beach cottage, bEAching, cottage garden, mEAndering, out and about

another weekend away…

– and yes, I know what you are probably thinking; we might as well sell up our house and get a motor-home as we spend more time on the road than we do at home.  I quite fancy this ‘home made’ model!English: Volkswagon bug RVWe travelled up to our Beach Cottage late Friday night and awoke to a gloriously sunny day on Saturday and wow had everything in the garden grown –  we have Hydrangea heads like dinner plates this year!  See the one peeping through the Willow leaves it is a good 12″ across and you can just see the weeds about to take off since we removed the black plastic.

This white one below is growing in the top of an old chimney pot and has been flowering all winter and all through the summer!  We are in the gulf stream on the Mull of Galloway so it can be very mild.Beautiful plumes of feathery Meadowsweet on my woodland walk.

On Sunday we set off back early because we had planned to call at Kirkudbright (pronounced Kirk – coo – bree) where they were holding an Art Trail event around the town.  It is a very picturesque little town set around a harbour on the estury of the River Dee on the north Solway shore.  It has become famous as an Artists town which developed during the Arts and Crafts period when many famous painters lived and worked there.

This is the house where  E A Taylor and Jessie M King lived – they were famous for their illustrations of children’s books, furniture design and paintings.

It still has an Arts and Crafts feel about it and this weekend we were privileged to be able to go and have a peek inside.  We could go all the way up to the attic room which I think may have been their original studio.  Most of the house is kept very much as it was – although it is now a B&B.

Many of the houses are very colourful…some very, very colourful like this one…

even the cute little launderette is brightly painted and I just love the sign.

Along many of the terraced streets are alleyways which lead down to more rows of tiny cottages and beyond the cottages are very long higgledy-piggledy gardens – you cannot tell who owns what!  I have been longing to venture down these alleyways for a long time and this weekend I got my chance… and I was not disappointed.  So come with me down the cobbled pathway (a bit health and safety – so mind your step!)…

…and keep going through the beautiful Wisteria Arch…

…and keep going past the iron Skeletons (don’t we all have skeletons in our gardens)…

and keep going under the gap in the hedge and past the old wreck – (sorry I meant boat)…

and keep going further into the undergrowth where you might sit awhile to play the ‘rustic’ piano…

and at last in the clearing at the bottom of the long, long garden is the pottering shed complete with armchair and stove.

What a wonderful exciting garden – left to overgrow and full of things forgotten by time it reminds me of the house that Pip visited in Great Expectations.

And to add to the humour of the day – Rapunzel letting her hair down in the old castle!

Hope you enjoyed your little trail as much as I did – how was your weekend?

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Home again…home again

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beach cottage, bEAching, cottage garden, mEAndering, out and about

Home again…home again

Back home and back to work now.  It is funny how so much happens in a fortnight when I am away – both at home and work.  We arrived home Sunday evening to find the land-line phone is not working and our neighbour has put up a new fence.  At work there has been a few changes (but at least I still have a desk!) and sadly yet another work colleague has received rather bad news on the health front.

And guess what before I can even get myself unpacked and sorted out again my mum is coming for a visit this week to go to the dentist for an urgent appointment.   So it seems now that the relaxed feeling you get after a good holiday is fading fast and being overtaken once again by the more stressful events of normal everyday life.

But yes, I did have a good holiday at our cottage despite the gloriously wetter than normal weather and the fact that it was a  working one – although I don’t consider working in my garden hard work and after spending most of my days working at a desk I quite enjoy doing very manual work in the fresh air.

As an additional holiday treat my better half – who always takes me to the nicest places – took me to the local tip (to off load many, many bags of prunings and weedings), the local builders yard (for cement and paving slabs) and the saw mill (for more planks of wood to make a giant compost bin later in the year).  What more excitement could a girl want!

I remembered to get a quick snap of my wooden bunting that I bought from Sainsbury’s I love it so much it has become a permanent feature and matches the blue of our tumble-down porch where we sit and look out to sea whilst eating our breakfast.

We (or rather my better half) made good progress with the log store (the base is the remains of an old coal bunker) and all is now safely gathered in.  He then turned his attentions to digging out the ground by the side of the cottage to make a channel which will run across this narrow strip of garden to the stream and allow the rain water from the roof of the cottage to drain away.  We saw this drainage channel landscaped into the garden of Broughton House in Kirkcudbright and it was sudden inspiration and just a perfect way to solve our difficult problem.

Meanwhile inside the cottage I have been doing more painting in the living room and have finally got the second top coat on the boarding and have only to finish the rail and shelf which runs around the top.  When that is complete we will be ready to put down the screed before we lay the wood flooring which we have yet to choose and buy.  I am thinking wide oak boards and real wood not laminate – but will need to get a price on this first.

My woodland walk is taking shape again and I cleared all the banking of buttercups just above the lower wood over the little bridge. I love this patch of ferns with all the different greens and leaf shapes.  The creamy white spray of Rogersia flowers are just peeping through and the red Fuchsia petals fall like blossom onto the open fern leaves below.  I could sit here for hours it is so restful. The ground in places had become so wet that once or twice I found myself just skating around in the mud. Most of the plants seemed to have thrived in all the rain and will no doubt burst into flower as soon as there is a bit more sun.  I had no shortage of damp places and it was an excellent time to do some more planting.

We had a trip round the bay to Bayview Nursery in Wigtown and bought an assortment of Candelabra Primulas which thrive in a sunny and damp spot.  I planted them at the edge of the old concrete pond by the wild Iris – I want to create a mass of colour here and hope that they begin to spread quickly.  The pond is another of our ‘problems’ waiting for a solution as it is not a very good pond because it is surrounded by trees but as yet I haven’t had any great ideas as to what I can do with it.  As soon as we clear out the debris it fills up again.

We have self seeded poppies springing up everywhere – but I love the bright spots of colour and the seed pods look delightful in the Autumn.

We had a break over the weekend and drove round to Kirkcudbright for the day.  We spent our time pottering around the Harbour and the shops and galleries…

and finally ended up in our favourite garden at the back of Broughton House on the High Street.

On the way home we spotted this cow who had gone to investigate the standing stone and made a rather unusual picture!!

And that is the end of the holidays and back now to the daily grind.