Wednesday 30 May 2012

Ending May

Quickly zooming through the last few days of May:-

Back to Saturday. After swimming lessons the children accompany me on a quick trip to a charity shop. MillyTheCat came home with A...

...and a tractor with N.

I got myself some of fabric. Two pieces of old flesh coloured cotton for making rag dolls and a large square of red velvet to be used as a backing for my completed tapestry panel to finally turn it into a cushion.

I aslo tried to persuade the children to come for a walk so I could photograph some hawthorn and cow parsley gorgeousness before it all disappears for another year, but it was TOO HOT for N so after a measly dandelion photo shoot we returned home for another afternoon of playing in the paddling pool. We had extra fun this time with the addition of a spray hose attachment, as you can imagine...

That evening it was off to a nearby farm of a friend for a BBQ.

The farm lane.

Starters. Yummy!

Some people were camping. We've yet to get ourselves sorted out with a big enough tent and all the other necessary equipment (a comfy bed mat is top of my list) so it wasn't us.

The hen house.

Later the moon rose...

...and the sun set.

We didn't leave till about 11:30 and the children were still wide awake and thoroughly enjoying themselves. It was just one of those special evenings.

The next day, after my failure to capture wild blossoms I resort to photographing things in the garden yet again. May is just such a pretty time in the garden, all suddenly becomes green and lush. The weeds have not quite taken over so I still feel vaguely in control.



Violas awaiting planting.

Another snail. After my last post I was interested to hear how other dealt with their snails. I never used to have any bother with snails and was quite happy to let them live in the garden. To be honest I don't think there can have been many of them in the past, it's only now that they seem to have multiplied and started devouring my plants that I've become aware of them and that they have become a nuisance.

I collected some of the prettier ones for a photo shoot (all these are still alive to my knowledge - no snail was harmed in the making of this particular post)

#1 heads off for some shade.

#2 follows.

Now #3.

Pink hawthorn (dissapointingly few blossoms this year)



Monday was the last day here with the hot sunny weather. In the early evening I collected A from Rainbows. We took the long way home and I took my camera...

Bunting flutters in the breeze.

Finally I get a photo of some cow parsley. I'm happy now!

Some of the hawthorn bushes have pink blossoms which are rather pretty.

We venture into one of the many fields of grass there are nearby (it's a dairy area). A enjoys running through the long grass and hiding too, as I remember doing when I was young. Simple pleasures.

It was such a nice evening.

Now to some photos taken today. Yet more of the garden, I like to look back at these pictures and see how things have developed over the summer.

I've planted up my window boxes. Already some of the nicotianas are flowering.

 The first rose of summer.

A snail nibbled hosta. Several of my hostas have been so damaged they are barely visible.

The lupins have just started to flower.

Yet another aquilagia, a double this time.


A look back up the garden from the house. The washing hung limply on the line all day and didn't dry at all. So different from last week when it was dry within an hour of being hung out when it was so hot.

Now a little sneaky peek of some things I've been making. It's for Saturday and I'm just hoping they don't fall apart!  

All will be revealed later. I expect you can probably guess what it is but don't tell!

Saturday 26 May 2012

Och, it's just lovely!

Isn't this weather wonderful? I believe all of the UK is basking under blue skies this week, a spell of summer has been cast over the country and I'm liking it very much indeed. We never had weather like this at all last year - I don't recall any days where the sun shone so warmly and the evenings were so balmy. I just love being able to work in the garden till late (10:30 last night, yes, I could still see!) in bare feet and shorts.

We've spent a lot of time recently in the garden...

The variagated maple near the vegetable patch has become a snail hotel. I think these spiral shelled snails are rather pretty.

The aquilegias are blooming.

They look lovely from a snail's point of view!

I planted a couple of these a few years ago and it's only now that they are starting to spread round the garden. They really are very pretty and I do like plants that seed themselves.

The paddling pool has been taken from its hibernation in the shed, cleaned and put to good use.

I supervise the pool from a safe distance. A most pleasant way of passing an afternoon. I'm making plain old grannies for a blanket for the kingsize bed. I may be some time...

Comfy deckchair in the shade, bag of wool and crochet hook to hand, perfect! Although some cake would be nice...

...tada! From the freezer, made a while ago and not labelled so it was a surprise to find out it contained raspeberries and blueberries as well as chocolate. Yummy.

The lilac in the front garden has been amazing, there must be at least fifty or so flowerheads on it. The two lilacs in the back garden have been less impressive, only about ten flowerheads between them, most disappointing. Does anyone have any ideas as to why they might be doing so badly?

The tulips again. These pink ones just get better and better. They're looking lovely and blowsy at the moment.

Beautiful dew droplets on the lady's mantle.

Not a good idea to try and photograph a birds egg with the cat nearby. It was demolished in seconds. I've not yet been able to identify what type of bird's egg it was. It was pure white so not a blackbird/robin/sparrow/jackdaw/chaffinch, any ideas?

The cat looking a bit more innocent.

Colourful garden ornament.

We went on a snail hunt. We found quite a lot amongst the hostas which are being well nibbled. I went out later again last night and found about three times this amount. I didn't like to squash them, I've tied them in a plastic bag and put them in the bin, perhaps it's more humane to squash them? What do you do with your snails? Some of them are huge, maybe I should start eating them, escargots anyone?

Over 29 deg C in the shade!

I pick some flowers from the garden -big red paeonies, lilacs from the front garden and a few bluebells (the tulips and aquilegias I leave in the garden). The late evening sun falls across them emphasising the jewel like colours.

Sadly, no cycling again for me this weekend. I'm off now to rouse the kids and get them ready for swimming lessons. I'm sure we'll manage to get out and about in one way or another over the weekend, we're going to a barbeque at a farm this evening so I'm looking forward to that. I hope you enjoy your weekend wherever you are!

Monday 21 May 2012

A Tale Of Three Concerts.

Friday. Concert #1.

I was playing in an "ensemble" supporting a small group of singers. It's a concert I play in every year so it wasn't unusual enough for me to consider taking my camera. From the program blurb we gave "the first European performance of American composer René Clausen's cantata 'A New Creation' plus Gwyneth Walker's fun arrangements of American folk songs and popular music of the past and present." So there you go. The "highlight" of the evening was being recognised by the harpist from a youth orchestra tour in 1987 (that's 25 years ago, eek!). I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not. I suppose it does mean that I can't have aged too much(!) on the other hand, I like to think I'm more, umm, stylish than I was way back then (haha!)

Saturday. Concert #2.

This concert was held in the lovely setting of Glasgow Cathedral.

Again, it was a small group of musicians supporting a choir and also an organist. The music we were involved in was all by Handel, I don't often get a chance to play baroque music so I quite enjoyed it.

Just one bass, on my own again!

The rehearsal was also in the cathedral which is open to visitors and it was nice seeing tourists coming along and sitting listening for a while. Not living in a well visited part of the Scotland I don't generally come across tourists often, when I do I always think they lend a nice holiday atmosphere to the place. The weather on Saturday was lovely too which always helps!

As you can see I had my camera so I attempted to take some decent shots of the cathedral...

The pews are decorated with plaques displaying the emblems of Glasgow - The Bird that never flew, The Tree that never grew, The Bell that never rang, The Fish that never swam. An interesting article on the legends behind the symbols can be found here.

Outside the cathedral the ornate street lamps also show the bird, tree, bell and fish.

I've deliberately lopped off the top of the spire as there was some rather unphotogenic scaffolding up there, and on various other parts of the building too.

"The only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to survive the reformation virtually complete".

You get a good view of the Necropolis from the cathedral grounds. I've not been in this part of Glasgow for years. It used to be fairly familiar as when I first moved to Glasgow I stayed in Halls of Residence just across the road from the cathedral. After this visit I'll definitely be back again to see more. Aside from the Cathedral and the Necropolis there is also Provands Lordship (the oldest house in Glasgow) and the St Mungo Museum of Religous Art and Life within this small area and all are free to visit.

By the time I'd finished wandering about outside the cathedral was closed to the public and not yet open for the concert, this was the secret door left open for access for those in the know.

The evening sun shining through the main window.

Beautiful floor tiles in the sacristy (used as the green room)

"Wha daur meddle wi' me" (also in the sacristy).

Sunday. Concert #3.

Now we're off across the water to Dunoon.

This is the view from the ferry terminal before boarding. Foolishly I stay on the bus during the crossing instead of getting out and capturing those lovely views. It was another beautiful day.  

We're going to be performing The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins.

I have company this time - four basses tonight. It's a much bigger even than the other two concerts in terms of the music and the number of people and instruments involved. The performance is also accompanied by a film. I'd heard excerpts of the Armed Man on the radio before but had never bothered to learn or understand the meaning behind the work. It "charts the growing menace of a descent into war, interspersed with moments of reflection; shows the horrors that war brings; and ends with the hope for peace in a new millennium, when "sorrow, pain and death can be overcome" From where I was sitting I was able to watch the screen at times and the images combined with the music were very powerful. At one point I had to stop watching as the tears were welling up, I know others felt the same. Here's a link to a YouTube film of the Benedictus to give you a flavour.

Between the rehearsal and the performance we had plenty of time to explore Dunoon.

The old ferry terminal.

The water was surprisingly clear.

Just like the Italian Lakes, hehe. In the distance are the two car ferries looking almost as though they're about to collide. They go to and fro all day long.

I hadn't realised there was a beach at Dunoon.

I passed a pleasant half hour adding to my pebble collection and starting a sea glass collection.

Before the concert the organisers had laid on a buffet for the orchestra. I should have photographed this, it was excellent and all made by members and friends of the choral society. Included were many varieties of salads and sandwiches, sausage rolls, etc, and to top it all, home baking. Yum!

Now it's all over and we're on the ferry home, I make sure I get off the bus for the crossing this time. It's not as good a shot as it would have been in the afternoon, but not bad considering it's nearly 10pm!

Back on dry land and a last look at the ferry and the view before returning home.


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