These are for sale in the UpCycled Home, [a shop housed in the old coachhouse at Mount Edgecombe Country Park] a selection of candles named after places on the Rame Peninsula. The shop is full of eclectic finds and all locally sourced, a perfect shop to find presents. I have my eye on Freathy Cliffs if anyone’s interested!!!
I have been doing some work for a friend and old employer who has inherited a chalet on the cliff, one that he and his siblings would come and live in all summer long when they were children. Since his father passed away it has been difficult to come back but now he is trying to open it up and get it ready for use this summer. It’s on a part of the cliff where the chalets really blend in with their surroundings [a requisite was that the chalets had to be painted in only a few colours that would blend with the cliff] so much so that they are difficult to identify and, with that in mind, I am not going to post a photo of the building but just the tantalising view of the roof.
The roof can just be seen above the outcrop of rocks.
Over the years there has been some erosion of the cliff and some pathways down to the beach are no longer accessible, one of them is the route to the chalet. About halfway down there is a sign warning of the dangerous cliff and if you continue you have to navigate the makeshift path and handrails [some made of wooden ladders] that are perilously close to the edge. The alternative is to travel down by another route and walk along the beach until you come to the cut off path and walk up from the bottom. There is a feeling of Shangri La, a sense of finding something beyond the normal reality, a happy place that is cut off from the rest of the cliff. Maybe it’s because the chalet is locked in a past time, a time that was childhood summer holidays that stretched on forever, that were free and sunny. From the bottom of the garden there is a view of Rame Head so different from mine because at this low down point the chapel at the end cannot be seen. Even the beach at this point of the bay is quiet and unused, only a few bathers and dog walkers. It has been a joy to help get the chalet ready, it was hot work but with the breathtaking views and the cloudless blue skies and the sea to cool you off there couldn’t have been a better place for that short time.
Last weekend there was an open garden event in our nearest village and proceeds were being given to the local hospice, so as the weather was pretty perfect for it we went along. The event was entitled the Hidden Gardens of… and some were really out of the way [hence the name] some with a steep climb up but, with a fantastic vista when you got there.
Most were typically English with lots of lawn and borders and a smattering of tropical plants; yuccas, bamboos and palms but one had a gravelled courtyard with carefully placed architectural plants that was almost Californian in its feel, or maybe it was just the effect of the sun.
Most had lovely borders or beds created within the lawn itself.
My favourite was on a slope with a path down the side that led to a series of garden ‘rooms’ and was so heavily planted that there was hardly any more room for growth. Each ‘room’ had a different feel to it depending on the planting and the final one had a pond with a bench placed ideally to create a postcard view out beyond the garden to the estuary that flows into a lake creating a larger vista replicating the smaller one we were sitting within.
Giant Gunnera [above] at the end of my favourite garden.
I came away with a handful of pots and a determination to tackle the plants in my own garden that have taken hold and are dominating the beds, to put some order into the chaos.
Over the last week we have had the most intense sunsets for some time, all taken on an iPhone with the point and click method.
When we walk down to the beach we often pass a patch of wild mint on our return and pick some for a hot tea. We do it in the knowledge that the mint, being invasive will not be reduced by our act in any way. The smell is so refreshing as we walk home and the tea we make is fantastic so when a colleague gave me some water kefir grains I thought I would make an elderflower fizz with them that I could serve with fresh mint. I kept the grains in a dormant state in the fridge until I had a couple of days at home to watch the fermentation. We picked some elderflower heads then I steeped them for a couple of days, strained them and attempted to activate the water kefir by dissolving some sugar into some hot water and adding the grains and the elderflower water. That was a couple of days ago and nothing happened just an occasional bubble on the surface of the liquid but it is starting to wake up a little now.
Our neighbour came round with a bottle of homemade carrot wine, it was very old and he wondered if we wanted to try it as his wife doesn’t drink and it was too much for him. The wine was quite yellowy orange which we took to be because of the carrots and, knowing it was old, or rather vintage, we thought it tasted similar to a sherry – it was probably oxidised.
I used this link for the water kefir and I followed this recipe for elderflower champagne the first part of the elderflower water
Image Lucas Findley
This tilted cabin is southwest of Vancouver on Valdes Island where there is no power, or water supply. Access is either by boat or a very long journey along dirt tracks, to construct the cabin containers were helicoptered in. The deck alongside has an outdoor tub and shower fed by tanks of collected rainwater and heated by propane. The cabin faces the sea, the Straits of Georgia, across from Vancouver Bay. That tub looks very inviting with such a fantastic view.
I saw this little chap through the kitchen window and realised a nest was in the process of being built. We have sparrows that come every year and nest in the overhang at the edge of the roof much to the enjoyment of our cat, who just tends to watch their comings and goings. It looks like a bit of wool in his mouth, the sheep in the field rub up against the edges to get at the juicer grass on the other side and their wool catches in the fence. Yesterday the farmer was hurding them together checking them over and once released out of their makeshift pen there was wool everywhere!