Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Waiting for Esther....Part Two

This is what I've been waiting months to see....& it finally came true last Friday! Life has been a whirlwind since then...trying to fill every moment with memories that will have to last a long time until we're together again...

But I'll begin where I left off!



The view from the windows doesn't need changing one bit....but you saw the 'Before' pictures...the attic room in disarray....a lot of this was due to all the books that we have, many of which I'd forgotten about as they were all piled up or in boxes. So we asked the carpenter who made our built in bookshelf downstairs to work his magic again...
and we now have these in both alcoves of the room...MUCH better! The other problem was various pictures and photographs, in frames, that just rested up against things. I got the hammer out and...

voila! The hand & footprints of my niece & older nephews....a wonderful painting my niece created aged 6...and (bottom right) a photo of the cake my master baker grandfather made for his own wedding in 1934 (4 tiers!)...special records of precious lives...
So, with a bit of juggling and putting boxes back in the loft space, the floor was clear. Next was a decent bedside table and lamp...

I bought the books for Esther...she loves history and stories that bring events to life...
All that was left was to vacuum, dust and then fit beds for 4 into the room...a tight squeeze but...


with the help of two foldaways and a double sofabed...there's a cosy & comfortable place for my darlings to sleep!
We drove back from the airport to the farm at 6.30am...the small country lanes were still quiet....but Granny & Grandpa were up and dressed and eagerly awaiting our arrival! The kettle went on and a huge breakfast of toasted crumpets, croissants, milk and bananas (which are hideously expensive in Australia - they grow their own, and bad weather has seriously sffected the crops, driving prices way up. The children couldn't believe that here they are one of the cheapest fruit....and you can guess the rest!!) We couldn't believe how wonderfully these jet-lagged children behaved...sunny & still full of energy. They fell in love straight away with William, their 3 year old cousin, who was only 8 weeks old the last time they met. He was to be seen holding hands with one or the other of them all weekend and chatting away happily!

A trip to London on Sunday...the Natural History Museum...DINOSAURS!...a picnic on the steps outside later...riding on trains...and in black cabs...horseriding...a family football game (boys against girls - 4-4, so no arguments!)...Esther & I to the movies (blissful)...Uncle Paul taking Kip (7 1/2) to his first soccer game...and that's just the first 3 days!

Yesterday, Esther brought them all to our house...they will stay here for a few days early next week. Alice coped brilliantly with this sudden influx of noisy small people...the children have grown up with dogs so know how to treat her properly!
They rushed up to the room they remembered from their last visit...and suddenly, the makeover was complete...

Scout started drawing...

Kip started reading...

and Alfie started bouncing! Alice looked on...bemused....

And the adventures continue! See you soon and I hope you're having a wonderful week xoxo

Monday, 12 September 2011

Waiting for Esther....Part One

As those of you who read this blog regularly will know....my darling sister Esther and her 3 children are arriving early on Friday morning, for a short visit from their home in Eastern Australia. To say I'm excited is a complete understatement!
They will mostly be staying at my parents' farm...it's much bigger than here with plenty of room for the children to let off steam...(my niece is 9, my nephews 7 1/2 & 4) and I can stay there too along with our youngest sister, Lucy & her little boy. All of us together again (the first time in over 3 years) Sheer bliss.
But halfway through their 2 weeks, the 4 of them will stay here for a few nights....it's so convenient to be able to walk to pllavces & not use the car...the park is here....the Roald Dahl museum...the Coffee Tree....the churchyard... the cinema (very important!) and our beautiful new theatre too. It'll be so much fun! In anticipation, we have been transforming our (one and only) spare room at the top of the house.

Today, I'm going to show you the 'before' pictures. As Esther reads the blog, and I want her to have a surprise, I'll wait until they're on the way before I post the 'after's!!

Our attic room is a beautiful one...overlooking the churchyard and the treetops! It's where I do my writing, too. But a little while ago we had the roofspace above properly insulated - which meant that everything that had been stored up there had to come down into the room. Cue chaos. I didn't really want to show these pictures, as I was so ashamed! But I feel better now that it's so different....so here goes....



Ok, that's enough of that....

Back soon!! happy Monday xo

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Whispers from the Past...& my September Garden

If you read this blog regularly, you may have picked up on the fact that I have a passion for history....
I think this is because I feel that the way we live now is influenced & entwined so much with the way people lived then. I love to imagine how life must have been for the ordinary person in different times...and searching for little clues and insights into those times is something I try to do whenever I can.
The electricity company has recently been doing some maintenance in the little cobbled street I walk down every day...they've dug a large hole...and as I passed it I suddenly began to see fragments of glass and patterned china everywhere! Nothing whole - I hoped so much for an intact bottle! - but I just couldn't leave these gorgeous pieces where they lay, to be covered up and lost for another hundred years...
I think, from the shape, that this was from a large cup or mug...
and this was probably a plate but I just adore it's bright blue pattern...still so clear after all this time! It's been raining today...so I'll be back in the morning to see what other treasures have been uncovered!

After a grey August and then a hot & sunny start to September, we seem to have settled into an early Autumn this week. High winds and heavy showers have tumbled my poor garden into the new season before it's quite ready I think...


the hydrangeas are fading fast...although I think they are especially beautiful when they are like this - living watercolours....


the ivy hedge is glossy & gorgeous...alive with wasps, hoverflies and, of course, our bees!

'The Girls' as I call them are still incredibly busy...we inspected the hive on Sunday evening. Paul wears the outfit & does the hard work while I sit on the bench and write down his comments (it's quite important to keep a record each time you inspect, to note changes in the colony and how much honey is being produced) We think there will be around 20lbs to harvest this year...we're  erring on the side of caution as we want to leave plenty for The Girls to survive on over the winter. Paul is going to inspect next time with a member of our local Beekeeper's Association, who will check the hive and advise him. He's still a novice and there is just so much to learn - absolutely fascinating.
My nasturtiums have trailed everywhere...making a verdant carpet studded with jewel-like blooms of deepest orange, red and yellow...

the colours of Autumn...like the blueberry bushes...

but there are still pockets of summer colour around - these primula, for example...

Of course, it's also harvest time. I am quite pathetically proud of my sad little sweetcorn...the first I have ever grown and, sadly, a testament to how right my Dad was when he said they would need more sunlight than is possible in our garden...

but I still love them!! Much more successful are the tomatoes...

and best of all the runner beans...we've eaten many already, lightly cooked minutes after picking, and absolutely delicious. They'll be giving us lots more wonderful meals in the next weeks - and I'll probably give some away too...

Slowly but surely, the season is turning..... there's a chill in the air at night and first thing in the morning now, and the twilight descends much earlier. But I don't mind a bit - all is as it should be. And Esther arrives next week, with my niece and older nephews!! But that's another story....

Happy September and I wish you a wonderful week xoxo