Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Hot spot.

We live as far from the coast as you can get in the UK. This affects the weather slightly. We can often be the coldest or hottest place in England. I would love to grow palms and exotics but even the hardy ones look really unhappy here. London often pips us to the post when it comes to high temperatures, but considering we are rural, we often are sweltering to the same degree. We are expecting some real heat over the next few days so it means up early and to bed late. I can’t cope with intense heat. At work yesterday, we kept the preschool children cool in the shade by playing with water.
My garden is south facing and at 9am it was too hot to work. The garden rooms’ blinds are shut and I have to use the front of the house. In the evening the doors are flung open and there is a change around. The front is then in in full sun. A juggling act to keep the house cool. I don’t know why I am even mentioning it. Our friends in hotter climes just adapt and get on with it. I would love to feel a sea breeze at the moment. Walking into a cool sea for a paddle would be heavenly. On a positive the the solar panels are generating me some pennies. I am due to send a quarterly reading in a few days. I am hoping for a fat cheque to help to keep Vera the Van going.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Bora Da!

As you do, we bumbled through Gloucestershire...carried on to Herefordshire... carried on a bit more and the Hereford Hills turned into Mountains. Wales was looking glorious under blue skies. The verdant green landscapes were glistening in the June sunshine.

On top of the ridge is the OH waving. The terrain started to get a bit more challenging so I stayed where I was just to drink in the view and listen to the silence. This was part of the Offa Dyke path.

You can just see Vera the van at the bottom. She is looking a little smarter. I went on Amazon and bought some stickers to cover up some of her “life marks.” It hasn’t covered them completely but so far,  she has a tree each side.

She has been a drama queen over the last couple of weeks. We took 2 little people for a night away in Burford. Unbeknown to us we were leaking a substance all the way there.. Only a couple of miles but when we got to the caravan site, to our dismay, we had left a trail of a substance behind us. Thankfully it was not diesel but a rubber pipe had perished and the leak was water and antifreeze. The OH was able to sort that one. The next was the warning battery light came on. Then there was a strange engine noise which grew worse every time she started up. It seems it is the alternator so this might cost us some pennies. The OH has had a look but it is quite difficult to get to. We love the old girl dearly so we will get it fixed as soon as we can. 

Wales was fabulous and we plan to go back soon. We went back home through the Wye valley and stopped for a picnic at the National Trust Weir Gardens near Hereford. Lovely walk along the riverWye.


 A brilliant couple of days in the van. Last nights sunset was beautiful.
 Back to reality and a parched garden that needs a water and a pile of laundry.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

29 years ago.

29 years ago today these beauties were born weighing 4lb 4 oz and 4lb 2oz. It was a record breaking hot day. This was before the days of air conditioning in NHS delivery suites. I remember the hum of a large fan blowing warm air around the room. They needed no after care and everything happened as it should. Their sisters and brother visited straight after and although we were all fine I had to stay in for at least 48 hours. That night was a terrific thunderstorm. I remember watching out of the window. We were on the seventh floor. It was an amazing sight. It felt like the hospital was right in the centre of the storm but I felt very safe up there in the clouds.
There was not prem baby clothes available in those days so I had 2 romper suits, from the dolls clothes section, purchased from the toy shop in Witney High Street. My Mum knitted tiny cardigans. We also had some tiny babygro suits from the toy shop that fitted the Tiny Tears  dolls.  When they grew out of them, they were used as dolls clothes.A twin pram was not in our financial reach. We managed to get two second hand carrycots that fitted onto a double buggy. In those days that was too wide for many shop doors.  Prams have come a long way over the
years. But we managed. They all thrived. I feel blessed to be their Mum.

They all turned out to be beautiful humans. I am beyond proud.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The book box

I love buying children’s books. I make a point of never paying more than 50p for them. Many of them  have been 20p but prices are going up. I decided to buy this box on castors to keep some of them in and for the little visitors to have a good old rummage. I will periodically change the contents to keep the experience fresh. Learning to read is so much more than than the government led phonics
It is little wonder reading and writing skills are at an all time low. The phonic based reading schemes used by schools would bore me senseless if I was five years old. Children are taught to build words  - a- t  etc. If they have to build every word they see that is quite an effort and lets be honest, a chore. I don’t remember learning sounds. I remember reciting the alphabet and being vaguely aware that was something to do with reading. I was presented with a Janet and John book in 1966. This is Janet, this is John... The text on the page suddenly made sense. It was trying to tell me something. I worked it out as I went through the book. My little brain like
 a sponge,  soaked up all the text I had seen before, and sentences were read, chapter, and then books. Then came the joy. I can select a book and engage with it. How I interpreted it was up to me! I suppose along  the way I had some phonic awareness and that would help me work out unfamiliar words. I wasn’t unique. Most of my peer group managed to learn this way. I come from the generation of readers who buy and enjoy literature. I don’t believe children shouldn’t be forced to practise reading. If they are not improving it could mean they are not ready. Every child’s brain develops at its own pace. It could mean they find it a task and a pressure. They might feel they have to read to please the adult. NO NO !! They need to read to please themselves. Yes I agree it is absolutely necessary for them to read so they can achieve certain obligations. This is why I try to help children find the joy. I want them to own the experience. A baby might choose a board book from the front of the box. They look at the pictures and get to know which books they prefer. As they get older, they go further up the box. Browsing is part of the fun. The adult role is to be the enabler. Read their selections to them, with them. Show the  joy and it will be passed on. So next time you hear a child working hard to read their “reading book” to you, rescue them. We are producing stilted monotone readers by the latest school methods. They are so busy working out unfamiliar words they are not able to absorb what the book or story is communicating. I always listen to their efforts, give lots of praise, and then get them to choose a story book and we read it together.

I can’t quite let these books go. They were some of my favourites. A few weeks ago my eldest little visitor was sitting on the sofa. He had selected Enid Blyton’s “The Secret of the Faraway Tree.” At age 7 he enjoyed a story from a different generation and culture. “It was really good Nanny” was the extent of his review. 
Ps Blogger editing tool is not working so this post is las seen.l:]

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Slug defence strategy

I was rather late planting the runner beans this year. I won’t use slug pellets laced with chemicals so I have to resort to faffing about, collecting and crushing eggshells. I have also put some rock salt around. Hopefully this will deter the slug population. They haven’t found the strawberries yet. It is only me that has been eating them.

Behind my garden there was a majestic tall tree. I’m not good with tree names but it was evergreen and rather a lovely shape. Not any more. Some young men came with a chain saw and gave it a chop. I don’t think they were tree surgeons. There was no safety gear. Just a ladder some rope and a chainsaw. With a lot of rather fruity language and arguing this is the result. It looks awful. It was such a beautiful tree.

The wood pigeons have now a perch to congregate and watch me hang out the washing. They often do a fly past over the washing line. 
Growing runner beans is tinged with sadness now. Steve was not a green veg fan but he did love freshly picked runner beans cooked with a knob of butter and sprinkling of black pepper. This always makes me smile. While I was on holiday I sent a text to remind him if he didn’t water the garden there would be no beans. He sent this back. No words,  just photographic  proof that he was doing his duty. I miss him.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Pretty in Pink.

We always take the scenic route if we can. The M5 in the West is not a good idea on holiday weekends. On the way home from Somerset we went through Cheddar Gorge, stopped for a walk around Shelton Mallet. Just because we had never been there. We travelled into Wiltshire and Warminster. We stopped at the National Trust Stourhead House and Gardens. They had a designated spot for Camper vans/Motorhomes. I am so glad we stopped. There were a few people around. We walked around the lakes and the colours were amazing. I love a rhododendron and these were getting past their best but still stunning.

 A real treat this weekend. Back to reality this week. I am working extra hours and trying to fit in the tasks I never did at the weekend. No regrets though.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Brew with a view.

Out and about in the van at the weekend. Brean Sands always makes me think of miles of static caravan parks and amusement arcades. If you keep going past all of this to the end at Brean Down, there is a scene of peace and tranquility. For 3.50 you can park (at your own risk) on the sands. It was a warm day so we thought it might be busy. But no. Plenty of space between us and fellow humans. No road noise,just the sound of the tide and a few circling gulls. The tide seems  to go out for miles but if you stay around it comes back in again faster than a galloping horse. Apparently the water quality is good if you want a dip at high tide. The sandy brown colour is just what it is. Sand. It was a joy to feel sand beneath my feet, blue skies and good fresh air. We didn’t need to buy lunch. It was our own little beach cafe.

It was a long Winter of staying indoors. This was worth waiting for.