beaching ~ homeward bound

Our time at the cottage came to an end, as it inevitably does, all too soon with many gardening tasks left unfinished or not even started but we just have to accept we do what we can in the time available.

Of course in hindsight travelling home on a Bank Holiday Monday was not the best of ideas but one borne out of the fact that our half way overnight stop in Carlisle at the Premier Inn was so much cheaper on the Sunday night.

It was exceptionally busy, both in the hotel and on the roads.

Once I am orientated towards home I suddenly get a longing to be back and reacquainted with all my own things, especially my bed, so we didn’t have a leisurely trip down this time. We left Carlisle at about 10am and as we neared the top of the Lakes the traffic had increased considerably but no queues had formed and we seemed to keep rolling. Our main stop was when we pulled off the M6 at junction 36 (Crooklands Interchange) and headed for Burton in Kendal, hoping to find a cafe for a drink.

A very interesting village with some grand architecture which I thought had quite a French influence in style.

Some interesting street names too.

Sadly, the little village only has a shop with a coffee machine and no tea, the Kings Arms is presently closed for a refurb and the main road through was like a race track and parking non-existent for visitors……I took a few pictures on a quick walk around – it is a long drawn out village and halfway along we decided to cut the exploration short and never made it as far as the church as the noise level of the through traffic drove us back to the car and we moved on ending up at the notorious Lancaster motorway services with a hundred other fellow travellers lunching at Costa. The queue for service was long and the vegetarian selection limited but luckily we managed to grab the very last two mushroom, egg and spinach baps to tide us over – but again with all the noise and grubby tables we didn’t stay long.

Once we arrived home and unpacked I realised how exhausted I was but a quick walk to our village was necessary to pick up some fresh milk and rolls. We came across the end of the village Scarecrow Trail and stopped here and there to admire the ‘Royal’ scarecrows.

The ‘quick walk’ took much longer than we thought and once back home again I prepared a nourishing lentil and leek stew for tea and then relaxed in front of the TV for a while….promptly falling asleep while the tea cooked itself on the hob.

I promised pictures of the cottage garden. As we left many plants had grown over the fortnight we had stayed there and were just about to bloom. The ferns had grown so much in height unfurling as they go.

I was surprised at how many primulas had sneaked up around the pond as I thought we had lost a lot under the heavy leaf fall from the sycamore it lies beneath – they might be a spectacular sight that we will miss by our next visit.

Looking down from the lane it all looks under control but believe me in a garden like this with the wild flowers like red campion and blue alkanet poised and ready to invade nothing is under my control….we only manage it.

This is the view from below looking up toward the lane – doesn’t look so good now from this view does it!!

DH has still to finish the staging – but it was never going to be this visit and I had to content myself by removing as many of the overgrown wild planting of campion, buttercups, alkanet, some extremely viscious nettles and the straggling goosegrass, as I could – uncovering the few actual plants that had not been nudged out or given up. It was a place I didn’t get to weed last year and the results are always the same – the invaders move in swiftly.

These old terracotta drainage pipes I use for herbs. I had to clear them of the old ones as they had become huge and woody. The rosemary had reached 5 feet with a four foot root and had lost the will to live – probably through exhaustion a couple of years ago and no amount of pruning back encouraged it back to its former state. It is a sheltered and sunny and spot by the conservatory and the open ended drainage pipes act as a deep rooted bed and the soil here is very fertile so I will set some herb seeds at home and plant fresh ones again this year.

The solomon’s seal is one of my favourite plants in the lower wood and they continue to spread and march along quietly interspersed now with the bluebells – well, unfortunately they are the Spanish variety set by the previous owner and there is no hope of ever getting rid of them to replant with the English variety so I just have to tolerate them – but they look equally as beautiful at this time of year covering the wood floor.

I left a little patriotic contribution to the Coronation celebrations next week.

The dicentras are spreading nicely again and the white have now merged with the pink.

The cherry tree keeps going – it needs attention too but we keep thinking it will not survive much longer – it must be getting on for 50 years old, has some form of hard fungus at the bottom of the trunk and has had to undergo some rather extreme pruning in its time but it merrily carries on flowering each year although the striking pink candyfloss that looms up over the weeping larch is not as abundant as it once was.

The tale of our latest confrontations with the new site owner will be told another day. As always it tainted our visit somewhat – my head says to leave but my heart is still drawn to our little tumble down cottage with its wild garden looking out over the sea.

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