Horticultural Hero

I have been nagged (repeatedly) by The Smart One because I haven’t written anything since April; as I’m about to go driveabout again I decided to humour him. Here’s the story …

As I said in my last missive I had a great few days with the Mad Dutch couple in Anduze. We ate a lot, drank a lot, laughed a lot, walked a bit and visited a couple of flea markets. We also diagnosed me with a nasty case of hayfever. The beautiful weather we were enjoying came to an end and as the forecast for Anduze and France in general was for “beaucoup de pluie” the eminently sensible Mad Dutch decided to head south in search of the sun. I was feeling the need for family time and headed towards Dieppe and the ferry via Florac and the Cevennes with a return visit to Bonneval for veterinary purposes. The weather was cold and windy with torrential rain and the so called hayfever sneezing turned into an extremely heavy cold; my misery was compounded when one morning the boiler flatly refused to fire.

The Cevennes and a mural on the side of houses in Florac

Bonneval in (a very cold and wet) spring

I arrived in Somerset cold, damp and dirty and spent the next couple of days in bed.

Upon recovery my thoughts turned to the, neglected since well before we got here, state of our courtyard garden. K is very happy to have a minute garden as, although she loves flowers, trees and shrubs, she’s definitely no gardener and over the years even potted plants have succumbed to her (lack of) ministrations. I’ve redesigned the patio and mainly concreted area, decorated with all the blue pots I’ve collected for other gardens, planted said pots and the two very small flower beds and permanently placed the hooked up hose where she can reach it! (Not that the hose has been necessary for the past few days as the English summer has arrived) Just give me the (Chelsea) Gold medal!!

Courtyard (not quite finished)

I was much relieved when a new fuse sorted the malfunctioning boiler issue, I’d had visions of major repairs costing hundreds and plans for future travel being totally scuppered for months. With the garden sorted and no longer needing to save up for a massive boiler repair, ( £1.80 bought me a replacement fuse and a spare) my thoughts turned to travelling plans. According to my Denmark guide it is inadvisable to try camping there from mid-June to mid-August as all sites are pretty well full during the school holidays; so Denmark is delayed until mid-August. Instead I’m off to … Cumbria …never been to the Lake District. I’ve decided to treat the trip as if I’m abroad and shall be using lesser roads and Britstops (similar scheme to Passion France). First five stops are planned, also a meet up with BB who’s on a canal somewhere in the West Midlands.

Here’s hoping the rain stops …

🙂 🙂 🙂


You’d have to go a very long way to find as peaceful and beautiful a retreat as the water gardens at Gooderstone in Norfolk. The Smart One loved it as there are 13 bridges crossing the waterways and with the site map he was able to visit and cross each bridge in number order; Aspie heaven! Construction began in 1970 by retired farmer Billy Knights on a meadow too wet to be grazed by cattle and was open to the public for 20 years until his death. His daughter began reconstruction in 2002 and the gardens were reopened in June 2003. We spent a couple of hours there and for me it wasn’t long enough.

Gooderstone Water Gardens

After Gooderstone we drove to Thetford forest to meet up with The Smart One’s paternal grandparents for a picnic. Sitting around a six seater picnic bench a game of kicking the football around under the table began, goals being scored if the ball went between the legs opposite and reached the area uncovered by the tabletop. With the score at 8-6 (winners would be the first side to 10; rules were made up during play) the losing side opted for a substitution and on to the field of play came the LWD (in actual fact she just decided to join in) and although she managed to nose 3 past her opposition she wasn’t quite Roy of the Rovers, the eventual score being 10-9.

LWD plays Noseball

🙂 🙂 🙂

Keeping busy …..

… to make the wait seem shorter. Garden revamp well under way.

Chair and nemesia

Chair and nemesia

Ladder plant stand

 Ladder plant stand

Newly painted shed

 Newly painted shed and plant arrangement


It’s what you can’t see that’s making the most difference. I’ve chopped down 4 very overgrown trees/shrubs  and my lovely neighbour (a tree surgeon) has removed some large branches that were overhanging my garden from the other neighbour’s side, and blocking light. Garden lighter, airier and has a lot less midges as a result. The shed was a dull dark green, painting it this lovely shade has also made a huge difference. I upcycled the old ladder; found it behind the shed, very shabby chic! Still got the membrane and pea shingle to do.

One week to go.