Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Just thought I’d try a bit of positivity today. I’ve dashed around for much of the day cleaning and basically making myself feel more in charge of what’s happening to the cottage. The rain has stopped and, while the water is still seeping through a bit across the whole of the south-west wall, it is starting to dry out.

flooded road in Somerset

Having improved my mood a bit, if not my now chapped hands, I took Nora for a walk. Intending to drive to the shops first, I had to turn back as the road to Bishop’s Lydeard was flooded. Even in a 4×4 I decided not to risk it as it looked quite deep. I’ve had enough disasters of late.

blue winter sky

moss covered tree

dog walking in woods

Here are some shots of my almost completely private walk with Nora – only once we had reached the top of Cothelstone Hill did we meet some people and their dogs. Lovely!

dog on the heath

Nora the labradora

old stone wall

trees in winter sun

Nora heading down the hill

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On the way home we met toothless Graham from the farm on the road. He said we’d had 30mm of rain last night, which would explain a few things.

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This is more by way of a log of my activity here for myself (the original purpose of this blog), so it’s not very interesting.

pondlife lowThe temperature didn’t rise above freezing all weekend. The pond was frozen so I kept breaking the ice for birds and other wildlife, and pulled sheets of it out together with whatever was attached. Quite an easy way of getting rid of the leaves that fill the water.

scaffoldingBen has been here to work on the chimney finally – the scaffolding’s only been up since about November last year. It hasn’t rained for about 10 days, so there’s no way to check if the new flashing has worked. Fingers crossed.

hedgeI intended to bring the logs down from the garage to the woodshed this weekend, but couldn’t get the big gate to stay open as the hedge was getting in the way so I spent Saturday afternoon hacking at it (the hedge) with shears, the trimmer and secateurs. I’ve actually managed to make it look miles better and am really pleased with the achievement because it’s always been the hardest part of the hedge to reach.

This weekend was hard work, what with grooming and mucking out the horse for Sunday’s ride as well but it’s such a relief, after all the rain in the last few months, to have been able to do something practical and worthwhile. I almost feel enthusiastic about all the other stuff that needs doing…

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So I was worrying about the trees in my last post. Well, I arrived at Spring Cottage to find things could have been worse. snowy landscape

A rapid thaw was happening, the temperature having shot up from minus three to about five degrees centigrade overnight. Where I’m told there had been knee-deep snow yesterday, patches of earth were now appearing.

snowy landscape

The house looked more or less intact. I’d remembered to turn off the water before I left, there was no burst pipe. On the other hand, the back door looked suspiciously wet and was hard to open. I put my shoulder to it and burst out into the soggy garden, shocking some birds into the sky. Above me, the gutter teetered at an unseemly angle and disgorged its melting contents straight at the door. In the garden, we’d lost a couple of tree branches here and there, nothing desperate and it will all make good kindling once it’s dried out.

hedge along a roadside

The weight of the now rapidly vanishing snow had done other things as well. Along the lane, bits of hedge were looming forwards in the manner of a drunk sharing a confidence. Lonicera Nitida, sometimes known as boxleaf honeysuckle, is easy to shape and trim but, being a relative of the climber, it hasn’t got any what you might call ‘integrity’. Rather, it leans up against itself like a teenager during that phase where they cling to doorframes to stay upright. Weigh it down with a lot of snow and it’s gone – teenager to drunk in a week.

trimmed hedge

I had to do something before the forecast rain arrived. So I swapped my idea of walking in the hills for sturdy yellow work gloves, reached through the hedge as far as I could from the garden side and hoicked the spindly stems inwards. Then from the roadside, more than ankle deep in thawing snow, I shoved it upwards with an upside down broom. But it wasn’t enough, it had lost its grip, and some of its top-heaviness just had to go if the next snowfall wasn’t going to see it lying stretched out across the lane.

Now that it’s done, I’m thinking that the snow did me a favour, although I would have liked a walk instead of a sore elbow from wielding the shears. The hedge is now thinned out for a bit of fresh growth in the spring and should be all the stronger for it.

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From the silhouettes of Italian trees to the spectacular giants of Lydeard Hill in Somerset, they are under threat and I am worrying about them; capturing their beauty while I can.

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Pop your clogs on and go and have a look. All kinds of sculptural winter beauty and living things await.

clogs on doormat

lace cap hydrangea flowers dried in winter outdoors

clematis on a trellis

terracotta planter with ferns

terracotta planter with fern and slug close up

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It’s a place where people still cycle in sub zero temperatures.

Where it is still expected that you might wish to sit outside to eat when snow lies on the ground. (They give you blankets.)

Where the snow thawing in the sun on the roof freezes again before it reaches the ground.

Good morning!

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It probably doesn’t take a genius to work out that I’ve been away. Somewhere very much colder than the UK. Somewhere the recession hasn’t touched. Somewhere buzzing with confidence and style.

I have never happily tramped so many miles dressed in so many clothes.

Or been so surprised by so much wonderful, art nouveau architecture

or so many beautiful baroque buildings in a city that manages simultaneously to exist so vibrantly in the present day.

A place where people shovel snow from the roofs of buildings, so that it doesn’t spontaneously avalanche off and kill passers by.

Where can it be?

It’s Stockholm. I’ll be telling more stories about it soon. But now it’s time to catch up on some well-earned rest.

 

 

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