Sunday, 30 July 2017

"A place for everything and everything in its place"

With the completion of the recent works on our little home, the male guardian and I have been looking afresh at our home. As the years have gone by, we have been the recipients of many items, some wanted or dearly desired and some not quite so desired, when it is perhaps not in the kindest or politest of moments to decline those items pressed upon one, as I am sure many of you can also attest.   It was with a gimlet eye we have been reassessing the contents of our home. Being thrifty, we have also stored many items for those "just in case" times that never arrive. We have therefore, dear readers, been acquainting ourselves with many a local charity or thrift shop, as well as delivering items such as old towels and blankets to the animal charities and local vets who have been most grateful for the donations, never having enough of said items. It has, my dears, been both cathartic and great fun for the house now seems to have space to breath and we have had the opportunity to revisit times through photographs and items that remind one of snippets throughout one's life; photographs, birth/marriage and death certificates, items passed down through families and more. As well as these, we have culled items that we ourselves have introduced, plus the everyday detritus that can accumulate if left unchecked. The poor recycling gentleman have also been busy on our behalf for much paperwork has been reviewed and, that which is not relevant, has been discarded. We have utilised the oft used maxim "a place for everything and everything in its place" to assist our efforts; such sensible advice, dear friends,  as true today as when first uttered in the 17th Century, although I do believe there are a number of people who are associated with the first declaration.

As we move in to the month of August, this year feels like a "doing" year; completing works, sorting out, moving on and planning for times ahead. Before we began, it all seemed a little daunting but, my dears, now we have started it has been such fun. I do so enjoy a job well done for, as the saying goes "if a jobs is worth doing, it's worth doing well".

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Great British summer weather..

Well, we did need a little rain and, oh my dears, how it was delivered upon us last evening. The forecast for yesterday predicted a plentiful downpour with weather warnings declared. As the evening wore on the air became evermore humid then, at one am, preceded by the loudest crack of thunder, the heavens did open and the deluge commenced with glorious lightning to accompany the tympanic beat of the rain upon our roof structures. Thrumming and drumming through the night, the ground drank that which poured forth, thirsty for water. This morn as, I set off for my professional toil, the landscape around our small estate was lush and verdant from the nights weather. Today has seen a repeat performance of humidity and quite the largest drops of warm rain bursting forth from the heavens down upon me as I arrived home for the day. Dear souls, it really was most refreshing and one has to confess to lingering a while in the estate gardens to appreciate it all the more after a hot, busy day spent in toil. What a foil to the day, surrounded by green lush foliage and washed in warm rain - I cannot put in to words the joy at the fresh breeze. I really am quite adamant, dear reader, that there is nought so enjoyable in returning to one's sanctuary at the end of the day to appreciate the fresh air and beautiful countryside we live in, whatever the weather.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Scented alchemy..

The smell of something can be so evocative it can recreate instances as though transported in time. I remember, as a child, visiting an old house in which there was a delightful set of rooms so unbelievably British with leather wing back chairs, wood smoke, old books and the lingering scent of wood polish. The family, grandparents to a school chum, lived in a delightful rambling home where dogs and cats roamed, with the homely smell of baking and laughter were ever present. I do believe, dear reader, that  we have recreated that scent of homeliness in our own small cottage, albeit aided by the presence of a rather delightful smokey scented candle, leather furniture and good old fashioned beeswax polish. How it does transport me, my dears. We are most fortunate to be able to purchase the most alluring of scented candles made fairly locally; not one for over sweet or cloying scents, I find myself in a minority it would appear, in a fondness for the smokier, woodier, chypre type candle. The male guardian and I were recently intent on purchasing one such candle at a well known department store. On asking if they stocked the more "masculine" type one prefers, the assistant exclaimed at finally meeting one of the "strange" people who liked said type of candle, stating they smelt awful. Why, my dears, the male guardian and I really found this most amusing indeed, and had quite the little joke with the two assistants, reminding them, with tongue firmly wedged in one's cheek, that "the customer is always right". Dear souls, how we all laughed and how delightful to reaffirm that no two people are alike. It is with great joy that I am still able to purchase my favourite scented candles as well as be reassured that, in the words of Lucretieus, "One man's meat is another man's poison". Clearly, as apt today as it was all those years ago.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Made in Great Britain....

Such excitement, my dears, for delivery of the long awaited sofa has arrived and oh, my, my, what a sofa. We are most delighted that it is British made and showcases the quite extraordinary craftsmanship available within our very own shores. Well worth the wait and diligent financial management to ensure a piece that one hopes will stay the course. The history of the company highlights a pedigree of supplying many a quality establishment with such pieces therefore we feel sure it was a wise choice, only time indeed will tell.

As I ponder on its fine lines, I have considered the wares we use within our home and am delighted with being able to showcase some further examples of fine British craftsmanship; utilitarian articles such as everyday pottery ware from both British and Scottish artisans, fine woollen items from Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales, bedsteads and mattresses, logburner, baskets, material, why even my wooden spoons and kitchen ware - all from the four countries that make us truly Great Britain. How I do love that, as I look around my small home, craftsmen and women from the four corners of this great country have added to the character of it, diligently working to produce fine or utilitarian pieces that contribute. Why even the wool that I use to fashion the woollen garments I oft allude to, is British. My dears, my little heart is swollen with pride as I am sure is yours, whatever country you hail from, when you see the diligence of your fellow countrymen or women set out before you. 

With that thought, dear friends, I feel the necessity for a fine cup of English Tea to celebrate.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Thump, thump, thump.........

Oh my dears,  I am so excited for the harvest has begun. The combine harvester arrived mid morning and so it began and still continues. Accompanied by grain tractors, up and down the field they go, the two grain tractors racing to and fro to collect the harvest. They have been joined by that most delightful piece of machinery, the baleing  machine. Oh, how I do so love the sound of the baler, thump, thump, thump, spewing perfectly formed golden bales in its wake. Clouds of birds rise and fall across the field, gathering their free meal as they go. I have given a cheery wave to the combine accompanied by the most widest of grins; they are used to me watching them, smile in place each year, delighted by the cyclical farming year marking my calendar. A full moon is anticipated tonight, better to appreciate the changing landscape surrounding us.

All change....

At last, dear friends, we are on the homeward straight and await the last tradesman for some minor adjustments to the room we have been refurbishing. We are inordinately pleased with the result, all the more for knowing it will be warm and snug through the winter months. There is something delightfully pleasing on seeing the results of upheaval suddenly turned into a place of warmth and comfort; my dear late father would certainly be most pleased that it was finally completed for it was not perhaps his favourite room in the house, it has to be said, for it had a tendency to be somewhat cool. Why, I can almost see him looking down upon us with a beaming smile upon his face, dear reader. 

We have also taken the opportunity to have the airing cupboard doors replaced whilst we had the relevant tradesman with us and oh, what a fine job he has done indeed, customising them to suit our little home. They have replaced a rather tardy set of doors that we inherited which really were not suited to the job in hand, having buckled with the warmth of the airing cupboard and did wax and wane in quite the most annoying way. I had long abandoned the hope that they would ever shut properly, my dears. The new customised doors really are a thing of utilitarian beauty that appeals to my simplistic eye and more importantly shut properly and firmly, much to my delight.

As part of the upgrade, we have been looking for a "new" sofa. The male guardian and I have always believed in upcycling thus when my dear late parents offered us a most serviceable sofa when downsizing, we eagerly snapped it up. This most solid piece of furniture was bought at one of those delightful of furniture auctions when I was a mere sapling and had been in their possession for some years. Grateful for such a finely made piece of furniture, I set about recovering it, and reader it has lasted the male guardian and I for over twenty years (already having been bought at auction and owned by my parents for many a year). Sadly it was decided earlier this year, as we sank ever lower in to the upholstery with spent springs abound, that it 'twas perhaps time to consider a replacement. My dears, what a minefield. I keenly searched for another second hand piece, hopeful to upcycle as ever. It is, dear reader, incredibly hard to find a well made resilient piece that one hopes one will buy and not have to replace in ones lifetime; a piece that is not a nod to fashion nor throw away as much appears to be, but a solid, well made piece of furniture that will stand the test of time such as that we had been fortunate to be given many years earlier. After months spent searching, we took the long considered option of looking at a new piece. Those who know the male guardian and I, know that this is not taken lightly and much research, checking, testing and considering is undertaken. At last, dear souls, a choice was made. The establishment visited on a number of occasions, sat on, bounced on, indeed almost turned inside and out, specifications discussed (for one is able to make a number of personal amendments to the specifications) and discussions had. Finally, a decision made and we eagerly await the piece, delivery imminent after being made in the workshop of the chosen establishment. It is a classic, solid piece of furniture that we hope will stand the test of time and the rigours of daily life. 

So much has happened in this first half of the year, why I do believe I am quite exhausted by it all, my dears. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Fields of gold...

Dear souls, it has to be said that the peak of the summer months are not perhaps my personal favourite time of year due to an aversion to heat, however, I hold a strong aesthetic appreciation of the changing landscape around our little country home and beyond. The fields abutting the estate have turned from the acid green of spring to the darker green of early summer and now, with glorious sunshine abound, to the rich, ripe colour of gold preparing to be harvested. It is such a beautiful spectacle with the crops creating waves in the breeze like a golden sea before me, such a joyous sight. The smell of ripened crops is really quite a delicious fragrance unless of course one is afflicted with hay fever, when one is not quite so enraptured, me thinks. Once deemed ready, the harvesting tractor will cut swathes through the crops as a ship on the sea, with cut crops spewing behind as if a golden wake. Crop dust billows and all around us will be engulfed in the rich aroma and birds will follow in its swathed path in hope of any easy meal. I do so love the sights and sounds of this annual event.

The male guardian is once again in professional toil and I am most fortunate to have returned for the evening from my own toil. I am truly grateful for it has been another very hot day and we are most fortunate to have a gloriously cooling breeze to cool us in the sanctuary garden and surrounding countryside. Such a joy to return to on such hot days, with deep dark shade under the apple trees where cooling refreshments can be partaken. I find the orchard such a joyous place to be on hot days for it affords coolness at the same time as the ability to sit and enjoy the sounds of the birds and the lazy drone of the bees. What is there not to like about an English country garden, my dears? 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

A painterly weekend..

The joyful look upon the male guardian's face was really quite delightful, for a further day of sunshine announced itself early this morn, filtering through the apple trees and creeping in to the bed chamber. Once awoken, the dear chap prepared a most restorative cup of English breakfast tea, to be partaken sat up in bed - such a genteel way to start the day. Once restored and ablutions completed, we took the carriage to a local hardware store and purchased a rather becoming shade, mixed to our personal specifications, to decorate a newly refurbished room. Oh my dears, it really is quite lovely, we really are most pleased with the result even after just one coat. It really is most satisfying when a long held project reaches completion, is it not? I have no doubt there will be some marked activity over the coming week to complete the project.

What is it dear reader, that when the sun shines one feels the need to clean and clear, de clutter and repurpose? I do confess it is a process I enjoy very much although I am not so sure the male guardian echoes my sentiments. That said, the external fabric of the house has been assessed and my male guardian has proposed a number of small, but important, projects be undertaken during the summer months, thus further ensuring the upkeep of our little home. We will thus be snug as the proverbial bugs, one hopes, over the winter months.

This does not mean, dear souls, that we do not take every opportunity to enjoy ourselves and have very much spent the weekend outside enjoying the clement weather whilst we can, it is England after all.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Fruitful diligence...

My dears, life has continued apace, the garden continues to be fruitful and we were the most fortunate recipients of some delightful fruit grown by a dear gentleman whose allotmenteering is something to behold. Roses abound and generally our small estate gardens grow.

The male guardian enjoys the sunshine at every possible opportunity, why this very day having soaked up every possible drop of warmth and sunshine before the grey clouds have once more swept in. It has indeed been a lovely day and I took my chance to ensure the laundry flapped upon the breeze from an early hour. I do so love to see the laundry flapping in the breeze and to smell that beautiful fresh scent as I store the linen in the lavender scented airing cupboard. 

The schedule continues apace to complete the restoration of our small home; there is nought so satisfying as seeing long planned works come to fruition - so gloriously pleasing. Alongside this is the completion of the back of the second woollen garment bound for the Australias and work on the front commenced. Truly evidence that hard work and diligence brings benefit on both accounts.