Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

A week off from work...

1 Nov '06 7:02 am
Well, as promised, here is my little tale of my week off from work. I'm afraid I've rambled rather a lot, and only managed to get two days into the holiday, so I apologise to you all if you're bored to tears at the end. I also apologise that this is only installment no. 1 - the rest of the holiday will follow tomorrow. Until then, good night my friends.

Bambi
x

I set off from home at around 8.30am on Saturday, filling the car with petrol and checking my tyres at the garage down the road (I had to ask some nice man to tell me what all the gobbledegook on my car meant and what number I should set the tyre machine to in order to do this, but I’m pretty sure that was the only ‘feeble girly’ moment all week! :roll: ).

The weather kept mostly fine all the way down to Devon, except a few squalls of torrential rain which only lasted about five minutes each, and I enjoyed listening to my Classical Collection CDs – funnily enough the Pastoral Symphony played just as I was going through Wiltshire and was enjoying lovely views of fields and countryside!

There was a bit of a traffic jam as I was passing Stone Henge (you can see it very clearly from the A303), due to all the people slowing down to have a look, but that's to be expected :roll:

After about four hours (that’s a medium-long drive to us in li’l ol’ England!! :D ), I arrived at my parents’ house in South Devon and spent about ten minutes saying hello to the dogs before they would let me past to greet Mum and Dad!! :lol:

The three of us then went pretty much straight out again to visit the Avon Valley Garden Centre which has a lovely café where we had some lunch, and then had a wander around looking at all the plants. Mum bought me a little tray of pinks as a present.

There was an art exhibition going on there too which we had a wander around. They had lots of paintings of local scenes, then another artist who did pencil drawings of animals which were just amazing – one was of a black and white cat with almost identical markings to my Jeevesey-boy, so I bought a notepad and a bookmark with the picture printed on them as a present for my hubby, and a bookmark with a baby elephant on for myself. I’d have loved to have bought the original as a framed picture, but pennies are relatively tight and I just couldn’t justify it (also, there’s limited space on our walls at home due to all the other hundreds of pictures we already have, and I don’t really know where it would go! :wink: )

There were some beautiful bronzes in the next section – some of leaping hares, some of pigs (very tempting as I used to collect pig ornaments and still keep my eye on really nice ones), and some hedgehogs, etc.

When we had looked around the centre, we drove up to Topsham Bridge which is near a gorgeous little village called Loddiswell (pronounced Lodds-well by the locals, I am told), and which I have known all my life as we always used to stay near there when we went to Devon on our holidays. We parked the car at the bridge and took the dogs on a lovely walk through fields and woodlands. Unfortunately it was raining on and off but we were wrapped up well and mostly under the trees. As we went along, we started to notice lots of mushrooms in the fields, of all kinds, including three Field Mushrooms which we knew to be edible so we picked them and took them home. We weren’t too sure about the others though, so decided not to risk it! Stupidly, I didn’t take my camera with me that afternoon, so I didn’t get any pictures of the fungi so I’m sorry to disappoint you there!!

The rain started to fall more heavily after a while, though, so we went back to the car and home, dried ourselves off and enjoyed a lovely dinner with our fresh field mushrooms.

The following day, it rained even more so we decided to have a slightly lazy day at home and get some things done for the garden. Mum and I sowed lots of sweet pea seeds which we’d soaked the night before, we planted a huge Amaryllis bulb in a pot which Dad had bought for Mum's birthday, and I also spent some time looking through Mum’s RHS Plant Encyclopaedia which I gave her as a present a few years ago but hadn’t really appreciated just how good it was!! I found the most significant plants in my own garden and made some notes on them, along with some other ones that caught my eye (I spent ages looking through the rose section!! :D ).

That evening, Dad took us all out for a meal at a gorgeous pub/restaurant called The Shipp Inn in a little village called Ugborough, which is near Ivybridge. I would recommend it to anyone who finds themselves near the area as a very friendly place with great food.

More to follow...
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

Anna
Gone to seed
User avatar
Hamilton, New Zealand

1 Nov '06 9:46 am
Sounds like a good time was had by all. A great read. *waits for next installment* :)
Woof?

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Lazy holidays!

2 Nov '06 7:39 pm
I read your report with some amusement, Bambi, because on the one hand it could almost be a description of visiting my farm from Johannesburg: length of drive, activities on arrival, intermittent rain, etc. On the other there is my quite romantic love of the English countryside - something so strong that it almost makes me believe in reincarnation! -and my memories of the wonderful time I spent touring the UK in a camper in '95...

A cousin was touring with me at that stage, the baby in the family. She was doing the student thing, and was only too happy to join me and fit in with my plans for several weeks, and be a brilliant navigator for me. Anyway I told her we would pass Stonehenge which excited her very much. But I said she musn't expect anything: it had become such a tourist trap that they'd recently built a huge stadium around it like a soccer stadium, so that all the visitors could see it properly, but now it was no longer visible from the road. Was she cross with me when we drove past under ideal conditions!

Anyway, I look forward to more descriptions (and pics?) of one of the mosty beautiful parts of a beautiful country!

Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

Instalment #2...

2 Nov '06 11:19 pm
Jack, you’re almost right there about Stonehenge – I remember when I was small we went there as a family and you could walk right up to the stones, but now they have a cordon around it so you’re prevented from going anywhere near it which is a shame :( . I know they put it there to protect this ancient monument from vandals, but it’s sad that some people have spoilt the experience for others. I don’t mean to belittle the work and ingenuity of the people who actually made it, but you just don’t get the same feeling when you’re standing 100 yards away from it!

You have also hit the nail right on the head with regards to my passion for this part of the country – I always feel so much more at peace when I see the rolling fields and the long expanses of green O:) :wink: . My absolute favourite place, though, is on Dartmoor – it’s just so wild and beautiful, and at the same time lonely and remote: it never fails to take my breath away! :shock:

Anyway, on with the story! (I must just say here that I did try to put in the second instalment yesterday but, after having loaded six pictures onto my post, we lost our internet connection here (v annoying!!) :evil: .

On the Monday morning (relatively) early, I had a wander around my parents’ garden to see what was going on there and took a few snaps of some of the best flowers etc. As you can see, it had been raining the night before, so things are a bit soggy, but I think the raindrops on the flowers and leaves are just beautiful. :)
Fuschia 1.JPG
This fuschia lives just outside the back door and was still covered in lots of lovely flowers...
Fuschias.JPG
...as you can see.
Fuschia 2.JPG
...and this one greets you as you step out the French windows onto the deck.
Pale Pink Roses.JPG
Some of the roses are still valiantly making a late showing...
Pink Rose.JPG
Red Rose.JPG
Rose Hip.JPG
...but most of them have these beautiful hips now.
Rose Hips.JPG
Hydrangeas.JPG
The hydrangea outside the kitchen window is still going strong.
Pampas Grass.JPG
and the pampas grass at the edge of the pond is doing well too (this had been cut right back and the last time I saw it at Easter, it was about a third of this size!)
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

3 Nov '06 12:49 am
I then wandered into the greenhouse and was virtually attacked by all the tomatoes – they’re doing so well!! Mum has had great success with these, along with peppers (capsicums to my trans-Atlantic friends!), chillis, cucumbers, courgettes and all sorts. Bearing in mind that my Dad had only just got the footings for the greenhouse in when I visited in Easter!!

My last call was the front entrance porch, which is somewhat divided – the left-hand side is mostly my Dad’s cacti and the right is Mum’s geraniums, etc.
Cacti.JPG
These are mostly the best and oldest of Dad’s cacti
Aloe.JPG
Cactus 1.JPG
These are the ones that have won Dad first prize in the village shows in the past...
Cactus 2.JPG
Cactus 3.JPG
Succulent 1.JPG
...and these ones are mostly almost as old as I am!
Succulent 2.JPG
Succulent 3.JPG
This is just one specimen of this type which are dotted all around the garden.
Tomatoes 1.JPG
The tomatoes are a type called Sun Gold, which are orange when ripe, and they're just delicious!
Tomatoes 2.JPG
Geraniums (or is it Geranii, or perhaps Gerania).JPG
These are some of Mum's Geraniums...
Geranium 1.JPG
Geranium 2.JPG
Pelargonium.JPG
I think this is a Pelargonium, but I'm not absolutely sure!
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

3 Nov '06 4:35 am
In the afternoon, we went to Burgh Island which none of us had ever visited before, although we know it very well from afar. Growing up, our favourite beach to visit was Bantham Sands from which you can see Burgh Island, but to go to the island itself, you have to cross the river and go to Bigbury on Sea. My first picture is a view from Bigbury looking towards Bantham on the left – you can just about see the river dividing the two beaches – and the island is to the right of the shot.

The island, and the hotel on it, was the setting for an episode of Poirot starring David Suchet as the eponymous detective, which gave it even more interest for us.

At low tide, you can walk along the beach to the island, but when the tide comes in, it is separated from the mainland. The sea tractor takes people to and from the island when the water is covering the sand, and the old pub dates back, if I recall correctly, to the 15th Century, although there is a sign saying it is only open to guests of the hotel and “regulars”! I particularly loved the old tree you can see behind – you can see how the coastal winds have shaped it!

We walked all around the island (except up to the hotel because that’s private property) and, on our way, saw about four or five of these lovely caterpillars – they were about five inches long and really hairy, so I didn’t dare pick one up! I don’t know what they will turn into, but thought they were just fascinating!

I loved the little sea pinks(?) that were growing on the cliff edges. And we saw some more mushrooms too, for which I had the camera at the ready this time!

We then crossed back over the sand bar and sat down on the beach for a late lunch, looking back at the island which you can see in my picture “Burgh Island 1”. On the other end of the beach, you can see Thurlestone Rock which is a famous landmark, but I’m ashamed to say I don’t know its specific significance! :oops: You can just about see it in the distance in my picture between the two big black rocks (I was trying to be artistic!!) – unfortunately it’s a little obscured by the mist, but it’s the one that’s separated from the headland right in the middle of my shot.

My last shot was taken from the car park looking back towards the island. You can see the Pilchard Inn at the bottom of the island, and the hotel a bit further up and to the left. I think you can also tell how the sea cuts it off from the mainland – that sandbar is completely covered at high tide.

Well, that’s my Devon adventure done – my drive back on Tuesday morning was relatively uneventful, apart from roadworks on the M25 which were somewhat tedious, but a definite sign that I had left the countryside!

Next installment: a few days spent at home...
Looking towards Bantham.JPG
Sea Tractor.JPG
Pilchard Inn.JPG
Hotel and Tree.JPG
Caterpillar 1.JPG
Caterpillar 2.JPG
Sea Pinks.JPG
Mushroom 1.JPG
Burgh Island 1.JPG
Thurlestone Rock.JPG
Burgh Island 2.JPG
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

Dixie
garden enthusiast
User avatar
Waikato-New Zealand

Amazing

3 Nov '06 5:26 am
Thank you for the amazing photos ,Bambi ,
Your parents' plants are really great. The scenery around the island ,and the quirky sea tractor ,is fascinating .
If ever I hear the word 'Dartmoor' I imagine 'Wuthering Heights' or 'Great Expectations' (my geograohy might be a bit wrong) -dark and atmospheric -
The tree and its setting would be a magnet for painters I would think .
Dixie.

GardenGnome
Happily Toiling Away
User avatar
Regina, Saskatchewan

Wow!

3 Nov '06 7:55 am
Wonderful pix. I especially like the sea shore ones.

Christopher
A Gnome's at home in his garden.

Dixie
garden enthusiast
User avatar
Waikato-New Zealand

Our gnome is back

3 Nov '06 8:10 am
Dear Christopher -I've missed your cheerful and optimistic comments lately !-you have such a creative and artistic eye .Just looking through the above photos again - I think the 'Thurlstone rock 'vista (looking through a gap ) is brilliant .
Dixie.

Anna
Gone to seed
User avatar
Hamilton, New Zealand

3 Nov '06 10:37 am
More beautiful piccies and I enjoyed your writing.
I love the look of the caterpillar. Almost cute isn't it? :D
Woof?

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