Welcome to family, friends and visitors. Here you will find interesting (hopefully) pictures of my part of the world, news of our household and probably, long ramblings about anything that catches my interest.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Little Rain.

We woke up this morning to a white world. A thick blanket of fog filled the valley and we couldn't even see out of the garden. That was when Peter left for work but I just went back to sleep for another hour. When I did get up the fog had gone and looking out of the window I saw a female deer close to the garden. I had to look carefully before I could see that she was on our side of the deer fence.  Deer can do a lot of damage in a garden but she soon disappeared off into the trees. It stayed overcast and dry all morning so I went out and weeded the ornamental grasses up by the scree garden. I had to dig down to remove the roots of a wandering grass which meant the gravel got a bit messed up but that's better than having the wrong grass popping up through the gravel.
I'm still finding it strange to be going to work for the end of the day. We had a staff meeting sharing ideas on how we record what the children have done and how the children can assess themselves and each other. 
It rained a little as I was driving to school and a bit more on the return journey. It looks as if the fog is returning to the hills.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Mostly Dry.

It was overcast but dry in the morning so I was able to get on with the weeding. I was happy scrambling around on my giant rockery searching out the smallest weed and now I can say that it is pretty much weed free. At least for a few days before the next lot of seeds germinate. When I first planted it up I left myself a set of steps using flattish rocks that were already there but sometimes I just have to climb over the bank, balancing where I can and trying not to flatten too many plants.
The sun came out in the afternoon so when the weeding was done I sat down for a late afternoon lunch/read. Naturally the sun went in but I just put on a bodywarmer and stuck it out. After doing some admin and my exercises I thought I'd do a bit more gardening. As I put my boots back on down came some rain! Luckily it didn't last very long and I was able to go and dig over the veg patch. I'm tempted to try some beans again even though I don't do very well with my veg, mainly because I try to keep my use of slug pellets to a minimum. 

Monday, 28 April 2014


Despite the forecast being for showers the morning was warm and sunny. I got lots of weeding done with my new gloves which the postman had brought me on Saturday. My old orange work gloves had not so much got holes in the finger tips as no finger tips at all so I had ordered myself another pair.   
Thinking that it was going to rain when I wrote my jobs list I had decided to start tidying up the sitting room fireplace which I did at lunchtime to give my back a rest from weeding. We burnt up the last bits of wood yesterday evening so it was time to carefully (wood fire and white curtains is not the ideal combination) clear up all the twigs and bits of bark and then hoover up all the remaining dust. I do like returning the fireplace to a fairly clean condition but I enjoy a warm wood fire too. 
Foolishly I then decided to temp fate by first hanging out some washing, then donning shorts to cut the grass. Naturally the sky clouded over and the temperature dropped dramatically. I cut 2 lawns before calling it a day and bringing the washing in to hang over the rayburn. I really thought it was going to rain but it has stayed dry, if grey for the rest of the afternoon. All in all it has been a good day's work.
As I drove the rubbish up to the road I saw that Boris was wearing his headcollar at last.  

Sunday, 27 April 2014


We're stuck with the same weather, showers and some sun and a lot of wind. I've been popping out to do more weeding but it gets quite irritating  when the dry spells only last for 15 mins or so. I did get some tidying up and ironing done indoors and sorted out some earrings for remodeling as well. A pair of swallows kept investigating the porch as a nest site and got very annoyed when I shut the door to keep them out. Even flying into the porch would put their lives in danger so I shall have to be vigilant until they find somewhere else to build their nest.
I was quite pleased to  weed through the golden marjoram and dig out some pesky grass roots. I had to dig up lots of the marjoram too but it's a hardy plant and should settle back quickly especially with all this rain. At one point I turned over a clump of marjoram and found these 2 tiny newts each about 10cms long. I moved them to a patch that had already been cleared and they soon disappeared from sight.
The evening light made the leaves on the beech tree shine against the grey sky, A lovely view from my window.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

April Showers.

Its been a day of frequent heavy showers and brief spells of warm sunshine. I went outside whenever it wasn't raining though sometimes by the time I had put on my coat and boots the rain had started up once more. 
I did lots of bits of weeding around the place. The weeds came up easily as the ground was so soft after all the rain.  
When it was too wet to be outside I got on with housework. Having sparkling clean windows in the kitchen gave me the incentive to clean more windows so today I tackled my 2 favourite windows. The floor length windows in the sitting room which give such lovely views when I am playing the piano or sat at the PC. That led on to cleaning up the concrete path around the back of the house. It was handy having the stream there so that I could throw  buckets of water over the concrete to sweep away the moss, mud and leaves which had accumulated there. Right now I can see the sun shining through the leaves on the sole beech tree on the bank, very pretty even if the sky is grey.

Friday, 25 April 2014


It was a bit of a shock to the system having to wake up at 6.00 this morning, especially as Peter has been at home for the last 2 weeks so we've been getting up later than usual. Luckily I'm a morning person as I had less than 5 hours sleep last night. As I drove to work I was thinking about how pleasant the drive is with lots of nature and beauty to admire. First there was the sight of Boris turned out in the field wearing a tiny foal headcollar for the first time. Next there was a buzzard sitting on a telegraph pole and down by Burridge a black sheep with a black lamb. Approaching the first town houses there were more trees blossoming including the 'candles' on the horse chestnut trees. At that point I saw that an oncoming car had nearly slowed to a halt and in front of it were one, no two horses. My first thought that someone was leading them but immediately I saw that the horses were loose on the road and behind then were 3 or 4 more small ponies. For once my brain worked quickly and I jumped out of my car, stopped the car that was coming up behind me and diverted the small herd into the driveway between 2 paddocks which is where I was sure they had escaped from. My dilemma was what to do next as I did need to get to work. I didn't want to leave them near the road so I chased them back down towards the house and they put themselves back into one of the paddocks. I noted the phone number of the cattery up on a board by the entrance and when I got to school I gave the bemused cattery lady a call to let her know about the escape. Typical of me not to even think about using my mobile phone which was in the car with me even though I really only carry it for car emergencies.
I had an absolutely lovely day with the reception children, very relaxed and yet we got everything done. It had been bright for most of the day and then in the afternoon the heavens just opened up. Within minutes the playground was one vast puddle and the poor parents waiting for their children got very wet indeed. Luckily the worst of it was over when I walked into town to change my library books and drop off some stuff at the charity shop.
When I got home I intended to take a photos of Boris looking sweet in his headcollar but  the headcollar was lying discarded in the mud. Naughty foal.
Boris came over to see what I was doing and I let him have a suck on my finger though he did keep trying to have a nibble with his new teeth instead. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Hail !

The day started bright and sunny which fitted well with my plan for a day spent gardening. I had a list of several jobs to do but the weeding, which had been added as a pleasant interlude, became the main activity of the day. Things are growing so quickly now that I couldn't ignore  the weeds especially those on the bank where the hardy geraniums are making good growth. Once the geraniums start flowering I think I do more damage than good clambering about pulling out the weeds but at the moment there is space to stand/balance between the clumps of new leaves. There is still a little bit too do at the very top but the bulk of the work has been done. I had just decided to call it a day when it started to rain so apart from having to make a run for my camera which I had handy for any butterflies that came by, I timed it well.
I had hoped that the grass would be dry enough to cut in the afternoon but lunchtime it rained which included hail ! and left the grass still wet. Yesterday I had dismantled the lawn mower as it was making an odd noise, actually all I did was undo and take out the bolt for the blade, remove some plant fibers which were caught up there and reassemble it after a couple of squirts with WD40. It sounded OK when I started it up again. 
There have been butterflies around for the past week though the main 'wildlife' has been the many bees buzzing around the flowering heathers. The pair of town sparrows has once more taken up residence in the hole in the wall by our bedroom window and a blue-tit was investigating a hole by the window on the other side. I think hole is too small because it gets lots of visits but nobody ever takes up residence. The pippistrelle bats have been back for a while, they use one of the attics as a summer roost but we don't seem to have jackdaws in there as well thank goodness. From the noise I hear they have settled en-masse in next-door's barn.
Butterflies - from the top: Comma, Peacock and Orange-tip. The orange=tips only stop briefly so it is hard to get a good picture. Here's hoping for many more butterflies this summer.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Sun and Showers.

The trees and hedges are turning green once more. The older beech trees take a little longer to get going than the younger hedges.
It's the first day of the summer term and I have to get used to a new routine. I'll be teaching all day on Fridays and go to the staff meetings after school on Wednesdays. It seemed strange to be getting ready for work so late in the afternoon and a bit of a nightmare driving into the school grounds at the same time as all the parents were arriving to collect their children. There were toddlers wandering across the drive, parents not looking and all the junior school children who finish a little earlier roaming around. I think I'll arrive a bit earlier in future and join the other reception teachers in their planning afternoon. As it happened the staff meeting this afternoon was cancelled but it was still good to talk to the teacher whose class I'll be teaching on Fridays. Instead I drove across town and shopped at Lidl's, Tescos and then the Co-op. Lidl's has the best all round prices, Tescos has clothes and sometimes their reductions are more than token and the Co-op has 75% reductions around 5.00. I did buy another top for work, yet another sleeveless, long flowing top but it wasn't black! Well just a little bit but lots of bright colours too. I got lots of really good bargains too: mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, falafel, yoghurts, cold meats, pizzas, hot cross buns and fresh meat to list just some. I shan't need to do any major food shopping for weeks now.
The box I put my tins in has already been occupied as a cat house.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


It has rained all day long, starting with a gentle drizzle that built up to quite heavy rain.
I decide to make the best of being confined indoors by giving the kitchen an extra tidy. Windows and woodwork were washed as were all the blue glassware on the windowsill by the sink. It's lovely being able to look out of that window and watch Boris but it is even nicer with sparkling glassware and all the cobwebs washed away for the time being. Dusty cobwebs are no good for catching flies anyway.
Some bullocks had wandered down to the corner of the field behind the house. They were just as interested in watching me as I was in watching them. 
And that's been my very quiet day.

Monday, 21 April 2014


The day started out grey with rain promised for the afternoon but the forecast was proved wrong as the sun appeared in the middle of the day and is shining still.
I finished off pressure washing the paving around the scree garden and once that was done I simply enjoyed the good weather  and relaxed with a cup of tea and a book. It was quite peaceful today, if you don't count the birds twittering, rooks cawing and even a wood pigeon cooing away, as there were no cars coming down to the stables. 
I stayed out reading and watching the swallows swooping into the shelter until the shadows started to creep up. I was quite surprised to find that it was nearly 7.00 (that's when I took these photos) when I came back down to the house. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Rain Returns.

 Easter Greetings to Everyone.
I was awake early this morning (not intentionally), and saw a bright streak of orange in the sky before the day lapsed into uniform grayness. It was very peaceful listening to the Sunrise Service on the radio before I got up. As it is Easter I didn't want the day to slip into the same old routine of work, work and more work so once I had tidied up the kitchen I turned to a task that was for my own pleasure - refurbishing all the wind chimes. With almost constant wind from one direction or other I can usually hear the ringing of at least one set of chimes (I'm not keen on the bamboo ones). That is if the paddle or the metal tubes haven't fallen off. 
All the chimes needed a wash to get rid of the green algae and then it was just a matter of finding the fallen off pipes and restringing them. Oh and making new paddles by cutting slices of small log on the circular saw,-very cautiously. It did take most of the afternoon but now they are all hanging back in the garden, clean if not all complete but in working order.
 When I went out earlier Boris who is the youngest pony was having a lie down ......
and so too was Lemon who has to be one of Sarah's oldest ponies. I can remember the boys riding him 17 or 18 years ago. 
Soft rain set in at lunchtime giving the garden a welcome watering.

Saturday, 19 April 2014


Today's morning sun was quite deceptive as the wind was a lot colder than yesterday. My optimistic donning of shorts and t-shirt was definitely not the right choice. By the late afternoon the wind had changed direction and brought warmer air from the south but it was still cool in the breeze.
However it was still good to be working outside and for most of the time I have been pressure washing the paving around the scree garden. There's still more to do and as ever I keep seeing garden jobs that also need to be done asap. The sight of weeds flowering in the veg patch was too much for me and I took the time to clear them before they went to seed.
When I stopped for a lunch break on the premise that a change is as good as a rest I had a tidy up around the wood shed. All this sunshine has been so uplifting, giving me energy to get on with the never ending jobs around the place. Every time I look out of a window I get another boost. Right now the evening sun is lighting up the first green beech leaves in the hedge and what from a distance looks like new green leaves on the willow trees in the field but are actually the newly opened catkins. 
Life is good.

Friday, 18 April 2014


It wasn't just the lovely sunny weather that had me smiling all day. It was the news from Vytas (he phoned last night), that he has already got a job. He's only been back in the country for 2 weeks so that's pretty amazing in itself given the current economic climate and the lack of any jobs for young people. But it's even better, he will be working on the same thing he did for his PhD which is bonding wafers. One level up from nanotechnology is all I know about the subject. And ..... he will be working at place halfway between Oxford and Newbury so he will be much closer to us than before. About 2 1/2 hours drive away so hopefully we will see them more often. How good is all that?
I started my working day by collecting up all the remaining logs, all 6 wheelbarrow loads and stacking them in the woodshed. By the end it was a bit like a 3D puzzle and I don't think I could fit another twig in there. 
Up in the field Boris was having a lazy afternoon in the sun. He had spent the morning racing around the field building up his muscles. He is much braver now and instead of cantering in small circles around Coral he races all over the place. 

After a long lunch break out in the sun and some emergency weeding of dandelions that had been catching my eye as I went back and forth with the wood, I went back to pressure washing. 
The slabs up by the scree garden are much easier to clean than the ones down by the house so I got a lot done in just a couple of hours. 
It's quite satisfying to see the difference as I clean off a year's growth of algae and lichen from the paving slabs. Pressure washing in shorts especially when parts of the mortar are missing does make you very mucky so it was off for an early shower before blogging and supper. A good day today.