Archive | November 2016

The narrowest scaffolding ever!

The surveyor’s report on our house recommended that the end wall of our house, one of the original barn walls, should be repointed, and having had a good look once we moved in, we had to agree. The pointing hadn’t been redone with the conversion, as far as we can tell, so could have been up to 150 years old. There was certainly an old wren’s nest in one large hole!

So we have finally had it done, by a local building company that come highly recommended. Their scaffolders were not impressed though, when they saw the challenge…next door’s garage has been built rather close to our house!




Still, with some sawing up of steel poles, they managed it.




The stonemason wasn’t much happier – he couldn’t even get a bucket between the lower scaffold poles, so had to finish the top area then get the scaffolding removed so that he could get between the buildings to do the lower half.




But eventually, despite some Devon weather, it is finished, and we are very pleased. The house seems warmer too.

First walk of winter

Yesterday was the first day of wintry weather here, with hail showers on and off all day, and a thin layer of hail settled over most of the garden. The temperature was a chilly 4 degrees, and it was hard to remember that on Tuesday I had been out for a walk without a jumper.

Today hasn’t been much better, with rain or hail all morning. By lunchtime we were getting cabin-fever, so started to analyse the weather predictions, which offered a potential dry spell in the afternoon.  Dressed ready, we were out of the house as soon as the last drops fell, and drove a short distance to the start of the northern section of the Tarka Trail.



The Tarka Trail is a long-distance footpath , and our local bit runs along the old railway line between Ilfracombe and Barnstaple. Except that it doesn’t…there is a gap between Willingcott just to the north west of us, and Braunton to the south. One day they will connect the two pieces up, as they are currently purchasing all the necessary pieces of land, and then the path will run 100 metres or so from our garden. That will be very handy!

Parking in the deserted car park at Willingcott, we set a steady pace down the smooth tarmacked track, enjoying the fresh air, even though the skies were leaden. Soon we were treated to a view down the steep wooded valley towards the grey sea at Lee.




Not a soul was to be seen, despite the rain staying away, and we soon started to descend down through the steep-sided cuttings towards Ilfracombe.




Finally some other souls emerged from their cosy living rooms, and we were greeted and sniffed by a variety of happy waggy dogs. The trail passes a lovely old wall with huge beech trees apparently sprouting from the top…




Finally we reached the first of the two reservoirs at Slade, a small community on the outskirts of Ilfracombe. Such a tranquil place at this time of year, I imagine it must get more visitors in summer, either fishing, or picknicking on the grassy bank. Today, all that was there was a pair of dippers, which were lovely to see.




There is another reservoir further on, but we had reached our allotted turn-around time, based on out predicted weather window, so we set off up the gentle but unrelenting slope back to the car. We arrived as the first drops started to fall, so it was nicely judged. Home for tea in front of the log-burner and the tennis, feeling much happier for some exercise.


One project finally finished

We have a new path! It starts under my rose arch…



..and crosses the bare patch left by removal of a huge patch of Rosa rugosa.




As the ground was already bare soil, we decided to level this section of path. Eventually we would like all our paths levelled – it would make walking much easier. In the spring we will sow grass seed to cover this all with lawn.

Then the path runs across the central meadow area, which has been cut down for winter, but will be long, swaying grasses next summer. The far end of the garden has been left to grow long to encourage a variety of wildlife, and we have strimmed a new path through this area too.




So now there is a long path, and more importantly a view, from near one end of the garden to the other. Hopefully next spring it will all green up and look inviting. In the mean time, levelling the path left us with the problem of many barrowloads of soil…but luckily another of our problems was very uneven grass in the orchard. So one problem has helped solve another.




Once again, it just needs seeding in the spring. I did manage to get some grass seed on the lower area of the bare patch, so that is greening up nicely, and looks so much better!




The autumn colours continue to astound me. This is a small cotoneaster bush…




The Beech trees in front of the house have nearly dropped all their leaves now, which have been laboriously swept up and stored to turn into leaf mould. Spring here may have been all yellow and green with all the daffodils, but autumn is definitely orange and crunchy!