Friday, 25 February 2011


No eyesore needing concealment, no overlooking neighbours, no prevailing wind needing to be fended off, no useful shade cover, no shortage of other trees struggling to compete, no room to manouevre in the drive - in fact no excuse whatsoever for huge, ugly, hacked about leylandii That's if there could ever be an excuse for Leylandii). There were five specimens lining the drive up to the house, cut back at the bottom to allow cars to pass and growing thick and dense - they HAD to go. It has been a mammoth task as we were determined not to be left with another mountain of leylandii debris as we had successfully cleared one of those left behind by the previous residents at Segala. A six day bonfire and much chainsawing later we now have a stack of logs and a lovely clear view across the fields. We can almost hear the smaller trees left behind breathing sighs of relief as they feel the sun.

I have planted daffodils along the line of the fence which hopefully will spread and in the summer we will sow a flower mixture along the edge of the drive.

Elsewhere in the garden things are starting to wake in response to some warm sunny days and some gentle February rain. Watching a garden wake up where I don't know every plant in the garden because I put it there is a strange experience. I have started sowing and planting myself so by this time next year I shall know what to look forward to - for now each day brings new and beautiful discoveries and some welcome tiny splashes of colour.

There is a time of huge disruption ahead as we have the installation of the pool to "look forward" to and the terassier has already warned of devastation and it is time to retrieve plants destined for destruction by hole and trench digging machinery and replant them elsewhere. This is good as with each replanting bit by bit the garden is changing shape and by next year will feel more mine own.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

the cat sat on the mat

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder - well it has certainly worked regarding the little feral kitten we were trying to "adopt " before we went away for two weeks. Previously she was very nervous when we opened the door and did not like coming inside the house to eat ( even to escape the chickens who were always after her food) and certainly hated it if we closed the door on her escape route. An absence of two weeks has worked wonders and we now have a quite different little cat who follows me around the garden playing and climbing trees, comes inside to eat and has started to explore the downstairs rooms - maybe one day she will even sit on my lap!

Our trip to England was a great success. Combe Martin folk club was a gem and TCs performance was needless to say brilliant. We had a lovely time and enjoyed being back as part of the English folk music scene. North Devon too was delightful and we loved the scenery and being beside the sea.

During the following week we spent happy times with family, availed ourselves of retail opportunities before a stay in North Staffordshire for our "leaving party". The celidh was just brilliant and all that we had hoped it would be. There were over 100 people ( including our children who had travelled from Coventry and Norwich to be there), many reunions, great music and lots of dancing. We were showered with presents, there were cake and balloons (which stayed in the window of the car for our return journey and are still decorating our dining room) and we generally had an evening to remember.

During the evening I was able to clog again with Leopard spot which was great ( especially good to know I can still remember how ) and we also introduced the assembled throng to the sardane which we have learnt at our dancing classes her in France. TC had sent the music to the band in advance and they had made it their own! It was good fun even if only a few people danced a recognisable sardane( I blame the teacher). Next month we are due to teach some English tunes and dances at a folk event here - all round I think this could be trickier!

Although we had had a great time and it was lovely catching up with friends and family we were very happy to be home - and yes, here really is home already. This week we have signed the contract for the installation of our swimming pool ( our last grand project), we have painted our big bedroom ready for the carpet to be fitted and we are starting to plan the rest of our garden projects for the summer. We are looking forward to welcoming more visitors over the summer months and the last few days the weather has been just glorious during the day full of promise of an imminent Spring.

If TC can shake off the very English cough and cold he brought back with him without passing it on to me I shall be extremely grateful as I have a lot planned for this week!