Monday, 27 April 2015

Next winter's fuel

This diseased Ash tree at the paddock edge was belatedly felled yesterday morning.  We had problems with it though, as the trunk split as my husband was cutting it.  The split went up several feet, so he went off in search of a chain.  We came back and re-assessed it from a safe distance. There was an ominous ticking of the crack travelling internally.  I was for leaving it and hoping it would reach a point of no return and come down of its own accord, and that's what it did, whilst we were back in the house.  Several of the biggest branches have been snapped off, making cutting them up easier, but the main trunk is still going to be a challenge as it's still attached to the split-in-half base . . .    I think we will be warmed more than several times over dealing with this chap.

Sorry for the lack of regular blog posts at the moment but I am helping my friend's daughter clear her mother's lovely cottage and that is accounting for two days a week (3 last week).

I want to get on in the garden here but although sunny, it has been perishing cold with a nasty sneaky N (N-E?) wind which is the sort that goes right through you.  We even had a frost last night, but after hailstones in the afternoon I had a premonition and brought in the most delicate seedlings and developing seeds (not sprouted) from the Real Seed Company into mum's kitchen, on the warm south-facing windowsill, covered in glass, for extra protection.  Just as well, as when I went to check on the green polytunnel this morning, it was stiff with ice!  Fortunately the contents are all OK.

Other photos added.  No time for words as I am late already.  Cats are Miffy and Ghengis who came to help me!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Tyntesfield House Updated

The formal approach to this wonderful Gothic Revival house.  I didn't buy the booklet (£5) as we would have read it once and it would have joined countless others gathering dust here.  However, this was the home to four generations of the Gibbs family, who were astute businessmen.  They made good business decisions during the Peninsula War and having strong links with Spain helped their cause.  Then they made an immense fortune importing Guano from South America (a tricky business to move it as it had to be stored on the decks - should it get damp in it whilst in the hold, it would expand and literally break a ship apart.

Above and below - the way we first saw it, having approached across the parkland.  The estate is built on the side of a valley, and the house looks out across its beautiful parkland.

Fabulous crisp carving used on this cupboard.  Not attributable to one craftsman, but as supplied by the London company involved in the house interior.

Above and below.  The Library, with its beautiful vaulted ceiling, many books and a wonderful collection of imported ceramics.

Apparently the Gothic style was considered by the deeply-religious Anglo-Catholic William Gibbs - he was a Tracterian connected with the Oxford Movement - to be the only possible architecture, linked to Pugin's 'return to the faith and social structures of the Middle Ages'.

What stunning carving on this display case (sorry it's a little blurred).

Flash photography wasn't allowed, and I am quite pleased with this quiet composition.

Summoned by bells!! Staff here must have had a busy time answering all this lot!

The Butler's domain.

Trophies in the Billiard Room.

One of the bedrooms.

A stunning piece of turning on this mahogany bed support.

Stuffed birds - the armchair travel of their day.  How one could satisfy ones curiosity about the creatures of foreign parts without moving an inch.  Darwin had much to answer for.

I thought this vase was stunning.

A later "extension" was the Chapel, which was enormous, and like the side chapel of a Cathedral!

I think this painting must have been of George Abraham Gibbs - 1873 - 1931.

Beautiful rhododendrons in front of the house (apologies for barbed wire fence!)

Above and below, views as we walked around the estate.

One of the state-of-the-art (at that time) stables.

Rhodies and less fence . . .

The Orangery, which had a pot of white Azaleas either side and their perfume was truly amazing.  You could float on it.

Above and below, rows and rows of tulips.

Part of the wonderful walled garden.

Apple cordons.  How to have lots of different apples in a small space . . .

One final look at the house and it was time to leave . . .

Friday, 24 April 2015

In the garden

We have awarded ourselves the afternoon off after another hectic week with scarce time to draw breath, and having spent the first hour after breakfast out in the paddock, cutting up the ash tree we felled last month, and moving the logs and brash.  Early action was needed as rain was due and has come on in a desultory way since 10 o'clock. The bank where we dropped the tree is slick underfoot with Celendine leaves, and what with that and the brash, getting a footing was precarious sometimes.  Anyway, we made good progress, but my OH's wrist is even more painful now.  He has done something to the ligament which doesn't seem to settle down despite resting and icing it, and as we HAVE to get this tree out of the way to reach another, it's a case of biting the bullet.

The garden is starting to look colourful.  I have lots of Cowslips about the place.

Some have x-pollinated and gone a pale pink.

Above and below: my lovely Auriculas, which haven't made it to any sort of Theatre!

Some more hybrid colouring as I had these marked down as Goldfinch - the pure yellow.

I've uncovered the veg plot and have started digging it over and weeding it.  It will be a hands and knees and a trowel job around the Autumn fruiting raspberries to the left.  As you can see, the uncovered bit has a huge pile of woodash waiting for redistribution, and a grassy corner. . .  The usual state of play each spring here!

These tulips are so pretty - you can see why I fell  for them.

A few more photos.

Beautiful Amber-cat, who hasn't been very well recently.  She stopped eating for about 4 days and I thought we were going to be saying goodbye to her, as she must be 16 plus (not sure her exact age as she came to us when Next Door's mother went to live with her daughter, and all the cats were just abandoned.  Of course they all came here - Amber, Snowy 1 and Timmy.  The two latter are sadly no longer with us.  Anyway, Amber has perked up again and has been soaking up the sunshine in the garden.

This is Ghengis, aka Moonface (which was his first name) although now he could easily be called Fatty Arbuckle as he lives high on the hog and is an absolute P.I.G.  He has his breakfast and then goes round finishing up what everyone else has left!    He loves me very much and follows me wherever I go, but he is still a bit of a bully especially towards Lucy and Amber, who are Old Girls now.  Fluff, also an Old Girl, won't stand any nonsense from him.

This was the beautiful Lace-cap Viburnum that A's daughter bought me yesterday.  Isn't it gorgeous?

Yestgerday evening's job, after we got back from Hay-on-Wye.  Clear all the glass and slates, and remove ALL Nettles, plus rehoming the babiest of the Autumn-fruiting Raspberries.  I am loath to move the well-established Raspberries as they fruit so well in this spot.

Looking along the former soft fruit bed (all the goosegogs gone now, as they were nearly 30 years old and diseased).  The Sweet Peas are going to be planted here, but not sure what to put in the densely-Celendined area beyong the telegraph pole cable.  It's shaded, so suggestions on a postcard please.