Sunday, March 29, 2009

General Catch Up - Sunday, 29th March, 2009

Yesterday morning I went upstairs to feed the cats and there was a large hooded crow sitting on Jim's shelf looking at me! I thought at first that Sandy must have brought it in through the cat flap but it now seems more likely it flew down our large chimney and headed upstairs to escape! The room was in total chaos as the cats must have been going mad trying to catch it. There were bags everywhere and Jim's papers were scattered around the floor like confetti! I opened the skylight and it flew out, none the worse for it's adventure.

The extension now has the final layer on the flat roof. I have taken a photo but you can' t really see it. I'll have to take one out of the skylight. This is the progress so far:

Notice in the right front corner, BlackJack.

A couple of chaps appeared midweek and measured things. I think they must be the guttering men. Excellent news.

Jim went to the UK for a meeting on Thursday, so it was the 4am rise and airport run. I think I had about 3 hours sleep. He returned on Saturday and had been visited by all 3 children. Oh, the Friday night booze up was in a pub with Russell. He rang me when he's arrived home and sounded decidedly 'jolly'. Poppy is growing like mad and here is what I think is the best photo ever of any Granddad and Granddaughter:

Isn't it just wonderful? That's Poppy's 'kissing' mode. She looks as though she's about to chew Jim's nose off. Jim's daughter Ali (Poppy's Mum) took this on Jim's recent trip to the UK.

Jim took quite a few photos and I'll post those in the next few days. Jenny, Poppy's Aunt, we now know is having a boy. So Jim will have a grandchild of each variety in August.

I have taken a photo of my Bundle to show you how it's disintegrating. Unfortunately, not very well. I think the bag I've placed all my bits and pieces into is too strong. The outer wrapping is decidedly soggy though:

My hanging parcel.

It doesn't have to be taken down until May 1st, so another month to go yet.

Stampmaiden, a blogger from America, has asked to swap some ATCs with me. She has made me 5 so I have been making some new ones and she also picked a couple of the old ones she liked (from photos I'd put on here). I won't post photos of them until she has received them. I have really enjoyed making them. I used to waste an awful lot of time playing a mindless egg collecting game on Facebook. I made the big decision a couple of days ago to delete it so I had more crafting time. What a relief.

Friday around tea time, the light in the garden was wonderful, ideal for taking photos, so I had a wander round and this is the result. I think one or two of them are superb, which I guess I shouldn't say, but it was the light at the time that helped.

This arrow head arum Italica has a story behind it. My first piece came from a friend in Derbyshire and settled well into my garden there in Matlock Bath. When I moved to Jim's house in Worthing, I took a piece with me, and it, too, settled in well. Of course I had to bring some to Ireland, I thought it had died but look at it now. I'm so pleased.

This is just to show that the red dogwood I transplanted to the edge of the wood has taken. I put in lots of sticks and they're all growing, plus the willow sticks I put in too.

Looking to the left from the fairy hill over the arboretum and towards the little wood where the arrow head plant is situated.

This lovely little prunus has such pretty blossom, below is a close up. We planted it last year.

Shiny, glossy holly leaves

Where ever I go, BlackJack follows. Here he is on the bench on top of the fairy hill.

The forsythia is now fully out

I was admiring the beauty of this primula the day before. Now look at it! The birds obviously loved it too and have eaten all the red bits of the flowers!

This is my favourite primula, a double white. It was in the garden when we came here, just one plant. I have now split it into about 6 and they are all doing well.

The first showing of this primula is almost over, but they still look pretty

Another lovely white primula, this one with an orange centre

Contorted willow in the evening sun

The front garden looking to the fairy hill and the Clare hill, Maghera, beyond.

Honesty from the group below

You'll laugh when you see where this bunch is located, below

It's in the compost heap, just left of centre! The corrugated iron behind it is part of the cow defenses!

The lake through our front gate

This magnolia is covered in buds and blooms. It'll be wonderful

One of the first blooms, it's a magnolia stellata which we brought with us from the UK.

Underneath the magnolia are these gorgeous tulips, almost out now

These primula are quite phenomenal, I have never seen one with so many flower heads

Naturally I've split them many times and now they're all over

There is a bunch on this little rockery wall I made last year, it's by the black gates. It's really coming on now. There are quite a few violets in flower amongst the primulas too. If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you can see them.

These narcissus have the most glorious scent

This pretty quince is on the vegetable section, I took a close up too.

It's such a lovely rich colour

One of the many old shoes we have found and some grape hyacinths and a single cream viola.

The red bracts of the pieris forrestii are just coming out

Here are the gorgeous scented white flowers, plus more of those primulas!

Lovely red miniature tulips in the sunshine

Crimson and, below, cream saxifrage. One of my favourite rockery plants.

Another tulip just about to flower

These tulips seem to have arranged themselves beautifully

The daffodils are just fading as the tulips come into bloom

They are just perfect buds at the moment

This little crop of violets are really more blue. They are on top of the fairy hill.

I do hope you've enjoyed today's tour. We haven't done much in the garden today as it's been cold and drizzly, but tomorrow promises better weather.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour, Turn Out Your Lights from 8.30 to 9.30pm

Are you all sitting in the dark? I am, it's earth hour, turn out your lights between 8.30 and 9.30pm, wherever you are in the world. Show you care. It's quite romantic by candle light. Except I'm on my own! I'm picking Jim up from the airport at 11pm.

The earth hour site. I have to put my location, which is County Clare, Ireland.

Wouldn't it be amazing if everyone did this? I know my grotty neighbours down the road won't!

I'm trying to keep our ancient Stanley going in the dark, well, with a candle, and it's not easy!!

I walked around the garden today and took loads of photos. Will post those later or tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Remaining Days of UK Trip

I'll just put some of the remaining photos on from my trip. You'd think I'd been away for a month! On Sunday morning we were up reasonable early for a morning at the car boot sale. Last time we visited this sale it was absolutely freezing and I had to buy both Jack and me hats and Jack some gloves. There were also only about 10 stalls. We stayed about 15 minutes if I remember rightly.

This time it was really sunny, if a bit windy and there were rows and rows of stalls to browse. I didn't take many photos as I was too busy looking. I bought a car seat which I will take back to Ireland when we next have the car over, on Jack's birthday. As we now have Poppy to have in the car and Jenny will soon have her baby (we now know it's a boy) plus Jason and Sams' new arrival (due 27th May, Kitty), we will need a baby seat. Sam washed the cover and the straps and it looks as good as new. Apart from that, I only managed to buy some ribbon and a breakfast roll and coffee followed later by an ice cream. Jack divided his time between me, his Mum and then his Dad.

Sam and Jack by the refreshments van. Jack is playing with his new toy, a little airport with a steering wheel to 'steer' the plane.

Jack happy with his ice cream, followed by Sam and big son Jason.

It was such a lovely day that we decided to do some gardening in the afternoon. Jason had just received his mower back from being repaired and the lawn really needed cutting. I helped him move the greenhouse (it had to be moved for the new garage to be built) and carry some tree trunks to the compost to clear the lawn. Then I weeded the front border ready for Sam to plant some annuals in May. As you know, I love gardening, no matter where I am!

Jack riding shotgun on the mower

Trying to run me over!

Showing almost the length of the back garden. If you look carefully, you can see the mower at the end of the garden!

This is Sam's Mum Rene's new home. She has moved in since my last visit and it's lovely and warm and cosy.

Beckenried from the front. Here comes that mower again. Sam's tank parked in the drive.

This shot taken from behind the tank towards the new garage (or Suffolk Barn as J calls it).

Jason and Sam have lots of violets in flower. Mine are just coming out.

This is my tied bunch of flowers, untied and in a vase!! Sadly I can't take it home on the plane.

Cheeky faced Jack.

When we came in, I played with Jack and a folding chair bed. We made a 'Jack Sandwich'.

We paid a visit to Haverhill at some stage and Sam and I both had our hair cut! Naturally the camera came too.

Jack on the Churchyard wall

This rather stylish building is above Argos!

This is also above the shops, it looks like a school I think.

A rather attractive sign on a pub wall

Haverhill is the sort of town I miss when I'm in Ireland. It has all the good shops and is undergoing more development in the retail sector.

Look how busy it is

A splendid sign for The Bull

Haverhill Church

Jack hid under a table in Argos! Isn't he gorgeous?

Monday was my last day but I wasn't leaving until the evening so had the day in Suffolk. Jack went to nursery in the morning so I had a lie in. Lovely. I packed my bag and sorted out the things I couldn't take back with me! Then we picked Jack up at 1pm. He's always so thrilled to see his Mummy and I'm an added bonus! We were going for a walk in the Abbey Gardens but the weather was horrid so we went to a Play Barn for Jack in Haverhill. He is so good in there. He plays with children, large or small, and never moans or cries. I love watching them all playing together.

Sam and I had our lunch there, as they have rather a splendid cafe. Jacket potato, followed by rather a mouthwatering iced bun. Jack had had his lunch at 'school'. We drank copious amounts of coffee too. I think it was gone 3pm before we left. While we were in there the rain came down in torrents. It sounded incredibly loud on the warehouse roof. At home I packed my remaining things and had my last few hours with Jack. I caught some lovely shots of him just before bed.

Jason took this rather amusing shot of me!

Jack enjoying his story

Just look at the matching mouths in this photo!

Night night Jack. Jason looking a bit rough. He was working on Sam's cold.

Sam ran me to the airport. When we arrived, the 'drop off' road was closed and there were flashing light from police cars and ambulances everywhere. Sam managed to park and I rushed off to see what was happening and whether the planes were still flying. Apparently a chap had had a heart attack in his car and ploughed into 4 pedestrians. The man I spoke to seemed to think they were ok, luckily. So of course the planes were flying as usual. I read on the flight home ('Tangled Roots' by Sue Guiney) and Jim was there at Shannon to meet me as usual. Buster came too.

It was good to be home but I'd had a lovely break and caught up on my cuddles. Jim had brought Buster because he daren't leave him at home. When I last left Buster to go and catch my flight, when Jim arrived back home, Buster had totally demolished the old cat flap and chewed around the 'hole'. He had made a concerted effort to escape! The new one is now in place and is much more robust thankfully!