Ilfracombe in the rain

Last week we had a couple of days away in North Devon in the resort of Ilfracombe, just 2 hours drive from here.  We booked a pleasant B&B (busman’s holiday for us) but thought a change of scenery would be good.  Unfortunately the weather was against us. The first day it rained constantly all day, but we decided to make the best of it and went for a walk to see the sites.

The tide was out, the coast line very rugged.


Unperturbed by the weather we ventured forth with our brolly up.



We walked down to the harbour to see the boats.


At the end of the quay stands “Verity” a 66 foot high statue of a naked pregnant woman standing on law books and holding the scales of justice behind her back in one hand, and a sword held high in the other.  It is by Damian Hurst and to my opinion quite grotesque.  I think it is something that divides the locals in opinion.


One side is the outer body and the other side is the internal view!!


After a nice breakfast is our B&B the next day we set off to the “Tunnels beaches”.


Tunnels were dug out by Welsh miners in the Victorian era to provide a way through to the beaches, one for women and one for men, and the Victorian bathing pools.  The time of our visit saw the tide up so we couldn’t see the bathing pools but we did go through the tunnels.


We went down onto the women’s beach and Neil took the opportunity to skim some stones, something he is very good at.


On the way back we stopped off at the theatre, known locally as “Madonna’s Bra” due to its large conical turrets. It would appear they have a wide and varied programme of events there.


As the weather continued to be inclement we decided to head for home early and came back to lunch in the local pub “The Candlelight” in Bishopswood and very nice it was too.

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Visit to Wells

Last week we went on a coach trip to Wells.  I help out at an old people’s club and it was their annual outing.  As Neil and I had neither of us been to Wells we both went along.  We were really lucky with the weather, had a glorious sunny day.

The first stop was the cathedral.  Built in the 12th century it is most imposing.


This is the West Front and contains one of the largest galleries of medieval sculpture in the world.  Starting in the lower niches with biblical scenes it rises through kings, bishops and orders of angels to the 12 apostles with Christ over all.


In the nave the eye is drawn to the unique “Scissor arches” which were a medieval solution (1338-48) to sinking tower foundations.


The ceilings were also really beautiful.


The cathedral contains a massive organ.


The western end of the cathedral contains the Quire which forms the oldest part of the present cathedral.


Wells Cathedral has one of the most substantial collections of medieval stained glass in England, the crowning glory being known as the Jesse window.


I particularly liked this frieze in one of the chapels.

We left the cathedral and moved onto the Bishop’s Palace, home to the Bishops of Bath & wells for over 800 years. It is a stunning medieval Palace situated in 14 acres of landscaped gardens and home to the wells and spring pools that give the City of Wells its name. Outside is a moat with medieval drawbridge and home to the resident mute swans of Wells.



Outside croquet was being played, the participants all in traditional white.


Inside was a marvellous stair case with wyverns and the most illustrious wall paper.


The Long Gallery contained portraits of Bishops throughout the ages.


There were some contemporary touches with this modern angel sculpture in one room.


And in the gardens these angel wings which I couldn’t help but stand in front of.


The gardens were beautifully laid out.




All in all a well worth trip and only an hour from us at Lodge House.

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Collecting the Honey

It was the right time to year for Neil to collect the honey from his strongest hive.  He had put 3 supers on to give them plenty of room to store the honey.  But when he looked they had only filled the frames in 2 supers.  He donned his new all-in-one suit to collect the frames.


(That’s shadow on his face, he has not grown a moustache!!)

Yesterday we set to spinning the frames.  First he uncapped them one by one.


Then two at a time he put them in the spinner. Centrifugal force pushes the honey out and it is collected in large jar below, first going through a sieve to collect any wax.


It’s wonderful to see the golden liquid collecting in the jar.


Then it has to be poured into jars and weighed to get exactly one pound in weight that is 454g.  That was my job.


We got quite a haul.  The jars are just waiting for their labels to be printed and then we will be ready to sell some.  It will be £6.00 a jar.  Don’t forget this is an expensive premium product, not mass produced, hence the cost. All proceeds go back into care of the bees.


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Birds on a wire

The other day the swallows were circling round and round and in great numbers.  I thought perhaps they were amassing before their migration but it’s still a bit early for that.  They landed on the telephone wire in front of our house.  I tried to capture them on my camera but some flew away as soon as I went into the front garden.  Here are the ones I managed to capture.




A couple of days have now passed and they are still here, so I don’t know what all the flying around was about!!

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Painting of Lodge House

This year for our anniversary Neil’s sister commissioned a painting of our house, oil on canvas.  It is a remarkable likeness and very well executed.


Neil found a suitable frame in a charity shop of all places, and today mounted the painting.  We now have it hanging in pride of place above the front door.


So everyone will see it as they leave.  It’s marvellous that it just fits perfectly.


Our porch is quite busy, with shoes and coats and other pictures but the painting looks the business above the door.

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Summer flowers

I made all my hanging baskets up myself this year and I am very proud of them.  They are full of colour and just lovely at the moment.


I particularly like the half moon baskets with their pink trailing geraniums and colourful lobelia.



The hanging basket near our Lodge House sign is one of my favourites.


I have several pots of plants around the front patio and many of them are full of colour too.


I wish the vegetable garden was as well ordered, unfortunately the weeds are winning there at the moment so more work needed!!

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Making a floral basket

Yesterday I went to a flower arranging at a local village hall.  The idea was to make a country basket brimming with flowers.  Firstly we watched a demonstration, then we were able to have a go ourselves.

The first stage is to cut then soak the oasis.  To soak it you just pop it into cold water and without touching it, let it fill with water and change colour to dark green.  Then you take it out and place into the basket, but first chamfer the edges so you create a larger area into which to push the flowers.


Next you gradually add the greenery all the way round and also in the middle.  You need lots of foliage to give a basis for the flowers to sit on.


I then started added the delicate flowers such as Campion and Ox Eye Daises into the foliage.


Next I added the peonies.


And lastly, a rose, the gerberas and chrysanthemums to fill it with flowers.


Here’s a view from on top.


I have never done anything like this before so was quite pleased with the results and found it quite easy so will be able to do it again in the future.

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