Sunday, June 04, 2017

Volunteers for the summer

The first months of this year have been tough for all sorts of reasons that there's no need to go into here. Then quite apart from losing friends and seeing changes that we'd rather not have in the Oude Haven, there have also been international events that have shocked and saddened us all. I think it's enough to say I am looking forward to faring forth in a couple of weeks for a good long break. This year we aren't going to France (although a part of me wishes we could do that too); this year we are heading north and east. The original idea was to go to Poland, but I have just three months in total, more than I can really afford but less than we need (as we've now discovered). However, not long ago, we watched a film about a young couple who cruised from Poland to Amsterdam and back. It took them seven months...so we gulped, re-grouped and made a new decision. We would still head that way, but probably stop in Germany...somewhere. In truth I'd love to go to Belgium and France again, but sometimes it's good to 'ship' out of my comfort zone!

Anyhow, what will happen at home while we are so long gone? Thankfully, I never tell anyone where the crumbly cottage is, so I hope all will be well, and I hope that my daughters will make use of it while I'm away too. That said, my garden is likely to get neglected for much of the time, so I decided not to plant my usual array of annuals this year: no begonias, no geraniums, no bizzy-lizzies (or whatever they are called). I've let my garden do its own thing this year, and guess what? It's as if it's decided to put on its own show. This climber, the name of which I've never known, has bloomed properly for the first time ever. Isn't it lovely?


And then the foxgloves are putting on a wonderful show of their own. I never know when or where they will pop up, but this year, they are adding colour to my little patch at just the right time.





When they have gone, hopefully the hollyhocks will be in bloom. Being my favourite flowers of all, I'll be sad to miss them, but I know they'll be a gorgeously colourful display - as always. 


Anyway, in anticipation of our departure, we did a test run today in lovely warm sunshine. The Hennie Ha ran well, although there are a couple of niggles that need to be sorted out before we go. Next weekend I will start preparing and stocking up ready for the journey. We'll still have to improvise with showers and washing, but that's okay. I just loved our pared-down lifestyle last year, and now I'm really looking forward to faring forth to the north. Hey, maybe that's the title of a new travelogue? Now there's a thought - perhaps not going to France won't be so bad after all :)

Have a good week everyone.

18 comments:

  1. Am sure that wherever you go that you will enjoy yourselves and be reporting back to us of your travels Val. So bon voyage to you both.

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    1. Thank you, Mel! I hope it will be!

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  2. If your white flowers smell like cat's wee, then it's elder! And they have lovely dark red berries that make great wine (now there something to look forward to when you get back from your travels.!)

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    1. Ah, Jo, there's plenty of Elder around, but this isn't it. It's a kind of climbing hydrangea type plant and it's taken years to settle down. I shall look forward to the elderberries later on though!

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    2. Shows just how much I know about plants!!

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    3. Don't worry, I don't know much either! I still don't exactly know what this is, but the Elderflower is in full bloom in the woods around us. I remember my mum used to make Elderflower champagne! It was lovely stuff!

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  3. Hi Val - life just goes on doesn't it ... but a change is good - and I bet you'll enjoy the trip over into Germany. Good luck with the rest of provisioning etc ... your garden looks delightful - just right for being left to its own devices ... I don't think your white climber is elderflower ... but am not at all sure what else it could be ... enjoy the preparations - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you for all the good wishes, Hilary! You're right. My plant is some kind of climbing hydrangea, but I don't know exactly what it is.

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  4. Your cottage garden looks just perfect, and I'm sure it will manage while you are away. You really have the best of both worlds Val. I'll be eagerly looking forward to your posts from Germany, of which I know very little. But we are planning to river cruise there in 2018! Bon Voyage!

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    1. Oh how wonderful, Patricia!! I too will look forward to your reports of that trip! Thank you for the good wishes too :)

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  5. The white climber is Hydrangea Petiolaris. A lovely plant which will eventually cover your cottage if you leave it long enough. Have a lovely faring.

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    1. Thank you, Pat! That's great to know! I'm very grateful... and yes, it does grow enthusiastically now althouh it's taken a few years to get gowing....I will definitely enjoy the faring :)

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  6. Marvelous, Val! Your photos are great & I'm so happy there may be another book in the works? At least a great adventure for you. Your garden at your "Crumbly Cottage" is lovely.

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    1. Thank you for all of this, Steph! Bless you!

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  7. Looking forward to following you on the trip, Val. Fingers crossed for the garden - they do have a habit of running away with themselves!

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    1. Thanks, Roger...yes, the garden is my only real concern!

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  8. Lots of new adventures for you and for us to follow through your eyes, how exciting. Washing is very overrated ;) xxx

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    1. You are so right, Fran...about the washing, I mean ;)

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