Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Midsummer


Better late than never, isn't that what they say. Its been a week of ups and downs again here, yet in the current climate that shouldn't really surprise me. The important thing is that there have definitely been more ups - warm sunny days, walks by the river, fields of wildflowers, and best of all....sea air.


Most days I've been gathering strawberries fresh from the garden and just like last year I have enjoyed a plentiful supply. Not bad for what began as two small plants which I almost threw away. They are very nearly all gone now but they have been delicious while they lasted.





For Lily's birthday she received a butterfly kit, so for the last few weeks we have watched while the tiny caterpillars grew and grew, formed chrysalides and eventually emerged as beautiful butterflies, which we then released into the garden a few days later. It was a great little project and something she would have ordinarily been enjoying at school this term.

Midweek we had initially planned to go to the beach but, unfortunately, fate had other ideas. It was a huge disappointment, as I had been so looking forward to breathing in some fresh sea air and feeling the soft sand beneath my feet. Instead, we settled for spending what turned out to be a rather pleasant afternoon in the garden, cooling off in the paddling pool, our earlier misfortune quickly put behind us.










The following day was forecast to be hot hot hot, so we decided on an early morning walk through the fields before high temperatures would have made it far too uncomfortable. The pond and the stream which runs through the woods were almost completely dry, and a still quiet replaced the more usual noise of running water. At a clearing in the tress the wildflower meadow appeared alive with butterflies and bees, as startled rabbits darted off into the undergrowth flashing their white tails.
While we were out we called in at the farm shop so that I could buy some rhubarb and we also treated ourselves to some delicious chocolate ice cream.



With not having been able to travel very far, we have spent a lot of time down by the river over these last few months. Although, much as I love it there, for me it doesn't come compare to being by the sea and following our setback earlier in the week it was with huge delight that we finally made it to the shore. Sandcastles were built, shells collected and it just felt so good to sit and gaze out to sea as shadows grew longer and the sun sank lower in the evening sky.  I hope we will get to enjoy many more visits there this year.

Disappointingly, by the end of the week our spell of good weather had broken and it was a very damp Mog who announced her displeasure at this (rather loudly) at 4am on Saturday morning. The sunflowers have been on the receiving end of quite a battering from the strong winds and rain, although fortunately, having been propped up again several times, they all seem to be okay. The tomatoes are beginning to flower now and the beetroot and carrots appear to be growing well so I hope this means we will get to enjoy some of our produce in the next few weeks.

With the summer weather seemingly on pause for the time being, we are concentrating on our last few weeks of home learning. There are only three weeks of the school term remaining now and although at the beginning of the year I could never have imagined it would turn out to be anything like this, I think that despite one or two tricky moments we have successfully navigated our way through this unfamiliar territory.

J. X

56 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you were finally able to get to the beach. We can only get to the beach on cold, wet days when the day trippers stay away, but that's fine by us. The weather has been cold, wet and very windy here too, but it means good, bracing walks. Locals with drones fly them over the beach and prom on hot days and post them so we can see the 'hot spots' to avoid. Take care. Best, jane x

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    1. I quite enjoy a walk on the shore when it's cold and windy. Fortunately for us this beach was nice and quiet when we visited. X

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  2. It's truly a British summer this year. I lloked at a butterfly set but I think at 3 my grandson is a bit young, maybe next year.

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    1. It's been from one extreme to the other. The central heating came on yesterday morning.
      The butterfly gardens are great, I would definitely recommend it. X

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  3. What a lovely project to do at home with the butterfly and a gorgeous photo on Lily’s hand. I’m envious of your strawberries, I think ours are too shaded. Glad you finally made it to the beach. Wonderful photos of a beautiful corner of England. Thank you. B x

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    1. I think I enjoyed the butterfly garden just as much as Lily did, so I was pleased all five were successful. X

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  4. Great photos Jules. Our weather in the UK is certainly crazy. We seem to go from 30 degrees to 19 instantly. And as for the wind its driven me mad. But I mustn't complain we have had some great weather throughout the strange period and youve had some lovely outings with Lily.

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    1. Thank you, Tania. I actually felt quite chilly last night, although I do feel the cold easily. X

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  5. Glad you managed a trip to the beach...I have a favourite one...tucked out of the way...wild and difficult to get to but oh so worth it. I haven’t been at all this year but really must make the effort soon...x

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    1. It must be lovely to have a quiet beach to retreat to now and again. X

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  6. Hi Jules,
    I miss home grown Strawberries they have such a wonderful sweetness.
    A butterfly kit is a lovely gift, must have been very interesting for Lily, an ideal gift for a lovely girl who is clearly into wildlife and nature. xx

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    1. The butterfly garden is a great idea. Lily really enjoyed releasing them. X

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  7. Such beautiful photos!
    I love visiting with you and seeing all the nature in your part of the world. The butterfly kit is a wonderful idea! I think I will try that with Flynn. Those strawberries look delicious! Have a cozy day, my friend.

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    1. I'm sure Flynn would love a butterfly garden. We really enjoyed it. X X

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  8. Such a lovely post. I too wish i could pop to the seashore, but I fear that will not be happening this side of September. We all have to try and be patient, but not one of my strong points.

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    1. I'm not very patient either ;) It's something you can look forward to at least. X

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  9. Your pictures are glorious and looking at them, I wished I lived where you do.

    Many of us can understand your love of the seashore because we also have salt water in our veins. There is just something about the air and sand that tells us that we must go down to the sea again.

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    1. I don't know what it is, but I always feel better when I'm by the sea. X

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  10. Those strawberries look luscious! I am glad you were able to go to the seaside for a visit, after all. It seems to me that you coped very well with the ups and downs of the week and made the best of each situation. I don't think one can ask for any more than that. I hope the week ahead is a good one, filled with more ups than downs. Take care.

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    1. Thank you, Bless. Yes, lets hope there are more ups than downs for all of us. X

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  11. Those strawberries look delicious, I must grow some next year, I'm missing my raspberries since moving too. I love the sound of the butterfly kit what a lovely idea. Yes we were spoilt with the beautiful weather last week, I'm so glad that you made to the beach in the end. :) xx

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    1. Thank you, Linda. Since I moved the strawberry plants into a deeper pot they've produced really well. X

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  12. Lovely Lily had the butterfly kit, we've bought several for friends grand children and for ourselves too. I used to get them when I was teaching. Strawberries are yum, we haven't grown any but have had beautiful ones delivered from our local veg shop. But where has the sun gone to, been chilly here.

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    1. The butterfly gardens are a great gift aren't they. It was great that we were still able to include this in Lily's learning this term. X

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  13. Lovely pictures. They really sum up your Summer. Glad you got to the seaside. :)
    My niece got a butterfly kit last year for her birthday and they were Painted Ladies too.x

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    1. Three of the butterflies flew off as soon as they were released but the other two remained on the flowers for a little while. X

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  14. So pleased you made it to the seashore. I am patiently waiting my turn to go and last week Nicola announced Scotland to be open to self contained holiday places which I expect we come under - it has been so long that I just cannot remember how to pack!!
    Lovely photos and strawberries - I may try some again next year - if I can find room in the garden.x

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    1. I do hope you can get to the cottage again soon. X

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  15. What a wonderful project for Lily and the strawberries and the rhubarb cake look delicious. Great phots of your stroll in the countryside.

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    1. Thank you, Chris. The rhubarb cake was delicious and I enjoyed the stewed rhubarb with some custard. X

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  16. What a nice little project for Lily to do, I love the shot of the butterfly on the flowers. There were loads of butterflies and day-flying moths in the dog free part of Heysham nature reserve, with information boards at various points, so she might like it there. I'm just imagining a very damp Mog, I'm not surprised she wasn't happy :)

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    1. Thank you, Eunice. I'm looking forward to a visit to Heysham nature reserve. Until I'd read your post I wasn't sure what to expect, as any information I previously found was quite limited.
      For some reason Mog feels the need to complain very loudly whenever she gets wet. I'm not sure what she expects me to do about it :) X

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  17. Glad you managed to get your trip to the sea despite earlier disappointment. Nothing lifts the spirits like the smell of the sea. Glad all your produce is doing well, sounds like you will get a good harvest a reward for all your hard work. Enjoy your Summer.

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    1. I love to be by the sea and I do enjoy seeing the photographs of your beautiful island's coastline. X

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  18. So pleased to hear you made it to the beach, there's nothing quite like it.

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    1. Thank you, Sam. Nothing beats fresh sea air. X

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  19. We have had some funny weather recently haven't we, I had forgotten it was so hot this time last week! The wind and wet seem to have been around for ages. The butterfly project sounds wonderful, what a lovely gift. I am glad to hear that you managed to hatch some butterflies. I am also glad to hear that you made it to the beach, there is something wonderful about the sea isn't there. I am hoping I might make it this weekend, fingers crossed for dry weather xxx

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    1. The weather has been very changeable. One day I've been in my bikini and the next I'm reaching for my jumpers again.
      I hope you get to visit the beach. X

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  20. I'm glad you had your day out to the beach. Your strawberries look delicious, nothing beats home grown and what a wonderful gift the butterfly kit was for Lily, she's a very fortunate young lady, learning about nature in so many ways.

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    1. Thank you, Eileen, with not having been to beach in so long it felt like such a treat. X

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  21. Beautiful post as always Jules. July has started with rain here. I'm sure the sun will be back again soon.

    Thanks for your DM on the gram :O) xx

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    1. Thank you, Sadie. I hope the sun returns very soon. X

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  22. I'm so glad that after your earlier dispaointement you were able to go to the beach! You're right, nothing beats a day watching the sea. I should be satisfied with having time in Goa this year but I'm keeping everything crossed for Greece in the Autumn. Being in the Midlands we couldn't be further from the sea and our nearest beach is a two hour drive and - sorry to say - not my kind of place at all!
    How fabulous is Lily's butterfly kit? Do you think grown-ups are allowed to have them! xxx

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    1. Grown ups are allowed to have them, Vix. You should definitely get one.
      I'd like to think you will be sunning yourself in Greece in a few months time, even if it will make me a little envious ;) X

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  23. Gorgeous photos.
    I haven't been far at all only to friends gardens

    Julie xxxxxxx

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  24. I very happy for you that you eventually got to see and smell the sea. I have just enjoyed my breakfast that much more by wandering through your countryside and admiring the cornflowers and your successful penchant for contra jour. Seeing the 22?spot ladybird made me realise that I can't ever recall seeing a ladybird on the Island although there must be some here. Perhaps it's just my memory or lack of it. I do remember clouds of them in The Lake District one year when I was a youngster.

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    1. I'll send Lily - she has a talent for spotting Ladybirds quite easily from a distance. A couple of years ago we had a few days when there were ladybirds everywhere. I remember opening the door to find around fifty in the porch. X

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  25. Such a lovely post full of wonderful photographs, that were a joy to see.
    I'm so pleased you were able to get down to the sea.
    Have a happy weekend, I'm not too sure what the weather may bring ...

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you Jan. It turned out to be a positive week in the end. X

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  26. Beautiful photos. Indeed going to get some sea air is a wonderful thing. I live landlocked and miss the sea/ ocean quite a bit. Wonder what flowers are the blue ones. I like blue flowers! Have a great day.

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    1. I couldn't imagine living landlocked, I suppose I take it for granted that the sea is never far away, as it's a wonderful feeling to breathe in the fresh salty air.
      The blue flowers are cornflowers and they are so lovely aren't they. I'm going to attempt growing some of my own from seed next year.
      Thank you for your comment, Angela. X

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  27. Jules, you are so fortunate to live close by the coast. We live four hours from the closest coast. Would be so nice to live a bit closer. Your strawberries are just beautiful and I am sure delicious. I hope the summer weather makes a quick return in your area very soon!

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    1. I feel very fortunate to have both the mountains and the coast within easy reach. I really hope the weather improves soon - it hailed yesterday! X

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  28. Good for you. It sounds like you are making the best of the situation. What a gorgeous garden! I am impressed with the butterfly project, too. How exciting!

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    1. It was a lot of fun watching the transformation of the caterpillars, and it was lovely to watch on as the butterflies flew away. X

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