Sunday, 25 May 2008

Home turf

Or home lupin, to be precise. Here's one in my cold frame ready to be planted out . . . just waiting for the bank holiday rain to ease up.

Blue is the colour . . .

Except it's not . . . they lost - but who cares.

The only Chelsea I was interested in over the past few days was Chelsea Flower Show, which I was lucky enough to get a ticket to.

As a bit of a gardener, I suppose I should be inspired by Chelsea, but in fact I get a bit daunted and depressed. Tens of thousands of pounds are spent on the show gardens and they're just too good, too perfect. There's no way I could reproduce anything like them.

That's not entirely true (I've just had a glass or two of red wine and I'm feeling a a bit maudlin) - it is a good place to get ideas for planting combinations; to see what plants go well together and, in the grand marquee, you can see just what plants are availabe to us.

What is beyond most of us is the hard landscaping - the pavilions, sculptures, walls and miles of perfect York stone paving. No concrete slabs from B&Q at Chelsea!

Anyway, I suspect most people will feel a bit Chelsea'd out at this point - endless coverage on the TV and wall to wall in the papers. So here's just a couple of flowery pictures . . .

The person I accompanied to Chelsea is a well-known shopper (well-known to shopkeepers around East Anglia, anyway), so nothing was going to keep her away from the avenue to trade stands at Chelsea, In fact, she was very restrained. Here are a few of the things she managed to avoid buying.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Bank holiday banker

I'm not a great fan of bank holidays - too many people with free time at the same time. It's always too busy where ever you go. We tend to stay at home and hide!

However, it was the boys' 11th birthday on Saturday, so we had to do something.

Their birthday treat was a visit to Legoland at Windsor, but we took them the previous Saturday to avoid the crowds, ho ho!

No pictures to speak of because we spent most of our time in queues for rides. Token photo below.

On their actual birthday, we took them (plus older sister) to High Lodge at Thetford Forest and, though it was quite busy, had a nice time. The children enjoyed the playgrounds (including 17-year-old big sis), we played cricket and football, then it was back home for a party tea (is there a better meal?) and more hours on the new Wii (Mariokart and tennis).

There was a new 'attraction' at Thetford Forest - a big wooden pyramid to with two tunnel slides.

The eldest daughter is off on her gap year travels at the moment, but she did remeber to send birthday cards from New Zealand. She's following in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg - Around The World in 80 Days or, in her case, 12 weeks. So far on her whistle stop tour, she's done New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fiji and New Zealand. In a couple of weeks, she's off to Oz.

Anyway, back to the more mundane . . . Sunday saw us make our usual visit to a garden centre - this week to pick up dog food and flea treatment for both the dogs. Pm, Mrs DW took me to Blacks in Cambridge to buy a new pair of walking boots for my birthday (9th) if anyone is planning to help me celebrate. I can't post a picture of said boots because they were whisked away and hidden (under the bed)!

Sunday was also interesting because the dog and I discovered two new residents in the village. Most of the farms around the village are arable - oilseed rape as far as the eye can see. But one local farmer has decided to branch out . . . into rare breed cattle. We bumped into him inspecting his two young White Park cows which had arrived just the day before.

He told me he was fed up with driving a tractor up and down spraying crops and, though he was meant to be retired, thought he'd like to help save this very rare breed. When he was growing up, his family had a dairy herd and though that was long ago, I think he still has a passion for cattle.

The two cows, which he hopes to start breeding from this year, came from the herd at Wimpole Hall. Apparently. there are only about 200 breeding females in world (there's a herd in Germany and another in the USA) and its quite a complicated process breeding them because you can't breed from the same line for four generations (to prevent in-breeding).

Finally, I had a perfect Bank Holiday Monday - two pleasant walks with the dog, during which we spotted a nice deer with antlers, and the rest of the day in the garden, planting, weeding and generally pottering.

Perhaps, bank holidays aren't all bad after all.