Thursday, July 27, 2006

Even hotter!

Seems like a long time since I blogged......... I blame the heat in the studio; I can't concentrate!

The holiday looms large now and we've been preparing to take Big Black Boris on the 300-odd mile trip to Cornwall. I have given the shabby cooker/sink cabinet a temporary coat of blue paint which cheers it up somewhat. The tie-dye curtains will have to wait till I have time as I'm needlework-ably challenged and need to take my time with anything resembling sewing. So that's my Winter Job.

We took Boris out for a run to hubby's parents' home, some 35 miles distant....15 miles out, the engine conked! AArgh! Luckily we managed to limp back home and got the bus to the garage in the village, where the mechanic took one look under the bonnet and said 'Aha! The widget's worked loose!' And promptly fixed it...took seconds! (I say widget because I don't know what it was called, but for the sake of the technically minded of you, the Bus was sucking more air than fuel. That done we were once again on our way and this time all went as smoothly as a 2 litre 25 year old VW engine can be. Phew! Only one thing now..........another techy thing means that we don't have time to finish doing the heating/cooling bits on Boris, (risers? shrug) before the hols as it's quite a fiddly job, so we're driving round with the interior heater ON! Now remember we have 300 ish miles to travel and you'll understand why we've decided to travel overnight! Think of us arriving at our destination, red and dripping with sweat........and me at my time of life too! Oh well, makes life interesting and gives me something to write in my blog.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hot hot hot!

Well, after the drama of the other day, anything else is a bit of a let down. Still, one must make the effort.......though in this heatwave it's hard to think straight!
The Phormium plant in the back garden has flowered again this year, just the second time ever. Last year it was covered with huge majestic spikes of flower. This Oh well, a good excuse for les boys to strike a dramatic pose in front of it!

I took Charlie for his walk very early yesterday because of the heat. Here are a few shots of our route. The landowner blocked off a part of the walk a few weeks ago, which was a blow. Fortunately the local council came to the rescue and reopened up an ancient footpath that hasn't been used during the memory of the people who've lived in the village all their lives. This footpath joins up with the old one at a point before the blocked bit so we can walk the familiar way again and just finish the circuit by walking this new/ old path. Trouble is, it's not been trodden down yet and is criss-crossed with plough marks and some beds of very sharp thistles!

Some late flax flowers among the seed pods

Tiptoe through the thistles to a gap in the hedge by that house!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Look what I found in our garden!

We'd drained our pond to a shallow sludge ready to move it as we need a seating area in that position. Any time now we planned to tip all our hardcore into the hole to form a base for patio area. Now we have to wait. As I walked from the back gate to the house I saw something moving in the bottom of the ex-pond, from the corner of my eye. And blow me if it wasn't a bloomin' grass snake...complete with adult frog in it's jaws! I rushed in to get the camera and here are the better shots. I did feel dreadfully sorry for the frog; it was struggling to escape but had no hope. The snake had it's head in it's mouth when I came across them and was slowly dragging it under it's rock.
There's a short bit of video too, rough quality but it shows the poor frog trying to get away. Don't look if you're squeamish or upset by nature in the raw.

Saturday Scrumptiousness

Ahhh....the weekend at Scribbly Cottage! I cycled about 6 miles to the next village Saturday afternoon to pick up some shopping. It was a really pleasant ride as there was a cooling breeze. In the evening Mart put on his pinny, as he always does every Saturday night, and cooked dinner. It's always something special, something fishy and this week it was salmon steaks with Muscadet, watercress and dill potatoes. (Thank you Rick Stein, for your inspiring TV cookery programmes!) It was absolutely scrummy as always. He's a good cook and I had to take a picture of him (with inane grin) beavering away in the kitchen. What a guy!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Grumpy old beach bum

Here's a little watercolour study of a couple coming back from a snatched hour at the beach. (apologies for the quality of my scanner, some sky wash has disappeared) Although this couple don't seem to have too much stuff with them, I see people trudging back and forth weighed down with clutter. They fascinate me. I have to ask myself why they need all this stuff. It's as if they have the need to set up their little suburban space on the 'wilds' of a beach lest they feel insecure without all their trappings to hand. Sit on any beach this summer and listen to the sound of the waves being drowned out by the inane trill of mobile phones and the bellowed conversations that ensue.

Windbreaks I suppose have their place but the massive multi-windbreak corrals that are making an appearance appal me. 'This is our space, keep well away!' is the message. The only trouble with windbreaks is that although they keep the wind out they also screen the occupants from good things. last year a crowded beach in Cornwall was treated to the spectacle of wild bottle-nosed dolphins jumping and showing off not far out to sea. The people behind windbreaks missed most of it.

Kites......argh...I HATE kites! I was almost brained by one that some unrepentant nincompoop lost control of. They glide and swoop above me like predatory birds awaiting their chance to get me again. I walk kite-infested beaches with the top of my skull crawling in anticipation.

There will be more beach-related sketches and waffling. I have to go and do some work now, but I'm looking forward to our holiday at the beach in a couple of weeks. We will go down to the beach with surfboards and a towel and a bottle of water and everything else left locked away in the van till we need it.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Busy week

It's been a bit busy here at Scribbly Cottage the past few days.
First my mother phoned on Monday in a bit of a panic; she'd forgotten to take her insulin (being diabetic this is NOT GOOD) and needed somebody around to make sure she didn't slip into a coma. So, to cut a long story short we had her sleeping overnight with us. She had to have our room which put us on the futon in the sitting room. Frenzied rifling of airing cupboard to find fresh bedding and enough to go round! Come morning Mum was right as rain and declared she'd not slept so well in ages!

Then in the afternoon, Dearly Beloved and son came home from their shake-down trip to Cornwall in Boris the Camper, which seems to have gone well. A bit of a fuel leak still, though, despite a new fuel tank. Off to the garage again! Nevertheless, the camper made good time and tackled the Cornish 'ups and downs' with aplomb. Now I want to get something done about the inside before we go away. I'm poised to create some tie-dye blinds to replace the army-surplus drab green ones presently installed. And I'm going to paint the cooker/sink unit too. Thinking of a nice pattern in blues. And I have some seagrass matting to go on the floor too. Hubby bought some horrendous flourescent yellow plastic plates which are so flimsy I wouldn't trust them to hold a meal...they have to go! Watch this space and I'll post developments.

So this week I managed to finish the game board I was doing for an Irish publisher. I enjoyed doing it and was sad to see it go, but hey ho. here it is anyway, in all it's glory. And a little drawing I did for an English primary school book.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Secret life of a Surf-widow

Well I waved adieu to my nearest and dearest at midnight last night as they clattered off rather noisily in the old veedub bus Boris, for a quick shake-down weekend before the main hols in August. They phoned at 8.30 this morning to say they'd just arrived in Bude to surf heaven and apart from a teeny fuel leak the old bus was fine. Phew! I spent a restless night waking at odd times, checking the clock and thinking 'they haven't come back with the AA yet then' and 'oh, they must be at about Bristol by now' , as one does. I was particularly proud of Son as he passed up the chance to go to his school's end-of-year prom in evening dress and mingle with all the young ladies in their long go surfing with his dad. Ahhhhh!

Anyway, here I am, just me and the dog. Chocolate for this evening has been purchased and is in the fridge, as it would have been molten by now in this heat, wine is lined up, and a nice bulghar wheat salad, but that's for later. This morning I managed to shift a stack of paving slabs, double-glazed panels and rubble, so that I could get at the soil by the house wall and plant Mrs Cholmondeley (clematis in case you're wondering) that has shot to the top of it's cane and needed a nice trellis to grab hold of. There's another hole ready for another clematis at the other end of the house and a tub down the side. I have to admit, this is a cunning plan to hide some brickwork that the builder couldn't match (our cottage was made with hand-made bricks apparently and we couldn't afford the obscene sum it would have cost to try and get some reclaimed ones. ) So...different coloured patch where the windows and french doors were altered...chuck a clematis at it! Give it a couple of seasons and it'll be rampant vegetation, just what I like!

The garden pond has, alas, been drained. It was due to be moved, as we want a patio there now and I was going to put another smaller pond up the garden to replace it as I can't stand the vision of disappointed froggies with tear-stained little cheeks, next Spring, coming to find their spawning place paved over. Then we got the dog and he kept jumping into it, chasing flies and stuff, by which time it was becoming a bit whiffy as I hadn't dredged it out as I was moving it; so Charlie was coming out wet and stinky. Then the worst thing...I found the sodden body of a hedgehog floating there. :-(((( They usually go to drink at the low shallow end but somehow this one had fallen in and been unable to get out. I felt so bad I set to and pumped the water out ready to fill it in, a couple of evenings ago.
So now the ex pond is a stinking pit and ready to fill...but I still had a waterlily to save and also a marsh marigold, which flowers it's heart out every spring. I don't have another pond ready yet and I don't want them to die so I've done a bit of lateral thinking. I present to you.....the waterlily-in-a-bin! Well it may not be elegant, but you must admit it's different! The old dustbin was the only thing I had that was big enough and waterproof enough to house the lily. the marigold. It's big, I may have to have another lateral think!
Below are a couple of pictures, one of the lovely surfers weathervane that I designed and George next door made for hubby; and my favourite rose, Rosa Mundi, which was magnificent in it's stripy petals and scent a few days ago, but typically I didn't get a picture of it then. Oh, for scented-blogs!