Spring weeks packed with nature & treats

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There has been so much going on in the Spring! We could hardly keep up over the last couple of weeks.

First, the flowering of snakes head fritillaries which we planted in a nice wet boggy area..

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This wonderful misty-morning sunlight was also stunning in the wood…

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All the tadpoles are active and growing rapidly….

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It wasn’t just nature celebrating the spring, it was also Lucy’s birthday. It rained all weekend, but we enjoyed being indoors…

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After eating the banana cake, we went on to invent a new super-rich home-made hot chocolate drink using cocoa powder and chopped dark chocolate melted in milk, and finally perfected Lucy’s everyday breakfast recipe which now = oats and almonds soaked overnight in soya milk, plus a kiwi fruit and some red berries (and some more chopped dark chocolate on most days)!

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As the sun and rain shared the skies for a few days, some spectacular shades of blue were seen next to the wild cherry blossom and hawthorn leaves…

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Over the last week, with sun and warmth, there has been a bluebell burst….

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This hawthorn shield bug was found having a wander about on Brian’s t-shirt, so he placed it onto a log to photograph it…

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This bank holiday weekend has been really hot. We had a spontaneous trip to the seaside for the full fish & chips, ice creams and beach experience!

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And although its too hot to venture out yet today, yesterday we had three walks (and one picnic), the last one a beautiful evening visit to a local nature reserve….

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Library books:
Salley Vickers – The Cleaner of Chartres
Sarah Perry – The Essex Serpent
Sally Rooney – Conversations With Friends
Donal Ryan – All We Shall Know
Arundhati Roy – The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Playlist:
Siouxie & The Banshees – Dazzle
Grizzly Bear – Sky Took Hold
SuRie – Storm (less than a week until Eurovision!)
Cud – One Giant Love
Massive Attack – Paradise Circus
Joan Armatrading – Down to Zero

 

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June: A sunset, some sparkle, and living alongside wildlife

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June – midsummer – a beautiful time of year, and this year we took more time to enjoy it by having some long weekends, or sitting in the garden after work (sometimes with a gin and tonic each.)

10 June - sparkly sandals

Sparkly sandals are a simple pleasure of summer. £15 well spent last year! This month was the first month since 2013 when we didn’t record all our expenditure. It felt like a big change for us to stop doing it but now we are settled and coming up for 2 years on our one-income budget, there really isn’t any need to do it.

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This day-flying moth was a new sighting for us. It’s called a Mother Shipton, named after the prophetess whose face the wings resemble.

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We also have a new house-mate! This is our porch, where a leafcutter bee has made a nest. We’ve seen it carrying in the pieces of leaf, and packing them in tightly.

17 June - Sheringham sunset

Another first for us was the experience of seeing the sun set into the ocean. On a very hot afternoon we headed to the coast expecting a cool evening sea breeze. It wasn’t much cooler there, but we enjoyed ice creams, fish and chips, and a walk along the shore before the sun turned deeper orange, then red, and then appeared to be swallowed by the sea!

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We collected some jam jars and added to our wall of candles. The Mexican fleabane was only sowed into the wall 1 year ago, and now looks like it was always there.

 

 

JUNE BOOKSHELF:
Kevin Maher – The Fields
David Whitehouse – Mobile Library

JUNE PLAYLIST:
Goldfrapp – Annabel
case/lang/veirs – Greens of June
Perfume Genius – Otherside
Ludovico Eindaudi – I Giorni
James – Nothing But Love
Radiohead at Glastonbury
Grizzly Bear – Mourning Sound
Years & Years – Shine – This month Lucy finished listening to all the music we own, A-Z, and de-cluttering unwanted tracks. This was the final artist of the alphabet. The whole process took 3 years!

Summer Staycation Week 1

Today is the halfway point of our summer staycation so we’re checking in with a quick blog about what this time has meant for us so far.

As always, by the time we have a holiday from work/school we’re all in need of some proper downtime. Garden pottering, reading, card games, napping, baking, baths, and gazing out of the window at wildlife are top of our list of luxuries. We’ve also recently invented the game of garden ping pong, which can be played on our small lawn with two ping pong bats and a ball – no table or net required, you just try to keep the longest rally going. Its surprisingly challenging and energetic and a lot of fun, especially when one of our trees steals the ball. In the evenings, bats visit our garden and all the swifts gather together to go up out of sight to sleep in the sky.

For days out this week, we had a family birthday meal, a coastal trip and a visit to friends. At the coast, we all rediscovered our love of the sea and pebbles, and made some natural sculptures.

Brian's pebble stack

Brian’s pebble stack

At our friends’ we enjoyed a curry which was made between all of us: we made the main curry and they provided delicious naan breads, onion bhajis, samosas and rice (plus tea and cake afterwards!). We went to visit their beehives and got to see inside (Lucy got the closest look, as she was wearing the spare safety outfit). We also got to play on their little boy’s giant trampoline, a new experience for Brian!

Like us, they have a mini meadow in the garden and we spotted this lovely longhorn beetle:

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And, just before we were about to head home, this bizarre insect turned up. We need to try and work out if it’s a parasitic wasp or a fly:

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The week has gone by at a leisurely pace, and now we’ve got another week off, with no particular plans at all. There are things we need to get done, but they’ll happen when the time is right.

A little rant from Lucy: While standing on the shore at the coast, I was also reflecting on the fear of driving which is always hovering over my shoulder on days out. This time I got really angry with it – not with myself, with the habit of being anxious. I’m reading ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brené Brown at the moment, and the anger plus the theme of the book together seem to have given me the kick up the bum I needed to ‘dare greatly’ myself and stride towards overcoming it for good. I didn’t drive back from the coast, but I did make a mix CD of songs that remind me of times when I’ve done something confident in the past, and I drove to the supermarket the next day, and to our friends’ today. I’m not going to put up with this worry obstructing our holidays any more!

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