Tuesday, 31 July 2012

July's wittering

It feels like July was a really busy month but I suspect as I trawl through my diary it will turn out to be otherwise.

In the writing up of the May/June 'events' I left you round about the end of the first week of July when I was just about recovered from being poisoned.  So, already a quarter of this record is written!

The first weekend (7th) we did an overnighter in Cheltenham to visit my sister and help celebrate her Golden Wedding Anniversary.  How great to be able to do that these days (!) and lovely to see her and husband and both her children and their partners and children - just terrific to all be together for once.  She, like me, has children who are scattered all over the planet, so the chances of us ever being in the same place at the same time is pretty remote.  

Thank you P and K for making it possible.

The next weekend we did a great Garden Trail.  Every two years the Edenfield Horticulural Society oganises a trail of 14 gardens for people to visit.  We managed only eight I am afraid.  As always you need to visit Bury Gardeners if you want the details of the day.  It was really good and we look forward to the next one, where we shall be perverse and work our way numerically backwards in hopes of doing the six we missed.

We took the leaflet's advice and ended up having a late lunch at The Eagle and Child.  We had a long wait for a table - handy hint if you go on Sunday book first.  It was OK as it happened as we had to wait for a friend to join us.

The food was good and they have a brilliant garden being developed at the back of the pub.  This turned out to be a good excuse for another meal there on Wednesday as we took them a load of cloches and stuff I wouldn't be using any more now my veggie garden is defunct.

19 July might turn out to be a marker day somewhere in my future - or a damp squib ....   I decided I fancied doing Tai Chi in the vain hope of being mobile for longer.  I suggested to my other half he might want to give it a shot as he would otherwise just be hanging around for an hour for me.  Two friends decided it sounded like a good idea and so four of us are now strutting our stuff..... or stretching our stuff.  I am totally useless.  It is all like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time and I can't do that either.  I have never learned to dance so the 'choreography' of it all has me completely beaten.  I can proudly claim to be the worst in the class - I have always wanted to be the best at something and it would appear I shall be the best at being the worst.  There is a lady I copy (not the instructor) who tells me she has been going fifteen months and that I am not to despair with only three weeks under my not-so-black belt.  I am an instant gratification person.  If I can't do it first time in two minutes then I don't want to.  I also hate looking like an idiot!  It is a good job that three others joined me, otherwise I certainly would not have gone back after session one.  This way I have no choice but to keep on keeping on..... and we do have lunch afterwards!

Third weekend in July and, guess what, more garden visits.  This time to the fabulous Jefferson and Susan garden.  As before track down the visit in the garden blog if you are interested.  As ever it involved two friends joining us, tea and cake and lunch out afterwards.  I love my English life.

The garden is a two day event and we chose to do it on the Saturday as I wanted to go to a new dolls house fair on Sunday.  Yippee, at last, a local one.  Mecure Hotel, Bolton.  Good stuff.  it was an OK affair but it only took me a little over an hour to cover; so we pootled off for a Chinese Meal.  

I am getting so professional about this dollhousing game now, I just know which stalls I want to look at in an instant.   I exercised proper restrain and I only bought a few things, all of which I really needed/wanted.  No more buying on a whim and then having to sell stuff on.

On which note, the next day I was busy listing  stuff (previous whimsical purchases) on E-Bay.  I did very well this time - twenty out of twenty-six things sold and some actually at a profit.  That said, of course, when I have paid E-Bay and Paypal charges, packaging etc etc etc , not to mention the original cost of the object it is always an overall loss.  At least I managed to retrieve about seventy pounds which is better than handing it all over to the charity stall at the next show, which I have done in the past.

Indeed this was the month for making money out of my hobby as my first article was published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine and I was asked to send an Invoice for my fee.  Deep joy all round.  Mind you I haven't actually been paid yet!

The very next day after the fair we were off to Nottingham to pick up my next project.  Yes, I know, totally crack pot....  but .....  trawling E-Bay I saw this lovely build.  It is a defunct Dolls House Emporium property - O'Rouke's Post Office.  It doesn't appear very often.  In fact in my two years doing this I haven't seen one.  So how can you not?  This time you need to go and look at Chocolat if you are curious as to the source of my lust.

Its very kind owner also gave me the stables to go with it, but I didn't really have room for it to go beside Chocolat or a reason for it to be there. On the way home I felt bad about taking it because I thought I would have to sell it or also pass it on to someone else; then suddenly it struck me that it would make a terrific beach cottage... so there's 2014's project then!  Do you think the miniature God is trying to tell me something?

As always we managed to build in a decent lunch to the day out by stopping off at a National trust place on the way home.  Bit of an oddity this one - Kedleston Hall.  It was somehow an arid sort of place.  Being Robert Adam's first major commission (1760s) and not a penny was spared on its realisation it should have been beautiful but it is so full of showing off that it misses the mark.  I think it was Samuel Johnson who said on his visit there - it would make a wonderful Town Hall.  I couldn't agree more.  Worth seeing if you are in the area just to see how you feel about it.

The next day we had a change in the hellish weather we have been having and my attention switched to my much neglected garden.  Newbank delivered some trellis and a tree ready for the great border re-do, but then this went on hold in favour of meals out, tai chi and finally the last few days of July being spent in Much Birch near Hereford.

This was another one of our cheapie trips; this time courtesy of Mighty Deals (a sort of Groupon thing).  The Pilgrim Hotel was very nice and the restaurant and its food very good.  Much Birch is between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye. We made a pleasure trip out of the journey down and tried not to use more motorway than we needed, stopping off at Attingham Park for an NT lunch and tour of the house.

The next day we did a bit of a tour of the black and white towns taking in Hay, Ross and all the other on-Wyes.  Our main stop was in Hereford so Ken and our friends could cram in some culture in the cathedral and I could go to The Pedlars Tray (you guessed it, a Dolls House shop).  I did get to meet my companions back at the cathedral for cake and tea though.  Best carrot cake ever!  My claims for having seen it all before on a family holiday when I was seventeen didn't go down well.

Being a Midlander by birth and therefore an 'expert' on the area I proposed that the next day we went home via Powys Castle as it had spectacular gardens and great views across the Menai Straits. Some of you may have spotted the fatal error.  I was remembering Plas Newydd!  To be precise I was correctly remembering the lovely terraced gardens at Powis but I had managed to mentally transport them to Plas Newydd's setting.  It is very confusing being me.

We had done very well for good weather during our stay but began to run into the rain on our trip back.  This started at Powys, so our friends toured the house and Ken and I imitated mountain goats and shinned up and down the fantastic terraced gardens.  By the time we were on the motorway it was a truly dramatic downpour.  I was truly glad to get home in one piece.  So the last day of the month saw itself out like most of the others this summer - with rain.