Thursday, 29 November 2012

Autumn Colours

Just a short post to share with you the beautiful autumn colours of the trees along one of the roads into our village.

This is the route we take to get DC to/from nursery, so we pass this way three days (six times) a week.
It's wonderful to watch the foliage change with the seasons.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Printer's Tray

In May last year - yes, it was that long ago - I bought a printer's tray at one of the Frome Vintage Bazaars. I'd wanted one of these for a while, having seen them featured in home magazines and on blogs. They always look so interesting and, well, homely, filled with small nic-nacs and various bits of 'stuff'. So when I saw this one, I snapped it up. I think I paid £30, which is probably a bit steep, but I'm not very good at haggling.

And this is the wall ear-marked for said printer's tray.

And finally, just 17 months after buying it, the tray was hung.
Apologies for badly-lit photo.
And it was time to start filling it with tiny tat. Except I couldn't really find any.
So, it turns out that the printer's tray (or this one in particular) isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Although Little Red Riding Hood at least has a home.
And does it also give me a licence to go out and indulge in some tiny tat shopping?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Garden Update

Advanced warning: there are a LOT of photos (30+) in this post and they are all about the garden, so feel free to skip this one if you're not into gardening. Alternatively, have a look at the top few photos then scroll to the end to see how things have changed in the course of a year.

We've been working on the garden section by section since we moved in just over a year ago. The latest area to receive the 'hack it or whack it' treatment was a bed next to the patio, to the left of the gravel path and the right of the 'lawn'.

The bed in question can be seen in its original state behind DC below; this photo was taken just after the building work had started in April/May 2011. We even had a palm tree back then (although it was soon removed by the builders to make way for the extension); how very tropical! How very out of place.
More photos of the bed in its early-summer 2011 state.
This photo gives a better idea of the location of the bed in question - it's the one directly behind the blue water butt.
As seen from another angle back in early summer 2011.
And looking from above.
As the extension extended, the builders needed a little more room to work so they removed some of the larger shrubs in the bed to lay out their materials, wheelbarrows, etc. This was fine by us as we knew we would be putting a patio down in that area anyway. This is mid-September 2011.
Once the extension was finished, the patio was laid and we had moved in, the garden looked like this (early October 2011):
Here's my Mum hacking back some unwanted shrubs.
A week or so later and the Demon Barber of the Garden had done her work.

And by Christmas 2011 all the shrubs from the beds on the left and along the fence to the right had been chopped right back; that's when we discovered what a dreadful state the fence was in - clearly the shrubs had been holding it up. Oops. 
February 2012 - time for a new fence!

Then through the spring and early summer the plants began to take hold once more.
April 2012.
June 2012.

At the beginning of July the bed looked like this: full of Johnson's geraniums (at least I think that's the correct name), the beginnings of Japanese anemones, a large fuschia bush and plenty of weeds.
And then towards the end of July it started to look a like this as, over the course of a few days hubby and I (mostly hubby) dug up the plants and weeds, replanting the plants we wanted (the fuschia, a hellebore and a seedum) and giving/throwing away the ones we didn't (ie those darn geraniums and anemones.)
Oh, and we found a lovely big rock right in the middle of the bed. V useful.
Here's DC and one of the chooks getting in on the action next to the fuschia bush.
And finally, the bed was empty.
Daddy rakes the soil while DC stands all over it. Nice work.
And finally, ready for the grass seed.

And just a couple of weeks later (mid-August), the new grass started to come through.
By mid-October you'd hardly know there's been a bed there, apart from the slightly different shades in the grass.

Compare to one year earlier...
And now, November 2012.
It's lacking character at the moment since so many of the plants have died back for winter, but the grass is looking good, it's a lot tidier without that encroaching bed and gives DC more room to play. Who knows, one day we may reinstate the bed, or do something else in that space but, for now, we have a small boy who loves to run around and play on his swings and his trampoline and his slide and we need the grass for that!

Monday, 19 November 2012


Last week we had some friends staying for part of the half term holiday and we took a trip to nearby Montacute House. I'd only been there once before and, because I had DC with me and because the house was only open for tours at specific times, had only looked around the grounds. As a result, I put Montacute below Barrington Court on my list of favourite NT properties in the near vicinity (not that that means much as there are only four around here anyway, and I've only visited three of them...)

However, after this visit, I may have changed my mind.

Here's one view of the late 16th century house - the front, I assume, due to the long drive (known as the West Drive) that leads up to it.
Quite an imposing entrance.
And just some of the trees around and about.

Then, around the side is a fabulous Orangery. The National Trust are in the process of replanting/restoring it internally so it looks like it did in the 'olden days'.
The wobbly, bobbly, nobbly hedge.
The fountain/fish pond.

The rear of the house.
Then we went inside and I felt too self-conscious to take any photos! Sorry, not v blog-friendly, I know. However, the National Trust has some photos of the inside, so I've borrowed some of theirs to give you an idea of what this fabulous house looks like:

This is the Great Hall, one of the first rooms you come to upon entering the house.
A different shot of the same room.
Fabulous stained glass to be found all around.
On the second floor is a wonderful set of antique samplers from the Goodheart collection.

And the piece de resistance, the Long Gallery on the top floor. The longest of its kind in England, it measures 176 feet in length. In the 'olden' days it was used as a place for exercising when the weather wasn't good enough for a stroll around the extensive grounds.
But nowadays, it's home to a large collection of Tudor and Jacobean portraits on loan from The National Portrait Gallery. No photos are allowed, so I couldn't get any shots up here, but this one from the NT itself gives you an idea of the main space which has several rooms off to each side where the portraits are housed.

If you are in the vicinity, I would absolutely whole-heartedly recommend a visit to Montacute, and especially to the Long Gallery.