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

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Not exactly Wordless Wednesday

You're probably not going to believe this but last night I had a bath! 
I know that's a shocking statement to open up with this morning, but it's a big deal in my book. 
A bath is a real luxury for me...to take time out...light a few candles...indulge in smelly's and bubbles etc takes effort and time, which I don't often indulge in, especially to treat myself. 
To shock you even more it's the first bath I've had in this house since returning last July! (Gasp)  Now steady on there before you back up in case of body odour or in disgust, let me tell you for the record that I shower daily. 
For regular visitors, you'll know that we've been having major renovations around here since we arrived back from Australia, one of which has been to bring the bathrooms from the 1980's to present day. It was wonderful to luxuriate in a bath (with ducks even...obviously not live though as I have my water way too hot) and appreciate just how far we've come. 
But we're not the only one's to benefit from the work that's been carried out around here. The birds certainly have become used to good pickings with feed stations dotted around the property. Yesterday I heard a commotion on the roof and discovered this family of swallows which appeared to be on their maiden flight. There were some dodgy flyby's and the odd thud of feathers on glass....but thankfully nothing serious.  But I've noticed that some of my new windows have been christened as did my car sunroof just after Hubby washed it at the weekend! 
I managed to capture some of the feeding.
Obviously our new gutters have full approval too. 
Note their sheen. 

It was amazing to watch the parents agility and I'm please that I managed to capture some of it on camera. I would have liked the better camera but that happened to be downstairs and I've come to learn you have to seize the moment. So many times have to gone to tell someone that we've a particular visitor or to retrieve a camera when the subject matter disappears. It can be so frustrating. 

I nearly managed to capture a Jay on the roof of the bird table yesterday, but he was too flighty for me. He has such amazing colours. Maybe I'll be more successful next time.
We've started to make a list of all the different birds that have visited the garden and we're up to 35. I know I can hardly believe it either. 
The jay is becoming a regular visitor now.
Like these guys...
I know I've tweeted about these guys before, but if you don't follow me on Twitter then you may have missed them. We've had them visit us for a about a month now and have had up to seven on the lawn at once. I've no idea where they've come from or where they go, but it's nice to have them drop in. They're brilliant at hoovering up all of the seed that's dropped to the ground from the feeder. If only I could train them to come indoors to carry on hoovering....now that would be something. 
For the eagle-eyed of you I know you'll have noticed the empty hanging basket hook but have no fear I'll be sorting that as soon as I find the time.
Yesterday I filled two large hanging mangers and I'll post their photo when the sun shines and they've settled in. 
(Another Twitter photo from during the week...it's our Chelsea Flower Show inspired border. I'll let you see how it progresses as the summer works it's magic...hopefully!)  

I was busy working in the garden with Muffy lounging about watching over me (as she does) possibly sulking because I was digging and she gets a such a hard time of it when she tries. But I suddenly became aware that she was missing. 
On the mooch no doubt but nevertheless I started to call and check for her. 
Now she normally ignores my calls and waits until I've worked myself up into a lather before showing her face in some undergrowth, but this time she didn't appear! 
Panic started to rise when I'd done a complete circuit of the house and garden calling all the most successful things that usually work. I needed backup so called my son to come and help find her (this has happened on numerous occasions with him having to pole volt over the barded-wire fence to retrieve her). Anyway as he was getting shoes on etc I heard barking down the lane (unfamiliar barking but a bark all the same) and two cars were parked up. Not a good sign.
I frantically shouted to my son to head down the lane, whilst I checked out more likely spots on the peripheral
 of the garden. 
Just then a car turned into the driveway and a woman popped out to her boot and retrieved a completely oblivious pooch. 
Mufftypup had done a runner!
 Something that we just never thought would happen...had happened. 
Apparently, the woman stopped when she came across Muffy sitting smack bang in the centre of the lane. Muffy had followed a dog walker who's dog obviously must have had longer legs than her because she gave up after about half a mile. 
Too much hard work for a diva! 

The rescuer asked the dog walker if she knew Muffy but then when she didn't she decided to backtrack up the lane and thought our house was probably the best option. 
Nearest for one of little leg!
I couldn't thank the woman enough, hugging her whilst her dumbfounded little wee one's in the back of the car watched such a mad woman basically throwing a tizzy.
I went through all the various sinario's all afternoon and evening after that...she could have been run over, dognapped, dinner for numerous beasties like foxes and buzzards...oh I can feel the panic rising again so I'd better stop now. 
Here's the cheeky wee bissom out on one of our walks...nearly lost in the long grass. 
As you can see we'd have had great difficulty in finding here if she's gone further afield. 

I was going to link to a Wordless Wednesday today but then I'm writing less and less on my blog lately, so I thought I'd just have a natter this morning instead. 
I hope you enjoyed your visit.
Have a wonderful Wednesday...whether it's wordless or waffling!

Saturday 21 June 2014

The Summer of Colour 4 entry (Coral, Teal and White)

Here's a quick post just to let you see my Summer of Colour 4 wk 2 (SOC4)  entry as mentioned yesterday on the Frivolous Friday post. 
The criteria for the entry was to use Coral, Teal with a swish of white. 
I immediately thought of the sea.
I must admit that I had a little difficulty with using new ink, acrylic paint plus different paintbrushes and new nibs...so it's been a little challenging to say the least. 
But then that's what it's about isn't it? 
To stretch and grow hopefully?
I'm not liking the fact that the colours don't really show up as the original but hey ho...there you go! 
Right I'm away now to enjoy a Saturday night...whoohoo.
I hope you are too 
Have fun and I'll chat again soon 

Friday 20 June 2014

Frivolous Friday

I was going to post and link up with Paint Party Friday today, but alas I'm a wee bittee late.
I don't know about mixed media... I've more mixed emotions today. 
Basically, I've ruined my new 'white' Ralph Lauren jumper by splattering coral acrylic paint over the front of it! I'm devastated and would have thrown a tizzy fit if my kids had done such a foolish thing. But I have to admit that I'm also pleased because it proves that I've spent time in the art room dabbling. 
(Don't ask me why I didn't take off the jumper in the first place, because I just wasn't thinking straight perhaps? I was so keen to get into the art room... I just couldn't wait to start painting so all rational thinking flew out of the window)  
Maybe if I splatter a little more paint over it, I may come up with a new exclusive design for Ralph? 

I've been busy playing host to visitors this past week, but they left yesterday plus phase one of the renovation work here has been completed. The army of tradies have left for a while so this means there's a little window of opportunity to complete some artwork at last... and I'm going for it! 

Unfortunately, even though it's nearly the longest day here (tomorrow is the official summer solstice) and incredibly light for this time of night, I didn't manage to take a photo of my painting in time to post... so I'll do that tomorrow.  

In the meantime, let me show you my new babies... as you can see I've been very busy today.

Since I visited the RHS Chelsea Flower Show I've been adding to the garden regularly. 

I'm thinking that if I can fill the borders then it'll keep the weeds at bay.
I also must let you see the results from my bee mat soon because the wild flowers have come on brilliantly. 
I've been very distracted from my blogging lately, but I hope to remedy that soon. 
Just before I head off for the night I thought I'd show you this Primula. 
(Primula viallii)
It's been making me smile for days. 
Each day another row of buds open. Slowly working their way up the stem.
It reminds me of a smurf's hat or perhaps it's from Dr. Seuss' Whoville. 
What do you think? 

Thanks for popping by...I'd love to hear from you and I promise I'll catch up with all my outstanding emails and replies as soon as I can. 

In the meantime...keep smiling everyone 

Friday 13 June 2014

Paint Party Friday...Summers here

Well hello there....I'm back.
Would you believe that I've been tootling around yet again. 
In fact, I've just realised that I've been to three major city's in three weeks!
I really do need my wings clipping. 

I just can't get used to the light nights that come with the summer months here in the UK. 
I must confess that I seem to cram even more into each day....even more than usual if that's possible. For example, I actually heard the dawn chorus at 3.15 am yesterday and when you think it doesn't get dark until around 11.00 pm at the moment, then it's not so surprising that you can get so much done in a day...if only my energy would last that long. Alas my battery runs out about 8.30/9.00 pm. 
As a reward for getting lots done this week, I decided that this morning from first light I'd nip into the studio to create something before I got distracted and involved with various tasks and chores of the day. 
The artwork was to come first today and take priority which rarely happens. 
I've not exactly settled into this new room yet, so I was quite pleased that I actually managed to produce anything. 
I wanted to do draw/paint something summery, but unfortunately it's not bright here today...it's what some call 'Muggy'. That's warm but not in a good way...a little dull and sticky. 
The sun's disappeared behind a complete blanket of grey cloud and there's even a smidgen of rain now.  
So unfortunately there wasn't good light for taking this photograph.
The yellow on the original painting is very vibrant and the blue's bright...but you'll just have to believe me.  I used Derwent's Intense watercolour pencils.
I couldn't resist adding just a little zentangle. 
I'm going to link to Paint Party Friday, so if you'd like to see other artists work...
... just click on this link PPF
and also Jenn's Artist Play Room

Oh and I nearly forgot to tell you my latest news.
I'm joining an art group. 
I'm quite excited about it because it will mean that for three whole hours every week, I'll be able to take myself off to do what makes my heart sing! 
I'll be sure to let you see what I get up to and there's talk that after about 14 weeks they'll be an exhibition to show our work. It's been many years since my last exhibition, so it will be both exciting and nerve-wrecking all at the same time! 

Well it's Friday night and there's a chilled glass of vino waiting for me...it's amazing how spoilt I can be whilst there's World Cup footy to be watched on the TV. 
Anything to keep me quiet eh? They must think I was born yesterday.
 Thanks for popping in to my place 
Whatever you get up to this weekend...have fun. 

Thursday 5 June 2014

The Girls Go To Chelsea Flower Show

Where on earth should I start today? 
Should I tell you about the wildlife photography workshop that I attended at the National Trust property of Haddo House, my trip to London to celebrate my sister's birthday, the Chelsea Flower Show, or the Gardening Scotland Show to name but a few? 
I knew it was going to be tough to write a post after such a long break, especially with so much happening recently, but in my usual procrastinating way I delayed coming online for that very reason....even though I've missed blogging so much, (which I have to admit is a little scary) but the house is completely quiet and other than Mufftypup curled up near me I'm home alone! 
So there's no excuse...
Maybe I should just pick one and run with it?
How about the RHS Chelsea Flower Show? 
Visiting Chelsea Flower Show has been something that I've wanted to do for many years. 
I've often chatted with my sister and daughter about arranging a trip one day. 
So when I returned to the UK...it just had to be done. 
The timing was perfect, plus it was going to be my sister's special birthday so there was nothing for it...we had to go!
I should state here and now that when my sister and I get together there's giggles and laughter and this trip was no exception. My poor daughter had a lot to contend with and she tried to control us, although I secretly think she got as much out of the trip as we did...although alcohol may have helped.
But enough of that for now...(what goes on tour stays on tour eh? Emoji)

Lets take a look around at the gardens...
 I'm aware that I could go crazy posting masses of photos here, but there's only so many hours in a day and I'm not sure how long you're able to visit...so I'll edit as best I can. 
It's going to be tough though.

As we entered the show gardens we were thrilled to meet Monty Don filming for the BBC. 
("Monty" Don is an English television presenter, writer and speaker on horticulture, best known for presenting the BBC television series Gardeners' World)
Okay now here's a secret that I'm prepared to share with you...my daughter 'loves' Monty! It's true I'm not making it up. 
There backatcha sweetie for writing about taking 'The Olds' to Chelsea on your blog. 
(If you'd like to see some more of the show and get a different angle from a 'Youngie' then pop over to her blog by clicking here) I've had the foresight to strike up a deal that if any of my followers stop by and leave a comment then I'll receive payment in chocolate! 
Anyway...back to Chelsea and some amazing sights that captured our attention
The first photo of the wellies (wellingtons/galoshes) was actually a shop outside the show ground but I just loved them. 
On to the Gorilla photo. This was just amazing because everything on this particular display was made with masses of tiny rosebuds.  
The fragrance permeating the air was incredible. 
There's even an elephant behind too. 
The third photo of the horse sculpture just stopped me in my tracks. 
As you may already know, I love wood but thankfully this fabulous sculpture was already sold. (Phew that was a close one!)
And finally the gorgeous lady in red with the fabulous floral bonnet. 
(No she's not my sister just in case you were wondering)
I can't show any photos of ourselves as most are not for public consumption. 
We're either crying laughing or as on a few photos for example when 'Operation Downpour' got underway look incredible...but not in a good way HA!
We wore green plastic poncho's and I'm now thinking green may not be my colour! 
(Eek...I've just had a thought that my daughter may get her own back on this, by posting a photo. She is in all the photo's too, but then she looks great in hers (sigh)

One thing that we noticed whilst visiting all the show gardens there was a general colour palette. I have decided to turn one of my borders into a Chelsea lookalike border. 
I'll post and show the results as and when.

I kept an eye out for Alan Titchmarsh but I didn't see him. 
Here's a photo of his garden below which he designed with Kate Gould named 'From the Moors to the Sea' to celebrate 50 years of Britain in Bloom and Alan's own 50 years as a professional gardener. It depicts Alan's gardening journey in England having begun on Ilkley Moor as a boy and at present on the Isle of Wight.
You may just be able to see the wooden signpost in the background which leads up to the moor part of the garden. There's also the beach to the left of the photo and the summer house which depicts the writing side of Alan's life now. 
Did I mention that I've actually met Alan before...in Aberdeen. 
It was a few years back at one of his book signing events. 
He was such a lovely man, so friendly and polite. 
I do have photos but they are the old fashioned kind and hiding in a box somewhere in my spare room, along with thousands of others that one day I hope to bring into the light once more. 
I really can't do justice here to all of the exquisite show gardens so maybe it might be best if you are wanting to see more then visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show website. 
They do a much better job than me. 

I loved this first photo below on the left of Togenkyo - A Paradise on Earth designed by Ishihara Kazuyuki which won the award for Best Artisan Garden. 
It's beautiful with the water wheel and did you notice the fantastic moss balls on the wall. I've got plenty of moss in my garden but unfortunately nothing so artistic. 
The top right photo is the Gold winning Potters Garden (Monty was interviewing in this garden shown above). It was inspired by the WW1 centenary and the fabulous restoration of The Farnham Pottery at Wrecclesham. The detail in this garden was amazing from the tin hat collecting water to the bullets in the path. 
And finally the bottom right photo was one I took for my hubby. He's a keen cyclist and if you look closely there are wheel rims designed into the wall. 
Here are a few things that I wanted to bring home with me. 
I know the heron would have been a challenge because he was over six foot tall but the greenhouses were a definite no no! (sob sob)  
Although I did want to buy this beautiful greenhouse that's not me going inside...I had been warned that if I entered one more greenhouse, then I would be escorted out of the show ground. The Youngies can be ever so bossy at times especially when it's getting late and the tummy's rumbling. 

And finally the stars of the whole show...
The Chelsea Pensioners
(Photo courtesy of RHS Chelsea Flower Show website)
The Chelsea Flower Show is held within the grounds of the Royal Hospital which for over three hundred years, the Royal Hospital Chelsea has provided a welcoming home and a way of life for thousands of soldiers in their old age. 
Now I've only got to wade through the masses of information brochures that I collected during the day
It was as Wallace and Gromit might say...A Grand Day Out! 
I think it might be something that has to be done each year from now on.

Just a gentle reminder from a chocoholic...please remember that I could be knee deep in chocolate if you pop over to daughters blog ~ thanks!
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