Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Skating at Somerset House, London.

Last Friday, my sister Paula and I went to London for the day.
A couple of weeks ago, I decided skating should be on my bucket list, as I have never done it.
I don`t know what possesed me. I think I thought that after a few minutes of holding on, I would be pirouetting round like Torville and Dean. Nothing could be further from the truth.
After spending the good part of our hour`s session holding on for dear life to the railings or anyone who happened to be nearby, I did very tentatively manage a few rounds with no support but still 
close to the edge.
I am pleased to say I did not fall down, due more to caution, rather than any expertise on my part. And also perhaps that I didn`t want to spend the rest of the day with a wet backside!!

Looking confident..... but after the picture was taken we did have to get back to the edge!!

Keep dancing! Not what I was thinking at the time. It was more a case of .....
"Hold me Paula or I`m going over."
Paula has skated before and was far more confident than me.

After an Italian meal, a quick look round Covent Garden and a visit to the National Gallery, 
we came home on the train.

Rye Harbour

Rye is an ancient Cinque port town, now a mile or so from the sea. It stands out from the surrounding countryside like an island, topped by the large church....scene of many 
Rye Grammar School commemorative services which I attended in the 60`s.

We often walk at the harbour, an exposed site with views to nearby Camber and Dungeness. The birdlife is quite stunning here, with newly created salt marsh areas and several hides.
The tide was out so we were able to walk on the sands, dotted with shells prised open by seabirds, jumping over wide rivulets making their way to the sea. You can just see one at the corner of this picture.

We made our way up onto the beach, covered in shells, washed up in the last storms.

The wind turbines were stark against the dark sky.

The golf course buildings near Camber standing out clearly.

This is the path that leads past one of the hides, flanked by teasels. These seed heads were once used to "tease" out sheeps wool into rolags, ready to spin. Having tried this with metal combs, I can imagine that doing it with teasels would be very hard work.

The Martello Tower, one of many on this coast, mid picture.

A closer view.

Martello Towers, are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards.
They stand up to 40 feet (12m) high (with two floors) and typically had a garrison of one officer and 15–25 men. Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof and able to traverse, and  fire over, a complete 360° circle.
The Martello towers were used during the first half of the 19th century, but became obsolete with the introduction of powerful rifled artillery. Many have survived to the present day, often preserved as historic monuments.

The inside of a Martello Tower.

We made our way back to the large carpark, glad for having been out in
the glorious sunshine and ready for a good lunch.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Wakehurst Place

Just over a week ago we visited Wakehurst Place. It was a glorious, 
cold autumn day and we were well wrapped up.
Wakehurst Place is The National Trust's most visited place and it is open throughout the year. It is the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Wakehurst has conserved seeds from ten per cent of the world's plant species.
Here are the laboratories.

Seed sculptures.

An interesting project close to the buildings.....

 Clay sculptures by children ....

We set off to walk some of the 465 acres admiring the autumn colours which have only just begun to show.

We passed lakes, reflecting the autumn glory and bird hides overlooking the water. 

We only saw a pied wagtail....no photos unfortunately.

Our path was strewn with colour.

 Many weird and wonderful artworks amidst the trees and foliage.

Amazingly, amongst those many acres, we met up with friends, quite by accident which was a very pleasant surprise. We had lunch together.

In the late afternoon we visited the walled garden, promising ourselves to come in June.
There was still colour around in some flowers, related to helichrysum I think.... and bees of course.

The nerines were looking pretty ghostly in the last of the sun.

All in all a lovely visit.
We would like to go at a different time of the year next time.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Cob, Calves and Colour

Cold weather has come at last! 
My feet were cold despite two pairs of socks and I needed a woolly hat.
The cob shed has been put to bed. Steve completed the roof in wood and then covered it in plastic for the winter. The sedum will be started in the spring.

Two sections are left for skylights.

I spent my time trying to clear the far corner which is a bit of a headache. 
But these fungi brightened the chore.

I weeded and forked over half a large bed and some of the raised bed.

There are still a lot of carrots left to harvest.

Tim was busy getting the closest barn ready to wean the calves. It sounded like hard work but I`m sure he was warm. It was also good to hear that the Carols in the Barn will be on 14th. December.
I look forward to that, but hope it`s not too cold.
(PS There was some well-rotted manure in here.)

I broke up some old roofing felt and stuffed that on the bottom shelf of the insect hotel.
Tim said he had found about 200 ladybirds between felt so I thought it might work for me.

The last job was to make a hole for the honeysuckle post, blown over in the last gales.

On the way home we stopped to look across the wheatfield towards Icklesham.

Monday, 11 November 2013


I think this picture says it all.

 Thank you for the life we have.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Nippy November

The rain yesterday was torrential, meaning lots of outstanding jobs done indoors, many over-due.
Tim says that we`ve had one quarter of the year`s rainfall in a couple of days.
This saying comes to mind....

"God made rainy days so that gardeners could do their housework."

Today has been a complete contrast with beautiful bright sunshine.
We have gardened all day....well, we had to come in at half past three, as it`s beginning to get dark so early.
I thought the ground would be too wet to dig but I managed to complete one big bed and the soil was a treat to work on.

It was a different story when I transplanted some forgetmenots.....claggy soil, not pleasant to work.
Maybe, because this area is in shade at this time of the year.

When Paula came, we rolled one of the huge water tanks across the garden.

The other one is just inside the gate.

We hope to collect water in these tanks for the new polytunnel.

Paula and I worked on the insect hotel. It was good to exchange ideas, for ways to attract insects.
We filled terracotta pots with straw and fleecy fabric....

 ......cut dead dock stalks and placed them in bundles .....

It`s starting to look quite inviting.

We placed carpet along the back for more protection and discussed making a sedum roof. The sides will need to slope gradually with possibly a wooden backing.
The bottom layer is likely to be broken pieces of tile and brick.
We`re also keen to get hold of more of the bricks with 11 holes.

Steve worked on the cob shed roof. He ran out of tongue and groove wood so we are on the lookout.

Some water has got in.
The roof must be finished soon.

The dahlias have been cut down and put to bed for the winter. They`ve been fantastic as always.

Steve didn`t have a woodworking accident, he just pulled some beetroot.

As we packed up, Paula spotted a Peacock butterfly.....goodness knows what it will find to eat but maybe it will find a good hibernation spot nearby!!

My friends Lark and Alan gave me this lovely log drawer yesterday. I couldn`t resist putting two hedgehogs inside, having been thinking of  "homes" all morning.