September

September is my favourite month for many, many reasons.

The end of September always makes me a little sad but but I am always looking forward very much to the next one.

It is filled with lovely things for us:-

It is the month we take our main annual holiday

The Shropshire Way

Walking – The Shropshire Way

It is the month of Burghley Horse Trials

Burghley Horse Trial

Burghley Horse Trial – Burghley

It is the month of harvest

Harvest in Northumberland

Harvest – Northumberland

It is the month of Sandringham Game Fair

Horse Boarding - Sandringham Game Fair

Horse Boarding – Sandringham Game Fair

It is a month when we do most of our walking

walking - The Lakes

Walking – The Lakes

It is the month when the best fungi appear.

Fungi - Fly Ageric

Fungi – Fly Ageric

It is the month of Food Festivals across the country. Ludlow being our favourite.

Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle

It is the month for Bramble picking & making Jam.

Brambles

Brambles

It is the month of Indian Summers when the heat has left the sun but the cold months are not showing themselves yet.

September Sun - Ford Village

September Sun – Ford Village

It is the month we got our hound and collected him when he was just 8 weeks old.

Max

Max

And it is the month we got married

September Wedding - Rings

September Wedding – Rings

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olloclip

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

I use an iPhone (5) and I love it.

I use it every day for emails, calls, texts, vibe, whatsapp, FB, instagram, twitter, maps, waze, evernote, pinterest, contacts, calendar….. you name it.

I didn’t think that the camera on the phone could be improved as it such good quality already. the iPhone 6 has probably managed to improve the camera further but until I have an iPhone 6, I will have to wait to see.

But I read somewhere ages and ages ago that there was a little attachable lens was available from a company called Olloclip to use with the phone as an attachment, providing more flexibility and giving you a tool that would truly explore the potential of the smashing lens in this little phone.

As an early christmas present to myself, I ordered the 4-in-1 combo. This provides you with a fish eye, wide angle and 2 strengths of macro lens.

I have a canon 6D that I use all the time and have a variety of different lenses for it. It provides such good quality shots that I use it for serious photography and pictures of my work but I have never really considered the iPhone to be a contender for serious shots.  As good as it is, how could it possibly be used as a serious working camera?

The review were good but my true expectations for what the addition of the olloclip could do to the camera on the iPhone were limited, but the results have been amazing.

It is tiny attachment and a bit fiddly and would be very easy to lose but if you have the time and the patience along with helpful additions to your camera bag such as a gorilla pod and a clip for your phone, you can set it up to get great photos.

It is great fun and the results are very effective.

Olloclip has an instagram account where people share their images using the olloclip and some are truly incredible.

I need some time to get more interesting shots and I have not taken advantage of the wide angle fitting yet but I’m delighted with the macro results

See for yourself……… all taken with the phone hand held without the support or steadiness of a tripod, gorilla pod or surface

Fish Eye

hand held at eye level

at eye level

seated

seated

10x Macro

flower head - hand held

flower head

daisy - hand held

daisy

rotting knot in fallen tree - hand held

rotting knot in fallen tree

15x Macro

drooping flower head

drooping flower head

detail from flower

detail from flower

offset shot of flower - my favourite

offset shot of flower – my favourite

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

dandelion clock

 

 


Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

British Legion

British Legion

We went to the poppy installation at the tower of London today.

waves of red

waves of red

We had wanted to go many weekends before and we bought two of the installation poppies as soon as they were available on line through the British Legion. The thing about today, however, that I liked is that the installation is nearly as finished as it will be when it ends on November 11th at 11am.

a sea

a sea

They were still planting poppies today as we walked along and they are as important as the very first of what is now a huge display.

poppies in a wave over the top

poppies in a wave over the top

It is impressive to see such a big ‘sculpture’ but it is also deeply tragic that this sea of red flowers represents so very many lost lives!

a singing starling

a singing starling

Both JC and I struggled with the selfies and family photo shots that were being taken with the poppies in the background. So many of the people getting their pictures taken in front of it really didn’t seem to grasp the significance of each and every one of the 888,246 poppies and that they represents a life lost; wasted to the wages of war.

A loss that the family of the loved one will never have recovered from!

arching over the bridge

arching over the bridge

We were there for hours walking around the inside of the tower where you see parts of the installation not visible from the public footpaths surrounding the tower and there is a section where the moat space tails off and there are some poppies that are singular and in an open line. That row of solitary poppies really impacted on me, it was very poignant and makes you realise that a lot of the 888,246 not only died but also died alone and in very terrible conditions.

ripples of poppies

ripples of poppies

The entire thing made me feel very emotional and I struggled to keep a check on the tears.

That check became even harder when we got to the WW1 exhibition that shows black and white photos of soldiers training within the grounds of the tower in 1914; then the same photo has a modern day equivalent 2014 person standing where one of the other men had been.

It was deeply moving.

poppies laid on the ground

poppies laid on the ground

I’m pleased that they are to keep the installation a bit longer and I would really like it if they took the poppies away one by one as if reversing the installation so that they flow back to the first poppy and the first loss of life in this great war of wars.

the wind made them sway

the wind made them sway

I would heartily recommend it.

Our future generations need to understand the extent of the devastation.

each one is individually hand formed

each one is individually hand formed

It is a humbling experience that will not leave me.

and each has a different height stalk

and each has a different height stalk

But I am so pleased to have had the chance to see this amazing reminder of so many lost lives.

beautiful

beautiful

Brothers, cousins, sisters, dads, sons, mums, dads, the list goes on.

it's quite overwhelming

it’s quite overwhelming

All serving people who will have been terrified and quite bewildered by the events leading up to their death.

each and every one

each and every one

They thought they’d all be home by Christmas

contrast

contrast

Little did they know.

cascade

cascade (single poppy in a space in the foreground)

And we really must NEVER forget!

endless

endless

tumbling

tumbling

in muddy water (ironically like the trenches)

in muddy water (ironically like the trenches)

 


Edible Garden

 

rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

I haven’t posted anything about our garden in such a long time. In fact not since before I separated this blog from my tinyinc blog in December 2010.

If I was honest, we’ve neglected it because we have been so busy and found no time to spend out there. As a result, we’ve had interesting things growing (without any help from us I hasten to add) but we haven’t really had any veg or produce from the ground behind our home and I miss that.

the herbs and rhubarb survived the new fence

the herbs and rhubarb survived the new fence and are now surrounded veg and salad waiting to sprout and grow

There is nothing more tasty, satisfying and relaxing than harvesting a few salad leaves, tomatoes and courgettes for your supper. Especially after the rigours of a long and stressful working day.

Our fence desperately needed replacing recently so on the back of that, and a bit of welcome good weather, we decided to revamp the garden and do things a bit differently this time. The mess and damage that the new fence inevitably made was the prefect excuse to tackle things differently and set it up in a new way.

the other side still has the creepers but bare soil below

the other side still has the creepers but bare soil below

We’ve tried things in certain spots, we’ve tried things in pots and we’ve tried a raised bed but my sister bought me Alys Fowler’s The Thrifty Gardener which I love. I then bought her Edible Garden book which has so inspired me and talks about exactly the kind of gardening I have been looking for and didn’t have a name for it……

runner beans against the fence which gets a lot of afternoon sunshine

french beans against the fence which gets a lot of afternoon sunshine

POLYCULTURE!!!

It just makes so much sense.

french beans

french beans

We don’t want regimented lines of carrots really (although we have done that) and we don’t actually have time to manage that kind of garden anyway. Plus we don’t really want to see great swaths of precious tasty soil left with nothing growing in it when the weather is rubbish and you are stuck in doors looking out waiting for things to change.

swiss chard

swiss chard

So what is polyculture?

In the true sense of the word, it means ‘growing multiple crops in the same space’. The best example is how the native americans used to grow corn that had beans climbing up the stems and courgettes growing around it’s feet. The three plants develop and produce at different times so the space is very efficiently used to great benefit.

courgettes - one of my favourites

courgettes – one of my favourites

Perfect for a small victorian terrace garden in London.

Alys Fowler follows these principles but not to the letter and the result are stunning and very productive.

strawberries

strawberries

Aside from the sight of it being wonderful, the advantages are numerous and there are many publications that explain this.

sorrell

sorrell

So with that in mind, we have started out with a nearly blank canvas (I couldn’t bear to uproot my rhubarb and herbs etc so they stay put) and will see what we achieve be it successful or otherwise.

lettuce mix

lettuce mix

There will be some mistakes and I am already undecided about a few plant combinations but it’s very exciting and it has got me making lists, sketching out plans and scanning all my back issues of Country Living for more plant ideas.

IMG_6243

 


Thank You Flowers

an open flower head

an open flower head

These gorgeous flowers are sadly finished but they lasted amazingly well.

They are peonies and just about the most perfect choice of flowers for me; they are pretty, not formal looking, they are simple and they are white.

perfect

perfect

They came as a thank you from V for having Agnes for the day while they were away.

They have been beautiful and lovely to see every day but they were completely unnecessary as having Agnes was so much fun and we’d do it again in a flash.

closed flower bud

closed flower bud

The flowers kept their form and colour and only started to droop 2 weeks or so.

a pretty bowed papery head

a pretty bowed papery head

I think I am going to treat myself to a vase of these every week or so from now on, I love them so much.