Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Getting greener

We went to an open day put on by the local firm who fitted our solar panels and air source heat pump. We were interested in looking at electric cars and taking a test drive. But what a price! I'm going to wait for the technology to develop and the price to drop (by a substantial amount.)
BUT, on our way out there was a display about converting Aga cookers to electricity. Convert my greedy, oil-guzzling Aga to run off the solar panels on our roof? Yes please!
Last week the workmen came. They arrived dressed in dark clothes. Our Aga is old, built in the '50's with Fuller's earth used as insulation.
 They set to work dismantling the various parts. They had a very large vacuum cleaner for removing the earth. Can you see the navy jeans that have already gone beige? That young man went home at the end of the day covered in Fuller's earth, I should have photographed him then!
It was fascinating to look inside. I've been cooking on this machine for over thirty-four years. The workman told me it would,"see me out"!

When you look at the individual components you can tell that it was built to last!
Finally it was time to put in some 21st century insulation
and start to put the cooker back together again.
We are now an oil-free household!

Friday, 23 May 2014

A day in the garden

If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again. in May, with voluptuary sweetness.
T.S.Eliot in this excerpt from 'Little Gidding' describes exactly how the countryside is looking at the moment, the  hedgerows and verges are heavy with white blossom, it's exceptionally beautiful this year due to the mild winter and plentiful rain. (It's tipping down with rain again today.)  The months of May and June are the best times for my garden, everything lush with new growth and some of my favourite flowers, iris, peony and roses, in bloom.
Sunshine in the morning tempts me early out of bed and into the garden
where the shadows are still long and everything is quiet.

I had been due to go to the Chelsea Flower Show with my daughter this week but wasn't able to make it. When I saw the jostling crowds on television I was sure that I'd made the right decision. (And it saved me from the temptation of buying more plants when I haven't any space left to grow them!) I have just as much pleasure in wandering around my own patch.
The forget-me-nots that act as ground cover are running to seed. I'm always loathe to pull them up because they leave the borders looking rather bare. But I've got annuals waiting to go in the ground so this week I was ruthless and put the forget-me-nots on the compost heap.
They will already have seeded themselves generously about the place for next year.

In the early part of the week we had clear blue sky and a bit of real warmth. I put some tomato plants in the garden. (Possibly a big mistake, today it is cold!)
But for Skywatch Friday, some blue sky and roses.
The evening sunset makes the garden look different again.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Barbara Hepworth's garden

Last Thursday we walked from Carbis Bay into St Ives to visit Barbara Hepworth's garden. There are a number of famous gardens in Cornwall, the map above marks out Trengwainton, Trewidden, Godolphin and Trenheere with no mention of the small town plot that is the Hepworth sculpture garden. On our walk into town, under a clear blue sky, we passed some lush planting.

The garden is a jungle of plants, narrow pathways and half-hidden sculptures.

The blue clock face of the town church is visible beyond the garden wall.
I'm not a fan of Barbara Hepworth's sculptures. (Heresy, as I studied at the same art school!) But sculptural forms are transformed when placed in  a soft landscape.
I took as much pleasure in this simple stone slab 
set across a small, petal-strewn pond.
It was a lovely place to while away a morning. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Skywatch in Cornwall

We've been in Cornwall for a couple of nights visiting a friend who has been in hospital for cancer treatment.  We stayed in Carbis Bay, just up the coast from St Ives.
Our hotel was above the beach and had uninterrupted views out to sea,
tempting us out to walk along the shoreline before breakfast.

This morning it was warm enough to eat breakfast on the terrace!
Carbis Bay at sunset for Friday Skywatch.