Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Fly Away 'Flu

This festive season we have had an unwelcome visitor. The wicked winter 'flu fairy flitted from house to house scattering a liberal portion of germs and viruses. Over the past couple of days we have one by one succumbed to the seasonal lurgy; with aching limbs, sore throats, coughs and heads aching fit to bursting. At La Petite Maison scrapers and paintbrushes were hurriedly discarded in favour of hot water bottles and bed; gifts, wrapping paper and scissors forgotten about in the quest to locate painkillers and cough medicine.

(Thankfully I had already delivered my vintage style handmade cards before the onset of the virus.)

The scents of oranges, cloves and cinnamon gave way to the vapours of menthol rubs and Olbas Oil.  Tasty treats hold no temptation and unwrapped presents lie ignored as we struggle to find relief from the aches and pains. In my feverish dreams as I toss and turn trying to ease my aching head in a bed that is not comfortable, (the mattress feels as though it is full of rocks), I see my poor waterlogged and neglected allotment and think about the parsnips and potatoes that should have been lifted for the meal that I would have been preparing, but the thought of which makes me feel decidedly queasy.

I am aware of Lucie watching me from the doorway of the bedroom in uneasy concern as I wake myself from a restless slumber through hearing moaning noises which I realise are emanating from me. I am hot and then cold, the duvet is tossed to one side and then pulled back again a few seconds later. 

But it is okay - I shall recover; the aches and pains will disappear; the presents will be there waiting to open; the tasty treats can be sampled at a later date and let's look on the positive side; when was the last opportunity that I had to stay in bed all day and sleep just when I felt like it? Already I am feeling brighter. 

The solstice has passed and the days will be getting longer. I have a new garden to think of planting soon at La Petite Maison, so as I lie in my sick bed my thoughts dwell now on planting schemes using pink roses and peonies, hydrangeas, hollyhocks and herbs to name but a few.

Gorgeous David Austin Roses

Also on a positive note, the tweaking and tuning that I have been doing to the blog seems to have worked and my space allocation warning has not appeared, (a big Thank You to Holley and Linda for your suggestions) so Hey Ho all being well I will be up and blogging pictorially away again over the next few days.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Season's Greetings from La Petite Maison

Season's Greetings from La Petite Maison by Soaps and Roses

It's snowing!!

The air is full of a flurry of flakes; whirling, fluttering around my face and settling on my brightly coloured scarf. Beneath my feet is a blanket of white. 

Alas however these are not the festive flakes of icy snow that may be expected at this time of the year. They are in fact the flakes of white emulsion paint that I am gruellingly and painstakingly (the emphasis being on the pain!) scraping from the ceilings of La Petite Maison.

The most painful and annoying part is that the paint I am working so hard to remove is actually the paint that I painted onto the ceilings last year. Not being an expert in property developing I had begun my restoration of La Petite Maison by launching enthusiastically into the first thing that I saw and that was getting rid of the textured woodchip wallpaper with it's layers of thick mustardy shiny paint followed by the neck breaking job of scraping the ceilings free from their polystyrene covering.

The surfaces in the rooms were soon covered in flakes of years old paint, paper and the debris from the ceilings. As the bare surfaces were exposed so were the hidden horrors of damp, cracks and holes in plaster and a huge stain upon a saggy ceiling where a pipe had burst in the roof space.

However I determinedly persevered and once the ceilings were free from their layers of grotty polystyrene and chipped paint I set to work brushing, sanding and filling before sanding, brushing and filling again. The stain on the ceiling was carefully obliterated using a magic paint and two coats of white emulsion later and the ceilings in the new bedroom and lounge were transformed from dingy and dreary into a surface area that was smooth and bright. I was delighted!

Unfortunately I hadn't taken into consideration the effects that converting the roof space would have on my brand new ceilings. Oh Disaster! Cracks the size of the Grand Canyon opened up crazily from wall to wall and the props used to support the ceilings left holes and gashes on my fastidiously repaired and painted ceilings.

With the majority of the major joinery work completed upstairs, after a futile attempt to repair the damage I realised that there was nothing else for it but to set to, and so putting the seasonal festivities to one side and gritting my teeth very hard indeed, I resumed my perch upon the step-ladder, scraper in hand, a pink scarf tied over my hair and sporting a fetching pair of blue-rimmed saftey goggles, (previous experiences of retrieving foreign detritus from my eyes having taught me the essential necessity of protective eye wear), and for the past few days I have been scraping all my nice paint from the ceilings.

The pain experienced has been twice as bad as it was the first time around. Hot baths and muscle rubs have been required regularly, but at last the end is in sight and the last of the flakes are falling, floating and drifting through the air. By this weekend I hope that the ceilings will be restored to their former beautiful condition and the walls and windows painted with their top coats.

The forecast has hinted that a cold snap may be on the way for the end of the week - with a vague promise of snow. So maybe there will be a covering of white snowflakes this festive season after all.

I hope you all have a wonderfully happy and festive time and I shall persevere with trying to sort out my space allocation to bring you my before and after photos. Thank you all for your help and advice.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Ma Petite Maison

Those of you who know me will know that last year, emboldened by my achievement of transforming the allotment, and seeking a new challenge, I (somewhat naively I must confess) embarked on a new project. I made mention of this project that was eroding my time in some of my previous posts. This is the Restoration / Renovation project of La Petite Maison!

From last summer the majority of my time has been spent at La Petite Maison, stripping walls; knocking down walls; putting up new walls; insulating; painting windows - in fact just about anything that is required in renovating an old house. The most difficult task however must be that of keeping the peace between those much appreciated of all - the men-folk involved in the project, ensuring that all the male egos remain intact. It is also a case of convincing them that "Yes of course they are right" whilst engineering the situation so that what I know to be right is actually what happens. In other words it is necessary to persuade them that what I want done is actually their idea. Admittedly at times this role of peace-keeper has contributed a great deal to the stresses of the project.

Anyway let me introduce you to La Petite Maison. Now please don't be expecting a quaint gate lodge or rambling old country cottage. (If only!)

La Petite Maison is a 1950s bungalow, which upon first inspection needed merely updating and a small single storey extension added to bring it bang up-to-date. Oh Boy! Was I wrong! Maybe it was that my plans were ambitious considering that we planned to do everything ourselves with the help of a few friends and relatives who were tradesmen, or maybe it was that I was just labouring under a misapprehension.

Sorry, I am digressing again - back to La Petite Maison. So we have a 1950s bungalow with three bedrooms, one the size of a broom cupboard, a not very large kitchen, a miniscule bathroom and a reasonably sized reception room. A rather unattractive detached garage and fairly decent sized secluded gardens with high hedges and mature trees accompanied the bungalow.

However upon viewing the property I saw beyond the out-dated decor and as the evening sun shone brightly through the front door and windows, lighting up the hall and front rooms I detected a charming feel to the house. Just as when I first viewed the allotment, in my mind's eye I could visualise how this little house could be transformed. A cross between a French and an English country cottage perhaps?

The realisation of what I was taking on hit me as I handed over the deposit and I wondered if the congratulatory tone of the Estate Agent when I collected the keys was not down to me securing the sale, but was in actual fact sheer relief that the property had sold and was no longer on their books. As I walked out of the Estate Agents clutching the keys with their plastic green key tag, the deed was done and there was no way back - there was nothing else for it, but to launch ourselves wholeheartedly into getting the project started. 

The grand plan was as follows;
  1. Change the front bedroom into the lounge and the existing lounge into the master bedroom.
  2. The connecting door between the existing lounge and the kitchen was to be boarded up and the wall between the broom cupboard sized bedroom and the existing kitchen knocked down. This new room would become a second bedroom with an en-suite.
  3. A new kitchen and lounge/dining room would built in an extension onto the existing room that was the back bedroom.
  4. The wall between the existing bathroom and broom cupbard bedroom would be knocked down and moved over thus creating a better sized bathroom.
  5. The roof space would be converted to become my Creative Space, with one end studded off to create a little room which would house the boiler, fuse box and act as a walk in wardrobe.
  6. Outside the ugly garage will eventually disappear and although there is the potential to build a better one, I intend to put up a summer house / workshop instead - all very vintagely styled of course, surrounded by Hollyhocks, herbs, sweet scented Roses, Jasmine and Honeysuckle.
So that was where it all started and was the beginning of what is turning out to be a protracted and far from straight forward project. I can't offer you the before and after photos, as firstly we are not yet at the stage, and secondly I am still having problems with my blog space allocation, but I would love it if you will join me on the journey and as the work progresses I shall keep you updated on developments.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Out Of Space

In case you have all been wondering where I have disappeared to, I must tell you that I have encountered a slight hurdle to my blogging adventure.

The very nice people at Google suddenly decided to tell me - without warning would you believe? that I have used up all my space!! Now when I took the leap as a novice into the great unknown world of blogging I didn't see any mention of this space allocation thing! If I had been aware of it, then maybe I wouldn't have started off with Blogger and would have investigated some of the other options - Typepad or Wordpress. Oh yes, I can carry on writing but no more photos if you please, and what is text without pictures?

So I have been faced with this conundrum and am working on how to overcome the problem. It is most annoying as I have only been blogging since July of this year and was just starting to find my blogging feet. I don't want to give up just as I have started. 

I have searched to see if other bloggers have had the same problem and many bloggers have been blogging away, uploading photos FOR YEARS with Blogger without encountering this warning. So where have I gone wrong?

If you have any advice I would greatly appreciate it. 


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Soaping (continued)

The countdown has begun until "Christmas at the Barn" at Lucinda's. A frenzy of productivity is manifesting with the remaining soaps being wrapped; the finishing touches and tweaks to the gift boxes and the final stitches put into the herbal hearts and sachets.

Herbal Bath soak

So let me show you some of the finished articles, all of which are made without using chemical or artificial fragrances or preservatives - the preparation for which began months ago in the garden and at the allotment.

Handmade Rose and Geranium Soap

A delicately floral scented pink soap;
wrapped in pink gingham and floral fabric, tied with a pink ribbon and decorated with a pink rosebud. Scented with Rose Gerananium and Neroli Essential Oils

The Herb Garden Soap

Wonderfully aromatic; I am reminded of of walking through the Herb Garden when the sun comes out after a shower of rain. Essential oils of herbaceous Sage, Rosemary and Lavender refresh and invigorate and I have added finely ground Lavender and Rosemary from the allotment.

The Sea Garden Boxed Soaps

Capturing the power of the Ocean, with mineral rich kelp, combined with finely ground Rosemary leaves and a light sprinkling of sand to help with exfoliation. Lavender, Peppermint and Eucalyptus Essential Oils create a scent of ocean breeze.

Geranium and Sweet Orange Soap

Goat's Milk, Jojoba & Shea Butter

Goat's Milk has long been recognised as a natural skin moisturiser, which is why I love adding it to some of the soaps. Combined with shea butter, jojoba oil and lightly scented with Rosewood Essential Oil, this is a highly moisturising and hydrating soap.

Round Guest Soaps
decorated with the dried flowers and herbs that I harvested throughout the year.

The handmade boxes that I painstakingly designed, cut out and put together are now filled with the guest soaps and decorated with the dried Bee Balm from the allotment.

Flower Garden Gift Box

Gift boxes with 4 round guest soaps.

Gift Box

Gift Box filled with 4 rectangular guest soaps

Well there you have it! A few of the finished products. I do hope you like them. I'm off now to pack up the car and get ready for all the fun of the fairs.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Paws for Thought

This past week has been somewhat frenetic - lots of rushing around whilst trying to keep the creativity flowing. However amongst the whirlwind of Doing, several events occurred that brought about a reality check and a reminder that despite whirling from one thing to another, frequently ungrounded - with my head in the clouds - priorities must be made and time taken for what might seem at the time to be mundane and uninteresting tasks but what are unerringly of far greater importance than any soaping, sewing, sanding (at the restoration project) or box making.

Earlier on this year, we had the unwelcome presence of unsolicited visitors to the allotments; an eventuality that caused great annoyance to all those affected by their pilfering of our produce. It therefore came as a serious upset when that unpleasantness ventured closer to home.

It was the start of the week - the evenings are drawing in early and night falls quickly. The weather; following an brief respite at the weekend, had deteriorated and dark rain-filled clouds made the night sky appear even blacker. Indoors, curtains pulled tightly kept out the wintery elements; as Monty and Lucie curled up into their fleecy blankets in the hall, I snuggled down under a cosy duvet looking forward to listening to the wind howl and the heavy raindrops lash against the window.

After finishing off my Georgette Heyer novel - lovely, uncomplicated comfort reading - the equivalent to a hot chocolate before bed and (prior to the following occurrences) almost always guaranteed to induce a restful sleep, I turned out the light and fell easily into a deep sleep. 

I woke with a jolt several hours later, my nerves - always a little on the fraught side, caused my heart to beat faster. A noise had woken me suddenly out of a deep sleep! I strained my ears and listened, trying to calm my thumping heartbeat. The wind shrieked relentlessly through the trees outside and I heard the bang of a gate slamming as a strong gust of wind caught it. I relaxed - it was just the storm. Drowsily I drifted back into sleep; as I slipped deeper into unconsciousness another noise vaguely registered in my mind - this time of scraping, and ....... was that a dog barking?? However sleep overcame me completely and I slept peacefully until the alarm sounded the next morning.

The storm had abated, although a blustery wind whipped up the autumn leaves torn from the tree branches during last night's storm. The first indication I had of anything untoward was upon hearing the same banging noise as I had heard during the night. It was my garden gate! The gate which was most definitely closed tightly the night before. Tentatively and slightly perturbed I entered the garden. The signs were obvious - the wind was not the only visitor during the night. It was not the wind that was responsible for lifting down the heavy terracotta window boxes from the window sills, (the night time scraping noise)

(window boxes filled with the ivy leaved trailing geraniums that earlier on in the year the Pearly Queen and I gleefully collected as part of a prize for our allotments.)  

nor for the placing of the wrought iron garden chairs in the flower beds directly beneath the windows.

I did not believe either that it was the window cleaner who was responsible. Under the cover of darkness and the storm - Prowlers had intruded closer than was comfortable.  

Thankfully there did not seem to be anything else amiss. I later found out that there had been four of them and possibly the barking of a neighbour's dog had prevented anything worse from happening. Unsurprisingly this incident unnerved me greatly and after notifying the police additional security measures were implemented.

As a result of this, my sleeping suffered and for the next few nights I woke at even the faintest jingle of Lucie's bell. By mid-week I was exhausted. Monty became fed up with being disturbed by my getting up throughout the night to check on imaginary noises and sadly moved out, taking up residence with the neighbour who is Lucie's rightful owner. It was thus that suffering from severe sleep deprivation and after having been woken abruptly envisaging another prowler, by an uncharacteristic clamour from Percy who after several weeks of absence had taken advantage of Monty's leaving to re-establish his claim upon my home, that I took two headache tablets and fell into a deeply exhausted sleep.

Percy the Prowler?

From far away I became aware of a shrill resonating sound filtering into my dream. The sound reverberated on and on, until it pulled me from the depths of unconsciousness back to the familiar surroundings of my bedroom.

A new noise, on top of the squeal that I had now identified as the sound of a smoke alarm - that of the scream of sirens and then a flashing blue light penetrating through the Faded Flowers linen fabric of the bedroom curtains.

I was fully awake in an instance, the drowsiness induced by the tablets gone. Leaping up out of bed with more dexterity than I would when the alarm clock goes off, I pulled the curtains aside and my worst fears were realised when I saw the fire engine.

After that everything was a bit of a blur, but thanks to an electric smoke alarm (I was told afterwards that a battery one would not have detected the smoke outside); the vigilance of my neighbour and the prompt action of the fire brigade, - property and most importantly - life was spared. Wires inside the external mains electricity meter box had shorted and caught fire. As all the smoke was outside it was only thanks to my neighbour hearing the sound of the smoke alarm and coming to investigate, that the fire was discovered before it was too late. 

Lurking behind the sofa

Although I do wonder whether the racket from Percy was his way of trying to tell me something was wrong.

So there we are, a rather eventful week; but definitely a reminder to me not to get so lost in the clouds that practicalities (including checking the smoke alarm) get forgotten about!


To fully complete the tale, I must tell you that over the next couple of days life resumed a pattern of normality. My sleeping was improving and Monty had moved back in (of Percy there was no sign). All was quiet until that is - when at 4am this morning, the pitter patter of paws across the floor woke me and I could see Lucie pacing dimly in the shadowy light of my bedroom. 

Clever Lucie

I watched her padding to the bed and back to the door, where she paused and turning to see if I was watching her, she emitted a loud hiss.

OH NO! What was wrong now?

I held my breath and listened as the pitter patter, pitter patter grew louder. But Lucie hadn't moved, so even though still foggy with sleep, I deduced that it wasn't her paws making the noise. Pitter patter, pitter patter.........

or wait a moment........

could it possibly be DRIP DROP, DRIP DROP and not the sound of paws that I could hear?

I jumped out of bed, (my agility has increased with all the speedy exits that I have been making from bed recently) and raced to the airing cupboard where the sound was coming from. Monty - lying soporifically in his sleepy stupor on the rocking chair, opened one eye balefully and glared at me in disgust for waking him yet again.

A pool of water had gathered and when I wrenched the door open a deluge descended from above. In my haste to turn off the stopcock, I inadvertently turned it the wrong way, causing a torrent of water to cascade through the ceiling and down the walls. The ceiling sagged and towels and bed-linen were saturated, however once I had stopped panicking and managed to turn the stopcock off the water ceased. 

They say things happen in threes - well I can only hope that this burst pipe is the very last of my 3 dramas!

Saturday, 13 October 2012


With the first frosts, the autumn raspberries are turning to mush and the remaining runner beans have become overgrown and stringy - the allotment season is winding down now for this year. The nights are drawing in and the mornings are dark with a chill in the air.

Along with the count-down to winter, there has been sadness, and several sad events (one especially) have left me feeling weary lately and my energy sapped. 

"See You Later"

My creativity seemed to dim and I have not felt much like writing, gardening, capturing moments and images with my camera or even doing in general. However I know that those whom I have tearfully said goodbye to recently would be admonishing me to "get a grip" and carry on regardless, just as they continued on without complaint or self-pity through difficult times - still able to laugh and offer words of encouragement to others.

So my attention has turned now to indoors and soaping in preparation of the oncoming fairs. There is much to do, including - 

batches of soap to stir;
boxes to design, cut out, glue and decorate;

soaps to slice and decorate with lace, ribbons, shells collected from the beach and the flowers that I have collected and dried over the past few months;

Sea Garden Soap - with sea shells & driftwood from the sea shore

fabric hearts and sachets to sew and stuff with my dried herbs.

Red Rose Buds decorate my Goat's milk, Jojoba & Shea Butter Soap

And that's just for starters - believe me, my To Do List is lengthy! I shall also be putting together some seed packets with seeds collected from the allotment and this year I am planning to experiment with making natural firelighters, containing herbs, pine-cones and essential oils - guaranteed to not just help light a cosy winter fire but also to fragrance the room with beautiful natural scents.

The first fair coming up is Lucinda's "Christmas at the Barn." A gorgeous venue with a quality line-up of crafters, including Jenny - Drin Pottery, Viv and her lovely handmade teddy bears and of course Lucinda's fabulous Phoenix Cards.

With the fair less than 4 weeks away, soaping is now the priority, (I simply must resist the new cross-stitch sampler kit that has caught my eye and the sudden seasonal urge that I have to start knitting)! With all the batches made - using the traditional rather more time consuming cold-process method, requiring 28 days for the soap to cure; I can begin on the part that I like the most, and that is decorating the soaps and the boxes.

Gardeners Herbal Soap decorated with Poppy seed-heads and Marjoram from the allotment 

Home and the workshop are filled with the delicate scents of essential oils and dried herbs; the normal progression into soap clutter chaos is seeping and expanding into rooms other than the kitchen and workshop. 

Dishes of pink rose buds and lavender flowers, trays of dried Bee-Balm flowers, and pressed Chamomile and Heartsease Viola flowers adorn every available work surface; jugs of lavender sprigs and poppy seed-heads line window sills. Boxes both decorated and waiting to be decorated are stacked precariously on tables and benches. 

Piles of vintage style fabrics spill across chairs and spools of ribbon unravel in a colourful rainbow amongst the ginghams and sprigged rose fabrics. For health and safety purposes Monty and Lucie are banished despite their protests to the hall in order to prevent any mishaps.

As usual time is always against me and this year due to other commitments (not least the renovation project - yes I am still painting windows!)

Sneak preview of one of the newly installed windows, - especially for Fran!

I may be forced to either call on the elves or else take up the offer of help from a friend who is having a rest from her own craft of jewellery making. For this reason I am not taking on as many fairs as usual, but hopefully when I can squeeze some spare time from somewhere (where I do not know???) I shall be setting up my Etsy shop and so my soaps will be available on-line.

While I am writing this, time is racing past, so I shall bid you adieu for the moment and resume my one woman soap and box making production line. I'll be back soon though to update you on progress!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Little Cat Lost

Poor Lucie is feeling rather put out - we have a new arrival on the scene. Appearing completely out of the blue one day with a beseeching expression upon his face came Monty. A long-haired tortoiseshell-white calico cat, strikingly marked and very well behaved he asked for nothing, but made it clear that he had nowhere else to go.

Sitting on the doorstep he politely waited to see if he was welcome inside and when initially the invitation was not forthcoming, he did not persist but just sat on the step with a sad resigned expression on his little face.

Ever the soft hearted where cats are concerned, I put a plate of food out for him. Monty fell upon the food and within seconds it was gone. He then resumed his place upon the doorstep and waited patiently.

Convinced that such a lovely cat as Monty must belong to someone and was possibly lost, I designed a lost and found poster with a photo of him to display in the local shops. A call came a week later from a very nice lady who lived in a neighbouring village some 8 miles away. She knew Monty well as he lived two doors away from her and would visit her every morning at the same time. Not knowing his real name she called him Cat. When she hadn't seen him for several days the nice lady questioned Monty's owner about his whereabouts. The owners reply was a blasé, "Oh! I gave him away - I didn't want him anymore!"

So it turns out that poor Monty is unwanted, homeless and hungry. Too well-bred to hunt he was famished when I first found him sitting outside my front door. At first I kept my resolve and refused to succumb to his silent request for a home and although I fed him it was always outside. However the weather has taken a turn for the worse and after finding him huddled on the doorstep on a particularly miserable evening I broke my resolve and brought him indoors.

Lucie was overcome with horror and appalled by his intrusion into her domain she could do nothing except sit and sulk, staring at him in disbelief and resentment. Monty was oblivious and within seconds had found the old rocking chair where he snuggled up on the cushion and fell into a deep slumber.

A Sulky Lucie

Lucie continued to eye him balefully, emitting large sighs and snorts of disgust. Safe, warm and comfortable, Monty slept the entire night and despite spending the next day outside he was there waiting hopefully the next evening on the doorstep.
The rocking chair has become his refuge and although he is content to be petted for a short while, Monty prefers to be allowed to sleep in peace upon the cushion. 
Monty asleep on the rocking chair

Thus it looks like Lucie is going to have to accept that she has a new companion because I don’t think Monty has any intention of seeking a home elsewhere and I certainly don’t have the heart to ignore his plight.
I have since found out that almost all calico cats are female – and for a calico cat to be a male is a rarity. Apparently calico cats originate from the Mediterranean ports in France and are believed to bring good luck - sometimes they are referred to as money cats. So it is highly likely then that Monty is not a boy after all, in which case a new name will have to be chosen. I think a French name is appropriate – Minou seems to suit her.

After several hours of Minou I made a discovery that Minou is indeed a rarity and is most definitely a boy. As I lifted him up the additional two little furry extras underneath reaffirmed that Minou is a he. So now I am in a dilemma - do I revert to Monty or given that I have found out about his French origins - should he be called by a more French sounding name, perhaps Monet as in the painter Claude Monet? After all as I mentioned before Calico Cats are referred to as money cats - so Monet seems to fit well and it can be either a male or a female name. However Monty has a nice ring to it and it could be short for Montague which is an old French surname.
What do you think, Monet or Monty? 

Friday, 28 September 2012

An Autumn Day

Waking early, the mist rolling over the fields presents an ethereal view. Everything is still and silent save for the distant sound of the caw caw of rooks. 

The rising sun highlights the very tops of the trees with a golden fire, offering the promise of a glorious autumn day.

Bales of hay scattered randomly across the field appear dark and shadowy through the early morning mist.

As the sun grew stronger the surrounding countryside was bright with vivid autumnal colours - tempting me,


luring me away from everyday tasks such as painting windows (more of that to come)
and outside for a walk.

In the garden - red berries of the rowan tree bright against the blue skies.

At the allotment rosehips and hawthorn berries. 

I headed South to one of my favourite places -

Audley's Castle beside the shore of the Lough

At the foot of the castle is Green Row
a little line of olde world cottages, nestled amongst a backdrop of trees.

Through the trees a brief glimpse of the lough; a smell of wood smoke mingled in the air with the faintly salty tang of the lough.

Climbing higher now, a view through the trees of the other side of the lough.

Dappled orange and yellow hued autumn leaves cloak the trees whilst beneath - the fallen leaves create an autumnal blanket upon the grass.

In the distance a surreal view of The Temple of the Winds against the blue of the lough and the patchwork of fields on the opposite shore.

Little by little the trees discard their leaves - bare branches poking through the remaining rust coloured foliage  like fingers.

Walking further the grassy tree lined lane-way curves to the left 

to the viewpoint of the lough and the village on the opposite side.

As usual I cannot help but gather treasures during my walks and an autumn walk offers plenty. Fallen leaves in reds, oranges and yellows; beech nuts; lichen covered twigs; rosehips and pinecones are gathered en route and brought home to bring autumn indoors.

Walking back a single leaf fluttered and whirled through the air, catching on my scarf. To catch a leaf a message brief! Sure enough when I returned home there was a message letting me know that The Captain had sadly passed away. This is a great loss to our little allotment community and to the Gardening Club of which he was a member. He was an amazing man.

The Captain grew several beautiful Poppies on his Plot, so here is a Poppy in remembrance of The Captain.