beaching :: a week at the cottage

I expect you may be wondering if I had got lost in the wood, or fallen into the compost bin, or down a rabbit hole; but no I have been a little quiet this week because I needed some ‘me’ time whilst on holiday – amongst the gardening of course.

As usual when we arrived the garden resembled a jungle, all but the grass, which had been cut by our dear friendly grass cutter, Kelly.  5 days in and it was ready for cutting again; so DH got the mower out and cut them again.

I had the usual first day dithers wondering which of the borders to start on; in the end I did none of them and decided the garage needed a clear out.

 It is a big space but we were only using the last few feet by the door because I could not get past all the equipment and garden sundries blocking my path.  I found some interesting things though and a few things I had forgotten about.

Through some clever prompting on my part I managed to get DH to go through the wood pile and keep or toss.  It is now much reduced.  The rest was put outside on the concrete standing and yesterday had a journey to the tip along with a few bags of weeds that I don’t compost here like goosegrass.

There is still a lot to do as you can see from the photo but it is very much a work in progress I am pleased with what we have achieved and presently we can get to much more of the garden equipment. I also collected up a number of plant pots strewn around the garage and clay planters, gave them a hose down and laid them out in the sun to dry. Some of them I will be taking back down home to use there.

So it wasn’t until last Sunday that we gardened, the wind had dropped by then and it turned quite hot, so much so that I had to do my usual border hopping to avoid the sun.  Dowsed in sun cream I began on the border by the pond but within minutes realised this was a mistake, far too hot, so I moved to the holly tree border.  So many tiny foxgloves have seeded themselves and a flurry of hypericum seedlings but also many bitter cress were hiding amongst them.  I fished out the bitter cress and hypericum and left the foxgloves – these will grow on and flower next year.  I do like foxgloves they are welcome anywhere in my garden, but a few more white and pale pink ones would be nice. 

The delphiniums in the lower wood have been spectacular and I only lost one to the rabbits before we put the netting round.

On Monday I began in the long trellis border.  This is full of tiny poppy seedlings again there is bitter cress amongst them and some other unwanted weeds like dock.  DH tackled the early flowering clematis on the trellis giving it a hard but not over excessive prune.  The later flowering Etoile Violette had entwined itself with the earlier flowering montana rubens and we spent a good hour trying to separate them so we didn’t acidentally prune off the buds.

Eventually by the end of our week here I had just about done most of the borders and cleared a heap of weeds. The rose is looking magnificent and smells divine. The falling petals have been collected and brought inside to dry. The pink mallow is just on the point of flowering – sadly I will miss it in full bloom as it will be over by the time we come again.

On the Monday afternoon we went into Stranraer and down to the waterfront to look at the Skiffe boats.  I know nothing about boats but these are beautifully made rowing boats and we watched as the teams from all over the country and abroad heaved them in and out of the water. They each had a little tent to shelter in which looked like a row of beach huts along the promenade.

Princess Anne had been flown in by helicopter to attend the start of the races but we didn’t see any sign of her other than the pictures in the Free Press which we bought later in the week (the Free Press is the local paper, which isn’t actually free, now £1 and extremely thin on news of late).

During Skiffie week there were plenty of activities and entertainment laid on for the visitors and locals, one of them was a classic bus rally and I managed to get a quick snap of this one as we left town.

On Tuesday it rained so we went back into town to look around the shops and stock up on provisions – I bought two birthday presents from my favourite gift shop, Baxters, they gift wrap them at no extra charge too.  We had a drink at one of the cafes and then took a drive up to the north of the peninsula near to Corsewell Lighthouse, then followed the road down to the little harbour village of Portpatrick.  By this time the rain had stopped and the sun appeared and it was the best part of the day so we bought an ice cream and had a walk around.

Today we have been in the upper wood to clear some branches left by the Council who have turned our lovely grass verge into a tarmac path and in so doing have thrown all the grass sods, grit and left over tarmac into our wood, not to mention cutting back our hedge that separates the wood from the main road; so now there is no hedge.  It had only just grown again since Scottish Power reduced it to the ground 11 years ago.

So we are back where we started.  The council have a workforce of only 5 men for an area of over 100 miles to do any kind of direct works jobs – the ones that are not large enough to be undertaken by outside contractors.  They apparently do not have the necessary skills do many of the jobs proficiently – as we noticed! The man from the council apologised profusely for the bad workmanship, and said it was because when the workforce was cut – most of the men who could took early retirement or got new jobs elsewhere and they were left with quite unskilled men who could not get jobs anywhere else.

They are coming back to deal with the rubbish – I just hope they do not make a worse mess. I will show you pictures of the mess in a later post.

All to soon it is time to pack up and go home – I hope I don’t find my garden there in need of a lot of attention as we need to prepare the house inside for our Aussie visitor.

I had a text from the hospital on Friday to say that I need to travel to Leeds in good time for my appointment on Monday as there is a demonstartion in the city centre by the Extinction Rebellion group. They are targeting the banks and could cause a lot of disruption. Whilst I am all for this kind of protest, getting to Leeds and through the centre and out to Jimmy’s is difficult enough, and I will be stressed anyway wondering if my results are going to be OK – so I think we may go further round on the motorway and drop down from the north avoiding the centre.

So that is all from Bonnie Scotland – there will be more about the garden in my garden notes section when I get time to publish it. Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Welcome to new followers and I hope my my regular readers are enjoying the advert free posts now. x

13 Replies to “beaching :: a week at the cottage”

  1. We all need to grit our teeth and get on with garage clear outs, don’t we! Our gradually becomes a dumping ground until the next clear out. I remember a time, early on in our marriage, that we actually parked our car in there!
    Your Scottish garden looks beautiful and so peaceful. I’m so sorry that the council have dumped a load of stuff in your woods, what a cheek, and taken down your hedge too!
    The day in Stranraer looked fun. The Skiffe boats appear to be similar to the Cornish Gig boats, just a bit shorter. They also have people from all countries, taking part in the racing. Love their painted hulls of the Skiffe boats!
    Hope you get to Jimmys without any problems, Ann x


    1. I must admit I had not heard the term Skiffe boat before but there were some very enthusistic rowers of all ages taking part – a bit late for me though I would not have the strength in my arm muscles. There were teams of over 60’s though competing!


  2. Lovely to hear from you,I wish our garage looked as good as yours, you can hardly get in ours! Surely if the hedge is on your land they should ask your permission to cut it? Or is it different in Scotland. Happy to hear you had a restful albeit busy week,when do you think you will be able to get back into your lovely cottage? Hope everything goes well with your hospital appointment,take care margaret.


    1. Yes they do need permission – it wasn’t part of the agreement and they cut it anyway, probably knowing full well that you cannot put it back you have to wait for it to regrow. I will be doing a full post on just this issue soon with pictures. At the moment I am still seething about it all.


  3. Glad you had some time in Scotland, though sorry about the mess with the council. They should be made to buy you some fully grown plantings to replace your hedge so you aren’t starting again with small ones, but guessing that won’t be the case. So disheartening. Nice to have a clear (enough) garage to access all your gardening tools and larger things.

    Nice side trip to Stranraer. The bus photo reminds me of the coaches my father used to hire in the 1950s to take young US airman and other military families out to see some of the countryside on day trips. He used to print out music sheets and we would have sing-a-longs. The singles would sit in the back and the families towards the front, but there was always good-natured interchanges between everyone. Hard to imagine that kind of camraderie today,

    Best of luck with your test results–and the traffic on your journey to hospital Monday.


    1. We had trips to Chester Zoo and McVities biscuit factory back in the early 60’s with different village groups like WI and the Mothers Union and they were such fun on the coach though I am always sick on them – not from the singing I might add!


  4. It must be wonderful to have a holiday home but not much of a holiday if you are having to do maintenance once you get there! The garden plants are beautiful and I especially like your pink rose. Who is the Aussie visitor you are preparing for? I must have missed this in a previous post. I hope all goes well on Monday for you. x


    1. The Aussie is DH’s cousin. Only met him once before…hoping he likes vegetarian food and not expecting a barbie or burgers! The pink rose ‘Gentle Hermione’ a David Austen was a gift from my MIL – probably the last gift she gave me before she had to go into care and had dementia – so it is treasured. x


  5. The hedge is frustrating – I know I have watched ours growing over 5 years. Would be heartbroken if it was ripped out and we had to start again.
    Is yours cut down and could sprout again?

    Sending good thoughts for tomorrow.


  6. Woah – fantastic photos as always!
    Bitter cress is an issue here too but I don’t have nearly as much space to keep clear as you! Good luck!


  7. I hope all is well with you and yours.
    I know you have\have had an Australian visitor so maybe you’ve been busy with hosting duties.
    Whatever the reason for a longer than usual gap best wishes,


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