Tuesday, 3 April 2012


As I said, a difficult week, a really difficult week. A spring bank holiday for most people brings the excitement of days away on some exciting adventure or another. In this job, at this time of year, it simply brings two shortened weeks, and more work to cram in. Over the next two weeks, we have eight official work days, and in those days have to be fitted the maintenance of twenty nine large properties, the laying of sixteen tons of Scottish Pebbles (the organisation of which is becoming ludicrously complicated), the putting down of four tons of bark mulch, the spreading of three tons of compost to mulch some borders, lawn food must be applied everywhere (a tricky task as there has been no rain for weeks, and so watering has to be addressed), a small private garden to tidy up, and another private customers conifer hedge to trim. Our seeds at home are germinating, hundreds of them, and the allotment has boarding ready to go down, to define the four growing areas, and so THAT has to be done, and add to all of that the fact that Amanda is once again an official partner in the business, we have a new bank account that must have everything transferred across, a task that is very, very tricky at this stage, insurances and business documents to change....oh, and I had to get rid of a hornets nest last night, that was developing on the garden office. Did I mention the new lawn mower, the shiny lawn mower? It developed a rattle last week, and shortly afterwards stopped running. It went back to the shop for repairing, a large property (the one in the first picture) had to be put onto Saturday, I picked the mower up first thing on Saturday morning, took it to the garden, pulled the ripcord.......nothing. And so a very angry conversation on the mobile phone ensued, and it is now back with them, and I am trying to keep up with an old rust bucket of a mower that is doing it's best....bless it!

My mind is frying, because THAT is what things are like at the moment. Our bank holiday weekend now has two days put over to work, but believe me when I say.....we WILL be going camping at the next one!

We never work on a Sunday, partly for faith reasons, but also to keep one day as a physical rest day. After the Saturday we had just had, the Sunday day off was so, so welcome. A leisurely lay in until 8am, copious amounts of tea, and we decided to head around the harbour to Studland beach. Whenever we feel stressed, worried or burnt out, this stretch of sand always brings calm and peace.

We stroll, talk and talk, collect shells, watch people, and enjoy the cool water on our feet.

Even Old Harry Rocks seemed at peace today.

Sometimes we stroll apart for a few moments, lost in our own thoughts, and comfortable in our time shared.

This Black Headed Gull appeared to enjoy a paddle too!

The beaches at Studland and Shell Bay don't bring with them exotic treasures such as conches or abalone, but some very delicate things can be discovered.

This old time called 'Widget', was 91 in human years. He was very, very slow indeed, and with his eyes failing, his owners had to keep turning him around in the right direction, as he would otherwise just keep going the wrong way along the waters edge, contentedly just soldiering on. We wanted to take him home for ourselves.

After the walk, we had a coffee at the National Trust cafe, and as usual, got quite angry and irritated at the way in which parents just seemed oblivious to the antics of their unruly children. One incident involved an elderly gentleman, simply trying to enjoy a cold drink in the peace of the shade below, while at the same time a child was climbing on the beautiful planters around him, wielding a piece of wood as a sword, while screaming and shouting at his friends on the other side. Of course, 'the parents' were elsewhere, enjoying peace and quiet.

It was still early afternoon, and rather than go home, we decided to revisit an old haunt, somewhere that I used to go as a youth. For the past few years, Durlston Castle has remained closed to the public, as major renovations have needed to be made. The original structure was pretty much the two tiered part that you can see in the middle, but now, it has been completely revamped, and not usually one who likes 'revamping' of old buildings to suit visitors, I have to say that this has been done incredibly well.

From the car park, a walk of several hundred yards takes you through the various stages of the earths development, and rock formation over millions of years, all spaced according to their development. Two thirds of the way through, this is a reminder of just how small we are, and just as you get to the front door of the castle, the stone tablet to the left informs us that the last half millimetre is mans time on earth.

Within the building is an old spiral staircase, something that I remember as a child, and always out of bounds and for staff only. Now, after forty years, I am allowed up....Yippee!!!
The view at the top is breathtaking.

One of the inner rooms has been turned over to an exhibition of a 'knitted garden', quite clever.

The view across to the left shows the cliffs approaching Peveril Point. I mentioned that this area was somewhere that I frequented in my youth, and indeed, along with my brother and Tim, a friend of mine, we would often walk here from our home in Bournemouth, and camp out and have adventures that the Famous Five could only dream about. Back then, the area was pretty much undiscovered as a tourist venue, and it was possible to sometimes spend a whole day without seeing anyone else. Anyway, back to the cliffs. Swanage town used to be home to a Hells Angels group, and once, when we were exploring the rocky beach in the picture, a group of them were also there doing what they do best. We had an air pistol, they were some yards away gesticulating, and for whatever reason, we let of a round in their direction, as any fourteen year old would do. A chase started, with us running for our lives up the cliffs, whilst the leather clad heavyweights did their best to follow. The things we do in our youth eh? Now I just enjoy the view with a glass of wine.


Durlston Castle is also home to the Great Globe, a forty ton piece of solid rock, with all of the vaarious countries carved into it.

Then it was down the steps in the foreground to the cliff top, and the walk along to another childhood favourite of mine, Tilly Whim Caves.


The walk is wonderful, with sea views to take the breath away, hawthorn in full flower, and in the distance, below the lighthouse, the ledges of Tilly Whim.


Another place frequented by us as kids, they are now closed off due to rock falls inside and out, but I still have fond memories of rock tunnels and crashing seas against the ledges.


We spent a few more moments just sat on the cliff top by the lighthouse, and it was then time to go home. It's now Tuesday, yesterday was a very difficult day, but today might be better.


Thanks for walking with me.....TTFN


  1. Wow, busy. As we start to wind down work is really cranking up for you and Amanda. I hope the rest of the week goes well for you both and you get everything done that you need to.

  2. Gary,
    Sweat popped out on my brow “just reading” the amount of work you have in the next little bit. I am sure though that with the elixir of sweet tea and A beside you, you will make it all beautiful and readied in time. Thanks for the walk along the beach, your pictures and narrative are splendid. – gary

  3. I was tired for you at the beginning but you're right, the beach calms the soul. You found some wonderful places to visit as usual. The knitted garden is funny.

  4. Wow, that was a long post so I came back to finish it from the first time I read it.I know you are a big strong guy and all, but have you thought of hiring some young guy , who is also strong, to help with all the work you have to do? So many peole want to earn a bit of extra money ( or any money), and it sounds like you are busy enough to use someone.I love the yarn garden, so cute. Thanks for the post, take care out there!

    1. I'll send you my 21 year old student son! Gorgeous long post, Gary. I was captivated. How does Amanda always manage to look so elegant?
      I know what you mean about awful children, and I speak as a mother of 2. Ewan and I went in to a wee cafe at Cramond this week while killing time to go to the airport to pick up our daughter from a school trip. There were 2 families with young kids there, who obviously thought that everyone wanted to have their coffee amid a total racket of shouting children pushing chairs around. I really should have said something. As it was, one of the mums looked over at me with a smile as if to say 'aren't my children lovely'. I glared at her, but I'm sure she thought I was the one with the problem.
      Take care in your busy life!

  5. Hi Lindsey,
    It's that time of year, and it seems to get harder each time lol. I enjoy reading your blog.

  6. Hi Gary,
    Hot sweet tea and (hot, sweet) Amanda always make things easier to cope with. Thanks for the nice comments.

  7. Hi Sherlock,
    We are very blessed to be surrounded with so much beauty, and places to go, and all so near. The knitted garden was quite extraordinary.

  8. Hello Gina,
    Although more than willing to pay for it, labour that you can rely on is rare over here, especially amongst the brits.

  9. Hi Linda,
    I think we are kindred spirits. I will be posting about the bank holiday weekend, and once again moaning about 'bad' children, so keep watching. I am so with you re: the cafe! Thanks for dropping by.