Nightmare Move, Wonderful New Home

Morning veiw

Hello everyone and Christmas greetings to you all.

Well, the move wasn’t as smooth as we’d carefully planned. We’d done everything we could. Kept all parties informed, including our own solicitor. Why is it then that on the day of the move, the day when a lorry containing all our worldly goods was sat outside our new home, our solicitor had to be dragged out of a meeting only to say to our estate agent ‘Oh, I didn’t know it was today they wanted to complete.’  What? Nightmare begin. We ended up in a hotel overnight. Meanwhile, my son, who had been helping us move, had his place broken into and all HIS worldlies stolen. That’s another story but we’re helping him sort himself out. Dream move it wasn’t. As the solicitor had completely screwed up we spent the entire following day on mobile phones making completion happen with the sellers who were distressed to hear of our situation and trying to do all they could to help. Only problem was, they live in France and he was away on business. Our stuff went onto storage for five days as the removal company waited as long as they could but then had to take their lorry and men back for other jobs. Luckily we had the camper and therefore a bed.

Then, BT and our service provider both screwed up, meaning that we only got a landline three weeks after moving in and broadband a couple of days ago, while I was busy trying to stay alive on the M6, the most dangerous stretch of motorway in the country. After the chaos I witnessed driving home from visiting family, I can see why. It was ram-jam-packed, drivers were taking lunatic chances with their own and other people’s lives. I saw two crashes in the fast lane, fifteen mile tailbacks on the northbound and experienced three tailbacks on the way home What should have been a two to two and a half hour drive took four. I only travel fifty miles on this road and was very grateful to have made it out in one piece. You’d think people would be more careful at this time of year. After all, who wants to wake up dead or in hospital at Christmas?

Anyway, all that off my chest, the house is wonderful. Such a sense of peace here. No-one shouting at each other, views that gladden my heart every morning when I open the curtains and birds everywhere. I’ve counted 16 species so far, including a heron that seems to have landed to scope out next door’s fish pond. My binoculars have never had so much use. The food I put out for them is being eaten so fast I can hardly keep up, but I’m not complaining. It’s great to see them all. Help nature, see wonderful things!

I’m spending time looking at greenhouses. To produce the food and flowers I want to I’m going to need one. My son will help with the garden as he’s trained in landscaping. Hopefully, he’ll also help erect the greenhouse once I find one. Meanwhile, there’s Christmas. We’ve done the shopping, delivered the presents, put up the tree and made our new lounge cosy with a wood burning stove. There’s lots of scrap wood lying around so free fuel will help with the bills and less fossil fuel will be burned.

Post holiday season, I’m going to have to invest in more water butts. We’ve been forced by legislation to have a water meter and lots of veg means lots of watering next summer. So preparations will begin in the new year.

Have a wonderful stress free and happy Christmas everyone, wherever you are.

I’m Diversifying. New blog announcement

Hi Everyone and welcome. I just thought I’d announce proudly my new blog. I’ve developed it separately because I want to keep this one for photography, but I’m not JUST a photographer. I want to document our impending move to a new home. It’s the one I’ve dreamed of for a long time. A bay-fronted 1940’s semi with a long garden (120ft) that backs onto fields. It’s a world away from where we live now. My current view from my bedroom window is a car park.

A Fresh Start in a Fresh Place

The new blog is intended to take you on my journey towards a more ecological, sustainable lifestyle that will ultimately be more satisfying. I hope to share what I know and what I will surely learn on this journey. There’s a link to it in the sidebar or you can click here to take a peek at my first post.

There will be photographs of my progress, but the aim is to document the changes and pass on what works and what doesn’t. See you there!

Wildlife Photos in the Garden

It’s been a while since I posted, and for several good reasons. One, my parents needed help and live 120 miles away, so travel was necessary, taking me away from the computer and time to write. Two, my son had a birthday for which I did a party involving people travelling and staying with us and three, we’ve found a house we love and are frantically promoting the sale of our current residence so we can move. The new house is a bay fronted semi, backing onto fields. It has 120ft long garden where I can grow food and flowers, encourage wildlife and have some peace and quiet, something in short supply in my current home. I can’t wait.

Gardening organically has already had its rewards for me. I’ve had plenty of birds visiting for years, but I’m delighted to introduce you to Jimmy, my resident hedgehog. He/she (they’re not easy to sex) first appeared at my feet when I sat out in the garden at  midnight one July night after returning from a trip. I thought I was very lucky to see one close up for the first time in my longish life. What I didn’t expect was to find he’d moved into the garden and taken up residence in a garden sack of clematis prunings I’d put aside for the next fire. He’s made a cosy nest in there and now comes to my back door every night for his supper before going off foraging. Of course, I had to get some photos of him and here he is.

Jimmy the Hedgehog

Jimmy the Hedgehog

He didn’t mind at all that I was laid on the ground right in front of him and using flash. He just carried on munching his supper. When we move, I’m taking him with me. The estate we’re on now is surrounded by busy roads and lots of big dogs. Where we are going he’ll have the run of my garden and all the surrounding gardens and fields, never needing to go near a road. As hedgehogs are now endangered I hope this will help just a tiny little bit.

We’ve had other wildlife in the garden, too. I try to photograph it whenever I can. It’s great to see diversity coming back to what was once a patch of scrubby couch grass and not much else. Earlier this year I had a plague of blackfly. It didn’t take long, though for the ladybird brigade to turn up and help me out with them. I’ve never seen so many ladybirds before on one plant. These two obligingly posed for me on a nice, still day.

Ladybird Friends

Mother and son?

It’s great to see so many friends in the garden. Hedgehog eats the slugs and snails, ladybirds eat the blackfly and hoverflies of course do a similar job.

Hoverfly

Then there are the ambitious spiders. They seem to want to catch a human. Each morning we have a new web across the back door. It’s a good job I quite like them or I’d never get outside! They of course do their part in keeping pest numbers down, are beautifully marked and quite fascinating to watch. No wonder King Arthur burnt the cakes!  This one made a web on the washing line and I couldn’t resist trying for some shots, despite the breeze, which made the whole thing quite frustrating, but worth it, I think.

Spider

So I don’t have to go far to find friends, photographic subjects and bags of interest to keep me going as long as I keep on gardening. So many advantages from one hobby. Organic food, money-saving, photographic subjects, the satisfaction of doing my little bit for conservation and my own enjoyment – all from one plot. what more could a woman ask?

Rare chance to Photograph Baby Birds

While on our travels this summer, we visited Porlock in Somerset. It’s a lovely little place with friendly people, a picturesque village and a visitor centre. Imagine my surprise when I saw a swallow flitting in and out of the  porch there, looked up and spied these swallows.

swallows

At least that’s what I think they are. Of course, if you know different…let me know, please! Here’s a close-up picture of the babies. All I could do, technique-wise, was steady the camera, point in the right direction, get someone to tell me when mum (or dad) was coming in and shoot with fingers crossed.

Baby Swallows?

Next Blog…Drowned forest at Porlock bay.

Wild Flower Poster Hits the Press

I’ve been very busy with wild flowers lately. I’ve always been a conservationist, and now have the skills and marketplace to spread the word. So I spent several hours putting together a wild flower poster for Zazzle that I think everyone will love. It would work in the classroom as a teaching aid or as a pretty poster at home. It would even look good on the office wall and maybe encourage others to grow wild flowers in their gardens, thus helping our native wildlife and conserving our plants for the future. I know I havent been blogging as much lately, but without pictures there are no blogs, and without pictures there isn’t even money for internet access, so I’m afraid I’ve had to spend time elsewhere. But my friends on here have not been forgotten. I will try to catch up with you all soon.  Here’s the poster.

Happy gardening!

Have You Had Your Daily Dose Of Beauty?

beauty abounds

It’s about time. There is so much horrible stuff going on in the world I thought a timely reminder that there is free beauty out there we can all share just might be welcome. It’s easy to get caught up in all the war and nastiness, the economic doom and gloom and walk around with clouds around our heads. But if we blow the cobwebs away, perhaps with a short walk or drive into the countryside, perhaps just a stroll round the garden and open our eyes, beauty is all around us. My garden has been adopted by a baby blackbird who obviously left the nest a few days early. He sits listening to me when I go out to throw him some mealworms and apple to feed him up, then dives straight onto the food. He is gorgeous! I can’t show you, because the danger of me taking the camera out there is that he’ll panic and end up food for a local cat.

Calendula beauty. Pure sunshine in a flower

But flowers don’t get frightened! So today’s pictures are here as testimonial to the wonderful world we live in, even if us humans do make a mess of it, the beauty still abounds, and we should hang onto it with all our might. Some of these shots were taken before I bought my trusty Nikon, but nonetheless remind me of lovely times of gorgeousness that helped me switch my brain into a more positive mode. I hope they do the same for you.

Mint. Beautiful flavour, beautiful flowers

Spring has brought me inspiration. I’ve been taking photos, seeing friends (it was a long, lonely winter) and working on new projects. I discovered a couple of weeks ago a site called Squidoo. What fun! And it’s somewhere I can showcase my work with photography and with Zazzle. Having started with WordPress last year as a reluctant technophobe, I appear to be well and truly hooked on computer wizardry. I’ve been so wrapped up in all of this I hadn’t realised I’d been neglecting my blog. oops! Finding the time to do everything is getting more difficult, but I can’t complain. At least all of this keeps me busy and making lots of new cyberfriends. In case you’re interested, Squidoo is a great site for doing very tightly focussed ‘lenses’ that deal with one subject and really go into detail about it, usually with accompanying links to relevant sites and helpful hints and tips, plus where to buy relevant stuff. It’s quite easy to get lost in it for hours – much like on WordPress. I’ve so far made eight of these lenses, some of which are photography and flower ones. It gives me the opportunity to write about subjects that wouldn’t really fit under a general photography blog like this one, so I feel the two compliment each other. You might want to take a peek at my Grow Hellebores in Your Garden  lens or Spirals or even wild flower garden one.

Happy Spring!

Spring’s Spectacular Displays

Tulip Tarda Macro

Hyacinth Macro

Primula Denticulata close-up

Fritillaria Milleagris

Bee Fly

Spring Finally arrived, bringing colour and life into my garden. Hooray! It’s hard NOT to be dazzled by the sheer exuberance of spring flowers. They shine out even on the gloomiest of days, announcing their wares to the insect world. While taking my photos of these glorious blooms something caught my eye. I thought at first it was a busy bee. I tried to capture its image on a hyacinth, but it didn’t stay put long enough and I chased it around the flowers until it landed where I feed the birds. Here it sat, grooming itself as I watched it through my Zoom macro lens. I found out later it’s a bee fly. They sip nectar as adults, but lay their eggs in solitary bees nests, where the grubs hatch out and feed on the bee grubs. Gruesome yet fascinating. Everything seems to have parasites, once you look closely enough.

Anyway, it hasn’t deterred my enthusiasm for spring. I wish I had the energy to jump up and down about it. Writing and taking photos and smiling like a Cheshire cat will have to do. Happy spring, folks everywhere. What’s blooming in your garden?

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