Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Last Blooms of Summer

When we went to the Secret Gardens - though they're really NOT so secret these days :o) - I took photos of the last flowers. If these are anything to go by, the Spring & Summer displays will be really beautiful :o)
This beautiful rose was in the border just after the Tropical Garden & looked so lovely with the sun shining on it.

 Not quite sure what this is, possibly from the Echinacea family ? Either way, the colour is gorgeous.
One of my favourites - the sunflower that really DOES do what it says on the box :o) Gardens with sunflowers in them seem to be brighter than those without.

A two toned dahlia, complete with buzzy bee :o) I can't, for the life of me, remember what this dahlia was called, but it had a lovely name &, judging by the bees, butterflies & grasshoppers around them, the wildlife really loved them, too :o)

 A white butterfly resting on the dahlia. There were loads of butterflies dancing amongst the garden, but this dahlia border seemed to attract the most.
 I think this grasshopper needs lessons in camouflage :o) A few inches to the left & he'd have had a better chance of not being spotted.
 I just loved this dahlia - the colours are so bright  cheerful.
 The bee liked this one, too :o)
 The cosmos were blowing about gently in the breeze. The borders looked so lovely with them all swaying from side to side.
 This pink dahlia was lovely with it's deeper pink centre & each layer getting paler & paler.There was a real cluster of flowers on this plant - & best of all - NO earwigs :o)

 A sunburst, fireball or flower ? Definitely a striking dahlia :o)

 The cosmos were so paper thin & delicate. The colours were beautiful.

 Each flower was slightly different but they all had a fragile beauty to them.

 Photos really don't do them justice. The colour around the edge of this cosmos was so rich & deep in comparison to the rest of it.
 So many different shades of pink.
 But - most importantly of all . . .
You can't get better than that, really :o)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A Morning Out

After having a fairly hectic summer, what with things breaking, family worries & the general pace of life these days, we met our lovely friend, Val, in Sandwich for a mooch about in the Secret Gardens.
Val has been many times & it's been on our *Must Visit* list for a few years, so when she suggested meeting up we jumped at the chance. Well, *I* jumped, Shaun sort of did a wheelie in his wheelchair !! :o)  No, not really . . . he just agreed it would be a nice morning out :o)
The gardens surround The Salutation House, designed by the famous English architect, Edwin Lutyens & built in 1911 in the Arts & Crafts style.  Lutyens was commissioned to design the war memorials in the larger cemeteries & is also responsible for the design of the Cenotaph in London, built as a permanent reminder of those killed in action during WW1 & now also for those killed since.
The gardens were designed by Lutyens & planted by Gertrude Jeykyll, one of the most famous female gardeners of all time. The original woodland area, White Garden, Yellow Garden, wild meadow garden & the bowling green, are still in evidence today, along with more recent additions such as the Tropical Garden.There is also a small lake - Lake Patricia, obviously named after me !! :o) - & an island, which were reinstated in 2007. Dotted about the 3.5 acres are metal animal statues which can be bought from the artist - if you're rich enough :o) We saw a foal, a really lovely giraffe, a mother pig & her piglet - so sweet !! - & some pumpkins that were brilliant. They really looked good because they were among the pumpkins growing in the veg garden :o)

This is the first proper view of the house. When you enter the gardens, there's a small hut where you pay the entrance fee. To the left of that is the entrance to the gardens & after you've walked a few yards, this is the view to your right.
This is the path through the Tropical Garden. Because it's the end of the summer, everything is dying down now, so it wasn't at its best for our visit. The path was difficult to negotiate pushing a wheelchair, but we managed. Next time, we'll take the mobility scooter :o)
A view of the house from the far side of the gardens. It really is a stunning place.
In the woodland area, there are a couple of seating areas. This chair thingy caught my eye - it looks like it's made from antlers but is all wood.

Part of the woodland area with a shaft of sunlight coming through the trees. It's only small but it's peaceful & very whimsical. You can almost imagine a playful elf or gnome darting about playing hide & seek with you. Or, maybe that's just me !! :o)

This is one of the flower borders. The orange of the Chinese Lanterns against the yellow of the Golden Rod is something to see. It gives off a warm, Autumnal feeling &, in *real life* is beautiful.
In the Spring & early Summer, this woodland garden is covered with wild flowers. There were only a few cornflowers left but the statue of the foal was still there. Val said there had been a bigger *Mummy* statue there a few weeks ago, but it must have been sold because we didn't see it anywhere else in the gardens.

Now, I LOVED this statue :o) A headless ghostly woman.  I don't know why I loved it, Val doesn't, she finds it creepy, but I just thought it was fab. I also love the area it's in - a corner of the bowling green, with St. Clement's Church tower hovering in the background :o)
 Here she is again, posed as though she's pointing to the church :o)

This is the house from the bowling green. It's beautiful & very impressive, but, unfortunately, it isn't open to the public :o(
If I remember correctly, this cottage can be rented for holidays.  It overlooks the Yellow Garden & is pretty big for a cottage :o)
A view of the gardens. Because the borders are quite high, it's almost as though the gardens are made up of individual rooms.
Amongst the bird song, we could hear chainsaws & other machinery as the gardeners were busy cutting back & tidying up, getting the gardens ready for bed over the winter.
The island & Lake Patricia, complete with visitor :o)
The crocodile or alligator - not sure which, sorry - is HUGE. It's beautifully made & looks pretty ferocious :o)
Looking at the little patio area - where I took the photo above this one  - from the island. It's very small but has room for a pergola with  table & 4 chairs inside. A beautiful spot to just sit & be quiet for a while.
A view of the lake from the island.
I took a fair few pics of the flowers & plants around the gardens, but I'll save those for another time.
We will definitely go back again, hopefully before Christmas, because I think all the seasons have something to show us in a garden. Autumn is my favourite time of year, so maybe we'll get there sometime in the next couple of months.
Now, though, I need to ring my Mum & wish her happy birthday & I need to finish icing a cake for grandson 1a who is ALSO celebrating his birthday today :o) He's 4, but my Mum is a wee bitty bit older than that :o)
Have a great Sunday, whatever you're doing.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

OOH !! What a palaver !!! :o)

August is beginning to be a month that I dread. It seems that it's becoming a month where everything goes wrong. This August, the *everything happens in threes* saying became, for us, the *everything happens in MULTIPLES of threes* !! :o)

First of all, Shaun's mobility scooter broke down when we went to Fowlmead (see last blog post) & it turned out that a new throttle cable was needed. Unfortunately, the mobility shop were sent the wrong part & consequently, the scooter was in the shop for a fortnight. A few days later, on Tuesday afternoon, we went out for a walk & it just wasn't right - it was SOOO slow, it couldn't keep up with me walking along the road. So, Shaun phoned the shop & they arranged to pick it up on the Friday afternoon & have a look at it. When they bought it back, Shaun tried it out & it conked out halfway across the road. Thankfully, the mobility blokes were still here & helped get him back up to the house. They took the scooter away again, but as it was the Friday before Bank Holiday, we were, yet again, scooter-less. It was returned the following week having had some electrical connectors twiddled with :o) So far, he's used it once, just to go up the road & back. We've yet to put it in the car & take it somewhere, only to be disappointed that it's conked out, so WATCH THIS SPACE !!! :o)

Anyway, to cut a long story short - yaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn !!! - the other things that have gone wrong are as follows:

2 - the ceiling light/fan pull came *orf in me 'and*. That was a palaver, I can tell you. Because Shaun is unable to stand or go up steps etc., muggins here had to unscrew & lower said light fitting from the ceiling & then, following instructions/ORDERS from himself, had to redo the light pull with electrical connectors - or something - & then screw it all back together on the ceiling.  Note how well up I am on the technical terms, please :o)

3 - my iron broke. Water started coming out of the handle & the foot plate. As I'm sure you can imagine, I was HEARTBROKEN. Completely & utterly gutted. My beautiful iron . . . sob :o(
I hate ironing. Can you tell ? :o) Anyway, I had to buy another one. Sob :o(

4 - the microwave suddenly stopped in the middle of doing some jacket potatoes. Ugh. Luckily, it turned out to be nothing more than a blown fuse.

5 - my beautiful stripy broom handle broke in half. Now, THAT I really WAS sad about !! Not because I couldn't sweep the floor, but because it was my beautiful STRIPY broom !!!  I now have a silver handle attched to a stripy broom head. If I'm not careful, I'll end up like Trigger from *Only Fools & Horses* & will have the same broom for 10 years - only it'll have had 3 new heads & 2 new handles !! :o)

6 - my kitchen scales decided to play silly wotsits. I weighed something out & it showed the correct weight, so I then added something & it was suddenly only half of what it had been. (Wish it worked like that for ME on the bathroom scales !!) After that happened 2 or 3 times, I decided it might be best to buy some new scales.

7 - the hoover lost the will to live :o(    One minute it was fine'n'dandy, the next it was squealing like it had sucked up a cat playing bagpies !! AND - when I switched it off, it refused to stand upright. The handle just kept throwing itself to the floor. I swear, if it could talk, it would have said something along the lines of *it's no good - I can't go on !!* & then just fluttered its eyelids & died. Which it pretty much did, really. So, now I have a new hoover. I've given it a good talking to & told it, in no uncertain terms, that if it decides to die on me, it has to do it quietly & not make a mess on the floor :o)

8 - Shaun's sewing machine decided to follow the hoover & threw itself to its death by falling off the table. Because he can't use his legs, he gave his electric sewing machine to our daughter & he had an old fashioned Singer that has a turny handle. The metal bar that makes the needle go up & down snapped off inside the machine & unfortunately, couldn't be fixed. That machine was over 100 years old & had a lovely stitch. So I was told - what do I know ? Sewing & I are NOT friends & never have been, not since the day I was 13 & in sewing class at school & somehow managed to sew my school skirt to the skirt I was making. My teacher told me NEVER to darken her classroom doorstep again. So I didn't.

And finally - the worst thing of all:

Just like the hoover, one day it was fine, the next it wasn't. I'd used it on the Monday evening, but on Tuesday morning, it was as dead a a dead thing can possibly be. If not deadererer.  I phoned PC World insurance thingy & was given a reference number & told to take the pc into the shop. Luckily, I have insurance on the pc that included data recovery, so along with the pc, I had to give them an external hard drive to save anything they could. It was away in the pc hospital for 2 weeks & it turned out that it had suffered from hard drive failure & power supply failure. My poor pooter had DIED :o(  Just like that. No indication that anything was wrong, no please-may-I-be-excused-I'm-not-feeling-very-well. Nothing. Just here one minute & gone the next. Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhh. However, the boffins at PC World DID manage to save all my photos, files & what have you. HOORAY !!!

So, here I am, 10 days after picking my pc back up, STILL trying to get it to how I had it & not getting anywhere very fast. It's been a busy couple weeks, what with medical apointments, but we had a lovely morning out yesterday, so the next blog will be about that. With pics. Nothing boring like this one, I promise :o)