Well summer certainly made up for the bitter and long winter we endured this year. What a treat to have virtually 6 whole weeks of sun. The vitamins have all been absorbed and stored ready for autumn and the winter ahead.
My summer holiday was very productive and instead of heading abroad, I decided to get really prepared this year and tick a few more things off on my to do list!
I was introduced to an amazing man who’s eye for detail and willingness to take on any large or small with such enthusiasm was the best summer present ever. I now have a fully waterproofed shed, so my first load of seasoned ash logs are being kept wonderfully dry. He had restored the front tongue and groove boards and now it just needs a lick of paint. I spent a few days in Cornwall and when I returned as a surprise, I noticed that wonderful calm ticking noise as I walked he, he had so very kindly tuned my Grandmother clock, memories of my grandparents came flooding back. My grandfather religiously used to pull down the winder and it was one of those nostaligic moments that brought a big smile to my face. My cottage now has a wonderful deep heartbeat resounding through the rooms, such a comforting sound.
During my holiday, my mother kindly made it her mission to take off the curtains which belong to the previous owner and get my own temporary ones up, which we achieved, between feasting, dog walking and pottering. We filled our boots with home grown vegetables and finished off all the charlotte potatoes, freshly dug and into the pan. We picked plums off a tree along the lane and I made a delicious plum, orange and almond cake, as well as jam, which unlike the first stab at greengage jam which was rather firm, turned out perfectly, utterly delicious and not too sweet.
Frogs, crickets, caterpillars, moths and butterflies were all evicted from their cosy resting places in the meadow last week. I cut the whole thing twice over and then the path was cut even shorter so I could see it in place. My wildflower seed mix from Emorsgate Seeds was sown and now I wait (impatiently however) for the seed to take and reward me next year, I can only hope!
My first shutter went in and looks like it’s been there forever, of course now I want all the windows to have shutters, which over time I hope to do. They were made locally by a man called Terry, who’s company London Cabinet Makers, originated in Chiswick. He is incredibly skillful and ensured that the wood was the best one for insulation. Now I just need to win the lottery to get the rest in!
The London Clay is mostly on now and just a couple of windows require a second coat, as well as the front door, it looks wonderfully rich and the colour works so well with the Cotswold stone. I think it’ll catch on!
I have been eased back to work by recently spending the day at Cottesbrooke Hall, photographing a wonderful new Dahlia border, designed by Arne Maynard. It’s breathtaking, and between the heavy, cold showers I darted in and out of the car to capture the glossy heavy heads.
On a final note, last but not least is the long awaited water connection to the mains supply! I am finally connected. D Day came and went without any drama, though I did discover my plumber drenched in the cellar, all part of the fun he assured me! Ruscombe Road is closed for 3 days, one day for the connection, 2nd day for re-tarmacing and the 3rd day for a few cuppas to sit and review their hard work!
Winter prep continues!