Monday, 30 March 2009

Capel Manor Horticultural College

My backup last week of 'My Documents' on to my external hard drive took over 4 hours. This has pushed me to start to do some 'house keeping' on my computer, like clearing unwanted documents and sorting thousands of photos in order to get them onto C.D.'s plus finding somewhere for the many videos.

I am still working on getting the garden ship shape after the winter and attempting to continue with spring cleaning which was held up somewhat by the decorating.

I had these pictures of our local horticultural college already in draft form from summertime so thought it was about time I published it.

As you will see if you click on the link the college has 30 acres of many interesting gardens and areas and woodlands. The grounds are also used for horticultural trials including Gardening Which publication. The winner of the Chelsea show has their garden transported here too.

One of the areas of interest to me is the different and individual domestic type gardens that the students work on.

This one was developed in memory of the late Queen Mother

A back garden looking through the arch to the kitchen garden beyond

One of many different themes gardens

Here we see a number of different style domestic front gardens. Each one has a wall built at the back to give the appearance of a home.

Here we see a typical cottage garden

Another of the themed gardens. Hope you enjoyed your visit.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Thankfulness and Appreciation

In response and with thanks to the many who have asked and prayed for my daughter Janie in her pregnancy, all is now well. After 3 times a week monitoring of both Janie and baby, there is no diabetes and the amniotic fluid is normal. Baby is big though, 10lbs predicted at 40 weeks and as Oliver was born at 42 weeks with a problematic birth, a C-Section has been arranged for 15th April at 39 weeks.

Never having been in this situation before it strikes me as strange to know my Grandchild's birthday even before she is born.

So, this coming week we will visit for a fun day out together with Janie rather than just to care for Oliver while Mum is at the hospital. Mind you just caring for Oliver can be fun too, and exhausting. I have to be up there on the climbing frames and slides or whatever in the adventure playgrounds, not to mention running races. Becoming a Grandmother so late in life I have to make up for lost time!!

As the sun went down at Janie's house I loved the way it shone on this bare tree.

Then a peep at the developing garden at home the next day as Spring is beginning to show it's face in the rain.

And in appreciation of the following awards that have come my way this week

This Sisterhood award came from Zetor and is awarded for showing attitude/and or gratitude. I would like to pass this on to Vee who certainly deserves this accolade in my opinion.

The above award 'If the shoe Fits Wear it' depicts a prince fitting the princess with a glass slipper. I do not normally repeat what has been said to me regarding these awards but this one seems a bit ambiguous so I think an explanation necessary. It came from Barbara where she said "Barbara, your posts are gorgious, your spirit is even more beautiful. You bring beauty to everything you touch so thank you for sharing your world with us." I would like to offer the same sentiments to my dear blogging friend from A Woman Who Is where our relationship has developed to more than just posting.
I do appreciate the kind thoughts behind these awards but I do not stick to the rules and pass them on in the way I think fit. No rules to follow, they are your awards so do with them what you will.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Hard To Believe with some Faith Thrown In

We had thought that the decorating of our bedroom would take about a week. We are now actually into the fourth week to see it to completion. The saga began 5 years ago.

At that time I totally changed my colour scheme from dark regency green to cream. The regency green had been painted onto heavily embossed wallpaper, the idea being that we would only have to paint the walls in future and not re-paper as we do throughout the rest of the house. In order to cover green with cream we had to use 3 coats of paint. All seemed well until it completely dried when the paint began to crack. In time it looked like the cracks on a piece of china. We decided to just live with this mistake until we needed to redecorate.

This year I decided I no longer wanted to live with this wallpaper, added to the fact that we were having problems with a strong smell of mildew in my fitted wardrobes. Hence we embarked on completely stripping the room and hoping that we could deal with the mildew problem by heavily venting the wardrobes that are fitted to the outside walls.

Now to the unbelievable part. In moving a strip from the top of the end of the wardrobes to strip the paper more easily we found that the furniture fitter had packed the space between the wardrobe and the front outside wall with all the cardboard packing cases that the flat pack furniture had been delivered in. We removed the front panel and found boxes inside boxes, including off cuts of wood and other odds and ends. Everything was wet and mouldy from condensation and the lack of airflow. It had been there for the 15 years since we first had this particular furniture fitted. We found this mould had spread to other places too once we removed some draws and bedside cabinets. The ‘cracked’ wallpaper was a benefit to us in the end as we may not have redecorated so soon. In the end all things do work together for good though it is often hard to see at the time.

Yes, this is some of what we found

And the space where we found it

In the gap to the left of the mirrored door. We plan to leave this gap open and not replace the panel. Not so neat but space for air to flow.

Some other issues that were nothing to do with the above added to the time it has taken to complete the work. On removing shelving from an inside wall, the plaster decided to part company with the wall so Alan then had a plastering job to undertake before proceeding further. Then as he removed a radiator from the wall it slipped and that black oily stuff that sits in radiators once they have been drained ran out and onto my cream carpet. To cap it all I had sent my velvet curtains to a dry cleaner to be cleaned and what did they do, they washed them when I had assumed they would be dry cleaned. They shrank. As they had only just skimmed the window ledge before it now entailed lowering the curtain rail. This brought the drilling to the height of the lintel above the window and it took Alan almost a day to drill through this, breaking a number of drill bits on the way. Stressful? Definitely.

Fortunately we do have other bedrooms in which to sleep so I was grateful for that but am really looking forward to be back in my Tempur bed which moulds itself to my body and totally supports. For the uninitiated Tempur mattresses are used in space ships to help support the body during space flight.

I had an old missionary friend who would always say when life threw lemons his way, "Now what has God got to show me in all of this?" This I know is the way forward but it is usually a while before I get to this place, often allowing stress and frustration to take over instead. We are exhorted in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in ALL circumstances. Even now this is not something I feel like doing or even want to, but that's OK. We are not asked to feel like it or want to do it, we are just asked TO DO IT as God knows the peace that obedience brings. One of the study notes on this subject in my Bible says "People are naturally happy on some occasions, but the Christian's joy is not dependent on circumstances, it comes from what Christ has done, and it is constant." To me that is not speaking about feelings but a person who is joy and peace within us in spite of how we feel.

I recently received this award 'From lemons to Lemonade' again and it aptly fits in here. It came from Margo. This time I pass this on to Adrienne whose blog and life certainly lives up to this award. The most recent difficult time for Adrienne has been the sudden and unexpected death of her son-in-law, leaving her daughter to bring up her children alone. You deserve it Adrienne.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

A Gardener's Work is Never Done

A gardener's work is never done - as it says on a couple of pretty china mugs that I have. It certainly felt like that this week as I spent a good part of 2 days pruning 24 shrubs. Some cut back to the ground, some thinned out and some just pruned back. Then of course chopping up all the twigs and branches so that they can go in the garden refuse bins that we hire from our town council.

It did also afford me the opportunity to wallow in blue skies and warm sunshine as already today the clouds have gathered and it has cooled down.

Having come home from grocery shopping this morning I thought I had better get stuck in to some painting of woodwork in our bedroom as I had managed to get out of that during my time of gardening. It has been a long haul due to unforeseen problems which I will post about next time when hopefully all will be finished.

Tomorrow I will be going over to Janie's again to look after darling Oliver while his Mummy goes to 2 different hospitals for a number of tests as she is being carefully monitored for some problems that have developed.

For now I will leave you with some current colour from my garden.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

An Update in Spring

Would You Believe It

Would you believe it? It's happened again
the gold hazel catkins are out in the lane.
The crocuses making bright lakes in the grass
ripple like waves as the stormy winds pass.

The chiffchaff is building. The aconites glow
like stars in the woods where the swelling brooks flow.
The winter is passing. I sense on the breeze
the stirring of life in the roots and the trees.

The daffodils eager to dance into view
are poised and are ready, awaiting their cue.
The spirit of Springtime has tapped on the pane.
Would you believe it? It's happening again.
Patience Strong

Yes, I am still here not having posted for over a week. Life has been pretty hectic in many ways - various committments, family etc. and not to mention a spell of decorating that turned into a nightmare. More on this later in the week.

Could not resist the above Spring poem as we are having some beautiful spring weather 60f in March! As in the poem the crocuses and Hazel catkins are thriving in the garden and just as the poem says, the daffodils are poised and waiting their cue.

This of course means that I need to be out there pruning and weeding big time while the weather, which is forecast to last a few more days, is so warm and inviting.

Today I was at a four and a half hour business meeting at Pilgrims Hall and we stopped for a quick lunch taken out on the terrace and it was a joy to feel warm sun on bare arms.

So while Alan continues with the decorating I will leave the household chores and see what impression I can make outside before another day caring for Grandson Oliver on Friday. My daughter Janie is now on maternity leave so has been able to return to posting on her blog Our week will culminate in a friend's birthday celebration on Saturday before embarking on another full week next week.

Before taking my leave - I received this 'Friends' award from Andrea of A Parson's Wife. I know that all kinds of 'rules' are sent with these awards and I am honoured and grateful to Andrea for her kind words and truly appreciate her friendship but I am sure these 'rules' get changed along the way. I have already in the past received this award and have passed it on, so instead of the 8 people suggested on Andrea's blog, I am sending this on to one friend, Sara of Much Ado About Something (even although I know that many precious friendships have developed in blogland) because Sara has become a special friend in many ways and there is so much about her blog and life that I appreciate.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Sandringham - The Queen's Norfolk Retreat

Today we will wander around Sandringham, the Queen's only private residence, the other residences, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral Castle belong to the State.

Sandringham Estate, the Norfolk retreat of HM the Queen consists of 600 acres of beautiful parkland, much of it open to the public. The house is surrounded by 60 acres of stunning gardens and has been the private home of 4 generations of British Monarchy.

The house was built in 1870 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, later

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

For this post we will be walking around the home gardens only. For more information and history click on the following link.

We enter through the tourist gate and turn left along this beautiful wooded path

We soon glimpse the house through a gap in the trees on the right hand side

We continue to walk around the gardens having toured the house where of course one is unable to take any photos. We hear and read so much about the Royal family getting together here to spend Christmas together and I was surprised at how small the dining room is. I was trying to imagine the whole family sitting around it. Not small in the sense of an ordinary home of course but certainly compared with our large stately homes across the country. I also enjoyed the main hall knowing that this was where everyone opened their presents on Christmas Eve and where games were played and dancing took place.

These photos are of the back of the house

There's that poor man again carrying coats and backpack

The Prince of Wales designed these gardens too

Having enjoyed the gardens we are now taking a wagon and horse ride around some of the estate.

This is Park House, the childhood home of Diana, the Princess of Wales. The Spencer family moved from here when Earl Spencer inherited Althorp, his own family estate. In 1983 the Queen offered the house to the Leonard Cheshire Foundation and it is now a hotel for disabled people.

This house on the estate I believe was used as a hunting lodge by one of the Monarchs

The church of St. Mary Magdalen
Built in the 16th century and a regular place of worship for the Royal Family and estate staff
These 2 pictures are from the Sandringham website. I was not a 'blogger' at the time of my visit so only took garden photos. However when we visited the church on the estate we were amazed at it's internal beauty. Certainly it could hold it's own with any of the great cathedrals of Europe. The whole altar and sanctuary area was carved in gold and was breath taking.

Here we have a little peep inside

Sandringham has it's own home farm with produce sold in the beautiful shop on the estate. My favourite is the organic apple juice (from whatever kind of apple you choose) and on visiting both here and Windsor I have come away with a whole case