Despite Stephen Squirrel's best efforts to rouse me at stupid o'clock on Monday morning (day 122) I managed to ignore him and go back to sleep for another hour. Although not as warm as Sunday, the sun was shining and I was outside watering the newly-transplanted tomato plants at just after 6am. After my Wii Fit workout I caught up with blogland and ordered a couple more birthday presents for Jon. After our fruit & yogurt I swept and mopped the stairs whilst Jon cracked on with the wardrobe door project.
I gave our bedroom a thorough clean and, at the same time, took some photos for Kezzie's Blogger's Art Gallery link-up.
There's art in every room in our house. You'll find the majority of our bedroom art on the chimney breast wall. There's my mass produced mid-century prints, three of Vernon Ward's pictures featuring flamingos, deer in a wooded glade and a family of swans, there's a couple of Trechikoffs, Hindu Dancer and a fairly rare signed print of Rose in The Workshop (bought for £1) and Gail by DH Lynch (her sister, Tina, on the wall opposite).
There's an oil on canvas of me by Clare who used to blog at Miss Simmonds Says and can now be found on Instagram HERE.
The watercolour of Jon & I at Glastonbury in 2014 was painted by Liz and was a 50th birthday present.
Here's the original photo.
Propped up next to the fireplace is a sketch of me by Val, an ex-blogger and another piece by Clare.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Art as being the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. Here's a wonderful hand-embroidered cushion made by my friend Lynn which, as it is both beautiful and reminds me of the day she and husband Philip popped in for a visit, is definitely a form of art.
Patchwork is my form of self-expression. I'd never attempted it until the week after my Mum died and, having organised the funeral and sorted out her belongings, needed something to busy my mind and distract me from my grief. In the bedroom you'll find a patchwork bed cover, some floor length curtains and two pom-pom trimmed bolster covers. I never buy new fabric, I cut up tatty old vintage clothes, bed linen, curtains, tablecloths or tea towels, nothing is safe from my scissors!
Jon is a master of demonstrating human creative skill in his ability to make something useful out of the most useless items, like this 1960s Lady Shtick hairdryer he transformed into a bedside light.
Pop over to Kezzie's blog HERE and check out the other entries. Hopefully Kezzie will make this a regular feature, I've got a lot more art to show you.
On a mission, I mopped the bathroom floor, cleaned the shelves and gave everything else a good scrub down. By now it was noodle time so I joined Jon in the kitchen. He'd managed to make a good start on fitting the cupboard and was in the process of sanding the bottom half down ready for painting. After lunch I staked and tied up the baby Yukka, trimmed one of the potted grasses on the patio and fed Jacob some of his special tortoise diet. Jon painted the cupboard he'd fitted and moved on to creating the top part while I read in the garden. It wasn't sunny or particularly warm but with an amazing book on the go I hardly noticed.
I thought wearing my tomato dress might serve as a hint to our lazy plants.
With Jon occupied with the cupboard I made a Greek tea - okra yachni with couscous & Feta stuffed peppers (it was delicious, even if I do say so myself). We watched the rest of the first series of My Greek Odyssey - we've only got another seven days left of the free Amazon Prime channel and there's another twelve-part series to fit in!
On Tuesday (day 123) I was doing my daily Wii Fit workout by 6.30am as we needed to be on the road by 9am. We ate our fruit & yogurt, Jon made sandwiches, filled the flask and off we went. Like last week, we were headed to the neighbouring county of Staffordshire, to the wonderful Biddulph Grange Garden on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent. We'd last visited on a frosty day in December, 2016 (HERE) and were keen to see the garden in all its midsummer glory.
Biddulph Grange was created by Victorian plantsman, James Bateman, a contemporary of Charles Darwin, as home for his collection of plants from around the world. The garden is divided into themed areas accessed by tunnels, archways and stone steps. You enter via the Italianate Terrace.
This leads to a huge pond with the biggest Koi carp I've ever seen,. You can buy bags of fish food at the entrance to feed them
A stone tunnel leads to the Himalayan Glen, a shady paradise of hostas & ferns with cascading waterfalls and rock formations.
Pass through a subterranean cave and you'll enter the Chinese Water Garden with its glossy red pagoda, golden bull temple and a tranquil lake bisected by an ornamental bridge (currently closed whilst the National Trust raises the funds for the repair). There's also the oldest surviving golden larch in the UK, brought from China in 1850.
Pass through the archway and you enter the Dahlia Garden.
In all honesty I had no idea what a dahlia looked like until a friend commented on a photo of one I'd taken on a previous National Trust outing. They're amazing!
My favourite has to be the one in the bottom left of the collage above, it was labelled as Karma Choc. I've found it in Lord Jon's gardening catalogue!
We climbed some stone steps, passing through a topiary archway and reached the formal gardens, a mass of rose bushes and climbing honeysuckle. It smelt gorgeous even if the planting wasn't to our taste.
|WEARING: Vintage 1960s hand-embroidered cotton maxi dress from Pakistan (Viv's Vintage, Worcester), vintage 1970s tooled leather bag (eBay, 2019), Lotta from Stockholm clogs (via Ebay), orange fedora (retail buy and now on its 33rd wearing)|
I felt like Alice next to this bastard massive urn!
After a wander through the woodland ...
And a stroll around the Arboretum...
We made our way back to the van and had lunch before driving back home to Walsall.
We spent the afternoon pottering around the garden and apologising to the lads, who were most put out at us leaving them home alone for a few hours. Goodness knows how they're going to cope if we get to Greece.
Phew, that was a bit of an epic post, well done if you're still with me!
Stay safe, stay fabulous, see you soon!