Monday 30 July 2018

Joy in the Everyday Ordinary - July, 22-27

Hi there everyone 😀

Well ... what a week we’ve had! More sunshine and scorching temperatures, which we've tried to make the most of. Martin has been off for the second week in a row and we've certainly crammed a fair amount in.

We've both struggled a bit with sore throats and nasty coughs for the last half of the week and poor old Martin is back at work today, something I most definitely do not envy.

I seem to have blog posts I want to write stockpiling up, but have just been so busy enjoying the sunshine it hasn't felt right to be stuck inside at the computer, so hopefully I will be able to do a bit of catching up this week, but for now here are our best bits from last week ...

Day 21 - We had finally got the right weather, at the right time, for our good friends Lesley & Tom and their girls, Lauren & Jess, to come round for a BBQ. We had a busy day preparing a veritable feast and getting the garden ready. This was it before the fun began. We had a great night. Ate too much and definitely drank too much, sang and danced on the grass and laughed until we cried. 

Day 22 - The pergola corner. It was the morning after the night before. It's been a long time since I've had a hangover but today was not the best. After a late get up and a lazy afternoon watching a film I felt a little bit better and managed a few minutes in the sunshine in what has turned out to be a very pretty corner of the garden.

Day 23 - We really need to go shopping as we hadn't really got anything planned on the menu front for the rest of the week but we ended up making do with what we could find in the fridge. We had a go at a sausage frittata, which used up lots of leftover vegetables and a few new potatoes and came out better than we both hoped. Eaten in the garden with our own freshly picked green beans it went down a treat. 

Day 24 - We had both got a bit fed up with moping about at home moaning that we were too hot so we decided, on a bit of a whim, to head for the coast for the day, hoping for a bit of a breeze and a walk on the beach. We ended up in Weston-Super-Mare, where we spent the loveliest of days. It was a bit of a trek and took us just under 3 hours to get there but it was oh so worth it. You can expect to read more about our trip in a separate post.

Day 25 - After our long day at the seaside yesterday we had a bit of a lazy day today. I managed to get two cross stitch grandad motifs made for the memory cushions I am working on before heading out to the cinema for a girlie trip with Lesley, Lauren & Jess to see Mama Mia 2, which was just fab. I can't remember the last time I went to the cinema and we all had a great time.

Day 26 - We were both feeling a bit crummy today, nasty coughs and rotten sore throats, but there is just so much to smile about in and around this small bed ... the hibiscus is flowering, zinnias grown from seed are giving a real zing, the delphiniums, which we cut back to nothing, look like they are going to give another good showing and Martin is making progress with his home made 'tiki' lanterns, which has been a work in progress for a fair while.
Day 27 - Though we both still felt a bit under the weather we had a big day out planned with Jackie & Phil and we definitely didn't want to cancel. We were supposed to be going to Kedleston Hall, a National Trust property near Derby, followed by afternoon tea at The Little Shed. Well, due to a bit of a lack of planning we discovered at the last minute Kedleston wasn't open on a Friday, so we ended up back at Calke Abbey. This time there were no bikes and we had a lovely walk round the gardens, where we found respite from the heat by running our hands under the old water pump. We also had a good walk round the house, which was surprisingly cool. We did end up at The Little Shed, where Jackie & I had a traditional afternoon tea and the boys had the gentlemen's option. Both were very good, served on pretty mis-matched crockery and we both ended up having to take cake home, as we couldn't manage to finish it all, which doesn't happen very often I must say.


Monday 23 July 2018

Joy in the Everyday Ordinary - July, 15-21

Hello there everyone 😀

And still the heatwave continues 🌞🌞🌞🌞

We've had another week of sunshine and temperatures in the low 30s at times, which is jut that little bit too warm for both Martin and I. Martin has been off work again this week and is definitely missing his air conditioned office

I know we shouldn't complain but ... I must confess ... I am starting to miss being able to sleep under my duvet. At times it has been just too hot to do anything but loll around wishing we felt like getting on with something.

I even said to Martin this morning "Shall we go to the seaside?" I knew he would say no but I didn't expect him to say we could go tomorrow. Whether we will or not remains to be seen. We are about 100 miles from the nearest coast, living pretty much smack bang in the middle of the country, so it would be a bit of a trek for the day, though it would be in air conditioning. I guess you will find out next week if we make it.

For now, here's what we've been up to this week ...
Day 15 - Sunday and we had an early start. We were back at Hoar Park Farm with the craft stall for their monthly craft fair in The Red Barn. We were happier with our table location this time, but it was another pretty slow day, which I'm putting down to coinciding with the Wimbledon Men's and the World Cup Finals both being on. We are back again in August and if it's not better I don't think we will be returning next year, though we have booked in for their Victorian Evening at the beginning of December.

Day 16 - Having pinched a handful of green beans from mum & dad's garden last week whilst watering, it was now time to harvest the first of ours. We hadn't really realised they were ready, but there they were ... lurking amongst the greenery. They were delicious too, not a 'string' to be found.

Day 17 - Earlier in the year Martin sent off for some free packets of wildflower seeds which we just sprinkled in the pots where we'd planted the cordon fruit trees. They have done really well and are in full flower at the moment, with lots of white and yellow daisies, red poppies and I've spotted one blue cornflower. They look lovely and are always covered in bees and other insects. Hopefully some of the seed will spread when they've finished flowering, but I can certainly see us planting these again next year.

Day 18 - As Martin was off work for the week we managed to fit in another big day out, which I will post separately about. We spent the day at and around Calke Abbey. We took the bikes and cycled round the Tramway Trail. It was not as bright as it has been, though still very warm, and we even experienced a few spots of rain. We had a lovely day and already have another adventure on the cards for next week.

Day 19 - Yay!! We've had a great crop of strawberries, I have a freezer full of morello cherries and now it's time to start harvesting the blueberries. Normally we end up having to net these but the blackbirds seem to have left them alone this year and I have been having a crafty handful every time I go down the garden.

Day 20 - This postcard really made me smile this morning. Normally our post is a mixture of junk mail and bank statements and I can't remember the last time I actually received a postcard. It was also lovely to hear that my friend had managed to get away for a bit of a summer break.

Day 21 - We were finally blessed with the right weather at the right time for our good friends Lesley & Tom and their girls, Lauren & Jess, to come round for a BBQ. Martin & I had a busy day preparing a veritable feast and getting the garden ready. This was it before the fun began. We had a great night. We ate too much, definitely drank too much, sang to 80s favourites, danced on the grass and laughed until we cried 😭

So that's another week gone. Another week where the garden featured heavily, which is exactly what we were hoping for this summer. Martin has another week off work so we have a few bits and pieces planned, which I'm sure you will find out about next week ... see you then 😀


Friday 20 July 2018

At Home for the Summer - #1 Back to Coughton Court, NT

Hi there everyone 😁

I'm sure you will all be aware that over the last 12 months Martin and I have put a lot of time and effort into improving our garden. Well, this year we both wanted to be able to make the most of it, enjoy spending time in it and keep it at its best over the summer, so we decided that it would be a year for spending the best part of the summer months at home.

That’s not to say there wouldn’t be a few trips out and about ... and I’ve tried to arrange some kind of day out for each of the weeks that Martin isn’t working. You may remember that at the beginning of May we visited Coughton Court (NT) with our good friends Jackie and Phil.We'd been intending to make a return visit to try and catch the walled gardens at their best as there hadn’t been much to see on our first visit, as we were just a few weeks too early in the season for the herbaceous borders to have really got going. One of the gardeners had told us that late June was the best time to see see them looking their best, but for one reason or another we didn’t manage to get back until the first week in July.

As the gates don't open until 11.00am and we were a bit early we decided to head up the lane at the side of the estate and through the ford again. On our last visit we had been hunting for a Geocache but hadn’t been able to find it and we wanted to give it another go.

This time we were with mum and dad and, after a bit of persistence and widening of the search area for the access we needed, we managed to find what we were looking for, which was a great start to the day.

By the time we had finished our hunt the gates were open and our first stop, as ever, was the cafe for a bit of a pit stop. We very rarely have breakfast when heading out for the day, much preferring to avail ourselves of the local facilities for a bit of a treat.

It was another scorcher of a day and we decided it was too hot to explore the woodland so we wandered down past the chickens to the river ...
From there we had a good walk round the gardens, taking in the changes since our previous visit.

The goslings are definitely growing up and were having a good old splash about ...
The views across the lake, as we headed towards the bog garden, were just lovely ...
I think it would be fair to say that the bog garden had filled out somewhat ... There was barely any sign of water and if we hadn't been before we wouldn't have known there were statues to be seen.
And the gunnera ... well that was as high as an elephant's eye ...

Back across the other side and we were really pleased to find the vegetable garden open for visitors, as this has been closed on our previous visit.

It was a lovely little garden, with a real mixture of planting, with clematis climbing through the fruit canes ...
The apple blossom had long gone but there were little green apples started to swell on pretty much all of the trees ...
There were plenty of ripe and juicy raspberries and fat pods of the sweetest garden peas, all growing under the watchful eye of this wise fellow ...
Finally we were at the walled garden and it was absolutely scorching hot. Martin and dad decided to stop for a breather and sat admiring the daisies and listening to the sound of the fountain ...
... whilst mum and I headed in to the left side of the walled garden, excited to see what we would find ...
We could see, straight away, that we were really just a couple of weeks too late to see the borders at their absolute best, though there was far more to see than there was when we'd visited back in May. It was definitely looking like we would have to be back in June 2019.

Saying that there were some real displays of hot summer colour going on. More of the red/orange palette than my preferred purple and blues, but pretty impressive just the same ...
Walking back past the fountain and the daisies and picking up Martin and dad on the way we headed into the right hand side of the garden. We were so pleased to see that we hadn't missed all of the wisteria ...
Whilst the rest of the garden still held plenty of colour, again, we were just that couple of weeks too late to see it at its most glorious ...
 We came out of the walled garden at the front of the house where, on our last visit, we had been blown away by the tulip display ...
If I'm totally honest today's display was a bit of a disappointment, though that is more of a result of our timing, rather than from the planting. I'm sure at its best the display of white shrub roses and lavender would have looked just as spectacular as the tulips ...
We found a spot in the shade for a quick breather before heading inside ...

It was so hot that Martin couldn’t face another walk round the house so mum, dad and I had made the quickest visit ever. We did make it right to the top but neither of us had the energy to spend long in any of the rooms and couldn’t face reading any of the information boards, so again a return visit us definitely on the cards.
We just about managed a quick ice cream before we headed off.

Have I said it was hot! Well it was 31 degrees in the car and I just mentioned how I would love to dip my feet in the ford as they were absolutely roasting. Whilst dad and Martin weren’t keen on the idea, mum was well up for it, so that’s exactly what we did.

I can not tell you how wonderful it was to dip our feet into the cool, clear water and wade across the ford. It was crystal clear and we watched the little fish swimming about as we had a really good cool down. It was definitely the highlight of the day for me.
Feet dried off, I just happened to have taken a towel with us, and we headed over to the Throckmorton Arms for doorstop sandwiches and pints of ice cold lime and lemonade, which went down an absolute treat.

We’d had a lovely day and we shouldn’t complain about the weather but it was really too hot for wandering about, though perhaps if it hadn’t been that hot we wouldn’t have got to have dipped our feet it the ford.

Big thanks again to Coughton Court for another lovely day out ... 
we will see you again in June 2019 😀