Thursday, 2 August 2007

While the sun shines...

We have had two weeks of the school holidays now and the first week was a bit of a wash out. First Rosie was ill and it was raining, then I took both girls for their injections (Rosie, 3, is just having her baby injections; Hannah, 5, is having her pre-school boosters. We’re a bit behind.) and it was raining, then Hannah was ill and it was raining.

Then the rain stopped, the sun came out and we did normal holiday things like go to Newgale beach last Saturday and eat sandy sandwiches and ice cream. We built a sandcastle with a moat and then a seaweed fire breathing dragon using the big smooth cobbles from Newgale’s sea defences.

We then went to Hilton Court Gardens which has a wooded garden with a maze of paths mown in between the trees, just perfect for little girls to race about. It has a lake with waterlillies and dragonflies and a tea shop which serves truly fabulous cakes.

I was there once pre-children with Mum. We had been for a tour around the gardens and were just sitting down to a pot of tea and a slice of poppy seed cake when a woman and her elderly mother arrived. The woman was quite primly dressed; a sort of twin set and pearls type, and very nicely spoken. Her mother was the sort of woman who would wear purple and eat a whole pound of sausages at one go. She was all grey-haired, twinkly-eyed mischief. In a granny hat.

“Look,” she announced in a loud, carrying voice to her prim daughter. “That tree over there is a Penis Glaucosa.”
“Mother,” shrieked Miss Prim in the style of Lady Bracknell saying ‘a handbag’, “I think you mean Pinus!”
Mother sat down to her tea with a very satisfied look on her face.

Monday found us at Colby Woodland Gardens again. We ran about the paths, pausing occasionally to admire the hydrangeas which are in full bloom at the moment. The walled garden is superb at this time of year. A lovely cool rill runs down the middle and there is an enviable rosemary hedge. I adore rosemary (which is why Rosie is called Rosemary). I am currently taking rosemary cuttings to make my own Colby-style rosemary hedge. The garden also boasts a fig tree, with big fat figs on it. My fig tree dropped all its baby figs during the dry spring, but it is in a pot, so perhaps I had better take the plunge and plant it in the ground. I have spent the past five years dithering over where to put it and, to be honest; I’m still none the wiser.

This year we have decided to make hay not haylage. Yes, I know we have taken this decision in the wettest year since records began! The past couple of years the haylage has been so dry, we have wondered why we bothered to wrap it, especially since the plastic is such a pain to get rid of. So, in the spirit of reduce, reuse, recycle, as Bob the Builder would say, it will not be wrapped, and our fingers will be firmly crossed until it is safely tucked away in the barn.

The hay was cut on Tuesday, turned on Wednesday, and rained on in the early hours of Thursday morning. But only a little. Mum has been phoning the turner and the baler and has vague promises that they will come (hopefully in the right order) to row the hay up and then big bale it. But everyone is so busy having been held up for six weeks by the wet weather. It will get done, though, it usually does.

Our Exmoor pony lodger has returned for a month. She has been away to a yard to be taught a few manners and now is much more polite about gateways and the fingers of small children. She has lost none of her feisty nature, however, and still thinks she should be first, whatever is happening. So far on this stay she has not broken any fence posts or gates and hasn’t started any riots yet. When the farrier visited on Tuesday morning she waited her turn like a good little girl. Last time she broke the gate latch because she wanted to see what was going on (and be first, of course).

So we are settling down to our summer routine of getting up late, forgetting to brush our hair and going out on alternate days. If it rains we do craft, so are slowly disappearing under a pile of drawings and paintings, including one, today, of a snowman.

Sunny days at home this week have involved climbing up the hill to inspect the hay and riding scooters back down again (it’s a very good slope). While the girls ride their scooters I plan my fantasy house which would be built up the hill with views of the Preselis and towards Tenby. This is in my fantasy world where the local planners would let me build a house in the middle of a field in the middle of a farm. Dream on! It would have lots of sunny windows, lovely wooden beams (oak) and a big, square kitchen with a table and an Aga. It would be far, far away from our noisy inconsiderate neighbours. Sigh.


  1. Lovely blog. Have a great summer with the children. We have lost the sun again today but at least its not raining. Make some lovely memories this harvest. love mousie

  2. Gosh first in...that makes a change for me usually last!!
    I fully intend to be an outrageous granny ...would have to pass on the sausages though! I shall definitely wear purple ... and a red hat! I adore Newgale...the first time I saw it it took my breath away ...we came over the hill from Tenby early one morning...what a picture...there were a line of horses galloping in the surf! Ever tried to come down that hill while staring at the view?

  3. well there you go..I started off in first place and got beaten to the post...story of my life ...good luck with the hay!

  4. You sound as though you're having a great time. Loved the story about the mischievous old lady!!

  5. Oh I think I could live in your dream house.

    The blog about coming to Preseli was so interesting. Not the easiest arrival bad glad it has turned out well. The weather effects me badly too and looking back on it I probably had quite severe post natal with my last but still find that hard to admit, I come from a family that doesn't do illness of any kind. Every now and again it still gets me and I also looking back on it had a few near misses with depression during my twenties, student years.

    Sam is a bit of a Hannah who keeps mulling over things and will suddenly return to the same subject a couple of weeks later demanding even more clarification. Very hard on the brain.

    Lucky you being able to hit the beach it is the part of the move I miss most.

    Long comment but lots to talk about as lots to catch up with.

  6. It's a bit of a gamble with the hay isn't it. J is currently combining, desperately! We managed to get all the silage done last week, wrapped (J is chief wrapper in this area) and put away. Some we keep, some we sell.

    I love you story about Miss Prim and the penis!

    Crystal xx

  7. Lovely blog Mags, I can relate, we had a wash-out first week too, but our pace of life is still lovely and slow and now the sun is out, hurrah! You sound like you have some fab gardens to visit there, child friendly ones too. I share your house fantasy! Enjoy your harvest! Loved the penis story!!

  8. Great pics and blog, Mags. My fig tree has dropped all its fruit too, but it is only 3 years old so hoping next year will be a good one. My nan and now my mum, always get their words upmuddled! No hope for me then...........xx

  9. Very enjoyable blog! It sounds as though your summer is going along beautifully - what could be better than what you've described?
    I hope you get the dream house one day - we should all have a dream house.


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