Sunday, 8 January 2017

Hat Stand

About a year ago I found a large piece of would while we were walking on the Arne peninsula. It was here that I asked for suggestions as to what I could do with it, as it was a rather lovely piece. It's been sat in 'The Shack' all of this time, only coming out for me to clean it and apply some wood preserver. Well, I have finally turned it into a hat stand, and it works pretty well!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

A Sweet Treat

I don't generally get a craving for anything sweet, but the one confection that anyone in this family knows that I love is Turkish Delight. When I want sweet, this is the sweet for me.

There are many tales about the origin of this delicious stuff, but my favourite, and therefore the true story is this:

In an attempt to appease his wives, a famous Sultan ordered his confectioner to create a unique sweet. Eager to please his Sultan, the confectioner blended a concoction of sugar syrup, various flavourings, nuts and dried fruits, then bound them together with gum Arabic. After several attempts, a most delectable sweet emerged from the royal kitchens. The Sultan was so delighted with these delicious little gems that he proclaimed the sweet maker the court's chief confectioner. Hereafter, a plate of Turkish Delight was served at daily feasts in the Ottoman court.

Topkapi Palace - Home to the Sultan

Ever since I was a child, I have adored it's super sweet and perfumed pungency, and have received some almost every Christmas. When in Istanbul, Amanda would be very patient as I would drool over displays of the stuff in the various bazaars, in more varieties than I ever thought possible. Pistachio is to die for, but my all time favourite is the very simple Rose and Lemon. 

I was given a box for Christmas, a wooden box, from Istanbul. I had promised myself that I would have far more willpower than usual and keep it for the evening of New Years Eve. I am writing this on the morning of such an eve, and I confess I have cracked . Getting the obligatory covering of super fine sugar over myself, as I delved again and again into the box for chunk after chunk, I had to stop half way through as the usual sugar rush hit. I had my fix, until tonight that is, when I shall finish them off.

Do you have a sweet treat?

I leave you with the Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Wishes


Although I haven't been on here and posted much at all this year, I have regularly looked in on how life is for all of those that I follow. It's been usually just before heading out to work, with my first morning cup o tea. Thanks to all of you for keeping my entertained not just with your own posts, but with the comments that sometimes follow your writing.

Today is Christmas Eve, and it's 9.30am here in the Uk. Today will start with some hoovering, then we will be making Stollen, mince pies and crummel torte. Hopefully a walk on Shell Bay later and then the family are coming over at around 6pm for drinks and cake eating, along with gift giving to each other. Tonight, when they are back home and Celia is tucked up asleep, we shall head into Bournemouth for midnight mass at St.Peters church.

How are you spending Christmas Eve?

Have a peaceful and blessed time over the next few days.

Saturday, 10 December 2016


Rebecca joined the company full time at the beginning of October. She already had a job, but needed a new challenge in life and decided that horticulture was to be it. She started at just about the worst time of year as far as this type of work goes......Autumn!

Like the oncoming hordes of Orc, the onset of Autumn brings with it more leaves than anyone should ever have to deal with. 'And so it begins', a phrase, said with a similar sentiment, that crosses our minds and lips in this business every year.

We have had two solid months of leaf clearing, on top of all of the usual garden maintenance that has to be done. It gets so that one never thinks it's going to stop, but it finally has, and rather more suddenly than in previous years. Normally Oak trees hold onto their leaves until into the New Year, but everything is down now, and we can breathe again......Yay! 

A few weeks into her work, we decided to show her that autumn can bring with it immense beauty, and to remember that leaves don't always equate to slogging in the rain, and so a 'work' trip to Stourhead was taken,

We are hoping that she can enjoy a job in gardening as much as we have, but time can only tell. I personally feel that it has to be a vocation in life, otherwise one will never really feel and understand plants in the true sense of the word.

Stourhead and it's various aspects of design stimulated her imagination, and we discussed ideas that were used that the three of us liked and disliked.

She was able to see the true beauty that autumn can bring, in all it's glory.

Colours dazzled on this glorious day.

After drinking coffee from our flask, we continued on our journey around the lake, and then returned home. A very good day indeed.

The gardens are going to sleep a little now, and we are tidying them for the Christmas period until our return in the New year.

All is calm and still for the winter.

As far as the business is going, well, pretty amazing actually. Over the course of the last eighteen months it has grown, as the accountant put it 'substantially'. We have gained many new contracts, the last being the garden below, set on the clifftop in Highcliffe. The developer who built it takes the trouble to go the extra mile and employ at some considerable expense a good garden designer and landscaper when his properties are built. There are to be four more of these places within a stones throw of each other along the same stretch, and he has heard of our reputation and is keen to use us to continue to look after what he starts. Very excited about this and the continuing work with these people.

In the last few days the developer even asked us to look at his own garden with a view to looking after it, and having seen it......BIG doesn't even start to describe it. If he accepts our quote it will certainly hold some serious challenges.

We were also asked by Rebeccas previous employer to look and quote to take care of his garden, which is close to the developers place. Another lovely garden that would be a pleasure to work in. Both have to be priced up and so we are keeping our fingers crossed. It has been a mad year, and next year will be the 20th anniversary of Four Seasons starting, It's going to be a testing year in all sorts of ways, but with a third member to the team now, we can face some challenges hopefully.

Sunday, 25 September 2016


Our beautiful, handsome feline geezer cat is silvering with age. The George Clooney of the cat world. He's nearly 20 years old, and still sprightly enough to be waiting for me to exit the bedroom at 6am, and lead me (all be it a little more carefully now) down the stairs for his breakfast. Absolutely my first job of the day, and the most important. He still howls loudly and often, since his sister passed away 18 months ago, and is spending more time sleeping. He has only been to the vet on a handful of occasions for a check up. He's THE best, and rather needy.......thank he is a key member of our household.