It’s been a long time….. Monday, Feb 6 2017 

But here I am alive & kicking in 2017.

Christmas was overall dire, for the first time in years I decided to stay home,this proved to be a bad decision. Too many happenings to list,but the worst had to be no phone & no internet for 18 days. Imagine not being able to contact or speak to loved ones at all 🙂

Since then I’ve been busy with more artistic creations.

For sometime I’ve been looking at a window shelf which was in fact useless.All my windows open inwards so a shelf is redundant on the south side where windows are opened daily.

This is a window which get lots of sun so, I’ve cut out the wood,dropped the level & made it a window seat.

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I was so lucky to find a genuine Kilim the exact size I needed.

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Needless to say the paint brushes came out again too ! After much deliberation  & fed up with grey stone I did paint the inside of 2 archways , you wouldn’t believe how different & bigger it feels as one walks through.

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Next, I’ve really indulged myself in a canvas painting. 🙂  I know I’m no artist but……have always wanted a large painting on a wall in my big room,so set to & painted a Rooster, a French symbol & I’ve also found an icon for a number of things dating back to the middle ages.

Only when I was well into it did I find that 2017 is also Chinese year of the Rooster… coincidentally, my timing is very apt.

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So,here I present to you, my Coq de France. Not sealed or hung yet as it’s in oils & I shall have to wait a few months, for drying time, before I can seal it. .

 

All in all,I’ve enjoyed my winter, there’s nothing more enjoyable than lighting a big fire,loading some Rachmaninov & lots of time to paint.

Soon it will be spring & work outside starts again for another year……..

It’s been a busy two weeks… Saturday, Jul 2 2016 

Tired of climbing a ladder to cut back ivy on this gable end,done twice a year,I decided to strip it all off & rethink the planting at the base.

This took a week to do,some areas pulled off easily in huge mats of ivy,others lower down needed a saw, hammer & chisel to release the thick roots,boy do they grip.Fortunately even after 26 years,the stone work is fine.

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Oh what have I started !

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Thick ivy roots.

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It isn’t the work that’s exhausting it’s the clearing away & dragging all debris over to my bonfire area in the orchard..

Eventually ,all done & look I found the 2 wood corbels of the fireplace,I had no idea they came right through the 3ft thick walls.Surprising after 26 years under damp ivy they’re still rock hard .

At least now some pointing can be done unhindered.

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Almost done,much better.Cleaner & tidier. I shall replant the base where I’ve cut down all the Arum lilies ,some will get planted elsewhere & a climbing rose placed at the back.

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Next I’ve been experimenting with cement/concrete. I need to upgrade all my paths,so I set about trying to find the best pattern or mould for stepping stones.I’ve used cake moulds,cardboard boxes & even an old frying pan….so far !

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Having expected disasters,I couldn’t believe how easy this craft is.The hardest part is lifting the bag of ‘beton’ from the car !!

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Just a test

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This the very first stone, impressed with a shortbread tin,but not hard enough.

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Not sure what I shall do with these little hearts . 🙂

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This will become a step for my studio ….once out of the cardboard box !

August; The Fruity Season…. Monday, Aug 31 2015 

Here we are again at the end of another summer & the Swallows preparing to leave.

I’ve enjoyed it & have had more visitors than usual,but generally a lazy time with no projects underway.

With visitors gone, my son has just returned from a family holiday in Croatia & my daughters children have returned from a month in South Africa-it feels as though all is being gathered in !

I’ve had a brilliant crop of all fruits this year, the red currants, blueberries & plums have been enjoyed with the surplus now in the deep freeze to enjoy during the winter.

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Likewise the Blackberry season has just got underway so when rain permits I’m picking & freezing them & also today made Crab Apple jelly….successfully, it actually set !

This year too,unlike last year when there were none,the Cox’s apple tree is heavily laden with fruit so I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into a really crisp apple,how I wish there was a fool proof way to store them through the winter.

Next up will be the walnuts, though I’m not so sure they are going to be that plentiful this year although the hazelnuts are everywhere…..which will no doubt please the squirrels,which disappointingly I’ve not seen hide nor hair of this year.

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During the summer I’ve acquired a new friend,I call her Pud-cat, she won’t let me get any nearer than about 12ft,but she turns up & just watches me work,never tries to enter the house & not that interested in food. She was heavily pregnant last winter when I first saw her, but then she disappeared until the summer.

Unusually,she has beautiful blue eyes.

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It’s time like this I truly wonder if I could ever give all this up & leave the property ?

Squirrels…. Wednesday, Oct 15 2014 

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In the 21 years I have owned this house squirrels have only been seen in the last three.Imagine my joy the first time on spying one scurrying past my conservatory door one afternoon, in midsummer when the cherries were ripe.
A red Squirrel that is as fortunately there are no greys here.

I had no more sightings until the following year when I once again saw him [?] in almost the same spot.Later the same year he was heard & seen in the trees & once on the lawn in Autumn.

Well,last week,not only was he scampering briefly on the lawn last seen hopping towards a large shrub with berries,but the following day, also from under the Magnolia, to my amazement out came another very red baby Squirrel !
I couldn’t believe it, this must mean there’s a family here,two sightings in two days of two different Squirrels,this is a first of many visits I hope.
Whilst there’s an abundance of trees & particularly Oaks all around here with a good green corridor to cover a Squirrels feeding zone, mine is the only property with a variety of Oaks,Chestnuts,Walnut,Conifers, with cones,Norwegian Spruce,a large Beech which had excellent mast this year,several  & Hazelnut, Maple, Birch, to name but a few.

The haul so far…….
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I see no reason why these little chaps need to leave, at present they are chomping their way through a lot of chestnuts which I am not interested in, too much like hard work & it’s a race to get to the Walnuts before they do, but the evidence is there with quite a few open & empty shells of nuts they’ve enjoyed.

Summer On The Wane……… Tuesday, Aug 19 2014 

I’ve been rather lazy of late, yet time seems to fly by.

The plums have ripened, been collected,stewed & frozen, there has been such a crop this year I’ve had to buy an additional freezer, with the blackberries & crab apples still to come.

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The corn was cut weeks ago but for some reason & unusually the farmer has not collected the bales.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the meantime, I’m eyeing up this arch which is getting overgrown with Russian creeper….

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I lost the Italian Cyprus tree on the left so now the other one looks very scrappy & not completely healthy…….As I now have the large picture windows/doors, the arch blocks the view across the garden from that room.

It’s a shame to (more…)

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