Multi Purpose Patio

Family life, well any life of co-existing, involves a lot of sharing – of space, of stuff, of conversation time. For example – sharing who has the remote control to pick the next TV program, sharing the bathroom (don’t get me started on that disaster… ok, as you ask) There are 3 rules to using the bathroom… SHARE – others need it too so don’t hog the mirror or have a three hour shower CARE – clean up, tidy up, respect the space USER BEWARE – Ideal world when care has been done, but with kids… need I say more. Digression over There are lots of things in the house that need sharing. Due to the size of our not very big patio (she laughs…...

Flashback to the ’70s

I was a child of the early ’70s. My parents were terribly sensible for their age group, but my distant Aunt was very fashionable and I suspect a ’60s reject! Obviously, my parents did not approve! She lived on the side of a steep hill and ran a pony trekking center. To get to her house it was always a terrifying ordeal for me. First we had the crowded and stuffy hour long car journey along twisting roads; Then we had to climb the lane past the protective killer geese; Meander our way through the pony yard. Being only waist height at the time I was close to their clattering hooves. And closer still to their teeth and tails… never mind their you-know-whats; When we...

The dreaded picnic season is upon us

Lots of bags to pack and carry, lots of sandwiches and sausage rolls, fizzy drinks and cold flasks of coffee. (Maybe I make it wrong – mine is hot when I leave home…) Then the hunt for the perfect spot. To sit at a wobbly half-rotten wooden picnic table with the fixed on benches. Looking at a view that is not quite the one you wanted. And you forgot the plates, cutlery, cups or _____ (insert object of choice). Then you have to time it so that you all sit down together – otherwise when Grandad sits this side, Baby Joe goes a-flying from the other-side. (Not saying Grandad is big or anything, just that Baby Joe might be small. Little. Wisp-like if you will…)...

Where do you put your Coffee?

It’s only the beginning of week two of the holidays and already I’m starting to need just five minutes to escape. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my boys with a passion that is quite scary… but, by golly somedays… Today was a someday. And even though they were both playing so beautifully together, and yet apart, I just got that school holidays claustrophobic feeling. You know the feeling… That need to breath my own air (not helped by junior having beans for dinner), that need to think an adult thought or two (like what’s for dinner, what’s on TV tonight, what happened in the book I was reading), that need to sit in absolute silence without even hearing the sound of anyone else...

Big Tents

Every couple of years or so, my mum will decide to have a ‘bit of a do’ and invite close family and more distant family over for a buffet meal, chat, coffee, etc. which will always be held in the garden. She tends to do these on years when the garden is looking particularly lovely, and when the roses are smelling sweet and the grass is at its greenest. And why not, I say. Anyhows, part of this routine involves dad erecting some kind of giant sun-shade over the trestle tables to keep the sun off the diners. In truth it usually serves to keep off the rain, or protect people from the falling acorns thrown by the rather angry squirrels that live in the...

That Tune Just gets Under your Skin

Do you ever find yourself stuck with a tune going round and round in your head? Don’t know why I asked, really, because I know you do. And it’s usually one of the following. The last song you hear before you leave the house; The annoying one off an advert; The one your husband sings in the shower; The one where someone says a word and your crazy brain finds out a song that has that word in it and… you’re doomed. The worst thing is… It’s always, without fail, the worst song ever. Nothing that you would actually ever confess to liking. And it just Won’t go AWAY! I’ve been looking at garden chairs, and in particular swing seats and rocking chairs a lot...

Snug as a Bug in a Whole Heap of Clutter

Have you ever noticed how you grow into any space you have? When I first left home I lived in a one room bedsit and it was snug. Yep – Snug! That word describes it although ‘cluttered’ would probably work as well. I left there for a teeny tiny flat, which allowed me to have a few more bits of furniture – like a display cupboard so my treasures and china and books could be on show. After only a short while though the flat, too, got full. ok, OK… cluttered. And so it has continued, throughout my 18 house moves in 12 years (Yes – I like change. And hate cleaning – house dirty equals move house. Sorted.) I digress… So, every time I...

When you Rock and he Rolls

Any relationship is going to have it’s areas of uneven ground… and that special close relationship is not going to be any different. Take husband and I. We spent five years actively hating and annoying each other before we got married. We live together, raise kids together, and, well, there’s NO WAY we will work together. We are both always right – and we both always do things in a very different way. (At least HE thinks we are both always right! I know that one of us is always wrong – know what I mean girls?) So how are we different? I have an idea, jump into it, flap about, make loads of mistakes and (in a rare moment of honesty here) it’s not...

I Traveled 10,754 Miles Just to see a Tree – and it was Dead!

I Traveled 10,754 Miles Just to see a Tree – and it was Dead!

Ok, so maybe I did a few other things as well during 6 weeks in Australasia, but seeing a 4,000 year old tree was one of the things I remember vividly, and with affection, when I visited Tasmania. I remember it vividly for a lot of things… For the day-long bus ride from Hobart to Strahan; For the 2 nights in a rather fancy villa on a hill – alone; For the 2 hour winding river cruise there (and 2 hours back); For the gnats and midges and sweaty sub-tropical forest heat; For the 30 minute walk (each way) along a raised twisting boardwalk above the flooded forest floor between tree roots and branches; For the fact that no-one had bothered to tell me that...

Garden Travel Sickness

It is said that ‘Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere.’ Now I understand the idea and theory BUT as a lover of rocking chairs I hate this saying. It gives us rockers a bad name – like no rocker has ever had bad press sometime. Why is it so necessary to always be ‘going somewhere’ anyway? After all, surely one of the greatest joys of this thing called life is to sit still a while (or as still as you can while rocking) and take time to smell the roses, or lilacs, or orchids… If you can’t enjoy the now then what’s the point. OK, so people get a bit stereo-type about rocking chairs,...