Saturday, 30 June 2012

Rural idyll

A summer evening, Roadwater, Somerset.

Of course, we all know the reason why it's so green.....

West Somerset Free Press, May 2012

But lovely all the same.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Welcomed home

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Showing now

To Barnstaple yesterday afternoon with The Gardener, who, not wishing for a second day of coming home like a drowned rat, decided he could legitimately be rained off and do something more pleasant than wielding wet hedge trimmers above his head in clouds of petrol fumes.

There were only two days left of this exhibition of James Ravilious' wonderful photographs of rural life in North Devon, and we just had to catch it. 

We drove over Exmoor in changeable weather, had a cafe lunch, people-watching as we ate.

We wandered off to the museum, saw the exhibited photos of a largely-lost way of life, including the rather moving BBC documentary that accompanied them - narrated by Alan Bennett - as I struggled with the rich, rolling accents.

Cheerful Olive Bennett, seen here with her cows in 1979, was particularly impenetrable to my untrained ear. You can see her and the other farmers and smallholders here:

Then we had a pootle round the town. We didn't have time to go inside the parish church with its wonky steeple.

Another coffee stop.

The Gardener employed certain tactics to avoid having his photograph taken, but persistence won through, and at last his exaggerated sense of privacy has given way to polite requests to have him, and not just his manky old boots, shown on my blog. Here he is, looking far more serious than he really is; the man who often makes me laugh helplessly.

On our way to the car park, having been handed a flyer for a play about The Hunting of the Snark, we were not too alarmed to be charged most ferociously by a pair of fearsome pirates.

My new (old) bench had been delivered in our absence, and was sitting quietly outside the cottage.

It's in for some gentle refurbishment and fresh paint, and suits me and my short legs very nicely. Catkin approves too. Like The Gardener, she can look misleadingly serious.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Old hat

My Tante Mimi once had a hat of which she was particularly fond. It had been worn for a son's wedding, and to her sorrow, she never had the occasion to wear it again.

But it was too lovely to neglect, so she wore it on Wednesdays, while she cleaned her bedroom.

In a fit of blind optimism a couple of weeks ago, I bought myself a sun hat.

Paper braid, it may remain brand new and unworn for some time.

Today, although the water butt is full to overflowing, the sun shines intermittently.

The plants I brought from Newcastle have survived, and are responding well to warmer rain.

But it's too chilly for that hat.

Perhaps this Wednesday I could clean my bedroom.....

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Rainy days

Life with The Gardener can be unpredictable, with occasional dizzying bursts of spontaneity. I have noticed that this is closely linked to the British weather.

How so? you may ask. Is this like the phases of the Moon, each change affecting mood and behaviour?

Well, yes. The Gardener seems - for some bizarre reason - to dislike working in persistent rain. Yet he moans a great deal about lost working days in this busy season, and the propensity of grass and hedges, aerial or otherwise, daisies, buttercups and gunnera to take unfair advantage of his absence and grow like billy-o.

He sinks into despair when the forecast tells him that tomorrow is to feature gale force winds, thunder and torrential rain. Flossie doesn't understand this at all - what's not to like about being soaked in cold water?

And so what we do on such rained-off days is to go out, sometimes on a whim, and invariably we have a pretty pleasant time together, with or without dogs. And I find that The Gardener doesn't complain at all about this.

The other day, we drove - in rain - to Wells, this time to see the wonderful Cathedral from the inside. I had only seen the exterior, also stunning, with Tricia last February, but the interior had needed more time.

And what an astonishingly beautiful and complex building it is. Impossible to describe here, except to say that whenever we thought we had seen it all, there was yet another large space beyond, filled with wonderful carvings, windows, stone. And on the day we went, with dripping people too. The woman at the desk said that the ancient stones wouldn't notice a bit of water from sodden umbrellas....

Yesterday, on impulse (or perhaps because I had heard enough sighing and tutting about computer slowness), we raced off to Bristol - in rain - with an ailing laptop, booking an appointment in the Apple store's Genius Bar, and spending a little time drooling in a faintly undignified manner over the latest iPad.

Business over, we crossed the plaza and had an early  and very delicious little supper.

The sun came out, and we drove over the Clifton Suspension Bridge into a sunset, and on to home.

Rainy weather has its advantages....

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