Monday, 30 July 2012

Summing up summer so far...

After the long, long wait, the classrooms finally closed their doors for the last time...for now... The weather gods must have heard our pleas for some summer to match the holiday bearing its name, and suddenly our senses were filled with light. Everybody seemed to be walking around beaming as if in competition with the sun itself, sweating in warm temperatures but without a word of complaint, as if worried that would jinx this rare ray-ed event...

So what have the Swenglish family been occupying themselves with this first glorious week of "freedom"?

Well, quite a bit of...: 

A little bit of...:

(The beautiful walk back from the beach The Cliffs Bay in Wales, with the little river and the castle ruin on the hill top...)

Some of us have spent some time on...:

... others have done more of...:

All of us have done a little bit of...:

 (Canoeing down the river Wye in Wales.)

Oh, and some of us... well, one of us, might just have done a bit more of...:

Some of us even got to say hello to...:

(Stunning sand sculpture exhibition on the beach in Weston-Super-Mare.)


And for those of you having spent the past week sleepless, pondering over the fate of my trusty, awfully scruffy rustic wooden bench that had to step aside to make room for the iron lady in the previous blog post...  Well, worry no longer. It has just moved a little north east, ca 8-10 steps from its previous location:

Looking at these images now, I realise they let out small puffs of vaguely autumnal air...

But no, we are not there yet. Let's instead focus for a brief but blissful moment on these biscuits I shamelessly tease you with here. Dear, oh dear. Blogging is definitely a hazardous hobby if one is the slightest bit concerned about the bikini season... I can't remember in which wonderful blog I stumbled upon the recipe for these Nutella biscuits, but I knew the moment I saw it that my nutty fate was sealed!

Bench-lovers, look away now, as I declare the fate of the even more scruffety-scruff-health and safety hazard rustic bench that previously occupied this place. No, I don't think I can be blunt enough to say it out loud. Let's just say it has gone to meet its bench makers...and that it was a very heated goodbye... 


Oh, and soon, we'll be doing A LOT of...:

Thank you SO much for visiting my blog and for all the kind, kind comments you leave here.
I read and reread them and store them in my mental goodie jar, 
labelled HAPPINESS.

I hope you are doing A LOT of whatever makes your summer 
just that little bit extra special!


Friday, 20 July 2012

My benches and I...

We seem to have a special relationship, my garden benches and I...

They put up with my "pimping" and pottering practices without as much as a sigh or a grunt. Same thing when  they see me light up after a decorating brainwave and I rush to get my camera. No rolling of the eyes, no scraping of the feet...

The newest family member in the bench clan looked a little naked at first...

... and I did my best to - at least partially - cover her sensually curved, slender-limbed torso 
(hm, a torso has no limbs, but you know what I mean...)...

...with some cushions in the only fabric that seemed 
appropriate for this delicate lady: vintage-looking florals...

(The bunting also has some "flags" from an old pink shirt, donated to my sewing cupboard by the man in the house when the collar started fraying. Many are the handsome male shirts in the Swenglish Home that have met  the same recycled fate!)

(Click on the image to view the whole image.)

I found the fabric in one of the very few remaining fabric shops in Bath. I asked for vintage floral and they pointed me in the direction of some not-in-the-slightest-vintage viscose. Hm, I thought, I think I need to do what I do best, rummage-rummage-rummage and sniff the air like a bloodhound for what I crave... and there it was, the faint scent of something similar to the idea in my head, coming from the almost hidden-away curtain fabric section upstairs. Sniff-sniff. Yep, that will do, some wannabe vintage florals for a wannabe vintage bench. A happy marriage, it seems. So far.


Our home in Landhaus

One of my blog friends in Switzerland mentioned yesterday that she had seen our home in the German magazine Landhaus. This was a complete surprise to me, and I have not yet seen it myself, but to my German readers who may be interested, I think it is in the July/August issue of the magazine. (The Editor-in-Chief has now kindly posted a copy to me, so in a few days I may be able to see it myself...!)

Wishing you all a really, REALLY lovely weekend!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Open Gardens Part II

I said in my last post that on my stroll around some Open Gardens on Sunday,
 I had encountered a certain summer house 
I simply could not get out of my head...

Now, I think you will understand why...!

I dare say I think this beautiful garden is the wonderful work of someone with 
both passion for gardens and the skills to make the dream come true.

A garden for all the senses, with "come and explore me" areas, 
olfaction-tingling borders,
an old tree that once was part of an old orchard and which in its 
advancing years is heard whispering "climb me, climb me" as you stroll past it
on your way to discretely stroke the lavender for a calming whiff... 

Large pine cone "bunting" in the old tree - what a lovely idea!

Pots, pots, pots...

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know my weakness for wooden trays, 
particularly weathered ones - yum, yum!

The more vibrant-coloured flower border against the wall, above which you can 
enjoy the gorgeous view across the valley and the hill beyond.


This photo is taken standing with my back to the house. If you turn left just after the small tree on your left, you will be facing the lovely summer house. In the distance, you can see the green house, which rubs shoulders with a lovely vegetable garden.

A stunning garden and one which put more than one idea in my already inundated head... 
Dear, oh dear. 
Now where, 
when and 
can I build myself a summer house like this?!
(Well, the "how" I can work out, it is more the "where" and the "when", accompanied by the "how to convince the rest of the family about its necessity" that will take some pondering...)

Thank you, J and A, for sharing your wonderful garden with us!

Wishing you lovely summer days, whether in a summery house or without!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Open Gardens Part I

Just the other day, I drove past some signs on the road, indicating that on the 15th, there would be Open Gardens in a village near us. Now, given the weather we have been having lately (and we have, indeed, been having quite a lot of... weather!), I did not think much more about it, until...

... on Sunday we woke up to the loveliest sun, accompanied by blue skies and lifted spirits...

Green with garden envy, I returned home that afternoon, with a camera full of inspiration and senses filled with floral joy. Six homes had opened their beautiful gardens to the public that day, all to raise money for the work of Julian House, a charity supporting homeless men and women in the Bath area.

The photos in today's blog post are all from one breathtaking house and garden, 
which also enjoys stunning views across the valley. 

One of the lovely things about Open Gardens is that you get to meet the owners and hear them talk about their gardens, the history of it and how they feel about them, which adds a very personal touch to the experience.

That this is a much loved garden is not hard to guess...

One of the most striking features of this garden is a seating area around an old well. Unfortunately, I have not included any photos of it, as there were a number of garden guests relaxing there. Even though I have got the garden owner's permission to feature her stunning garden, I was not sure other guests would be happy to be "blog models" for a day. Maybe next time!

I could have strolled around this floral fairy tale for hours, 
stroking the lavender,
mumbling new ideas to myself,
letting out little sighs of delight...

...but despite its inviting corners and tranquil mood 
lulling me into a very relaxed frame of mind...

(Click on the image if you would like to view it larger.)

...there were more gardens to explore - an opportunity the curious yours truly could not resist... Next time I will share some photos of another glorious garden, whose summer house I cannot seem to get out of my head....!

Thank you so much for letting us share your garden haven for a day, dear J and T!


Friday, 13 July 2012

Wet but still wonderful...

Last weekend we had some lovely friends from Denmark staying with us...

(Some of you may recognise this stone planter, which I showed 
earlier this year, then full of yellow spring loveliness.)

... a reason as good as any to give them and ourselves a big dose of CUTE...

... by taking them to Castle Combe...

... where, with all the rain we have had lately, 
the green seems just a little bit greener, 
and the flowers just a little bit more... well, flowery...

The pretty garden house above was featured in a blog post here recently, but I thought it looked so lovely in its summer costume and with its characteristic dovecote above the top window, that I thought I would sneak in another photo of it today. If you want to read more about old dovecotes like this, you can do it here.

So many of the old windows in this stunning village are "drowning" in voluptuous verdure, 
which makes a visit a feast for the eyes in so many ways,

Yes, Castle Combe may be wet from all the rain, but it is still a wonderful, wonderful place to visit, packed with history, character, beauty and charm. 

And it is real. A living village where people get up in the morning, struggle to find their keys or discover that there is no milk for breakfast, just like you and I might do... Where they sigh over the never-ceasing piles of laundry and cobwebs in the corners. 

Still, in my mind, a little piece of paradise...

I hope you are enjoying summer, storing sweet memories 
to revisit during the darker months of the year...


Ps. THANK YOU for all your kind, kind comments on my previous blog posts - you are so lovely!