Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dorset Delights

My brother treated us to a lovely holiday in Dorset recently.
We had a fantastic week of scorching weather with beach trips, long walks and meals out. We felt as if we were abroad.

What a beautiful county this is.....
 .....wide open spaces....
.....high cliffs.....
......stunning beaches.
We had a lovely cottage, set on the edges of the Kingcombe Nature Reserve which is run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust
We went for long walks through the ancient meadows, full of wild flowers and insects, which we attempted to identify with our handy reference books.

We were fascinated by the ancient names of the meadows with the medieval strip system still visible.
We visited several beaches.
West Bay, near Bridport, was crowded on Sunday but we loved to see everyone enjoying themselves. The crystal clear water was numbingly cold. It made a change to see our feet on the bottom.
 I couldn`t believe so many people were wanting to swim.
We couldn`t stand it for long. 
We ate fish and chips and delicious locally made icecream.
Some of us did this cliff path walk from Eype to Thornecombe Beacon.....a long trek in the heat, very steep but well worth the effort. We followed it up with a cooling swim from Eype beach.
Interestingly the strange place name derives from a Greek shipwreck on the nearby Chesil Beach. They originated from Epirus. The survivors set up home here.
Maybe there was no way to get home.
We spent most afternoons seeking out shade around the cottage, with paddling pools and bubbles for the children, Pimms for the adults and sitting out til the sun went down at 9.30.
A brilliant holiday.....thank you Jamie.
I highly recommend Dorset as a holiday destination.


Saturday, 24 June 2017

Alpacas in Residence

This year we have some unusual visitors for the summer...
....three lovely alpacas.

They have cute fluffy faces and are supposed to be very caring towards the sheep.
I was a bit worried that they could just step over our flimsy wire fencing after seeing their size.
They demolished the nettles all along the fence and the lower tree branches.

 On arriving at the garden one morning, I was rather upset to see this....

.....I wrongly assumed the alpacas had done as I feared.
But no, I was wrong. The sheep had barged through the netting, (now exposed) and made a beeline for the sunflowers, which they could easily reach.
Luckily they were spotted by the couple looking after their horse, Connor, and they were chased out. The fence was secured with anything to hand. 
Oooh I was cross.
You will have to read my next blog entry to see the nice surprise I had after a week`s holiday.

Poppies are popping out all over the place.
Morning glories seem to do very well in the heat of the polytunnel and my goodness, it has been hot. Anne told me the temperature in there was 49 degrees whilst we were away.


Life is too short for straight lines.
We harvested our first kohlrabi.....such an amazing colour.
We spotted a harlequin ladybird on the asparagus. I am told it has a voracious appetite for other ladybirds!!
And then we had to leave the garden for a week in Anne`s capable hands.


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Fairy Garden in a Trailer

Earlier this year Anne cut the top from the old chicken run trailer and we created a new fairy garden in it.
It was filled with polystyrene pieces to keep it light, with a layer of soil on top.
Last week it was a blank canvas 
.....always a bit daunting.
This week.....well you can read all about it.
We stood around our "blank canvas" and wondered where to start.
So this is what we did.
We scratched out a winding path with a twig.
We decided where the little house would go.
We lined the path with little glass pebbles and put a layer of builders sand in between.
The path has now been laid with very fine shingle.
The tiny crochet toadstools, I made some time ago.
They are glued to long kebab sticks to keep them stable.
Next we gathered some plants.....sedums, lobelia, campanula.....things that will stay small.
There are also a couple of larger ferns to help with the feeling of smallness.
I made two tiny fences by cutting thin bamboo canes into lengths and winding tightly with wire at the top and the bottom.
Here it is in the foreground.
I used quite a lot of the plant "Mind your own business." 
And I found renewable sphagnum  moss and stuffed that into the corners and round the edges.It remains to be seen what happens to that over a period of time.
Steve made me the little house and I made an incredible mess round my living room sorting through all the materials I wanted to use to decorate it.

 I used pale green chalk paint for the walls, a hanging basket liner for the thatched roof and various glittery bits for finer detail.
The whole lot was spray-varnished several times which should help to make it more weather proof. 
We also added an arch...
....a swing.....
......and a hammock.


Several little fairies were dotted around, as well as a tiny wheelbarrow that Anne found which I filled with tiny artificial flowers.
The final addition today was the gypsy caravan, made by Steve from a log. I decorated this last night.

It is funny to think that this time last week, the trailer was our "blank canvas."
Now here it is waiting for people, especially children, to enjoy.
I am reminded of the walks to my Granny`s house, passing by gardens with gnomes and tiny ponds....they were eagerly anticipated and delighted us children.