dear diary : a long lazy weekend

We are still here at the cottage in Scotland.  Maybe we will be stranded here if the petrol crisis continues!

Last Thursday we worked all day in the garden – I tackled the steep slope that falls away from the lane above.  Just to recap – this is how we left it at the end of July. You might remember that DH is terracing the slope with planks of treated wood but as usual we are only part way through this project as more pressing work has taken over. We have been building up the banking, which is quite loose sandy soil and easily erodes, by adding barrow loads of well-rotted compost from one of the large bins. So now it has become extremely fertile and the weeds and wildflowers moved in whilst we were away.

And this is what we came back to in the picture below……the self-seeded poppies have been spectacular though and I carefully weeded out the chickweed and bitter cress hiding amongst them but is probably also supporting them too. Hopefully sometime this next week DH will get back to the terracing.

This is the view from above standing on the lane looking down into the garden.

If anything is guaranteed to give me backache then this is the place.  Normally I hand weed kneeling down but on a slope this is barely possible and the uneven and contorted posture I end up in is a recipe for disaster and certainly mega backache.  .

By the weekend we had to finally acknowledge the weariness that had crept upon us after a very long and busy summer so during these last few days we have been relaxing….both in mind and body and have tried to ignore the problems going on in the wider world around us as sometimes they just feel insurmountable.  It feels like the country is in such a mess and so directionless at the moment the problems will never be sorted out and the worst of it is that every problem always seems to boil down to money – either tremendous costs or a lack of. 

So on Friday with a change of scene and a rest in mind we put the last of the celery soup into a flask and headed up the road to Portpatrick, a pretty little village with a harbour and usually this is where you find most of the tourists. 

Portpatrick faces out into the Irish Sea on the other side of the peninsula to us and on a clear day you can see the land mass of Northern Ireland looming in the distance 21 miles away.  Somewhere here is the spot that Boris proposes to build his connecting bridge (or was it a tunnel).  I for one would be strongly against the idea.  Why would you want to route thundering big juggernauts through this beautiful place.

There are a number of ‘touristy’ shops here, a café or two and a row of pubs with outside seating along the front……and believe it or not an amusement arcade (on the right of this picture). 

Luckily the place wasn’t very busy though which was nice.

We had a wander around the Lighthouse Pottery gift shop looking for possible gifts but I didn’t really see anything that would have made a nice present for anyone.  I have bought quite a lot of bits and pieces from here over the years but the stock has changed overtime and is not as ‘different’ as it once was.  Smuggler’s Cove was closed and the Lifeboat shop didn’t have anything appealing either so I just left a donation.

We walked around the back lanes to reach the main road in to the village.  This is where the churches are.  I particularly love the Episcopal Church and their lovely decorative sign.  

A little way further down the street just off one of the side roads is the really old church, a ruin now but the tower is still intact.  Some of DH’s relatives lie in the graveyard here. 

So far we have found two gravestones with his family name clan Kerr (from his mum’s side).   Kerr is from the old Norse meaning marsh dweller and they originated from Normandy (the French settlement of Norsemen). The Kerr’s have typically been associated with left-handedness, and some of their castles and tower houses have spiral staircases designed with this in mind as they spiral round in the opposite direction to most. DH though isn’t left handed and so luckily we have no need of a left-handed staircase!

Clan Kerr has 3 tartans the modern, (red, green and black), the hunting (blue, green and black) and the old colours ( a more muted red, green and black).  The coat of arms bears the moto in latin Sero, Sed, Serio  which means ‘late but in earnest’ and I would say that sums DH up perfectly (but don’t tell him I said so!!

Saturday we had planned to garden again.  But it didn’t happen.  DH felt out of sorts which is unusual.  Should I be worried – he is never ill with anything other than a cold once in a blue moon?  I suggested another lazy day for him whilst I made use of the time and cleaned the bathroom and tidied around.  We had lunch and once everything was washed and put away I got out the sketchbook again for a little practising doing a few quick 10 minute sketches while DH quietly read and dozed.  This was quite an unusual, but enjoyable, afternoon for us and I could get to like it.

On Sunday we continued with yet more ‘lazing around’.  DH made soup….tomato this time whilst I just pottered doing nothing in particular.  During the afternoon I spent a lovely couple of hours with my sketchbook and watercolours again.

We had a chat with one of the caravaners whose caravan is next to our boundary fence.  He is packing up and pulling off the site as a few of them are.  The new owner has made it impossible for them to stay with his new rules – he requires everyone to change their vans every 10 years and second hand ones cannot be sited. Eric has been here since well before we bought the cottage.  He lives alone now as his wife died suddenly (aged only 60) from a heart attack about 10 years ago and visiting the caravan and his friends here has been a big support to him.  His caravan is quite old now but still fully functional and as he must be around 70 a brand new caravan on a pension would not be a viable buy.

How does scrapping caravans after only 10 years benefit anyone especially the environment?  It only benefits the pockets of a few including the site owners who charge to have a van removed and then charge a large commission on a new one.  Caravans these days are built to last longer are well insulated and double glazed – there should be no reason to scrap them after ten years.  The site owner claims there is no market for second hand vans but I would challenge that.

On Sunday evening we had a long night of rain….continuous and quite heavy though we managed to sleep through the rhythmic pounding on the caravan roof and finally awoke to brilliant sunshine. We took advantage of the good weather and had a trip round the bay to Wigtown who are celebratng their book week though the events are much more limited this year due to Covid.

And now our few rest days must end and I need to work up some energy to get down to the gardening once again so that we don’t find that our list of tasks are increasing.

In and amongst my thoughts keep drifting away to Christmas.  I am trying to stop them but then I notice Christmas is creeping in at every turn.  All the Christmas magazines are on sale in the shops, the Lifeboat shop had a stand of Christmas cards, I received an email from Booths about their Christmas book and a few others about their mega advent calendars (at mega prices) and now my mum is asking me what we all intend doing at Christmas.  It seems Christmas and the planning of Christmas is almost unavoidable this early.  At least I don’t have to worry about a turkey – our Nut Roast will be made well ahead of time and be resting in the freezer.

18 thoughts on “dear diary : a long lazy weekend

  1. Portpatrick certainly looks like a lovely spot for a relaxing potter. We are hunkered down in a cottage in Wales watching the rain and just chilling after a few days out and about exploring. I know we will have autumn jobs awaiting in our garden when we get home but for now it’s quite nice just taking a while to just sit and ponder 😃

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  2. I love the photo of the boat full of flowers! It is good to rest and it sounds like you and your DH really needed it! Your garden looks nice and lush all overgrown like that – I don’t even notice weeds as it all is full, green and healthy! I enjoyed the tour of the village – so lovely!

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  3. Are you planning on re doing your cottage? I seem to remember it had been flooded…sad to think it’s just sitting!
    Love your sketches and photos.
    It seems to me it would be fairer to have the caravans rotated out when the current owner no longer wants to be there….so expensive and wasteful.

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    1. The plans got stalled during Covid and this year has not been much better because of the earlier lockdown. It is something we need to address and quickly but somehow time is not on our side at the moment. The caravaner near us would have liked to continue but the site owner has made it impossible for him to stay on without changing his van.

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  4. Lovely photos, I almost feel as though I’ve been on a walk with you. I love the mustard coloured trim around those windows on one of the cottages.

    I think working for so long on a sloping veggie patch is one of the reasons my back is now buggered … excuse my French!! So I feel your pain weeding so much on a slope.

    The caravan park I was living on until this time last year has now been sold on to a much larger chain of holiday parks and they have brought in similar rules to the ones you describe, there is a lot of chunnering from the long term residents and owners that I know. Every time we bump into them in town they are desperate to have a moan about the current state of affairs. You are right, static caravans are designed to last for a minimum of 20 years and most go on much longer if they are looked after, especially some of the older models.

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    1. With all the green policies the government are having to bring in this really is an area that needs addressing as it is so wasteful. The caravan site next to us is small and all owner occupied not sublet so they tend to look after them well. The new site owner just likes everything to look new. I also don’t get that the site nor the pub have to do any recycling yet we do our bit with our 3 bins (waste, plastics and paper and glass to the bottle bank). We are only here a few weeks of the year so do not generate much and compost what we can yet the pub is open everyday and together with the site produce mountains of rubbish all chucked into the two business bins to overflowing and destined for the landfil. Where is the sense these days….beats me.

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  5. Amazing how quickly the terraced slope filled in. Mother Nature doe like to fill a vacuum. Can tell by the photos how much work you have done in the garden. Grand photos of the locale. Love the look of the changeable skies, except maybe the dark ones when I am usually found under them without an umbrella. 🙂

    The issue you describe with the caravan park owner is one that happens in many places in the US. Particularly true of resort type campgrounds where they won’t even let people stay overnight if their equipment is over 10 years old, sometimes even if only 7 years old. Completely wasteful. We did sell our caravan this year with no plans to replace it. Too costly to camp these days with many places on the East Coast charging anywhere from £37-£75 a night.

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  6. Portpatrick is beautiful. It’s a few years since I have been but I love it there.
    We have a second hand caravan, it’s 16 years old. Whenever a caravan comes up for sale on our site it is snapped up, they are all second hand. What a shame for the site near you.

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    1. It is amazing how many people have been to Portpatrick it is a real gem but increasingly touristy. There are a lot of people here on this site next to us who would exchange their old caravans for a better second hand one.

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  7. I am always in awe at the amount of work you accomplish in the garden, so a day of rest was well deserved. Portpatrick looks like a lovely little village. I’d love to have a wander around the narrow lanes there.
    I hope DH is feeling much better now. X

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    1. There is also the South Upland Way that I am sure you would like. The route links Portpatrick in the west and Cockburnspath in the east via the hills of the Southern Uplands. Thank you – DH is ‘not bad’ as he says – a man of few words!

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  8. Wow, what lush plants! So green and, well, lush. The poppies are massive!

    I think everyone needs days of rest and relaxation to recuperate- more so with all the emotionally draining weight of COVID and restrictions.

    Beautiful photos – as usual. I know I say it all the time but it is so lovely to join in your wanderings and see things framed with your artistic eye.

    Not sure I will feel like Christmas this year. Thought about a sparkling wine advent calendar but really the cost!!! And so much alcohol is not needed.

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    1. Ahh Thank you Lucinda about my photos and ramblings. Covid certainly has been hard going and now it is just strange – our figures here seem pretty ‘stuck’ around 30,000 new cases a day and a 1000 hospitalisations. They are neither going up nor coming down – very strange. There seems little hope to an end to this and I am not sure what Christmas will look like this year either but for the grandchildren and my mum soon to be 96 I feel I have to make the effort. I have booked us all on one of those new light trails in the grounds of a local stately home pre Christmas hopefully to get us in the mood. If I drank which is usually only weddings and christenings now or New Year toast I would be ordering the wine advent. Everyone is doing a calendar now and some or quite pricey. An alternative would be to buy yourself a selection of those mini wine bottles and stand an ordinary old fashioned window advent next to it LOL!
      Been meaning to ask what are your plans for the UK visit now – is it off all together?

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      1. We watch what’s happening in the UK with COVID. As our vax rate rises, and the plan go open up is near, we know infections will rise. Only hope death and hospitalisation doesn’t.

        We can’t leave the country yet – haven’t been allowed for 18 months. They say govt may allow us to leave in a month or two but I won’t be going to UK next year. Flights will probably be too $$$ and I’m not yet prepared to take the COVID risks. Also we bought a campervan so will drive around Oz, and if the border to Qld opens up, I am going to go north to help her. My step-father has dementia and I have only been able to see her once this year. 2023 looks good be our year for a northern hemisphere trip.

        I have thought about making my own mini advent calendar!!

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        1. I am sorry Covid disrupted your plans I was looking forward to meeting you. I hope you enjoy your alternative plans for travel. I would love a camper van and be able to set off around the world – not sure that is posible anyway these days and DH hates campervans and caravans – it is his nightmare being in this one at the cottage! So sorry too about your step father dementia is not easy to live with.
          Go for it…re the calendar!

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