October 2017

Oeuf! I can breath!

Don’t ask me what the title of this post means – I don’t actually know.  However, my Mum always said it when something was opened up or because clear.  Actually, she had a thing about eggs.  When she didn’t know someone’s name she called them Mrs or Mr Huevo!  Dad and I used it too, but with English accents it because Mrs or Mr Wave-oh.

Enough reminiscence.  The reason I can breathe is that Paul has been working here today and has opened up about half the herb bed. He tells me that a lot of the plants will have died because there was so much moss choking things.  The wild strawberries, which also came up, were only rooted in the moss.

Over the past few weeks he has worked steadily around the garden, pruning and weeding and digging and it’s really making a difference.  He’s also mowing the lawn more regularly, so that whole thing is looking a whole lot tidier.

You will have noticed that Paul is in shorts.  It is NOT, I repeat NOT, shorts weather, but these mountain bikers are a tough crowd!  It was cold, windy and drizzly today – yuck!  Earlier this week we had the remains of Hurricane Ophelia which brought down all our apples and a crows nest.  Then it rained like the clappers for about 24 hours and now we’re getting ready for Storm Brian which is predicted to bring more wind and rain tomorrow.

I tried to get some better pictures of Paul, but failed miserably.  However, in the one picture I have with him in, you can also see a bell-shaped rusty old iron object.  That is an old “copper”.  These were what housewives and washer women used to boil up their laundry in the old days.  We found it behind the shed when we moved in.  It’s now upturned and used as a “feature” in the middle of the bed, and it covers up a big manhole where all the sewers of the neighbourhood come together.  It’s lovely to think that all the ordure of our side of Cardingmill Valley flows under our garden.

Funnily enough, while he was weeding Paul dug up a rusty old manhole-cover-lifter that some plumber must have dropped as well as an old kitchen knife.  We have lots of interesting stuff buried in the garden (apart from Granddad – just kidding).  The stream brings all sorts of things down – old ginger beer stoneware bottles from the old pop factory in the valley, bits of clay pipes, beer bottle stoppers from WWII, etc. etc. We also found the remains of an old concrete path the other day.  Further archaeological excavations are called for!

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Two holidays

As the rain pours down on Church Stretton I browsed my photos from two recent trips to remind me that there can be good weather sometimes, somewhere!

In late September we went to France.  I was on a painting holiday and John was an accompanying partner with the express intention of doing some birding.  This was a fantastic week in the countryside near Albi.  Our lodgings had a wonderful view of Cordes-sur-Ciel which is named thus because it appears to float in the sky when there is valley fog about.  The company was great, the scenery fantastic and I learned a lot.  Here are a few photos.

A week after our return from France we headed off to North Somerset for a family holiday on the National Trust Holnicote Estate.  We rented Lower House, which is a large farmhouse in Bossington and over the week entertained a whole slew of family and friends who gathered to wish Joy an happy birthday (I won’t mention the number!)

Here are a bunch of pictures from over the week.  They’re not all beautiful, but they give you an idea of what we were all doing (right, you guessed it, we were mostly eating and drinking!).

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