nature, spring

Springtime in Wiltshire

This week I’ve been¬†holidaying at home, and what a lovely week it has been!

I’ve managed to get in some fun days out and shopping trips as well as getting some of those long-overdue jobs done at home…

On Thursday I had a lovely trip out to Lacock.  This is a beautiful village owned by the National Trust, and includes a beautiful Abbey and grounds.

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The village is beautifully kept and as most of the buildings range from 14th to 18th Century, it is heavily used as a filming location for many period dramas, including Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Cranford. ¬†The Abbey cloisters have also been featured in many of the Harry Potter films. ¬†It is a film and TV buff’s dream destination!

We’ve had such a mild winter here in the UK that strolling through¬†the Abbey grounds, I found a wonderful carpet of spring flowers as far as the eye could see…

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Carpets of yellow and purple Crocuses, Cyclamen, my favourite Snowdrops, and even the odd patch of Daffodils and Narcissi already in bloom.

 

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I then wandered into a part of the garden that I have not visited before and found this wonderful Botanical Garden.

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What a lovely way to finish my week off.  And to top it all the Fox Talbot Photography Museum at the Abbey had an exhibition of Icelandic landscape photographs Рa year from now I am hoping to be back in Iceland, probably one of the most beautiful places on this planet, and certainly one of the most fascinating.

One of my earliest blogs was about Iceland, so I may have to revisit that one now and ramp up the excitement factor for next February!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cat Politics!

Morning all

What a manic couple of weeks… After Sir Patrick the black kitten had his ‘op’ I’ve started letting him out in the garden. From the start I knew introducing another kitty into the household was not going to be easy for Ella, my black cat. ¬†Luckily I used to work for¬†Cats Protection¬†so I used their leaflets to advise me. It appears to be a mix of time, Feliway and Dreamies cat treats work for them!

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Ella (above, left) very much loves her garden and is not thrilled about the interloper in her midst (above, right), especially when his two sisters live next door and his brother next door-but-one!  All in all, including the other neighbours, we now have eight cats within four houses.  Cat politics are playing a huge role outside.

We seem to mainly have periods of calm, with the odd stressful moment. ¬†Take Ella and Sir Patrick below, for example. ¬†He is so fascinated by her and often forgets to keep calm and rushes at her. ¬†She of course takes offence to this, but doesn’t ever strike him, she just warns him. ¬†At other times he goads her and stalks her, which can be funny to watch, especially when you know what the outcome is going to be (let’s face it, Ella will always win!)

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They are both very loving and sweet cats, and I fully understand that they may never be friends (although he would really love that) but Ella is top cat and always will be. ¬†I think the best I can aspire to is grudging acceptance. ¬†I’ve been working on the garden so they’ve had more time to mingle and get used to each other. ¬†I love the two pictures below – firstly Ella asserting her dominance, calmly for once, with Sir Patrick doing an about-turn when he realises she has the (literal) high ground. ¬†And the second – where’s Sir Patrick? ¬†Check out the blue pot – the two of them are actually quite physically close without any arguments.

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They are both such strong, but sweet and loyal characters, so I’m sure some sort of compromise will be worked out between them. ¬†I’ll leave you with some typical Sir Patrick poses – ‘I can’t stay still’ and ‘catch-the-lens-cap’

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Happy catting!

Lou

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Bamboo Envy

It’s not even that hot yet and I’m exhausted with the weather!

Just had a little jaunt down to my parents’ house in Sussex. ¬†The climate there is always a little warmer, less rainy and more pleasant than where I live in Wiltshire.

Mum and Dad’s garden is always a treat to behold. ¬†Even to a novice gardener such as myself, I can appreciate the beauty in nature in so many places. ¬† Here are just a few of the treats I have enjoyed on this visit.

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Their poppies are out in force – this is such a wonderful flower, with such strong links to us Brits, every year but especially in the¬†last year¬†with the centennial of the start of World War I and the wonderful poppy installation at the Tower of London (which sadly I didn’t get a chance to see).

Their roses are amazing РMum buys the heavily scented old-style roses Рshe is very keen on giving the bees something to get excited about, as well as tantalising our noses with their rich nectar.  The one on the left is an usual one as it is a double rose with a heavy scent, which the bees love Рmost double varieties I tend to avoid as they are usually over-bred for looks but with no oomph!  This is definite exception to the rule, what a show it makes!

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The next is one of my favourite parts of the garden, with beautiful blue campanula and pinks (carnations) in purple and, erm pink!

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Next is a type of wallflower which I’ve been lucky enough to get a cutting of and is growing well in my garden. ¬†It is so pretty, it livens up the borders…

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The hanging baskets also look spectacular, such a gorgeous combination of verbena, fuchsia and petunias.

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And finally, my real envy of their¬†garden – black stemmed bamboo – nothing like as invasive as the other varieties. ¬†It also provides good cover (which I need desperately…) and I’m sure I could make some interesting attempts at using the stems – methinks I shall have to ask Mum for another cutting!

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What is giving you delight (or envy!) in your gardens at the moment?

Happy gardening!

Lou x

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Super-Quick Update

Just a very quick update – I’ve had a lovely but rather manic couple of weeks – it has been extremely mentally and physically taxing!

Work has been rather manic (as usual) but I’ve also had my brother coming over a lot to help in the garden – we’ve done a fantastic amount of sorting out and now I just have to put the fence panels back up. ¬†They blew down last Spring in the heavy gales we had, but all of the neighbours have since become more friendly and we just pop over to each other’s back gardens.

I know they do need to go back up, but I will miss the easy familiarity it has bred in us!

 

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I’m not sure if this mental and physical taxation has contributed to it, but I’ve been turning in earlier and earlier every night – this is not normal for a night owl like me… ¬†I can barely last past 9pm most evenings!

I have some more exciting news which I will share in a few days, together with some funny stories and lots and lots of crafty things hopefully, all being well…

Happy crafting!

 

Lou x

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Bad cats!

I have not quite had time to deliberate over my lovely day at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia on Sunday, so thought I would fill in with a quick post of the most naughty cat moments from the cats in my family.

We’ve always owned cats and are quite used to their weird and wonderful behaviours, but this lot take the (cat) biscuit!

First up are Mum’s rescue cats Mischa and Timor. ¬†They are Balinese – he looks like a Siamese and she looks more like a Burmese to me. ¬†He is extremely laid back and will let you do pretty what you want. ¬†This Christmas he was adorned with a festive ribbon for most of the day but in this picture is sporting a rather fetching ruff a la Shakespeare, fashioned from a Christmas hat.

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Mischa is a fussy little madam but with a very sweet nature. ¬†She has a penchant for washing – I’m sure in a previous life she was a washer woman. ¬†If she’s not sitting on the freshly laundered clothes, she’s directing my parents in the garden from the washing basket.

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These two have their cheeky foibles, but in terms of sheer naughtiness they are lagging behind my cat Ella.  She is also a rescue cat and is very affectionate, but a complete attention-seeker.  Not just cardboard boxes for my Ella, oh no, she will get into any receptacle!

 

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This is one of my reusable shopping bags – it’s nice and sturdy and rustles. ¬†It also happens to be cat-sized! ¬†Maybe Ella has a secret shopping habit, as I later found her amongst my recycling bags!

 

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Last spring / summer was very warm in Wiltshire so I decided to¬†plan to grow so fruit and veg – I didn’t however reckon on growing Catatoes as these sacks have now been dubbed.

 

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Finally I have many demands on my time but still enjoy finding the time to crochet.  When I get this sort of face it makes me feel guilty, but not guilty enough to stop!

 

 

 

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Happy crafting!

Lou x

 

 

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