Sunday, 3 May 2015


The Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden is but
a five minute leisurely drive away from the Lock-Up
and I simply adore it.  So much so that I've signed
up for a year's membership at the very reasonable
price of £21. 

This entitles me to visit every day of the
year bar one so what I shall find to amuse me
on Christmas Day when it's closed I really can't imagine.
Hopefully something will turn up.
They call themselves "A garden for all seasons"and
if today's visit is anything to go by they certainly
seem to have covered spring from every conceivable angle.

Drifts of late primroses, shy primula's, the first early
bluebells just starting to burst forth and more randy
nesting chick-a-birdies than you could shake a stick at.
Or should that be at which you could shake a stick.
The King Oak
I'm a bit of a tree hugger on the quiet 
and this place has an oak tree which is reputedly
950 years old called the King Oak.  It's enormous and
I think I will need to enlist some help to give his
highness a right royal embrace.  I wonder whether one
has to courtesy first?  I must look that up in my Debretts.

I don't think they're edible.

There's a sensory garden for visually impaired visitors
complete with Braille panels giving information,
the sinister "ice hole", free open air concerts on Sundays
in July and August, guided evening ghost walks,
boat trips up to the ruined St Benet's Abbey,

a very fattening tea room full of home-made goodies
and Sunday 6th September is Dog Day.
It's already in the diary.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Is that a Maypole or are you just pleased to see me?

Is it my imagination or does May Day come round
faster every year.  Either that or they've slipped an extra
one into the calendar without telling anyone.
On the 1st of May 1561 a lily of the valley was given as
a lucky charm to King Charles IX of France.
From then he continued the habit of offering lilies of the valley
to all the ladies of the court as a sign of good luck
and happiness thus starting what today must be regarded as
perhaps one of the most beautiful yet syrupy customs of France.
I think she's doing buy one get one free.
Well she said bogoff when I spoke to her.
According to tradition you must offer "au moins un brin de muguet"
(at least one sprig of lily of the valley) on May Day. 
I'm not sure what the punishment was for non-adherence
- probably the guillotine.

Meanwhile back in Merrie England we have other ideas.
A giant, phallic, red and white striped Maypole
all decked out with coloured ribbons.
All very pagan and all great fun.
No wonder the Puritans banned it in 1644 only to be
reinstated a few years later by good King Charles II in 1660.
God save the King!

And why do I know it's such fun?  Because that's me
with the flowers having just been crowned Queen of the May
with the King at my side and slightly to the right, one row back,
stands Little John with whom I have recently got back
in touch after all these years!

Now pass me my garland and garters,
fire up the Morris dancers and lead me to it
- I feel a flash back coming on!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

In the frame

It was De Seuss who brought us the wonderful children's
books The Cat in the Hat and Fox in Sox,

Well today I can bring you, courtesy of my dear
Dr Suze, Kell's Kritters in all it's framed magnificence.
Or as old Seuss would have probably titled it
Kits in the Korner.

There they sat watching the antics below
Of the bug chasing leopard
And the snail going slow.

Who lives at that castle?
Does the sun always shine?
Will the fox catch that wabbit?
I'll tell you next time.

Monday, 27 April 2015

A load of balls and a "crackpot" idea

I have a friend who, like me, is into stones in a big way.
It just so happens that she is trying to clear some
room prior to the arrival of a new set of paws
and I am trying to fill some sadly not with paws
but with stones.
Look into my balls, I see .......
So, as you will see from the following photo's
that's exactly what's happened and I am now the proud
owner of some pre-owned balls both polished
to a high sheen and au naturel.
Probably fired at Waterloo!
The polished bad boys have taken up residence on
my kitchen window sill and have nearly managed
to completely blind me on a couple of occasions
when the sun has been streaming into my parlour from
a jaunty angle.
He's keeping an eye on it for me in case Mrs C appears.
As for a "crackpot" idea, the same splendid lady passed on to
me a rather broken garden planter which had belonged to
a mutual friend of ours and as I really hate to see
anything with potential doing nothing this is what
I decided to do with it.
What can I bodge up next?
Eat your heart out Mrs C - no you can't have it back!

Friday, 24 April 2015

How does your garden grow?

Every day, every week, every month comes some
new increment to the achievement here in the
tiny courtyard behind the lock-up.

Plants of all shapes and sizes, whether begged,
borrowed or stolen are all beginning to come together
to form a homogenous whole.

Each plant has it's own special place in the great
scheme of things and it's own little corner of my heart too.

I knew I'd find a place for them somewhere.

The three beautiful camelias which I inherited from the
previous owner are getting a bit past their best now
but considering they provided the only hint of colour
in the entire place way back in January I can hardly
complain if they step back and give some of the newer
arrivals a chance to shine.

The white jasmine which I got from the market has
a beautiful perfume especially towards the end of the
afternoon.  The hucheras, of which there are many,
are all standing up straight and paying attention and
the sweet peas are beginning to swarm up the string supports
like sailors in the rigging.

However there is one fly in the ointment.
The Kentish hop plant must be sleeping of a beery hangover
because it is very late indeed in putting in it's appearance.
Having nearly broken my neck climbing onto the pergola
to make sure it had the correct hemp strings "to aid its
greyhound like growth" (I am quoting from the brochure
here) it has so far repaid my efforts with one very weedy
little tendril of a rather sickly hue.

We shall see.  It's still early days so I think I will
threaten it with being replaced with a Russian vine and
see whether that makes it buck it's ideas up a bit.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

I see you standing .......

Any excuse to show a greyhound picture.
...... like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start.
The game's afoot; follow your spirit; and upon this charge cry:
God for Harry!  England and St George!
Old Henry V knew how to celebrate.
Today is St George's day and I, for one, intend to celebrate.
When I was little our school always used to put on a
pageant to mark the occasion but somehow over the years
it's become almost politically incorrect to even mention the fact
in case it should offend.
St George 1 - Dragons nil!
The Irish have their St Patrick's day, the Scots always seem
to do St Andrew proud and the Welsh always honour St David
with a show of leeks and daffodils but today it's the turn
of the English.
Happy St George's Day one and all!
Well he's certainly putting his back into it!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Not one but two ........

.... birthdays.  That is if you're HMTQ and today is
her "actual" birthday as opposed to her "official" one which
always falls some time in June which nicely coincides
with the tourist season and Trooping the Colour!
This picture took some finding.
Born in 1926 she's been around all my life and it's
really quite difficult to imagine what it would be like
without her and her selfless devotion to duty.
Good on you ma'am.  I can't say I'd want to step into
her shoes for even a day despite her enormous wealth.
She scrubs up quite well really.
Every move she makes is photographed, chronicled and
analysed.  Her clothes are discussed with every change
of outfit - too expensive, too dowdy, worn before.
Her hair is beaten into submission like a second crown
and as for her family/private life everything is acted
out in the full gaze of a watching nation who would
all scream blue murder if their own privacy was even
slightly invaded.
She must ber having a bad "heir" day.
This tireless lady has my complete admiration and
long may she continue to reign - well have you seen what's
coming next?
That's better, she's cheered up again.  Her horse must have won.
Happy Birthday your Majesty.
Will you be nipping out for a canter later on today while
no one's looking?  I do hope so.