Saturday 22 June 2013

A private garden

Come in
Believe it or not, but the lovely circular building through these gates, is home to some very lucky, extremely large carp fish.
They even have their own Greek myths hand frescoed on the walls surrounding their pool.
Called The Bath House - perhaps initially it was intended to be a bathing pool for humans rather than fish.
A pear tree tunnel
H is a volunteer at our local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) which is a charity. The owners kindly opened their garden to help raise funding for the CAB. For those living abroad the CAB gives free advice and assistance to any members of the public needing help with a wide range of situations. For example, social security, consumer problems, relationship breakdown, housing, debt, employment, immigration, etc.
A rill incorporating ferns, and water plants - I like the way a few buttercups have been left to compliment the cranesbill.
Just over 20 years ago the whole estate, house and gardens were in a state of dereliction which the owners have slowly bought back to life. This is one of the few areas still in the process of being developed.
A second water rill crossed by an attractive wooden bridge 
This beautiful cotswold church beside the estate has a very rare irregular hexagonal Norman tower. Only one other like this is known to exist. 
The original part of the house is late 18th century. The three windowed bow with doorway and attached Tuscan columns and pediment opens on to a colonnaded staircase hall.
Diana, Roman Huntress Goddess of the Moon - Greek Goddess Artemis. She is often depicted accompanied by dogs or deer, and mostly, as here, carrying a bow and arrow.
The garden was designed by Antony Young, Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, mother of Hugh from the TV programme River Cottage, and the estates Head Gardener - Colin Durber.


In a few days we shall be catching the car ferry to Brittany to stay with my daughter-in-laws parents, but......
does anyone recognise this gorgeous bee. I have never seen one like it before. It was a very zingy, bright citrus yellow with a punky hairstyle, with a narrow band of black, more citrus yellow followed by another narrow band of black, the back end of the bee was bright rusty orange (just visible) it's body was fluffy all over. 
Yesterday, I finally got round to making the hanging baskets for the front of the house. Whilst we are away I am hanging them in the shade under our garden table where, hopefully, they will not dry out or be invaded by snails - fingers crossed. I have used a pretty mix of the fairly new miniature petunias called 'confetti'.
Hanging safely under the table - I hope

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Toot toot, chuff-chuff - off we go......

 Steam Train nostalgia
The train now boarding at Platform 1 leaves for the Spey Valley at 3.30pm

Off we go - farewell Scotland

Sunday 16 June 2013

Train journey from Kyle of Lochalsh to Inverness

To catch the train at Kyle of Lochalsh we travelled along the length of Loch Ness passing Urquhart Castle en route; the castle was blown up by Government troops in 1689 to prevent it's use by Jacobites.
Nessie didn't put in an appearance for us
Eilan Donnan Castle situated on the cusp of three sea lochs - Long, Duich and Alsh is one of my favourite Scottish castles sitting alone in majestic scenery.
Joined to the mainland by a causeway to prevent it being cut off by tidal waters each day.
The road bridge to the Isle of Skye

"Ferry me across the water,
Do, boatman, do."
"If you've a penny in your purse
I'll ferry you".

"I have a penny in my purse,
And my eyes are blue;
So ferry me across the water,
Do, boatman, do."

"Step into my ferry-boat,
Be they black or blue,
And for the penny in your purse
I'll ferry you."
Christina Rossetti
We crossed over the sea to Skye many years ago, and at that time travel was by ferry only, but since 1995 a new bridge carries you over. When the bridge first opened the toll fee was very expensive but it was removed completely in 2004 following an acrimonious campaign by the locals who found it far too expensive. The island in the middle called Eilan Ban is where Gavin Maxwell lived, author - Ring of Bright water. One of the bridge supports sits on the island.

Ruins of Dunscaith castle, Skye. Originally the castle belonged to the Clan MacDonald of Sleat. 
The clock is ticking, the Kyle of Lochalsh train is ready - back across the bridge on the mainland opposite Skye our departure to Inverness is imminent.

Inverness Castle
The train travelled past lochs, hamlets, moors, and mountains before arriving back in Inverness for the onward journey to our hotel and evening meal.
via Dingwall
The man in the wee boat is saying "I think I've caught something."
Artwork by David T. Gray via