eat, beach, sleep, repeat…

We had quite an eventful weekend looking after my granddaughter and my mother, now affectionately known as Great Granny,  me being Granny now of course!  We had already planned to stay with my mum last weekend but in the middle of the week we received an SOS call from my daughter asking if we could look after Baby L (now little L due to the growth spurt) for two days at the weekend due to staff shortages.  So nothing else for it but to take both on at once whilst staying in my mum’s apartment.

 

On Friday I took the train as planned to Eaglescliffe, just outside Yarm in North Yorkshire, and mum met me on the station, then after off loading my bags at her apartment we took a taxi to Teeside Park to do a bit of chatting, lunching and shopping.

 

On Saturday morning we were joined by my husband who had driven up collecting our granddaughter little L on the way.  We headed off to nearby  Saltburn by the Sea for the day.  It took us a while to park as the weather was so hot everyone had the same idea to go to the seaside.

We finally got a spot in the car park down by the sea and then took a ride on the Cliff Tramway which goes up the steep cliff side, 102 feet above sea level, into the town centre so we could find a place for lunch.  We had a ploughman’s in my favourite cafe a little Deli called Real Meals.

Saltburn has that quaint British seaside feeling – it is a Victorian Spa town with amazing iron work verandas along the shop fronts.  I always find I get a strong feel good factor when I am there.  You will note the lack of pictures but holding on to a 3-year-old and a 91-year-old does not allow for much photo taking.

After lunch we strolled along by the shops then made our way back down the hill to the bottom of the cliff by road – bad move – it is extremely steep for both the push chair and a ninety-one year old – in fact I am not sure who was clinging on to who in the end!

Reaching the bottom we then decided to catch the little train that runs along the valley bottom through the pleasure grounds ending at the tea rooms and Italian Gardens.  I had no idea any of this existed and it was quite exciting exploring the windy paths and hidden corners.  We skipped the tea rooms having just had lunch but did treat ourselves to an ice cream each.

  We walked back so that we could take Little L on the swings and slide along the way.

After this we just had time to fit in a bit of playing time with a bucket and spade on the beach by the pier and find a cup of tea in the nearby cafe for my mum together with a take away pensioners fish and chip tea.  So everyone was happy but I must say I did feel a little worn out trying to cater for two opposing age groups.

On Sunday I was woken early by guess who springing out of bed like a Kangaroo and wide awake saying – ‘Hello granny are we going to play’?

After building bricks and getting the whole ‘chocolate bunny’ family sorted in the Sylvanian Family house we had a trip over to Bedale for lunch and then went round the corner to Crakehall a beautiful little English village with expansive village green on which stands the church.

At the far end is Crakehall Hall and the owners of this beautiful house had opened their gardens to the public for charity.

 

It was a glorious day again but with a slight breeze and we wandered around admiring the plants and taking photos.  This hidden secret garden was my favourite with the fluffy yellow Alchemilla Mollis mixed with Lavender and Delphiniums – a classic country garden.

We came across a tree swing in the Orchard and then ‘wow’ a trampoline – Little L had a fab time on this while Great Granny headed once again for the tea tent and a sit down.

After more tea and cakes we dropped off Little L back with mum and Great Granny back at her apartment and then drove back to our own home exhausted but relieved it had all gone quite so well and everyone seemed to have a lovely time.

back soon x

 

 

 

 

“What is one to say about June…

… the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise
of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”
–  Gertrude Jekyll,  On Gardening

 

Last Sunday we decided to take the day off from cleaning and clearing and go down into Derbyshire for a walk around the open gardens in the village of Birchover near Bakewell.

It was if you remember a very hot day and not a lot of shade for me but I was determined to see as many of the gardens as possible I just had to walk more quickly around the ones out in the open.  Luckily most people have a tree or two which provided me with some cover when I needed it.

We began our tour at an artists garden – this was my absolute favourite although my photo does not do it justice.

I have never seen a garden with such a limited colour palette before but this one really works.  There were three basic colours –  green of course with many shades and tones  of purple and cream through to lemon.  The planting was casual and mainly Ferns, Irises, Alchemilla Mollis, Geranium and Lavender and the majestic plant to the right (which may be a Thalictrum?) all surrounding a daisy lawn.  The paint colour of the house toned in well with the garden.  The effect was amazing.

Behind this ladies cottage is a tiny white-painted chalet used as an artist’s studio and gallery complete with wood burning stove.  This would be my absolute dream.

 

Before long we headed for the village hall named the Reading Rooms were they were serving tea and cakes.

 

 

The hall has now had a full refurbishment and is well used by all members of the community.

The notice on the wall made interesting reading – the hall opened in 1907, but only men were allowed to go and read the newspapers provided to broaden their horizons.   The rules state that 3 newspapers had to be provided (which I forgot to make a note of but I think one was the Sporting Times!) and no women were allowed.

It was a good cup of tea and a delicious slice of Victoria sandwich cake made by the village ladies.

Lower down the lane is the church of St Michael’s originally built as a private chapel for the owners of Rowtor Hall.

It is a modest church with a tiny graveyard sited next to the huge old vicarage (now a private residence).  In the large picture below you can see that this would have been the garden entrance from the hall which then became the vicarage from what I understand.

 

In contrast to the traditional window in the chancel the stained glass windows pictured below in the South wall are the work of acclaimed artist Brian Clarke and generously gifted to the village.  Clarke lived in Birchover for a number of years and his work has worldwide recognition.

 

The striking clear colours and simple shapes are stunning.

 

The pew ends had been delicately decorated with a few wild flowers for the event.

On leaving the church we decided to wander further down the lane to stay in the shade.

The notice above is asking the Council not to spray this section of verge to preserve the wild flowers and the organic garden beyond.

 

We eventually came across Rowtor Rocks – a series of caves and intriguing rocks to explore  – we will definitely go back and have a walk around here another day.  This is just one of the unusual caves at the entrance.

 

Such a beautiful day the light dancing on the water and through the overhanging trees was quite spectacular.

We walked all the way up to Rocking Stone Farm with the promise of Pimms and strawberries – well worth the trek even in the heat.

We walked back into the village and spent another hour wandering from garden to garden.  On the South side of the village all the gardens seemed to have a stream running through or a babbling brook probably coming from the same source and occasionally disappearing underground in places.  Most of the gardens had made a feature of the water like the picture below.

Out on the main street under the shade of the trees was a pottery stall run by two lovely ladies who belonged to a co-operative pottery studio.

 

This little bowl in particular caught my eye  – I am told it is a bubble glaze – and you might now spot it on my dining room table!

 

‘it is the season now to go…

about the country high and low, among the lilacs hand in hand, and two by two in fairy land.’ 

          Robert Louis Stevenson

The Open Garden season is in full swing and our first of the year was a garden at Hognaston in Derbyshire a couple of weekends ago.  I chose this because the leaflet said the garden owners have a woodland garden complete with a pond.  Intrigued to know how they managed their pond in a woodland setting (as we have similar in our Scottish garden) I just had to have a visit so that I could quiz the owner.

Picnic Lunch

We set off with a picnic lunch (cheese and beetroot rolls, a mixed salad with chopped up left over veggie sausage and a Higgidy Feta and Red Pepper veggie roll) – it was a gloriously warm, sunny day – just nice for eating outside.

When we arrived at the garden it was really busy and many of the visitors seemed to be regulars and knew to head straight for the tea tent to get the best of the cakes on offer!

The garden did not disappoint – although on a much smaller scale than the Himalayan Garden we visited last weekend I felt it had more interesting aspects for me and a particular ‘casual wandering through a wood’  feel about it  – not too overpowered by planting if you get my drift.

Hognaston Open Gardens

As with the Himalayan Garden the Primula were out in force but a beautiful sight set against the tapestry of greens.

Primulas

Like our garden in Scotland they have a natural stream running beside their garden – only a bit wider than ours – you can just see a glimpse of it in this photo below.

They also have a pond that fills with water only when the water table is high – there is no membrane, the pond is purely a part of the garden that has heavy clay that acts as a liner – at times there is no water in there at all.

Woodland Pond

It was so natural and delightful surrounded by bog loving plants and a network of crunchy gravel paths with one of the paths forming a modest bridge over the two ponds (unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the bridge).

Being under a canopy of trees like my little pond in Scotland I was curious to know how the gardener maintained the pond after the leaf fall.

He told me there is no magic answer to keeping the pond clear  – you can try covering them over before the leaves begin to fall – but mainly it is down to emptying the pool every year and scraping out the sludge that collects. 

This was not what I wanted to hear but at least it confirms that it can be done and I couldn’t bear to part with our pond in the wood even if it is going to be an absolute pain to manage.  Anyone following this blog will know that I completely cleaned it out a couple of years ago – (see here) then covered it with netting over the Autumn / winter period.  I have pulled some sludge out this year and will aim to give it a good clear out next Spring.

The cover we made was a flat frame and the weight of the leaves made the netting sink into the water and the leaves rot.  Then recently I came across a handy universal cover for odd-shaped ponds on the internet from Agriframes which is raised in the middle to throw off the leaves – so I am madly saving up my overtime to buy one – sometimes all the overtime does come in handy!

Rubra

We spent a glorious 2 hours wandering in the garden – taking notes of course and collecting names of plants we had not come across before as well as taking time to leisurely sit in the warmth of the sun with a cup of tea and home-made cake…perfect!

It is a delightful secluded garden, peaceful and relaxing with the distant sound of running water and so much birdsong.  If ever you get chance to go I don’t think you would be disappointed.

We are headed up to Scotland now so there will be a break in transmission for a few days, no communication up there for us, but I will pick up any comments, should you care to leave one, on my return.

Have a lovely Bank Holiday weekend.  back soon x

“June is the month of dreams, I think”

–  Joan Adams Burchell

Hello again everyone – I know the gaps between posts have been rather long of late and although I am trying to rectify this I am finding it a bit of a struggle at the moment.  I just wanted to say thank you for all the lovely comments I have received about the recent death of my dear friend.  It has been quite a whirlwind month so far and I am hoping things will settle down a bit now before our holidays.  I have a lot of catching up to do but somehow I haven’t, as yet, got the desire to blog that I had before all this sadness set in.  I will begin slowly to work my way back into blogging by turning as usual at the beginning of the month to one of my past Art Journals.  The excerpt below is taken from ‘Celebrating the Year 2009’  illustrated with a little watercolour sketch I did in 2004 on a visit to Dunham Massey on a beautiful warm June day.

 Blue Irises Picture

Blue Irises – Watercolour Sketch in Dunham Massey Courtyard June 2004

“In your neat garden iris grows
Bright yellow, mauve – in stately rows. 

This one you’ve picked’s a lovely thing;
I know it brightens up our spring.
But in the forest, springtime’s child,
A purple
iris growing wild,
Can melt my heart as spring melts snow;
It’s spoilt me for the sort you grow!”
 -Jude, Wild Iris

“June 24th is Midsummer’s Day and June the 21st is the longest day.  It is now most definitely the middle of the year.  For me it is time to enjoy being in the garden more with the lighter evenings and warmer days, either relaxing with friends or actually weeding, planting and improving our little haven.  There is no place I would rather be – it is my place to unwind and refresh.

For inspiration this is the month that many private gardens are open to the public under the Open Gardens scheme.  If you have a spare weekend make a note in your diary to go and visit one.  You can find details at http://www.ngs.org.uk

As well as individual gardens we often visit two pretty little villages near York called Great and Little Ouseburn where many of the residents open their gardens on the same day.  You can wander from one to another with the aid of a hand drawn map provided.  We went for the whole day this year taking a picnic lunch so we could browse leisurely around all of them.    Quite often there are some delightful surprises awaiting as you go through into the back gardens and each is quite different reflecting the individuality of the owners.”

So far this year I have missed attending the Open Gardens that we usually go to but I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will find some new ones to go to when we have a free weekend.  How has your June been so far?

Secret Gardens of Winster…

It has been a busy Monday today at work, then shopping afterwards.  This morning I had to haul myself out of bed to go to work after a tiring non-stop weekend.  My mum arrived on the Thursday evening and after a good nights sleep she had her tooth removed at the dentist on the Friday morning at 10.15am and at 10.40am we were in town, in Costa, having coffee and cake (well mum was – I had hot chocolate and a mushroom and egg breakfast roll).  Given that my mum is eighty…..something (she wouldn’t thank me for advertising her age on the internet – but she is more than halfway through!!) she did very well.  It is only her second ever tooth removed so I hope I do as well at her age.

We shopped for a while then returned home for a quick nap for mum and a mountain of dishes to wash for me.  An hour and a spotless kitchen later we drove over the hill to mums favourite place for tea – ‘Compos cafe’ for a Fish and Chip pensioners special.  Being vegetarian I had Lasagne and not, I might add, a pensioners special – I don’t quite qualify yet in age – only look as if I do at the moment!

Saturday it managed to stay dry and sunny so we set off for Derbyshire and had lunch at the Hassop Station Bookstore and then on to Winster to wander round their Secret Gardens.  Below are a few photos I took on our journey around the village.

Coloured bunting was strewn across the main street…

…and there was a mass of colour everywhere despite the awful weather we have had…

…many of the gateways and paths are so inviting…

…and we saw vegetables growing everywhere from tiny borders

…to more creative spaces…

…in raised beds…

…and purpose made kitchen garden plots…

…there was even one or two hidden surprises!

Many thanks to the talented gardeners of Winster – we loved your gardens and had a wonderful day – can’t wait for next year.

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Stanton in Peak Open Gardens

Oh what a day…

I am almost too tired to write this blog tonight after a whirlwind weekend and a tiring trip to the hospital yesterday for a routine appointment.  I had a great time with my mum although it was both hectic and disappointingly cool weather.

On Friday we began our day with a visit to the dentist for a quick check up followed by a leisurely stroll around the town doing a bit of shopping and browsing and chatting, followed by a visit to see my new-born nephew (very cute),  followed by tea at Compos Cafe in Last of the Summer Wine country (a fish and chip treat for my mum) and finally we ended up at the village theatre.  We sat upstairs in the best seats (on the front row of the balcony!) and managed to chomp our way through a packet of Maltesers and some After Eight Mints and even found room for a Choc- ice in the interval.  This is not a very good picture – but as you can see it is a delightful little theatre and all run by volunteers and amateur actors.  My own daughter used to entertain us with her dancing each year on this very stage at Showtime when she had ballet lessons.

I think it is important to support local groups like this and I admire all the actors for the time and effort that they put into producing these plays which are always great fun and although only amateur I enjoy them as much as going to the professional theatre in town.

On Saturday we ventured further afield into Derbyshire and had our lunch at the Bookstore and Cafe at Hassop Station (highly recommended).  We chose a ploughman’s lunch which came with three homemade salads and some homemade chutney.  Afterwards, feeling rather full, we drove over to Stanton in Peak to walk around the village Open Gardens.  It was bitterly cold as you can tell by the cheeky alteration to the notice by one participant!There were a number of very interesting gardens – and some had a real garden party feel.Then there were the quirky…The intriguing…

The artistic…

The natural…

The inviting…

and the comic…

We had a great day despite the cold and the residents had put in a lot of time and effort to make it an enjoyable event.  We stopped halfway round to take advantage of the tea and cakes on offer in the village hall and of course to thaw out a little before continuing up the hill as Stanton is a village that nestles into the hillside which makes it even more chalming.

English: Stanton in Peak - Road Junction

Most of the gardens are small and everyone makes good use of their space.  This is a stunning little garden someone has created from a strip of land running beside the road.I have a few more pictures to share – but that will be another day.