Home again

Built a wall, whipped home and whipped out again down to Devon.


This is the wall high up below Tryfan with National Trust warden Dewi on top of it, placing the coping stones.  On the last morning I worked with another ranger lower down in the valley.  Iolo was a silent man until you started to talk to him about dry stone walls!  I know enough now to have a go at repairing ours, if only I could find it behind the nettles and buttercups, hogweed and bind weed.  Might have to be an autumn project when all the weed dies down!

I have been trying to sum up my experience of the dry stone walling holiday which is hard as it was a week of extremes.  On the one hand, I loved it.  The company was good, the walling was fascinating, being bumped out of my comfort zone and into the sort of communal experience I haven't had for years was interesting and probably good for me.  On the other hand, I discovered I was considerably less fit than I was a few years ago when Erica and I walked the Offa's Dyke Path while she was considerably fitter.  That was a bit of a shock.  And I was astonishingly tired by the physical work.  I work hard at home.  My stamina is pretty good I think.  But I work like a fifty eight year old, not a twenty eight year old.  It has made me realise that the amount of time these days which is going into caring for other people must not be used as a reason or excuse for losing my fitness because I am now at the stage where, if it goes, I might not get it back.  Salutary warning.  Would I do it again?  Yes I would and that, I suppose, is the test!

                                                      *****                                                                 


And back home from Devon to a garden overflowing with beauty and weed. 





Here is some of the beauty: hardy geraniums and alchemilla, roses and nepeta.  The whole garden is an eruption of colour, form and scent.



In all sorts of corners and backwoods the eruptions are nettles and hogweed and bindweed.  We are calling this a wildlife garden. 



In the field the old hedges offer a beauty that surpasses anything I can create.


There are bees everywhere.


The wall in front of the house has disappeared under flower and foliage.


And the path to the house is drowning in alchemilla.  There will be time enough to cut it back in a couple of weeks, but for now, let us just drown in summer.

Comments

  1. "It has made me realise that the amount of time these days which is going into caring for other people must not be used as a reason or excuse for losing my fitness because I am now at the stage where, if it goes, I might not get it back".....you are speaking directly to me, I know it!
    Your dry stone wall experience will stand you in good stead once the frost takes care of the bindweed etc. At some point in summer it's good to surrender for a few days to the complete chaos, perfume, over-abundance....before going back into high gear. I have one, sad alchemilla, where I see that others, like you, are drowning in it. I will have to try it in a different spot.
    Take care of yourself, as you care for all the others with claims on your time and energy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My alchemilla thrives in stony soil and grows in cracks in the paving. I always have a vision of your place being rather damper, cooler and lusher than mine. If that is right, perhaps it needs a drier, stonier spot if you have one? And yes about the fitness, you and me both!

      Delete
  2. We fly home tomorrow, back on our little island by Wednesday and I'm both eager and dreading to see my garden, certainly an unruly tangle by now after 6 weeks to grow as it wants. . . .
    My holiday was very different from yours, but the painting week gave me the same practice with communal life that I haven't had for ages and ages. It doesn't really suit some of my nature but does bring out aspects of myself that are interesting to check in with once in a while.
    And having just spent that painting week In a region full of dry stone walls, I'm full of admiration that you now know something about repairing them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting to hear your perspective on communal living. I am similar in that in some ways I am very much not a communal person but I can do it and I do think it is good to explore those things every now and then. Hope you enjoy your home coming!

      Delete
  3. I fear I have lost my fitness though I am not sure how or why. Maybe I need to go dry stonewalling, though I have built or repaired dry stone walls before, from instinct rather than tuition. Building walls is curiously satisfying whether they are dry or not dry, built with stone or brick. I think you have a good attitude to weeds and summer - if you can't beat 'em, you might as well admire them, for their tenacity if nothing else. Why can't we modify garden plants with genes from dandelions and nettles and a thousand and one other visitors to the garden that arrive unbidden and refuse to depart and unlike their human kind never demand watering? Still with my fitness to regain I must go and climb now to the top of Primrose Hill which I usually do on Sunday mornings but we've had friends to a garden lunch and then there was the tennis; and so thrilled with Murray's triumph and your stonewalling I shall go and plod up the hill. Happy holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too was thrilled about Murray! What a match. Pity I can't play tennis, that would be a fitness challenge!

      Delete
  4. It is a glorious time in the garden! I think the Alchemilla Mollis is having one of it's finest years I've ever seen. Although there are many wonderful flowers in the garden, I think nothing sums up Summer quite like honeysuckle and dog roses.
    Reading what Pondside says (above) I have gained too much weight and lost fitness from caring for those who need it, now I have to fight to regain that which I have lost in just two short years. Know that you are a shining beacon to those who are clawing their way back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am with you on honeysuckle and dog roses. You have reminded me that I need to go and check whether a particularly beautiful white one is in flower in the hedge. It is hiding behind a waste of nettles and some bags of rubble but is the best rose in the whole garden. I might need to do something about making it more visible!

      Delete
  5. The garden looks gloriously rampant!
    I agree on the fitness front. I always think I am fitter than I actually am! The good thing that come with getting more mature is stamina. A friend did the Everest base camp walk a while ago, and although she may have been last into camp each night, more 'youngsters' fell by the wayside each day than 'oldies'. The guides said it was because we know how to pace ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I do know how to pace myself: slowly!

      Delete
  6. I commend you in participating in the Dry Wall experience. Endurance brought you through. Thank you for sharing this with us . . . Gorgeous indeed. . . I am reminded of Ireland as I see your world of stone and rock. And then the beautiful summery flowers . . . I see no weeds or briars, only the beauty of the natural. The honeysuckle is so lovely. Love the header . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The honeysuckle is fantastic at the moment and the scent of it is amazing. It keeps catching me as I go by!

      Delete
  7. I see you are drowning in the nicest possible way in the gifts that summer brings. Beautiful! And your stone wall experience must have been fascinating though a little sobering. We pace ourselves nowadays don't we. Bye for now, Jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I had realised the extent to which I pace myself! I thought I was working quite hard!

      Delete
  8. The wall is impressive, and your garden glorious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My weeds are glorious too Dimple but I have decided not to mind!

      Delete
  9. I love the concept of drowning in summer - and at least right now it isn't literal.

    Take heart over the fitness issue - caring is mentally and physically exhausting, and we're from the generation that tries to do it all and still look like we have everything under control - having come through the other side, I'd say don't beat yourself up, because you will regain your fitness and energy in time. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is encouraging, thank you! I am working quite hard on fitness this week. I think the walling gave me a wake up call but it is good to think that you can regain fitness too.

      Delete
  10. Our paths are all drowning in alchemilla I am afraid - I love it and like you
    I know I can always cut it back when it begins to die back (and hopefully before
    it begins to seed). Lovely honeysuckle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will do a big cutback in a few weeks. It doesn't seem to matter how hard I cut back, some still manages to seed itself!

      Delete
  11. I admire you for taking such a physically challenging and charitable vacation! What a gorgeous garden to come home to. I can almost hear the happy bees buzzing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are loads of bees around Sarah. In some places in the garden it is actually noisy!

      Delete
  12. Your garden is looking spectacular and must be jolly hard work to maintain.

    I hear what you're saying about fitness but you sound to me to be a lot fitter than many folk in their fifties ... I think we have to accept that what constitutes fit post fifty is not the same as what constitutes fit in our 30s and 40s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I had been feeling that I was perhaps fitter than many but I now appreciate that I would like to be fitter still - not yet sure if that is realistic!

      Delete
  13. Your garden is looking lovely!
    Drowning in alchemilla here too, and fighting to protect it. Mike, with a rather more orderly eye than me, cannot abide it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somehow Ian, who is also quite orderly and who likes to prune hard, seems not to really notice alchemilla. I think it is because flowering things are roughly my territory!

      Delete
  14. Dear Elizabeth,
    the flowers in your garden are so beautiful and just the kind I admire (I even tried to transport honeysuckle from garden to balcony - though it might become a problem of room).
    Learning to build dry stone walls - wow! My friend Anne (she was with me at the Chelsea Flower Show) has such a wall in her garden in Darmstadt - an expert built it (with expert prices). And a Facebooker from England does it as a job. I love those walls!
    Keeping fit - yes, that is really important. And I created by now my own mantra: "I do'nt ask myself whether I am in the mood - I just do it."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your mantra Britta. I shall try to adopt it. I am finding it very easy this week as I have our son's dog here and the walk is non negotiable!

      Delete
  15. You sound as though you had such an interesting week and enjoyed it, too. I'm sure there are plenty of 28 year olds who couldn't last a week working physically hard in the open air. The flowers in your garden are looking lovely, and I agree about the honeysuckle and dog roses, they are especially beautiful because they're wild.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose there might be 28 year olds who would struggle but they certainly weren't up our mountain!

      Delete
  16. Even the "weeds" in your garden are beautiful !
    Yes , keeping fit is an excellent idea ... I do feel better if I make an effort to cycle fot even half an hour a day . It's mostly the exercise ... but the time to myself helps as well , I think . On the other hand , dry-stone walling would probably kill me off in hours !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think combining time to yourself with exercise is an excellent idea. Years ago I used to do that by going to the gym. Mind you I like to have Ian's company walking and am missing it now that he is away!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Comments are the best thing and the conversations they produce are the whole purpose of blogging for me. Do tell me what you think!

Popular Posts