The power of a garden!

I’m not sure what to say about this, just watch and you’ll know why….

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Thursday 25th August 2016 – A very hot greenhouse!

This heat is getting exhausting. I never thought I would want there to be rain, but a quick shower wouldn’t go amiss please. I’ve not been to the allotment today or even yesterday because it’s just too hot, and it would be unwise to be out in that sort of heat for too long. I did however brave the heat in the greenhouse at home to give you an update on how everything is getting on in there. I hope you enjoy the short little film I managed to do. By the end I have a very sweaty forehead and it kept dripping in my eyes. But I’m a professional so I didn’t make a fuss.

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Congratulations Emily!!

Our daughter Emily got her GCSE results today. She worked very hard studying for these, and during the exam time she stayed very calm and had no melt down of any sort. She wanted me to come with her this morning when she picked her results up from school, just for a bit of moral support. Mark and I are very pleased to announce that she got the following results:

English Language – A

History, Additional Science and Media Studies – All B’s

Maths, Science, Food Tech, Spanish and English Literature – All C’s

This means that she has more than enough to now do A levels in English Language and Literature, Media Studies and Psychology.

Congratulations Emily you worked very hard and we’re very proud of you.

Congratulations Emily on your fantastic results!!

Congratulations Emily on your fantastic results!!

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Tuesday 23rd August 2016 – My best Sweetcorn ever!!

I’ve changed clothes so many times today, not because I like to, but because it’s been so hot and sticky. I spent 2 hours on my allotment this morning, and to be honest that was all I could really take. Today they said that the temperature would get up to 29 in the SE, but according to my phone app it got to 31!!! Yes that’s right. Oh my goodness it was hot. There is a breeze, but that’s warm as well, so not cooling in the slightest. I had a good couple of hours up the allotment and I harvested all sorts of things, but what I’m most proud of is my Sweet Corn. I’ve only harvest one variety so far and that is “Swift F1”, but they’ve done amazingly well. Once home from the allotment I changed clothes before I had lunch, then changed again to walk to town, but had to change again when I got home because everything was sweaty. As I type this I’m sitting on a towel that is on the office swivel chair, because I was sticking to the chair. What a lovely thought…. Now back to the allotment….

 

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Monday 22nd August 2016 – A walk up a gentle hill!!

Today started off a little overcast, but Carol Kirkwood promised that it would brighten up quickly and the sun would shine. There aren’t many weather forecasters that I trust, but Carol is “Queen of the weather. The kids and I had planned to go for a little stroll up a gentle hill today. So off we set and when we arrived at our destination sure enough the clouds had gone and the sun was out. I bet you’re wondering where we went, well I’ll tell you. Box Hill and Leith Hill. Just little, small hills? We parked the car in the Stepping Stones car park at the bottom, because it had been a while since we parked there. Last time we were there it was New Years Day and there was a Fun Run going on. In my opinion those are 2 words that should NEVER go together “Fun” and “Run”. But today there were no runners, and just some walkers out for a bit of exercise.

Fresh faced and bushy tailed before our little walk.

Fresh faced and bushy tailed before our little walk.

As the water was low in the river, we were able to walk across the stepping stones to the other side. If the river is too high then the stepping stones are covered and you have to use the bridge to the left. I am pleased to report than no one fell in. A miracle really, especially for George. He is drawn to water and always ends up soaking. But today he stayed dry. Maybe he’s growing up?

Carefully across the Stepping Stones. The water wasn't deep.

Carefully across the Stepping Stones. The water wasn’t deep.

The walk up was very hard. George seemed to find it fairly easy and walked way ahead, but stopped to let Emily and I catch up. I’m used to walking, and have walked up Box Hill via the bridal path before, and that is steep, but that goes straight up and is roughly the same gradient all the way up. I found this route today challenging. Emily on the other hand really struggled. She’s not the sporty type and apart from walking a couple of miles to school, and then back again she doesn’t really do any other exercise. She’s skinny, but not very fit. Poor little love. The path up was very twisty turny, like a twisty turny thing. And because of all the vegetation was very difficult to figure out how far up you were. Some places had steps, which were all of different heights and other places were just a slope to climb. I stayed with Emily to give her encouragement. She was very glad when we finally reached the top. I thought for a minute that she was going to burst into tears because it was really hard work. When we got to the top, we found the View Point and all sat and then laid down on the grass. Our wellies came off and we aired our feet.

Emily was so exhausted she just collapsed and stayed like this until she'd recovered.

Emily was so exhausted she just collapsed and stayed like this until she’d recovered.

The views up the top were amazing, and it was well worth the walk up. Although next time I don’t think Emily will be so keen. Once we had all rested, we put our wellies back on and went to use the facilities before heading back down the same route. Going down was much easier, and no one had to stop for a rest.

A much easier trip back down to the car.

A much easier trip back down to the car.

We then got back in the car and headed off to Leith Hill. It’s not far from Box Hill, and in fact you can actually see it from the View point, that is it you have some really good binoculars. We arrived just in time to have our picnic lunch, in the grounds below Leith Tower. It was still very sunny and there was a very welcome breeze blowing because you are so high up. Once we’d eaten our lunch we went exploring. First of all we went up the tower.

Leith Hill Tower. It may not look high, but it's the tallest point in the SE of England!

Leith Hill Tower. It may not look high, but it’s the tallest point in the SE of England!

There are just over 70 steps up to the top. I started to count them, but got distracted and then lost count. On the top of the tower they have 2 telescopes, so you can see so much further. Emily and I were watching the aeroplanes at Gatwick Airport taxing, taking off and landing. “Oh there’s a British Airways plane”, “I can see and Easyjet one”, we even spotted a plane that we call a Rudolf aeroplane because it’s got a red nose. It’s actually Norwegian Airlines. When you’re at the top of the tower you are higher than if you stood on top of the Shard. We then walked back down the steps of the tower, bought some biscuits from the shop and then went on another little walk. We followed the “Green Arrows”, which is a lovely medium length walk. Nothing too difficult, a few ups and downs, but nothing like we climbed during the morning. Most of it was under tree cover which was good to find some shade.

Just a gentle hill this time.

Just a gentle hill this time.

We worked our way back to the car park and made our way back home. We were all exhausted but had loads of fun. That’s another couple of National Trust places I can tick off in the book that we’ve visited this year. We all slept very well.

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Wednesday 17th August 2016 – My first Cabbage

Another glorious day today. We really are being spoilt. I’m sure it’ll come to an end soon. The Met Office have said that we’re due rain by the end of the week and it’s supposed to get very windy as well. But we’ll see if that happens. I had a very productive morning today harvesting more Potatoes, which means that 2 beds are now done, just another one to do!! I also harvested some more Spring Onions. The fascinating thing about the difference between the ones you harvest in the UK and the ones you harvest in Spain is quite extraordinary.

My Spring Onions. A good size even if I say so myself.

My Spring Onions. A good size even if I say so myself.

Think those are impressive, just take a look at the ones we found in Spain.

What they feed their Spring Onions in Spain I have no idea!!

What they feed their Spring Onions in Spain I have no idea!!

I also tidied the bed that the Peas and Radish were growing in as well as harvested my first Cabbage of the year. Here’s what I got up to today in a little more detail.

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Tuesday 16th August 2016 – Bodiam Castle and Hastings!

Today the kids and I went on a little expedition. The weather was glorious so it was perfect for going to the beach. But which beach? We’d already been to West Wittering, but we wanted to go somewhere different. Hastings was the perfect choice. But before we got to the beach we stopped off at Bodiam Castle. We’ve been here before, in fact it was the very first National Trust place we went to, and became members at the same time.

Our adventure starts off here!!

Our adventure starts off here!!

The drive was quite uneventful which was great and we arrived just in time for lunch. We’d bought a packed lunch with us, so we found a little shady spot under a large tree to sit down and have our picnic. Once we’d eaten all we wanted we went to explore. The castle sits on top of a mound and is surrounded by a moat. We walked round the outside first before we ventured inside.

Bodiam Castle in all it's glory.

Bodiam Castle in all it’s glory.

In the grounds they had all sorts of tents with people dressed up and they were making lots of items to sell. There was a man making shoes, some one selling pots and other containers, a weapons place (kept George away from that one), a bee man (with actual bees), a man making jewellery and loads of other things as well. Once we’d looked round we the crossed the moat (via the bridge) to get in the castle.

No trolls under this bridge.....I hope not anyway.

No trolls under this bridge, just ducks and fish!

The moat was full of ducks and carp. The carp were massive and were all opening their huge mouths hoping for some food to be thrown in. I did feel sorry for the ducks that were caught up in the fish frenzy. I worried that they may be sucked into the fishes mouths at any moment. The castle is amazing. You can go exploring all over the place. We walked up to the tops of some of the towers. Up spiral staircases and into rooms that stretched up such a long way.

Up the spiral staircase to the tower at the top.

Up the spiral staircase to the tower at the top.

You saw rooms set out as they would have been during the times when it was used as a home. One room you could hear bats squeaking, because they were nesting in the beams. We think that we saw some, but mostly they kept well hidden from view. The courtyard in the middle was beautiful. And even though it’s the school holidays the place was relatively empty.

The courtyard in the middle of the castle. So much space.

The courtyard in the middle of the castle. So much space.

George put himself in the wooden stocks, but escaped very easily. Some of the door ways were very low and even Emily had to duck to go under. She’s 5 foot 5, so it’s not something she has to do very often. I think it made her feel taller. Poor little love is the smallest in our household as George is now taller than her (not taller than me….yet!).

Emily felt like a giant in this doorway. She doesn't usually have to crouch.

Emily felt like a giant in this doorway. She doesn’t usually have to crouch.

Once we’d looked all around we then got back in the car and then drove to Hastings beach. It’s not far from the castle and we arrived in good time. The tide was on its way out and the sea was very calm. There were a few small waves, but oh boy was the sea cold!! Not like the sea on holiday, but then that was the Med. The Atlantic is a cold sea. We all had a paddle, and I’m pleased to say that I was the first one in, but didn’t go in very far. George was the one that went in the furthest, but even he found it too cold.

Yes I'm taking a paddle. I may not have gone in far, but I'm still in the water.

Yes I’m taking a paddle. I may not have gone in far, but I’m still in the water.

We found a little spot on the beach to call our own. In fact there weren’t many people on the beach at all. Hasting’s beach is stoney at the top, but when the tide goes out it’s sand, so the perfect beach really. We spent just over 2 hours relaxing about on the beach, and George decided that he would place some large stones down my back bone. It was actually quite calming. Before we got back in the car to come home, we all needed the loo. So I had a bright idea (yes I know it doesn’t happen very often). We went into Debenhams to use their facilities. The shop was near closing, but we managed to find the loos and get out before we were locked in. I was about to thank Debenhams for the use of their facilities until I saw some Christmas cards on display. Yes you heard me correctly. There weren’t many, but they’re clearly gearing up for the festive season already. I would like to point out that it’s still the school SUMMER HOLIDAYS!! At least wait until they’ve gone back in September to get them out.

Oh Debenhams I am very disappointed!!

Oh Debenhams I am very disappointed!!

We arrived home just before 7.30, all exhausted and tired.

A beautiful day at the beach. the only thing missing was Mark!!

A beautiful day at the beach. the only thing missing was Mark!!

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