A family wedding – Duncan and Alex

It has been very quiet here over the past week – for a good reason as I’ve been too busy preparing for our eldest son Duncan’s wedding to the lovely Alex. The venue was The Cowshed in Crail – I know it doesn’t sound too romantic but it turned out to be a great place to have a wedding and the Humanist ceremony was perfect. I haven’t even looked at our photos yet – apart from the one I took on my phone, but I’ve nicked one that has appeared on the internet elsewhere, is that allowed?

Sparklers featured in the photo.

wedding

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope that 2019 will be a good one for you, wherever you are.

I live in hope that 2019 won’t be quite as bad here in the UK as I fear it will be. We do have one lovely thing to look forward to in February as our eldest son will be getting married. I think we’ll be making the most of that celebration – before the disaster coming at the end March.

Winter Solstice

Today was/is of course the Winter Solstice – should that have capitals? I’m not sure, but I feel it should as for me it’s one of the most important days of the year. The thought of the days getting longer and the nights lighter doesn’t half cheer me up.

I am busy with Christmas stuff – like most people at the moment, or should I say most women however, spare a thought for me as I’m also busy with a certain husband’s birthday meal on Christmas Eve. In an ideal world there would be a law against that!

Bakewell in Derbyshire, (Peak District) England

During our fairly recent trip down to England we stopped off in Bakewell, Derbyshire for lunch and to stretch our legs. A walk along the very scenic River Wye is a must, especially on a lovely sunny day.

Bridge at Bakewell, Derbyshire

We walked from the car park over this stylish and very ancient gothic arched stone bridge which dates from the 14th century, and if you’re interested there’s a decent second-hand bookshop right at the end of the bridge – or the beginning depending on which way you’re walking – all profits going to local worthy causes.

Bakewell Bridge

Weirs always add interest to waterways and I noticed that this one doesn’t quite go all the way across the width of the river, one edge has been kept clear so that fish are able to navigate easily up or downstream.

Bridge  at Bakewell

Which is just as well because …

Fish

it’s absolutely full of fish – trout and grey mullet I think. They’re big too, most of them being around 18 inches long or thereabouts. The last time we were in Bakewell there were even more fish though and it seemed quite spooky to me as they were all grey and ghostly looking.

As it was such a dry summer the Wye was very low, there wasn’t much depth for the fish to swim in and they were navigating around the legs of the ducks and swans. I’ve never seen anyone fishing here so I suspect it isn’t allowed which is just as well really as there are so many it wouldn’t seem very sporting – like shooting fish in a barrel.

Fish , River Wye, Bakewell, Derbyshire

If you’re interested our lunch was of the clotted cream scones variety – delicious.

You can see more images of Bakewell here.

I’m back

It was good to get away from home for a wee while, just five days, but I’m so glad to be back home and to be sleeping in my own bed again. I enjoy seeing new places but I do so wish I could snap my fingers at the end of the day and be wheeched back to my own bedroom.

On our travels we visited Grasmere and Coniston in the Lake District. At Grasmere we had an interesting look around Dove Cottage, the tiny house that William Wordsworth lived in with his large and extended family. There will be a blogpost about that soon.

Coniston is a beautiful location and John Ruskin’s house is perfectly positioned high above the lake, I took lots of photos so that’ll be another blogpost. After spending one night at Grasemere we drove on to Buxton, mainly to visit the secondhand bookshop there. I bought three books – more about those later. I think I did better the last time we visited the shop, but I could stay in that place the entire day although for older books, the ones that I’m mainly interested it in, it is pricey.

Our next stopover was in Peterborough, a place we had never been before, but we had a notion to visit the big antiques fair that was going on. It turned pout to be absolutely enormous, over 2,000 stalls and we think we managed to get around them all, but it took us from 9.30 am to 4 pm – and by then we were exhausted, but we enjoyed having a good rake around and we bought some more ‘stuff’ that we definitely don’t need, actually a few Christmas presents were bought. Sorry about that mention of the ‘C’ word!

Anyway, I ended up coming home with eleven new to me books. Jack bought eight – I always seem to snap up more than he does, even when I’m picky. Tomorrow I’ll let you know exactly what I bought.

Roadtrip

I’m going off on a bit of a roadtrip for the rest of this week, but I’m scheduling a few blogposts, I just might not be able to reply to comments quickly as I have no idea what the internet access will be like.

A Woodland Walk in Balbirnie, Fife

Let’s pretend that we’re going on a wee walk through the local woodlands in Fife. I took these photos on May 20th just when we were grabbing every good day – just in case it was the last of the summer.
Bluebells

It was such a late spring that a week or so before these photos were taken there was hardly any sign of green at all, but suddenly everything just exploded when our seemingly never ending winter lost its grip. There’s a wee wooden bridge in the distance – it’s perfect for playing Poohsticks, but I usually just hang over it nowadays looking for fish, and sometimes I see one or two.
Burn

Burn

The burn is fairly silent until it reaches a tumble of stones and old displaced cobbles, evidence of what had been a ford until the rushing water took its toll.
Burn

woodland path

Here and there there are groves of these ferns, so elegant looking as they unfurl, I think they might be Shuttlecock ferns but there are so many different kinds, I’m not sure. I’ve just noticed that there are hogweeds beginning to grow on the edges, I hope they don’t eventually crowd the ferns out.

Ferns
Ferns
This woodland was part of a Victorian private estate but is now freely open to the public.
Ferns

It’s not all green!
Trees

We’ve now reached the rhododendrons, these ones were obviously planted here because they’re directly opposite the front windows of the ‘big hoose’ which is now a hotel. I just noticed a couple of days ago that those posts with wire fencing on them to the far right of the photo below have small padlocks attached to them, so that fad which started in Paris must still be ongoing, crazy, but no doubt the padlock manufacturers are happy about it. I think the ‘fence’ looks completely out of place though.
Rhoddies

Rhoddies

I hope that that stretched your legs a bit and maybe cooled you down if you’re still stuck in intense heat. The rain arrived here today, I’m not complaining about it as it’s badly needed, I just wish that we could arrange for it just to rain overnight!

My garden in Fife – late June

I think it was the end of May when Storm Hector raged through large parts of Scotland and flattened the more delicate plants in my garden, it also destroyed the thin metal arch that we had straddling the garden path, so we decided to replace it with a more robust wooden one. The wooden posts were stuck into long metal spikes and holes were dug by Jack and Davy our brother-in-law and Davy mixed the concrete. It seems good and solid. The photo above is of Jack doing some fine tuning.

Garden Arch

The photo below was taken a bit later when the evening sun had moved around to the front of the house. I ended up cutting back completely the everlasting sweetpea which had been covering the metal arch. It had become too fankled (tangled) to train it over the new arch and to be honest I’m not sure if I want it there now as it seems to be a bit of a bully and the stalks and leaves are very course. There are a couple of climbing roses and a honeysuckle at the arch now and I think that will be enough.
wooden garden arch

A week or so of decent weather makes all the difference especially after such a slow start to the growing season as the one we had this year was. The pink rose was one of my birthday plants, I think it’s called Awakening and although all of its original blooms have gone it’s now happily producing a second flush.
garden in Fife

There’s a handy piece of ground behind the shed and that’s where I’ve been storing all of the turf that I’ve been cutting up ever since we moved here over four years ago now (I can hardly believe it’s that long). I realised that foxgloves had seeded themslves on top of the turf and attempts to move them to a more scenic location culminated in the death of a few of them as the roots were too firmly embedded – so I just left the rest of them to get on with it. They’re very happy there.
Foxgloves
I took the photo below from the top of the ladders, as you can see that bed to the left of the wooden arch is becoming quite congested, but everything seems to be growing well for the moment. I might have to move some things next year though.
Plants
The other garden project that I’ve completed this year is the area around the old sink planter. The old rosemary tiles that I’ve used as edgers are doing the job I wanted them to and stopping the grass from encroaching into the slate.
garden sink

Of course the garden looks quite different now as it didn’t rain for weeks and weeks after I took these photos. The grass turned yellow, but the clover stayed nice and green and as usual was very popular with the bees. Most of the plants have coped well with our unusually hot and dry weather but I hadn’t realised that the down side to hot dry summers is that the flowers don’t last nearly as long as they do when the weather is cooler. Not that I’m complaining – well I might be – just a wee bit!

Here, There and Everywhere

I’ve been away in Dumfries and Galloway for the past four days, and I thought I would be able to blog from there. We were near Dalbeattie for a couple of days and then had a couple of days in Wigtown – known as Scotland’s book town. WiFi was supposed to be available from both locations, well technically it was I suppose but it was soooooo slooooow – we just gave up on it. I don’t know how people who actually live in that remote part of south-west Scotland cope with modern life.

Anyway, it was the furthest south we had ever been in Scotland and we spent the four days running around like mad things so in the end we were glad to get home for a rest. We had a great time though and the weather was brilliant. We visited two famous gardens that I’ve wanted to see for years – Logan Botanics and Threave Gardens. I must admit that plants were purchased, I’ll squeeze them in somewhere!

Town wise we visited Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbright, Whithorn, all in beautiful sunshine but of course the day we went to the Mull of Galloway, the southernmost part of Scotland there was a sea mist there, so we weren’t able to see the Irish coast just miles away, nor even the Isle of Man.

We did make full use of our Historic Scotland membership – well we like to get our money’s worth! We visited Sweetheart Abbey, Glenluce Abbey, St Ninian’s Chapel, St Ninian’s cave, New Abbey Cornmill, Orchardton Tower, Chapel Finian, Dundrennan Abbey, Caerlaverock Castle, Cardoness Castle, Carsluith Castle. The towns of Dalbeattie, Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet, Whithorn, Isle of Whithorn (not an island)and Wigtown.

Books were purchased too, but not where you would expect. I only bought two books in Wigtown. I think it must be a real disappointment to people who have travelled a long way to get there as there aren’t that many bookshops and two of them were closed the two days we were there, very annoying as one of them had a book displayed in the window that I wanted to buy.

When we get around to sorting through the photos I’ll do some blogposts on where we visited. I really enjoyed the change of scene but I was so glad to get home, I was worried that even four days away in the heat we’ve been having would have frazzled my garden, luckily there was heavy rain on and off yesterday, we missed it all but could see how heavy it had been, especially when we saw a side street in Ayrshire under water and people on their doorsteps looking very worried.