“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Sunday 1 September 2013

Enjoying the last few days of Summer....

How do you hold back time? Does anyone know? 
No I didn't think so.
It's something that we've all wanted to do at some stage or other and yesterday was one of those days for me...It was the last day of summer :(
So I've decided to sit and reflect on what has been a wonderful few months of incredible weather for us here in Scotland. 

We couldn't have wished for a better introduction back into UK life, than to be able to experience all that a good British summer can give. 
I remember as a child growing up, when we would wake at first light and rush to meet up with friends, eager to spend the whole day outdoors. 
We'd only appear back home reluctanly for a much needed snack or sustenance of some sort, or when the light began to fade or worst of all when my name was called to come in because it was time for bed. The response would always be "ahhh....just five more minutes pleeeeeeeeeeeeeese?"
It's amazing what a beautiful summer day can do to promote a healthy appetite, as well as a healthy glow! 
I can remember summer started in May back then (although my Mother would always insist that we wore our vests quoting "Never cast a cloud until May's out". Meaning you couldn't possibly take off your vest until June began...no matter what, even if you were about to self-combust!  
Summer would carry on right through uninterrupted until September and sometimes even beyond if we were lucky to experience an 'Indian summer' as it would be called. 

But maybe I'm looking back with rose coloured glasses...because the reports I've heard about the summers over recent years have been mainly disappointing and sometimes just a complete washout! 
I'm so glad that this year wasn't https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1508618.gif
Here's a photo of our garden to prove that the sun did shine! 

(Nearly at the close of the day...the busy bee is still active...can you see him?)

But I can't say that about this year. Since we arrived back in the UK from Australia, we've enjoyed many unexpected glorious days. Enjoying sun filled warm temperatures and even been lucky enough to eat our meals outdoors too. 
This is exceptional and so unprecedented because the weather can be quite extraordinarily changeable and so unpredictable, as you will know if you live in here. 
That's why it can be our main topic of conversation. 

This weather is not what we expected but we have been so grateful and appreciated every moment. I've been getting familiar with my garden once again...meeting some new and old friends. Some of the plants I actually planted way back, but some are new additions that have been introduced in our absence. 

(I love to pick flowers from the garden and bring them indoors...
...it's like a snap shot of the month and what's in bloom) 

Sunshine, blue skies and shadows cast....
The garden has matured (haven't we all?) whilst I've been gallivanting about the globe, so there was a serious need for pruning. 
Like a scissor crazy over enthusiastic hair-dresser, I set to work. 
Edward Scissorhands has nothing on me! 

Who knew that the Lady's mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) would take over the whole border plus some of the lawn! A charming little plant with frothy lime-green flowers but not something that you want in your lawn...well I don't anyway so snip snip snip! 

But do not fear...I noticed yesterday its re-sprouted. 
I think we might well have a battle on our hands here. 

One morning the heavy dew caught on a leaf which just stopped me in my tracks. 
But there's work to be done here...no rest for the wicked as my Grandmother would say...and I have to say I must be wicked! 
Really wicked!!!

(This photo reminded me of that old tv programme years ago...called 3,2,1 I think with the 'Dusty Bin')

We are also hacking cutting back huge hedges which is producing wonderful amount of kindling for our wood burner. 

I have to say that the Leylandii makes an excellent hedge creating a fantastic windbreak, privacy screen etc but beware if not looked after or cut regularly...then you're in for trouble. These quiet attractive hedges are on a mission...to reach Mars as soon as possible. Growing straight up at a rate of knots! 
Turn your back for a few months and whoosh...up they go!
We spent days precariously perched on ladders but thankfully my 6 foot son was on hand to help. (I'm vertically challenged shall we say, so this was a great help) 
I was delegated to be the safety anchor man...having confer bits land on me covering me like next years Christmas panto tree. 
Now we have a nice reasonably high hedge...just don't get the spirit level out or look too closely please.

And so as any gardener will tell you...you have to take time out to sit and appreciate the work you have just done and to make plans for future assignments. 
It's funny I always remember this bit! 
And so another good day comes to a close..."ahh beer o-clock" (as my hubby calls it) 

What is it about this family and fire?

Here's a shot of a shed that was demolished and burnt in the old ruined barn, which we now call 'the folly'
There will possibly be a future post about this but for now I'm just remembering back once again to a fantastic Bonfire night party that we held here years ago. 
The children were quite small but with the bonfire contained within these walls there was less worry. It was perfect and I remember everyone having a great time. 
Red sparks floating up into the star filled sky and later we had a few fireworks and cooked jacket potatoes in the ashes...plus popcorn! 
A huge hit :D
The ashes were still glowing the next morning.

We have lots of ideas on what we should do with 'the folly' but it's very early days yet. I think it might call for an architect view to help us decide. I can see nothing past an art studio/gallery! 
What do you think? 
Granny flat, separate student apartment, holiday home?
Dog kennel?
I don't think so I hear 'McMuffy' say...Kennel? What's one of those? 

We've had some wonderful walks McMuffy and I, through the country-side, woods and along the river. I had forgotten just how beautiful the British countryside can be. 
There's always something to catch your eye and I know that I'm going to enjoy seeing all the different seasons putting on their show. 

Where we are located there's a huge expanse of sky that is just perfect for cloud spotting and sunsets. 
I just love space! 

We also met some of the neighbours. 
Once again some old and some new. 
And some surprises too. 
I remember having a deer come right into the garden when we were last here, right up to the door almost. I don't know which one of us was more surprised to see the other. 
I'm hoping that we may be as lucky in the future. There's something special about having wildlife come to call. 
I also remember one night taking a last peek out of the window to have a huge, what I thought was a ginger tom cat stop and look back at me. 
I thought wow that big boy needs to be put on a diet, but then a few days later upon speaking to someone, it was explained that it was probably a 'wild cat' and that I'd been very lucky to spot him. He was lurking around our wood shed. 

(photo courtesy of Google Images...click for more pics)

Apologies for this photo I know it's a little blurred but you have to be quick to capture these things sometimes...maybe next time I'll have more warning or hopefully she'll be a regular visitor and there won't be any urgency in capturing the shot. 

Hey, now does anyone remember these beauties...or should that say 'booties'?
The 70's Moon Boots! 
We found them in the loft. They've probably been home for any number of wee beasties over the years by the look of them. 
Sadly they are no more...it took a lot to say goodbye to them, but then they probably wouldn't have lasted even having a foot put in them...even if you wanted to (yuk) They would have probably disintegrated within seconds. 

Here's something else that is no more...the little wendy, summer or cubby house.
My son took great delight in demolishing this. 
But I had mixed feelings...there had been lots of play times, happy memories and it had even been home for our two rabbits. I was contemplating it becoming our chook (hen) house but decided it wasn't in the best of health, so off it went to the folly for cremation.  
There might well be a future post about this too.

I hope you are noticing all the sunshine radiating from these photos.
Okay, I just wanted to point it out in case you'd missed it. 
And look at that blue sky!

This photo is taken from the side of the folly. 
I love those huge nails and wonder if they could talk what tales they'd tell.  

Remember I'd mentioned in my Simple Woman's Daybook entry the butterfly that refuses to leave the house...well look...
He just loves to hang out and spend time with me.

It's most bizarre to have a flutterby butterfly suddenly appear and fly around the room. 
He appears almost every evening now when I'm cooking...I think he feels so much at home he's invited to dinner too.  

Ahh...summer comes to a close but all the wonderful memory will linger. 
What's this I see....
The first signs of autumn?
It's arrival brings a new look to the Scottish countryside, with reds, golds and browns replacing the greens of summer. I don't really mind because the palette is pleasing and they'll be lots more beautiful things to appreciate. 
Yes, I suppose even the rain but let's keep our fingers crossed and hope for an 'Indian Summer' first. 

But just in case it doesn't come...I'm organising my cosy things...I haven't quite got the 'Onesie' yet...I wouldn't wish that sight on anyone, but who knows I always say 'never say never'. If that North wind doth blow too hard, I might just indulge! 
Don't worry there won't be any photographic evidence. I'm not that cruel. ;D

Is there any particular time or event you wish you could stop time for?
I'd love to know.
Hopefully you're enjoying a super sun-filled Sunday.
Thanks for stopping by https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1511763.gif


  1. Aw what a fab post! You have indeed been treated to a wonderful welcome back to UK with the weather, your photos show what a beautiful place you live. Wow such prettiness in nature and I love your old wood shed/house. Enjoy those last days hey cos soon it'll be over. Take care Zo xx

    1. I'm trying to hear myself think here Zo which is difficult as the footy is on. It's so loud that I think the idea is that we can pretend that we're right there in the middle of the crowd!
      At least it all happens at a decent time now that we're back here. I think my son is in danger of eating a cushion by the look of him!

      Anyway, on to your lovely comment ;D
      I'm so happy that you enjoyed it. The weather has certainly turned
      today. There's a rather cool wind whipping around...any excuse to have the fire lit! hehe
      But I'm going to keep positive and plod on :D
      Onesie could be on order soon! HA!
      Thanks for popping round and sorry about the noise but I know you'll understand.

      Walk on my friend...and enjoy your Sunday.
      Well done for K and good luck for his match :D

  2. Oh Neesie - what a fabulous post! I've been watching you since your return to the UK (was anxiously thinking about Muffy on the trip home too) and each post has been a joy to read.

    My vote goes for the wood shed/folly to be your studio :) You should see what Darnell in the USA has done with her Playhouse - it's not gigantic (albeit a lot bigger than my little craft room) but every inch is divine and she is a great blogger too. http://www.djkardkreations.com/ You can take a peek round the Playhouse on her side bar.

    Please keep posting such wonderful pictures and tales.

    Hugs, Di xx And one for McMuffy - did you go through the proper process and do Muffy's name change by deed poll (or should that be dog poll?)

    1. Hello Di, oh it's so nice to see you :D
      I'm thrilled to hear that you've been following and enjoying my little tales.
      I thought you might like the idea of the 'folly' becoming a studio...but then I am being naughty asking all you crafty ladies view aren't I? Do not underestimate my sneakiness! MMMmmmwwwwhhhhaaaaaAAA!
      I'll certainly visit Darnell's Playhouse. It looks gorgeous ;D

      I've got so much that I want to show and share with you...so as they say keep watching this space. hehe

      Hugs to you too and McMuffy send you big licks...don't worry she can only reach your ankle! ^..^
      I thought McMuffy was quite appropriate in the circumstances.

      I hope you're having a super Sunday with lots of sunshine :D

  3. I really enjoyed reading this post and seeing your lovely gardens and country side. I have ancestors from Scotland and would love to visit there some day if I can. Enjoy the weather.

    1. Hello Terry,
      It is rather special I have to admit and that's one of the reasons why I was able to leave Melbourne. I knew what I was coming home to.

      I think you would have a fine time following in your ancestors footsteps...but in the meantime I'll try to give you a flavour of life in Scotland and in the UK in general ;D

      The weather seems to have heard it's the first day of autumn (fall) today and has produced a rather keen wind.
      I'm still hoping for that Indian summer! :D

      I hope your weekend is going well and that you are having lots of fun.
      Thanks for popping over to my place and leaving such a lovely comment. I love to have visitors.

  4. Wonderful photos and I love the one of the wild cat. There should be no question what the folly should be - an art studio what else!!

    1. LOL I knew you'd agree with the folly ;D
      Glass roof perhaps to maximize the light? Little kitchenette with sink and the compulsory kettle on the boil.
      Also perhaps a little wood burner in there to keep me cosy, whilst I work...oh yes I can see it now.

      Not so long ago there was a tv programme on the wildlife channel which highlighted all about the wild cat. I am thrilled that I have been privileged to see one up close because apparently they are quite rare to see.

      Thanks for stopping by...enjoy your Sunday :D

  5. Oh you have a lovely home with lots of land. Beautiful pics too. It going to be interesting to watch the seasons change. Thank you for sharing.

    1. I hope so Nan...but hopefully we won't have anything too cold or severe. I'm looking forward to sharing it all.
      But I'm not sure I'll do well in the cold. I struggle when the temperature drops below 16C!!!

      I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that Indian Summer :D
      Enjoy your Sunday

  6. Hi Neesie,

    How I'd love to stroll through your garden. I didn't do any planting this year so have a few empty places that need attention. My silver lace vine is going crazy with happiness and the russian sage has gotten so tall and has spread quite a bit. I love the pink blooms - they kind of remind of peonies or double bloom hollyhocks.

    I don't know about stopping time. It would be hard to pick just one time --- while I'm reading, playing the my doggies or just enjoying my backyard.

    So glad the weather has cooperated and made your transition from Australia to the UK.


    1. Hi Kay,
      Now wouldn't that be nice to wander around the garden together. Just let me know when you're coming and I'll make sure I bake a cake and put the kettle on.
      You may need to do a spot of weeding or digging though? ;D

      You are quite right...the pink blooms are Paeonia's. It's just a shame that they only flower once.

      I can't believe the weather today. It's a crazy 25C so maybe my wish for an Indian summer is coming true.
      Maybe I should just keep quiet and enjoy it. I don't want to frighten it away.

      By the way, I think your stopping time choice sounds just perfect.

      I hope your week starts good and just gets better and better!

  7. Your posts are always a wonderful break in the action, Neesie! The photos are professional grade and the commentary perfect for the grand tour! I hope you get your own little Playhouse, but since you have a wonderful place inside the house, I think your Playhouse should be a contemplative lounge. Like going away, without going away. A lovely fire, a stove for heating the kettle, comfy chairs for you and the McMuffster ... perhaps even a bed for laying out under the stars? I'm so green with envy right now at my own daydream for you!! LOL!

    I'm heading back out to my own garden. With California weather I am blessed to be able to exchange the end-of-summer flowers that have pooped out with fresh flowering pots for the new season. I hope you get your Indian summer and enjoy many more sunny days before it turns!!

    Hugs, Darnell

    1. Wow Darnell you daydream really well ;D
      I was well away for a minute then! hehe

      I'm enjoying a fantastic day here in the garden today too. It seems my wish for the Indian summer may have come true.
      Well at least for today!
      It's a crazy 25 degrees celcius!

      I'm still tidying up out there (just nipped in for a cuppa) but I'm thinking it's about time I had fun with pots, plants and colours. I will be limited as to what will survive over the winter months, so maybe I should limit my planting just now and spend time in the planning stage.
      What's that saying..."Fail to Plan...Plan to Fail" ;D
      I know for a start I want a greenhouse and a veg plot.

      Enjoy your California sunshine and garden.
      Lovely to see you and thanks for taking the time out to comment.
      I love to chat xoxo

  8. Great minds think alike, when you said you didn't know what to do with the folly I instantly thought studio, but only if they can put in an open fire for you :) The photos are beautiful, I can see why you are happy to be back there, even with the cold. If it makes you feel better, it's cloudy here and only 25 deg today and it's the first day of spring :( Did you nick our sunny days??? Little McMuffy has certainly fitted in well, she looks really happy up on the hay bale but where's her kilt? Keep those fabulous photos coming, I feel like I'm there, it's such a beautiful place. Hope the weather holds for you a little longer.
    Luv Von

    1. Oh a wood burner would be compulsory for the folly Von ;D
      Hey what cold???? It's 25C here today with SUN!
      It looks like you've sussed me...I did pack the weather into our freight before we left! LOL
      And I'm so glad we did :D

      Now don't laugh but McMuffy doesn't have a kilt (yet!) but she does have a tartan coat!
      My Mum bought it for her years ago when we lived in Qatar. Very bizarre...Middle East and no notion of moving back to Scotland at that time. Maybe she knew something we didn't?

      I'm rather disappointed with some of my photos. I definitely want (no need) a new camera. Maybe have to put it on the Christmas wish list AGAIN! :$

      I hope your Monday has started well and that the rest of the week follows along the same lines. Lots of creativity eh?

  9. Hi Neesie
    What a wonderful blog - if I could hold back time... Isn't that a song lyric? Gosh I don't know when I would push the pause button on my life, I love the fact that you never know what is just around the corner, the good, the bad and the ugly...Oh No, I feel a blog coming on....! Lol
    I love your perfect little shelf for your picked flowers, I am going to do likewise this week as we are now officially in spring and the whole garden has come alive...
    I can picture you in a onesie, maybe not a chicken one to hit a theme from your previous blogs, perhaps a pretty butterfly one?!
    Have a lovely week

    1. Hi Wren,
      Well we are having an amazing day here...a crazy 25C! Yeah I'm not kidding...it's strange because yesterday there was such a cold wind and I thought we were definitely heading into thermals but hold that thought!
      Suns out and it's actually warmer outside the house than inside!

      Look Wren, me in ANY Onesie would not be pretty! Not even if it was covered in beautiful butterflies! It's a scary thought and I don't want to even think about it, never mind have a vision! :$

      Have a lovely week too

  10. It is so much fun to explore your new setting/old property with you. You must have lots of land, I don't see neighbors. I remember bonfires from my childhood. These days they are forbidden here due to pollution. It will be fun to see what you decide to do with the folly.


    1. Morning Darla,
      We do have a few neighbours plus cats, horses, foxes, rabbits, cows, sheep, woods, farmland and all the other birds and wildlife on our doorstep. It sounds positively crowded doesn't it? ;D

      Yeah, fun with the folly...I just wish we knew what to do with it. We want to make the most of it so I think we are going to ask an architect for advice.
      We're also thinking of adding a conservatory so that we can enjoy the garden and light even in the midst of an Aberdonian winter!
      Now problem today though because we are forecast to have 24C degress again! Whoohoo! ;D

      I hope the weather is good with you...long may your sun shine! :D

  11. I love the wheelbarrow with the gloves on the handles! You have been busy, busy, busy. That wild cat looks so interesting to me. I hope you see it again. The deer will probably be around--and eat your garden, from what I always hear.
    What a great post! Such memories in those old buildings. I think an art studio is just the ticket!! Yes!! And I totally understand the volatile weather being part of the conversation every day. People always talk about the weather up here, too. I mention it in almost every post (especially for my dad). Enjoy!! I love fall!!! I hope you take lots of fall pictures for us. :)

    1. It's been none stop since we got here Rita, but all in a good way.
      I never like to be idle ;D
      I'm not sure I want to meet the wild cat again...he was rather big especially if McMuffy is around. I always make a lot of noise going out into the garden at night just in case! ^..^
      As to the deer...yep they are near but seem to stay out of the garden for now. I'm more bothered about the rabbits especially when I start to plant up a veggie plot!
      Crazy weather here in the UK today. Here in Scotland we've a chilly 12C degrees whilst down in the South East of the country they have 31C degrees. That's quite a range and not the norm!

      I've brought out my old camera so will certainly be playing the happy snapper! I think I've taken about a dozen already today.

      Have a good day...and give Karma a tickle from me

  12. An absolute wealth of beautiful photographs, all so interesting to investigate. The hands on the wheelbarrow really gave me a 'second take' moment.
    Sorry to be late comment - life getting in the way at the moment - but I always have a quick look even if I can't comment, and I hope to be commenting more again soon.
    I always appreciate your comments very much.

    1. Hello Jez,
      Great to see you. I love to read what people think about a particular post but I do know how time consuming that can be. It's good to get feedback especially when it's positive so thank you for taking the time ;D
      Hey...never apologise to me for being late...my second name is tail-end Charlie...I'm always way behind. It doesn't really matter when you call it's just great to see you.

      Have a fabulous day and don't let life get too stressful. Stop and have a cuppa or smell the roses! LOL


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