking and chattering - delightful, quite delightful.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Well hello.....

Well, I do declare, it has come to my attention that we suddenly have a marked following from our Australian friends - a very warm welcome to you all. Indeed, it is so delightful and most gratifying to see the interest from across the globe, from the Australias , through America, Canada, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, France,  and so many more -hello to each and every one of you. I do hope you find our little musings interesting and amusing, a little light relief to enjoy. 

Unusually for England, and the great British weather, we experiencd a prolonged dry spell for the first part of the year, why mutterings of a drought had begun to abound, much as we British are won't to do - never more happy than discussing the weather. Much to the relief of the gardening fraternity, we have had a goodly amount over the last few days and, oh my, how does the garden grow. The new yew hedge is showing some good signs of growth much to my delight and, it has to be said, relief. The roses are beginning to bloom, foxgloves abound, Nepeta, geraniums, iris, infact an English country garden - why it makes my heart sing with delight, pride and joy to look at. Within the month of May we have the glorious gardening spectacular to encourage our wildest dreams with the Chelsea Flower Show scheduled. My dears, such a dangerous activity in viewing the delights on offer, why it really can do serious damage to ones bank balance.

The little bookcase project comes on a pace and last evening was spent undertaking a second coat of paint which looks most becoming, if I say so myself. I do like a little project and reusing, repurposing or upcycling (as it is apparently now referred to) really has become de riguer again, my dears. I am an ardent fan, it has to be said, for I really am not fond of the "throw away" habit that was so popular once upon a time. There is an inert sense of satisfaction in reusing items that were erstwhile considered past their sell by date, do you not agree? 

Sunday, 14 May 2017

First coat...

It has been, my dears, another productive day for the male guardian and I. Firstly, as we sipped our first cup of fine English tea, the male guardian espied an electronic message from Australia, how very exciting. We duly sat and partook of our tea whilst still in repose amidst the bed chamber - quite a delightful start to the day, dear souls, I really can recommend it. Such an update from afar, with all the news and goings on, that makes one feel part of it all. Much progress has been made and a busy pair of bees they have been indeed, being of a "doing" nature.

Not ones to sit on our laurels, we too have taken the opportunity to tidy and trim the garden as one oft has to do at this time of year. Whilst the male guardian undertook the never ending task of keeping the lawns at bay, I undertook to put a first fine coat of chalk paint on the bookcase we had purchased. Well, my dears, what a transformation, I am most pleased. There are further coats to be applied and a fine wax finish but, I have to say, that I am already satisfied with a most prudent outlay. More importantly, the male guardian has approved the project, much to my delight. Dear friends, I foresee many such projects in the future.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

A little something for the male guardian......

Well, dear souls, I really am most delighted with our most judicious purchase that was delivered early this very morn. The male guardian has for some time required another, yes, my dears, another bookcase to hold his growing collection of fine  and varied literature. Being keen to utilise a piece that had seen some use, we have for sometime kept watch for such an item of furniture - they really are quite, quite difficult to find at a reasonable price. As chance would have it the male guardian took the carriage through a local town recently and I happened to glance to my left and there sat the very bookcase at the front of a house clearance establishment. From that quick glance I was able to determine the well made dimensions and solidity of the piece despite its somewhat vulgar, poorly executed decoration. Why, my dears, we returned with alacrity before it could be snapped up and the male guardian most courteously haggled with the charming lady owner. For the princely sum of £75 fine English pounds we are the proud owners of said piece, delivery being part of the deal. I am really most delighted and have spent some hours today hand sanding the entire piece in preparation for the first coat of a rather becoming shade of chalk paint, chosen by the male guardian himself. Words cannot tell the absolute delight this piece of furniture has afforded me.

Now you may indeed be wondering how one has the temerity to describe the "vulgar, poorly executed  decoration" and then clarify ones intention to paint the item oneself - it is perhaps best at this juncture that I reassure you that I am indeed fully qualified to undertake this having served a three year apprenticeship many years ago before my current professional calling. I did, in my early years, run a small sideline of furniture restoration or "upcycling" as I believe it is now called. It was a most enjoyable venture and produced a most welcome extra means of finance. I am overjoyed to see this form of recycling come to the fore once more and can firmly expound the delights of such a project. I really cannot wait to see the item in place but patience is most important for "preparation is key" was firmly reiterated time and again by the the master craftsman who tutored both the male guardian and I at the local higher educational establishment; a most talented of gentlemen. This is indeed where the male guardian and I met, marrying much to the delight of the Tutor who took great delight in explaining to all and sundry that he had attended the wedding of two of his apprentices - it was really not usual for there to be a female apprentice in those days and caused quite some confusion when said, much to the  great hilarity of our dear, gentle tutor. Ah, how times change indeed for this is not unusual at all in current times. 

That said, I really must get on, for supper is yet to be prepared and the physical exercise has given me quite an appetite, dear friends. I will, of course, keep you updated on progress; who knows, a little seed may just have planted itself for future reference in relation to sidelines - one must have hobbies, my dears, must one not?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Busy bees

Well, dear reader, what a busy week the male guardian and I have had. The log shed is satisfyingly full, a section of the Orchard has been re-seeded, cakes baked, visits to the delightful city of Bath undertaken as well as smaller towns nearer home, select items purchased for the house, deliveries delivered, tests undertaken, workmen seen and plans made. My dears, it has been quite the most productive of times. The woollen garment currently on my needles grows daily inbetween activities, favourite books revisited, fresh brewed coffee partaken and even lunch a' deux partaken in the City of Bath; why I do believe one needs a quiet weekend to recover before our usual routines are restored. It has to be said, we have been most fortunate with the weather. Sitting outside a most pleasing establishment in Bath, one had the opportunity to watch the world go by, glory in the most delightful architecture and enjoy the glorious sunshine. Dear souls, whilst one enjoys these trips to the City enormously, one really does like to come home; we travelled through a most delightful amount of beautiful countryside in our travels but none more welcome, in the resonant voice of that well known Welshman, than "the green, green grass of home". We are, it has to be said, home birds and enjoy nothing more than time spent on our little estate, which amidst our busy schedule, we have also taken the opportunity to do. 

A calm weekend is planned and no doubt some time will be spent pottering about the estate. A most enticing iced ginger sponge is tantalisingly stored in the larder, along with fresh coffee and some fine English tea to be brewed - such largesse, my dears. I have no doubt, English weather allowing, some leisure time will also be had enjoying the garden and partaking of a little light refreshment. We do so hope that you too have such delights awaiting you.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Logs and lemon cake

Oh my, what a day we have had. Full of doing and busyness but oh, so satisfying. Woken by birdsong and light, I woke early, keen for the first cup of finest English tea. Our thirst quenched and a number of rows added to a garment bound for the Australias, I rose and went to purchase the Sunday broadsheets as well as a few supplies. The male guardian was ensconced in pages of a most riveting book and lay a while whilst I gathered my purchases. Thus ready, I donned my apron and baked a luscious lemon cake to partake of later in the day, much to the male guardians delight. A short time pursuing the broadsheets with a further large cup of English breakfast tea and thus we set about our task. The day was spent in toil filling the log shed with dry seasoned logs in preparation for the colder months. Tired but satisfied, we stopped at teatime and partook of a generous slice of luscious lemon cake along with a further large cup of tea. Dear reader, it was a most welcome repast at a the end of a busy few hours spent in physical toil. 

Once refreshed, we spent some time catching up with the Australian contingent, swapping photographs via the electronic postal service - such an amazing invention my dears, one really should try it. Thus updated, we have spent a quiet evening enjoying our leisure time. We do so hope your day has been as productive and enjoyable dear friends.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Glorious May

Well, my dears, what a glorious month is the month of May. The weather is warmer, the days are longer and all around us abounds. We are most fortunate that our small country home is nestled amidst rolling countryside, on a single track lane with hedges that are currently brimming with the most bountiful cowparsley, bluebells, pink campion and wild garlic - oh the joy ''tis to behold, quite, quite beautiful. The roses in the sanctuary garden are just beginning to bloom, the nepeta has grown apace, and so much more - why it makes one glad to be alive with all the fresh growth and beauty. 
The male guardian and I have spent the day in the garden, tidying lawns, potting on and planting, staking and tying in. The laundry has flapped and dried and is now stored, sweet smelling in the airing cupboard. Such a joyous day; simple pleasure in jobs well done, laundering complete, house aired and warm. A simple country supper will be taken and a quiet evening spent enjoying our time together. 

We have spent some time considering the list of jobs required to keep our home in best health and therefore decided on a plan of action for this year; a time of excitement and trepidation for the upheaval, however, one must not "spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar" and thus we move forward.
Come winter time we will reap the benefits and the hope of satisfaction in a job well done. We will, of course, keep you up to date with progress, dear friends.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Early May Bank Holiday

Despite a deluge of rain throughout the evening and night, the early May Bank Holiday has been a glorious day. The male guardian and I popped along to the May Fair, as we have  done for many years. We have always purchased a number of plants from a delightful team at one of the regular stalls; they are renowned for their good quality plants. Today was no different and we purchased some glorious geraniums for the window boxes along with numerous other tempting plants for pots around the sanctuary garden. The male guardian also most generously bought me a new basket of a most delightful shape and size, the dear, kind man knows me too well. 

After a light repast, we spent some time reviewing and clearing the log shed in preparation for next winter's wood. This has been stacked for a year or so drying and will now be cut, chopped a stacked once more in the log shed ready for use. We are most fortunate to have had the space to build a large log shed when we moved here many years ago, that has two bays. Each year a bay is allocated for the fires and the other to be drying in preparation for the following year. We have also tidied and sorted the shed in to a semblance of working order. Such a fruitful weekend.

After a small supper we have spent the evening quietly and I have taken the opportunity to add the odd row or two to one of the garments bound for the Australias; so very satisfying. I do so hope your weekend has been equally good.