Sunday, 10 December 2017

Perfect moments but for how long?

Occasionally  I have stood on the pier in the morning, waiting for the sunrise and have been disappointed when a cloud has blocked the sun just at the vital moment.One morning earlier in the week didn't look very promising, so we just took Tavi down to the beach instead, and were amazed by the colours, luckily I had the camera in my pocket to capture it.

 I wish that this scenery will continue to be a backdrop to these special moments but I am only too aware having being involved in beach cleans over the last twenty years that the tide of plastic in the sea is only increasing......

I took this photo during the bad storms of 2014 and it goes to show that although huge amounts of plastics are not currently landing on the beach they are filling the seas, affecting marine life. It is not only the plastic that we can see, but the sea is also littered with microscopic fragments of manmade products.

Plastic has become so much a huge part of our modern lives that it is easy to ignore and not question if it is really necessary. Do you remember a time when multiple toilet rolls were covered in paper rather than plastic, fizzy drinks and milk came in glass bottles and fish and chips were wrapped in newspaper? Forty percent of the plastics we use is for single use items such as packaging, which have a short shelf-life but are likely to remain in the environment for centuries to come.

It is good to see that this issue seems to have recently come to the top of everyone's agenda and a week doesn't seem to go by when this isn't featured in newspapers, tv or social media. Did you see those pictures recently from  Blue Planet? I think it is up to all of us to evaluate what we buy and seek out non-plastic alternatives. After all, the levy that was introduced on plastic bags in the UK has reduced usage by 85%, wouldn't it be wonderful if a deposit scheme on plastic bottles and other measures to reduce single use plastics could have a similar effect?

If you are interested in this, these links may be helpful:-

Sarah x

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Through the Garden Gate November 2017

There isn't much colour to look at in the garden in November, so I have picked out the structures and textures of plants to show you as highlights this month.

This Cordyline Australis started as a container plant many years ago. The year before we moved we cut it right back to a stump and we were going to throw it out until we discovered new shoots that produced two new plants. These plants have loved their new conditions and have given us a great display!

The grapes and leaves have now fallen off the vine and we are can see clearly the wonderful textured bark of the branches. My attempt to make wine was a dismal failure as I didn't give the process significant attention! Lessons have been learnt and I will attempt it again next year, hopefully with a better result!

 I'm not sure of the age of this potted Christmas tree. It was in the garden when we arrived and comes into the conservatory every year and is decorated for Christmas.  Surprisingly it seems to cope with our coastal gales and lack of regular watering.

There are a few flowers still blooming - this Winchester Catherdal rose and a white daisy.

Colour is provided by a red New Zealand flax and euphorbia oblongata.

The first frost has hit the nasturtiums and the resident mole has reappeared in another section of the garden. I'm not sure why Tavi's ball ended up right next to it!

Finally the usual views of the garden. I planted lots of tulips and some daffodils at the beginning of the month, so hopefully they will appear next Spring.

Although there hasn't been much colour in the garden, we have had views of magnificent sunsets over the garden fence.

What has been the best thing in your garden this month?

If you would like to join in with Through the garden gate each month please let me know in the comments below and I will add your site. 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Returning Home

How many places have you called home? I have lived in about 15 locations and all of them have had left a marked impression on me, through different stages in life, and all of them I have revisited at one time or another.

Some of them have changed almost beyond recognition, some have remained much the same and other places look much smaller than you remember depending on the age you were when you lived there such as my old primary school.

This morning we took a walk around Littlebredy where I lived for a few years and apart from enjoying the scenery we were delighted to meet a Little Egret who was obviously very much at home in its surroundings. It didn' t seem to be at all bothered by us and Tavi and just flew over to perch on the bridge close-by. Egrets seem to be more common now - I don't ever remember seeing them when we lived here (just found out that they first appeared in numbers around 1989).

Despite the first heavy frost having already melted down by the sea, the temperature guage in the car fell as we headed inland. The smell of the wood smoke filled the valley accompanied by the sound of falling water from the waterfall, which was accompanied by the sound of the village church bells.

 Autumn is starting to fade with fewer leaves now remaining on the trees and the windfall apples are left for the wildlife and the temperatures are starting to fall. Before heading home for a warm bowl of homemade soup I took a final peak at the house and garden that was once home and remembered how life was then.

See you later in the week for 'Through the garden gate' you are welcome to take pictures from your garden and join in too.

Sarah x

Monday, 20 November 2017

A la Ronde

Following mentioning fossils in the last two posts I will move on this week to show you some shells instead! We visited A la Ronde a few weeks back and although it sounds as if it should be in France it is in fact near Exmouth in Devon. It is a quirky 16 sided house full of creative treasures from around the world including lots and lots of shells!

This fascinating house was built for two spinster sisters in the 1790's. They had travelled extensively through Europe, on Grand Tours collecting treasures as they went.  They enjoyed buying and creating decorations which included using feathers,shells,decoupage,seaweed,stones and glass.

They would follow the sunshine around the house working under the windows on small fold down tables making their latest creations.

One of the striking features of the house was a two storey "Octagon Hall " off which all the rooms radiate. This makes the shapes of the rooms very unusual and quirky, as can be seen in one of the bedrooms.

This bedroom window in particular had wonderful views looking out towards the Exe estuary and in the far distance towards Dawlish.

On the top floor is a sort of Gothic seaside grotto that is decorated with 25,000 shells. As the contents of this gallery are so fragile it can only be viewed by a remote control camera. The picture above taken from a screen just doesn't do it justice as you can see by looking at it yourself using this Link.

These aren't the only shells as there are still cupboards and shelves covered in them throughout the house!

As if that wasn't enough this frieze made of feathers really caught our eye. It must have taken so much patience to create it and it is amazing it is still there so many hundreds of years later. Again it is better to see it for real. I recommend when you open the link to use the sound effects and the auto rotate at the bottom of this page to explore the drawing room. Do look for the frieze around the top of the walls, and around the doors and fireplace and the silhouettes they created

The sisters would never allow any men to enter their houses or grounds, as this now belongs to the National Trust they are welcome. We enjoyed seeing something completely unique, I hope you enjoyed your glimpses of it too!
Until next time.


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