Tuesday 29 June 2010

Old Man's Baccy

The eldest girl set off in heavy rain this morning for a  trip to Oxford University with school to see the various Colleges they might apply to.

The rain cleared and by early afternoon my washing was drying and ironed in time for The Children's Mother returning from school.  Waiting for her was an envelope containing the "Beachy Queen" voucher from Lavish .  She opened it, and fainted again!  It's no good Lulu and Suzi, the thought of that Bikini Wax is costing me a fortune in whisky......

I took the terrier with me for a short walk when I went up to the yard tonight and found this Old Man's Baccy.  More groveling around on the ground!

Sunday 27 June 2010


Today our village had a charity garden and scarecrow walk about!

Some of the scarecrows were really impressive....

I have to confess that I drove past this one twice last week before I realised it was a group of scarecrows!

"Jurassic Park"

"The Evolution of Scarecrows"  
This group depicts the evolution of scarecrows from "Scarecrowius fishius" to "Scarecrowius erectus"!

"Scarecrowius fishius"

At the other end of the village, this chap was keeping an eye on things......

Saturday 26 June 2010

I Say Chaps..

"I say chaps, anyone got a map?"

The latest update on the swallow chicks is that the are fully fledged already, they must fly in the next day or so if they aren't already.

"We could always apply for housing benefit"

I think this is Selfheal, and by the time I had finished grovelling round on the ground I could have done with some!


Turk's Cap Lily

Thursday 24 June 2010

Blooms in the Red Scale

A bit weary today so I am having a lazyish day at home.

In between some chores, I have been nipping out into the garden to take a few pictures to keep this thing going!  Seems to have developed a bit of a red theme......




Wednesday 23 June 2010

Swallow Update.

It is now nine days since that last picture of the Swallows.  They are making excellent progress and are almost fledged, I guess that they will be flying in the next few days.  No doubt the Sparrow Hawks and Magpies will be waiting for them.

Until then, they are still very sweet!

I quite liked this Plantain with cuckoo spit and fly.....

Monday 21 June 2010

I had to take my Mother over to Consett this afternoon to meet a friend and on the way home I did a little reminiscing.  I am always a slightly hesitant to revisit the past, a big piece of me says 'never look back' and often places of significance in my life have changed so much that the disappointment can outweigh the fonder memories.

But I did it anyway.

9 Clarence Gardens, I was born here just over fifty three years ago and it has changed so much in so many respects.

The Tin Mill Infants School, the first establishment responsible for what you have before you today!  Now a community centre.

St John's,  Snods Edge.  My parents were married here, in this beautiful little country church all those years ago and looking round the churchyard I can see the names of several relatives and far too many others I knew.

Unusually in this day and age, the church was open and I couldn't resist a picture of this wonderful stained window.  Not a religious bone in my body, I still love and marvel at churches, from a tiny chapel 
 hidden in the Manx countryside to the magnificence of Durham Cathedral. 

Was it worth it?  Perhaps on this occasion, yes.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Field Poppy

Well, it's been a lovely afternoon........

.......and a photo that does what it says on the tin!

Thursday 17 June 2010

With a Cherry on Top?

It has been another lovely day here and it has been a pleasure pottering around.

We'll start with another critter.

Over the last few weeks I have been enviously admiring reports from our friends in sunnier climates of the progress their cherries are making, and even how good they taste!

These are my cherries, impressed?

Sadly over the next few weeks the birds will have stripped the tree.  I have never yet eaten one of our cherries, but one day.........

While I spent the day pottering and sunning  myself, the local farmers and contractors have been working non stop from early this morning to cut and lead in their silage for the coming winter.  This cut is looking good, hopefully the next one (or possibly two) will be equally good.

Form an Orderly Queue ! (Wednesday)

We will have to buy another iMac!

By eleven o''clock last night a barely orderly queue had formed to use the Mac, the eldest and youngest offspring had already traded blows and insults in pursuit of their "fix"!   I gave up all hope of posting as The Children's Mother settled down to edit a whole stack of pictures, so yesterday's post, today....

The rain had stopped for the time being, the sun was bright and penetrating, the lawns dried and waiting to be mown.  As I cut the lawn at the rear of the house, heat rose from the fresh cut grass and the air was filled with scent.  I had forgotten the Philadelphus or Mock Orange was beginning to blossom,  another few days of this weather and this sheltered part of the garden will be heady with their distinctive fragrance.

Following the recent "insect" theme, I was delighted to spot this Dragonfly on one of the box bushes, a very rare visitor to our garden!

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Insect Day

The sun came out this morning, warm and inviting.  A good day to play with the macro setting on the big zoom lens.  Because it is a bit of a hybrid the lens is a bit tricky to use,  it took perhaps one hundred shots to get these three images.  A bit frustrating for me, I am a bit of a one or two shots and live with the result sort.  When I was a student I couldn't afford much film and it has kind of stuck with me!

Must have been on the 'red-eye' flight!.....

......The Brown-eyed-girl?  Yes I know but the names of flying critters isn't my one of my strengths!

I love Bumble Bees, they are so gentle compared to Honey Bees and Wasps!  In this country there are dozens of different types, sadly all under threat from insecticides and the weather etc.  Look after the bees both Honey and Bumble, they are not only wonderful creatures but also the most valuable crop pollinator we have.  No bees, no grub!

Lavish and "The Beachy Queen!"

How can you improve on the perfection that nature (or God if you prefer) has seen fit to provide?

Well I am delighted and somewhat taken aback to be informed by Lulu Campbell ( family affairs and other matters ) that I have won the Lavish "Beachy Queen" gift package!

Well I have searched the Lavish website and there is no mention of plastic surgery or divine intervention being offered as part of the package so as you can see below, the wonderful prize would be totally wasted on me!

Therefore I will reluctantly have to pass the prize on to The Children's Mother, Hilary who I nominated in the competition.  I have to admit that she is much more deserving having put up with me for the past 5 years and the rest of her tribe for much longer!  When I told Hilary about her treat she fainted, I think it was the threat of the bikini waxing!  After the application of a dose of smelling salts and a stiff malt, she pronounced herself overwhelmed and looking forward to a bit of girly pampering!

So there we are.  Thank you Lulu family affairs and other matters and everyone at Lavish!

That still leaves the problem of what to do with my legs?

Don't you dare!

Monday 14 June 2010

The New Generation

For the past twenty years or more that my parents have owned their cottage, swallows have nested there.  Some years there have been as many as five or six pairs nesting and other times one pair may have built a nest but not successfully reared young.

The last few years have been a bit lean on the chick production front, perhaps the weather or predators such as magpies and sparrow hawks.  This year is no different with just one pair building a nest.

You can imagine my delight this morning when I discovered that the pair have hatched at least five chicks!  

Incidentally, our wrens love the old swallow nests and the cock wren converts several to be inspected by his erstwhile mate.

My Mother calls these small white flowers "Pig Nuts" I am certain that she told me the roots are edible.  

Flowers Again?

You will be seeing a pattern developing here, whenever there is't much happening in my life for one reason or another, you get more pictures of flowers!
Still cottage sitting till tonight but late yesterday afternoon I popped home to bake some bread and have dinner with the family.  Our youngest girl attended trails for the county netball squad in the afternoon and was really pleased to be accepted, following in the footsteps of her older sister! 

In between bread production, rain showers and catching up on the day's news of netball and learning that our eldest girl has arrived safely at her godmother's house in Greece I grabbed a couple of flower shots in the garden.

As The Children's Mother isn't here to ask, this is some sort of geranium,

as is this....or is it a geum......? I will be in trouble when the boss gets home!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Our lovely sunny weather has been replaced by rain, and a bit more rain!

In between decorating the youngest's bedroom for the last few days, I am cottage sitting for my Mother again so posts are a bit thin on the ground at the moment. 

I took this picture in the wet gloom while the walking the dogs by the burn last night.

The Children's Mother issued a 'three line whip' for me to be back home this morning to wait for the youngest's new bed to be delivered today Wednesday the 10th, I have just noticed that the 10th is Thursday...!

Might have time to post again tomorrow..........

Saturday 5 June 2010

Wednesday? It must be The Lakes....

On Tuesday I fitted a new pump and filter unit to the aquarium, the old one had finally given up the ghost!  On my way to bed I checked to make sure that all was well and discovered to my horror that the tank had developed a major leak.  Midnight passed as The Children's Mother helped transfer the fish, pump, heater et-al to a spare tank!

We had decided to go to the Lakes on Wednesday and duly dropped the old dog off at my Mother's and collected her terrier, he loves going mountaineering!  On the journey we crossed the North Pennines via a tiny road where coincidently, many years ago my car ended upside down in a stream some fifty feet below the road.  I have driven that road very gingerly ever since....!

At the highest point of this wild road we found large clumps of violas, how they came to be there is anyone's guess but they were obviously thriving in the extreme conditions.

The vague object of the trip was Styhead Tarn just below Scafell Pike, anything else was dependant upon our degree of exhaustion!  We are both dreadfully unfit but it was really good to be at the Tarn again, the first time I have been since 1978 I think.

The Children's Mother's injured finger is making good progress and proved invaluable for weighing down the map......

A few minutes after these pictures were taken, a passer by told us about the shootings just a few short miles away between Whitehaven and the peaceful village of Boot.  A moment of extreme contrast, such a beautiful setting and such violent and tragic news......we did not learn of the scale of events till later.

Our thoughts passed to all those involved.

Friday 4 June 2010

Humble Bumble, Bimble and Red

The Children's Mother and I had a busy day yesterday, shopping for paint for the youngest's bedroom, a task to be completed before she returns from holiday!  In the afternoon we had to take the Boy's car to be Mot'd in Newcastle before collecting the eldest girl from the airport, she was returning home early from holiday to prepare for exams next week.

All was going well until we couldn't find the paint, then I embarrassingly spilt water all over my trousers and had to retire gracefully!  Then The Children's Mother's car broke it's handbrake and we had to use the Land Rover for the Newcastle and airport run.

The Boy's car delivered we headed to airport and collected Eldest Daughter, on time too!  Four miles later, the universal joint on the Land Rover exploded!  Four hours later, The AA and a breakdown truck ride later we all arrived home for dinner at midnight.

Welcome home Lauren, lovely to have you home....

Consequently no pictures from yesterday but today sanity returned and all went smoothly,  dry jeans, car passed Mot, Land Rover being repaired, Focus being repaired! bedroom painted and new plaster cast on the Children's Mother's little finger!!

Up at the cottage I finally got a picture of a Bumble Bee.

Then had a bimble round the fields and took yet another picture of a Lesser Stichwort.

Back in the cottage garden the light on this Cotinus was wonderful.