Friday, September 29, 2006


Off to visit my mum again this morning for a few days, but just time for another post before then.

It does go on a bit I'm afraid, but at least I don't post very often at the moment!

Here is a picture of the end of my garden, as it was until May this year.

With the help of my sister and BIL, we spent a weekend clearing and dumping. In June/July came the shed purchase and erection. (see my July posts for quite a lot about sheds) {if you really are interested that is}

Since then either I've been away from home, or its been too hot, or too wet to garden. (Or I've been too busy playing games on the computer/gloating over vintage buttons/making tassels).

Recently, however, I've back in the garden, digging, levelling, clearing rubble, planning, sitting in my shed.

This is just some of the rubble I've dug up. I suspect this is the site of an air raid shelter. No interesting historical finds though.

As we don't have a car to get it to the dump, this rubble is being surreptitously sneaked a little at a time into the wheelie bin.

And this is what the end of the garden looks like now.

My most recent excavations have been around the corner which houses the compost bin, which used to look like this

but now looks like this.

I'm so very pleased with myself! and now the side of the neighbours (fabulous) shed is accessible, giving me some ready made little shelves. Just waiting for embellishment.

So I'm thinking about what to do with/in this little corner. A climbing plant of some kind in the very corner, definately. Possibly a mirror, if I find something suitably garden-shabby-chic at the boot fair?

I will also be putting in a little frog pool. We quite often see frogs in the garden, and I like to encourage the little guys. For their own charm, not solely for their slug/snail-eating habits. I think all my clearing out has been effectively a process of eviction for one little frog I've been seeing, so I will be sinking a nice glazed pot into the corner, somewhere near the shed, and filling it with rocks, water and plants to give her somewhere to bask. (A great idea [I hope!] from Great Gardens for kids - which has some really lovely garden suggestions, whether or not you have children).

Feel free to stop reading now if you've had enough, this might go on a bit, but all this work has a curious resonance for me with whats been going on in my life over the past year/18 months. If you've been reading this blog for a while and/or know me personally, you'll know that my primary relationship - and my life in general - have been in trouble - and the work in my garden is quite an apt metaphor for whats been going on. I've been thinking a lot about/while digging.

This part of the garden was filled with rubbish and rubble, mouldering and neglected, with chunks of secret dereliction hiding under the soil, making it hard and inhospitable to growing things - apart from unwanted weeds and painful nettles, flourishing and working their tangled roots down into the ground.

It was a forgotten eyesore which I tried to put out of my mind and live around.

It seemed beyond my resources to deal with.

It was wasted space.

It was getting worse, sprawling further, a growing gaping repository for detritus, junk, the unwanted, broken, forgotten.


the ground is clear. Heaps of rubble and broken glass have been dug up, examined, sorted, disposed of - some of it dumped, some of it salvaged.

Some of these discoveries, I could have predicted. Some of them were more unexpected and surprising.

As work progresses, there may be more to unearth - which I will deal with as it comes and when I find it.

There is space.
I can imagine possibilities for building, reconstruction, creativity, growth.

I can sit alone in my shed and think. I take time for myself.

I've had some help, but a lot of this activity has been solitary.
It feels as though I've been doing a lot of work by myself.

not everyone who lives here has the same visions or expectations of what might be possible in this space.

But there has been such a transformation already. There is such potential. I am pretty hopeful.
Most of the time.

Maybe by next summer this space will full of green and flowers.

and frogs.

To be honest, I wrote this a few days ago, and feel less hopeful at the moment. But I'm sure I'll be hopeful again soon. :o)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sheffield park

During my last weekend with them, my mother was well enough for a couple of hours out in the sunshine. We visited Sheffield Park Gardens in Sussex, designed originally by Capability Brown, and now a National Trust property. Its mostly grass parkland with wonderful trees and shrubs, and quite a lot of water - lakes and falls. The trees weren't quite at their Autumnal peak, but were still stunning.

Some pictures follow - easier than words.

And in the midst of it all, my mother whizzing around like a little old lady dalek.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Well, LG's age is beginning to catch up with her behaviour.

TWELVE today. A teenager next year, as she keeps gleefully informing us.

Twelve years of transformation from this:

through this, for a while

Milly Molly Mandy?

First day at infant school:

to this: in brand new twelfth-birthday gear:

Sorry for the not-quite-up-to-standard quality of the pic. - taken on a mobile phone.

The fact that she is just about taller than me in the buffalo boots greatly enhances their attraction for her.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE GEM (I'm under instruction here) DEMON CHILD

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bizarro world

No - its not RW and the girls (in London, at the end of the summer holiday in August) who are/were bizarre (on the other hand ..... )

Nor even the pigeons eating left over lunch

It was after lunch that we entered Bizarro World - AKA the London Aquarium.

Lots of pictures follow - I'm so pleased with my great new camera (not only new, but free).
So if you're not interested in bizarre pictures, or if fish leave you cold - feel free to depart now. Please come back another day.

We saw:

1. the predictable

(but still quite impressive)

2. The pretty:

(Nemo fish to most of us)

3. The surreal and alienesque:

4. The closest I'm ever likely to get to a coral reef:

5. The bizarrely-named :
Peter's Elephant-Nose

Fox-face rabbit (???):

"Tom-pot Blenny" wouldn't even come out to be photographed at all. And who can blame him/her?

6. The whiskery. (personal chin hair comment deleted)

7. The almost-invisible.
There are 3 fish in this picture.

8. Those that probably wish they were invisible

and 9. Those which really should be invisible:

10. The vaguely disturbing

11. The definately disturbing.

12. The beautiful. My favourite. What fabulous colours. Inspiration for a tassel maybe....

13. The beastly. aka "butters" (butt-ugly according to current south London slang.)

14. The extraordinary and not-at-all-fish-like

15. Robotic. Bizarre on quite a different level.

16. Touchy-feely.
Also bizarre and unexpected, in that they felt unbelievably soft and velvety.

17. And finally - the cute and very appealing.
At least, to me. Does that make me bizarre?

So which of these would you most like to eat/be/be eaten by?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Morning Glory

My beautiful Morning Glory (Ipomoia, to the gardener's gardener).

These plants all seeded themselves from last year's plants which, in turn, seeded themselves from the previous year's plants. Which might have been some I grew from seed... I don't think I can remember that far back.

Whenever I've grown this plant - which really is glorious - from seed, it has been precious - fragile - tender - in need of protection from drought, snails and other hazards of the English garden. These plants which seed themselves are tough and lairy - laughing in the face of drought, scoffing at the thought of slugs.

Some seeded themselves between the cracks in the patio brickwork, and showed not the slightest awareness of the drought conditions killing off other plants.

Called Morning Glory because they only flower in the morning, these plants (which grow like weeds in the hedgerows in Perpignan, take note Tat!) have exquisitely elegant long furled buds and wonderful deep rich colours.

Cause for reflection, as I'm doing lots of pre-Autumn work work in the garden (I wont admit its Autumn for a while yet) that whatever I plan, Nature may well have other - and probably better - ideas.