Home again

Home again and what a fabulous morning. So much to do outside and the whole valley lying lazy in the sun.
The strange selection of pictures is firstly our mushrooms, grown in a box on the pantry floor and looking, I hope you agree, very convincingly like mushrooms. In the background is the distressingly awful kitchen made bearable by the bottle of wine and the kettle.
The swallows are swooping and diving this morning, busily repairing the nest in the big pigsty. They fly in through the little window above the door and are coming so fast it amazes me that they don't fly straight into the wall on the other side. I sat on the seat outside the pigsty for my coffee break when I was working this morning inspecting the non-existent carrots (too dry for germination I think) and they came whizzing in above my head. I had hoped to get a picture of one sitting on the pigsty roof but numerous attempts have failed so I hope from the second picture you can see where they go in and get the general idea.
They are such beautiful birds that it is easy to forgive the mess under the nest and we simply cover the various bits of not in use garden stuff with an old tarpaulin and let them cover it pleasingly with poo. I have seen swallows on and off in the kitchen garden for about two weeks but when we came home last night there was one sitting on the roof of the pigsty. It sat and sat and another one came and joined it and they had the look of journey's end about them. "You know when you have been on a really long walk and you end up at the bothy you are going to stay in?" Ian said. "They look just like that, when you take your rucksack off and just sit outside and do nothing for a bit."
Last year they raised three broods in the pigsty and every evening they would wheel and dip and skim, sometimes clearly catching small insects on the wing, others apparently flying for the pleasure of it, demonstration flying, showing off flying, flying because they can. I love them.
The last picture is the view from the new hawthorn hedge at the edge of the kitchen garden up the valley towards the ridge. I am always trying to get a picture of this view and always failing. The scale of a single photograph is all wrong and nothing captures the pattern of fields and woods, the white shapes of sheep on the other side of the valley, the four or five farmhouses far away, the trees along the stream in the far bottom and the sweep away up to the ridge, the hills rising towards Moel Arthur. On one visit my son-in-law spent hours with his camera and if you look at his twenty or thirty photos you begin to have the sense but a single one simply won't do it.
This afternoon is a gardening afternoon. I have a whole heap of people I should call and things I should do. I didn't go for the scan this week. Let it wait for me. I will go next Wednesday. But after two days of working myself silly in London it is the reminder I need that what will make me happy today is to work quietly weeding and planting with the sun on my back. So I will.
Carpe diem: seize the day.


  1. Yes, seize it and enjoy your weeding and planting. Some times you just have to go withyour instincts, and gardening is such an instinctive thing to do. I do love the pictures of where you live (and yes, the mushrooms do look very mushroomy!) - I've shown some of the pictures to R, who loves Wales. i think he's a bit piqued that he has been nagging me to go to Wales for years, and I've never got round to it, now I keep telling him we should go!

  2. Welcome home again!
    Lovely pics, like the mushrooms, I bought a kit for Stan once and then we forgot to use it, shame, should have another go.

    Enjoy your gardening! Its such a lovely day here, but bit windy.

  3. Wonderful pictures again - not sunny here today though, so indoor chores for me today.
    The mushrooms look superb - I tried to grow them in one of those kit things once, to no avail. I am most impressed. Good luck next week. love mousie

  4. Am impressed with the mushrooms! Did notice the bottle of vino blanc - glad you mentioned it 'cos I was if you didn't! Loved your earlier blog re friends - you are so right about the different kinds of friends we all have. Am going down to London on Wednesday for my hear tests, and won't be back 'til Saturday. So just wanted to say "good luck" and will be thinking of you. Will check in on you on my return.xx

  5. Lovely pictures, everything looking so lush. Toady

  6. Just catching up Elizabeth to see if any news of your scan.

    Love your blog about friends-so true-I have 'friends' for all occasions. 5 closest friends-all give me something different.

    Your garden looks worth all your efforts. +Those mushrooms look wonderful...and huge!

    warm wishes

  7. Hello Elizabeth - your photographs are truly stunning though I know what you mean about not being able to capture the true feeling. I keep struggling with our garden which, though not huge, has several aspects to it and yet it always looks a bit one-dimensional in photos. The mushrooms are amazing (my carrots have finally poked their first leaves through but took ages). As for the scan, do it when it feels right xx

  8. Forgot to say that the bit you put on my comments about Katherine refusing lifts - yep, that's Lauren too! x

  9. What beautiful photos! The hawthorne is really lovely. I would love to plant a hawthorne and may yet do it. Your mushrooms are amazing - imagine growing them on your own!
    Good for you for giving yourself a day in the garden. It's so important to give yourself permission to take care of YOU. There are so many shoulds in life and we women are very good a heeding them all. I hope your day was what you needed.
    Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my blog - It's funny, but I wrote something that I couldn't have otherwise articulated to people I don't know - and you all 'got it'.

  10. I couldn't agree more. The weather is so beautiful at the moment that you have to make the most of every minute. It's the only way to feel really alive. It looks and sounds like you live in a very similar landscape to my own. As you say, so hard to capture in a few small pictures - but you've given me a very good idea and it look/sounds idyllic. Love swallows too. Matlock? It's about 40 minutes or so to the east of where I am. I am on the western edges of the peak park, Manchester side. Not sure, to be honest, if Matlock is technically in High Peak district - but think maybe not.

  11. Oh how wonderful that you enjoy teh swallows and don't mind the poo. I saw House Martins in the village yesterday, but still haven't seen them where we live yet. I am hoping all the re-building after the fire hasn't put them off.

  12. When I was growing up my older brother used to grow mushrooms in a special kit which he kept in the bottom of his wardrobe. We used to eat them for breakfast.

    I have swallows to in my barn and each year they bring their babies back with them. This year it is getting a bit out of hand (probably about 10 or more nests!) but I love hearing them chatter and trill.

    A sparrow family has moved into one nest and this morning one of the babies was on the ledge next to the nest. The parent started jumping on it (I think to make it fly for the first time). I wonder if there's a lesson there about encouraging children to fly the nest!

    You don't want to visit Jersey and so some gardening for me do you? I don't get the time! Hope you had a good day.

  13. Gardening such a good antidote to city working, I don't blame you for wanting the sun on your back and the weeds in your fingers. Seems to dry for germination here too. None of my lettuces are up and only two (!) radishes. Hope you'll get some rain soon.

  14. Just catching up with blogs and loved yours. I live in the hills of mid-Wales and your lovely photos remind me of here. Your mushrooms are impressive.
    I too enjoy gardening, weeding and planting in the sunshine.
    Very best wishes,


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