Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Driving through the village the other day I was a bit taken aback by a brightly coloured figure lurking in the corner opposite the old pump. I needn’t have worried. It wasn’t going to step out in front of the car as it turned out to be a scarecrow, part of one of the many competitions taking place for the Flower Show on Saturday. marquee

A really proper, old fashioned marquee had been put up on the playing field for the flower and produce displays and the village hall was serving steaming cups of tea and homemade cakes. With rainclouds being driven across the sky by a brisk breeze, we were lucky to escape a soaking and the sun even came out from time to time.

old ladies drinking tea

There were two lady llamas on display. They make odd high-pitched mooing noises and tried to turn away from the camera shyly whenever I came near waving my phone. Apparently they are very good at guarding livestock as they can be quite aggressive if anyone unknown comes along.


As expected, there were lots of traditional activities, such as ‘hook-a-duck’ and stalls selling cakes (the Women’s Institute now rebranded as County Something). We pottered around admiring a couple of girls selling professional-looking preserves and a gluten-free range (very Zeitgeisty) and watched the adults’ running-backwards race, just starting below.

start of the adults running backwards race

dreadlocked woman and child

girl sitting in a toy cot

Everyone seemed in a good mood and, while the bric-a-brac at the car boot tables was a bit half-hearted by the time we turned up two hours into the afternoon, we all came away with something that suited us. In my case, a bulb vase for 50p, my friend with some sheet music for her daughter and her husband, popping back to the WI, with a cake for tea.

sheet music

I was tempted to buy a verbena plant at the plant stall, thinking maybe third time lucky, but I didn’t. I just don’t think I can grow them here. Not that this is a verbena in the pushchair before anyone points this out. That much I do know!

plant in a pushchair

My ‘best bit’ – which was something I always made sure to ask my children about whenever they went to any events when they were small – was the produce on show in the marquee.

table full of competition cups

There were competitions for the most scary vegetable creation, the best vegetable person and the best plant jewellery, which is a brilliant way of getting children to engage with vegetables. Growing them can frankly be a little boring and disappointing if you’re small. Children are so creative and it must have been a lot of fun making the entries. I hope not too many of the mums ended up making them at half past midnight on the night before!

most scary vegetable creation

There were also the traditional fruit and vegetable displays. Comfortingly, there was nothing outstandingly vast, other than a huge cabbage and a giant lettuce. I remember being quite put off by some enormously long parsnips one year.


huge lettuce

best potato competition

red onions

competition beetroot

I do love the conventions around how things like beetroot and onions are displayed. It’s so very decorative.

best vegetable basket

It looks like the entrants must do it for the love of taking part or the kudos of winning a trophy. They certainly can’t be in it for the prize money, which is very modest indeed.


Mmm, anyway time to go home for tea and cake…

cake competition

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Blissfully quiet it’s been for weeks. Hardly any passing traffic, no huge machinery going from farmyard to field. Only an occasional whirrzzz as a bicycle flies down the hill, a bit of banging from the convertors of Winter’s Barn into New Holiday Let over the road, and the rustle of leaves in the hedge as the twice-daily milk tanker hauls itself between parlour and dairy.

Glancing out of the window in the early morning, though, I saw not grass waving in the breeze but grass cut and lying in the sun to be gathered in. Now, late in the day, every other field round about lies combed into rows, neat and green, pale and dark. And vast machines dance a well-rehearsed display of shoo, vacuum and spray into the evening.

Days of noise and dust are due, then, as all this must pass our door before the silage clamps are full.

At least the forecast must be dry.



IMG_7412 IMG_7408 IMG_7411  IMG_7414 IMG_7415

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Nothing I could write at the moment would make much sense. There’s a lot going on in my head as I prepare for my last three days at work. I’ve been there for 27 years and it’s going to be quite a wrench. It is a good thing but still A Thing To Get Through.

So here are some soothing pictures, taken last weekend, when I got up at 5.30 on a beautiful morning and went straight out into the garden to look at the world with my camera in an effort to stop my stupid brain whirring on and on.

Sunrise over Bridgwater Bay


Nigella buds




It will be alright.

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blue sky with small white cloud

It’s been so very hot. Rising early before the heat of the day allows me a few hours’ activity but, even then, the effort dampens and frustrates my hair’s supposed straightness.

flower petals on garden table

The plants are exhausted and thirsty. Some buds simply dry before opening. Others flower but quickly lose their petals, dropping wherever, confetti-like

gravel and mauve flower petals

geranium petals in a pond

Yet others twine joyously around despite their yards of dry branches, as if to say: you can’t catch me…

clematis on a wall

The grass yellows. I leave it long to keep it damp and pathways are trodden into its margins by animals I never see.

Long grass in evening sunlight

When cars pass dust rises and coats the bins –dustbins – by the side of the road, just as its cousin, the mud, did a few months ago but now the ground is cracked and hard.

It is summer, at last.

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If you were anywhere near here, you’ll have dashed in and out of your house dodging the rain this summer.

You’ll have paid your gardener, whom you’ve been eagerly awaiting for two weeks to give you a hand with the tons of stuff you can’t keep up with out there, and watched her drive away with your lawn half mown and her kids soaked to the skin, only to find the sun out 20 minutes later.

That’s what we’ve been doing this summer. An absolute horror, so far.

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Looking forward

Looking forward

I’m looking forward to soon being somewhere else.

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I’d like to post something positive about this summer but the weather still shows no sign of improvement after weeks and weeks of rain.

I had very little inclination to make it down to Spring Cottage yesterday, given the wild weather forecast. But I worry when I know there could be problems I need to sort out. Plus, I need my fix of green, horse and a wider horizon.

The lane had flooded and I was reminded how precient it had been to check the Environment Agency’s flood risk map before I moved here. At almost the highest point around here, your ears pop with the change in altitude as you come up the lane to the cottage. Despite the extra effort required on walks and rides hereabouts, I’d rather not be down below in the little hamlet where most people round here live. It turned out that we’d had our own type of flood at the cottage though, with the ongoing saga of the leaking chimney.

Strong winds blowing from the south east meant that rain is still being driven in from somewhere. It’s even been getting in through the windows.

However, to look on the bright side, I have health and enough to eat, including these beautiful pale blue duck eggs that I bought at the farm near Nether Stowey (my Coleridge link – this is all much cleverer than it appears…) this morning. So I’m going put a bucket under the leaking chimney, light a fire to dry it out, curl up with my book and feel positive after all.

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