Friday 25 July 2014

Just padding about.

Well guess what I've gone and got? 
An Ipad air. 
I don't need it. I can hardly justify buying it but its so lovely and I used my birthday money.
 I am a gadget freak. 
When we went to the Apple store I was overcome and also bought a RIDICULOUSLY overpriced case for it. But its so beautiful. Duck egg blue leather. 

Anyway it takes brilliant pictures. You can get tons of stuff in one shot so I took a load of garden pictures.

Now....ever since I started this blog I've been moaning on about my poor gardening skills and terrible results. But that was  before I discovered the joy of compost. It was also before we had a major hedge chopping and light- enhancing session. And several major weeding sessions. And a few garden centre spending sessions. 

Its not exactly Great Dixter, but now we have a garden with a passable bit of growth..well when I say growth I mean planting of course. I haven't grown many of them, and it remains to be seen whether they will survive the marauding army of slugs that appear here every time it rains a bit. I think the danger time will be when they start their new and tender growth next spring. The plants, not the slugs.
Well thats if we get any sun. This summer is great in that respect. 

I've moved my precious flag iris into a space where the tall yellow iris have come unbidden, in the hope that they'll flower again.

I'm a bit obsessive about it, as with everything I do, except dusting. 

I grew those teeny cosmos from seeds, but not the big ones.

I go out at night and seek out the slimy fellas and poke them into a bottle of Guinness. One I found last night was so FAT I had to get a stick and push it in. (I keep missing and that only makes it more dangerous for plants when they escape nearer to the blooms.) or if they have a shell they get whizzed over the substation fence behind the house.

 Don't you just love nasturtiums? I actually poked a few seeds in this big pot which holds a jasmine, and they did the rest. Fabulous and very vintage in that they always remind us of our separate childhoods.. I love them with a bit of dark blue lobelia (which I bought)

 I must draw your attention to a picture from a previous post in about 2008 where I failed miserably with them.

So you can see why I'm delighted.

I've composed tubs.
The little tiny blue star on the right is pratia. As soon as I saw it I snapped it up because I remember once visiting a garden and asking what it was . The owner said it gets everywhere so I bought some. And guess what? EVERY NIGHT its covered in tiny dark slugs. I have to pick them off by torchlight with my gloved hands.

And we've cut a bit of grass out to add planting space. This is my favourite bit with three different Monardia, or Bergamots; Phlox, Astrantia, Verbena bonariensis bought for me by a greenfingered friend, and some pale lemon daisies I forget the name. Most of these came from a lovely garden centre near Clitheroe called Holden Clough which has a super cafe and I had my birthday lunch there and then went out and spent too much on plants.
The hypericum might have to go, to make more space.

  I went to a super and very inexpensive garden centre not far away for most of the rest of my plants. Aren't these exquisite? Brown flowers? Wow.
The structure of the gold one is amazing.

 My Mum bought me the calla lily for my birthday. 
The white thing is a little delphinium. I would love to see it flourish and increase next year but ..slugs...hmm...I have to be vigilant.

 Hetty came out to check on me i-padding around. (Thats Ed Redfeathers lying prone.)

 Now can you see those pale pink candy-tuft type things? I GREW THOSE FROM SEEDS!!!!

I bought the heuchera and the delphiniums, and the lupins but I must say I put the lupins in quite some time ago and I consider it a triumph that they've got through to July, despite the window cleaner snapping them with his hose, and the slimies gnawing at them.

I put two post worth of sweet pea plants in quite late but I have hope. Two lots are in tubs, and three lots are dotted about the garden. Nowhere is always sunny so its tricky. They're doing ok but no flowers yet.
The thing about taking pictures with an ipad is that you shouldn't put your finger in front of the lens. Still I love these cosmos .

I can't remember what the other pointy pink thing is called. Verbascum?

 Does anyone know what this  shrub is? My mother-in-law took a cutting from a garden of a house we stayed in in Charmouth about 20 years ago and this is it now. Huge. It has glossy leaves and gets little pompom type greenish white flowers, then in Autumn it has peculiar orangey berries.

 And just because they're lovely, hydrangea flowers.

 This little bunch of 'weeds' is so cute. Feverfew.

 But what is wrong with Agatha? 

My rose that I got for last years birthday. 
She arrived in November and I stuck her in the clay soil and when I dug the hole she was standing in water. 
Nevertheless she did well. Then we did a load of weeding, added grit and compost and raised the level of the soil surface, and ..this might seem a bit creepy...I had two cremated dogs ashes in the house...yes I said weird but I thought it would be nice to have Daisy and Willow buried at last with a rose on top.

I moved Agatha. 
She seemed to like it. 

Before we went to Venice she had a few large buds one almost open. 
When we got back, they looked sort of 'petrified'. On some of them the stems went brown just below the neck, and the bud fell off.

Oh dear. Dare I move her again? Into a tub?
Can anyone offer advice? 

Its been a real pleasure to sit and enjoy the lovely weather in a garden that is no longer full of weeds. 
I finished reading 'The Luminaries' while I was outside today. I was a bit baffled by the end. I've read some reviews and found that what I thought had happened, had happened. but it wasn't very clear.
It was a great read though.

Here's a bit of textile content. 

I went to a talk by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn which both inspired and depressed me. I felt as if I have no right to call myself an Artist. I tried to combine my work with their technique, working on water soluble fabric. 
I didn't like what I did.
I haven't done a thing since except started a small commission. 
Its too hot to sew.

I also got a lovely new rack for spools for my birthday so I'll finish with some eye candy for sewers.

Monday 14 July 2014

Cat sitting :the best job ever.

Family holidays in my childhood were often spent in North Wales in my Auntie's caravan. Abergele, then Conway were the places we returned to. It often rained. We sat on benches on the great Orme and ate sausage rolls and cream doughnuts with our macs on. Many a time we packed up and went home early.
 But I enjoyed these holidays though, visiting the 'Jubilee pass' and the 'druids circle' somewhere near Conway;  paddling in the sea and generally doing the things we did on holidays in the 50s and 60s, including going to the cinema to watch 'South Pacific.'

Then came the year when, on a recommendation from a family friend, we went to Nefyn.
This time in a B&B, not the best, but it was OK for two visits.

We arrived on a bright sunny Saturday in 1964 , walked down the steep road to the beach gasping at the bright blue stripe in front of us which revealed itself to be the sea, above a beautiful long sandy beach. We hired a little tiny beach hut for the week for ten shillings, and that was it.
 For the next 10 or more years the family holiday was in Nefyn. My cousin and her family camped nearby and they joined us by the tiny beach hut every day. Even if it rained (which it hardly ever did) we went on the beach!

We eventually found a lovely Guest house to stay in, not far from the beach. In those days almost every large house on the main road was a B&B.
We lay on the sand all day and walked along the cliffs after dinner in the evenings, glowing and burning from the sun.
I cried every year when we had to go home.
I loved it.

When I met my husband I tried to get him to love it but somehow we never seemed to get the same feeling. We went a few times, camping and then renting a cottage but it didn't really do it for him.

Fast forward to 2014.
Last week we were in Nefyn again.

This time we were cat sitting for a friend who moved there about 10 years ago.
I was thrilled when she asked me, but my husband was too busy to stay for two weeks so we did one week.

We had amazing weather.
Sue's house is a small cottage on the road leading down to the sea, that road we know so well.
we didn't even have to go to the beach, it was there in front of us all day.

All we had to do was feed and look after three cats. That was no chore, they were gorgeous.

Mr Chips the timid 'he probably won't come near you' cat, handsome with a black nose and chin and the loudest purr you ever heard.

Mr Chips wonders....

...and decides Brian looks like a comfy seat.

Tom a beautiful friendly Marmalade boy with a penchant for the dried food, and little Zeussy, no pictures, sorry, a 'mini me' of Mr Chips, vocal and cute but less often seen.

So what did we do?
We relaxed.
Brian went in the Summer house 'Ty Haf' and played his concertina, and no-one could hear him.

 but sometimes he had an audience.

I read my book in there in the evenings.

And sometimes I just looked.
All our meals were eaten outside.

Waves in the wind

We visited Whistling Sands,

 and Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, a lovely Gallery  at Llanbedrog.
Nice cafe!
Crab salad.
Beach road Llanbedrog

 I had a hare-brained scheme to walk a long section of coastal path  to a beach called Porth Widlin we'd visited about 12 years ago. After two hours of walking we found we would have needed a very long ladder to get down to it! The path we used last time had disappeared.
Inaccessible Porth Widlin.

I made Brian promise not to take any notice of my bright ideas in future!

We walked the cliff paths to Porthdinllaen and the Ty Coch, a pub on the beach.

The cliff path is part of the Llyn coastal path.
 Its beautiful.
High banks of wild flowers line the part near Nefyn and Morfa Nefyn.
 Sometimes you have to leave the edge and walk along little roads past houses that make you wonder who has the money to own them, and wish for a lottery win!

Looking down onto the harbour at Nefyn.

Cliff path.


A burnet moth on wild thyme

In the distance Yr Eifel, the mountains also known as 'The Rivals'.

work in progress..apparently this has been like this for about 15 years!

A huge extension very much in progress on this house.

Harebells line the narrow road.

Sheep grazed on the other side of the fence and one evening we saw, on the far side of the field, two foxes playing in the sunshine.

We met other walkers with dogs ( we missed Hetty) and every now and then sat on one of the many benches overlooking the sea.

The 'buttery' smell of the bracken took me back almost 50 years. was it really so long ago?
In those days  I couldn't swim..and I was determined this time to swim in the sea at Nefyn.

This didn't happen for many reasons, the cool breeze on the beach on one day, the very rough sea another, and what I now know to be a haar on another,  until the last day when we'd cleaned the house and packed everything.
Not quite everything...I still had my cozzy and a towel and a wrap (to get me down the water without exposure!) and one hour before we left I did it!

And this is me on the left!!

There was no breathtaking shivery cold, or slimy seaweed, or pebbles, it was a perfect seaside swim.

Silver silky water, gently rolling as I swam and chatted,  to a couple who were trying to teach their Great Dane to swim with the aid of a life jacket, and when they'd gone, to two girls who paddled a big inflatable canoe right past my eyeline,  they looked as if they were floating on nothingness, the sea was so smooth and silver.

I was  reluctant to get out of the water.
I knew we had to leave and just as I got dry and dressed the 'relief shift' arrived for the second week of cat sitting. The week we should have said 'yes' to!!

So all in all I am now as in love with Nefyn as I was way back.
I felt like crying again when we left.
I want to go again.
I miss the beautiful light, the fabulous sunsets, the glittering sea.

I miss it.

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

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