Saturday 20 July 2013

I just needed to be patient!

I have been waiting for these to come into bloom for ages.   The buds were all tightly closed for such a long time but have suddenly popped and what a treat.

Both are lovely but the top one is my favourite.

It was so hot on Thursday that we didn't go on anywhere else after doing the weekly shopping and headed for the river at Twyning just north of Tewkesbury.    There is a large country pub there and a stretch of public land beside the river - we have been there many times before.   We found a spot in the shade which was very necessary and this the view in front of us as we ate our picnic lunch.

There are attractive scenes whichever way you look.

Even the motorway in the middle distance here, doesn't really become a blot on the landscape.

Lovely reflections.

The pub must do a roaring trade in summer and out of season we have had lunch there, but it seemed a crime to sit inside and all the shady tables had already been taken.  In any case, we had brought our lunch with us.

I believe there are chalets for hire as well as caravans and certainly boating activities to be had.

Two of these craft moored not far from us and the occupants all trooped up to the pub for lunch.

This lovely swan had to compete with the ducks for crusts thrown into the water.

After they had eaten all the crusts in the water these chaps all got out and came up onto the grass to see what else was going.

There is something cooling about just being beside water.   We enjoyed watching the various boats going up and down the river - a sailing yacht, two motor boats, a tiny boat with outboard motor and several longboats.   Perfect weather for messing about on the river.

It has been considerably cooler today and I have actually managed a bit of gardening.   The borders look a lot tidier and I am hoping for similar temperatures tomorrow when I can tackle the rest of the garden.

We had quite a lot of cloud during the day but now the sky is clear again and I have just noticed a beautiful almost-full moon rising above the trees - lovely sight.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Summer Delights.

Since our son drastically shortened the main branches from our ornamental cherry tree, the crows love to perch up there having a good old nosy around.  I'm not sure if this is a hardworked parent bird or a youngster.

I was quietly panting indoors last evening when I heard the unmistakable sound of a hot air balloon burner and rushed outside.  At first I couldn't see one anywhere then looked up to see this lovely sight right above my head.    I haven't seen one for ages.  Our old labrador hated them and would bark ferociously at them with his hackles raised as he defended us from the invaders from the sky!

A new acquisition is just coming into flower - I love the colour.   It is called Dizzy Heights so I hope it doesn't live up to it's name too well or it could be difficult to cope with.
The summer jasmine is flowering it's socks off and smells so lovely.   The bees love it too, though they wouldn't keep still long enough for me to photograph them.
Those on the marjoram were more obliging and although it is now looking very straggly I can't bear to cut it until the bees have had their fill.
You can just spot another delight - that little wild strawberry on the left of the picture - halfway down.  It always amazes me how much wonderful flavour can be packed into such a tiny fruit.

I'd better go and do some watering.   Keep cool - it's lovely really!

Friday 12 July 2013

Sun Printing.

It's too hot for gardening but I have made the most of this lovely weather by following the instructions in Cas Holmes book for sun printing.   I just used seedheads from the garden plus one piece of fresh foliage which would have worked better had I pressed it first.   
These alium heads have definitely given the best result.

I could have used stronger colours on my fabric but was scared of being to heavy handed and making it look garish.   I used a spray of acquilegia seedheads plus a bit of something else - is it telima?
I quite like these ghostly patterns from the vetch type leaves.
This one is a bit too ghostly - again telima I think, if I have the right name.

Then I wondered about found objects and just used shapes.   These are precut Grungboard shapes - I love these swirls.
I inculded bits cut from a very grubby lace doily which might find it's way into a collograph plate one day.
As well as the sunprints I have ended up with some dyed lace ......
and these intriguing patterns which mysteriously found their way onto the foam board which was under a sheet of plastic!

We have a weekend guest who arrived just as I was having a breather.  She has brought her toys with her and is not impressed with people who need to rest their weary legs.   We'll go for a walk later when it is cooler - (she said hopefully).

Sunday 7 July 2013

Stand by for too many pictures!

My daughter and her husband had planned to take me to Trelleck today to see an ancient well and some standing stones but without warning the Severn Bridge was closed for some reason.  So plan B came into operation and we headed for the Boats Graveyard at Purton which has become quite an attraction since I saw it many years ago.   All the old barges, lighters and other craft which had become obsolete or not seaworthy were beached along the bank of the Severn at Purton in an effort to save the bank from erosion.    It must be 30 years since I last went as I remember them as timber hulks looking almost like the skeletons of huge animals lying in the grass.   Since then they have been filled with concrete to strengthen them and you can now only just recognise where the timber frames would have been.   The photo above was taken from the footpath on our way to the boats.
I used the zoom lens to get a look at that cliff.  

The hedges were full of lovely old twisty trees with ivy climbing them.  

The river looks deceptively shallow when the tide is out but it comes racing in at an alarming speed.  People have often been caught out and many have drowned while trying to walk across where they see the sand.  

This lady came to make sure we were behaving ourselves .......
and this one made sure she kept herself between us and her calf.

At last we came to the hulks - this one is almost beyond recognition as a boat.  It looks a bit like a strange fish with big eyes and a tiny mouth.

   I have no recollection of this disaster as we were not living in the area when it happened but it must have been a terrible tragedy.

Each boat has a commemorative plaque set into the grass alongside recording it's name and other details, and there is a tall memorial column listing all their names.

There is very little left of the original wooden framework as you can see here.  I have posted these in the wrong order - I took this closeup after the one below as I liked the texture of the disintegrating timber.

We decided to walk back along the canal towpath which runs parallel to the river at this point.

I made a mental note to come back in time to do a bit of blackberry picking - there should be a very good crop this year.
Some rather lovely locals.

There must have been literally thousands of these tiny fish in the canal.  We also saw a mallard and several chicks - they were so sweet but the light was wrong and didn't show up on my photo.

We sat in the shade of this tree to enjoy a cooling drink.   It is outside a very oldfashioned and rather scruffy but quaint pub with no pretentions but a good reputation.  I couldn't identify the tree but liked the look of it's bark and this intriguing hole where a branch has been taken off.

We needed to find some shade in which to sit and have our picnic lunch so headed off towards Uley and Cam Peak.   There are wonderful views right across the Vale of Berkley and as we ate our lunch we watched the gliders from nearby Nymphsfield being towed upwards and then flying silently overhead to come to land again.   My daughter's little dog wasn't too keen on them and barked if they came too low.
There are lovely views in all directions.

Many of the wild flowers in the grass are just going over now but these lovely little vetches are still flowering everywhere - they look almost like wild orchids.

I have just about recovered from all that sunshine and fresh air.  It was a lovely trip but I'm so glad I took a sun hat with me.   The good thing is they tell us we might get another two weeks of it.