Thursday, 31 March 2011

Stoked up, hot and cooking again

Now isn’t that nice, I am loving the yellow of the digger and we are quietly contemplating stealing it from Dean, selling the engine and wheels to make a garden out of what’s left…..I am only kidding but with the spring daffs and sprouting willows it just caught my eye. We are actually looking for a very cheap tractor to make another themed roundabout garden and that is keeping Mike quiet for hours trawling through the free ads.

The Lovely Jerome came over today to inspect the installation of our very own sewage system. Dean tramped down from the field during one of yesterdays down pours and announced he  was ready for the S.P.A.N.K inspection. Mike and I jumped in the car to go to the offices of the communaute de communes  to put in our application for an inspection but we were told quite bluntly that Miriam, the ever efficient lady who deals with these affairs was out until Monday. I explained that we had an open wound in our garden in danger of going septic if we didn’t get it covered soon, but my please fell on the deaf ears of the not so efficient lady who covers for Miriam when she is out and we were sent away until next week. Mike was very cool, and came straight home and called the lovely Jerome who is not only the designer of our system, but is our guru and mentor on the subject and just happens to be the inspector as well, how clever is that. I explained our situation and he agreed to come and inspect us and sort the paper work with Miriam next week. Back to front logic and positive thinking is what makes Jerome so lovely. Dean and Aime came over to be present at this “ohh so” important visit and I am very pleased to say that Dean’s work was passed with flying colours  and Jerome was very impressed with the accurate and  professional interpretation of his plans.  We were very pleased but sent the young Goundworks family home to revel in their success and start again as soon as the rain stops to fill in the trenches and put all the mud in one place where I can control it, call it “the mound”  and plant something meaningful on top.

I wanted you to see cuisiniere in her summer outfit. We have run out of coal and now that the temperature is way over 10 degrees we are in no need of her services but Mike gave her a thorough clean and she is ready to power up if we should get a bit of a snap.  I am however quite confident that we are in for the long haul through until Autumn now. I am , reluctantly, cooking on the gas and electric cooker now and made a batch of scones to mark the moment which I over cooked and slightly burnt. My little cuisiniere gives me time to get three other jobs done before I have to think about anything in the oven but electricity is heartstoppingly  aggressive and you have to be there or you burn your buns. I will never conscientiously admit to wanting to see the winter back so soon but I can’t wait to get cuisiniere stoked up, hot and cooking again

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

and I am gutted………!

For those who have been paying attention to this blog will know that a mound of mud in the middle of the lawn is going to cause deep concern and I must admit that I have turned a whiter shade of pale and I can’t see how this blot on the landscape will ever go back to how things were. Dean is as worried as I am but knows that he is really not responsible and is currently working all the hours he can to beat the predicted meteorological low thundering across the channel from the UK. 

This is what the fuss is all about, trenches full of pipes and gravel and it is not until the people who regulate such workings have passed by to sign the installation off that  Dean can cover up and flatten out. We will have to wait a couple of weeks to see the damage and just how much work we will need to put in to get back to normal. Heartbreaking stuff, but it is only a garden,  and I do need to get things back into perspective,  but it is
my garden
and I am gutted………!  

Sunday, 27 March 2011

My Grandsons will be eating their hearts out. xx

This week has been one of frustration and sheer joy and achievement and it all started on the day that the digger man never turned up and we waited and waited and waited. I could see that Mike was getting fed up and tired of being let down. During the wait I called Car Glass for the umpteen time to get the windscreen replaced on the camper and I was assured that it would all happen on Friday. And happily it did. I reminded the engineer that he had to be kind to me, as I had been battling with this problem since the 10th February and he was very kind, quick, considerate and apologetic. 

We then started to investigate our sewage system here at the house and whilst we did not want to go out in case digger fella should turn up we took the lids off the tanks that appeared to be part of our cess pit and decided that it all looked a bit iffy, though it didn’t smell, and called the suction lorry people in to explain how this all worked and if it still did work. The digger man called to say he was only going to call us on Wednesday to say when he would start and a huge communication complication unravelled itself and a new plan was put into place, again.
We now had the rest of the week to fill as the work for the vans was on hold until Monday.
On Thursday the water board turned up to lay on the supply for the vans and it took over the whole road, with a mini digger two tipper trucks five men, and we saw a couple of bottles of wine in there as well and then they drove the digger over my lawn with out a by or leave as to the effect this might have on my nervous system. I gritted my teeth and tried not to grumble too much. It was all over by 3:00 and this included a two hour lunch but they were gone and the road was clear and we have water on site, which is a result.
I have a nice little routine in the mornings. I walk HOSS once around the garden, turn on my Mac, switch  the kettle on for a cuppa and then in the quiet and calm of a morning in Brevands I sit at my screen to watch Face Book and catch up with e-mails but on Thursday, to my horror, the internet was down, no lights flashing “good morning” on the router, no blipping icons to say that we were connected, nothing. I called customer services and spoke to Florence who was probably sitting on the Ivory Coast drinking pina calarda because she was extremely chilled out about my disaster and bounced a signal to my box climbed into it, as they seem to be able to do these days and pronounced it dead. OK, so this meant a trip to St Lo and a scary visit to the Orange shop where the sales assistant once shouted across the shop, ‘I don’t deal with English People’ and I had to jump in very quickly to keep my place in the queue and prove that I could also be very stroppy and spoke French well enough to cope with her. This time Mike had a cunning plan to drop me off at the door so that I could get my number and join the queue whilst he found a parking space. I was left stranded on the pavement, Orange router box in my arms too afraid to face the English hating witch from hell,  but there was no queue and I strolled straight into the engineering department where the engineer remembered me because I nearly cried on his shoulder last time and he replaced my box,  lit it up and put in all my pass words to configure it. He spoke very slowly to me and made me laugh which was a bonus and we walked out like a couple of happy customers.

The weather is amazing and we have been catching up with  silly little jobs like making a  hole for the new rotary clothes dryer, boring,  but essential, and replacing a set of precariously positioned tiles on the tractor shed that have been threatening to drop off for the past four years.

We only had a few spares and Mike had to mix and match and even screw up a broken one to make good. I watched and passed him his tools and noticed that these tiles were made in Carentan when the tile factory was where the new swimming pool is now, all that home spun economy, gone, but we still have a roof full to show for it

Well the digger arrived Sunday morning and the work begins Monday. It is an old bucket of a machine but in a very fetching shade of yellow and I know it is going to be fun to watch. The plants at the front of the picture are the flowers I transplanted out of the allotment all starting to acclimatise to their new position.  I have flowers already and the promise of a bright display.

Well you have to do it don’t you, when was the last time any of you sat in the seat of a digger this size, my Grandsons will be eating their hearts out. xx 

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Smelling of a lovely summers day

What a wonderful day, just look at that blue sky and yep I am wearing my shorts. When I was a working girl I started to wear short at the week end on the 1st of March so that I could tan my legs and not have to wear tights until October and today I thought I might just  reinstate that little routine and see if I can talk myself into wearing a skirt, or is that a bit too middle aged normal for me. So there is the septic tank, we keep looking at it pondering it’s purpose and how many millions of these little beauties are dug down deep in peoples gardens never to be seen again or in many cases thought about again, sadly, but the drainage  legislation in France is hotting up and all homes must have a legal system by 2012. During the many years of holidaying in France we always thought that the smell of raw sewage was the way of life here but no longer, and the waterways are cleaner and it also means that the government do not have to put every last little hamlet on town drainage.  The government have sussed the cess pit and how to keep it controlled and working. The organisation who are in charge of this legislation is called SPANK which is short for a long and meaningful occupation for someone who can  throw his weight about to get the job done and keep it done.

We had a very interesting time with the bonfire lit on Thursday  evening and bearing in mind it rained on Friday afternoon we were still playing with the last knockings of it Saturday afternoon. As Mike finished the last of the weed killing I started to rake through the ashes to recoup the tiles that had been in the hay from the little barn loft.  We have no idea when the roof was redone but the straw loft floor was obviously there and a number of tiles fell in along with tile clips. I was wearing my gloves and as the ashes were still hot I carefully plucked out the broken tiles to recycle. The act of raking through the ashes got them alight again and I sat next to my wheel barrow with the warmth of the fire once again on my face. Mike came and joined me and we ended up raking it all up and putting the left overs out to cool on the concrete. I was totally astounded when I went out late to walk HOSS the embers were still alight and there was still heat coming off the pile. This morning though we did the last of our triage and the final barrow of charcoal and fire dechete went onto the cinder path which we have been making all winter with the ashes from the cuisiniere.

When the cuisiniere is extinguished for the summer we will rake this over and throw a handful of gravel on it and hey presto we’ll have a cinder path.

We had the first of many picnics in the garden today. A fist of baguette and a bottle of cider is all you need to make a feast fit for a peasant and we are extremely happy about that.  It was at this moment that Mike decided it was grass cutting time so we both mounted our mowers and cracked on.

Grass cutting is my most favourite of all our routines and although I think Mike would rather just get his head down and do it himself he tolerates me whizzing about on my mower having to follow up to collect all my clippings but he knows I love it and he loves me for loving it and we love it even more when the lawn is all cut and smelling of a lovely summers day

Friday, 18 March 2011

Thankful to our hens, the daffodils and Point P.

Eggs and Daffodils, daffodils and eggs, so just what does all of this mean if not the beginning of spring, Easter and something colourful and full of the promise of chocolate.
I went to clean up the chicky licks yesterday and I was presented with a booty of nine home bred eggs. There are two new little white ones in there so one of the girls has started to lay and this could mean a prolific new chapter in one of our hen’s existence.  
Before we set off on our free the little barns from obscurity project yesterday we actually had two bits of rotten news. I called Carglass in St LO to chase up the replacement windscreen for our camper, which has been an ongoing chase for the past three weeks. The confused and apologetic man confessed he could see that our dossier had been lost, but re found and that the commercial arm of the company had got the request to order the windscreen but something had gone wrong and they would call us later, which they have not, and I am loosing the will to live with their incompetence. Then a phone call from ERDF who are the electricity installation arm of EDF said that despite having had our application registered for a month, now say that we can’t have the installation we want and that they needed to send an engineer out to survey the area. Bad new is that they don’t have an engineer free much before the middle of April. Frustrated, well, we could have both spat on the French National Flag. Then we were expecting the water board to come and drill a hole under the road to put in a water supply and at two O’clock today they called to say they couldn’t come after all and they would call us next week, I can feel an epic developing with that lot as well. Good news is that we were due to have the septic tank and two huge bags of sand delivered by Point P and as I sat up in bed with my ritual mug  of tea thinking we had loads of time because they would surly deliver to the commercial customers busy building stuff before coming to us, but No. At eight fifteen this morning there they were ringing our gate bell and I was forced to hang out of the window in my jimmy jams and shout  “J’ arrive……”.
Our neighbour Jacquie came out  to watch over the proceedings and there I was with my morning face on looking totally adorable but at least a success story to boast. So today we are thankful to our hens, the daffodils and Point P. 

Thursday, 17 March 2011

We really feel taken out tonight.

This is the style of ceiling in all the outbuilding in the court yard and we have often talked about dragging all this old and tinder dry fire hazard material out as we don’t need the insulation for the animals, we don’t keep any, and we also don’t need the wood worm which is in danger of making it’s way into our living areas.

You know the theory that if a butterfly flaps his wings on one side of the world it has an effect on something on the other side of the world?  Today we brought that theory to a reality. A few days ago we decided that we would convert HOSS’s room into a flat with an on-suite in my food store room, we thought it would be good if either of our Mums come to visit next year but it will also give us another opportunity to earn a few bob running a small, but bijoux B&B. We walked around our buildings trying to work out where we could re-house HOSS and a plan was formed. The recycling area in the out house would go to the old wood store and HOSS would go into the out house, perfect, but the ceiling in the old wood store is falling in and Mike bit the bullet and started to cut the supports and drag down all the hay and twigs that for many tens of years have formed the floor in the loft area and the ceiling below, albeit badly.

 Planning a project impacts on the next task and then the next and then the next. We find this happening so often, we discuss  a job that needs doing, and never get motivated to do it, then that butterfly starts to flutter about and we fall into that task without question. It took all day to drag one room’s worth of ceiling down and we transported five trailers full up into the field to add to our bonfire. During the day we came across one rat who unfortunately died on impact with Mikes hay fork and one hedgehog who made a very swift escape to find somewhere else to sleep the rest of the winter off. The dust was unbelievable but when the inside of the roof came into view we realised we were doing a beautiful thing getting these barns back to full height with all the beams on show.

What a heap!  and there is still the coal store and Mike’s work shop to have the same treatment but the workshop will need a totally different approach as Mike’s most treasured belongings, apart from me,  are in that room, in abundance.

At five o’clock we swept the last of the dust and moved the last of the hay and Mike spontaneously combusted the heap and we sat for two hours watching the most amazing natural phenomenon of fire developing into the most efficient rubbish heap disposal process going. If any of you have not sat and watched a bonfire develop then you should, it is fascinating. We pulled the garden bench up and opened a bottle of cider whilst tending and moving the embers to get the best burn possible.

 At six thirty we had the fire under enough control to leave it to smoulder and went in for dinner. It  occurred to me that we  take for granted these little moments of shear amazing relaxation and peace, sitting by your bonfire with a glass of home made cider in your hands listening to the rest of the world ending it’s day, it is price less. After dinner we went back  to check all was well and in the dark we sat watching the white hot embers bubbling away doing what comes naturally. Feeling the heat on our faces watching a very nearly full moon light up the sky I was tempted to stay there all evening but it had been a long day. Straw and twigs are easier to shift than gravel but it’s the hours spent in the fresh air that takes it out of you and we really feel taken out tonight.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Men in camouflage will never get to know.

Another week starts and I was happy to have the excuse to stay close to the house. The lorry delivering the new sized gravel was due late morning or early afternoon but in either case the driver was due to call us to get final directions and we have learnt that you need to be there and have your directions ready. I am seriously challenged with my language skills every time but living where we do other peoples lovely’s do not always find us so the well rehearsed patter of how to find us is a must. So there I was, happy to potter around the house when the call came mid morning and the lorry was in Catz, we therefore had only a few minutes to get a flag up to show which gate to stop at, grab the cheque book because amazingly you pay the driver and we set off up the garden. When you are retired and on a project an event like this is quite exciting, please don’t be sad for us, we really quite enjoy it, no pressure and no long hours but achieving and happy.
We spent the rest of the day on the ongoing quest to move as much of the wrong sized gravel and we also lifted the membrane which we stupidly laid when building the car park last year. We now know it was a BIG mistake and big mistakes have to be put right and  before we have the parking area in constant use with holiday makers. Positive thinking never did anyone any harm.

Second job of the day was to deport a rabbit we caught in our humane rabbit trap. We have re-homed about ten rabbits since we have been setting the trap about two years ago but have also caught hedghogs and my cat chose to be curious and spent a very embarrassing night locked up. It was HOSS who made a be-line to her side to alert me to the fact that "the cat was in the trap” but I had to go back to the house to get my camera before I let her out.  Once we have a rabbit we get into the car and transport it to another field. We are extremely neighbourly and have ear marked places where there are no other gardens and I feel good and very wholesome as we let the little blighters free and give them a second chance at life.  We were having lunch with Jacqueline our elderly lady of the land friend who threw her hands up in horror at our humane approach to rabbits and she warned us not to tell too many people in the village about our trap or we may get the local chase on our backs for moving their prey. I must confess to laughing with her as I honestly thought she was pulling my leg but she was very serious and so I only tell non chase people about our Free Willy procedure and hope our local men in camouflage will never get to know.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Get on with my life.


Mike and I are sat on our home-made bench.  The picture, though not perfectly composed as I look like a barrage balloon caught saying something like, nerd, does mark a moment for us as this bench has been two years in the making and is now as complete as it ever will be.  Anna and William came over for afternoon tea as we were putting the final bolts in and we all took turns and had our picture taken at this most auspicious moment

We have had a few good days in which we have been able to apply more weed killer on the allotment. The seedlings in the potting shed are now being given names and should really be out within the next week or so but the ground is just not ready. Our philosophy these days in the idyllic and calm environment we live in is akin to a Mexican farmer  with a manyana at the beginning and at the end of each crisis, but I know it will all get done but not perhaps at pace we should be at.

I made a call late last night to a couple selling on 'le bon coin' and negotiated a “don’t sell this before we get there “ deal for a garden table, two benches and two chairs in teak for forty euros. I need not have worried about loosing the deal though as we set off with an eleven o’clock deadline I imagined that the queue of people after us would be immense and timing would be crucial. We arrived thanks to Lovely a half an hour before deadline and as we could not park in front of the house we left the car and trailer around the corner and walked to the house. I had hoped to get the business done early but all the  shutters were up and there was no sign of life so we walked the dog to the nearest patisserie for some breakfast and became acutely  aware that we were in the suburbs of Caen lost in a warren of tiny houses with no parking and no gardens. We are unaware, living as we do, that life in our local towns could be a million miles from where we are in terms of standards and expectation. There was evidence all around us that this was once a small village with a stone wall surrounding a modern carbuncle of a
library next to a barn wall lost in it’s modern predicament. There was a huge stone building with a row of barn doors on the first floor and we wondered what huge and influential crop or activity happened here in the past. Today it had lost all it’s pride and purpose as it argued and protested for its history next to an estate of little boxes and a high rise apartment block where once were green fields and people’s lives. We got back to the house and at eleven o’clock I knocked and knocked again and finally a woman came to the door and showed us to the ‘salon de jardin’ in their postage stamp of a garden. This story is a  story enough to tell you but the shock of walking into a chaotic household took my breath away and I have to carry on. This home was only ten or so years old but oh how the other half live. There was evidence of little girls living there as the washing hanging in the kitchen  was  full of little pink socks and vests and I pondered a reflective fear for this young and vulnerable  life never achieving the joys of making a beautiful home no matter how hard up they might be. They are unlikely to even have pride in their possessions and how are they to be organised and enjoy the ambiences  of a clean and tidy home being brought up in this chaos,  and that just made me sad. We carted the salon out through the house, paid up and left. I tried to make conversation saying how great le bon coin was but the woman just grunted kindly at me and closed the door. We will never have to go there again but this was an open window into life, as we don’t know it, and it makes me angry and frustrated that nothing can be said or done.  Mike and I discussed what we had seen then set off home to our little bit of paradise wishing we could have waved a magic wand to make everything better. On reflection though, I hope as I pull my fluffy warm covers over my head tonight that this little family know how to love and laugh around the table, but then again we had just bought the table so I will just pull the covers over my head and get on with my life.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

And for that we are deeply sorry.

I spent time in the poly this afternoon after a whistle stop 200 kilometre round trip to the other end of the Manche to look at a tractor that, after all that, is no good. It occurred to us both as we meandered our way home ignoring all of Lovely’s suggestions for a quick and easy route home that had Mike been able to discuss the tractor’s age and type on the phone he might have guessed it was going to be wrong for us but then we would not have had such a lovely ride out and had time to talk about our plans. I consider the car as our board room as we get many ideas thrashed out and the seeds of a plan are sewn during a journey as we had today. So after our ride out I set off to the poly tunnel  to pot up my lavender. In September and October last year as I collected seeds from anything that had seeds, and also took cuttings of anything that looked like a potential success , I dutifully poked them into pots of sandy soil and then left them in the poly for the winter to make roots, and they all have. I potted up forty lavender that I will now leave in pots but outside until this time next year and then they will become my fragrant garden at wind break corner. Isn’t it great to have a year plan.  Yesterday I went through my hedge plants that we propagated in November 2009 and I have seventy privet and forty box so we can now start making  hedging plans.   

I am waiting for the frost to be less of a threat  before setting out my sweet peas for this year,  they are growing like mad and here I am in mid March with my vest on in 60 degrees pottering about, no pun intended. Can’t say that glamorous gardener comes to mind looking at the state of me here.  I do tend to strip off in the heat re-clip my hair several times, get mud all over my face and there is the result.

Last night I started the dodgy task of putting Beema on the market. I put her on as many free sites as I could find and then this morning I got a mail from an agent in St Malo who would like to see her with the view to selling her for us, for a fee of cause.  I must say that Mike is taking this all very well but I feel that I am treading on egg shells as I arrange meetings and fill in forms but he knows and I know that if we want to stay here in Brevands she has to go and for that we are deeply sorry.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Heaven forbid.

 It’s warm and nine degrees is enough to get out in the garden, it’s enough to walk and breath in the air and it is most definitely enough to shovel gravel and get so hot you need to take off your top layer of jumpers. Mike bought me this thermometer for Christmas and I really enjoy clocking our climate as I pass by the cart at the front of the house. The sky has been clear and blue today, full of promise of warm summer days lasting way into the evening and I for one can’t wait. It is however, still only March and we must stop willing the winter over  because it actually still has a purpose and one of them is to give us the time to get our bare rooted fruit  trees transplanted before they start to wake up. Yesterday we went to the local pepiniere open day and took up their offer of six fruit trees for thirty five euros. The man selling was full of good advice and promised that these trees would bear good strong fruit and I believe him, why wouldn’t I ?  Mike and I discussed the pros and cons of yet another expenditure but agreed it was a small price to pay to finish off the orchard so, as they say, we went for it. The pepiniere then got his secateurs out and started to hack the trees to within an inch of their lives. I mentioned that the English are very sensitive about pruning too hard and he just said we should not be afraid and kept hacking. So there we have it in nine degrees of winter warmth we planted the last six trees in the orchard bringing the audit to nine apple, four pear, three plum and two walnut and in five years time we hope to be a couple of happy fruit pickers and that really is something to look forward to.

Whilst digging Mike clunked his spade against something metal in the hole and dug out this horse shoe. What a fabulous find because we can only imagine that it would have fallen off the horse in the middle of a ploughing pass. We have found a few shoe dumps around the barn area and presume the farrier just buried them to clear the decks  but one on it’s own in the middle of the field, now my orchard, does conjure up the possibilities of the horse de-shoeing himself and the farmer going home in a rage and having to call in the farrier to get his beast back to work. Life must have been as stressful then as it can be now only we get fired up about the Butagaz man and banks that don’t trust each other. So there you have it, a little bit of history at the turn of a spade. Mike did mention that if we find another shoe we stop digging, and it took me a couple of moments to compute his ponderings,  six foot down and a posy of flowers left by a tearful  farmer walking back to his homestead was the image that came to mind, heaven forbid.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Frustrating isn’t it.

Both Mike and I are stiff and hurting, it is not just a specific muscle it is a complete body ache and to complicate things a little we didn’t get to bed much before two in the morning and I am still trying to justify why, if it slows us down this much the next day.  We are urgently waiting for a Euro transfer into the bank, it is like the old days waiting to get paid and hoping your employer had remembered to put your wage slips through the system, We had the Butagaz tanker turn up unannounced last week and I allowed him to fill our tank knowing we didn’t have enough to pay him straight away so I called the loosely named, help line, and  asked for an extension on the payment and they agreed to wait until the fifteenth of the month so we went to the UK had a great time and came back to a very red bank account and a customer services call to say that they were ever so sorry but they took the money anyway. My French transforms into smooth intelligent fast and eloquent patois of my own when I am fired up and although they have promised to put a five day pay delay on our next delivery I have told them that I will turn the lorry away if they don’t give me ten days notice that they are coming. All that was very boring so here is something very exciting,  I planted a box of box today.

 We took hedge cuttings in November 2009 and here they are all confused and shoved together in pots for the winter on the hot bed in the potting shed. The process after that is to re-pot each cutting into it’s own pot  six months later and leave to develop a root system in the sunshine. I had this precious product of mine lined up along the side of the poly tunnel all summer and decided to move them to the gravel on the drive a week before the snow came in 2010 and with the avalanche of white stuff falling off the tunnel I would most certainly have lost the lot, 100 meters of hedge, lost. Today though, I took 12 of the best and planted them close together so that this time next year I will be able to trim them into a box shape. Mike suggested I could trim them into a wedge shape but a wedge of box does not sound as incredible as a box of box

This is the view from the kitchen window of one of our mobile homes. The JCB man is due on the 23rd and we still have all that gravel to move but I am so excited about the whole project. My mate in the village called by to see if they might be ready for August as she has a friend who wants to spend his holiday here in Brevands, I was a little shruggy shouldered over her enquiry because we have no news from the water board or the electric people and our applications went in over a month ago, so slow response and noncommittal was the only way I could deal with her request….. frustrating isn’t it.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Fantastic isn’t it…..

The big dig has started and Mike and I are shovelling thirty minutes at a time to dig out this ten tons of wrong sized gravel to have it replaced with ten tons of the right sized gravel, and although this is a tough and non motivational task we know it is for the long term good and we will pat ourselves on the back when the job is done. One of the more exciting outcomes of the great gravel move is that we have taken the opportunity to top up in other gardens where we laid a little thin at the time and the wood garden and poly tunnel terrace have benefited from an extra couches. Whilst we were at the wood garden we moved the potting shed pots and relocated our concrete bench to give us a better view  point.
 Whenever we move things about I allow myself the luxury of taking my time to make sure that whatever we are doing is right. Design on this spontaneous level can be a bit like being on a roller coaster, it is a great thrill whilst you are there in motion but when you stop you suddenly realise you may have made a mistake. We have
had to unravel many an error and the gravel move is living proof that we all make mistakes and you have to be gracious in the revamp activities as they present themselves. I therefore stand back and contemplate the decision whenever I can and you can see that Mike is prone to take the opportunity to put his feet up because this could take some time and will inevitably incur extra work.

I finally got around to clearing out the brussel sprout patch motivated by the fact that some of this seasons plants  are already seedlings in the potting shed.  We have cauliflower, broad bean and peas at identifiable stage showing signs of having a personality and already the sweet peas are almost adult and the sunflowers and screaming to be let out. Patience is the true virtue of the gardener and as I am still such a novice and still lacking the calm approach of weather forecasting and understanding why the moon should be in the last quadrant on the cusp of the new phase, what ever that might mean. I just want my plants out in the sunshine and for that we need to prepare the earth, count the days, calculate the frost threat and absolutely                                                                                                          don’t plant out before the end of April, so I have a long two months of seedling care and potting on before we can proceed with this seasons planting. The Hens are on a gastronomic stint as we deposit all the left overs for them to triage and peck over then once they have finish it’s into the compost heap and the whole cycle starts again, fantastic isn’t it…..

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sound daft?,….. you got it,….. it is barmy.

Birthdays can be something or nothing and we all hanker for a blistering event which in reality probably fizzes out by breakfast with the prospect that it may rally as the postman hesitates outside the house just before lunch.  This weekend my Mum had her 85th birthday carved in stone and written in the starry sky with a day of celebration she will be proud to remember as a testament of her love and devotion to her six children and their families. Mike and I took that terminally boring channel crossing to be with her and had the honourable status of, distant relative on a visit, making catching-up so much more fun. We both felt, as always, that we are part of something far bigger than us being part of a big family that has love at the hub

my son Chris, my brother in law Geoff, and my husband Mike...... all Bakers
Although this was a “Field “ generated event it was touching to see that the Baker boys still stand at the same height and if you look closely there is a strong resemblance and that constantly makes me a little giddy as to how often that happens, my cousin Jo once commented that I laugh just like her Mum and that shoots me off on a journey following my dad’s blood lines but if you stand me next to my Mum I am undoubtedly made in her image, and as long as I keep her strength and positive outlook on life then I am happy with that. 

A family visit  is all too soon over and  it is time to go home  but we had a great weekend and Mim and Dick were the best B&B in town.
We picked up our friends John and Linda who got a lift back with us and are spending a few days here in Brevands. The journey home was made all the more less boring by sharing it with friends and the time slipped by so before we knew it we were tucked up in your lovely warm beds ready for the next adventure. I saw my Mum on Skype yesterday and she is still on the ceiling and in true 85year old style is partying on regardless. Thank you to my brothers and sisters for organising a great weekend and I am now on that confounded diet preparing for the next family event in April.
Today, despite the soft condition of the field, we moved one of our mobile  homes out of the JCB working zone. It is now  where it can be pushed into it’s permanent place when the work is done. John and Linda were there to make this a group task and it went well and we now have to move 10 tons of gravel to somewhere else to make room for another 15 tons of a different grade of gravel, sound daft?,….. you got it,….. it is barmy.