The woodshed is one of my favourite places at Spring Cottage, although I like all the outhouses, of which there are three; there’s also a garage (used mainly to store gathered wood for kindling) and an ancient stone building known as the wash house.
I’ve worked out that the woodshed’s 1960′s windows used to be the kitchen windows before my predecessor ‘improved’ things with a wide span of double-glazed panes overlooking the fields. The trouble is that the double glazing has let moisture in between the panes, so the build-up of condensation often means you can’t see out as clearly as you might like to. But, that aside, at least the woodshed has some nice windows.
The light is lovely in there on a fine evening, and the building is warm and smells gorgeously woody. The floor is covered with wood-chips, fragments of bark and butterfly wings however much I sweep. I don’t know why so many butterflies seem to meet their ends in here; perhaps they find the log pile a good place to rest.
Posted in Country life | Tagged cottage, England, photography, UK, Home and Garden, Country life, rural life | 1 Comment »
I’ve always longed for a garden trug but new ones are really expensive and it’s something you can easily do without. After all, a cardboard box or a plastic basket of some kind work just as well for holding picked flowers until you bring them indoors. Also, until I came to Spring Cottage I didn’t really have any flowers to pick so a trug had to wait. Now, however, Spring brings loads of daffodils and other narcissi, and I also plant all kinds of seeds in my cut flower beds specifically to grow things to bring inside. So I’m enjoying a clapped out old trug that I bought last summer at a car boot sale for three quid. It’s a bit brittle and won’t last for ever but I’ve waterproofed it a little by painting it with Danish oil and it now looks as thought it’s a family heirloom, which I much prefer to things being brand new. It kind of goes better with the ancient nature of the cottage, looks suitably rustic hanging in the woodshed, and I can spend the money saved on seeds instead.
The main flowerbeds here are in the front garden, which is at the side of the cottage, if that makes sense. Being at the side, at the gable end of the house, there is no window overlooking it. So I have to bring flowers in if I want to see them more than in passing on the way to the car. Many of the daffodils have also been planted under the various hedges. Well, they would have originally been under the hedges but now they are in the hedges, the hedges having grown widthways as well as in height over the years. So the daffs need rescuing before they are forced to bend over by the branches sprouting above them.
Posted in Country life | Tagged cottage, Country life, England, flowers, garden, gardening, hedge, Home and Garden, Narcissus, Plant, rural life, Spring, UK | 2 Comments »
I love allotments; those little patchwork plots in cities, like here on the edge of Bridgwater in Somerset, where people grow vegetables and flowers; where they build sheds and scarecrows out of discarded materials; where they go to relax and unwind by toiling on their actually not so little patches of earth. Turning the overgrown, run to seed dirt into neat rows of sprouting vegetables and fruit.
I think it’s the variety that you find on allotments that appeals to me: neatness, abundance, rot, abandonment and nurture side-by-side in equal measure. I love the textures of the ground, of the buildings, and of the things that are grown. I find them just as satisfying to look at at this time of year as in the fullness of harvest time.
I don’t have an allotment or even aspire to having one, having just one mouth to feed these days, but they’re still very pleasing to look at. It’s like looking at a microcosm of the countryside: tiny little fields, sharing water, battling to outdo each other yet doing completely different things, their keepers annoying each other with their varied methods of cultivation and outcomes.
What do you think? Have you got an allotment or do you want one? Or are you one of those who find them a messy eyesore on their horizon? Are my glasses totally rose-tinted?
Posted in Country life | Tagged Allotments, England, gardening, gardens, Home and Garden, Recreation and Sports, Somerset, UK | 1 Comment »
When Nora arrived she was small enough to slip under the gate to the back garden from the little contained area immediately around the house. Fortunately, that didn’t last long and for a few months it was safe to let her out of the back door knowing that she wouldn’t be able to run off and get lost.
Then she became a teenage dog and discovered exploring. Through the hedge she would go, unerringly finding the one section where there was a break in the ancient wire netting embedded in it. Terrifyingly, she would run out into the lane and then stand stock still in the middle of the road ignoring all calls for her to return. Heart stopping, knowing that people bomb down here fairly fast, although it’s often quiet for hours, lulling you into a false sense of security. Then she got even naughtier and started to jump over the ridiculously low back fence and go off foraging for things in the field behind the cottage. The fence was deliberately low, having been put up by my predecessor who favoured the view. Oddly, at that time the field was used for cattle grazing, which was brave or foolhardy of her, depending on your point of view, as she might have had a ton of cow land on her while she was sitting out in the sun. Worse than the possibility that Nora would leave an occasional poo among the growing crop was my fear that she would be seen. In the hills, you can see an animal from a long way off when it is the only moving object in a field, so I worried that the farmer would be annoyed that I’d let the dog loose on his land.
So, off I went to buy some wire fencing to temporarily (I hope) constrain her adventurousness until she is old enough to listen when she is told to wait and come down. It’s ugly, much harder to put up than I thought and knackered my hands completely, but it does the job and I hope to be able to take it down in about eighteen months or so.
I do feel rather sad at spoiling her fun as there are a lot of pheasants around at the moment and she’s very curious about them.
Posted in Animals, Country life | Tagged countryside, Dog, dogs, England, garden, hedge, Home and Garden, Somerset, UK | Leave a Comment »
Today was unremarkable, except for snow flurries and a brief hailstorm with lots of sunshine as well. We arrived, we walked, we shopped, we did some training, Nora chewed a bone, I ate some sausages and idled away too much time online.
I also did a bit of work on the front door and doorway to restore the wood that got damaged by the leaking porch in the weeks after Christmas. It looks better. The paint is all peeling off on the surrounding walls now that they’re drying out. But the main thing is that the damp is drying out. It’s no big deal.
We went for a walk on Lydeard Hill where came across an unremarkable holly tree which obviously means something special to someone. I love finding things like this. Last time we walked in the hills I came across a bunch of roses left on the ground, perhaps where someone’s ashes had been scattered. This looks happier to me: the white ribbon, the heather that means good luck, I think. I hope so anyway.
It reminds me that ‘Gypsies’ used to haunt the local tube station when I was younger and try to get you to buy little bunches of heather for luck. That doesn’t seem to happen anymore and we aren’t allowed to call them gypsies either. Which is a shame as I love the sound of the word.
Nora chewed on her first ‘real’ bone and then I discovered that it’s not that great an idea by reading lots of online horror stories about people’s dogs perforating their intestines and bowels on sharp bits. This was a huge great lamb bone and she didn’t have it for very long so I hope she’ll be ok.
I’ve decided that I don’t like the tone of the blog anymore. I’m too conscious of other people reading it and my style changes all the time. That’s fine up to a point because my moods change. But I used to just write for me and that worked better, I think. I need to find my way back to my voice so that I enjoy reading it again. Otherwise what’s the point?
Posted in Blogging, Personal, Walking | Tagged not interesting | 2 Comments »