Tag Archive | winter

My English cottage garden – December 2014



Hello everybody, I hope you enjoyed your Christmas. New Year still to come!

I am loving my Christmas present – a new shed! I’m so delighted with it, I could almost eat it, if you see what I mean.  It has been invaluable for putting the excess Christmas food in during the last week or so and the extra milk which I ordered over the Christmas period. The shed was put up a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t supposed to go inside it. I cheated! Still never mind, it didn’t spoil anything and now, every morning, I go up the path and peek inside to check on my geraniums, which are over-wintering in there. The baby ones, you’ve seen before, I keep indoors on the window sill but I don’t have enough window sills for all the others. At the last count there were over twenty of them!

The shed is going to look grand when the lilac bush comes into flower in the Spring and I will be popping back to show you when the buds are evident.


This is the view from the inside, from the door. Geraniums on the right and at the back?


Here’s a closer look:


Four chicken nest boxes! Yes, I’m going to get some more chickens in the Spring. I kept chickens before, for ten years from 1990 to 2000 when their housey fell to bits! Now it’s time to have another go, I feel. I miss my hens a lot and can’t wait to get some more.

Here are some more pics around the garden this week:

View from the inside of the shed looking out, south:


The woodpile:


The holly:DSCF2118

Pots of herbs by the back door. In the large pot are bluebells. I had to move them to make room for the new shed.


I think you can tell how excited I am, can’t you?

Have a lovely Sunday.


Comfort Time


With the bad weather continuing, it’s comfort time in the kitchen. We’ve had all the usual suspects, toad in the hole, see above and roast leg of lamb.  Thank you Sainsbury’s for selling these legs of lamb at a price I could afford for two weeks. It was delicious.


Apple crumble has been a favourite. Apples are so good for us and apple crumble is so tasty.  I like mine with double cream.  How do you like yours?


I did get out a few weeks ago and bought a new cupboard to put my glasses in.  It’s such a joy to go straight to the right cupboard and find just the glass you want. Previously my glasses have been wherever they would fit and I could never find the one I wanted. Now that problem has gone away and I’m sorted!


I’ve enjoyed all the reading I’ve done during the bad spell of weather but I’m ready now for some light entertainment in the garden. I hope my back’s up to it after all this enforced containment!


Deeper into the snowy woods and an unexpected disaster.

As promised, here are more pictures as I travelled deeper into the woods the other day.  However, just so you don’t think everything is always perfect in the cottage, we have had a disaster in the kitchen!

As some of you know, over the last few years I have been endeavouring to update the kitchen to a look that pleases me. It is expensive and takes time. Recently I got to the 3/4 stage and was feeling very pleased with myself that at last it was beginning to look how I wanted it to look.

Then disaster struck in the form of three leaks under the sink and behind the cupboard backing.  The first leak concerned the trap pipe under the sink, which kept working itself loose but wasn’t bad enough to need a plumber. Next was a drip drip noise, which at first I thought was rain outside. When I opened the back door to have a look, no rain! I realised there was a problem. Water was dripping at the back of the cupboard and when I looked under the sink, having first removed all the bottles in there, I found I could not access the problem and worse still I couldn’t turn off the water tap.

I texted my friend, who shares my house and asked him to come home (he’d just gone out) and see if he could fix it. He didn’t reply. I phoned – no answer. I waited up for him and at 12.15 a.m. we were both back in the kitchen trying to sort out the problem, but it soon became apparent that we needed a plumber.

Sunday morning and J phoned three plumbers. All advertised a 24/7 service. The first one didn’t answer his phone, the second one didn’t reply but the third one came round within the hour and took the back off the cupboard to fix the leak.

The leak was coming from a valve which leads to the outside tap in the garden. He stopped the leak but it needed a new part. Since it was Sunday and we were paying double time per hour, he said he would come back with the part the following Tuesday, which he did. That all cost £100 plus.

For some time the new linoleum in the kitchen had been coming up and losing its stick. I wondered why. Now I know – the floor underneath was saturated.

We called out the insurance assessor who said they would pay for the damage that the leak had caused, but not the repair to the leak itself. Fair enough. I was grateful. He said the floor underneath the lino. was 80% saturated with water. OMG no wonder the lino. wasn’t sticking.

We weren’t out of trouble yet though.

When the builder came to see what the job would entail a few days later, he noticed that we still had a leak! This time is was the tap to turn off the mains water.

We had to have the plumber back before the builders would touch the floor.

When the plumber came he said we needed a new tap and he would try to get one. He was gone for two hours. Trouble was the tap was new when the house was built and that sort of tap was no longer available so he had to get a new tap with an adaptor on it.

Apparently when the cottage was built, they used taps which conformed to European standard sizing, which was different to English imperial measurements. After two years, that idea was abandoned because too many English plumbing firms were going bust owing to the new sizings not being compatible with their machinery.

So much for complying with Europe.  More about that in another post!

So now we have the three leaks fixed and the builders are coming back next Tuesday to replace the floor. Help! I’m not looking forward to that visit, but it will be great when it’s done.


Dylan in the snow!

As you might know it snowed over here bigtime yesterday! The Welsh people got it worst, followed by the poor people in the South West and then us in the South East.

However, not everybody disliked it! You can tell from the look on my grandson Dylan’s face, that he had a great time. He is eating a gingerbread man whilst learning how to throw snowballs. This picture was taken on the field near his home, by his daddy and has captured the moment perfectly, don’t you think!

His joy was unbounded however because his mum bought him a sledge too. Here he is on it:

…still holding the gingerbread man!

All this after an exciteable day at my house. He was so excited by the snow he could hardly contain himself, asking me ‘when was the snowman coming’ because he’s been watching Raymond Briggs ‘Snowman’ over the Christmas Holiday.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s a short clip:

So today we still have lots of snow and more to come tomorrow. Dylan will be having more fun I think!

Don’t you just wish you were two year’s old again? I know I do…..

Have a great Sunday whatever you do people.

Icy Mornings


Ice & Snow

People never tell of ice
Or the snow that glitters nice
Or of the icy crunchy snow
Of that most people do not know
The crunch that sounds beneath your feet
As your sole and ice compete
When in the morning as you wake
You see a single white snow flake
You look out of the iced window
The look out seems so very low
Because the snow fell all night
It has left behind its sheet of white

Helen Windass

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Fire and Ice


Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

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by Robert Louis Stevenson
Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,   
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;   
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,   
A blood-red orange, sets again.   

Before the stars have left the skies, 
At morning in the dark I rise;   
And shivering in my nakedness,   
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.   

Close by the jolly fire I sit   
To warm my frozen bones a bit; 
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore   
The colder countries round the door.   

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap   
Me in my comforter and cap;   
The cold wind burns my face, and blows 
Its frosty pepper up my nose.   

Black are my steps on silver sod;   
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;   
And tree and house, and hill and lake,   
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

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How like a winter hath my absence been (Sonnet 97)

by William Shakespeare
How like a winter hath my absence been   
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!   
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!   
What old December’s bareness every where!   
And yet this time remov’d was summer’s time;
The teeming autumn, big with rich increase,   
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,   
Like widow’d wombs after their lords’ decease:   
Yet this abundant issue seem’d to me   
But hope of orphans and unfather’d fruit;
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,   
And, thou away, the very birds are mute:   
  Or, if they sing, ’tis with so dull a cheer,   
  That leaves look pale, dreading the winter’s near.

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These beautiful icy mornings are magical for me. There is something other-worldly about the quietness before anyone wakes up and starts moving around. The air is so crisp and clean.

Here in the cottage garden the birds wait for their food. The robin shows off his red breast and the pigeons chase each other tirelessly around the vegetable patch killing time until I bring their bread out for them.

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Have a wonderful week everyone.