Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Flying Snail & Bradford on Avon Whizz

Woke this morning to a damp day. Opened the blinds at the front of the house to see this apparition - you'd believe a snail could fly!
After breakfast, we set off on a jaunt to Bradford on Avon, which turned into an expedition because the most direct route was shut for roadworks. This meant we had to go via Box, seeing lots of greenery on the way.
Bradford on Avon is an old pretty town, with some historic parts. This street is The Shambles (a lot smaller than Manchester's before it was redeveloped). 
We went for a coffee in our favourite establishment there, complete with a display rack of small person's coloured wellingtons.
This was where we had our coffee - they do great food and good music upstairs occasionally in the evening.
Newly opened next door (I suspect, run by the same people from the rather risqué name) is this delicatessen.
Opposite is the only Sustainable Supermarket I can ever recall seeing.
Round the corner, the quirkiness extended to the signs on fruit and vegetables in the greengrocer's shop. 
Getting into and leaving Bradford on Avon is a bit of a squeeze - with these immovable looming walls and buildings from a bygone age.  It can sometimes take as long to get up or down the hill into town as it does to travel the rest of the way there, but thankfully not today.
Su met up with a friend for lunch while I came home and retrieved some stuff from the attic before acceding to Bella's desire to go for a walk.  It had warmed up, and was slightly brighter by then. Our neighbour's sweet peas looked lovely after the rain.
Even the heart-shaped bindweed leaves are enhanced by a few raindrops.
 Further along, saw this carpet of fallen fuchsia flowers
These are still attached to the bush.
Out in the fields, saw this bag left on a fence. I don't understand why people go to the bother of collecting their dog's output and then leave it somewhere like this. Who do they think is going to come and collect it for them?
Took Bella up to Charlcombe churchyard, where she had a happy time diving in and out of the Holy Well before settling down with an enormous branch and happily chewing it. I nattered to our old allotment neighbours who were up there enjoying the calm (until I turned up!).
This day a year ago, Su was rightly very proud of her very first ever crop of garlic!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Plumber's Mate Again, Flowers and Back to Symi!

Today saw the return of Tudor to finish off the fiddly bits of installing our new kitchen units - we'll get the worktop all fitted on Wednesday. This will leave me with some tiling to do, after which the kitchen can be declared as finally completed.
Being on hand to help Tudor when required (and making tea and coffee while staying out of the way when not needed) took up a fair part of the day. Managed to get started on a book review I am doing, and then took Bella out for an afternoon perambulation. Saw this upturned child-size deckchair on the way.
Lots more flowers appearing with the return of the rain (some more again last night and more forecast over the next few days).
The clear blue, sunny and warm skies of last week have gone elsewhere once more.
Building work continues apace on Charlcombe View. This is the fourth property along there that this contractor has worked on in the last year.
In the fields, a swathe of bindweed flowers - it really does hold the country together, it seems!
Lots more umbellifers coming out  in a second flush - including very tall ones like this.
 And shorter, more delicate ones like this.
Loads of these umbellifers have popped up in the fields, emerging from fat heads like this one.
Still lots of small purple-blue thistle flowers to see as well.
A splash of yellowin a front garden.
A lacecap hydrangea reaching full flower.
In contrast, this well-used door handle on a garage caught my eye as well.
One thing about being a dog walker is that you end up walking past places like the bottom of people's gardens. How else would I know there was a stand of giant bamboo here?
You can tell that it is still the beginning of the school holidays. This was rush hour on our street - not a moving car to be seen and loads of space to park where usually it is full by this time of the afternoon.
This day a year ago, we were recovering from our day-long decorating exertions of the day before. I posted this picture of an expansionist Virginia Creeper plant.
One big item of news is that we finally sorted out all the necessary details for us to return to Symi from mid-September to the end of November! We have found new (to us) house sitters, who can look after the house for the whole time. As our new house-sitters aren't doggy people, Bella is going to stay with a friend of ours who is. And we have found one place to stay on Symi for the whole period! We plan while there to work on a project (more news as it unfolds), but will also have time to enjoy Autumn in Greece, to see old friends and make some new ones. Great times ahead!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Rain, Sun and Departing Van

Went out with Bella this morning in the rain - bit of a shock after Symi heatwave and dry 10 days here. Luckily this was the last precipitation of the day here and the sun came out. The rain has encouraged these thistles to start flowering.
This buddleia plant is absolutely festooned with flowers 
A bit worrying to see - a hole opened up in the pavement. Sort of mini-subsidence. 
Most of the day has been taken up with Ben & Lena coming down to visit for the day. They have now gone off in the van for the next week. This was it all packed up and ready to go. Have heard from them that they got to their sunny camp site on the south coast, and enjoying a cup of tea!
Once we'd seen them off, Su and I took Bella out for a stroll. Saw this jolly bee drawn on the pavement. 
Also saw this amazing ribbon of cloud. At first I thought it was a vapour trail or smoke, but it stayed together too long to be either of those.
Shadow portrait of Su and me.
This day a year ago,  we had decorated all day. This meant that the kitchen was not really the place to prepare food that day, so we debated getting a take-away meal. Su posted this picture of a Bristol pub from a previous visit.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Olympics Fever?

Not so warm this morning, and lots of cloud - but no rain. After breakfast we went over to Dick Willows to price loads of logs and for a coffee. One of the Olympic torch bearers, Keith, was there raising money on behalf of a children's charity. So I found myself doing something I'd never imagined - holding the Olympic torch! After last night's surreal opening ceremonial extravaganza I'm clearly in the mood - not enough to watch any of the sporting events yet, mind you! Maybe I should enter, given my athletic pose?:-)
Out and about in Larkhall later on, spotted this pair of walking boots on display.
It turned into too nice a day to stay indoors and do all the things that should be done, so we took ourselves off to Whiteways Garden Centre. Saw this essential accessory there - the Union Jack wing mirror cover.
After another coffee, had a look at the flowers on sale. Liked these scabious.
These violas/pansies looked like they were painted but they were real!
Came home eventually and enjoyed the sunny afternoon while I cleaned out the van ready for Ben and Lena to tootle off tomorrow.
Van spruced up a bit, I took Bella off for her afternoon walk, spotting this enormous clump of ragwort on some waste ground. If each plant can produce 750,000 seeds, there are many millions of potential plants here.
Saw the first hazel nuts of the year fallen from the tree.
A breezy bright sunny afternoon. Warmer than the weather forecast had suggested, which was much appreciated!  
This ladybird hung determinedly on to its grass seed head as it swayed about in the breeze.
Bella had a happy time jumping in and out of the stream, and looking for sticks under the water.
The sky cleared and was almost Symi-like in its depth of blueness.
A record for the bike collection - one chain and seven complete bicycles!
This day a year ago,  I had spent a lot of the previous two days sorting out a family's Apple computers, iPads and iPhones and so celebrated time away from the screen. I featured the star of our show again - a vignette of Bella.