Summer memories

Looking back through my photos, I’ve found a few from this summer which I never shared at the time.  The photos seem to indicate more sun than I remember having, but probably because I prefer to get the camera out in the sunshine for obvious reasons!

We were so excited to finally have a garden when we moved to our house in the countryside, and we have really enjoyed having a bit of outside space this summer.  I can’t say that we’ve made huge inroads into the world of ‘proper’ gardening but I bought a few seed packets and herbs and things and put them in pots.

Here they are newly planted in July: parsley, mint, lavender, chives and tarragon.  The slugs seemed to love the parsley and the chives, and the latter is now unfortunately defunct.  The tarragon also probably got more rain and less sun than was good for it.  Still, it was nice having green things growing and I’ve moved the pots into the porch now for the winter so I can still pick mint and parsley, and look at the lavender.

We also grew lettuce and radishes, which both we and the slugs found very tasty.

A blueberry cake from the ever-present Hummingbird Bakery cookbook- very moist and yummy, especially with the fruit.  It was an enormous volume of cake though- I think it actually took more than a week to eat up, even with visitors helping.  Unprecedented!

Mark found a milk churn behind the shed one day, and we put it by the back door as a little resting-spot for things like bags and travel mugs of tea for when one needs to fish around for keys to get in or out of the house.  The churn was apparently from the days when the house was a farmhouse for a dairy farm, so is properly authentic!

We also walked up to the top of the hills behind our house one late evening, to watch the sun set over the valley.  It’s the kind of thing we continually said we should do, but it took us a little while to get around to doing it.  It was lovely though- a very peaceful way to end the day.  The light on the grasses were gorgeous as the sun slanted across the hills.

It all seems a long time ago now, as we face floodwaters on the roads and read news reports of accidents caused by the heavy rain and gale-force winds.  Perhaps it is nearly time for a bit of christmas cheer to lift the gloom…


The table project

Our latest furniture project is a beautiful gateleg table which we found at a secondhand furniture shop for £65.

The existing finish was a very dark and sticky-looking varnish which was also very, very scratched.  We, meaning 95% Mark, 5% me, stripped and sanded it down over the course of a few weeks – those legs are pretty fiddly to strip, and there are eight of them!  We used a nitro mors stripper in a green tin which seemed to do the job well.

I then polished the top with a wax polish, and it came up beautifully.  I will wax the rest of the table as well, but in the meantime we are using it as a dining table and feeling very elegant indeed.

The next few weeks are shaping up to be quite busy so I think we will pause the furniture projects for the time being.  We have been getting out and about in Bristol though- more on that in the next post!

A quantity of chairs

In addition to the pink planks, we also picked up a number of chairs on Thursday.  They are not particularly sturdy (to say the least) but this was factored into the price.  They are very attractive though.

This is our ‘shabby chic’ white farmhouse chair-  all it needs is a light sand to take the sharp edges off, and then it will be left as it is.  It currently resides in the corner of the bedroom.

Two very rickety chairs indeed.  But charming… and we will attempt some surgery to see if they can be made a bit more sturdy.  They also invite the possibility of cushions, which are always fun.

And finally…

What will be, if I ever get around to it, my inaugural home upholstery project.  How hard can it be?  It’s just a circle of fabric and some squishy stuff underneath, I presume. Perhaps a bit of practice with a staple gun.  I am looking into it.  One thing there is no shortage of around here is tools with which it is possible to kill or seriously maim oneself (a circular saw was purchased and used with aplomb for the bed-building… what’s that you say?  We’re only renting a two-bedroom flat? Pshaw…)

Vintage towel rail

This towel rail appeared at the fantastic but expensive secondhand shop in Clifton (the poncey neighbourhood of Bristol where I live) since the last time I was there two days ago, and was a bargain at only £20.  It’s the perfect size for our new fluffy white towels, and now sits in the bathroom.

After travelling for 9 months, it is joyful to have lovely fluffy towels instead of thin quick-drying ones, and a beautiful towel rail upon which to dry them instead of draping them over the back of a door or similar.  Or stuffing them wet into the backpack.  These quiet pleasures compensate in a small way for not being free as a bird with no to-do lists and a new place to see every day… but my list of must-visit places is growing ever longer!