Saturday, 17 June 2017

the weekend

It has been lovely and hot all day, during the evening there was a nice breeze so I sewed for a while in the garden. This is a beach cover up I made from a sarong I bought for  a fiver last year and never wore, I liked the fabric so decided the pattern would lend itself well to this revamp.

The gold edging for the neckline was 38p a metre from Fabricland and there was virtually no sewing other than giving it shoulders and cutting/edging the neckline itself as the sarong had a nice rolled edge on all sides.  I might do  again as it's a very easy and cheap make.

I was in Brighton yesterday and took a moment to snap some very pretty graffiti - every time I visit  Trafalgar Road the graffiti has changed so this was a refreshing surprise.

I always visit the library if I have time as they have some very good art books to ponder and also some of the cleanest toilets in Brighton! ... then it was onwards for a spot of beach therapy.  Just the sound of the sea gulls and the rolling waves charges my batteries.   I was on a budget so my lunch was a vegetarian scotch egg, bottled water and a banana on the beach.

The charity shops around here are a bit pricey for me but I really appreciate the window displays, this one in particular gets really good vintage stuff and the staff love dressing the windows to perfection.  I expect this black and white theme was all designer and definitely vintage.  Dresses like this don't ever go out of fashion and we're made to last.

Tomorrow it's the gym and some garden sunbathing.... hope you're enjoying your weekend wherever you may be.  Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Weekend

 So much has been happening in the UK in the last week with terrorist attacks and the election, everyone is worried about how our country will be led and how Brexit will be handled, so a calming walk at  Earlswood Lakes, a short drive from me was welcome.

 We were lucky to see a nest on a fallen tree on the lake, I think this was probably a family of coots as they had very large, distinctive, white feet.  They didn't mind the swans and ducks sharing their tree.

Room for everyone to enjoy the view (of us) ... people can buy bird food for fifty pence at a little shop near here and the second lake further along has pedelo boats for hire,

There are always swans here, in the mornings they hang out in the car park to get snacks from children passing on their way to school.

There is a sun dial here, you stand on the month and your shadow will fall on the hour in the outer circle.

There is a vast area surrounding these lakes for playing golf, a football and cricket pitch and surrounding these are little copses like this one, lots of people were walking dogs and pushing prams. 

The garden is blooming, there are lots of snapdragon, foxglove, roses, 

 honeysuckle and jasmine and the nasturtiums are just about to open their beautiful orange and yellow trumpets.

 The potatos I planted in pots will be ready at the end of the month and our lemon mint smells wonderful in the early morning.  I am waking around 5am lately as it is light so early here and Ambercat likes sitting in the garden with me watching birds and squirrels.

Thanks for stopping by, come back soon.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Hello, thanks for stopping by.  I have had a lovely week in the Canaries.  It was total relaxation, lying by the pool, dipping in, good food, reading books.  Lanzarote is a volcanic island so the sand and ground is quite black/dark brown, the beach is beautiful, soft sand, rolling waves, clear water. 

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 See, tanned and relaxed!  The dress was a Boden sale bargain at around twenty quid several years ago.  It doesn't crease, is lined and very cool.

This was the first time hubby and I had ventured abroad without our two adult sons and it took me a day or two getting used to this.  It was good for us all as time for them to do their own thing and a new chapter for us.

The Shady Park off London's Soho

Yesterday I went to London's West End.  I worked in London for 16 years (a p.a. in merchant banking) and left when my children came along.  Apart from an annual trip to Hamleys Toy Shop chapperoned by the family and ending in a meal in china town, and despite only being a 40 min train journey from London Victoria, I had not been back.  It has changed a lot.   It was a bit like being an owl in the dark, I knew where I was going and could find my way easily, but with eyes open it all looked different to what I was seeing in my head!

Libery of London

I walked from Marble Arch down Oxford Street looking at shops, had a takeaway sandwich lunch  in Cavendish Square (a lovely little leafy park opposite Harley Street.  Then down the back streets to Liberty - it was wonderful to browse in there, it smells lovely and everything is beautifully displayed (no purchases as not in my price range, I'm afraid).

Liberty, London, main entrance

 Then on to Soho/Berwick Street Market and further down to Tottenham Court Road, into famous Foyles Bookshop

and then across the road to ... The Phoenix Theatre.  This was my mission, a friend at work took me to see The Girls - my first ever (at age 58!) visit to the theatre.  It was wonderful, I loved it.  I think you would too.  A beautiful old theatre with velvet seats, a great stage, fabulous actors, a story that I became immersed in, singing, humour - the show had it all.

Back home in the woods I have been out for walks checking where the elderberry trees are in flower so that I can pick the berries later in the Summer.  Although I could have a go at making sparkling wine now,  I prefer to let the blossoms flourish so the insect world can use them and wait patiently for the rich, juicy berries that follow to make cordial.  I am looking forward to the smell of the berries cooking, later in the Summer.

Our garden is tiny, but crammed with roses, lavender, honeysuckle, jasmine and some new lilac bushes so feels green and lush and is attracting a lot of bees.  We have bees nesting in our garage roof, as they are under the tiles and not coming inside, we are leaving them alone to do what bees do. 

 Oh nearly forgot, I was in Brighton last week, I wore my bikini and paddled, it was a scorching hot day.  I lay on the beach and read my book, browsed the lanes and watched some street musicians.  You can never get bored in Brighton.

 This piano is on the platform of Brighton Railway Station and there is nearly always a passenger playing it, don't you think it's a lovely idea?  Brighton is very arty, having the University there must be hundreds of musical people passing through, so there's always a happy tune as you come off the train.

 This lovely piece of art was nailed to a garage door just off the lanes.  I love seeing art around Brighton in unexpected places.

and humour - political humour included :)

So it has been a busy month for me.  I expect June to be more about walks in the woods and relaxing in the garden!  Thanks for visiting my blog.

Sunday, 7 May 2017


 For years I have walked through the woods around here hoping to see a wild orchid, this weekend I was very lucky and that moment arrived.  These beautiful orchids were in woodland very near the airport, I almost missed them as they were within a sea of fading bluebells, their flowers so tiny, but their distinct spotty leaves and their delicate spikes of beauty were unmistakable, small and delicate in their perfect beauty.

 fuzzy photos from my phone.  When I walked back the same way to take another picture a few hours later,  the flowers had already begun to fade and wilt in the dappled sunshine.  Short lived beauty.  But now I know where they are I can come back every year to see them :)

On May Day I remembered that my mother always celebrated this time of year with bunches of violets, we never see them here any more, although they grow wild in the woods and there are a few in my garden.

This is a picture from about 5 years ago, picked in the woods here, it would be hard to find this many in 2017... an indication that things are changing in nature and a reminder of how important it is to protect wild flowers in their natural habitat.  I have learned over the years not to be tempted to pick flowers like this, they have delicate root systems that can easily be damaged, they also don't survive in houses, wilting within hours of picking, my grandmother never allowed cut wild flowers of any sort indoors as she believed fairies lived in them, I am inclined to agree... with age comes wisdom. .  I feel more responsible for my footprint on this planet these days.

Fly agaric.  Last seen here about 3 years ago, one of my most favourite finds... not so often seen here now.  They grow in the same place year after year so if disturbed then a small and beautiful sighting could be lost forever.  As they like beech and pine wood as a habitat, the woods behind me are a good place to search in Autumn, but there have been none the last few years, I am always on the look out.

Winters like this are a rare event in the UK now too, an indication of our changing climate.  We still reminisce about this Winter as, apart from the beauty of it all, there was a wonderful quiet in the woods, the snow didn't just blanket the earth, it blanketed sound, all that could be heard were the birds, and then they stopped to listen too.

Here are some more snaps of the things I saw on my 'orchid walk' yesterday....

cowslips - hardly ever seen around here, I was surprised to see so many in one place.

and the last of the bluebells are dying off, a whole year to wait before we can enjoy them again. still beautiful in faded glory.

vetch, I found an area the size of a football pitch, I think next month it's going to be a beautiful purple carpet.  College boy accompanies me on my walks, we stop for a cider in the pub on the way home.  Four hours walking is thirsty work!

My library book this week is Chris Packham, Fingers in the Sparke Jar ... if you are in the UK and watch Springwatch, you will know him as a wildlife expert.  The book is all about his amazing childhood, a boy who seems to be on the autistic spectrum.  After much research and planning he finds a nest and helps himself to a fledgling bird of prey and rears it, his journey and its detail is brilliant.... he tells all about how his fascination with the natural world he has encountered or sought out has shaped his future.  This is a book worthy of a film, I hope you get a chance to read it and enjoy it as much as I have.

I am off for a holiday in the sun with hubby, our first overseas holiday together for 23 years!  Our boys will be looking after our house and Amber cat whilst they revise for college and university final exams.  I will be back soon.   It was nice to chat with you, maybe you will leave a comment so I know you passed by this little corner of the World.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Easter Weekend

Spring lamb!

 The nearest I could find to one, at the little church which we visit through the woods....

Their window displays and Easter garden were beautiful... we happened upon a lady who cares for the Church, who gave us some history... this is St Bartholomews at Burstow... John Flamsteed, who founded The Royal Observatory, was an astronomer and the first astronomer to the Royal Family.  He was also rector at this church from 1684-1719 and is buried here.  He cataloged 3000 stars and was the first to notice Uranus.  One of the stained glass windows in the church was placed to commemorate him.  There is a little sunday school building opposite built by him. 

It was Flamsteed who taught us the use of the telescope and who showed longitude at sea, gave us the position of the sun, moon and stars and showed how to foretell the weather.  What an important history and connection for a small, humble, village!  There is more history to this church which I will tell you about another time no doubt as I can sense you are nodding off.... 
Here's something more if you haven't....

  The woods are still crammed with lucky to have these so close.

One of my favourite bloggers, Pompom, suggested drawing Easter dresses a while ago, here's mine.... I think it would look pretty in a woodland bluebell setting, maybe a few robins and woodpeckers flying overhead and some butterflies skittering past.  It's fun to doodle, there are lots of adult colouring books available now for those who need a start, I think this sort of thing is therapeutic for all and not just reserved for children.

Hope you enjoyed the Easter weekend.  For many of us it's a time of reflection, celebration and hope.  For me it is a time of renewal.  What better way to feel renewed than out in the fresh air, walking....

On a four hour walk with college boy this weekend, hidden amongst the dandelions, we spotted tiny wild strawberry plants.  So small the fruit is only likely to be big enough for a fairy, but apparently they taste much stronger than supermarket variety, despite their size, hope I get to taste one.  .....

So many wildflowers around, borage and herb robert and dead nettle here.

I have been buying these pretty little pink marguerita type daisies - last year they flowered all Summer.  They were £2 each in the market and will grow quite large.

My lovely neighbours gave me pannetone- delicious and wrapped with pretty yellow ribbon so I will sign off now and tuck in.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


Only a week since these same woods were carpeted in white, This Sunday they surprised me with a mass of bluebells, I think they are early this year.

This is the woodland at Outwood which I visited on my last post.  It is next to the windmill (which was the oldest working windmill in England until storms caused damage in 2013).  The National Trust owns this woodland, which is part of the Harewood Estate.


These beautiful flowers are an indicator of ancient woodland, which is defined as land that has been continuously wooded since 1600 or earlier.

Wood anemone spreads via root, not seed and takes 100 years to spread a mere six foot.  because of its slow growth it is usually only found in old woodland.  It is tempting to pick but is poisonous.

Bluebells here are the old English Bluebell and not the more recent Spanish variety that has become invasive in some parts of this country.   The English bluebell is the only one that carries scent (I think they smell like sugar and rain)  and the flower spike has bells on one side only, giving the graceful droop that is so characteristic, the English Bluebell  has white, not blue, anthers.

IN 1548 William Turner wrote about Bluebell in his book, The Names of Herbe's,
 'some use the root as glue' (surprising that such a delicate flower would have such strength hidden inside).   I have been reading about this and found there is evidence that the flower glue was used to fix feathers to arrows in the Bronze age.  Just imagine.

There is so much to see in these woods:  banks of celandine by the stream, wild primrose and violet,  honeysuckle putting out new shoots, hover flies and butterflies everywhere here already.

Our ancient woodland is protected but there are loopholes in our UK development regulations that still leave some beautiful areas in danger of being lost.   There is much about this and proposed amendments to the current protective laws of ancient  woodland at The Woodland Trust website *here*.  

For the next few weeks I am very lucky to be able to see these thousands of wood anemone in drifts mingling with bluebells as far as the eye can see.  Beyond this some fields are now bright yellow with rapeseed.  All I' m looking for now to complete the picture is a spring lamb or two!

Today I am pottering, I might paint a little, do some gardening or even some Spring cleaning! but it's likely I will be heading back to the bluebells too before the day is over........