The secret garden today!

Another beautiful day on the Island and I’ve been back at work in our secret garden. It’s become a bit of an obsession and I’m afraid I probably did too much and will suffer tomorrow. Most of the undergrowth has been cut down from one side and today I concentrated on clearing the ground, cutting up the branches, brambles etc and gathering it up into a rather massive compost heap. I did think about having a bonfire but we have only just moved in and I don’t want to blot my copy book with the neighbours, plenty of time for that later!

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There are ivy runners everywhere which will take some time to eradicate but I’ve made a start.

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This is a bigger job as the ground is less even and was completely covered with brambles, I’m going to need the strongest pair of gardening gloves to clear it! There isn’t a rush (who am I kidding of course there’s a rush) but I’d like to get everything cleared before things start growing again so I can see clearly what’s coming up……..and deal with it!!

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The secret garden

If you’ve been following this, and if you haven’t why not? you’ll be aware that we’ve discovered a secret garden through a gate at what we had thought was the end of our garden! It’s all ridiculously over grow and so for the last couple of days I’ve been attacking it with a pair of loppers.

The other day I discovered a planter and after a lot of cutting back of undergrowth and Herculean effort I’ve been able to drag it out. In fact I’ve now found another, smaller one.

They seem to be made of some sort of concrete so nothing particularly special but they’ll look nice all planted up again.

Bit by bit it’s getting cleared, well getting cut down anyway!

It’s all a bit of a surprise!

It’s all a bit of a surprise to us. When we came to view the house we knew that it backed onto a wood. We knew that there was a gate into the wood at the end of the garden though we didn’t go through it because we were told it was jammed. What we didn’t realize was that on the other side of the gate is more garden, a secret garden, one that’s been left and allowed to revert back to the wood it leads into!

Since I was young I’ve wanted a bit of woodland. As a child I loved playing in woods, building hides etc and as I’ve got older have always liked the idea of looking after a bit of woodland. A garden is great but looking after a bit of woodland, clearing the undergrowth etc is something else entirely. Well now I’ve got it and it’s all a bit of a surprise………and quite exciting.

It’s not big, but big enough to be manageable and keep me interestedimg_20161228_1419599_rewind

I’ve spent the last couple of morning’s chopping down branches and trying to clear some of the ivy and brambles.img_20161228_1420102_rewind

There’s a bamboo and some very overgrown bay trees, so it must have been managed at some time.

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I’ve also discovered a carved stone trough or planter which looks as if it will take a bit of moving.

So what’s the plan?………..well I’ll start by clearing away the brambles and the dead branches so that I can see exactly what we’ve got. I’ll let some light in and then wait and see what comes up in the spring. It’s all a bit exciting and all the better for being a surprise.

 

 

It’s Christmas!!!

Well actually it’s boxing day.

I’ll start by saying that the panto was fabulous, rather too many children there for my liking but you can’t have everything. The script had enough ‘adult’ content to keep us laughing and enough child centred stuff to keep the whole audience entertained for the two hours. The Shetland Ponies were everything I’d hope they would be and more, completely adorable. I’d been looking forward to it and it far exceeded my expectations.

That and the carol concert in the local pub (always a good idea) got me in the Christmas spirit (only the two glasses)

Christmas day was quiet with just the two of us, a bit of a change from previous years but nevertheless lovely with messages and calls from loved ones.

We woke this morning to beautiful sunshine so simply had to walk to the beach and watch the mad boxing day swimmers. There were hundreds of people, far more than in previous years, swimmers and enthusiastic observers.

I hope you’re having a terrific Christmas and I send you love and very best wishes for the new year.

Pre-Christmas gripe!

Well this has been a long time coming!

We’ve moved house……………….and have had no internet for two months!

The move itself was a nightmare. When we moved out of our previous house we actually had no idea where we were going. The solicitors couldn’t tell us if the purchase of the new place would happen or not …….or even give any indication how the purchase was going. The idea that we might want to move out of one property and straight into another seemed like a completely new concept for them. The quite understandable (to us anyway) worry that we might have to put everything into storage and find a short/longterm interim rental property that could (at very short notice) take us and the two cats was beyond their comprehension! They had no understanding that moving into a rental property would mean that we would have (certainly initially) no internet access and as it turned out no mobile phone signal.

Even though we explained that we had no internet or mobile phone signal they still insisted on sending texts and online messages and got quite shirty when we didn’t immediately respond.

As soon as we heard that our purchase was going to happen we contacted the internet provider to get connected. It’s taken two months and hours on the phone. Hours of being ‘on hold’ whilst listening to tinny sounding carols while someone in a call centre tried to find out what was going on. We must have spoken to every person in the two call centres, one in Darlington and the other in Plymouth, and had four or five case workers who were going to make our case their top priority (only one of whom ever rang back)

However…….yesterday the router arrived and today we have access to the internet.

We’ve spent most of the morning setting up our bits of equipment and everything seems to be working so fingers crossed!

We’re off to see the local panto now, it’s Cinderella and there are going to be Shetland Ponies on stage from the donkey sanctuary…..fabulous, I’m actually a little excited.

‘Make your own Victorian House’ I have!

Back in March I said that I’d found a copy of a book that I’d had as a child ‘Make your own Victorian House’. Dad had originally bought it for me….or for him and me. We spent a lot of time putting it together and it sat on a shelf in my bedroom until I went to university (who knows what happened to it after that!)

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I’ve now got round to making the model and I’m quite pleased with it. It’s funny that all these years later  I could recognize pieces and remembered cutting them out and sticking them together the first time round. It was fun to make again and brought back some lovely memories of sitting at the table with Dad snipping and sticking!

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The friend who has the model which started me off on this journey into past times has given me a paper model of the Paris Opera House to make up……….it looks very complicated and may hang around for a while until I build up the strength to make it!

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I’ve finished my Book Bingo Card!

I’ve done it, my Book Bingo card is now filled and handed in ready for the finished cards to be put in a hat and a winner to be drawn! The draw will take place next Saturday and one lucky winner will walk away with twenty five English pounds to spend (hopefully) on books.

I never expected to finish (and with a week to go…..unheard of for me) It’s been a lot of fun and has revived my love of reading which of course was one of the reasons Book Bingo was set up in the first place. IMG_20160729_1349360_rewind_kindlephoto-172126978

Book Bingo….the final push!

Well………I’ve done it! I’ve read the last three books that I needed in order to complete my Book Bingo card. I didn’t expect to finish the whole card but I have and I’m delighted.

So which three books did I choose?

I needed to read a book “set in another country” and chose another Agatha Christie….A Caribbean Mystery. It’s a Miss Marple story and if you can forgive the, perhaps, racist comments about the native Caribbean folk, is good read.(It was first published in 1964 when people could get away with being dismissive of anyone who wasn’t white, middle class and Christian) Half way through the book I realized that I’d seen a television film of the story but I’d forgotten the ending so it didn’t spoil the book.

For”A book not originally written in English” I read Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson. This is a children’s book though I’m not entirely sure what kind of child it’s aimed at! I obviously don’t have the kind of imagination need for stories like this because although charming in parts it IMG_20160726_0816442_rewind_kindlephoto-3401683became so surreal that I began to wonder if someone had slipped some hallucinatory drugs into my tea!

My final read was The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne which is “A book which has already been made into a film”

I’ve seen the film which I thought was excellent but the book is magnificent. It’s a book that everyone should read (probably more than once) It should be on the syllabus of every school. If you haven’t read it then go to your nearest bookshop TODAY and get a copy, get a couple of copies and give the others to friends..

So my Book Bingo card is full and I’m in with a chance of having my name drawn out of the hat to win……..I’m not sure what the prize is and as Book Bingo was Phil’s idea in the first place I probably shouldn’t accept the prize even if I did win!! It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve read stuff that I wouldn’t normally read, some hasn’t been so good (the graphic novel comes instantly to mind) but the majority has been excellent, poetry, chick-lit, children’s books, from the teenage section, not originally written in English. More people than expected have taken up the challenge to play Book Bingo, far more than expected have actually finished. More people are using our lovely little community Library, more books are being read, people are talking about stories, authors, the different categories of books, making recommendations etc…….oh and we’ve collected some money in order to be able to buy new books. Will we do it all again again next year……well, I think we would be silly not to!

 

Book Bingo!

People have been asking me about the book bingo that I wrote about a couple of month’s ago! (they have …..really)

Well, it’s still going strong…though I’ve let things slip !

I’ve had my mind on other things lately and haven’t been doing so much reading however with book bingo ending in August I thought I’d better pull my socks up and at least attempt to get my bingo card filled, especially as it was my partner’s idea in the first place!

I don’t think we’d imagined that anyone would actually finish a card but every time I go into the library there seem to be more finished cards displayed on the wall, one lady is just one book away from finishing her second card!

Last time I wrote about it I was about to start reading a graphic novel……let’s just say It wasn’t my cup of tea and leave it at that!IMG_20160720_2150393_rewind_kindlephoto-924639932

As you can see I’ve got a lot of squares filled in but have a long way to go…well actually not that far now as I’ve been reading madly!

For a ‘book published before 1966’ I have just finished Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one of her Hercule Poirot stories and good read. M Poirot has to discover who killed a famous artist sixteen years after the murder….if in fact it was a murder?

For the ‘By an American author’ I read Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell. I’ve read some of her books before and enjoyed them but I’m afraid I just couldn’t connect with this one. I couldn’t empathise with the characters and in the end really didn’t care why or who did what they did…sorry Patricia.

For a ‘From the Chck-lit rack’ I was recommended to read A Seaside Affair by the lovely Fern Britton. Frankly, although I’d heard the term Chick-lit I’d really no idea what it meant although I rather thought that I wouldn’t like it, whatever it was. Well, actually I did like it, I liked it a lot. I’ll probably not be rushing back to the rack to grab piles of Chick-lit books any time soon but I’d certainly think of reading something else by Fern. It advertised itself as having “fun and friendly charm on every page” …………I’m not quite sure about that but it was certainly enjoyable and if only real life was as interesting and fun as in the little Cornish town of Trevay.

For a ‘Shorter than 200 pages’ I went for the children’s book The Cuckoo Clock of Doom from the Goosebumps collection of books by R L Stine.       I used to read these books to my class when I was teaching and they always went down well. Any book that states on the cover ‘Reader beware you’re in for a scare’ is always going to be a winner, and it was.

For ‘A book with 5 or more words in the title’ I chose another children’s book The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me by Roald Dahl. I’ll come clean, I don’t like Roald Dahl, I wasn’t brought up reading his books and somewhere along the line I’ve got it into my head that he wasn’t a very nice man. I’m not sure where this idea has come from and it may be completely wrong, certainly everyone else I know loves his work and loves him so I’ll probably have to change my opinion. I picked this book mainly because I needed to read a book with five words or more in the title and this book has more than five words in the title. I loved it and loved the drawings by the magnificent Quentin Blake. Yes I loved it so look ……already my opinion of Roald Dahl is changing!

I needed a book with a child on the cover and grabbed Demon Dentist by David Walliams. Friends have read it and enjoyed it and I guess I did too….to a point. It was quite funny but maybe I’m a bit out of touch with what children these days find funny.

That just leaves ‘A book which has already been made into a film’ ‘Set in another country’ and ‘A book not originally written in English’ and I’ll have a completed bingo card…….surely I can manage that!!!!IMG_20160720_2146210_rewind_kindlephoto-924559702