Friday, 31 August 2007

Garden Reality

Thought we'd have a little reality here. I have so many people enjoying my garden but thought I would show you the other side for a change.

We have 2 garden sheds and this is one of them. I have been wanting an opportunity to empty it and get it cleaned up. It is also in need of some repair. It is amazing what collects in these places when neglected for a few years.

We cleared out old sun umbrellas, beach windbreak, horrible old covers for garden furniture, never used. Rusty screws and the like, rusty garden tools, a host of unopened and old packets of seeds, wire, empty boxes, numerous tins of old and solid paint, mildewed cushions, old pots, rotten garden gloves and much, much more - you get the picture!

And now restoration has begun
and it is looking a lot cleaner and more organised

Our second shed which is much newer and more organised

And here to give a little light relief, some of the colours today.

In the right hand bottom corner, the old shed door.

The window in the background is where I sit and read the newspaper after breakfast and look our onto the garden

I am so glad that this job is being tackled.

Just part of the week. It began with Janie and family coming over for the Bank Holiday on Monday.

We then began the shed overhaul on Tuesday (continuing today Thursday).

Wednesday we had a day out visiting Sir Winston Churchill's home and garden. I took lots of photos of this beautiful place and will post in due course. Will be a treat.

Tomorrow we are out for dinner and over the weekend our church will be working hard Spring cleaning the school that is part of our church.

Just a few highlights of my week.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

The Orchard House, Oxford

I’ll finish my Oxford postings by showing you where we stayed. The Orchard House.
It is a very fine Bed & Breakfast establishment. Everything was done to a very high standard and very artistic. Nothing was spared in making this a very comfortable and appealing place to stay. A nice large en-suite room with every convenience: One could have breakfast in the beautifully furnished and artistic studio. We chose the option of having it brought to our room, with no extra room service cost. Several choices of very fine hot food – all locally grown and organic and home made bread and preserves, plus freshly prepared juices and fruits and home made muesli.

We were supplied with a fan (not a usual option in our climate), umbrellas, bath robes, ear plugs, alarm clock, bottled water, clothes brush, and a library of books and D.V.D.’s., Lloyd Loom table and chairs, a nice settee and a superb modern shower room. If one wanted tea then home made cakes were supplied. In other words 5 star treatment.

The Orchard House was originally an artists house in the early part of the last century, hence the studio. The owner was an artist himself hence the artistic flavour of the place. They also had two of the most adorable pedigree cats that I have ever seen. We would not hesitate to go back.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

The Quod Restaurant, Oxford

This is where we ate on one of our days in Oxford. The reason I am posting on this is because I think the art work on the walls is quite unusual. It is an Italian restaurant and the food was good but I couldn’t take my eyes off the walls.

The first one is clever. Viewed as one sitting in an airline seat.

Let's meet for coffee

On the beach

Are we friends

This was a BIG flower display

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The University of Oxford's Botanic Gardens

The University of Oxford’s Botanical Gardens was another place of interest that we visited during our recent trip. We found it very peaceful and tranquil.

Set within a garden of beautiful borders and stunning plant collections are seven glasshouses where plants from dry deserts to tropical rainforests can be seen. Alongside a 100 year old cacti and extravagant water lilies grow the plants that give us chocolate, sugar, coconuts, bananas, oranges, medicines and much more. Some of the plants even bite!

The Palm House is packed with tropical fruits and spices. The giant Victoria water lily has leaves big and strong enough to hold a baby. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

A Different Perspective

Yes, I did spend most of my day in the garden today enjoying the sunshine. I have been working on writing more of "My Story". It is one thing writing it but another getting down to typing it on the computer. I got as far as the time when I was living on the ocean today and got fired up with all the interesting events myself. I will post a chapter at a time once I get them typed up on the computer.
Apart from that I dozed in the sun and ate a tasty lunch wishing that you all could join me.
I had my tea indoors as I wanted to watch the DVD of the film "The Queen" starring Helen Mirren. After that I did my ironing and here I am back where I began this morning, posting a blog. How's that for addiction!
Everything in the garden has a different perspective when filmed from a prone position on my lounger! At this time of year, and especially after the weather we have had, there is little colour and everything is looking a little tired.
So this is how it is today.

I did have my feet in this picture but then decided against it! They did not add to the ambience of the picture.

The fish were sun bathing too.

In case anybody is wondering from previous posts, I have not shown what was to be my new Gazebo. There was a part missing when we eventually came to erect it and it was proving so complicated getting it, that we have accepted a refund and it is going back. I will reconsider next Spring.

Winter Berries in August

Can't believe it - Winter berries on the Pyracantha already

Lace-cap Hydrangeas

It is a holiday weekend here in England - the last Bank Holiday before Christmas. After so much constant rain for the last week and temps. in the mid-sixties, today it is warm and sunny.

That combination means the roads and tourist spots are very busy.

For me it is a time to get out into the garden. I am looking forward to eating out there today.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

The Bodleian Library, Oxford.

We were fortunate enough to be able to do an organised tour of the library and School of Divinity. Normally I hate organised tours and prefer to just look myself, but this is not possible in such a place. We were also unable to take photographs inside the library but could take photographs inside the Divinity School and the outside Quadrangle. I have scanned a few inside shots of the library from my book though.

The Bodleian complex houses the library and the School of Divinity. The library was built as a Divinity School in the 15th century. Prior to that the first library was housed in the room above the Old Congregation House and begun in 1320. Divinity was considered the most important science at the time. In fact nobody could have a degree in any subject without passing in Divinity.

We visited Duke Humfrey’s Library. Originally a library of manuscripts only, it had a collection of scholastic and legal texts and a remarkable presentation of the Humanism of the Italian Renaissance. It was restored and brought back to magnificence by Thomas Bodley. Many of the books in this library are chained up as they are so valuable. The library is still used by scholars today, but obviously only with a special pass. I wish I could have taken photographs as it is impossible to explain what it was like. We were not able to get near the books but just looking and sensing the atmosphere was quite something, to me anyhow.

There are 8 million books in the Bodleian Library at present, and this includes the New Bodleian Library which in comparison is a nasty modern building. The oldest manuscript kept here is dated 527 BC. The first printed book is The Life of John the Baptist printed in 1599.

Oxford University examinations first took place in this School of Divinity. It is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The ceiling contains 455 bosses in which religious symbolism appears alongside monograms and shields commemorating benefactors and other persons associated with the building.

The Tower of the Five Orders. This is an impressive tower which today holds the archives of the University. It displays the five classical orders of architecture (starting at the bottom with the most ancient): Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite.

The Statue is of William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke, Chancellor of the University and Bodleian benefactor.

Around the quadrangle the doors still have painted over them names of the schools to which they formerly led. They represent the curriculum of the early 17th century. The seven Liberal Arts.
(The Trivium: Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric; and the Quadrivium; Arithmetic, Astronomy, Geometry, Music), the Philosophies, and Languages. Scholars had to study and pass in all of these subjects. No wonder there were some such brilliant minds in those times.

The Great Door (Scanned image)

The Quadrangle

The Proscholium entrance

The Divinity School

Ceiling Bosses
Close-up of a Boss (scanned image)

Duke Humphrey's Library on the upper floor (scanned image)

Chained books (scanned image)

Duke Humphrey's Library (scanned image)

Bronze statue of William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke

Barbara thinking of Logistics

Alan the Philosopher

Visitors shop
All scanned images taken from the Bodleian Library Guide Book