dear diary :: a nudge in the right direction

Saturday was hot. I started numerous jobs and then had to move to find more shade as the sun moved around the garden.

I have been scouring our garden finding more flat stones to lay down at the entrance to the lower wood that leads to the pond. They keep a lot of the weeds down in a place where nothing grows very much other than self seeders. Bark just rots down quickly and doesn’t stop the weeds as they just root into the bark but the flat grey stones have been really good at supressing them.

Before long the heat was far too intense and I had to abandon the job; instead I moved round to the patch beneath the holly and apple trees which gave me an umberella of shade to do some weeding. In this bed there is always a scattering of the sneaky self-seeder tellima nestling in alongside other plants and eventually overcoming them. To leave this part of the garden looking natural is actually hard work and requires more management than you might think. So very carefully whilst crawling around the bed to avoid the pain of kneeling on the fallen holly leaves ….ouch…. I managed to selectively extract the tellima that had muscled in on my delphiniums – well the delphiniums that the rabbits have not devoured yet.

After lunch I decided to tackle the curly wurly tree (corkscrew hazel) and give it a trim. It should have been pruned earlier in the year while it was dormant and leafless to reduce the height …drastically…. as it collides with the apple tree that grows next to it; but we missed the moment with the restrictions and a light trim is all we could do at this point. So out came the long pole that has some pruners on the end to reach the upper branches and that believe me is a job in itself and I gratefully passed the task over to DH. I love this tree as the canopy is low and falls over one of the entrances to the lower wood and woodland walk.

Sunday was much cooler and by teatime the rain had set in and we were treated to a glorious double rainbow over the bay in the early evening, unfortunately both didn’t come out on the photo.

After lunch on Sunday we set off to visit an Open Garden up the road high on the hill above the village with fabulous sea views. It was the very cottage we had looked around in 2004 just before we put in an offer on our cottage so it was really interesting to see what changes had been made. I remember it as being in need of a lot of renovation, probably more than ours, though it did have a new roof. The garden was just long grass at the time – not really a garden at all.

The cottage has changed hands since the original buyers in 2004 who did quite a bit to the place but the current owners have done a lot more and made it into a very desirable property whilst still retaining a lot of the character and cottage feel; in fact when we arrived we realised we knew the new owners from the caravan site – they have decided to up sticks from Halifax and live here permanently.

The garden is on a steep slope with steps leading down from the cottage above.

This brilliant two story Bothy that they have built in the garden and sleeps 2-4 people is a great place to put up visiting family and friends and they also let it out for around £40 a night. It has a fridge and microwave, composting toilet and washbasin and breakfast is provided by the owners.

There is a series of winding gravel paths cleverly taking you down and around the slope through the garden. The welsh poppies are scattered everywhere, little specks of brilliant orange and yellow dancing around in the breeze.

Although windy up above (they are much higher up than our cottage down by the sea) it is a very sheltered garden down below so they can grow the palms and more tropical plants quite easily and they do not suffer from the salt spray like our garden does.

They even have a tiny ‘beach’ at the very bottom where the burn runs through. It is much clearer water than ours as they are at the top of the hill and their burn feeds down into the harbour whereas we are at the end of the run and so we get all the run off from the farms above us which often makes the burn rather sludgy in the summer when there is little water coming down.

Since they acquired the cottage at the end of 2019 they have added an extension as well as the Bothy and now they have bought the adjoining cottage which they are doing up to let out as a holiday let. I was beginning to think maybe we had chosen the wrong cottage to buy!!

However, after visiting their cottage and garden and seeing all they had accomplished in so short a time we have been inspired and motivated to get back to sorting ours out. Since the flood we have really been muddling along not really able to make decisions and then Covid has certainly made things worse – but somehow this visit has really helped us turn a very difficult corner and as my title says it has been a nudge (no less a mighty big push) in the right direction!

Today we started on a project in the garden which I will share with you in another post.

Back soon x

13 thoughts on “dear diary :: a nudge in the right direction

  1. No regrets! (That’s an order) If you lived there, you’d have done similar work. But you don’t and you have so many other responsibilities.

    And your garden is lovely. I like the grey stones. Clever and decorative.

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    1. You are right no regrets,we love our cottage and garden, but it was just a bit of a stop and think moment and has spurred us on no end. It was a very ‘visual’ moment too when we went up to their cottage and garden which always helps me as I am a visual person. Funny isn’t it how unexpected things happen and induce a new state of mind (for good or bad).

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  2. Interesting visit and interesting result, all the more powerful I imagine for being unexpected. It’s so true that we can subside into going along with how things are. Wishing you lots of impetus !

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  3. Your Scottish garden is looking beautiful. I particularly love what you’ve done with the flat stones. Looks great and minimizes work for you guys. It’s great to get inspired by other people and what they’ve achieved. You’ve had some major difficulties what with the flooding and I think you have done so well to come back from it the way you have.

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    1. We have been dithering recently about whether to sell or stay, renovate or even rebuild – everything has just felt too much and now the new owner and the gate problem but we are once again inspired to keep going no matter what we decide to do in the end.

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    1. We bought it originally to renovate ready for our retirement – but with my mum now being 95 and much more limited in her abilities I am not sure we can leave my sister to do all the caring and it would be too far from here to be running up and down. Also we now have grandchildren and it would be a wrench not to see very much of them. So for the moment we are just going to renovate it again (because the flood damaged all we had done before) and then see where we are with mum.

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  4. We live on a small plot in the suburbs, so I am in awe of this sort of living. What a beautiful place. I’m so glad you’ve found inspiration to move forward after that dreadful flood and this past year and a half of lockdown. Best of luck.

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  5. Good to have had a view to what might have been and now to the present and where one would like to be. We none of us, especially those with family ties, are usually able to make decisions in isolation. My DD’s in-laws moved to another state several years ago because of retirement tax advantages (US states all have different tax rules–a few don’t tax pensions), but all their children and grandchildren lived more than an eight hour drive away. Recent health problems (approaching 80s) have brought them back to the area with the realization that the distance was simply too much. Family could not get to them quickly in emergencies or help them with issues they could no longer handle themselves. Hard, hard decisions. I hope that moving forward with the cottage at least gives you options and something good to focus upon. Your lovely gardens– even with all the necessary work–are definitely balm to the soul.

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    1. I never knew that about the differing tax laws in the states – interesting. It does often cross my mind about where I might live if, God forbid, anything happens to DH first and I am left on my own or we are both too old and decrepid to drive a long way. It does alter how you view the future and where you will live. As you say hard decisions now we are getting much older and have to face the fact that our health will eventually deteriorate no matter what.

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