Its not hard to spot the difference between the calm photos of the beach I posted yesterday and these. Waves crashing around and the roar of the swell coming before it has to be seen and heard and can feel quite threatening stood so close – so I didn’t linger too long.
I stayed indoors and made red pepper, tomato and basil soup while the guy we found to fix the garage door came down. We called him at about 9.30am and he came about 11am – not a bad service. We didn’t even have to pay for parts as we could supply him with the cables (in fact both had gone in the end) and the spring just needed respringing rather than replacing.
So one job down. Umpteen to go.
We didn’t make it into town either we kept warm and read instead, so we are going today. I have two birthday cards to get; one for my mum (she will be 94 come Sunday) and one for little Freddie who is just one year old. Then I need to go to the wonderful Homes and Gardens store for jam pot covers and a mooch around – they have a fascinating collection of everything you could possibly want for your house from teapots to drain cleaners.
Then I need haggis and some Scottish pies to take back with me for Burns night.
Surprisingly, the weather is quite calm today and the tide is way out – it did feel like it was coming up into our garden yesterday so I hope not too much land has been lost on the banking around the bay here.
The journey to Scotland didn’t start too well. We were up, packed and ready to go on time but then a power cut delayed us, as we had to wait to be sure everything electrical was off and the burglar alarm set OK, then as we drove the first mile it was obvious the car is still not as it should be….smooth. The suspension was suspiciously rather bumpy and hard which is not like Citroens at all. We circled the block a couple of times, me driving, then DH driving as it seems far worse on the passenger side, then we went back home to decide on what we should do. Already having forked out £1200 for this problem we are reluctant to go back to the same garage.
We decided we would carry on to Scotland turning back at Preston if the suspension had not settled down by then or had got worse. It more or less remained the same – probably better on the smoother roads like the motorways and no warning messages had activated so we pressed on, fingers crossed all the way.
Anyway we are here in Scotland now and despite all the weather warnings it was gloriously sunny yesterday, but bitterly cold in the breeze. I have said this before but I do love these grey winter days by the sea, they are quite calming and relaxing.
And we have no plans other than to relax.
Because of the earlier set backs and subsequent late departure we didn’t get to the cottage (caravan) until 9pm. It was cold inside the van, the central heating boiler had lost water pressure and was flashing fault. Hastily, we scrambled around for the manual to check the fault code – most likely due to a leak it says – no obvious signs inside so we will need to examine the outside pipes under the van in the daylight – in the meantime DH is able to let more water into the system so that we can get the heating up and running again.
Meanwhile, I start to busy myself unpacking and making up the bed with clean linen only to discover that the electric blanket that I had taken home to wash…. was……you guessed it…… still at home. Memories of the recent cake saga flood into my mind. Luckily, we keep a hot water bottle at the van and so this was requisitioned to warm and air the bed which was so cold I could only envisage a night of discomfort. Trying to heat up the whole of the bed a few square inches at a time takes some effort when you are tired and cold and just want to climb into a warm bed and sleep.
After a while we managed to warm up the room and the bed and eventually jumped in fully kitted out with t-shirts and socks….. and actually slept quite soundly.
It was quite late when we surfaced, tired after the long journey, but the sun was shining so after breakfast we went out to survey our land – not quite roaming in the gloaming (which means twilight – I had to Google it) but rather midday. We always have a wander through the wood and round the garden then down onto the beach to check everything is OK.
Everything was as it should be with no evidence of any fallen trees or flooding, even the burn running alongside the cottage was not as high as it might have been. It would seem we had survived storm Brendan – only the little path that takes us onto the shore was covered in a pool of water so we had to make do just looking from the banking.
Round the corner from us is in the next bay is a different story; where the coast road runs alongside the beach the road is closed – an action that has been taken far more seriously since the death of the couple and their two dogs last year when they were swept out to sea one stormy night. It is a long diversion and one that the locals are loathed to take but one that will save lives. The spray from the sea covers the road and sends up quite large beach stones with it…a treacherous mile known here as the car wash.
So all seemed well until we came to open the garage door only to find one of the cables of the up and over door has snapped. Being so close to the sea there are certain things you have to get used to – rust is one of them. The cables rust with the salt from the sea spray, which finds its way in through any crack, and so need replacing quite frequently. DH is quite capable of replacing them and we always keep a spare or two. However, as he started to replace the cable the tension spring went as well so now we have a door that we cannot close or open fully. With this and the car problems I won’t deny the stress is building up a bit. The search for a garage door fixer is now on. And we have still to locate a possible leak.
In all this turmoil, both in our lives and the world generally who can deny the beauty around us and tuning into nature is one of the best ways to calm down – I tell myself – and it does – I was delighted to see snowdrops dancing around in the breeze and the first daisies appearing in the grass.
There are little signs of new life everywhere and the rabbits have not, as yet, been scratching up the bulbs but I do need to put a little food out for the birds….the table is empty and the robin sits looking quite hopeful at me.
So today while DH is on the phone trying to find a Mr Fix it man I will be making some warming tomato and red pepper soup for lunch. I am hopeful we may get into town for a look around the shops – only a look – there is nothing much we need other than jam pot covers, and we will certainly find them here – we had no luck at home. Keep warm everyone.
Many readers have asked me about the cottage and I have tried a few times to do this post with a few pictures, however, each time I have abandoned it as it has been too upsetting.
So here I am trying again.
For anyone that isn’t familiar with my previous blog the tale of the cottage and the flood can be found here – Beach Cottage and the tab above.
And so for the tour…please mind your step it is a bit dangerous inside as all the floorboards had to be removed.
This is the kind of state that met us when we first went into the cottage after the flood. The water level had reach 2 feet in the conservatory but only about 1 foot elsewhere. There was brown sludge everywhere.
Looking from the other direction when we had cleared some of the debris and the sludge had dried a bit.
This is the kitchen above now completely stripped out of units – the contractor’s schedule and makeshift electrics board on the walls still remain. Everything from here ended up in the skip even the fridge freezer which was like new. Luckily we had not renovated the kitchen at the point of the flood.
Likewise the bathroom – with toilet and basin removed.
The bedroom above stripped of plaster and floorboards – the bed and wardrobes all had to go in the skip. Only the light shade remained and is still hanging there like a ghost of times past.
The living room is the saddest room for me, we had almost finished the renovations in here. The old tiled fireplace had been removed and a larger opening made to take a wood burning stove. One of the windows had been knocked out and french doors fitted so we could access the conservatory at the back.
We had boarded around this room and carefully painted it with umpteen coats of paint, sanded between each one – the finish was so smooth. At this point just the skirting boards to fix…
…and now we have gone backwards as all the boarding had to be removed.
This is just a handful of the many pictures we had to take – I can hardly bare to look at them and now it just sits in this empty state – just a shell of its former self, cold and forlorn. I never go inside anymore it is too heartbreaking – it was to be our retirement home.
We have plans on the go – they keep changing as the years pass – somehow the 3 year fight with the insurers left us drained and now life has just taken over so much ( we have had a wedding and 3 grandchildren since the flood) we barely can find the time to sit and discuss what the future might be. We could just have the place renovated but I am so scared it might all happen again and although I can cope with the flood and the practical things I could never cope with the wrangle we had with the insurers to get our money, they make you feel like some kind of criminal who is trying to defraud them. We were fully insured and even they agreed that in the end.
Part of the problem was a useless building surveyor who eventually left – had it not been for DH knowing about buildings and contracts etc we could have had a big problem on our hands. They could never add up either and had it not been for my job in finance and a keen eye we would have been robbed of thousands of pounds due when they made payments to us.
I know we must get on and do something – the caravan is far too cosy but is not a long term answer. I am hoping 2020 will be the year – let’s hope everyone in the family keeps well and problem free to allow us more time to progress.
There is always a silver lining though and I am waiting for it! xx
We started in the garden early today, well early for us; the sun was shining and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity so we had breakfast then I did a few floor exercises, as I have done every day, to loosen up the tight lower back muscles; not easy to do squeezed in between the table legs and the seating (space is hard to come by in a caravan),
It was back to weeding around the pond today, what you can see of the pond, as over the summer we had a bit of a primula explosion amongst other things. DH took off the leggy branches of the Fuschia that overhung the pond – shame – but it had grown into a tree and really got far too high but it will grow quickly again next year. In fact we are feeling a little exposed in places now as we have pruned many a tree and bush over the course of the week – some of our plants must be suffering from shock after being plunged suddenly into the sunlight.
After lunch we read, I actually dozed off for a while – unintentionally of course. We decide a brisk walk to the village would waken us up; as the tide was in we had to go by the road rather than along the beach. For a change we took the main high road past all the houses – I like to have a nosy now and again to see what everyone is up to. There are always plenty of new delights to spot.
We walked up to the village store and bought an ice cream and fresh rolls – I resisted the temptation to buy one of the Christmas magazines on display – each one had a few free goodies enclosed in the plastic wrapper and I could have chosen between chocolate moulds (might be handy) or coasters and any number of those rubber stamps and dies; but it still felt a little early so I put them back and just bought cake – Eccles cakes – my favourite.
We then strolled on down to the harbour and along the shore road cutting through the little garden of the end cottage (they don’t seem to mind) that takes you down through the sand dunes and onto the beach. By now the tide had receded enough for us to get back round the bay to our cottage.
I love hunting for little treasures amongst the pebbles, bits of sea glass, unusual stones and shells – it is amazing what you find. Today I collected a few small pearl shells and an empty crab shell.
As the tide had only just gone out the sand was all rippled and I managed to capture the photo above where the wind was blowing the shallow water in ripples across the sand.
Once home and a cup of tea later I went foraging around the garden collecting flower heads and berries. Even though I forgot to pack my flower press I didn’t want to miss out on some of the colourful flowers that are in bloom at the moment. The fiery oranges of the monbretia appears everywhere in our garden and certainly cheers up the dark corners – it makes wonderful confetti too when the petals are dried. The pretty blue campanula is still scrambling around and flowering – brilliant ground cover and so dainty.
In the absence of my press I had to improvise by using the pages of my moleskin gardening notebooks to sandwich the petals between. I will transfer them into my press when we get home.
These pretty hydrangea petals are even lovelier when they start to get the speckled vintage look. I had the idea that I might make some cards and gift tags with them, it is a long time since I made pressed flower cards so I am looking forward to having a go again. Time willing!
Tomorrow will be a final rush around the garden to finish off what we can before we go home. As always we could just do with another week here.
Hope everyone is having a good week – and welcome new followers.
I have been enjoying myself far too much to stop and blog the last few days. Despite a few lot of aches and pains (self inflicted from gardening) I do feel quite revived. I even spent a lazy afternoon with a book – Miss Read of course – I like to be transported into the idyllic village of Thrush Green and the lives of her characters. And why not read Thrush Green at Christmas in September?
In the garden we have spent a lot of time pruning some very straggly shrubs – it is amazing how they grow to monsterous heights behind your back. We have had to be ruthless and now have a wood pile the size of the caravan. I have no photos – it would be far too dangerous to take my camera outside when we are hurling branches around.
In and amongst we have been making some simple but quite healthy meals to offset the chocolate biscuits and Danish pastries we have been devouring for elevenses with our daily cuppa. Gardening certainly gives you an appetite. Tonight we rustled up an easy egg salad for tea rather than the fuss of making an omelette and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I have continued to make tomato soup and our healthy green soup and each batch lasts two or three days which frees up more time to be relaxing and not cooking. We took some with us in our flask when we went further up north near Glasgow to visit the Scottish relatives on Thursday and that’s when we discovered our flask no longer works – the soup was luke warm – almost a vichyssoise. I didn’t think there was very much to go wrong with these modern flasks but obviously I was wrong. I don’t suppose it can be repaired so that will be another expense to add to the list.
On the way back down the coast we stopped for tea in Ayr at the little Italian restaurant we have been to before. We ordered the usual marguerita pizza with mushrooms that we have had many times only to find that they have increased the size to 12″ (way too big for me) and dropped the other choice of sizes they used to do.
Disappointed about the size I then found the tomato sauce so laced with garlic I couldn’t eat mine. I have an allergy to garlic (breathing and cramping problems) – I can just about tolerate it on a pizza – I am still not well afterwards, but not as ill as some meals would make me and I have not as yet needed a trip to A&E after a pizza.
On Saturday we set down our gardening tools and went to Castle Kennedy gardens for the afternoon just around the bay. Long time followers will know this is the place where DH’s grandfather was once head gardener and lived on the estate in the Head Gardeners cottage until his retirement in the early sixties, we also held our elder daughter’s wedding here back in 2016 with a marquee on the lawns by the old castle ruins and of course the guest of honour our favourite tea room of all time.
It is only a little wooden hut and resembles an old cricket pavillion and a bit of old England…well Scotland….but it has been there as long as I can remember and had one or two face lifts in its time – the most recent being removing the painted wooden benches along the walls and levelling the floor inside so they did not have to prop the tables up with pieces of wood nailed to the legs so that the tea cups didn’t slide off. Now they have a set of new bistro tables and chairs. I must say I do miss sitting on a slope and still find myself trying to compensate by leaning over to one side. I hear that next year may be the year they build a new tea room and when they do I for one will be distraught but things have to progress. I suppose.
Inside the walled garden we were met with a lavish display of colour – vivid hot pinks and vibrant yellows, a corner of beautiful and fashionable dahlias and many of the flowers attracting so many butterflies it resembled butterfly world – every flower seemed to have one perched upon it or bees buzzing round. They were none too keen on having their picture taken but I did get one or two by creeping up on them.
Tomorrow, if the weather holds, I will be catching up with the weeding – the pond and surrounding borders are a mess and need a good tidy up; the walkway of the woodland walk is covered in bittercress and the wild geraniums are spilling out and have spread so much I will have to cut them back into the confines of the border.
The issue with the pizza has not managed to overshadow our time here at the cottage and as usual I will be sad to leave but normality is calling and we have daughter’s, grandchildren and a mum in need of our help as well as a pantry that needs finishing. So only one or two days more before we have to leave.
Back to my book now or maybe a game of patience, having no television here is no real hardship at all. Back soon x
We are at the cottage at last – it has been a long time since we were here. It was a turbulent summer, but for now the dust has settled and daily life resumes. Things have not resolved though – and won’t for a while – the outcome is a long way off and like Brexit we will have to live with uncertainty, until certainty gains some ground. But I firmly believe in the fact that good always comes out of bad. Just not quick enough sometimes!
I had forgotten how some very simple pleasures can ignite a feeling of well-being and here at the cottage simple is one of the great attractions. Snuggling down at night under a heavier duvet than we are used to – I like the weight of it – it would feel too stifling at home where the bedrooms retain the heat longer with better insulated walls – but here I need the extra warmth to keep away the chill in the caravan once the heating is turned off. I am reminded of my childhood long before we had central heating in the bedrooms and a sense of being wrapped up tightly against the cold night air – at the same time bringing feelings of security too.
Lying, warm and cosy in bed in the caravan I listen to the beat of the rain on the roof. Steady at first, then a sudden torrential burst, but like the roar of the sea at night, soothing in its rhythm. At other times there is absolute silence here and always, once the lights are out, an inky black darkness which is only lit on the nights we have a full moon. We have street lights at home, security lights too and any chink in the curtain throws light into the bedroom no matter how hard I try to keep it out; there is never a moment when the world is completely black to us.
Here there are no street lights – only nature lights a path. There was talk of putting solar lighting along the low road, which is a path leading into the village that runs alongside the beach – I hope not as the nesting birds and wildlife in the surrounding bushes need darkness…..we need darkness.
There are other pleasures here too – cooking by gas, the
whistling of the kettle on the hob, cupboards that hold ‘just enough’ to get by
and no more. There is a sparseness of
decoration that brings quietness to this little temporary home – a vase of tiny
sea shells, a jam jar of coloured sea glass and a display of beach pebbles or
pine cones collected on our walks.
We have time here too – time to eat breakfast and read, time
to ponder and collect our thoughts even managing to put them into some kind of
order. We watch the rabbits scampering
around and the birds foraging in the undergrowth for food – they have all day –
we have all day. And I ask myself how it
is once we are back at home life takes over again, demands surface and problems
begin to mount up.
The Rosa rugose hedge running alongside the lane is dripping
with rosehips. The abundance of nature here
is wonderful – the hedgerows and woodland – the call of the cuckoo and wood
pigeon mingled with the cry of the gulls – the expanse of deserted seashore.
One of my first tasks will be to pick a few herbs and flowers from the garden to bring inside, whatever is still in bloom. I am annoyed with myself that I forgot my flower press; I will have to assemble a makeshift one from a stack of heavy books and some kitchen paper. I have ideas to make some gift tags and cards from the pressed petals.
There was a huge amount of windfall apples lying on the ground – I salvaged a few and left the rest for the wild life to devour. Hopefully, the ones remaining on the tree will fall before the weeks out.
The rain continued to lunchtime so after our initial walk around to inspect the garden we decided to go for a walk to the village whilst it stayed dry. The garden will have to wait for another day – it has waited our return all summer and many of the plants have grown unchecked to dizzy heights, whilst others have been and gone leaving only a skeleton behind to suggest they had once been there at all.
For the benefit of new readers we are camping out in a caravan pending the reinstatement of our cottage after the flood – you can read our tale should you be interested in the tab Beach Cottage above.
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
It feels like we are settling into summer now – clear blue skies, warm sunny days – not too hot and no rain, no winds.
As soon as we arrive at the cottage, daylight permitting, the first thing I do is grab my camera and go for a walk around. It is 6 weeks since our last visit – far too long for this garden; I am sure it would turn completely wild in only twelve weeks! There is always so much to see and so many lovely surprises. The first thing that met me this time was the vivid pink of the rhododendron and the beautiful sky blue of the delphiniums.
Come with me on a stroll around my Scottish garden – of course off camera there is a mound of work to do but for the moment I will just ignore this and just capture the delights that I have found.
This is what we call the the back garden although it is really at the front of the cottage and leads into the woodland – we are quite secluded down here with the canopy of trees. The rhododendron has been magnificent this year and the ground beneath is littered with petals like giant confetti.
Around the pond in the lower wood the primulas I planted two years ago are beginning to spread now and light up a dark corner.
The wild fuschia that is beside the edge of the pond has become so tall and leggy that a branch had broken and fallen across the path, we cut it off but the rest of it will need some maintenance pruning on our next visit.
We took the pond cover off today – a bit late this year but we have been so short of time on previous visits. The pond needs a good clean out too – I really look forward to this, heaving out buckets of mud!
And my little seat by the pond is only just visible – peeping out from under this wild geranium that has seeded itself.
The woodland walk is one of my favourite spots I tried to introduce plenty of leaf shapes and keep everything very natural looking choosing plants very carefully. The ferns just set themselves – they seem happy in dry or wet ground.
Below is the border that runs down the lane side of the house and has a lovely low dry stone wall at the back beyond which runs the daisy path. This is very much a work in progress – the escallonia in the centre on top of the wall is all that is left of the hedge that died in the severe frosts a few years ago. I have yet to decide what to plant to each side of it. I am going to introduce some tumbling rockery plants to the top of the wall for a bit of colour.
And of course the seaside garden – the valerian has formed quite a mass now and is looking good and blends quite well into the wild landscape beyond whilst adding a touch of colour.
Tomorrow we head home again, in the short time we have been here we have managed to cut the grass and the hedges and weed some but not all of the borders – my bad knee allowing. At this time of year I am very selective with my weeding and let some of the seedlings grow on so that I can transplant the ones I want to keep like foxglove and aquilegia, alchemilla mollis and geranium and the annual pink poppies and biennial forget me not.
There is still a lot to do but it will all have to wait now for another day, another visit. For now I am going to sink into bed with my Miss Read book and cup of cocoa and no doubt I will be sound asleep in no time.
DH was making anti-bunny cages for the plants yesterday and had a slight argument with a hacksaw. Ouch. This is not unusual when he is doing ‘things’ in the garden – sometimes it’s his head, sometimes his fingers – luckily for him today it was only his finger.
This is why a flat tyre might prove fatal one day if we needed to get to A&E.
I continued in the trellis border….. all 40ft of it. It is beginning to take shape, well some kind of shape – not exactly the shape I had intended but I can titivate it later; flowing curves are not easy to cut so they look good from all directions…..…. but for now the hard work is done, the lawn edged, the bed weeded and the stones removed other than the ones that are there for decoration or bunny protection.
This is the end of the border before….and after……When I get the rest of the planting in and there is less bare earth and more colour it will start to look better. As this is the seaside garden I am planting a mix of seaside plants – Valerian (a good spreader and so far anti-rabbit), lavender, Santolina, kniphofia, Erigeron and thrift.
No doubt by our next visit it will once again be covered in weeds and maybe bunnies.
Rag, Tag and Bobtail have now been joined by bibbity and bobbity, hippity and hoppity and what seems like many distant cousins.
But the sly old fox is very close on their tails – hiding in the gorse – just waiting his chance. I am still keeping a few bunny cages in place just in case…..
…and a few stones to prevent nibblers from damaging the roots whilst the new plants ‘settle in’ and grow stronger.
At last I have uploaded the photos of our little venture last Thursday. After climbing the ‘mound’ we set off travelling north on the road to New Luce that runs on the eastern side of the Stair estates at Castle Kennedy just outside Stranraer. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a Hen Harrier flew overhead (Lord Stair had mentioned to DH sometime ago that they are nesting on his estate at Castle Kennedy), a beautiful bird and quite a size with a very large wingspan. It came extremely close to us and swooped past gliding gracefully into the woods. Apparently, there are not many in the UK so we are lucky to see one. Sadly it was one picture that I didn’t manage to take.
New Luce is a tiny conservation village part of the Glenluce parish. It is on the road to nowhere and developed as a village through the necessity of having a meeting place for all the local outlying farms of such a large parish. It is like an oasis in the dessert only here it is a lush oasis in the middle of moorland. The locals affectionately call it Nineveh. There are 62 homes and about 90 residents of all ages. It is positioned where two rivers meet – the Main Waters of Luce and the Cross Waters of Luce. Like the river the two main streets of the village form a T shape each of which has a bridge over one of the rivers.
Take any of the four roads to New Luce and you will not pass through any other village or hamlet on the way, save Glenwhilly, which I believe is nothing more than a couple of houses clustered at the old station on the way north to Barhill; strangely it boasts Scotland’s most remote signal box though goodness knows where the passengers would have come from in such an uninhabited place. Like New Luce , the station at Glenwhilly closed in 1965.
Glenluce, a small rural village to the South of New Luce has a village shop and is the closest place 5 miles away, and where the younger children now attend school, Stranraer is 9 miles to the South west and Barrhill 13 miles to the North so it feels more isolated than remote; surrounded on all sides by open moorland (that has not yet fallen to any great swathe of forestry planting) and where sections of the winding road are single track with passing places and cattle grids. As you descend down from the moors towards the village the scenery changes into a more gentle landscape of farmland with farmsteads dotted here and there….– complete with grazing sheep…. lots of them and on the road too….. and in no hurry. We entered at the lower end of Station Street.Just to the left of the picture stands this old iron bath tub filled with an array of flowers. Just one of the many repurposed artefacts around this village. At one time this old tub was to be found in one of three Inns as this notice tells me. That is a lot of drinking establishments for such a small place. Interestingly in the 1846 census there were not only 3 Inns but several village shops serving 278 villagers and a school attended by 50 children.It is a haven for the red squirrel; sadly we saw none on our visit but I just love the way the locals in this area make the road signs their own and have added a cheeky little apple sticker – often the cow signs have been adapted to resemble the belted galloways with the white band. And just look at this wonderful play park for the handful of children who live here. Libbie would have loved to play in here for the afternoon.Over the Main Water bridge now and I just had to take a picture of this house with the sun pod in the garden – I have only ever seen them displayed in John Lewis before and wondered who bought them!They had a collection of rare breed sheep wandering about- the one at the back resembling a big teddy bear was so cute.
Opposite is the little village shop and Post Office offering free herbs in the window boxes, beside it is a red telephone box (mobile signal is poor) and a post box – all a good sign of a thriving village.With limited stock and limited opening hours and a bus service only on 3 days of the week and no train link you do not want to run short of anything living out here.At the top of Station Street is the junction with Main Street and what appears to be a little public garden, where a cottage once stood, no doubt lovingly tended by the local villagers.
It must be one of the best kept villages I have seen in ages and I love the way they reuse, repurpose and recycle so many discarded objects, turning them into planters and sculptures as you will see on our little walk around.
At the back of the garden was a flight of gravel steps leading up to this monument – we couldn’t quite read the inscription on the stone but given its position here it must be quite important to the village.The gravelled path continued along what seemed to be a little lane running high above Main Street at the back of the row of cottages. Here we found some very curious allotment style gardens with sheds…..I have never seen so many sheds in such a tiny village….everyone had a shed, or two or three! The Ferrets Nest certainly appeared to be more of a weekend chalet than a shed. And one or two had a caravan – possibly in use!And whichever wall you looked over everyone had a display of household artefacts and recycled objects …..or even an old ruin in their back gardens.Eventually the little lane came out onto the main street again.
Some of the cottages had quaint window displays inside and out….
and fancy wall plaques… sadly not all were delightful – this window is displaying a notice announcing a closure –It appears that the last of the Inns, the Kenmuir Arms Hotel, is also now ‘closed until further notice’ – the owners having closed up in the winter of 2018, gone abroad and as yet not returned. Though noticing a skip outside the back with mattresses dumped in it I am thinking perhaps they are not reopening. It was a popular Hotel – especially with walkers… and campers who could pitch their tents down at the bottom of the Hotel garden by the water ….with the midges. Going further along Main Street and over the second of the bridges (Main Bridge) I came across this cute little cottage with a recent extension… It is possible it might have been a Toll house.This garden outside this chalet caught my eye – where else in the world would you come across a scene like this on the road side where there is an open invitation to passers by to play with the little toy cars…….and no one steals them! There were so many unusual things to see in this village I will take a break here and continue in part two a few steps away at the church and village memorial hall.
Apologies if there are spelling mistakes, it is late, I am tired and WordPress spellcheck has disappeared off the editing toolbar.
Another sunny day today but a little windy; rather more than a breeze and less than a gale. I thought the trellis border looked quite calm from the caravan window. I thought wrong. But decided to carry on with it anyway wrapped up in a woolly hat, and my trusty fleece lined gardening coat ( with the hood up of course as I hate wind on the back of my neck it gives me a bad neck for days).
I actually got quite a bit more done and have nearly removed all the stone edging and re-edged the grass trying to give the border a nice flowing curve – not an easy thing to do as the curves look better or worse depending on your viewpoint in the garden. I didn’t take any pictures today (other than the one of the plants I bought and are still waiting to be planted) – I will surprise you another day.
DH was on hedge maintenance all morning but at 11.30 precisely calamity struck when he discovered he had a slightly flat rear tyre (well the car had). It was a slow puncture from a nail that had embedded itself in the rubber. He went to change it for the spare but with limited tools here he couldn’t get the nuts off the wheel – he decided he would need help from a local garage.
Oh no…as you might know it was already lunchtime by now there is no garage in the village and when we checked most of the garages in town had closed for the weekend and the bank holiday on Monday. We didn’t want to wait until Tuesday or we would be stuck without and car over the long weekend which is not a good idea in case we had an emergency on our hands. We searched around on the internet and eventually found an MOT station open until 3pm – so he pumped the tyre up a bit and drove carefully into town and they kindly changed the wheel for him but would not accept any payment and DH had to force a few pounds onto the old guy. People are so helpful up here.
Whilst he was gone I put the tray of apricot Violas I had bought into the planter and then made some mushroom soup, just an excuse to use the new blender really. The instruction leaflet gives the speed settings for different foods – soup or sauce, milkshakes and ‘carrots with water’. Can anyone enlighten me on the ‘carrots with water’ – is this a new drink maybe?
I mentioned yesterday that after going to see (and climb) the mound we headed off up to New Luce. The pictures for this are far more exciting than my garden but I am still in the middle of preparing them so as bedtime is beckoning I will have to have a go at finishing the post tomorrow. x