Friday 28 December 2018


We had a real tussle getting the tree into the house, mostly due to the weight of the soil in the pot, but also because the tree is wide and had to be brought in backwards. It was tricky pulling it through the doorways. I forget how old the tree is now, possibly getting on for twenty years. The branches are rather sparse and I should really look for a smaller rooted tree to replace it for next year but once the decorations are on I tell myself that it looks fine. Its in a dark corner of the room, only a shaft of sunshine shows up the bare branches and we don't see much sun!

I like decorations and presents that are homemade. I usually give homemade jam and chutney as small gifts for my friends but since they are as accomplished, or more so, than me in the kitchen this year I painted and decorated branches for them. And then I made some for myself!

Just before the light faded today the sky turned pink. Its the last Friday Skywatch of 2018

and I wish all sky watchers 

Thursday 13 December 2018

Dressing the tree

We've been in Bournemouth for a few days to look after our grandson. The Christmas tree was brought in from the garden and the box of decorations came down from the attic. But glass baubles and other precious items stayed carefully wrapped and out of sight, away from the eager fingers of our 'helper'.  He could reduce the straw decorations to, well, straw, in a matter of moments. Soft and/or unbreakable was the order of the day.

Careful, no grabbing!

It was quite exhausting!

Look Nana!

Friday 7 December 2018

Bath Christmas Market

During a rare few hours of dry weather we went into Bath to wander round the Christmas market. It grows larger year by year, losing character as it spreads up Milsom Street and out from the centre. I like it best where the stalls are huddled around the Abbey creating the atmosphere of a medieval fair. The city of Bath is beautiful whatever the weather, but especially so when highlighted by rays of sunshine.

Mounted police were on patrol by the abbey entrance, no doubt keeping an eye out for thieves and pickpockets. The horses were handsome creatures, impeccably behaved as people came to stroke and admire them.
We aimed our visit for late afternoon so that I could photograph the dusk and early evening light when the market looks its best. I felt sorry for the stall owners, they had been battling with cold, miserable weather ever since the market opened.

Lights came on as the sky darkened

The gin stall was well attended!
A sky to share with Friday Skywatch
and lovely choral singing from local schoolchildren.

What did I buy? A noisy stall holder was demonstrating his wares, a variety of small musical instruments, pan pipes and ocarinas and  sound objects in the shape of animals. Surely there would be something here that our small grandson would enjoy. Various sizes of wooden frog croaked wonderfully when a stick was rubbed along the ridges of their backs, but they looked far too ugly to contemplate. The painted ocarinas were pretty but made of pot that would easily break. The stall holder blew on a penguin but the sound did not impress. "Have you got a hedgehog?" asked Himself, which started up a surreal British humour competition. While they amused themselves in bizarre exchanges a small audience gathered. I continued my search for something that could be enjoyed by someone age one and a half. "The cow looks nice," I said. "Blow up its arse," the stall holder told me. Well, dear reader, I had to buy it after that! And it makes a lovely noise.

Thursday 6 December 2018

An absolute stinker

For most of November I had a cold, an absolute stinker. It put paid to any number of plans, including tidying up the garden before the winter weather set in. But we've had so much rain that I doubt I could have got much done anyway You could describe the weather as being an absolute stinker as well. I'm pathetically grateful for any brief glimpse of sunshine. When it does appear it is so low in the sky that it shines far into the rooms and illuminates areas that are usually dark.

I could gladly hibernate until spring.

Friday 16 November 2018

Birds' eye view

Our neighbours are having their roof retiled. Its quite a job. Substantial scaffolding has been erected all around the house. The roofers say the tiles are old and probably date from when the building was built as a barn in the mid eighteen hundreds. They are pantiles, the same as on our old gamekeeper's store. They are all being thrown away and replaced by new tiles that give a snug fit. The tiles on our roof are double roman and I'm hoping they will see us out!
I took the opportunity to climb up for a birds' eye view over our garden. The solar roof panels are ugly things and I'm slightly ashamed that our neighbours have to look straight at them. On the other hand, with the panels and air source heat pump,  at least we are doing our bit to try to counter global warming.

There's a good view down the length of the fruit cage.
I've removed the roof netting for the winter. 
And our septic tank can be seen in the neighbours' orchard.
(Oh, how edifying!)
But then there's the pleasure of seeing the woods and hills that surround the village.

Saturday 10 November 2018


There's lots to be done in the garden, leaves to clear, shrubs to move, lawn to patch, some bulbs still to plant and the roof net to remove from the fruit cage. (No, I didn't mean fruit cake, Google.) I looked out of the window this morning. Okay, so I would be doing none of the above today.
It's soggy wet outside and I'm below par with a code in de nose.
The garden is full of cheerful berries, but experience tells me that the blackbirds will have eaten the lot by the time I want to pick some for my Christmas decorations.
I'm not complaining about this weather, it has it's own beauty and the leaf colour is  a joy. I live in a benign country weather-wise. My heart goes out to all those people fleeing from fires and battling floods. Keep safe, wherever you are.

Friday 19 October 2018

La Mortella, Ischia.

I've wanted to visit the garden of the English composer William Walton for many years. We walked up the hill in the early morning so that we would have plenty of time to explore every corner.

A copy of the Facade stage curtain
which inspired the Simon Verity 'Mouth' sculpture.

There is the sound of water everywhere.
(Sir William had a button in his room that he could press to turn off the water supply when the sound of the fountains interfered with his composing.)

Narrow winding steps meander all about the garden.
The upper slopes give a fine view out to sea.

The temple of the sun
was delightful.

Lovers and cherubs all over the place!

By the time we were ready to leave the light had changed and the garden looked different again.