Thursday, 24 April 2014

Trashy treasures and a woolly welcome...


Dearest blog readers,
Would you let me hug you, please? 
Hold you tight for a minute and tell you how lovely you are and how touched I was 
by your kind words after my modest blog come-back two weeks ago? 
I struggle to find the right words to describe how you made me feel. 
I feel I ought to say something profound and yet all that comes to mind, 
over and over again, is "you made my day". 
You. Made. My. Day.

During my blog silence, one of the things that kept me busy was moving in to this little 18th-century cottage, in a tiny hamlet a few minutes away from the "old" Swenglish Home. Full of good vibes, history, lady birds and spiders (!), this is a home where my compact living skills will be tested again and again...



However, my nose for recycling and turning trash into treasure has already proven intact, for example when I spotted these two rattan chairs being thrown away at the local recycling centre. "Stop, hold on! Surely you are not throwing those away?!" I bellowed at the men unloading the contents of their lorry into the skip. "Want them? They're yours!" they bellowed back, raising one or two eyebrows at the beaming Swede embracing their rubbish with such joy. Perhaps not my dream garden chairs, but they were free and they have already proven to be splendid seats for lunches in the sun.

The observant among you may have noticed that there seem to be two front doors to this little aged beauty. This is indeed true. In the old days, this used to be two cottages and as I sweat and fret over lack of storage space, I think of what it must have been like living here in those days, in only half of the cottage, and instantly I feel really blessed and grateful for the space that I have got!

The front door to the left in the photo above leads straight into the kitchen. This is a kitchen that, in the mouth of an over-eager estate agent might be described as "bijou", but which we all would know means "so tiny you can barely turn around". But do you know what? It also comes with this view:


 ... and that makes even washing up (my least favourite household chore) a joy!

And just like my woolly neighbour welcomed me into my new home,
let me welcome you to
 "The New Swenglish Home Blog"!

Helena


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Winds of change...

 Dear blog readers,
It has now been an eternity or two since I last resurfaced, 
and many are you who have sent kind messages during my web absence 
- thank you so much! 
Days became months and before I knew it, 
five whole months had gone by without a sign of Swenglish life... 
But not to worry, there is still life here. 
Although with the winter storms came other winds too.
Winds of change.

And of these winds, I might perhaps speak soon... 
Until then, may your paths be lined with spring blossom,
and sunshine embrace your every step!


Helena

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Resurfacing...






Dearest blog readers,

Now how did that happen?! A blog silence so long that even I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find my way back to the gates of Bloglandia. As you can see, I have resurfaced, but only with the help of some recycled photos from previous autumns. My camera lies dormant in its case, and I, I neither lie nor am I dormant very much... Instead, it seems I have boarded life's own speed train, with a ticket that will last at least another few months...

As for you, dear readers, I wish you all the best, hoping you are enjoying many revitalising autumn walks and special moments with friends and family. The season for going a little candle crazy is here, so bring out the hot chocolate and the fluffy throws!

Helena



Sunday, 15 September 2013

The winds are changing...

Today when I went for my morning walk, the fields were full of sheep, crows and autumn. The sheep, who usually greet me with cheerful baah-baahs, were surprisingly silent. Perhaps they thought that the croaking wall of sound from the black feathers was enough noise for a Sunday morning, perhaps they were simply contemplating the changing seasons...

And the seasons are definitely changing. A different wind tickled my temples today, luring various strands of hair out of my ponytail and playfully throwing them straight into my eyes. The ducks in the lake told me in no uncertain terms that they were not impressed by my lack of bread for them, and the skies looked at least fifty shades of grey...



The photos in today's post are from the pretty little village of Monkton Farleigh, just a few minutes drive from here. It is apparently known for its underground mines of Bath stone, which have been converted into one of the largest Ministry of Defence underground ammunition stores in the UK. To me, however, it is known for its beauty, its quintessentially English... well, Englishness!




It is with a spot of melancholy that I say goodbye to the glorious summer that seemed to last forever, but it is also with a smile that I greet autumn. The colours, the crisp air, the cosy nights in... bring it on!
Wishing you all the most wonderful autumn days!
Love, 
Helena

Friday, 6 September 2013

At last...




... a small sign of life ...!
Yes, I am indeed alive. And kicking. Mostly accidentally kicking sheep droppings on my many walks in the countryside here, where summer has been lingering and the air has had that lovely scent of promise, warm soil and cow dung. Well, the latter might not be my preferred perfume as such, but there is something so grounding, so wholesome about walking through agricultural land, that a whiff of fresh cow pat actually does add that je ne sais quoi that makes the picture complete somehow...

The summer of 2013 was glorious, the weather sensational and I simply could not bear to spend a minute more than necessary indoors. The blog was neglected and with life picking up speed again now, I dare not make any promises for regular posts anytime soon. But perhaps that is how it is sometimes, that one part of your life has to slow down in order to make way for other parts to evolve...? 

I hope you have all had a relaxing and soul-nurturing summer and that September has begun with smiles all around!


Love, 
Helena

Friday, 26 July 2013

Flirting with turquoise...


Now, many are the eyebrows that might now be raised a little higher than usual in front of the computer screens... Turquoise, she says? Aqua colours in the Swenglish home...?


Well, lately I have, to my own surprise, felt drawn to this strong and cheerful colour. Perhaps it is because of the magical summer we are having, where temperatures seem to have soared many weeks ago, only to surprise even themselves by then getting stuck there, high, high up in the unusually sweaty register... Perhaps this is why I am drawn to this slightly cooler colour, a sort of surrogate dip in the ocean for a Swede longing for school to finish and mental doors to open for beach days and splashing galore?


Perhaps this is why, during a visit to Camden Market in London at the beginning of the summer, I was surprised to see myself point at this large piece of fabric and say "could I have that one please?" and a moment later find myself in the street a few pounds shorter but with a bag full of aqua-coloured joy?

(Love versatile garden equipment..., like here with a tray placed on an upsidedown leaf bin/butt/barrel -instant side table, hooray!)


And this little fellow, he and I met in Sweden in June, and I invited him to come home with me. I am very glad I did, as with him came some wonderfully calming vibes...


Fruit... oh how we eat fruit in the summer heat! Pears, melons, strawberries - any and every fruit seems to lodge in our fridge, but only for a brief moment before it is enjoyed, giving us the juicy, fruity kick we are craving...


So there we have it, a quick and long overdue hello from a warm Wiltshire, where we are now getting ready for some proper summer holidaying, hoping the weather will not already have exhausted itself completely...
  Lake splashing, here we come!


So, from my little corner of turquoise tranquility, a warm hug to all of you who still pop in to visit The Swenglish Home blog. What is your colour that has got you tingling this summer?


Helena

Monday, 8 July 2013

Munching dragonflies in the kitchen...?!




No, not to worry, no insects were harmed in the production of this blog post...


I just thought I would dig out some photos from our kitchen from earlier this spring...


... to somehow bring the interior theme back into the blog, before...


... I go off on one of my garden musings again, or perhaps...


... simply give in to the urge to make hundreds of thousands of biscuits 
with my new dragonfly cookie cutter...!


Sooo, if you do not hear from me again for some time...
it is very likely I can be found somewhere near a beach...
with a face that says... 
"Who... me? 
No, I did not just eat eighty-three dragonfly-shaped biscuits!
Of course not.
Ehm."

Wishing you a lovely July week,
filled with your favourite biscuits!
Helena

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

You Can Leave Your Hat On...


... I believe he sang, Joe Cocker, all those years ago... 
And here, in my favourite garden, a hat may be advisable to shield you from the sun, but on some days you need not worry about any other clothing, as The Naked Gardeners welcome visitors in their birthday costumes on certain dates throughout the season...


However, on Friday last week when I revisited Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, it was a normal day, where the only nudity on display was offered by a few statues in the glorious, creative and inventive gardens that constitute this green gem. The photo above was taken from the tiny island in the river, a perfect spot from which to admire the majestic backside (no pun intended!) of the house.


I love the contrast of the wilder, "junglier" area down by the river, after having admired the slightly more formal garden rooms in front of the house. 

 


The sun loungers looked very appealing on this sunny day, as did a game of chess...


The front of the house is covered in an array of gorgeous green leaves and more colourful floral phenomena...







And when we sat down for a drink in the café by the koi carp pond, Robbie came to say hello. Well, Robbie admittedly seemed more interested in the biscuits my fellow garden admirers were munching than in any real bird-human bonding, but even so, I fell in love with this little feathery fellow!


Now look at those curves! I LOVE this section of the garden, with the funky gigantic green head, the lollipop trees and all the shaped box hedges and trees...!


Gorgeous giant poppies, red, pink and white, all looking as if made of silky paper...



Now, I am not the kind of girl who forces people to do things, nor do I tend to give unsolicited advice to my friends, but I may just have to make an exception here... You simply HAVE to visit this garden one day! It is a very special place and if you do not find at least one spot in the five acres of green loveliness that makes you weak at the knees or at least filled with a desire to plant your bottom on the lawn and just be for a moment, soaking up the view from your tranquil spot, well, then I am not sure what to say!

There are loads more photos from this garden under the heading Abbey House Gardens in my Categories - please feel free to browse them should you like to see more.

Blog posts are not exactly bombarding your screens from The Swenglish Home at the moment. Summer hibernation has set in, I am afraid, and I spend more hours outdoors than in at the moment, far, far away from screens and keyboards. I hope you are also enjoying the warmer season. A special thank you to all of your who still pop in to visit my quasi-dormant corner of the blog world, and a special-special thank you for kind comments!

With much love,
Helena