Bench of happiness

For the last few weeks I’ve been working on several larger garden jobs: building a paved area for the compost heap, knocking out a brick veg planter on the patio, and building a bench area. The planter is knocked out. It didn’t have proper drainage and was up against a wall of the house. It may of caused water damage if left and it’s also give us a bigger space for a table on the patio. The compost heap was dismantled as while the house was rented the renters filled it with rubbish. In its place is a paved area and a compost bin. The bench area hadn’t come on though as we couldn’t find a bench we liked. We wanted a bench down on the lawn so we have somewhere to sit and watch Alice play.

However at the weekend we saw a sign for a yard sale. Not expecting very much we ventured down to have a nosey. We went down the street and found one of the roads had a number of houses having yard sales. Mostly junk they wanted rid of, but one man was selling planters he built and had a bench he’d made for sale. For the bargain price of £35 we got something a little bit more unique.

The area we wanted the bench to go in has been underused. I had some daffodils there in Spring, but apart from that it’s largely been empty meaning weeds have moved in regularly. The area has a slope to it as I think someone at some stage intended a kind of rockery, but never finished it. So I’ve levelled it a bit and then used the stone bricks I had from knocking out the veg planter to build a line at the back to keep the soil slope back. Then tried to level it flush with the lawn at the front.

Alice was keen to help. I laid some sand to help make a better foundation. I think she thought it was some sort of wonderful sandpit for her, but living by the beach we don’t really need a sandpit. She did spread some sand though with the dibber. The dibber is probably her second favourite tool after the watering can mentioned previously.

 

Then weed matting went down and a layer of gravel around the bench legs. Alice is going through a stage of being fascinated by rocks. So she helped get them out the bag. She didn’t cry though that the stones had to stay when we were done.

All in all I’m pretty happy with the end result. I have few practical skills, beyond looking after plants, so this feels like an achievement. The stones at the front are pretty level with the lawn and feel firm.

The bench area looks good from the house with the view through the hydrangeas.

Hopefully we can enjoy sitting watching Alice enjoy the garden and it won’t subside.

The road goes ever onwards

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

J.R.R Tolkein-The hobbit

Sunday saw Alice and myself escaping out the house to escape paint stripper fumes. Amy has been working hard stripping paint off the stair bannister. We’ve tried to avoid Alice being around it. We headed off along one of the footpaths through the new housing estate that brings us out into the countryside. The crops were being harvested today. A great amount of dust and wheat shreds were in the air.

The side of the path has a number of the largest buddleia bushes. The peacocks who were absent a few weeks ago are now swarming all over it.

From here we explored a bridleway I’ve not ventured down yet. It runs alongside one of the caravan parks and is quite well kept in comparison to other around.

A number of speckled woods departed as we came along.

The bridleway took us out back along the coastal edge. The path took us down past a boat club. Along the path are a number of objects diving crews have brought ashore.

We stopped the pram to let a ground beetle cross our path. It seemed to be in more of a rush than us.

The sun was out bright and the sea was looking spectacular.

Flamborough Cliffs looking good today.

We walked as far as the pram would safely go before returning back along the coast path back to town. On the way saw a distant rabbit hopping back into the hedges as it saw us.

Alice had a run around on the grass along the coast edge before heading for the park. She was in a very sociable mood today chasing other families shouting hiya and waving bye as people went past.

Alice discovered a stick. She’s starting to realise why this is one of the most popular toys of all time. She engaged in some mark making on the path, running and waving it around and bashing other sticks. An excellent toy available in a range of sizes and limited colours. She carried it most of the way home before dropping it as we got back to our street.

We fitted in a quick go on the swings before leaving the park. She’s becoming a bit of a thrill seeker enjoying going higher and higher.

As a teacher I get these long periods of time off for the Summer and it’s lovely being able to spend time like this with Alice. She’s really starting to develop rapidly now. Her understanding is improving daily and her desire to communicate and interact. She loves getting out and has started fetching her shoes and going to the door to show her preference. We’re lucky that we have so many wonderful places to explore around us. I hope everyone had as pleasant Sundays as me and Alice.

Follow on twitter.

Cabin fever

Today and the next couple of days we are having our hallway plastered. So the house is a little bit topsy turvy. So with little space for Alice to go back and forth we headed out for a walk to prevent cabin fever.

I discovered a new picnic area has been put together with a display showing what wildlife we might see

The spot overlooks part of the mere.

At the moment we have a scarecrow trail around town. At this new picnic spot I discovered one, an actual scary-crow scarecrow.

From there we walked around to the mere’s edge. The mere is a large body of fresh water. It has an abundance of bird life. Within the habitats available it attracts wetland, farm and sea birds. Even on a grey rainy day like today I still saw more variety than many trips to nature reserves.

There were lots of Canadian Geese.

I saw a good number of ducks. Some mallards and some I don’t know.

The jackdaws were hopping in and out of the other birds. As discussed before I like corvids and particularly jackdaws. I know some people consider them evil looking, but I rather like the blue eyes and apparent intelligence.

Alice thought the ducks and geese were hilarious, but they didn’t seem as keen on her.

We saw a number of types of gull. Springwatch released an article last week pointing out that there is no such thing as a seagull. So with that in mind here are black headed gulls and a herring gull.

Within the thistles and cow parsley goldfinches and pied wagtails flitted about. The goldfinch was slightly rude refusing to turn so I could take a photo of its better side.

The thistles were still seeing quite a few visitors despite the colder weather.

After the mere, we walked along the seafront home where we saw the lesser spotted sea pigeons.

Before heading home I gave Alice a quick run around outside the Floral Hall.

The Floral Hall is a community run venture with a cafe and hall. They put on live music, club nights, theatre shows and cinema nights. The flower displays are always lovely. The bug hotel they built this year is looking good and with plenty of teasel around it should see some visitors. Teasel is high on the list of flowers I would like to get growing in the garden next year. It is loved by pollinators and the birds will eat the seed heads.

Not a bad way to fill time staying away from the plastering in the house.

Burton Constable

Today we headed for one of the local country houses, Burton Constable, for what was advertised as a food fair. However it was more of a craft fair than a food fair. Not having brought any food with us we ended up with an odd dinner of pie and cupcakes. The cupcakes ended up a bit of a mess after being bumped along in the pram. The pie however was from Hull Pie, so was top nosh.

We took our random lunch out on the woodland walk round the field of sheep away from the hall.

We found a bench to sit on. Alice’s eagle eyes spotted a moth under the bench. While I’m ok at identifying butterflies my lepidoptorist skills don’t stretch to identifying small brown and white moths. I will need to look through the field guide.

The weather changed rapidly to windy and raining, but none of this deterred Alice.

Back in the stables we saw the Burton Constable Whale. This 58 1/2 foot long sperm whale was washed up on the Holderness Shore in 1825. Sir Thomas Aston Clifford Constable had claim to it at the time, so it became property of the estate. A local Hull surgeon took an interest and dissected and wrote a study of it. A second study by Thomas Beale was read by Herman Melville who would go on to write the classic Moby Dick.

at a place in Yorkshire, England, Burton Constable by name, a certain Sir Clifford Constable has in his possession the skeleton of a Sperm Whale…Sir Clifford’s whale has been articulated throughout; so that like a great chest of drawers, you can open and shut him, in all his long cavities – spread out his ribs like a gigantic fan – and swing all day upon his lower jaw. Locks are to be put upon some of his trap doors and shutters; and a footman will show round future visitors with a bunch of keys at his side. Sir Clifford thinks of charging twopence for a peep at the whispering gallery in the spinal column; threepence to hear the echo in the hollow of his cerebellum; and sixpence for the unrivalled view from his forehead.

And that seems like a good tie in to mention that it is National Marine Week. A time to draw attention to the need to protect marine life such as the whale. I’m going to aim to get out to do another beach clean during the week.

Within my garden this morning I finally managed to get a photo of one of the marvellous dragonflies that have been in and out. They’ve been in and out lots recently, but rarely stay still for photographing. The size and colours of these fantastic insects are amazing. I’m glad to find them starting to come in the garden more.

Carnival day 2

Today we returned to the park for another day of carnival. This time we brought my parents, sis and nephews. The nephews were excited to see the birds of prey, particularly the peregrine.

 photo _DSC0514_zpsmveobljd.jpg

Alice enjoyed a walk in her harness.

 photo _DSC0517_zpsvsqcipw8.jpg

The boys has a bounce around in the inflatable balls. Jacob got knocked over by another lad almost as soon as he got in, but took revenge soon after.

 photo _DSC0520_zps5odp2gl9.jpg

 photo _DSC0523_zpssqipcsen.jpg

 photo _DSC0524_zpswckuqaqh.jpg

We saw the birds of prey display again. This time we saw the seagulls attacked. Quite nice to see them bullied for a change.

 photo _DSC0530_zpsdasojsiv.jpg

 photo _DSC0532_zpspdqmx8b9.jpg

The boys enjoyed the twister.

 photo _DSC0534_zpseo5crg4m.jpg

And got a bit windswept.

 photo _DSC0546_zpsqbfe5feb.jpg

While Alice ate her yoghurt biscuit.

 photo _DSC0535_zpsdqd8nbgg.jpg

 photo _DSC0548_zpscdzvt7uk.jpg

In the Memorial Gardens a brass band was playing in the band stand and we met Alice’s other cousins.

 photo _DSC0549_zpsfyj2gdew.jpg

 photo _DSC0551_zpsbjr7quue.jpg

 photo _DSC0552_zpsntkwtzcg.jpg

 photo _DSC0554_zpswxbdhtyn.jpg

Another nice day out in Hornsea.

Carnival

Today was the Hornsea Carnival parade. Not quite the spectacle of Rio or Notting Hill. More a celebration of English quaintness.

 photo _DSC0476_zpsblnxdfuy.jpg

 photo _DSC0481_zps9fzk0pao.jpg

We saw three bears accompanying a juvenile offender.

 photo _DSC0486_zpslauoei1f.jpg

We saw Morris Dancers. For non-English readers Morris Dancing is a form of folk dancing where you tie ribbons and bells to yourself and prance around. It isn’t generally an activity you’d admit to on a first date or for that matter in the first year of a relationship.

 photo _DSC0492_zpsxq2nmw3l.jpg

 photo _DSC0496_zpszuu98xvb.jpg

There were a lot of craft stalls: wood carving, rope making and jam, chutney and pies.

 photo _DSC0498_zpssypt9zp0.jpg

 photo _DSC0499_zpsxadhpjat.jpg

In the arena area we saw a bird of prey show. However the bird wasn’t having any of it mainly deciding to sit in the trees.

 photo _DSC0500_zps63aedvl6.jpg

At the side the birds rested on their perches. It was nice seeing these fantastic feathers fiends for free.

 photo _DSC0506_zpsur03xyho.jpg

 photo _DSC0508_zps5nrwdgbd.jpg

 photo _DSC0505_zpsyvstuita.jpg

Live music played at the bottom of the hill with a eclectic mix of covers from Green day to Van Morrison

 photo _DSC0510_zpsrcqykc2v.jpg

 photo _DSC0511_zpssvkznf9n.jpg

Back at home Alice still wanted to be a butterfly with her backpack on. Tomorrow the carnival is still on so we’ll see what other eccentricities we see.

 photo _DSC0512_zpsky9c7rva.jpg

Invite a tree for tea

The woodland trust invite a tree for tea pack is back again. I used it last year with my class to learn about trees. The pack last year had a nice little ID guide, some games, treasure hunt. The pack this year again looks good. The premise is basic; trees are vital to us. But they are under threat, so the tree party is celebrating the value of trees, while raising money and awareness for the Woodland Trust.

_DSC0303