Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Breakfast In The Garden

Olly and I were sat in the conservatory this morning, watching a blackbird pulling worms out of the ground. It's the same one that's been visiting for about a week now. His return heralds the start of Autumn around here. He has a slight discolouration on one of his wings, which makes it seem as if he's going grey. We enjoy watching him hop warily about the garden poking about here and there. It's a gentle start to the day for us. Olly is enjoying school, but the increased work load is taking its' toll on his energy levels. Skarloey, the cat enjoys watching him too. But his days of chasing down birds are most definitely at an end.

The flowers are starting to go to over. No amount of dead heading will stop their gradual retreat into the earth. I've collected lots of seed, and they are tucked safely away inside envelopes, ready for next Spring. I'm already thinking about changes to the garden for next year. Truthfully, it was a mixed bag in the garden this year. The slugs and snails had the last laugh, and laid waste to most of my efforts. All those vibrant young plants that I had raised from seed in the greenhouse seemed to be gobbled up overnight. My tomatoes and cucumbers were prolific, but my courgettes, beans, sweetcorn and Olly's pumpkin went the way of the flowers. I remain undeterred, however, You have to have a half glass full mentality in the garden. It serves me well, seeing as I'm a glass half empty kind of gal in the house.

The sparrows are back in the privet, and squabble incessantly. They scrap on the bird feeders, each of them trying to usurp the other from the wire mesh that contains the peanuts they love so much. There haven't been many birds visit the garden this summer. I've put it down to the nesting gulls on the roof. They raised their two chicks up there, and became very territorial if anything or anyone came into the garden. We even watched them dive and chase a luckless heron who had the misfortune to fly over the house. But this past week, we have had a posse of long tailed tits visit, and the robin and wren can be heard too.

We are still to have our wood burner installed, but the weather is very mild here so no need for the warmth of a flickering flame just yet. I'm still able to throw open the windows of a morning, although we've had a lot of rain. The flip flops have been put away for another year, and the wellies are back out. I'm still getting used to having socks on my feet. They feel all squashed in and uncomfortable. And too hot. Walking to school in the rain is a pet peeve of mine. We only live a couple of minutes away, but I can still get soaked to my knickers on the daily run.

There are pollinators still. They mainly concentrate on the flowering ivy now. And the large white butterfly is ever present. But numbers must have been down this year, as I didn't see a single painted lady, and only a few commas. I've missed seeing them fluttering to and fro in the garden, or out along the hedgerows. It may be that my eyesight isn't as keen as it was. It has deteriorated a lot this year. I find it takes me longer to focus my camera on some bug or other, and they've wandered off long before I've clicked the shutter. It's all very frustrating. I may not be grey like my blackbird, but other areas of me are feeling my age somewhat.

We've picked tons of blackberries, and they've been turned into jam and lots of crumbles. We are big crumble fans here. Olly eats it for breakfast. He's not supposed to, but can be found with his bottom hanging out of the fridge snaffling up last night's pudding. Autumn is the return of slow cooked meals, roast dinners and hot deserts. It's also the return of the satsuma and clementine. How I love their shiny orange presence in the fruit bowl. So easy to eat too. I also really enjoy a crunchy, sharp English apple. But they are scant around here, more's the pity.

Telly is always better during the darker months too, don't you find? I'm ecstatic at all the gritty psychological crime dramas returning to our screens. Series three of The Fall starts Friday. Literally cannot wait to curl my cushion into my mouth while watching it. And I am trying to enjoy Bake Off, even though it will be the last. For me anyway. I cannot countenance watching it without Mel, Sue and Mary Berry, even though I salute them not jumping ship, and following the money trail.

And from this weekend, Honey is once more allowed to walk along the beaches of St Ives. Hoorah!! She's keeping quiet about it all, but I just know she's looking forward to the return of our daily constitutional along Porthmeor. She'll have to run to keep up with me though; I've started running in earnest again. I'm aiming to complete my first park run the first weekend of November. I am struggling a little with joggers nipple, so have ordered a very stern looking sports bra. I must be keen. Or else my mid life crisis is having some positive effects.

How's everything with you? Do you enjoy the changing of the seasons too? Are you also looking forward to those surreptitious glances in your neighbours windows now that the nights are drawing in, and your dreadful nosiness at the lives of others can be satisfied under cover of darkness? Or is that just me;)) Have a lovely evening. I'm in the middle of another Anne Tyler. Olly and Marc are in bed (Marc has a cold) and Alfie is doing maths homework at the dining table while huffing and cracking his knuckles. Oh and Sam is currently auditioning for LUDS. That's Liverpool University Drama Society, which will be performing A Taste Of Honey at some point this term. Good luck Sam!!

Night night.

Leanne xx

(the above photos were taken at the Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden and museum last week. Me and my friend attended an event organised for the September Festival here in St Ives. I had coffee and a croissant surrounded by exquisite works of art, and then a lovely informal lecture in what was probably her living room. If you look carefully you may spot us).


  1. What is it with slugs this year? I think I could have picked up 50 in a minute this evening, including the ones that were lined up outside the greenhouse, ready for the off.

  2. The garden sculptures are amazing; I'd love to touch them all - are you allowed to? The changing of the seasons is lovely isn't it - I'm a secret nosier into other people's homes too. Another runner! I was reading CT's blog earlier today and being inspired by her running. Maybe I can give it a go under cover of darkness and nosy into those windows at the same time! xx

  3. Very Impressed with the running, I miss being good at it. Was always too scared to do park run though as a bit too much like school for me. Husband loves it though. You may need to purchase some Vaseline?! I love the feeling of Autumn in the mornings at the moment, it's definitely out there somewhere. Candles are being lit in the evenings and yet it is still too warm for log burners to be lit...I'm looking forward to piles of patchwork quilts on beds and knitted hats so I don't have to brush my hair..

  4. Your words make Autumn sound appealing! I too have referted to socks and sell us this week, it does feel so strange. Sarah x

  5. Woop woop for the running! I've wrote a post on exactly that theme this week, so good on you girl. I'm sending you heaps of positive thinking for the Parkrun (you'll love them). We've had a few painted ladies here this summer- three, which is two more than normal, but otherwise I think numbers have been down generally. Hope all goes well for Sam xx

  6. Yes, I see you! Oh well done on the running, I'm very impressed. I'm working up to it myself, and shall get back to it any day now. Martha Kearney has made a programme all about painted ladies, called The Great Painted Lady Butterfly Migration, and it's going to be on on BBC4 in the next week or so I think. I shall try and find out when and let you know. It will no doubt be fascinating. Off down to the allotment now to check on the ivy mining bees that are under threat from over-zealous allotmenteers. Gardening is always a mixed bag isn't it. But of course it doesn't stop the happy plans for next year. Love the photos, glad you had a good trip out. CJ xx

  7. I have been imagining long slow autumnal jogs but I haven't quite worked myself up to it..... Oh how I love the image of Olly with his head in the crumble bowl, it makes me smile. I am still on season 1 of The Fall but there will be plenty of dark nights soon to catch up! I don't need to throw open windows at the moment, we have a plywood house wall that lets in plenty of (too) fresh air! Have a lovely few days my friend. xxx

  8. Well done on the running! I hope that Honey enjoys her return to the beach, that Marc is better, that Sam will do well and that Olly will keep going until half term and then get a rest and that you and everyone else are all Ok too! I love the sculptures at the Hepworth garden, there is one that sort of long and thin with holes in it - I think you have a picture above - and I think that is my favourite! xx

  9. Still clinging on to my flip flops, they will not go without a fight! Love love love Barbara Hepworths garden, must pay another visit. I now have an image of you with your nose pressed up against people windows :) Joggers nipples? I knew there was a reason I didn't take up running.

  10. It was a combination of CT's wonderful post, a general feeling of 'must do something' and eating two clotted cream scones yesterday that motivated me to get off my arse this morning and go running. Well done on getting back into it. We can encourage each other. Cassie (my dog) was so delighted that she did her greyhound running, which always makes me laugh. I love your chatty posts, Leanne, and I agree about gardening - gardens teach us to look on the bright side, I think. Good luck to your Sam with his audition. Sam x

  11. One of the things I most enjoy about running in the early evening is the opportunity to check out other people's front gardens and have a peek in their windows. Otherwise it's dull. Well done you on the running, I haven't been in months and am feeling very sluggish. Too much crumble! Xx