Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


Pond Dipping

This time of the year gardening sort of completely takes over - you push push push leading up to this point with sowing seeds, weeding, potting up and pricking out gradually getting more and more frantic.

Then suddenly the garden explodes and the roses are in full bloom and filling the air with their sultry perfume, the foxgloves are racing each other as they reach for the sky with bumblebees busily foraging their every bloom. The daisies with their ever cheerful faces follow the sun, fill the borders and sprawl across the path.

For a few short but very delicious weeks the garden is ripe and voluptuous with indulgent flowers and intoxicating scents and I am happy. (well almost - there is that oxymoron of ... do I humour the daisies which are lying across the path looking gorgeous and enticing or do I constrict their happy laissez-faire attitude and corset them up with supports??) 

Definitely the former!

And the title? Pond Dipping? Well whilst working in a private garden today I accidently stepped off the edge of a natural pond and lost my left leg in the water.... I dripped and shed duck weed for another 40 minutes before I finished.  There was still water in my boot once I'd got home! There was only Moss to laugh at me and she was too busy sunbathing to even notice. Such a supportive sidekick......

However, I don't think I would have it any other way. Life is for living, for the here and now, for the flowers and their fragrance.

Hope your Thursday was a lovely as mine - but you don't have to pond dip (unless you REALLY REALLY want too!)


Simply gently wonderful

 We looked at each other over the empty breakfast bowls and half drunk mugs of tea and almost simultaneously said ... shall we go out in the van?  In what felt like record time, we'd packed and were trundling off towards our nearest coastal patch where Moss has a favourite dog loop (well lets face it she has lots of favourite dog loops but this one must top them all!)

Are we nearly there yet?

We arrived by lunch and within moments of stopping we threw the doors open and had the kettle on. On the horizon the clouds tumbled and turned black and looked incredible. We sat drinking mugs of tea and savoured our lunch as we watched a fantastic storm out at sea. There were a few splots near us but we must have just been on the fringe of the storm so we could smell the rain and feel the warm and blustery wind - it was elating!

Lunch as we wait for the rain to arrive

After lunch we set off with Moss leading the way - she knew where she wanted to go and we let her take us. She dragged us down at double quick time into the village of Glasson via the docks then over the swing bridge down to the Lune estuary edge. Once there we let her off the lead and we wandered in brilliant sunshine - it was so warm and the scent from the dog roses was intoxicating. There were so many butterflies about and we stopped several times to try and take photos but they flittered from flower to flower so joyously that we could not keep up. We watched the common terns hunt for fish, first hovering then plunging into the riverine edges then flying off to their nests with beaks filled with silvery snacks. As she sunbathed, Moss grinned from her tail to her chops.

Aw com'on peeps less bird watchin' and more dog walkin' says Moss

Our path continued along the disused railway line where we turned off and worked our way along the lanes to Condor Mill and then onto the canal tow path. Moss inspected every possible entry point so she could slip into the tepid water for a swim. 

Momma swan proudly watching over her brood

The swan family we'd noticed nesting a couple of months ago now have a family of cygnets on the water and I managed to snap a photo quickly before the adults became cross. At the marina basin Moss swam for a little while until we had to call her out and head back to the van - we could see the clouds building up again and we wanted to make sure we were not caught out in any rain.

The hugest cloud in the sky dwarfing Sunderland Point as it hurled rain down on the sea

Back at the van, dog towelled dry, fed, dozing and drying in the warm sunlight, we had a brew and watched another summer storm roll by along the horizon. As the sun dropped we were treated to an amazingly colourful sky. Moss slept through it all - she is a funny ol' thing - as soon as we return to the van from a jolly out she wants to sit in the cab on her bed and have a post-walk-nap!

Moss dozing in the sun on her mattress, warm and full of food - happy dog!

After we'd eaten we went back out for an evening dog loop (Moss was besides herself with wuffety happiness) returning to the van to sit and watch the sky darken as the sun slipped under the sea as we sipped tea. We sat there and felt absolutely at peace and gently happy.

Simple pleasures, simply gently wonderful. We all need more days like these.



A couple of weeks ago, we packed the van and headed north. Our plan was to see what the weather was doing and follow the sunshine. We spent nearly a week wandering the quiet lanes and finding the solitary views. Walking on beaches where we were the only ones watching the waves crash and draw as the tide turned.

We stopped for a few hours at Wigtown Harbour which is a rather grand title for a tidal river with disused quays.  However it is a delightful spot. The oystercatchers nest on the grassy docks between lichen splattered concrete bollards. A secret whorled nest cradling four speckled brown and cream eggs. I watch the female oystercatcher watch me as I take photos.

Across from the harbour beef cows graze in knee deep breeze blown grass undulating and mimicking water. Skylarks and curlews fill the air with their song - one melodic, the other forlorn. Both beautiful. 

Once we'd rested up, we returned to the road promising to return to the harbour - a edgeland space, simple, wild and obviously loved by the locals.

I will share a few precious moments from our holiday over the next few posts - promise I wont swamp you will photos and stories (of which there are many!) until next time πŸ’™πŸ’šπŸ’™ xxxx


Summer Solstice and seven days seven photos


The first day of the new working week layout - volunteers and I worked in a sweltering warm kitchen garden where one of the many daily tasks was to start harvesting the heavenly scented strawberries. Their perfume intensified by the warm air was intoxicating and we kept lifting up a choice morsel and saying ... this one is absolutely perfect.... No this one is even better! .... look at the size of this one! ... 

Today was set aside for private gardens which are a complete contrast to the hot and bustling kitchen garden, these are cooler, greener, and despite the amount of work completed, seem both more calmer and relaxing. Being surrounded by flowers, hedges and meadows is good for the soul!

Another day in the kitchen garden, a constant stream of people popping in to walk around the raised vegetable beds, asking garden advice or just wanting to chat. Thank goodness for the volunteers as they continue working while I feel to be standing and talking and itching to get on with my almost never ending list of 'Do it RIGHT now' tasks that summer seems to trigger.
A different day - teaching. This time instructing 12 lovely ladies how to make a midsommerkrans or mid summer crown or wreath. Buckets of fresh flowers collected, foliage, grasses, green flower pods are coaxed into swirling 'nests' to celebrate the richness and bountiful moments of mid summer.

Back into the kitchen garden - the day is the warmest of the year so we retreat after lunch into the cool and lushness of the young orchard. I have to firmly encourage the volunteers to enjoy the slowness of weeding around the mini meadows beneath each tree and relish the cool breeze. I start summer pruning the young trees and celebrate the surrounding greenness in stark contrast to the formal construction of the kitchen garden. I also discover my favourite 'tree' - a 'tea-tree' !

Himself and I wake up over looking Sunderland Point having set off the night before in the van. After a blissful and much needed good night's sleep we collect Youngest's goods and chattels from his uni digs because this particular lanky loon has finished university and bar the final 'extrav' and graduation day is now a free man (until the next step) - where has time gone? We load up the van while Moss sits in the front and 'guards'.

Father's day, the boys send Himself some wonderfully disrespectful cards which amuse us both greatly, then we spend the morning pottering in the garden, baking and tinkering with the van before my folks come for afternoon tea and still slightly warm oaty biscuits.
Seven days, seven photos, many stories briefly mentioned and many which have not. My feet seem not to have touched ground for some weeks now however, with the new hours at work, I am hoping that things will be easier - not because I am doing less or doing more - but doing them at a better pace for me.

Happy summer solstice - this may be the half point of the calendar year but it is the beginning of the astrological summer with all the lushness and warmth and sunshine (being positive here seeing I do live in the north of the uk!!!) that summer can bring!

And, I shall leave you with the toast we shared at the midsommerkrans workshop ....

May the flowers in your hair stay fresh and your dance around the maypole be strong....

 skΓ₯l !


A postcard from Moss

iz Moss here,
recently we has been away.... near beaches (my best favourite thing)
and rivers (my also best favourite thing)
I wallowed and 'muddled' (mud puddling) (my happiest favourite thing ever) 
My humans took many photos - no idea why - of me but who cares ? - I wuz at the seaside!
and in woodlands wiv sticks and mud (my every day favourite things)
My human says that the holiday was 'just her cup of tea' - I thought I wuz?!
I rode in the van and I got tired and muddy and stinky (best stink EVER!)
I sat in da sun and blinked and sunbathed and got hot (my favourite holiday thing to do)
I tried to jump in to da sea at EVERY oppawtunity (silly humans stopped me - said too dangerous!!)
I did lots of my favourite things - just not enough of them coz could do them EVERY day!

luv and wuffs

ps my human may get round to typing a word or two - eventually, but I fink we are back at work tomorrow and its gonna be a busy week - I want to go back to the sea!


gentle moments

There is something rather touching, rather precious, when you wander into the garden and the cat runs down (ok ok waddles*) with us as we walk together through the burgeoning foliage to the summerhouse.
The door creaks and needs quite a hefty hoik to open but when it does - warm air floods out and the air fills with the scent of a warm wooden building mingling with a hint of incense.
We all have our 'own' seats, Himself and I flumpf down on the settee - a gift from a neighbour - it is squidgy and soft and very comfortable. The cat choses one of her (many) favourite sunny spots and proceeds to melt herself in the welcome sunlight .......... and the dog throws herself on the floor and proceeds to wiggle under the table.  No we don't know why either.
The summerhouse had initially been bought to be my art studio and it was for three years, then the angst of being an self (un)employed artist got too much and I rejoined the workforce - not for white or blue collar but green collar! (yes it is a term) 
The summerhouse was reduced to a storage of reminders of a disappointed dream until I had a major clear-out - sold as much of the artwork as I could, donated what was wanted, threw the rest away. 
It is now a lovely place where we sit out/in the garden, as I have planted right up to the windows and if you sit quietly enough, birds land an arm's reach away to forage without noticing. The cat loves that, she sits and cackles with her whiskers rattling away. Fortunately she is unable to tear herself off the seat and usually gives the birds a good telling off then flops back to continue the serious activity of sunbathing.
Mean while the dog continues to disappear under the table....toes twitching as she dreams dog dreams.
Sometimes (but lets be honest) not that often - the summerhouse can be rather too warm, so doors are thrown open wide and the rattan blinds lowered to filter the sunlight - that appears to be an invite to bumblebees to rumble in, and they do, requiring gentle herding to get them back out so they don't constantly bump and buzz their heads on the glass as they try to take a short cut to the flowers.

And, usually clutching mugs of tea and a couple of dog and cat treats, we spend happy and gentle moments emersed in the garden - I love it.


Feeling sick

I've just done the tally for the 'Big Plastic Count' and was not too surprised at the amount (seeing I was the one monitoring what was being collected) and I did think that it was not too bad, we do have weeks that we must throw more away and it tickled me that I actually did a 'flat lay' of my rubbish - but that is where the amusement ended ....

In one week you used
bits of plastic
Over a year that's equivalent to
pieces of plastic
If all households were the same as yours, the UK would use
bits of plastic every year
What was your plastic packaging waste used for?
Food & Drink
Food & Drink
Cleaining & Toiletries
Cleaning & Toiletries
Everything Else
Everything Else
Most plastic packaging is single-use – designed to be used once and then thrown away. For a lot of people plastic packaging from food & drink will be highest. If supermarkets reduced the amount of fruit and vegetable wrapping, it would significantly cut plastic waste.
What was your breakdown of hard and soft plastic?
Hard plastic tray
of your plastic was hard plastic
Hard plastic is a lot easier to recycle than soft plastic. Whilst hard plastic is more recyclable, there are many items that cannot be recycled such as black plastic, polystyrene chips and toothpaste tubes.
Hard plastic tray
of your plastic was soft plastic
Less than 1 in 10 local councils in the UK collect soft plastic, like plastic bags and wrappers. Do you know if yours collects it?
What happens to your plastic packaging waste?
recycled in the UK
Plastic waste that is sorted and reprocessed in the UK then turned into new materials.
The UK sends tonnes of rubbish to other countries every day - often to countries in the Global South. Investigations have shown much of it ends up being dumped or burned.
When plastic is buried in the ground at a landfill, it releases harmful gases into the atmosphere, while wind and rain carry microplastics into surrounding areas.
Burning or incinerating plastic releases carbon, toxins and pollutants into the air, presenting numerous health risks for local communities and contributing to climate change.

I have now emailed our local politician (who has a well deserved reputation for enjoying a cake or two...) to say that I was horrified with what happens to the plastic I throw away..... WTF?!!

I shall have to try harder at not purchasing items in plastic (but as discussed before - that can be difficult) HOWEVER - the onus is not on us alone - Government and businesses need to sort their houses out too before lambasting the 'throw away' culture of the public and telling them to improve/repent/change - they have to, too!!